Carolyn’s Books of the Month – February 2017

carolyns-books-of-the-monthSome recommended cool reading for these hot days by Carolyn.

Best Read : The Toy Maker by Liam Pieper

Crime : The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen

Australian Author : A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester

General  Fiction : Before We Met by Luci Whitehouse

Thrillers : The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware and You Sent me a Letter by Lucy Dawson

Saga/Romance : The War Bride by Pamela Hart

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Alison’s picks – February 2017

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The Better Son by Katherine Johnson. Tasmania, 1952: two boys explore in the karst country of Central Tasmania, and find a cave. It becomes their secret, their refuge – until, one day, only one of them returns home.

The Woman Next Door by Liz Byrski. This one focuses on retired couples who are also neighbours, and the demands and pleasures that entails. Byrski is always honest and insightful.

Freeing Grace by Charity Norman. David, curate of an inner-city parish, and Leila, his Nigerian-born wife are unable to have children of their own. When they finally hear they’ve been approved to adopt a baby, Grace, they are overjoyed. But it turns out not to be that simple.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Alice Love has an accident at the gym – and the last ten years of her life are wiped from her memory in the brain injury that results. Gradually bits of memory return – but she is alarmed by what she discovers about herself. As usual with Moriarty, a gripping read.

What Library Staff are Reading – February 2017

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Books staff have been reading over the past month or two.  Here’s the rating scale used:

1 star ~ I hated it / Don’t bother / It felt more like homework than reading for pleasure
2 stars ~ I didn’t like it / Not for me but worth trying / This book needed something different to make me like it
3 stars ~ I liked it / Recommended / This book was good. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad.
4 stars ~ I really liked it / One of the best books I’ve read this year / I’m glad I read it
5 stars ~ I loved it / One of the best books I’ve ever read / I will probably read it again

  • The way back home by Freya North – I didn’t really like this wishy-washy heroine and it frustrated me that there was a big secret in the plot line that I had to wait to find out.  But it was still a page-turner and I had to find out what happened.  2 stars
  • Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod – This book was recommended to me and I LOVED it.  If you are familiar with the Artists Way, then this book will appeal to you too.  Well-written and entertaining – so jealous that she managed to change her life!  We should all downsize, stop going out, save up and run away to Paris – here is the guide:  4 stars
  • Now is the time to open your heart by Alice Walker – I have always loved the writing of Alice Walker – this was quite different but still intriguing. If you like journeys, physical and spiritual, this is the story for you. 3 stars
  • Ours are the Streets by Sunjeev Sahota – Not a comfortable read, but very compelling.  If you are interested in exploring the idea of home and how an isolated youth can become radicalised…  This is a sensitive and poignant story of our time. 4 stars
  • Fall Girl by Toni Jordan – Very original storyline – never sure where it was going to end up.  Really enjoyed the ride.  Romantic comedy/chicklit at its witty best. 4 stars
  • No one ever has sex in the suburbs by Tracy Bloom – catchy title but then I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it.  But once I got to know the characters I was sad to leave them at the end.  I didn’t realise it was a sequel as it does work as a stand-alone read.  I found it a fun, light read.  3 stars
  • The Commitments by Roddy Doyle – this was a re-read as I wanted to see how it held up after all these years.  Still a raucous and entertaining read.  It captures a slice of life in Dublin at the time.   4 stars
  • You had me at hello by Mhairi Macfarlane – (Mhairi is pronounced ‘Vari’ by the way) Ben and Rachel were a couple at university, when they cross paths again 13 years later will the old spark still be there, and what will they do about it? I’ve had this on a to-read list for quite some time.  I either read or heard a review that said it was absolutely hilarious.  I didn’t find it that amusing. 2 ½ stars
  • The Toymaker by Liam Pieper – Adam Kulakov runs the family toymaking business which appears to be going well, but Adam has made a mistake which threatens his business, his marriage.  Adam’s grandfather, Arkady, was imprisoned in Auschwitz and given an impossible choice. The past is catching up with both men.  A compelling story with a twist I didn’t see coming. 3 1/3 stars
  • In the dark room by Susan Faludi – a biography and discussion on gender politics. The subject of the biography is Susan Faludi’s father Steven Faludi who, after twenty-five years absence, invites Susan to get to know her now as a woman after sex change surgery. She’s a slippery character though and the truth is not easy to get at. 3 stars
  • Springtime: a ghost story by Michelle De Kretser – a very disappointing novella. Not even suspenseful and not much in the way of a ghost.  1 star
  • Sheila: the Australian beauty who bewitched British society by Robert Wainwright – an interesting biography of Sheila Chisholm, born into a wealthy squatter family in Australia who who arrives in England just before the outbreak of the First World War, married a lord and finds herself mixing with the aristocracy including the Prince of Wales and Duke of York (the future George VI) with whom she had an affair. Well written and interesting. 3 stars
  • Nora Webster by Colm Toibin – Nora is newly bereaved and trying to get on with life and do her best for her family.  This is usually the type of book I hate with no beginning, middle or end, just a meandering along through a few years but Colm Toibin is such a beautiful writer the language carried me along and I was at the end before I knew it. 4 stars
  • The woman who walked into the sea by Mark Douglas-Home – I found this book somewhere and had it on my bookshelf for a while.  Cal McGill is an oceanographer and one who assists families find the bodies of loved ones involved in drownings, man overboard situations, etc.  In this book he is helping a young woman find out what really happened when her mother walked into the sea 20+ years previously.  This is the second in the Sea Detective series, I think I’ll take a look at the first one too.   4 stars
  • No 2 Feline Detective Agency by Mandy Morton – had some amusing plays on human names and concepts, but as it was about cats running a detective agency and living human lives I couldn’t quite get into it – 2 stars
  • The readers of Broken Wheel recommend by Katrina Bival – a light and fluffy, happily ever after – was a  good Christmas holiday read as it was not at all taxing – 3.5 stars
  • Papadam preach by Almas Khan – I persevered to the end but did not enjoy it at all – 1 star
  • A Christmas carol and other Christmas stories by Charles Dickens– read it right the way through over the Christmas break – enjoyed A Christmas Carol the best – 4 stars
  • The Better Son, by Katherine Johnson. This novel is set in the vicinity of Mole Creek, which is east of the Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair area of Tasmania. We are in limestone (karst) country, where water has, over the centuries, hollowed out huge caves. Those caves are central characters in this story. In 1952 two brothers find a secret cave, and one day only one of them returns home. Great storytelling, suspenseful, and best of all for me, I meet some brilliant Tasmanian wild country I didn’t know existed. I even contacted the author to congratulate her!
  • Meeting the English by Kate Clanchy – Very funny, micky-taking. Struan Robertson leaves his home in Cuik, Scotland, to look after a London-based playwright who has been disabled by a stroke. Brilliant portraits by Clanchy of a cast of characters, each one of whom is engaging and gently satirised.
  • Reckoning by Magda Szubanski – This well-known Australian comedian/actress has written a memoir which searches for the truth of her father’s history, and examines her own troubled existence. The charm of this work is Szubanski’s honesty.

Read Digitally with Blue Mountains Library

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For book lovers who do not wish to lug a suitcase of books on holiday Blue Mountains Library’s eBooks and eAudiobooks are the perfect answer.

eBooks can be borrowed and read on many different types of device – from Tablets to Computers and Smartphones to eReaders – and are easy to download.

eAudiobooks are a great way to gobble up the hours on a long road trip or just listen to on the beach – download to any MP3 or smartphone device.

To get started you must be a Library member and know your password, then visit the Library’s website (library.bmcc.nsw.gov.au) and look for the Readers Lounge to follow instructions.

There are two free to download, easy to use apps for reading eBooks: Axis 360 for eBooks only and BorrowBox for eBooks and eAudiobooks.  The lending period for these eBooks is the same as our physical collection – 3 weeks.

We have a curated collection of eBooks from Project Gutenberg. All titles from Project Gutenberg are freely downloadable and once downloaded, the title is yours to keep.

And for the little ones there isTumbleBooks, collection of animated, talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading in a format they’ll love. TumbleBooks are created by adding animation, sound, music and narration to existing picture books in order to produce an electronic picture book which you can read, or have read to you.

Call any Library branch if you need help and the friendly staff can talk you through the steps.

The Dry by Jane Harper

dryThe Dry by Jane Harper

Found on the Adult Fiction shelves under HARPER or as a Talking Book shelves under HAR TB

Plot Summary :  A story of desperation, resolution and small-town prejudice played out against the blistering extremes of life on the land.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, a farmer turns his gun on his family and then himself. As questions mount and suspicion casts a long shadow over the parched town, specialist investigator Aaron Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him 20 years earlier. (Source: Fantastic Fiction)

In 2015 The Dry was given the Victorian Premier’s Award for an unpublished manuscript.  It has now been sold to 20 publishers worldwide and Reece Witherspoon’s company has optioned it as a film.

Review : I just loved it from the beginning with its crime and mystery, Australian countryside setting, beautiful language and pace.

This is a story about heroism, the sins of the past, and the struggle to atone.

Reviewed by : Carolyn

Carolyn’s Books of the Month – December 2016

carolyns-books-of-the-monthSome ideas for reading this month, or perhaps gift ideas for the book worms in your life?

Best Read : The Dry by Jane Harper

Crime : Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse

Australian Author : The Teacher’s Secret by Suzanne Leal

General : The Guilded Hour by Sara Donati

Thriller : Magic Hour by Kristen Hannah and All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

Saga/Romance : Fever at Dawn by Peter Gardos

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