Book Review: Maeve Binchy's Treasury

[rating: 4] “Treasury” is an apt description of this wonderful collection of over 40 short stories. Each of the stories is a real gem, unique and beautiful. Some are as subtle as aquamarines, or dazzling with the bright fire of diamonds; a few perhaps glowing with the depth of rubies and others, gen … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Briny Cafe by Susan Duncan

[rating: 2.5] Susan Duncan is no stranger to sea-side living: her best-selling memoirs A Life on Pittwater and Salvation Creek both touch on her experiences as a new resident in the coastal town of Pittwater. In The Briny Cafe, Duncan's first novel, Pittwater is given a fictionalised treatment. … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty

[rating: 3] How far would you go for love and when does it cross the line into obsession? The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty tells the tale of a hypnotherapist named Ellen O’Farrell, her lover Patrick and Saskia, who is Patrick’s ex-girlfriend and stalker. Ellen O’Farrell leads a normal li … [Read more...]

Book Review: Ruby Blues by Jessica Rudd

[rating:4] Ruby Stanhope, the delightfully imperfect star of last year’s chick lit sensation Campaign Ruby, returns to answer that perennial question – what happened next? It’s two years since Max Masters became prime minister and Ruby is still working for him. Her life is now a series of early morni … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin

[rating: 4] Inspector Malcolm Fox is a man challenged by the past, on more than one level. Firstly, within the confines of this novel, he stumbles across a hushed-up 25-year-old mystery that his superiors are determined to let lie. Secondly, as a fictional character, he’ll always be compared to his p … [Read more...]

Book Review: Animal People by Charlotte Wood

[rating: 4] Wood doesn’t hammer her themes but there is plenty to think about in this novel. As a sucker for books where the characters learn something, I recommend Animal People as a very satisfying read. As someone who has always lived with animals, whether cats, fish, rabbits, chickens, dogs or f … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Opal Desert by Di Morrisey

[rating: 4] Di Morrisey immerses the reader in the world of the Australian Outback: raw, powerful, harsh and supremely beautiful. Highly recommended. In the land of the Opal hunters, there is so much more than the eye can see and not just underground. Many who take refuge in the remote and lonely … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Plantation by Di Morrissey

[rating: 4] An extraordinary family secret links a seemingly ordinary Australian family to an exotic plantation in Malaysia. This story spans three generations of political upheaval and change in what was then known as Malaya. It is a beautifully told story of one family's quest to find the truth … [Read more...]

Book Review: Nomad by Sibella Court

[rating: 4] How glorious it is to travel. To wander the planet and delight in the cultural and geographical wonder stretching to all corners of the globe. To delve into, experience, treasure ... and perhaps even amass the odd memento, souvenir, precious object that found its way to us, whether by … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Real Katie Lavender by Erica James

[rating: 4] Katie’s just lost her job and after a year of shocks and sadness as she recovers from the sudden death of her mother, she believes that she’s impervious to shock. So, when a solicitor contacts her and reveals that, not only is the man who raised her not her biological father, but that she … [Read more...]

Book Review: Last Chance Cafe by Liz Byrski

The novel by Australian author Liz Byrski is set against a diverse backdrop. There is the legacy of The Push movement in Sydney contrasted with a pilgrimage walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Throughout, there is the theme of the damaging, unhealthy expectations placed upon women by a … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Death Relic by Chris Kuzneski

[rating: 3.5] The Death Relic is pure adventure. The central characters Jonathan Payne and David Jones are called to Mexico to help out a past acquaintance who believes that she’s in trouble. There’s a lot going on in this book. Concurrent storylines run together and it’s only towards the end that … [Read more...]

Book Review: House of Sticks by Peggy Frew

[rating:4] What does it take to blow your house down? Does the big bad wolf need to huff and puff, or have you already invited him in to sit at the table with you? Or, instead, will the flimsy structure be engulfed by the raging fires that burn deep inside you? Bonnie is a musician turned … [Read more...]

Book Review: Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood

[rating:4] How does an artisan baker get up close and personal with a tiger named Tabitha? Corinna is on holiday and she’s looking forward to some quality time with a jug of cocktails and the distractions provided by her beautiful lover Daniel. However she is a woman unsuited to extended leisure a … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans

[rating: 3.5] As a sucker for corset-ripping historical drama but unfamiliar with the works of best-selling author Posie Graeme-Evans, I was quite excited by the prospect of tackling her most recent novel, The Dressmaker. Encouraged by the promise of ‘a story that will resonate long after the last p … [Read more...]

Book Review: Notorious Australian Women by Kay Saunders

[rating: 3] I was pretty keen to read this book, billed as “the sensational lives and exploits of some of Australia’s most audacious women”. The author of this collection, Kay Saunders, is a highly respected historian, who was one of the pioneers of gender studies in Australian history, and I’ve used … [Read more...]

Book Review: Madam Tussaud by Michelle Moran

[rating: 5] Whether you have visited one of her many wax museums or not, you will have no doubt heard of Madame Tussaud. And even if her life is something that has never crossed your mind before, you will finish this book with a thirst to find out more. The year is 1788, the King and Queen of … [Read more...]

Book Review: The 3rd Victim by Sydney Bauer

[rating: 4] No one likes it when terrible things happen to children. As a reader it just makes you squirm. You’ll squirm even more when you find out that Sienna Walker is accused of killing her own young child in a most gruesome way. In this courtroom and cop thriller, Australian writer Sydney B … [Read more...]

Book Review: An Outback Life by Mary Groves

[rating: 3.5] To peruse the story of Mary Groves’ life is to step onto a rollicking rollercoaster which moves so fast you can barely catch your breath. The ripping yarns come thick and fast throughout An Outback Life as Groves, with almost casual ease, relays the kinds of hardships, disasters, and e … [Read more...]

Book Review: Watch Out for Me by Sylvia Johnson

[rating: 3] Sylvia Johnson’s 2011 novel Watch Out For Me, is a dramatic story beginning in Australia in 1967 and continuing through to the present. It follows the story of two sisters, their older brother and their young cousin, switching from each of their points of view, between their days of p … [Read more...]

Book Review: Dolci di Love by Sarah-Kate Lynch

[rating: 3.5] For logistics expert Lily Turner life is about getting from A to B, and the less meddling within the supply chain the better. After all, her only effort to do so has been an abject failure: Lily remains childless after years of trying to conceive. Even adoption has proven a hopeless … [Read more...]

Book Review: Horoscopes 2012 by Milton Black

[rating: 4] There’s something to be said about ‘creating your own life’ – about reality stemming from that which you believe. Such is the hidden and relatively untapped power of the mind. Soothsayers and oracles throughout the ages have used various means of predicting the future or offering auspici … [Read more...]

Book Review: Laugh With Health by Manfred Urs Koch

[rating: 4.5] Loving the title of this book - firstly because it, well - makes me smile. But also because it infers holistic health. The clutch of vibrant fruit and veg on the cover also helps – but so does the subtitle … your complete guide to health, diet, nutrition and natural foods. In other wor … [Read more...]

Book Review: Belle by Lesley Pearse

[rating: 4.5] I loved this book. I just wanted to be able to say that first. Belle is a fifteen year old girl, living in her mother’s brothel in Seven Dials with dreams of being a milliner. Until she witnesses the murder of one of the women working there, she is completely innocent to what happens u … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Big Book of Small Business

[rating: 5] All businesses start out small - even if it's just the seed of an idea. But the secret to turning small businesses 'big' is absolutely entrenched in practicality, no matter how soaring and idealistic the dream. Andrew Griffiths has been writing about the topic of good business for over … [Read more...]