The tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

amy-tattooist-of-auschwitz.jpgLale is a Slovakian Jew, who arrives at Auschwitz and Birkenau, determined to survive at all costs. He becomes the tattooist, and falls in love with a young woman he numbers. The writing was a bit simplistic for my taste, and I didn’t really warm to the characters, but it is a great (true) story of survival in frightful circumstances, of the power of love and desire to live.

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Sleeping giants by Sylvian Neuvel

Amy Sleeping GiantsA young girl goes out for a bike ride, and falls down a great hole. She is found lying in the palm of a giant, metal hand. What follows is a fast-paced, unpredictable, science fiction story about politics, relationships, intrigue, and the possibility of not being alone in the universe. I found it utterly compelling, and have reserved the second book in the series.

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Not the end of the world by Kate Atkinson

Amy Not the end of the worldNo doubt about it; Kate Atkinson is one of my very favourite authors. I don’t tend to seek out short stories, but I really enjoyed these. There are twelve stories, recurring characters, and all the strange and wonderful twists and perspectives that I love in Atkinson’s writing. There is the ordinary next to the extraordinary, and lots of raw insights into people’s hearts and motivations. It’s only available at the Riverina Regional Library as an eBook.

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Doomsday book by Connie Willis

Amy Doomsday BookSet both in Oxford, both in the future and in the 1300s, this is a rollicking, funny, moving, time travel story. Kivrin is a passionate historian, bent on exploring the 1300s, despite the dangers. Something does, indeed, go wrong, and she must adapt to her situation, as those who care for her try to get her back. It’s full of imaginative detail, endearing and infuriating characters, and is life affirming and hopeful.

The library book by Susan Orlean

amy-the-library-book-insta.jpgI do love a good book about books, and especially that rather more rare item, a good one about libraries. The Library Book tells the story of the Los Angeles Central Library, from its beginnings to today, focusing on its disastrous fire in the 1980s. There are quirky characters galore; librarians, library patrons, and the man who was accused of setting the library on fire, as well as plenty of stories that tell of how important this particular library is, and always has been, and of the bright future for libraries all across the world.

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Where the Murray River runs by Darry Fraser

cynthia-where-the-murray-river-runs.jpgIt did take a few chapters for me to get into this historical story based in country Victoria in the 1890s. The story features the sometimes hard to read issue of domestic violence and the people willing to fight on their behalf. It made me appreciate the way that laws and people’s attitudes have changed, but unfortunately some things have not. Strong female characters are a highlight, along with the men who support them. Overall a solid Australian historical story that moves at a great pace.

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Home fires by Fiona Lowe

cynthia-home-fires.jpgFrom the beginning of the story I was involved in the story, the characters were relatable and likeable.
It is the story of a group of women living in a small rural town that has been affected by a bushfire. We delve into their lives, both before fire and after fire. The topics covered are many, including depression and domestic violence, and the story could of been completely maudlum, but in the hands of the author we are given hints of hope and love. A very engaging Australian story.

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The dry by Jane Harper

amy-the-dry.jpgAaron Falk left the small, Victorian country town he grew up in, many years ago, and not in happy circumstances. Now, he finds himself there for the funeral of his old friend, who seems to have killed his wife and son, before killing himself. In the middle of a drought, Kiewarra is not a pleasant place to be, but Aaron and the local policeman don’t think the story adds up, and do a little unofficial investigating. This is an atmospheric, fast-paced and suspenseful rural noir novel, and I can understand why it has been so popular.

Star-crossed by Minnie Drake

cynthia-star-crossed.jpgThis was such a fun read. Justine works for the local paper and meets up with Nick, an old friend. When she discovers that he lives his life by the stars, Justine decides to alter the astrology column to help nudge him in her direction. Of course things do not go to plan and altering the stars affect other people as well. I loved how these characters were woven into Justine and Nick’s story. I was chuckling throughout the story – it was just what I needed.

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An American marriage by Tayari Jones

amy-an-american-marriage.jpgRoy and Celestial were married for a little over a year when Roy was falsely accused of rape, and sent to prison for twelve years. We follow the story alternating between narrators, and through the letters written while Roy is in prison. When he is let out early, they need to work out what their life can be. It’s about marriage in modern times, class, racism, love, independence, and strength. It’s a difficult story, but the ending is gently hopeful, and I found it captivating.

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