A week in the life of Cassandra Aberline by Glenda Guest

Cynthia A Week in the Life of Cassandra AberlineWe meet Cassie just after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. She decides to travel back home on the Indian Pacific, the same way she travelled to Sydney many years ago. As Cassie takes the journey back we are also taken back through her life as she tries to work out who she is and who she will become. We meet her family and the major events that shaped her life. A gentle story about memories and how we see ourselves through them.

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Blood in the dust by Bill Swiggs

Cynthia Blood in the DustThis book would best be described as an Australian western adventure. Set during the goldrush we meet brothers Toby and Patrick (Paddy) who have just lost their parents at the hands of a bushranger. What follows is their tale of survival as they attempt to regain thier family farm. The Australian landscape is harsh and so are many of the people who live in it, and for a few a happy ending.

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Dead man switch by Tara Moss

Cynthia Dead Man SwitchThere is a lot to like about this story set in Australia after World War II. Billie is a private investigator with a whole lot of spunk, trying to make it in a male dominated world. Many underlying issues are explored in the story, such as women in work and society, returning soldiers, the wealthy divide, and policing. This is the first book in the series and was a great start – reminds me a bit of the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton which I enjoyed. Can’t wait to see what case Billie will dive into next.

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The yield by Tara June Winch

Amy The YieldAugust Gondiwindi returns home after ten years of wandering, when her grandfather dies. She finds her home about to taken by a mining company, and she is overwhelmed by the stories of her country. It’s a story of the horrors of the past, their lingering legacy, and of hope for the future; of language, belonging, and truth. I found it slow, and also moving, beautiful, and powerful.

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The strangers we know by Pip Drysdale

Cynthia The Strangers we knowThis was an entertaining thriller that kept the momentum going throughout the story. Told in a conversational tone by the main character Charlie (which included great asides) it grabbed me from the start and drew me into the story. It also made the story personable – leaving me wondering all the time if I could except Charlie’s version of what happens as the truth?

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Too much lip by Melissa Lucashenko

Amy Too Much LipKerry Salter is living life on the edge. She is trying to avoid going back to prison, and being drawn into her family’s dramas, but her Pop is dying, so she goes home. It’s an unflinching look at an Aboriginal family, dealing with violence,abuse, loss, anger, suffering, and strength. It’s funny, raw, sad, frightening, uplifting, and a great way to understand some of the legacy and continuing impact of colonialism, the importance of culture, family, and connection to country.

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Opal dragonfly by Julian Leatherdale

Cynthia Opal DragonflyThis was a well researched and detailed story of 1850s Sydney. It was interesting to read the sources for this story at the end of the book. For me some of the detailed paragraphs disrupted the flow of the story, but it was an interesting tale of a family and society. Society was regimented and the list of events that could disgrace a family and be shunned were numerous – and so it was for the Macleod family and for Isobel in particular. Isobel grew up in a mansion on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour and we are witnesses to what happens as her family falls apart.

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The last pulse by Anson Cameron

Amy The Last PulseThis is a great fiction companion to Chris Hammer’s The River. Through greed, climate change, and long-term mismanagement, Australia’s river system is stuffed, in real life. The Last Pulse is about a man from a small town in South Australia that has been devastated by the long drought and the government’s mismanagement of water. He takes his young daughter to Queensland, where he blows up the dam that has robbed everyone downstream of their livelihood, and rides the flood he created all the way down the country. It’s a black comedy about a truly tragic environmental situation. There are endearing characters, dastardly villains (Queenslanders!), and a joyful, if not particularly hopeful, journey.

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