Black rock white city by A.S. Patric

amy-black-rock-white-cityBlack Rock White City is a powerful book about a Serbian couple, living in Melbourne after escaping atrocities in Sarajevo. Though it reveals great ugliness, it is at times intensely beautiful; thoughtful, meaningful, almost hopeful.

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The end of days by Jenny Erpenbeck

amy-the-end-of-daysI read that The End of Days was like Life After Life, but better. It does have a similar premise, but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as Life After Life. It is about possibilities; how everything can change in a second, and it imagines various options for a woman’s life if things had been slightly different. It is set largely in Vienna, between and after the wars, and it is interesting to consider this time from a German perspective. I found parts very slow, almost dull, but others profound and moving.

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Men we reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Amy Men we reapedThis is a powerful book; not an easy subject, though beautifully written and compelling. It is a memoir of a southern, Black woman, who lost five men in her life. They died because of drugs, accidents and suicide, but their deaths were about more than that; the extraordinary disadvantage of their heritage in Mississippi. Ward’s grief is raw and harsh, not lessening as the years go past, and the questions raised are worth raising, and worth deliberating on, particularly given what has been happening. This is an American story, but black lives matter everywhere.

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Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng

Amy Everything I never told youSet in the 70s, Everything I Never Told You is about a teenaged girl who has just died. Her American born Chinese father, blond mother, older brother and younger sister are left wondering what happened to her. I expected a psychological thriller, but it wasn’t so much about how Lydia died, but how life, love and happiness can so easily get off track. It’s about belonging, ambition, hope, frustration, longing, misunderstanding and the fragility of love and life.

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The pause by John Larkin

DONE The pause by John LarkinIf you like books by John Green this book should be on your list to read next! Nominated for the 2016 Children’s Book Council’s Older Readers Book of the Year Award.

‘It was easier to call it quits.’ This is a powerful statement about teen suicide and John Larkin explores the world we may leave behind if we can but manage to pause. John Larkin’s technique is unique, skilfully merging two possible realities for a potent effect. We are shown the many wonderful opportunities in life that Declan will miss if he succeeds in his attempt to end his life, then the author cleverly twists our perceptions as if Declan’s moment of mental anguish did not allow even the tiniest pause. Continue reading

The trap by Melanie Raabe

Vicki The TrapLinda Conrad is a famous reclusive author who recognises her sisters killer twelve years after her brutal murder. The case goes unsolved and Linda decides to set a trap for the killer by writing a thriller about the unsolved murder of a young woman.

This is a great psychological thriller full of twists and turns, that will have you questioning till the end. I thoroughly enjoyed Melanie’s debut novel, and highly recommend it.

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The minnow by Diana Sweeney

The minnow by Diana SweeneyI cannot find any bad reviews of this book, it appears to be lauded by all, receiving awards and acclamation on every site, but, I’m sorry, I hated this book. Too much metaphorical analysing for me to enjoy any storyline – which I struggled to find. Shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council’s Book of the Year 2015 for Older Readers I was annoyed that I had to pull it out again and think up something for a review. There are possibly good points but I couldn’t get past the lack of focus on the abuse which is piled atop tragedy – especially how there are no consequences for a grown man who gets a young traumatised girl pregnant. Continue reading

My sister lives on the mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

My sister lives on the mantelpiece by Annabel PitcherThis book begins with “My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece. Well, some of her does… Mum and Dad had a big argument when the police found ten bits of her body… They each got five bits.” This sounds so irreverent but what is worse… I laughed; having finished the book now I wish I could take back that laugh! Jamie was five when it happens and he just relates the facts but feels nothing for the loss of his sister Rose. Annabel Pitcher, in this debut novel has proven to me that she is an author to watch. Continue reading

The collected works of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

pennyThey say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, however that’s exactly what I did when I saw ‘The Collected Works Of A.J. Fikry’ by Gabrielle Zevin in a book store in Manly. I loved the cover and knew that I just had to read the book.

Without giving too much away AJ is left to run a struggling book store by himself after his wife is tragically killed. His prized book of Poe poems has also been stolen. AJ’s life is going from bad to worse, until one day a special package arrives on his door step. His whole life is transformed from that day on. Continue reading

The protected

The protected by Claire Zorn - SharonThe death of Hannah’s sister in a car accident suddenly turns off the harassment she received at school. While still dealing with the effects of past bullying, Hannah’s journey is painful as she fights to come to terms with her own grief before she can empathise with her parents. Claire Zorn is a master at conveying Hannah’s feelings of guilt, insecurity and failure. She is unsure of how – and if – she can ever heal. The Protected is a powerful and beautifully written novel about overcoming some of the biggest obstacles a person could possibly face.

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