Crimson Lake by Candice Fox

Cynthia Crimson LakeAn unusual collection of characters are found in this story that has several dark mysteries to explore. There is a strong sense of place, the wild around Cairns, which matches the tone of the story. There are some really nasty people out there, able to hide their secrets – for a while!

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To the sea by Christine Dibley

Cynthia To the SeaA mixing of myth and real life, this was a different read for me, a mixing of genres. I loved the story of the early female generations of the family (the history). The modern day family, however, and their interactions felt strange. No one in the family could say what Zoe was doing the day she disappeared or much about her life. The ending was somewhat predictable. Their were moments of good storytelling and then some disbelieving.

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Bridget Crack by Rachel Leary

cynthia-bridget-crack.jpgThe landscape of Tasmania is hostile and early colonial life there is also harsh. Bridget is a convict who walks out on a bad situation, becomes lost in the Tasmanian wilderness, and is found by a gang of bushrangers. It is incredible to read what she has to do to survive in the wilderness. There is not a lot of hope here, but that did not stop me from reading the story. The short, sometimes shuffled, chunks of the story helped create the feeling of harshness and grittiness.

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The choke by Sofie Laguna

Amy the ChokeSofie Laguna is very good at writing about children who are very badly let down by their families, schools and society. The Choke is the story of Justine; abandoned by her mother, she lives with her Pop, who has his own demons, and is occasionally visited by her criminal father. Justine quietly tries to make sense of a confusing, and hurtful world, finding solace in nature. The book starts slowly, but then captured my heart. It’s dark, disturbing and very sad, but not without beautiful moments of love, kindness, and hope.

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