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Pulitzer Prize 2015

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievement in newspaper and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American (Hungarian-born) publisher Joseph Pulitzer, and is administered by Columbia University in New York City. Prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories. In twenty of the categories, each winner receives a certificate and a US$10,000 cash award. The winner in the public service category of the journalism competition is awarded a gold medal. The Prize generates interest across the globe, particularly in the areas of Fiction and Non-Fiction writing.  
In these two categories, the 2015 winners are:

FICTION - All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 

GENERAL NONFICTION - The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

For the full list of winners, click http://www.pulitzer.org/

For the history of the Pulitzer Prize, click http://www.pulitzer.org/historyofprizes


Victorian Municipal Directory 1974 - City of Berwick

Links to our Past - history -

In the last post we looked at the entry from the 1974 Victorian Municipal Directory for the Shire of Cranbourne. In this post we will look at the entry for the newly created City of Berwick. The City came into being on October 1, 1973 when the Shire of Berwick was split in two (essentially with the Cardinia Creek being the boundary) The Shire of Pakenham was created with the other half. 

This shows the list of Councillors - the first Councillors for the newly created City of Berwick. Due to the propensity of Councillors naming features after themselves, many of these names may be familiar to you  - Barry Simon Reserve in Endeavour Hills, Bill Hudson Reserve in Berwick, Keith Wishart Reserve in Doveton, Sydney Pargeter Recreation Area  in Endeavour Hills, James Alexander Reserve in Endeavour Hills, Joan Phillips Reserve in Endeavour Hills, Jack Thomas Reserve in Narre Warren North, John Byron Reserve in Narre Warren.
Two of the Council Officers listed are remembered  by having features named for them - Patrick Northeast Drive at Narre Warren and Max Pawsey Reserve at Narre Warren. Notice that the Council Offices were in Kays Avenue Hallam as the Shire of Berwick Offices were in Pakenham, so went with the Shire of Pakenham. 

Berwick described as a picturesque residential centre of dairying and grazing. It also has 'electric light and water' and only one State School listed - there are five now.

 Hallam is lasted as a dairying district, so still pretty rural; however as a pointer of things to come Narre Warren is listed as having 'large subdivisions'.
To see the entry for the Shire of Cranbourne from the 1974 Municipal Directory, click here.


Reading Rewards - reviews -

Numbers by Rachel Ward 
Narrated by Sarah Coomes 

From the cover:  Since her mother's death, fifteen-year-old Jem has kept a secret. When her eyes meet someone else's, a number pops into her head - the date on which they will die. Knowing that nothing lasts forever, Jem avoids relationships, but when she meets a boy called Spider, and they plan a day out together, her life takes a new twist and turn. Waiting for the London Eye, she sees everyone in the queue has the same number.  Today's number. Today's date. Terrorists are going to attack London.

This is one of those Young Adult novels that offers much to the adult listener.  Very well narrated by Sarah Coomes whose many English accents are delivered with aplomb, it’s a convincing and incredibly moving story, one that had me laughing or in tears. Luckily, for once, I actually picked a book which turns out to be No. 1 in a trilogy and not no. 6 or whatever! I must borrow the next one - The Chaos.

Mountain Wolf

Quicksand -

'Mountain Wolf ' is a stunning novel by Rosanne Hawke.
Fourteen year old Razaq lives in a mountainous region of Pakistan.
The story begins with a devastating earthquake which kills his family.
His dying father tells Razaq to find his uncle Javaid who lives in the city.
Razaq is offered assistance by a man who is a stranger to him. The man, known as Ikram, lures Razaq to the city and offers him work and money. It soon becomes clear that Ikram has evil intentions.
Razaq has to use all his wits to survive. He enters a world of exploitation and child sex slavery. Against all odds he stays true to his upbringing and beliefs.

There are moments of grim reality and horror in this novel, but they are also balanced by the kindness of many people whom Razaq encounters.
And does he find his uncle?  You will need to read 'Mountain Wolf' to find the answer.

Rosanne was employed as an aid worker in Pakistan and she captures the harsh beauty of the landscape and its people.
'Mountain Wolf' takes us on an incredible journey to another country.
Highly recommended.


There Was A Little Girl

Reading Rewards - reviews -

There Was A Little Girl: the true story of my mother and me by Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields never had what anyone would consider an ordinary life. She was raised by her Newark-tough single mom, Teri, a woman who loved the world of show business and was often a media sensation all by herself. Brooke's iconic modeling career began by chance when she was only eleven months old, and Teri's skills as both Brooke's mother and manager were formidable. But in private she was troubled and drinking heavily.  At the age of 13 Brooke appeared in the controversial film "Pretty Baby", then in her teenage years was in "The Blue Lagoon" and "Endless Love". She abandoned her career and attended Princeton University and graduated with a degree in French Literature before returning to the stage and screen thereafter.

As Brooke became an adult the pair made choices and sacrifices that would affect their relationship forever. And when Brooke’s own daughters were born she found that her experience as a mother was shaped in every way by the woman who raised her. But despite the many ups and downs, Brooke was by Teri’s side when she died in 2012, a loving daughter until the end. Only Brooke knows the truth of the remarkable, difficult, complicated woman who was her mother. And now, in an honest, open memoir about her life growing up, Brooke will reveal stories and feelings that are relatable to anyone who has been a mother or daughter.

This was a very interesting portrayal of the child star and the ugly parent syndrome. Brooke was an only child to a parent who was basically an alcoholic her whole life. Her relationship with her mother was 'interesting', as although they were extremely close, Brooke's mother controlled her life and her mind, never worked and basically lived off her daughter's earnings.  Brooke talks about her marriage to Andre Agassi and subsequent marriage to Chris Henchy and their two daughters. She also tells of her mother's eventual decline and the effect that had on her and her family.

This was a fascinating book.  I had earlier read "Open" which is Andre Agassi's biography where he speaks in part of their marriage as well, so I found it interesting to compare their stories.


Girl in the Dark

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey  
Anna was living a normal life. She was ambitious and worked hard; she had just bought an apartment; she was falling in love. But then she started to develop worrying symptoms: her face felt like it was burning whenever she was in front of the computer. Soon this progressed to an intolerance of fluorescent light, then of sunlight itself. The reaction soon spread to her entire body. Now, when her symptoms are at their worst she must spend months on end in a blacked-out room, losing herself in audio books and elaborate word games in an attempt to ward off despair. During periods of relative remission she can venture cautiously out at dawn and dusk, into a world which, from the perspective of her normally cloistered existence, is filled with a remarkable beauty. And throughout there is her relationship with Pete. In many ways he is Anna's saviour, offering her shelter from the light in his home. But she cannot enjoy a normal life with him, cannot go out in the day, even making love is uniquely awkward. Anna asks herself "by continuing to occupy this lovely man while giving him neither children, nor a public companion, nor a welcoming home - do I do wrong?" With gorgeous, lyrical prose, Anna brings us into the dark with her, a place from which we emerge to see love, and the world, anew.
Why we love it: I felt absolutely heartbroken reading this memoir; it's so deeply sad at times but uplifting and hopeful at others. Anna Lyndsey's novel is a series of vignettes from her life, pre- and post-darkness. Her transition from a desk jockey for the government, to a hostage to her own photophobia, is an emotional roller coaster. She journeys from the depths of despair to elation at the tiniest sign of progress. But even with her heartbreaking illness, Anna is able to find bright spots through her relationship, immersion in audiobooks, and even the funny side of dressing like a madwoman to survive journeys into the outside world. This is a heart wrenching memoir, as well as a story full of hope, love and living life to its fullest. It reminded me a little of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby. Where he was trapped mentally in a space, Anna Lyndsey is trapped physically. Reading it left me with a feeling of gratefulness for the life I have.  
The Team at Better Reading  

Joe's Fruit Shop and Milk Bar

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Joe's Fruit Shop and Milk Bar by Zoe Boccabella

From the catalogue:  Leaving the small village of Fossa in Italy in 1939 to meet a father he barely remembered in a place that was far from everything he knew, fifteen-year-old Annibale Boccabella arrived in Australia determined to make a go of it. It was a time when everything was changing and anything seemed possible. Life was tough but you could still chase your dreams. 

More than 70 years later, in 2011, Zoe Boccabella and her family hurriedly try to save the treasured belongings of Annibale and his wife Francesca - Zoe's grandparents - from the rising waters of the Brisbane River. When Zoe sees the sign from their old fruit shop and milk bar about to disappear beneath the floodwater, this triggers in her a realisation that while she has long looked to Italy to discover her migrant heritage, much of it happened here in Australia. In Joe's Fruit Shop and Milk Bar, Zoe artfully weaves her own experiences with those of her grandparents, taking us on a journey from Abruzzo and Calabria in Italy to Australian sugar cane fields, internment camps, Greek cafes, and the fruit shop and milk bar that was the focus of a family's hopes and dreams for the future. 

With memorable, beautifully portrayed characters, evocative writing and a sweeping tale that reflects the experience of so many Australians, this is a story that will touch your heart and remind you of the important things in life.

I really enjoyed Zoe Boccabella's first book - Mezza Italiana.  It was warm, funny, evocative, and touched me in a personal way as my best friend at high school was Italian and I was drawn into their family and way of life - hell, even starting speaking the language so I could mind the baby of the family!  Though still a very good read, this book lacks that intimacy while painting a more gritty side of the migrant story - that of internment camps during WWII and the struggles to establish new lives after the war ended.  

I was mortified to read about the racist attitude that saw thousands wrenched away from their families to be locked up and worked on labour farms or projects, their businesses collapsing as Aussies were urged to 'dob in' any 'Wogs' that looked suspicious. If you are unaware of the politics and bureacracy of the time, this could be a very good book to read.

We have this title in many formats, I borrowed the e-audio version narrated perfectly by Daniela Farinacci. 


Reading Rewards - reviews -

Mannix by Brenda Niall

Daniel Mannix, Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne from 1917 until his death, almost made it to his 100th birthday, but not quite, dying just a few months shy of that accomplishment in October 1963. From the time of his arrival in a very different Australia from the one from which he departed, he was a controversial, divisive yet in many ways surprisingly compassionate figure. Most commonly remembered for his fierce opposition to conscription in the two wartime referendums, his part in the great Labor Party split in the 1950s and his longstanding advocacy for Irish home rule, he also promoted social justice for the poor and even wrote a lengthly submission to the Second Vatican Council arguing for reform of the church hierarchy.

Brenda Niall is a renowned Australian biographer who brings her many talents to this story of a controversial man who was not only a towering figure in the Australian Catholic community but also a significant influence on Australian social and political life in the first half of the last century. The tale is enhanced by the fact that she actually met and interviewed Mannix herself and discovered many unexpected features of his character. The results of her exploration will surprise you.

Aurealis Awards

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Aurealis Awards are presented annually to published works in order to "recognise the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy, horror writers".  Created in 1995, categories currently include science fiction, fantasy, horror, speculative young-adult fiction — with separate awards for novels and short fiction—collections, anthologies, illustrative works or graphic novels, children's books, and an award for excellence in speculative fiction.

The results are decided by a panel of judges from a list of submitted nominees; the long-list of nominees is reduced to a short-list of finalists. The judges are selected from a public application process by the Award's management team.

And the winners are:

Best Fantasy novel - Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier

Best science Fiction novel - Peacemaker Marianne de Pierres

Best Horror novel - Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

Click here for the full list: Aurealis Awards.


Now I Can Dance

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Tina Arena: Now I Can Dance by Tina Arena and Jude McGee

An honest, gritty, funny, frank and totally revealing autobiography from much loved songstress Tina Arena, who is about to celebrate a phenomenally successful 40 years as a singer/songwriter. Over this time, Tina has amassed a huge national and international fan base as well as a cache of amazing stories and experiences. She's sold over eight million albums and had numerous multi-platinum albums around the world; she's had encounters with extraordinary people, fallen in and out of love, had huge highs and lows, but through it all, she's sung her heart out - it's always been all about the music. Most importantly, over these last forty years, she's undertaken a journey of self-discovery and self-fulfilment, moving past prejudice and dismissal to finally become the confident and empowered woman - and artist - she always hoped she'd be. Her's is a truly joyful, intimate and inspiring story of survival, song, triumph and love.

I really enjoyed this biography, Tina speaks so honestly about her time with Young Talent Time and her subsequent recording career both here in Australia and overseas. She also tells a lot about her personal life including her wonderful Italian/Australian family and her marriage to her former manager Ralph Carr. I did not realise how talented she is, with her musical theatre performances in many shows here in Oz and in Paris and London. She is a real all-rounder who is still writing and recording today. I have a lot of respect for her and loved reading about her life.

Battle to farm: WW1 Soldier Settlement Records in Victoria

Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War -

The Public Records Office of Victoria have digitised their Soldier Settlement Records from 1917 to 1935. This is the website - http://soldiersettlement.prov.vic.gov.au/ According to the website - Reports from the time indicated there were around 11,000 farms created, although it seems likely this figure includes successful applicants to the scheme who did not end up going on to the land.  Whether there were 11,000 applicants or farms - that's a lot of records and it makes you realise what an extraordinary amount of work the Public Records Office has undertaken to make these records available.

You can search these records by the name of the soldier or by the location of their farm. I just clicked on the map at random and came up with  Ernest  Russell Proctor's file. Mr Proctor had 43 acres, Allotment 44, Section J parish of Koo-Wee-Rup,  on McDonalds Drain Road in Pakenham South. Ernest applied for the land in October 1918.  His file is 6 pages long  - the first page is reproduced below.

Other pages in his file have information about him - marital status, previous farming experience, current assets etc.  There is also a page that lists what happened to the farm, for instance, this farm was transferred to another owner in 1926.

The website highlights the stories of a few individual settlers including that of Percy Pepper, one of the few Indigenous servicemen to be granted a Soldier Settlement block, in this case in Koo-Wee-Rup. Percy was on the farm from 1918 until 1924, when like many farmers on the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp he was defeated by the many floods. Unfortunately we cannot see Percy's original file  'most likely because the original file is affected by mould' is the PROV notation.

I have taken a screen-shot of the area of the  map, which covers our region and out-lined it in red (to the best of my abilities) - each black balloon represents at least one soldier settlement farm - so I estimate that there must have been at least 200 farms in the region.

These records make fascinating reading and give an insight into how many soldiers lived thier life after their return from fighting in the Great war.


Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Stranger is the latest hit from Harlan Coben and it more than lives up to what I expect from this wonderful mystery fiction author.

"The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar or a parking lot or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world. Adam Price has a lot to lose- a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American dream a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life. Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corrine, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corrine's deception and realises that if he doesn't make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he's stumbled into will not only ruin lives it will end them."

Adam is not the only one whose life is turned upside down, others receive a visit from the Stranger and you spend a thoroughly entertaining and suspenseful read, trying to unravel all the threads that get tangled up in this web. Secrets, upon conspiracies, upon misdirections are the order of the day.

It is straightforward to keep track of the threads however and with so much happening at once, I found it easy to keep reading, just to try and find out what is happening - who the bad guy(s) is and how it was all going to work out in the end.

As for the ending?  Satisfying in a story sense, but not in another.  You will have to read it to find out what I mean.

~ Michelle

Victorian Municipal Directory 1974 - Cranbourne Shire

Links to our Past - history -

Back in the olden days, well the late 1970s, when I did Librarianship at RMIT, we had to study various reference books so we knew where to look for information (this was long before the wonders of the Internet). One of these books was the Victorian Municipal Directory. The Directory lists each municipality and has a short paragraph on each town within the municipality. In 1974, there were over 130 Shires and around 60 Cities; many of these were amalgamated in the 1990s during the time of Local Government  reform (or Local Government destruction as some still view it).  Here are the pages from the 1974 Victorian Municipal Directory for the Cranbourne Shire.

A few things have changed - population of the entire Shire was only 18,000 and there were 5,440 dwellings. Cranbourne Shire is now divided between the City of Casey and the Cardinia Shire - the population combined (2011 Census) of Casey and Cardinia is around 350,000, so the geographic area of the old Shire of Cranbourne would currently have a population of around 200,000 - well above the 18,000 of 40 years ago! Click here for a Local Government timeline of the area. 

This list of staff is interesting as it was probably the entire 'indoor' staff  of the Cranboure Shire. Of the nearly 50 staff listed, 13 were the typists. The 'indoor' staff were the Office staff and the 'outdoor' staff worked in Parks and Gardens and at the Depot (road maintenance etc) 

You will notice in the list of towns that Clyde, Tooradin, Dalmore, Koo-Wee-Rup, Monomeith, Caldermead and Lang Lang still had  an operating Railway Station, part of the Great Southern Line. You will also notice that most of the towns still had  a Primary School - now Caldermeade, Catani, Dalmore, Heath Hill, Lyndhurst, Monomeith, Yallock and Yannathan have all lost their schools.

The Children Act

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Children Act by Ian McEwen

Fiona Maye is a High Court judge presiding over cases in the family court. She is independent and intelligent as well as musical. She has the respect of her peers and plenty of experience. She knows how to weigh up the sensitive cultural and religious differences in court cases. What her colleagues don’t know however is that her marriage is crumbling and one night her husband asks her to consider an open marriage. After an argument he moves out of the house and she is adrift. She throws herself into work and finds herself involved in a complex case about a 17 year old boy, Adam,  who needs a blood transfusion as he has leukaemia. The boy’s parents however refuse to allow him to have one as they conflict with their beliefs as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Fiona has to make a choice.

This story was enjoyable and kept me interested right to the end. The domestic problems allowed a breather from the court scenes.  It would have been nice if we heard more of Adam’s history but  despite this I very much recommend the book. 

Tell the Truth

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Tell the Truth  by Katherine Howell

Paramedic Stacey Durham has an idyllic life; her dream job, a beautiful house, and a devoted husband. Until her car is found abandoned and covered in her blood. Detective Ella Marconi knows information is key in the first twenty-four hours, questioning the frantic husband, Marie, the jealous sister, and Rowan, the colleague who keeps turning up in all the wrong places.Just as Ella starts to piece together the clues, a shocking message arrives for James: You won't see her again if you don't tell the truth. As she sifts through the lies, Ella's relationship with Dr Callum McLennan is under siege, and she doesn't know if it can survive the over enthusiasm of her family, or the blind hatred of his mother.With the investigation hitting dead ends and new threats being made, Ella must uncover the truths buried beneath the perfect façade before the case goes from missing person to murder.

Katherine Howell is an Australian crime writer who was formerly a paramedic for 15 years.  She plots the Marconi series around characters working in the NSW Ambulance Service which adds another level of interest to these popular novels, this one being the 8th in the series. The workaholic Detective Ella Marconi is an interesting character with her Italian family always trying to marry her off; and each book offers a host of paramedics to provide sub-plots, twists and turns.

Katerine Howell won the 2008 Davitt award best adult crime novel for her debut book, Frantic, [a great book to kick off the series!] and has added to her award collection twice more, in 2009 for The Darkest Hour [Davitt reader's choice award] and the best adult novel award for Cold Justice (first author to win this category twice) in 2011.

This is a terrific Australian crime series, so if you love the genre, jump on board.  We have the series in all formats, but I can definitely recommend the e-audio downloads narrated by the talented Caroline Lee. 

A Man Called Ove

Reading Rewards - reviews -

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

There is something about Ove. At first sight, he is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots - neighbours who can't reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d'etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents' Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets. But isn't it rare these days to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so? In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible...

At first, Ove seems like a grumpy old man who keeps trying unsuccessfully to commit suicide. These attempts are interrupted by demands on his unlikely skills and abilities from neighbours and even a stray cat! This is a funny but charmingly quiet everyman fable on the hidden values in us all. Delightful!

Nothing Sacred

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Nothing Sacred by David Thorne

From the catalogue:  A mother's nightmare: her children taken from her, unexplained injuries all over their bodies. Her only explanation: an evil visitation, the work of malevolent spirits. Desperate for answers, she turns to Daniel Connell, lawyer and old flame. But the truth he uncovers is more disturbing than they ever imagined. From the mountains of Afghanistan to the dark heart of Essex, Daniel finds himself in a terrifying world where monsters are real - and nothing is sacred."

I had never heard of this book or the author but on a road trip to South Australia, my husband and I decided to listen to an audiobook.  I hopped onto Bolinda audio and picked out this one thinking it would appeal to us both.

Nothing Sacred tells the story of a lawyer in Essex, England who is helping an old friend regain custody of her children. Meanwhile a friend of his is trying to get justice for an incident that occurred when he was serving in the armed forces in the Middle East. There are two separate narratives happening in this book which seem unrelated, though they intersect eventually.

This is a graphic, gritty crime novel and I would describe it as a real "blokes" novel as the narrator has a very strong English cockney accent and the subject matter is quite graphic at times. No romantic girly themes here!

After about an hour of listening. I asked my husband what had happened so far, and he replied "I wouldn't have a clue!" Unbelievable! I should have picked a Chic-Lit!  Despite this, I did quite enjoy it and would read his other novel too.


The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Café

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Café by Mary Simses

From the cover:   Manhattan lawyer Ellen Branford is going to fulfil her grandmother’s dying wish – to find the hometown boy in Beacon she once loved and give him her last letter. Hoping to be in and out in 24 hours,  Ellen ends up the talk of the town when carpenter Roy Cummings saves her life when she tumbles into the ocean. Roy happens to be the nephew of Ellen’s grandmother’s lost love, and the one person who can bring closure to her quest. But as Ellen learns what Beacon has to offer and what her grandmother left behind, she may find that a 24 hour visit will never be enough.

It is heart-warming and uplifting to hear of one woman’s journey to discover the hidden past of her grandmother and discover that a simpler life that can be more rewarding than the high-flying life of the lawyer she once was.

The inspiration for this novel came from the radio when Mary Simses heard one woman’s story about how her grandmother’s last words before dying were “Erase my hard drive”.  Simses immediately began to wonder what was on the grandmother’s computer that she wanted to remain unknown. And so the story began but this time, with a sealed letter, rather than a computer.

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Café was such a beautiful story about love, loss, secrets and sacrifice.


St. Kilda Blues

Reading Rewards - reviews -

St.Kilda Blues by Geoffrey McGeachin

It's 1967, the summer of love, and in swinging Melbourne Detective Sergeant Charlie Berlin has been hauled out of exile in the Fraud Squad to investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl, the daughter of a powerful and politically connected property developer. As Berlin's inquiries uncover more missing girls he gets an uneasy feeling he may be dealing with the city's first serial killer. Berlin's investigation leads him through inner-city discothèques, hip photographic studios, the emerging drug culture and into the seedy back streets of St Kilda. The investigation also brings up ghosts of Berlin's past as a bomber pilot and POW in Europe and disturbing memories of the casual murder of a young woman he witnessed on a snow-covered road in Poland in the war's dying days. As in war, some victories come at a terrible cost and Berlin will have to face an awful truth and endure an unimaginable loss before his investigation is over.

I love this author - you just never know what he's going to produce next!  From the hilarity of Fat, Fifty and F***ed to the horror and heartbreak of St. Kilda Blues, the man can sure do justice to the written word.  This is Book 3 in the excellent Charlie Berlin series.  He's a deep and fascinating character is our Detective Sergeant Berlin, and with each chapter we get further into his personality to find out what makes him tick. Even if this is your first Charlie Berlin book, you will pick up quite easily why Charlie is the way Charlie is.  

This book also ticked a few boxes for me in the familiarity stakes with not only the setting - my old stamping grounds of St. Kilda, South Melbourne and Parkville, but the era and its fashion, the hair, the new-fangled decimal currency, the music, even the names of the discos, like Berties, that were the bane of parents' existence. Bolte was premier, the Beatles were 'in' and the second semi final in the VFL was about to be played.  It doesn't get more parochial than that, and the author delivers it in spades. 

This may all sound a bit lightweight, but nothing could be further from the truth.  St. Kilda Blues has some full-on language at times, is quite sexually graphic and can be brutal and hardhitting, but thankfully McGeachin doesn't overplay his hand.  The story is also peppered with some wry humour, some very well-written sarcasm and a well-tuned appreciation of family dynamics.  He also delivers a surprising twist, one I didn't see coming, and that was very upsetting.

We have this book in all formats - I chose to download the Bolinda e-Audio version with David Tredinnick delivering an excellent narration.  Overall, this is a great Australian read and I highly recommend it.  

New - Harry Potter Illustrated Edition!

Quicksand -

I'm very excited to share the cover of 
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay.

"Bloomsbury reports that it will be "published globally on 6th October 2015 this will be the first fully illustrated edition of J.K. Rowling’s original Harry Potter novel. The hardback edition will include ribbon marker, head and tail bands, illustrated endpapers and colour artwork on every spread. It is set to be the landmark publishing event of 2015."
Reserve your copy today! 
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay.


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