Tell the truth, shame the devil – Melina Marchetta

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Chief Inspector Bish Ortley of the London Met, divorced and still grieving the death of his son, has been drowning his anger in Scotch. Something has to give, and he’s no sooner suspended from the force than a busload of British students is subject to a deadly bomb attack across the Channel. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board.

Also on the bus is Violette LeBrac. Raised in Australia, Violette has a troubled background. Thirteen years ago her grandfather bombed a London supermarket, killing dozens of people. Her mother, Noor, is serving a life sentence in connection with the incident. But before Violette’s part in the French tragedy can be established, she disappears.

Bish, who was involved in Noor LeBrac’s arrest, is now compelled to question everything that happened back then. And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more he realises that truth wears many colours.

This book is intense! Other books of Melina’s that I have read have basically been typical YA novels, but this book goes in a totally different direction. I was hooked from the first page. I devoured it in only 5 days! I really, highly recommend this novel, even if you’re not a fan of Melina’s other works. It keeps you gripped, and it’s well written.

5/5

My life as an alphabet – Barry Jonsberg

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This isn’t just about me. It’s also about the other people in my life – my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my penpal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish and Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are people [with the exception of Earth-Pig Fish, who is a fish] who have shaped me, made me what I am. I cannot recount my life without recounting elements of theirs. This is a big task, but I am confident I am up to it.

Introducing Candice Phee: twelve years old, hilariously honest and a little … odd. But she has a big heart, the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to ensure everyone is happy. So she sets about trying to ‘fix’ all the problems of all the people [and pets] in her life.

Candice is a great character! She’s so honest and open. I love this novel! I laughed reading it because it had some funny parts. The things that Candice does to try and bring her family back together and bring them happiness is amazing. A great read!

5/5

The Flywheel – Erin Gough

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Seventeen-year-old Del drops out of high school when her romance with another girl goes horribly wrong. Preferring chaos to bullying, Del makes it her mission to save her dad’s crumbling café, the Flywheel, while he ‘finds himself’ overseas.

Accompanied by her charming troublemaker best friend Charlie, Del sets out to save the cafe, keep Charlie out of prison, and maybe get a date with Rosa, the beautiful flamenco dancer from across the road. But when life is messy enough as it is, can girl-on-girl romance ever have a happy ending?

A rather enjoyable YA read. I really felt for Del as I read the story – being bullied at school by the girl she used to be with (and denies every moment), and falling for the girl across the street, as well as trying to run a café on her own, I sympathised with her and kept wishing for the best throughout the book. I highly recommend it!

5/5

Missing – Melanie Casey

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On any night, 1 person in 200 is homeless. Someone is targeting Adelaide’s homeless. Men are disappearing off the streets, and body parts are turning up in a local dump. Still haunted by her last run-in with a serial killer, Cass Lehman is trying hard to focus on the future. That’s not easy when she has the ‘gift’ of retrocognition the ability to spontaneously re-live the last minutes of a person’s life. Cass and Detective Ed Dyson are now trying to make a normal home together, but when she gets entangled in Ed’s latest case things are far from normal. A twisted tale of love, desperation and murder. When the psychic meets the psychotic, who will come out unscathed?

I didn’t enjoy this book to be honest. It didn’t grab me, and there was too much going on in the story. It probably doesn’t help that afterwards, I discovered that the book is the third in a series. I didn’t like the characters, and couldn’t put myself into the story.

2/5

On Brunswick Ground – Catherine de Saint Phalle

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In the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, a female narrator, who remains unnamed is trying to come to terms with the absence of Jack, the man she loves. In a bar she meets Bernice, a radio personality, in her late thirties and flirting with IVF. Finding a job as a gardener, she discovers that her co-worker, Mitali, has an unresolved mourning that attracts other deaths into its orbit. Later on, she befriends the resolutely mysterious bar owner, Sarah, and her daughter, Mary, who has, for potent (and as yet unrevealed) reasons, converted to Islam and donned a burqa.

The lives of these women are characterised by love and loss, and are woven together by their shared grieving at the senseless murder of Jill Meagher.

I found this book to be quite intense. It touched on a lot of relevant topics, especially the murder of Jill Meagher, which is a true event here in Melbourne (This is a novel though). It is confronting, but really interesting to read.

4/5

Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty

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Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbours, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

This book was a bit of a letdown. I have read some of Liane’s other novels, and they have been great! But this one seemed to drag on for a long time, and I didn’t really enjoy it. The event that happened at the barbecue is sad, but I feel like the reactions weren’t realistic. I couldn’t connect with the story.

2/5

The Laughing Clowns – William McInnes

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Peter Kennedy is a very large man who is remarkably happy with his life. Yet something is not quite right, and it started with a dream that smelt of luncheon meat.

Peter is successful at what he does, even though he is not sure what that is anymore. When Titan Development contracts him to go to Queensland to assess a prime piece of real estate on the Pickersgill Peninsula Showgrounds he jumps at the chance. It will give him time out from having to be with the family he loves. And it will take him back to the home where he grew up; to his parents, who are members of the Show society, his twin sister Pearl, a bingo caller and foster mother, and his brother Gary, the TV weatherman.

Over these few days, he will come to realize that sometimes when you go back to where you came from you find out how much you actually have, and how much you could lose.

All he has to do is make his mind up, and listen to the advice that he is given by, of all people, the King of Hot Dogs.

But will he?

Initially, this book felt a little slow. But that’s how it was meant to be written! It was set only over 2 or 3 days, and it felt like I was reading it in real time. I really enjoyed it! I felt like I was there, and this book invoked a lot of feelings. It makes you really think about relationships that you have, and the people that you love.

4/5

The Dry – Jane Harper

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“Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well…”

When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.

And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds start bleeding into fresh ones. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret… A secret Falk thought long-buried… A secret which Luke’s death starts to bring to the surface…

This novel was a great debut! It was really interesting, and I was always kept guessing. None of the characters seemed to be who they appeared. The way it was written, it really kept me in suspense, and the ending came as a surprise to me. I really hope Jane Harper writes more books!

5/5

How I met my son – Yolanda Bogert

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Yolanda Bogert, a mum from regional Queensland, made worldwide news when she placed a notice in a Brisbane newspaper in December 2014. It read: ‘A Retraction. In 1995 we announced the arrival of our sprogget, Elizabeth Anne, as a daughter. He informs us that we were mistaken. Oops! Our bad. We would now like to present, our wonderful son – Kai Bogert. Loving you is the easiest thing in the world. Tidy your room.’

This is the story of Yolanda and her son Kai. As a teenage mum, Yolanda formed a close-knit bond with her child. Now, together, Yolanda and Kai deal with issues of acceptance, religion and tradition in a heart-warming story of love in transition.

This book was quite well written! It was an interesting perspective into what a parent may experience when their child is transgender. It was really well-written, and I found it quite informative, as well as entertaining.

5/5