Staff Picks

Book reviews

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Meet Our Staff

Beth is the owner of Dymocks Busselton. She has a passion for literature and encouraging children to read. Beth loves to read literary and topical novels.

Maya is an aspiring local musician who performs all over the south west. Maya loves to read psycho - thrillers, murder mysteries and sometimes fantasy YA.

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Beth

Maya

Chelsea

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Chelsea is our new full time staff member. Chelsea used to work in a Library so she has a wide range of knowledge when it comes to books.

Liana

Liana is currently studying at university to become a primary school teacher. Liana loves to read historical fiction, murder mystery crimes and some rom-coms.

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Our Collective Staff Favourite Book - American Dirt

American Dirt still remains the top pick for all of us so far this year. It is moving, powerful and just a simply incredible read. Check out Beth's video review for this amazing book.

Upcoming New Releases

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At the End of the Day
To get another Liz Byrski always excites me and this one may be the best yet! Why?  Because she always relates to my age group. She writes of the challenges of getting older and dealing with the changes this brings as relationships change, or end, or become new ones. As past hurts are revealed, Byrski’s characters grow in different ways to look at life anew. So the book left me feeling warm, inspired and hopeful. What a lovely way to finish a book!  

 

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Wish You Were Here
Diana and Finn have planned the perfect holiday in the Galapagos. So when Finn is called in to work urgently on the day they are to leave, he persuades Diana to go and he will follow. What happens when she arrives is covid starting up in America. Diana arrives at Isabella Island which immediately locks down and Finn is trapped in America as a needed doctor. What follows should be a simple story of how they communicated, how she lived on the island and how they had a happy ending. But, as is usual with Jodi Picoult, all is not as it seems when they see each other again. This book deserves to be read as it is so much about our times and about the resilience of those who have lived through it. 

 

Our Top Reads for the Month of July

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Songbirds
I loved The Beekeeper of Aleppo and Songbirds was just as good! Such an unforgettable, beautifully written story about Nisha, a migrant, domestic worker in Cyprus, who has mysteriously disappeared. Nisha’s is the human story behind the many migrants forced to leave their homeland for economic reasons. I became so invested in Nisha’s story - as well as Petra’s and Yiannis’ – I cried, I railed, I was moved and I was there. What more do you want from a book? 
 

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Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray
A wonderful book that is a must read for everyone! The river flooding of 1852 in Gundagai sets the scene for Heiss to weave a wonderful tale of Wagadhanny, finding her place in a world of white men and always being drawn back to her own people and country. I loved reading the Wiradyuri words, hearing the stories of connection to land, love and respect for country, and seeing history from Wagadhanny's view. Elevating, educational, and emotion charged.

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The Paris Collaborator
A taut, mesmerising, twisted story set during the 1966 flooding of Venice about a mentally unstable writer, Frankie, and a young, cloyingly clingy fan. I especially liked how Mangan’s atmospheric description of the ravaged, crumbling city mirrored the crumbling of the main character’s mental state. The sights, sounds, smells and sensations of Venice are strongly evoked and there is an ominous feeling of doom throughout. Definitely for gothic fans!

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We Were Not Men
I finished reading We Were Not Men and all I can say is WOW! What a powerhouse of a novel! I finished the book in tears, willing it to end the way I wanted. I was so involved in all of the characters. The book started with a punch in the guts and then weaved itself beautifully until the last page. There is heartache but there is also so much happiness and discovery. It is tender and beautiful, and is one of the best books I have read in a long time.

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When The Stars Go Dark
I chose this book because Paula McLain writes such enjoyable historical fiction – only to discover it was a crime novel! However, it was still so good! I was hooked from the first chapter! It’s not an action-packed thriller, rather a slow burn, character and plot-driven story, but deeply satisfying, exploring how past traumas have the power to follow you through life. The writing is descriptive and atmospheric and the main character, Anna, is believably flawed. Like me, my husband Mike could not put it down!

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Where the Line Breaks
What an original, daring novel! So clever! There are three competing narratives: the first, on grey paper, is the thesis of PhD candidate Matt Denton arguing he has identified The Unknown Digger, a man of courage and integrity; the second, on white paper and in a different font, is the actual story of this man, fallible and unlikeable; within the footnotes is Matt’s own, unravelling life story. And this is just the structure! Such a brilliant, challenging, engrossing read.

Our Top Reads for the Month of April

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Klara and the Sun

Not being a massive fan of sci-fi, I only read this because it was Ishiguro &, Wow, I wasn’t disappointed! A beautiful, powerful exploration of what it means to be human & what it means to love. Although Klara is an AF (artificial friend) & narrates the story in an almost robotic-like manner, she is exceptionally observational & tries to change her behaviour according to what she sees happening amongst humans. She is incredibly loyal & devoted & someone you really warm to which makes the ending, inevitable as it is, quite sad. A book to be savoured & processed! 

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Those Hamilton Sisters

In a town where everyone thinks they know everything about each other, it’s hard to escape the past! You’ll find yourself cheering the Hamilton sisters along as they strive to set themselves free from both their mother’s scandalous past and the judging eyes of a 1950s, Australian small town. This is a warm, captivating story of love, family, secrets and finding your place in the world. For fans of Kate Morton and Lucinda Riley.

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Welcome to Nowhere River

From the author of The Sparkle Pages, this is a delightful novel brimming with heart and humour that celebrates the country people and towns of Australia. Although an easy, light-hearted read, I found the story contained some real truths about losing yourself in motherhood, struggling to live up to expectations and striving to find that pre-baby person you once were.

The Rose Code
I became lost in this story almost immediately! True, it’s WWII historical fiction, one of my favourite genres, but it’s also an espionage thriller. While Quinn provides a detailed picture of the happenings at Bletchley Park where German military codes are broken, she also creates a cast of wonderful characters whose secretive work binds them for life, through multiple betrayals and tragedies. I found all the characters, not just Mab, Osla and Beth, stayed with me long after the story ended and I was enthralled with the history behind Bletchley Park. A definite must-read!

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Ariadne

If you loved Circe, then Ariadne is a must-read! Once again, Greek mythology is told from the point of view of oft-omitted, minor characters. In this story, it is the myth of Theseus & the Minotaur as seen through the eyes of Ariadne & Phaedra. The story is beautifully written & immersive & gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, showing how they were always at the mercy of men & highlighting their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. I loved it!

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Argyle

Last year, Argyle Mine closed after 37 years of operation. This is the story of the intrepid Australian geologists who discovered pink diamonds in the Kimberley, the almost overwhelming challenges of diamond mining in Western Australia and an exploration of the mine’s impact and legacy on both WA and Australia.

Our Top Reads for the Month of February

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The Moroccan Daughter

Exotic Morocco, enticing, sensual and alluring. Historic Morocco, steeped in tradition and honour. Deborah Rodriguez vividly brings to life the landscape, the people and the customs of this ancient North African country, all the while weaving a story of secrets and deceit involving four very different women. Definitely for those of us with wanderlust! - Beth

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The Paris Affair

Meet Harper Brown, Arts and Culture journalist with the online magazine, The Paris Observer. Desperate for something more than covering art gallery openings and museums, her life is flipped upside down when she meets Noah X at his exhibition. Digging deeper, she realises the secrets she’s beginning to reveal are ones people would do anything to keep hidden, including murder. An excellent read that keeps you hooked and on your toes the entire way through. I absolutely loved reading a story set in modern-day Paris as it made me feel like I’d escaped reality a little. Another very enticing, addictive read from Pip Drysdale! - Maya

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The Chanel Sisters

I just loved this historical fiction story. It is an unforgettable and moving story about the sisters who changed fashion forever. Taking you through the early 20th century, the Chanel sisters were abandoned at a convent orphanage and dreamed to prove themselves worthy one day. This is a rags to riches story like no other, as the ambitious sisters navigate loss, love, war and are determined to build themselves a better future. A must read! - Liana

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This Has Been Absolutely Lovely

This book IS absolutely lovely! For fans of Marian Keyes and Kathy Lette - Jessica Dettman brings us another beautifully flawed family filled with secrets, humour, sacrifice and most importantly, love. This was such an easy, enjoyable read that I absolutely adored. The characters, their stories, their emotions, their secrets! It almost felt like I was there in the corner of the house cheering them all on. I consider this a definite favourite for 2021 so far! - Maya

Our Top Reads for the Month of January

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When The Apricots Bloom

This is a beautifully written, suspenseful exploration of secrets and betrayal in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, informed by the author's own experiences. Told through the eyes of three very different women - Huda, Rania and Ally - we see how far they will go to protect family in the face of an implacable foe. As I read, I was beguiled by the beauty and elegance of Iraq but the more I reflected, the more the ugliness and corruption of the regime come to the fore. This is a book that deserves to be savoured; a book that will stay with you long after you finish it. - Beth

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The Push

Remember We Need to Talk About Kevin? Well, here's another book just as unsettling and disturbing. Such a dark exploration of motherhood (but often so relatable) and a family fracturing. It's an emotional rollercoaster of a read; the tension is palpable at times; Blythe, definitely an unreliable narrator, is desperate to break the shackles of the past and be a 'good' mother but what hope does she have? Audrain's blistering honesty challenges us to confront most of our perceptions of motherhood and, if you can cope with the subject matter, then this book is a punch of a read! - Beth

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My Best Friends Murder

They say toxic friendships must come to an end one way or another but was it meant to end this way? Has being best friends since high school slowly destroyed Bec and Izzy's friendship or has it made them stronger? How far might one of them go to make the other hurt? There are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you intrigued until the last chapter. An addictive, fast-paced story full of love-hate relationships. Was Izzy murdered? And if so, who was responsible? A definite must read! - Liana

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Tell Me Lies

Another twisty and addictive story from the incredible JP Pomare, she really never disappoints. Tell Me Lies is perfect for those of you who are fans of fast paced thrillers, just like I am! Full of some absolutely wicked twists, you won't want to put this down and will be able to read it in a day. Margot has the picture perfect life, a gorgeous house in the suburbs, a husband, two children and a successful career. Perfect until one lie will cost her her family and freedom. I absolutely loved it. - Maya

Our Top Reads for the Month of December

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The Valley of Lost Stories

With a gorgeous atmospheric setting and an engaging 'School Mum' group dynamic, this amazing novel will definitely not disappoint. Full of mystery, friendships, love and secrets of the past set amongst a hidden landscape. Vanessa's writing is absolutely stunning, you really feel like you are there with them. I highly recommend. - Liana

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Before the Storm

I love how Di Morrissey makes a statement about the state of the world & how we are treating it while producing an excellent story. Before the Storm deals with the need for an independent newspaper in a small town, corruption in council, cyber bullying, sustaining community spirit and dealing with job loss and its aftermath. This small town’s enjoyment of life is threatened by developers who see a chance to make a fortune. The mayor will not support the developers so they take to cyber bullying by hinting at her previous life. Her bravery in standing up to the bullying and outing herself is influential. The characters are all likeable and realistic as they work through the challenges that confront them. A thoroughly enjoyable read. (Robin, Beth’s’ Mum) 

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Midnight Sun

For everyone who moved past their Twilight phase and forgot about the charms of the Cullens... Take a page out of my book and read Midnight Sun and become an absolute Twilight addict all over again! It was so satisfying finally getting Edward's perspective on his great love story with Bella. You have to read this book! - Maya

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The Good Sister

Wow! Wow! Wow! When I read a Sally Hepworth novel, I am always amazed at the empathy shown to the characters and at her ability to allow the reader to feel what they are feeling. And The Good Sister is no exception. Perhaps it is the best yet. The story of the twin sisters, their upbringing and their relationships kept me reading so I finished the book in a day! Cleverly, it is told from both sisters’ points of view until the good and the bad are exposed to make you question your own prejudices. So good! (Robin, Beth’s Mum) 

Our Top Reads for the Month of November

The Shearer's Wife

Don't let the cover and title fool you! The Shearer's Wife may sound like a rural fiction novel, but it is so much more. Weaving together the story with a dual timeline, Fleur McDonald authentically captures the tough life of a shearer and his wife on the road. But the story quickly moves to the present day and reads more like a crime novel, with the continuing story of small town detective, Dave Burrows. A crime has been committed and he knows who, but doesn't know why. When the Federal Police prevent Dave from investigating further, it's up to sassy but troubled journalist, Zara Ellison, to solve not only the crime but also its connection to a forty-year mystery - the outcome of which you won't see coming! I recommend this rural suspense novel for lovers of a great mystery that keeps you turning the pages till the final reveal. - Justine

The Cartographer's Secret

If you like stories of early Australia, you will love this. The story of Leichhardt's disappearance in the outback is one of romance and mystery so when a girl whose father has actually worked with him becomes obsessed with solving the mystery and then disappears also, we have the beginning of a story. Then thirty years later her niece becomes involved. Tea Cooper gives us a description of life (particularly women) around the turn of the 19th century and in doing so, weaves a story of growth, grief and of mystery. I couldn't put it down. - Robin

Flying The Nest

Rachael Johns just keeps getting better. Do you know what nest parenting is? Well I do now and so does Ashling in this book. When she is surprised that her husband no longer loves her, Ashling has to learn how to deal with her heartbreak as well as supporting her children. Her efforts to make a new life for herself as she tries to reunite with her husband are what makes this book so special. Ashling is so like us that I couldn't help identifying with her. Love stories in books always end happily but this shows us many versions of happiness. I love that it is set in Western Australia and showcases places I know. You definitely won't be sorry you read Flying The Nest! - Robin

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The Return

In the true romantic tradition, Nicholas Sparks has done it again with a truly beautiful and moving novel. Set in a quirky small town with absolutely gorgeous characters, The Return is just the perfect summer read. I promise that this book is not filled with shattering heartbreak like Sparks is well known for. There is an echo of sadness woven throughout a tale of unique friendship and love. I highly recommend this for anyone who is a true Nicholas Sparks fan as you won't be disappointed. - Liana

Our Top Reads for the Month of October

Grown

Wow. I didn't put this book down until I reached the last page. Confronting, heartbreaking and eye-opening, Grown focuses on seventeen-year-old, aspiring singer Enchanted Jones as she tries to find her footing in life but ends up in the completely wrong direction. The story starts at her audition where she is spotted by legendary R&B artist Korey Fields, and suddenly her dreams of being a famous singer start to take flight. But when dreams turn into nightmares and Korey's body is found in their hotel room, Enchanted's life is flipped upside down. Unputdownable. - Maya

The Godmothers

Why do I love reading Monica McInerney? Because she takes something so normal and makes it different and interesting. For example, godmothers so often are named but their role stops there. Not for these two ladies. They take their duties seriously and ensure that the young Eliza has a life that her mother can't give her. So she has three special people to love her. But of course there is a secret and the two godmothers take care to keep that secret. The characters are so well drawn, so real but just a little bit quirky that the reader is drawn into the subtleties of the situation. - Robin (Beth's Mum)

The Family Inheritance

Tricia Stringer is becoming one of my favourite authors to read. If you enjoy well-written family dramas, you will adore The Family Inheritance which focuses on three generations of Gifford women after a will reading goes terribly wrong. Secrets are revealed, lies exposed, relationships torn apart and the truth revealed all starting with the discovery of Hazel's long-lost sister. You will not be able to put this story down as you fly through the pages to discover the truth. An absolute page turner and one of my favourites of 2020 so far. - Maya

Honeybee

The book is everything Craig Silvey said it was and more. What will stay with me are the emotions and feelings that Sam's story generated. Her particular experience is that of transgender but the turmoil, disconnect, hopelessness, rejection, isolation, misery, futility, isolation, frustration, uncertainty, etc, that she feels are similar to those many young people, trying to navigate a world that doesn't fit them, experience. Therefore, Honeybee transcends the particular; it becomes universal.

 

Despite the despair of the opening, the book is full of warmth and joyful moments and is, ultimately, hopeful. There are comic scenes and times when I just wanted to shake Sam - her self-doubt and sabotaging of herself - and then I had to pause and remind myself that this is how a person whose whole life has been one of struggle would react and behave. And, despite her, at times, poor decisions, she also makes some very good, very Sam ones. She has a heart of gold and does 'stay gold' throughout. 

 

And then there are the other characters - Vic, Peter, Aggie - who Silvey also vividly brings to life and who have stories of their own. Not to mention Sam's mum and Edie. There are just so many characters that, as a reader, I connected with. And then there were all the subplots to savour .... As you can see, I am consumed by Honeybee! - Beth

Our Top Reads for the Month of September

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Betty

I'm not going to lie, this is a brutal read, but so, so worth it! It is a story of horrific generational abuse, racism & poverty and the traumas that Betty and her family experience are relentless and devastating. But it is also a story of love. Betty's father, a humble, vulnerable Cherokee man sustains his children through stories and his way of seeing the world provides light through all the darkness. He enables Betty and builds her resilience, strength and self-belief. Told from her point of view, Betty's voice is incredible. Such a powerful book! - Beth

The Mystery Woman

The Mystery Woman will have you hooked from the get go with its secrets and scandals set in a small Australian town during the 1950's. After fleeing a scandal in Sydney, Rebecca moves to a small whaling town to become the new postmistress. The story follows Rebecca as she transforms while trying to start fresh and leave her past behind. Belinda Alexandra has done a wonderful job of weaving domesticity, social etiquette and feminism throughout the enthralling story. The characters are so well created and the history in the small town is fascinating. A really great read! - Liana

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The Tolstoy Estate

If you love historical fiction and books about books, then this is the book for you! It is a homage to Tolstoy and, in particular, War and Peace: a book that draws a German doctor and Russian housekeeper together despite the brutalities and horrors of war, showing the power of literature to inspire thought and to connect people. Conte's characters are so well drawn, each with individual quirks and idiosyncrasies, and his descriptions so vivid that we feel what Bauer feels - the suction of mud on boots, the itch of lice on skin, the sting of ice crystals flicked by an arctic wind... Such a good read! - Beth

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The Morbids

A year after a tragic car accident, Caitlin remains haunted by her near death experience, unable to shake the idea death now follows her everywhere. I couldn't help but become wrapped in her story as she struggles with survivor's guilt, painting an intimate insight into how we deal with the after math of tragedy. Caitlin's flippant remarks and stubbornness are guaranteed to win you over! - Jaimee

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The Book of Two Ways

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you made a different decision somewhere along the way? The Book of Two Ways opens us up to all the potential paths we could've taken and the regret that can linger behind in our choices. Focusing on the life of Dawn Edelstein, after surviving a crash landing, she is filled with doubt and uncertainty about the decisions she's made. She's led a good life with her husband and their beloved daughter but now she can't help but wonder about her old life in Egypt and the certain someone she left behind. Jodi Picoult doesn't disappoint, and neither does the amount of research and emotion she puts into each and every book she's written. A truly emotional (and very informational!) story of a woman trying to navigate the journey of life. Although potentially overwhelming with big themes of Egyptology and quantum physics, this is a brilliant read. Loved it! - Maya

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The Thursday Murder Club

A charming story with multiple murder mysteries being solved by a lovable bunch of oldies from a retirement village. The characters grow on you and genuinely surprise you along the way with their quick wits, smart thinking and humour. Are these 4 friends able to solve the murders before even the police can work out who has committed the dreadful crimes. This book is a perfect weekend read! - Liana

Our Top Reads for the Month of August

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The Last Migration

A simply stunning story! The Last Migration is both beautiful and devastating; a love story of extraordinary magnitude set within a shattered world of near animal extinction. Franny - feisty, wild and terribly damaged – is determined to follow a flock of terns on their last migration to Antarctica and so embarks on a calamitous journey on a fishing boat with a disparate group of characters. Physically gruelling, Franny’s inner turmoil is even more gruelling as her life story unfolds. And then, against all odds, there is hope and redemption. The exceptional crafting of story and the heartbreaking emotions Franny evoked make this book one of my must reads for 2020. - Beth

To see an interview live with Charlotte on Thursday the 20th of August at 8pm..

The Girl in the Mirror

The Girl in the Mirror is an amazing thriller full of twists and turns. Just when you think to yourself that you have it all worked out, trust me you don't! The story follows two identical twin sisters and delves into their unique relationship with one another and will have you questioning just how far one of them might go to be just like her twin. A fast-paced book that will have you hooked and unable to stop turning the pages until the very very end (This I PROMISE!). Unlike anything I have read in a long time, this has to be my favourite book I have read this year. I highly recommend this fantastic crime thriller and I absolutely cannot wait to see just how big this book is going to be. - Liana

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The Vanishing Half

Such a timely novel as the Black Lives Matter movement builds. A sprawling, family epic that moves between the 1950s and 1980s, Bennett writes about family, identity and belonging within a setting of racism, prejudice and white supremacy. Twin sisters. Two different paths. One chooses black, one white. Both lives, and those of their daughters, are difficult, challenging and heart-wrenching. And then there are the other characters, all skilfully created with their own back stories, flaws and strengths, who pull you in and make you feel. A disquieting, topical read but well worth it. - Beth

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The Night Swim

Two crimes, twenty five years apart, in the same small town. To say this book had me hooked would be an understatement. I was absolutely enthralled and couldn't stop until I reached the last page. The Night Swim follows true crime podcaster Rachel, as she sets up Season Three of her podcast with a sexual assault trial in the small town of Neapolis. But when she starts receiving anonymous letters she realises everything is not as it seems.  Despite parts of this book being incredibly confronting and emotional, it is worth persisting to find out the truth. Unput-downable! - Maya

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The Swap

I'm a huge fan of Robyn Harding and the way she can take a seemingly innocent concept and turn it into something wicked, creepy and uncomfortably brilliant - The Swap is no exception! The story focuses on seventeen-year-old loner Low; ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer Freya; and Jamie, who after several disappointing attempts to become a mother, has been pushed to the edge. A psychological thriller about obsession, desire and crazies. I just couldn't put it down, what a page turner! - Maya

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Nothing Can Hurt You

Nothing Can Hurt You is like nothing I’ve read before! It is so unique and fascinatingly based on a true story! With a murder of a young college girl being the centre of the story, each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character. It emphasises just how many lives can all be intertwined and effected by one murder with an  impressive rippling effect. I really enjoyed it for something very unique, different and yet brilliantly amazing. I highly highly recommend giving this one a read. - Liana

Our Top Reads for the Month of July

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A Room Made Of Leaves

Kate Grenville weaves a wonderful tale with this inventive reimagining of the little-known life of early pioneer, Elizabeth Macarthur. Shes frames her story as a secret memoir that sees Elizabeth - spirited, intelligent, passionate and manipulative - navigating a ruthless, bullying husband amid the societal confines of colonial Australia. Such is Grenville's writing that I was one with Elizabeth, absorbed in her world (the story finished much too soon! A sequel?) and moved by her beautiful, evocative, lush descriptions of nature and landscape. And all the while, the sufferings and treatment of displaced Indigenous peoples hover uncomfortably in the background. Yes, Grenville has visited this era before but A Room Made Of Leaves is still well worth reading.  - Beth

To see an interview live with Kate on August 14th

To check out some fantastic book club notes...

Rodham

Rodham is so deceiving! The cover, sporting a real photo of Hillary, fully suggests the book is a biography but it is actually a fictional memoir that asks the question, ‘What if Hillary Rodham hadn’t married Bill Clinton?’ The ensuing story, a riveting reimagining of history, will certainly polarise readers which, let’s face it, makes for a robust Book Club discussion! For me, however, the twisting of the life of a living person became uncomfortable at times and I had to keep checking which parts of the narrative were fact and which were fiction, such is my knowledge of American politics! - Beth

To see a full Q&A with Curtis Sittenfeld ...

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The Silk House

Kayte Nunn has done it again! Her historical fiction novels are like nothing else. She beautifully weaves the stories of three women from different time periods together in such a clever way. You cannot help but  connect with the wonderful characters, and the old Silk House itself is portrayed as a character. The elegant descriptions of the timeless silk weaving is stunning and paints an incredible picture. An absolutely gorgeous story that I absolutely loved! - Liana

For an interview with Kayte herself...

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The Safe Place

When things seem too good to be true - they usually are. The Safe Place focuses on struggling actress, Emily Proudman, who after suffering rejection after rejection, is given what seems like the opportunity of a lifetime from former ex boss to live in a luxurious coastal property in France helping to look after the property. The only problem is the family who live there are not what they seem. This novel will have you glued to your seat and unable to stop turning the pages. The plot is dynamic and twisty and a joy to read - an awesome debut from Anna Downes! - Maya

For an interview with Anna...

Our Top Reads for the Month of June

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The Jane Austen Society

A delightful, feel-good read! The story, the characters, the setting could all have come straight from one of Jane Austen's own novels. It's like a book within a book as a disparate group of quaint, old-fashioned villagers come together through a shared love of Austen's books and characters and, though this, find satisfying solutions to their own longings and desires. If you loved The Literary Guernsey Potato Pie Peel Society (like I did!), then try The Jane Austen Society. - Beth

The Spill

The Spill is for anyone with siblings who love reflecting on the past and being surprised when everyone's memories are different! It's about sisters and families and the bonds that bind; it's about secrets and perceptions and actions that can destroy this. I really connected with the characters (so like many in my family) and loved the structure of the novel (pieces of a jigsaw puzzle having to be put back together to create the overall picture). - Beth

For Book Club notes and an interview with Imbi... 

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The Sight of You

'Would you choose love if you knew how it would end?' A beautiful, heartbreaking and clever book that has the potential to be the next Me Before You. The author has down an outstanding job at creating something new within the romance genre as this is nothing like I have read before. It is no soppy romance by any stretch, instead is full of the entire meaning of love. Joel has dreams that tell the future and ultimately has to decide whether or not to fall in love if it means knowing how it might end. - Liana

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Devolution

Devolution tells the tale of volcanic eruption, chaos and confusion whilst one woman and her community face a fight of a different kind. Told through journal entries and interviews, this is completely different to what I usually read. Nonetheless, it had me absolutely hook. The book is at times harrowing and completely earth shattering. A tale of strength and resilience in the face of a deadly predator. I loved it and highly recommend. - Maya

Our Top Reads for the Month of May

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Phosphorescence

It shouldn’t but it did! The gorgeous cover drew my eye and the words, ‘awe’ and ‘wonder’ tantalised me. I picked it up, began to read and didn’t put it down! Phosphorescence is a beautifully written meditation on the ‘things that sustain you when the world goes dark.’ Drawing on personal experiences as well as the reflections of scientists, astronauts, psychologists and Indigenous leaders, Baird’s quest is to find and nurture ‘that light within’. Heartfelt and thought-provoking, Phosphorescence is definitely for fans of Leigh Sales’ Any Ordinary Day. - Beth

Husband Replacement Therapy

I absolutely adored this novel! Hilarious, relatable, fun and just an easy, entertaining read with likeable characters who just root for. The story starts with Ruby's 50th birthday celebration not going exactly to plan - after one too many drinks, her big birthday speech includes telling everyone what she really thinks of them, accusing her husband of having an affair, announcing she has terminal cancer and finally, informing her sisters that she's used her life savings to book them a three week cruise so she can spend time with them before she kicks it. What could possibly go wrong? - Maya

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The Book of Longings

Following on from The Dictionary of Lost Words, this is another wonderful story about the power of women's voices and refusing to be silenced. It is an account of Ana's struggle to realise the passion and potential inside her in a time when women were invisible. A reimagining of the New Testament, Ana is the wife of Jesus. The time period has been meticulously researched and Jesus is vividly brought to life as a person. I just loved it! - Beth

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The Lost Love Song

A beautiful love story about how an enchanting love song can change so many lives. There are two parts to the story and the separate characters story lines are cleverly woven together over time. A song that never got its chance to be recorded by Ari's fiance, Diana, thought to be lost was found in a journal at an airport. In an inspiring journey it travels around the world bringing joy and love to many people. You will easily lose yourself in the power of a love song and the incredibly gorgeous characters. - Liana

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Our Top Reads for the Month of April

The Paris Secret

This book is amazing, beautiful, heartbreaking and simply unforgettable! I completely fell in love with the  strong characters and the story is just brilliantly moving. All about the lengths that friends will go to protect each other and how love can still survive through war. It is full of mystery surrounding some stunning Dior gowns and their owners. I did not want this book to end and I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. I absolutely loved it! - Liana

Dictionary of Lost Words

If you love words and history, I can't recommend this book highly enough! A wonderfully engaging book that weaves fact and fiction as it explores the lives of women during the compilation of the first Oxford English Dictionary. Through the character of the feisty and irrepressible Esme, the history and prejudices of the era are beautifully brought to life as is the critical issue of the dictionary's male bias. - Beth

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My Dark Vanessa

Dark. Definitely dark. And disturbing. But so compelling! Despite such an uncomfortable, confronting topic, I couldn't put the book down. I didn't enjoy it but I devoured it. It made my skin crawl to bear witness to years of predation and sexual abuse; how pernicious this kind of abuse is because it makes Vanessa doubt herself and lose herself and see herself, rather than the predator, as the problem. Definitely recommend for book clubs as it will engender some pretty intense discussions. - Beth

Code Name Helene

Ariel Lawhon breathes new life into the much loved Australian war heroine, Nancy Wake. Charming, smart and fiercely stubborn, Lawhon's Nancy absolutely does not disappoint. A thrilling historical fiction featuring the astonishing woman who killed a Nazi with her bare hands and went on to become one of the most decorated women in WWII. This book was just impossible to put down! - Jaimee

Our Top Reads for the Month of September

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Apples Never Fall
One of the best books I’ve read for a while! Many authors tell their story from different viewpoints but Liane Moriarty is the champion. Someone goes missing and a whole community is involved with their own suspicions. Even the family are suspect. But the story gradually evolves until the climax. I loved the characters with their own quirks and foibles and built up my own assessment of who was guilty. It is definitely a book you will find hard to put down!  

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The Riviera House
What a gift to receive a new Natasha Lester! I knew it would be meticulously researched and that it would lead me into new and interesting happenings. I wasn’t disappointed. The theft of artworks by the Germans during World War II has been documented and many stories told. This one stands among the best. Remy is the one who, after great tragedy, realises that a painting that came with her adoption is among those documented as stolen. She has to decide whether to find out why and cause herself more pain or to give up on happiness in her life. This book was breathtaking as it reached a climax. I thoroughly recommend it! 

 

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The Fossil Hunter
Tea Cooper writes of Australian history but not the history we already know. Set in two eras, the 1840s and the end of World War 1, the social fabric of the time and the characters involved are detailed and interesting. As PJ deals with the loss of her brothers in the war as well as the mystery of the fossils found near her home, the writer gives us a glimpse of what life was like at the time. What happened to the women and girls who found and identified fossils kept in a London museum? The mystery is engrossing and kept me searching to the end. I definitely recommend this!