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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What would Beyonce do?! by Luisa Omielan

what would beyJust finished the most hilarious audiobook, it was like being at a comedy show where the laughs (briefly interrupted by moments of tears) are non-stop for seven hours. I guess the paperback or ebook would be just as funny but not as enjoyable as hearing Luisa Omielan narrate it herself with such passion, conviction and enthusiasm, so much so I had to stop myself from yelling ‘go sister!’ time and time again with such passion, conviction and enthusiasm. Continue reading

Autumn by Ali Smith

Amy AutumnAutumn is a little hard to explain. It’s the first of four, seasonal, ‘state of the nation’ novels. It’s about Britain, after Brexit, and how the western world is closing itself off from kindness and sharing. It’s about strong friendship, the transformative power of love, and about art. It’s clever, thought provoking, moving and sent me to Google to learn about Pauline Boty (British pop artist).

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Truly madly guilty by Liane Moriarty

Amy Truly Madly GuiltyLiane Moriarty is really great at writing about suburban Sydney-siders. There’s a strong sense of place, and the characters are real; frustrating, amusing, familiar. Truly, Madly Guilty is about three families who gather for a BBQ one afternoon and something terrible happens that has a negative impact on them all. The events of that afternoon are (very) slowly revealed over the book and the surprises are many. Though very good at pointing out people’s foibles, Moriarty is a hopeful writer, and this book is thought provoking, compelling and with a satisfying ending.

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The husband’s secret by Liane Moriarty

Amy The Husband's secretLiane Moriarty writes great characters; real, raw, ridiculous, petty, and messy. Suburban Sydney folk, going through life exploring the impact of past mistakes, the nature of marriage, depths of character in the face of trials and how people differ from how they are perceived, by others and themselves. If you like experiencing the deep trouble people can make for themselves and others, in a safe environment when you know it will, largely, come right in the end, then this is for you!

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Fava beans for breakfast by Suzanne Salem

Fava beans for breakfastAn immigrant story that covers dreams and hopes, secrets, friendships and community attitudes. Life in a small coastal town is described well – with all the secrets, both shared and hidden that can exist there. Suzanne Salem’s use of language gave Nayeema’s story authenticity. I loved her journey to find a place where she felt she belonged. I also loved that the story was set in the seventies with coastal development, strikes, communes and fashion all playing a part in the story. This was an enjoyable story.

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My Italian bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith

Cynthia My Italian bulldozerThis was a little slice of Italy. When food writer Paul arrives in Italy to finish his book and finds his car rental booking nonexistent, he finds himself hiring a bulldozer instead. It is the characters that Paul meets that make this story, more than the fact that he is driving around Italy on a bulldozer. They are quirky and interesting and make for a story that is a little off centre but enjoyable.

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Olmec obituary by L.J.M. Owen

caitlin-olmec-obituaryApple tea, a phrenic library and flash backs to Aztec life 3,000 years ago, this debut novel by Australian author LJM Owen is written for those who love crime, history or contemporary literature.

Olmec Obituary is the first in a series about Dr Elizabeth Pimms – Intermillenial Sleuth (the second was released in November 2016). The first few chapters start off slow, but the plot, for me, was promising enough to persevere. Described by the author as a cross between Bones and Midsomer Murders, Elizabeth is an archaeologist and librarian who solves really cold cases.

When Elizabeth moves back to Canberra from her dig in Egypt after her father dies suddenly, she takes up work in the Mahoney Griffin library (a fictional setting). Continue reading