Book Review: ‘The First Bad Man’ by Miranda July

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Cheryl Glickman has a system. She’ll eat out of a saucepan to cut down on washing up (plates are only for when there are guests). If new soap needs to be put in the bathroom, she’ll wait until the towels in the dryer are done and carry them all together to save a trip. The system allows her to move t … [Read more...]

Book Review: HOLIDAYS by William McInnes

Actor and author William McInnesCREDIT TESSA ROSS-PHELAN

Australian actor and prolific author William McInnes, typifies so much of what is good about Australia, the straight-forward, community-minded Australia of his parents. His latest book, Holidays, tells of his childhood at the moment of discovering what the word “holiday” actually represented – a time … [Read more...]

Book Review: NIGHTINGALE by Fiona McIntosh

Ever more relevant with the centenary of the Gallipoli Landings coming up next year, Fiona McIntosh's latest novel sweeps the reader back to World War I and to Turkey, where, in May 1915, British nurse Claire Nightingale is caught up in the turmoil and bloodshed as she tends to the wounded on a … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Lion Rampant by Blanche d'Alpuget

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Novelist and Biographer Blanche d'Alpuget's latest novel, “The Lion Rampant” (the second book in her Lion quartet), brings alive the intriguing world of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is a fascinating immersion in the lives of these historical figures who presided over one of the most tur … [Read more...]

Book Review: Cat & Fiddle by Lesley Jørgensen

[rating:4.5] Cat and Fiddle is a witty tale of appearance and deception. Mrs Begum and her husband Dr Choudhury have moved to a small English village so he can advise on the restoration of nearby Bourne Abbey. Mrs Begum is fixated on marrying off her three children and engages the help of the … [Read more...]

Book Review: Rough Diamond by Kathryn Ledson

This is a terrific first novel by Kathryn Ledson that women everywhere are going to find hard not to love. ROUGH DIAMOND has all the ingredients for an irresistibly entertaining read...a likeable heroine who helps save Melbourne and Sydney from terror attacks whilst caring for her demanding cat, … [Read more...]

Book Review: Drink, Smoke, Pass Out by Judith Lucy

In her first book, “The Lucy Family Alphabet”, comedian Judith Lucy deals with the outstanding issues that she had with her parents. In this one, she chronicles her descent into alcohol-fuelled despair where she loses control of her life. This is a period of hazy blackouts and wasted opp … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Golden Land by Di Morrissey

The Golden Land by Di Morrissey interweaves the beauty and troubled political turmoil of Burma, its culture and people, with the life of Natalie living on the Gold Coast in Queensland. This is a beautiful story of resolution and putting right the past to heal the present, of the role of women in … [Read more...]

Book Review: PILGRIMAGE by Jacinta Halloran

People react in various ways to the diagnosis of a terminal illness. In this novel, Celeste and Nathalie are two very different half-sisters whose mother develops Motor Neurone Disease. Their mother is convinced that a miracle will cure her of this progressively incapacitating illness and plans a … [Read more...]

Book Review: Unnatural Habits by Kerry Greenwood

[rating:4] After returning from her summer holiday in Queenscliff, Phryne Fisher finds herself caught up in yet another mystery that will delight fans of the elegant cocktail-sipping sleuth. Pretty blond girls are going missing — including some who are pregnant and had been incarcerated in the M … [Read more...]

Book Review: You Don't Want To Know by Lisa Jackson

You Don't Want To Know by Lisa Jackson is a gripping mystery thriller that holds the reader's attention from the first page to the very last. The story centres around Ava Garrison, wealthy, supposedly mentally unstable, living on a private island surrounded by family and staff. Two years ago, her … [Read more...]

Book Review: THE BELOVED by Annah Faulkner

Bertie is the “Beloved” of the title. Set in the 1950's to early sixties, beginning in Melbourne, with interludes in Sydney and then moving on to Port Moresby, the novel follows Bertie's development from child to teenager. Aged six, she falls victim to polio which changes her future forever, the ha … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Daughters of Mars by Tom Keneally

Tom Keneally has drawn an epic tribute to the enormous and often less-acknowledged contributions of women during World War I. In this, his latest novel, seen from the point of view of the nurses who coped with the resulting horrors of battle; no graphic detail is spared in the suffering endured, as … [Read more...]

Book Review: Mary Bennet by Jennifer Paynter

[rating:3] Poor plain bookish Mary Bennet, caught halfway between pretty Jane, clever Lizzy and silly Lydia and her shadow Kitty. She is a dim presence in Pride and Prejudice, a foil for the brightness of the others. Mary Bennet is her story and, as such, it is a fascinating alternative look at a … [Read more...]

Book Review: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

[rating: 5] When I first took Bitter Greens in hand, I immediately assigned this brick-like tome to the ‘too long to read’ review pile. Before doing so, however, I briefly flipped open the first pages for a peek, as I am almost always tempted to do. Fast forward two weeks later, I was agonisingly ek … [Read more...]

Book Review: Food Myths by Nicole Senior

[rating: 4] It's all out there. The fads and opinion, the facts and myth relating to food. We've all been party and privy to it. And many of us have been both intrigued and confused by it. Conflicting media reports, misconceptions, scares and other hoo-ha have no doubt prompted author and … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Seamstress by Maria Duenas

[rating: 5] Lush in setting, restrained but ultimately satisfying in emotion, this book takes readers from the hunger and poverty of 1930s Madrid to the whitewashed streets of Morocco, then on to the opulence of fashionable life during World War Two Spain and Portugal. First published in Spain as … [Read more...]

Book Review: Minxy Vintage by Kelly Doust

[rating: 4] That crafty minx is back, this time with a fashionista theme, following hot on the coat tails of her memoir A Life in Frocks. A self-confessed flea market and charity shop-scourer, it's no surprise Kelly's latest book has a belts, baubles and a chic ensemble feel - her adoration for … [Read more...]

Book Review: Lose Weight Fast! by Susie Burrell

[rating: 4] Great title. But also a fraught title. Goodness knows, weight loss is one of the hottest and most controversial topics in the Western world and will do doubt remain that way for many generations to come. Alas - it's often the 'lose weight quickly' promises that continue to fail those in … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Art of Meditation by Matthieu Ricard

This is the follow-up book to “The Art of Happiness”, written by the same author. Meditation is, according to this book, the “inner transformation through training the mind.” It is a challenging and daunting prospect. Meditation is a difficult discipline to master and practise effectively. The st … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Art of Happiness by Matthieu Ricard

Most of us might see being happy as a matter of luck, chance, or situation, perhaps something that can be “found”. Happiness is often confused with pleasure, joy or being in love. The English language is so full of subtleties, there is a particular word for every nuance of any emotion. The unusual … [Read more...]

Book Review: Mums Shape Up by Lisa Westlake

[rating: 4] There's two things new mums don't need. One - twelve (or more) months stuck in their maternity jeans. Two - a complicated, time-consuming regime for getting rid of said jeans. New mums are too busy being new mums, looking after their health and the health of their new babe, and … [Read more...]

Book Review: Everyday Kindness by Stephanie Dowrick

[rating: 5] Could there be a more perfect time for a book on everyday kindness? Author and holistic wellbeing expert Stephanie Dowrick has long been tapped into Australia's emotional zeitgeist, plucking needful gems from society's ills and polishing them into beautiful books that lay open the … [Read more...]