Reviews

Non-Fiction

Why We Die by Venki Ramakrishnan

Reviewed by E. B. Heath Ageing and death are currently hot topics in the publishing world.  No doubt influenced by a wave of Baby Boomers now facing the inevitable.  But they are not the only group chasing immortality.  There are many in affluent countries who are opting for their bodies to be preserved using the

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Non-Fiction

An Everyone Story by Duncan McKellar

Reviewed by Rod McLary The subtitle to this ultimately hopeful book is Finding our way back to compassion, hope and humanity implying of course that compassion, hope and humanity were lost somewhere along the way.  This is the story of the 2017 review of the Oakden Older Persons’ Mental Health Service in Adelaide.  The book’s

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Children

The Apprentice Witnesser by Bren MacDibble

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend Bren MacDibble’s middle grade novel, 9-13 years of age, imagines the aftermath of a world impacted by global warming and a pandemic that devastates mainly the male population. The story is centred in a village of women and children who subsist in a caring community living off the land in a

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History

The Shortest History of Italy by Ross King

Reviewed by Richard Tutin The mention of Italy conjures up many thoughts in our minds. It might be the food, the wine or the coffee. It could also be the days of the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. In amongst the reminiscences, there is often the question about the way in which this

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General Fiction

The Sunbird by Sara Haddad

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve This slender volume by Sydney writer, Sara Haddad, comes at a time when the world’s eyes are trained on the catastrophic events that daily occur in the Middle East.  While much of the West is appalled by the relentless destruction wrought by Israel, Sara Haddad’s book does not engage in the

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General Fiction

The Coast Road by Alan Murrin

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve A small community in 1990s Ireland is the backdrop of Alan Murrin’s first novel, The Coast Road. Its focus is on three women’s battle with lives constrained by having to deal with their country’s law which made divorce illegal even in the face of challenging marriages. Colette, a passionate, uncompromising character

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General Fiction

Ghost Cities by Siang Lu

Reviewed by Rod McLary Apparently, there are a number of ‘ghost cities’ in China all of which have the infrastructure but lack any population.  These uninhabited cities are the inspiration for this imaginative and labyrinthine novel by Brisbane writer Siang Lu. There are a number of narratives running through the novel but the consistent one

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General Fiction

The White Cockatoo Flowers: Stories by Ouyang Yu

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Ouyang Yu’s view of the modern world is humorously summed up when he suggests that if Shakespeare wrote the famous quote “To be or….”, it would become “To be or not to be entertained”….  The general population is obsessed with money, sex, distractions, food and are merely ‘animals with clothes’. Poetry,

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Non-Fiction

Alice ™ by Stuart Kells

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders Rethinking the world financial system is not something most of us are capable of. Even understanding the world financial system is no picnic. This is a story of two Australians who not only understood, but who set out to shake things up. Their extensive research and experience led them to conclude

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General Fiction

Shock Waves by Fleur McDonald

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Fleur McDonald first introduced readers to Detective Dave Burrows in the early 2000s when he was the main character in her novel. Since then, he has appeared as a secondary character in sixteen contemporary novels. In this story, Shock Waves, he is the main character but at a time when he

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Historical Fiction

The Lost Lover by Karen Swan

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Among the many books written by Karen Swan (20 books – two a year) is her Wild Isle series which tells of the dramatic evacuation of St Kilda in 1930.  St Kilda, two and a half miles off the mainland of Scotland is a cliff-walled island in the North Atlantic that

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General Fiction

All the Beautiful Things You Love by Jonathan Seidler

Reviewed by Rod McLary The Walker Brothers once sang ‘breaking up is so very hard to do’ and those of us who have broken up with a loved one will know exactly what the Brothers mean. In his debut fiction novel, Jonathan Seidler explores the break-up of a marriage.  As with much else in life,

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History

Sister Viv by Grantlee Kieza

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Sister Viv is the latest novel written by Grantlee Kieza OAM. He held senior editorial positions at The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Courier-Mail for many years and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his writing. He once said that Australian children were not being

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Fantasy/Science Fiction

Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The novel Iron Flame about Violet Sorrengail and her boyfriend Xaden continues on from Rebecca Karros’s story called Fourth Wing published in 2022. This novel was a raging success. It was anticipated that Iron Flame would be just as successful. However, with a different premise, and a different focus, a story

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