Daughter of mine by Fiona Lowe

Cynthia Daughter of MineAlthough most events were predictable I enjoyed reading about this family in rural Victoria. It brings to light the affect of family secrets, experiences, expectations, history, perceptions and dynamics. Fiona has a great writing style that flows well.

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Terra nullius by Claire G. Coleman

Cynthia Terra NulliusI don’t want to give away too much about this thoughtful novel. It was completely different to the style of book I usually read. The author does a good job of grounding the reader into the story and then pulling you into something completely different. The concepts were therefore familiar to me at the beginning of the story, keeping me reading when things were revealed to be not as they seemed.

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Big little lies by Liane Moriarty

Amy Big Little LiesA suburban primary school’s trivia night degenerates so badly that someone ends up dead; if only all school events were so exciting! This is a murder mystery with characters and a setting so familiar, suspense, humour, twists and turns. It deals with the complex issues around domestic violence and also about school politics, parenthood, marriage and friendship. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read, definitely not just for women!

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Beautiful messy love by Tess Woods

Renee Beautiful Messy LoveTess Woods’s debut novel, Love at First Flight, stayed with me long after I finished reading it, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of her second novel, especially when I discovered that Beautiful Messy Love was the story of the children from the first book. Beautiful Messy Love is a stand alone novel, though.

I found Lily very relatable – in my early 20s, I also struggled with studying a difficult university degree and debated whether to finish it. My heart went out to Anna and I loved Tante Rosa – the grumpy Egyptian matriarch made me smile. My favourite character would be Toby’s brother, John – he cracked me up so many times with his inappropriate, self-absorbed comments.

I went from laughing at hilarious one-liners to sobbing, on multiple occasions – a roller coaster of emotions. Two intertwining love stories, overcoming issues of race, religion, fame and grief. This book is firmly at the top of my Best of 2017 list.

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Love like water by Meme McDonald

Amy Love Like WaterSet in Alice Springs, during the 80s, Love Like Water is about Cathy, a young white woman looking for a new life after a loss, and Jay, an Aboriginal DJ, trying to find a way to survive. It’s a typical, very Australian, coming of age story, with the added stresses of racial tension and the pressures Indigenous people face. The setting is harsh, but beautiful, and the physical and emotional landscapes are poetically and movingly described.

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The inaugural meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club by Sophie Green

Cynthia Fairville Ladies' Book ClubA charming Australian story about female friendship. Sybil decides to start a book club which leads to 5 women developing the strong bonds of friendship, bonds that will stand up against the bad and the good times. The setting of this book is a remote cattle station in the Northern Territory, which adds extra dimensions to the story, as well as being set in the late 70s. It was quite nostalgic going over some of the major world events for that time period which Sophie has included in her story and how much communication has changed (who remembers the telephone party line?). I was worried that the story was going to end all neatly wrapped up with everyone blissfully happy, but it wasn’t. Sophie has left room at the end of the story for the reader to continue the characters’ stories themselves – a great tool to let the story remain with you after reading the story.

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The Golden Age by Joan London

Amy Golden AgeThe Golden Age is the story of Frank Gold, the son of Hungarian Jews who came to Perth after the war. Frank is recovering from polio in a convalescent home, called The Golden Age, for children, where he meets and falls in love with Elsa. The language is beautiful and Perth in the 1950s so alive with heat, purpose, promise and wonder. A very moving story of poetry, meaning, fragility, love and life.

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Working class boy by Jimmy Barnes

Kate workingclassboyBeing memoir, my favourite genre, ‘Working Class Boy’ is a book I considered many times but, not really a fan of Jimmy Barnes and or knowing anything about his life, it really didn’t appeal to me. Not until, that is, he won the biography category at the Australian Book Industry Awards, and then I quickly borrowed the ebook before anyone else could!

‘It is the story of what shaped my life,’ Jimmy said. ‘The good, the bad and the very, very ugly.’
His brutally honest storytelling, about things I would rather not know, made this a difficult book for me to read, and I felt he wasn’t giving me any credit as a reader, repeating things and telling me not showing me. After the third time he wrote, ‘as I said before …’ I vowed to quit if he wrote it again. But he didn’t, and I became captivated by the sense of healing I was witnessing as Jimmy searched for hope in his story, quite often using a wicked sense of humour at what seemed inappropriate times. I soon realised this was his way of coping with the ugliness of it all. The book felt like a confession, an opening up by Jimmy. At first he sounded hesitant and unsure, but I could sense him settling into his new role as an author and imagined the healing tears flowing along with the healing words.
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The shape of us by Lisa Ireland

Renee The State of UsRead via Borrowbox – ebook

This is the type of book I would pick up and hand to random strangers in Kmart and insist they buy… Okay, it’s the actual book I did that with. The story has stayed with me long after I finished reading. It’s a fabulous example of contemporary Australian women’s fiction – full of friendships, romance, and personal growth. I laughed, I cried, I ran out of pages too quickly.
Four women from diverse backgrounds meet in an online weight loss forum and develop a deeper friendship. They share their struggles and each takes a different path on their journey. This book would be particularly relatable to anyone who has ever stood on the scales and seen a number they didn’t like.

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