The duck and the darklings by Glenda Millard

The duck and the darklings by Glenda MillardThis book is amazing! A journey of words and images beautifully portrayed.  “ ‘What good is there in telling tales of lost and longed-for things?’ The old man asked. ‘When you think about the long-ago, I see starlight in your eyes, says Peterboy. ‘Please, Grandpapa, fill our darkness with light, warm our wintery hearts with your stories.’ ” I played these words over and over in my mind as I read the story of a world destroyed and I ached because it might one day be true and nature’s beauty will only exist in the memories of the oldest survivors.

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The island by Victoria Hislop

Louise A great book from beginning to end. Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past of which she has never spoken of. The heart-warming storyline is packed with family sagas, doomed love affairs and family secrets whilst revealing factual history and the culture of a small part of Greece – Crete, and the deserted island of Spinalonga, a former leper colony.

Not a word or a sentence is wasted. Every character and place is well portrayed. Even the rogues you cannot dislike. A moving and absorbing tale. I was left wanting the story to continue.

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The accidental aid worker by Sue Liu

WendyA very powerful and emotional journey was imparted by reading Sue’s memoirs. From her growing years to how she became involved with Voluntary Aid Work in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami and during the civil war conflict, and then spreading her generosity to help orphaned children in Cambodia.   I felt very connected with the author through the sharing of the highs and lows of her life experiences during those ten years. Continue reading

The fever by Megan Abbott

The fever by Megan AbbottAlthough topping the lists for Kirkus, LA Review of Books, the Boston Globe, the Sun Sentinel and School Library Journal and being adapted for an MTV series I wasn’t enamoured with this book. The family secrets were touted dramatically in the blurbs but they weren’t revealed in any dramatic way, rather they just felt like bits of information tagged in passing. The saving grace for this novel was the way the mass hysteria escalated and the unexpected twist. Megan Abbott’s skill lies in hiding the final truth behind distractions and relating teen perspectives to perfection, so, if you are a fan of crime you might like to look for Megan Abbott’s books. We have copies of her books on our shelves, even large print and audio, and we can also provide you with ebooks from our elibrary.

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Ryders Ridge by Charlotte Nash

Cynthia Ryders RidgeThis book has all the elements I expect in this type of novel – a great Australian location, likeable characters, many misunderstandings and a bit of drama, with love winning out at the end. Daniella arrives in outback Queensland fleeing from her past and meets station heir Mark worrying about his future. There are enough clues in the story to work out what is going to happen, but did not distract me from wanting to read to the end and find out how the story finishes. An enjoyable rural romance.

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The eye of the sheep by Sofie Laguna

Amy The Eye of the SheepFour and a half stars for this heart breaking book. Jimmy Flick sees and reacts to the world very differently to other kids, only his mother is able to slow him down and keep him safe. When the worst happens, Jimmy has to find his own way. This book deals with many sad and scary areas; the legacy of alcoholism and domestic violence, grief and the treatment of difficult and unwanted children, but it is ultimately hopeful. Jimmy’s way of seeing the world, how things are connected and what makes people tick, is unique and beautiful; his story able to break my heart because I came to care deeply for this little boy.

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Voss by Patrick White

Voss -AmyA hard book to describe, Voss is somewhat dreamlike, almost incomprehensibly so at times. It is the story of a German man, Voss, about to lead an expedition to regions of Australia unexplored by white men, in the 19th century, and a young woman in Sydney who is set apart by her intelligence. Before Voss leaves, they form a bond, which strengthens in a mythical, psychic way, while he is gone. The sense of place is palpable, the weather oppressive, the emotions overwhelming, making this dense and difficult book compelling and oddly beautiful.

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The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

Brian - Road to Little DribblingThe Road to Little Dribbling is Bill Bryson’s first travel book for fifteen years – a brand new journey around Britain. His last three major works were largely social histories – One Summer: America 1927, At Home: A Short History of Private Life and A Short History of Nearly Everything.

If you’re a Bill Bryson addict, The Road to Little Dribbling is a must read. If you’re looking to read you first Bill Bryson, I’d probably go with something different, either The Lost Continent, Notes from a Small Island or Down Under (his Australian book). Continue reading