Reviews

General Fiction

Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings

Reviewed by Ian Lipke I wonder if Kathleen Jennings, growing to adulthood among the scrublands of rural Australia ever wondered, as a child, what influence her environment was having on her. Her novella breathes the atmosphere of the bush. Just as she describes, I have felt its call, heard the birds waking at dawn and

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General Fiction

Love, Clancy by Richard Glover

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve After the success of The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover has brought us another treat to relish. This is a hilarious series of letters by Clancy, a clever Kelpie, to his previous home and reviewed by his new owner, Man.  He is an asset to any family, the perfect pet (he

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Poetry

The Fire of Joy by Clive James

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The world which marvelled at the prodigious talent of Clive James last year mourned his death. He was eighty.  He was a brilliant author, poet, essayist, critic and television presenter.  His final gift to the world is his selection of eighty poems, one for each of the years he lived. Many

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General Fiction

Honeybee by Craig Silvey

Reviewed by Rod McLary Sam Watson is fourteen years old and very troubled.  From a young age, he always felt most comfortable and most in tune with his real self when he dressed in his mother’s clothes.  In his first year of school, Sam ‘took a pleated skirt out of the lost property box and

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General Fiction

The Return by Nicholas Sparks

Reviewed by Ian Lipke That Nicholas Sparks would write in any genre other than the one he has chosen is unimaginable. He writes so well that the reader expects a masterpiece each time a new book appears. This is a tough expectation of the writer, but Sparks seems to maintain a high standard. But if

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Crime/Mystery

A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Nobody familiar with Rankin’s writing would dispute that John Rebus is a canny Scot or that his unofficial professional partner, Siobhan Clarke, is a supporter of Rebus but a fully professional policewoman too. She is the anchor that holds Rebus back from making a fool of himself or making a misjudgement

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Memoir/Biography

Pendragon by Anne Black

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Early colonial Australia featured a conglomeration of immigrants seeking a new life. One significant settler was Pendragon, the pen name of George Isaacs.  With a genial personality and an enthusiasm for life, he never seemed to lose his optimistic outlook, although he faced continuing hardship in both Adelaide and Melbourne. Adverse

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Non-Fiction

The Carbon Club by Marian Wilkinson

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Leo A. Notenboom is a commentator on issues relating to information technology, computers, and the internet. With the latter in mind he wrote that believing and spreading lies and misleading implications is akin to spreading manure. He instances confirmation bias as the tendency we all have to believe things that confirm what

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Non-Fiction

The Altar Boys by Suzanne Smith

Reviewed by Rod McLary In 2013, the Federal Government announced the establishment of its Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  The Commission released its final report in November 2017 after many case studies into specific institutions and numerous interviews with victims/survivors of child sexual abuse and their families.  For the first time

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General Fiction

Pilgrims by Matthew Kneale

Reviewed by Rod McLary The golden age for pilgrimages from what we now call Britain to Rome was the thirteenth century.  The reasons for persons undertaking a long and onerous – and sometimes unsafe – journey to Rome were multi-fold ranging from the personal to the public.  The most common reason was to do penance

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Crime/Mystery

The Survivors by Jane Harper

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Jane Harper’s fourth mystery/thriller is shaped by life in a small coastal town in Tasmania, Evelyn Bay. Ten years prior, tragedy rocked the community and today, in its barely contained calm, it confronts more awkward questions when a body is found on the beach. In all her novels, Jane Harper is

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Non-Fiction

The Road by John Martinkus

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It was a simple road. A winding, twisting road through high country, an engineering marvel in parts. But the road was to pass through West Papua. It was to stir a war between the West Papuan Independence Movement on the one hand, who saw West Papua as part of Papua New

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Cooking/Diet

Easy Gluten Free by Helen Tzouganatos

Reviewed by Gerard Healy A family-friendly cookbook from Helen Tzouganatos containing over 100 recipes for busy cooks. Each recipe is accompanied by a mouth-watering colour photograph taken by Jeremy Simons, which adds greatly to the appeal. Since I enter any kitchen with a large L plate on my back, I was attracted to the ‘Easy’

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Non-Fiction

The Lonely Century by Noreena Hertz

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve From one of the world’s leading thinkers, The Lonely Century is a wide-ranging and detailed examination of how this rapidly changing world has become the loneliest time in our history.  Noreena Hertz does this by looking at social, political and personal lives in a manner that is bold and confronting in

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Non-Fiction

From Snow to Ash by Anthony Sharwood

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders You can’t help but admire someone setting off on a journey like this. Any long distance walk in back country requires mental and physical doggedness, and the 660km Australian Alps Walking Track is right up there. Having walked bits of the same route, I looked forward to this book taking me

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