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Warning: Cyclone Tracy

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Warning: the story of Cyclone Tracy by Sophie Cunningham

When Cyclone Tracy swept down on Darwin at Christmas 1974, the weather became not just a living thing but a killer. Tracy destroyed an entire city, left seventy-one people dead and ripped the heart out of Australia's season of goodwill. 

For the fortieth anniversary of the nation's most iconic natural disaster, Sophie Cunningham has gone back to the eyewitness accounts of those who lived through the devastation - and those who faced the heartbreaking clean-up and the back-breaking rebuilding. From the quiet stirring of the service-station bunting that heralded the catastrophe to the wholesale slaughter of the dogs that followed it, Cunningham brings to the tale a novelist's eye for detail and an exhilarating narrative drive. And a sober appraisal of what Tracy means to us now, as we face more—and more destructive—extreme weather with every year that passes.

I can remember hearing about the sudden impact of Cyclone Tracy upon the small, somewhat parochial town of Darwin on Christmas Eve, 1974. Or rather, I heard about it on Christmas Day, as back then there was no Internet, no Facebook and no Twitter to spread the news of this natural disaster as there is today.  Indeed, reading this account of the devastation that hit Darwin on that day made me realise just how much modern communications have changed our world. The people of Darwin didn’t even have functioning radios after Tracy struck and the community was totally unprepared to cope with the devastation and the aftermath of the cyclone. 

Sophie Cunningham tells the story warts and all – the mass evacuation of the citizens which saw families split up and piled into planes with no idea of their destination, the shortage of food and fresh water, the lack of simple bedding to sleep in at night let alone houses to go back to, the tragic mass shooting of family pets. It is a heartbreaking story yet an inspiring one too, with stories of courage, nerve and love. She also adds another type of warning for us – to heed the results of climate change which is causing the increasing frequency of such natural disasters.

Berwick Nostalgia: a pictorial history of Berwick

Links to our Past - history -

One of my main sources of photographs for Berwick is the book Berwick Nostalgia: a pictorial history of Berwick. It was published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society in 2001, It really is a great book and is the first place to go for historical photographs of Berwick.

The book is a companion volume to North of the Line and Oak Trees and Hedges: a pictorial history of Narre Warren, Narre Warren North and Harkaway.

It is available from the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society and the National Trust Shop in Pioneer Park.  Here are three of my favourite photographs from Berwick Nostalgia.

Hay stacks at The Springs, Greaves Road, Berwick.

Original members of the Berwick Red Cross Unit, 1914.

Richardson's Abattoirs - boiling down works

Timmy Failure-We Meet Again

Book Swamp -

If you haven't read any Timmy Failure books by Stephan Pastis you must.
Do it now! Do not wait!
In 'Timmy Failure We Meet Again' Timmy and Total are up to their old tricks.
There is mayhem, confusion and lots of laughs as Timmy continues with his detective business, assisted by the ever talented Total (who happens to be a polar bear) by his side.
His latest adventures involve a gigantic four-ton chihuahua that lives at the top of some trees, a praying mantis, and an unexpected kiss in the forest.
The illustrations are every bit as good as the story and it is clear that Timmy hasn't altered a bit-still wearing the sideways scarf and staring out of the book with an intense, unsettling gaze.
Five stars!

French Parents Don't Give In

Reading Rewards - reviews -

French Parents Don't Give In by Pamela Druckerman

From the cover: In response to the enthusiastic reception of her bestselling parenting memoir French Children Don't Throw Food, Pamela Druckerman now offers a practical handbook that distils her findings into 100 short and straightforward tips to bring up your child à la françaiseIncludes advice about pregnancy, feeding (including meal plans and recipes from Paris creches), sleeping, manners, and more. 

Pamela Druckerman offers a practical handbook of helpful and fun short tips to bring up your child à la française, with advice about feeding (including meal plans and recipes from French creches), sleeping and dealing with tantrums and other bad behaviour.

Pamela is a freelance journalist on lifestyle issues who lives in Paris with her husband, English football writer Simon Kuper, young daughter and toddler twin boys. Apart from using her own first-hand observation of her French friends and neighbours, she interviewed numerous French mothers, teachers and child experts as part of her research for French Parents Don't Give In.

More great tips from the author of French Children Don’t Throw Food.

The Eye of the Sheep

Quicksand -

'The Eye of the Sheep' is a magnificent young adult novel written by Sofie Laguna.

The story is written from the point of view of Jimmy, a boy with behavioural difficulties, and the individual and extraordinary way in which he sees and interacts with his world makes for compelling reading.

Jimmy's mother, Paula, stands out as the only person who can truly deal with him.

Thrown into this mix is a situation of inter-generational family violence.

If you are like me the characters in this novel will stay in your mind long after you have finished reading.

Highly recommended.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Book Swamp -

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Author: Jeff Kinney
This book is about Greg getting harassed by Rodrick and how he wants to put a stop to it.
How good was it? Fantastic
Type of story: Funny

Age: 9

<a href="http://janemarycooper.files

Book Swamp -

Title: Lady Grace Mysteries 
Author: Patricia Finney 

One suitor dead with a knife in his back and another under suspicion can Lady Grace,  Queen Elizabeth's favourite Maid of Honour solve the mystery and bring order back to the Queens court
How good was it? Fantastic
Type of story: Mystery

Age: 10

State of the Union

Reading Rewards - reviews -

State of the Union by Douglas Kennedy

From the cover: America in the sixties was an era of radical upheaval of civil rights protests and anti-war marches; of sexual liberation and hallucinogenic drugs. More tellingly, it was a time when you weren't supposed to trust anyone over the age of thirty; when, if you were young, you rebelled against your parents and their conservative values. But not Hannah Buchan. Hannah is a great disappointment to her famous radical father and painter mother. Because instead of mounting the barricades and embracing this age of profound social change, she wants nothing more than to marry her doctor boyfriend and raise a family in a small town. Hannah gets her wish. But once installed as the doctor's wife in a nowhere corner of Maine, boredom sets in.

Writing in a similar style to Jodi Picoult, Douglas Kennedy explores contemporary social issues through the eyes of warm but intelligent characters.Hannah is a fine upstanding citizen, wife and mother, but one small indiscretion 30 years ago comes back to haunt her and her family in a very public way. I read this on holiday and it was very enjoyable. The main characters had good depth and their relationships with each other were complex. Sandra

Taking the Leap

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves From Old Habits and Fears by Pema Chodron 
From the cover: In this book Pema Chodron shows us how to break free of destructive patterns in our lives and experience a new sense of freedom and happiness. Drawing on the Buddhist concept of shenpa, she helps us to see how certain habits of mind tend to "hook" us and get us stuck in states of anger, blame, self-hatred, and addiction. The good news is that once we start to see these patterns, we can begin to change our lives for the better." 
"The key is learning a new way of facing the inevitable difficulties and insecurities of our daily lives: we must learn how to stay present and open our hearts. 
"This path entails uncovering three basic human qualities;" explains Pema. "These qualities have always been with us but perhaps have gotten buried and almost forgotten. They are natural intelligence, natural warmth, and natural openness. Everyone, everywhere, all over the globe, has these qualities and can call on them to help themselves and others."
This book gives us the insights and practices we can immediately put to use in our lives to awaken these essential qualities. In her friendly and encouraging style, Pema Chodron helps us to take a bold leap toward a new way of living - one that will bring about positive transformation for ourselves and for our troubled world.

I read about this author in David Roland’s book, How I Rescued my Brain, and can recommend it to anyone that is interested in freeing their mind. Pema Chodron clearly explains the Buddhist idea of "shenpa", which are regular thought patterns that we can get hooked on. For example, being hooked on anger, blame and self hatred. 

Once we are aware of the shenpa, we can then learn to work in the present moment with our “natural intelligence, natural warmth and natural openness” to help ourselves and others. Pema has presented these ideas in Taking the Leap in an accessible and encouraging style.

False Advertising

Reading Rewards - reviews -

False Advertising by Dianne Blacklock

From the cover: Helen always tried to be a good person. She recycles, obeys the water restrictions, she is even polite to telemarketers. As a mother, wife, daughter and nurse, Helen is used to putting everyone's needs before her own. But it only takes one momentary lapse of concentration to shatter her life forever.There was no momentary lapse for Gemma. Her customary recklessness leaves her pregnant, alone and estranged from her family with her one-promising advertising career in tatters. So when Gemma barges unceremoniously into Helen's life, things will never be the same again for either of them. Two very different women who have one thing in common - their lives have fallen short of their expectations. But is fate offering them a second chance?
It's no secret that I really enjoy Dianne's books, as our Endeavour Hills branch was lucky enough to have Dianne visit a couple of years ago. This is the only book of hers that I hadn't yet read. I was hoping a new one would be on the way soon, but I'm led to believe it is a little way off yet.I really enjoyed this story, I love the way Dianne makes the characters feel so real. I felt for Helen, the young widow who believes she is still married, and I loved Gemma and her family, her OTT mother and her sister. Dianne weaves an interesting plot in this book and I really believe it would make such a wonderful movie - hey there, movie producers you need to option this one! This book will appeal to all readers of Contemporary Women's Fiction and, as she is an Australian author, the story is set in Sydney.Janine

Books to film in 2015

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Many of the better films on the big screen these days were inspired by books. While most book lovers despair at shallow cinematic adaptations that don’t “get” the novel or the unnecessary introduction of new love interests and locations, we all still make the effort to read the book before seeing the film.

Next year there are plenty of books making their way onto the big screen. Here's a selection to read over the summer:

The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman

From the cover: 1926. Tom Sherbourne is a young lighthouse keeper on a remote island off Western Australia, and lives there with his wife. One April morning a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and an infant. Years later Tom and his wife discover the consequences of the decision they made that day - as the baby's real story unfolds.

Last month more than 100 cast and crew of The Light Between Oceans descended on the town of Stanley on Tasmania’s north-west coast to film scenes in the historic town. The story is located on an island off the coast of Western Australia but the film will be shot in Stanley, Sydney, and Marlborough and Otago in New Zealand. Directed by Derek Cianfrance, the film stars Oscar winner Rachael Weisz and Michael Fassbender, star of X-Men: Days of Future Past, plus plenty of Stanley locals who grew beards to score roles as extras!

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

From the cover: Mariam is just fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.

Director Steven Zaillian has the difficult task of bringing to life the complicated relationship of Miriam and Laila (Saye Yabandeh) against the backdrop of Afghanistan's political and social turmoil. Hopefully he can achieve the same balance of gritty reality and emotion as the novel.

American Sniper by Chris Kyle

From the cover: The astonishing autobiography of SEAL Chief Chris Kyle, whose record 150 confirmed kills make him the most deadly sniper in U.S. military history.

The upcoming adaptation is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Bradley Cooper of The Hangover and, more recently, The Place Beyond the Pines, and Sienna Miller. 

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

From the cover: In Communist Russia, there is no murder, only crimes against the state. Dedicated MGB officer Leo Demidov arrests whomever he is told to because he believes in the Party stance. When he is forced to witness the torture of an innocent man and investigate his own wife his belief that he serves a greater good crumbles. Child 44 is the first of a trilogy.

Swedish director Daniel Espinosa is behind the film adaptation of Child 44. He is best known for the Denzel Washington thriller Safe House. The cast includes Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Paddy Considine, Dev Patel and Charles Dance. 

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

From the cover: Libby Day was just seven years old when her older brother massacred her family while she hid in a cupboard. Her evidence helped put him away. Ever since then she has been drifting, surviving for over twenty years on the proceeds of the 'Libby Day fund'. But now the money is running out and Libby is desperate.

Another dark thriller from Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl, which was one of the hit movies of 2014. The big screen version stars Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christina Hendricks, Nicholas Hoult and Corey Stoll.

The Martian by Andy Weir

From the cover: I'm stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Earth. I'm in a Habitat designed to last 31 days. If the Oxygenator breaks down, I'll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I'll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I'll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I'll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

This survival story adaptation directed by Ridley Scott has attracted a stellar cast including Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Donald Glover, Kate Mara and Sean Bean. 

And I suppose we probably need to mention this one...

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

From the cover: When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.

With translations into 51 languages, the Fifty Shades trilogy has sold more than 100 million copies in e-book and print — making it one of the biggest and fastest-selling book series in history. The film is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, with Jamie Dornan starring as Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele.

Bunyip War Memorial

Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War -

The War Memorial at Bunyip was unveiled on Wednesday, February 9 1921 by Frank Groves, M.L.A. There  are 36 names from the Great War on the Memorial. It would be interesting to know how the names were selected as the Australian ANZACs in the Great War website lists 78 people with a  Bunyip address who enlisted and  a further 53 with a Garfield address and 16 with an Iona address, so there was no shortage of potential candidates who could have been honoured.

The Argus, February 12 1921
Here is a list of the 36 soldiers and their Service Number (SN) so you can look up their full record on the National Archives of Australia website www.naa.gov.au

Beswick,  Edwin  Ezard (SN 6725) Edwin was the son of John Beswick of Garfield and enlisted on September 16, 1916.  He died of gas poisoning on October 9, 1917.

Bradshaw,  Stanley Guelph  (SN 2280) Son of Joseph Bradshaw of Bunyip, Stanley enlisted on August 21, 1916. Stanley was Killed in Action in Belgium on October 4, 1916.

Carter,  William  (SN 2266) Enlisted on July 17, 1915 and he died of wounds on August 6, 1916. William was the son of William Carter of Bunyip.

Clarkin, William.  (SN 1522). William was born at Bunyip and enlisted at Tynong in December 1914 at the age of 21. He died of wounds in France on August 26, 1916. His next of kin was listed as his brother L. Clarkin of Iona, although an annotation on his Attestation paper says it is his eldest brother, John Clarkin of Garfield. William is also on the War Memorial at Cora Lynn.

Dawes G   (Clifford Gordon)  (SN 5086) Clifford  was born at Garfield and was the son of Alfred Dawes of Iona. he enlisted on January 26, 1916 and Returned to Australia on July 7, 1917.

Devine H. G I have not yet discovered who this is.

Doherty,  Edward Francis (Frank)   (SN 1218) The son of John Doherty, a farmer of Tynong,  Frank was Killed in Action on August 4, 1916 and is also listed on the Cora Lynn War Memorial.

Donald Henry Gordon (SN 6001A) Henry was the son of Elizabeth Donald of Garfield, He enlisted on March 30, 1916 and was Killed in Action in Belgium, exact date unknown, but from June 7 to June 9, 1917.

Fallon Joseph (SN 3521)  Joseph was  born in Bunyip and enlisted on April 17, 1917. He Returned to Australia July 8, 1919.

Fitzgerald D  This could be Daniel Fitzgerald (SN 3312) from Iona, who enlisted on October 5, 1914. He Died of Wounds on October 6, 1917.  It may also be David William Fitzgerald (SN 37563) also of Iona. David enlisted on February 27, 1917, he spent some time in a military hospital after the war and Returned to Australia on April 10, 1919.
Fitzgerald John Lawrence (SN 2474) John, from Iona,  enlisted on July 15, 1915.  He was Killed in Action in France on July 19, 1916. I presume these three boys were brothers as they all had a David Fitzgerald from Iona, listed as their father.

Fitton James Herbert (SN 3979)  James was born in London and was the brother of Wilfred Fitton, who is listed as living at Bunyip in the 1914 Electoral Rolls. James enlisted on July 28, 1915 and was Killed in Action in Belgium on September 30, 1917.

Gachin John (SN 2528) - his last name is listed as Gaghin and Gaghain on other sources, but looking at his signature on his enlistment paper, I believe Gaghin is the correct spelling. John is the son of Michael Gaghin of Garfield and enlisted on June 16, 1916.   He was Killed in Action in France on April 11, 1917.

Green Francis Regis (SN6013)  Francis was the son of Catherine Green of Iona and enlisted on April 17, 1916 and was Killed in Action on May 12, 1917 in France.

Gunnelson Percy Oskar   (SN 893)
Gunnelson Ingelbert Thomas  (SN 3160) Percy and Inglebert were the sons of James Gunnelson of Garfield, sadly they were both Killed in Action, Percy on  May 8, 1915 and Inglebert on October 4, 1917.

Holland William George Sydney (SN 850) William was born in Bunyip and enlisted on June 3, 1915. He died on November 1, 1918 after being gassed.

Leeson William Herbert Charles (SN 1178) William was Killed in Action at Gallipoli on May 2, 1915. He was the son of Philip Leeson of Garfield.

Bunyip War MemorialPhotograph courtesy of the  Casey Cardinia Remembers websitewww.caseycardiniaremembers.org.au

McDonald Allan Walter   (SN 2474) Allan and his wife Jessie lived at Garfield when he enlisted on March 3, 1916. He died of wounds received in France on April 17, 1917.

McIvor John Edward (SN 26655) His next of kin on enlistment was his wife Edith, who moved around after John enlisted on January 1, 1916. One of her addresses was C/O Mrs Scealy  of Bunyip, this was Margaret Ellen Scealy, Edith's sister. There may have been another Bunyip connection, but I haven't established it yet, as John was born in  Footscray and enlisted from North Carlton. John was Killed in Action on July 25, 1918.

Milligan, Joseph Lewellen. (SN 5376). Farm hand of Cora Lynn;  his mother was Catherine Milligan also of Cora Lynn. Joseph was Killed in Action on February 23, 1917. Joseph is also on the War Memorial at Cora Lynn.

Moore Walter Henry Edward  (SN 3428)  Next of Kin was his wife, Mrs E, Moore of 'Kia Ora' Bunyip. When he enlisted on July 7, 1915 his address was Prahran. Walter died of disease on February 1, 1919 and is buried in England.

Mynard Charles  (SN 459) Charles enlisted on August 17, 1914 and was Killed in Action at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. He was from Garfield.

Pearson Frederick Francis (SN 869)  Frederick was Killed in Action at Gallipoli on April 25, 1914. He was the son of Charles Pearson of Bunyip and had enlisted in September 4, 1914.

Plant Lawrence (SN 1804)  Born in Garfield and enlisted at Tynong on he was Killed in Action in France on June 18, 1917.

Reardon Eric Charles (SN 2524). Eric enlisted on June 3, 1915 and died of wounds on September, 9 1918.  He was the son of James Reardon of Bunyip.

Slattery Gerald Malyon   (SN 272) Gerald's occupation on his enlistment papers butter maker and he enlisted on March 15, 1915. In the 1914 Electoral Rolls he was living at Iona and his occupation was Creamery Manager. He was Killed in Action in France on July 7, 1916.

Sleigh Stephen   (SN 3244) Stephen was the son of Mary Jane Sleigh of Bunyip and he enlisted on July 16, 1915. Stephen was listed as missing on July 28, 1916 and  a later Court of Enquiry found that he was Killed in Action on July 7, 1916.

Spence Malcolm (SN 4614) When Malcolm enlisted on August 31, 1915 his next of kin was listed as his sister, Harriet Walker of Bunyip. He was Killed in Action in France on July 20, 1916.

Stacey Ernest William  (SN4298)  Ernest enlisted on July 7, 1915. He was the son of Thomas Stacey who owned the Railway Hotel in Bunyip. He was Killed in Action in Belgium on October 5, 1917.

Streeter Henry (SN 2402) Henry was from Bunyip and enlisted on October 17, 1916. He was a Lieutenant and was Killed in Action in France on February 17, 1918.

Toner Francis John  (SN 5092)  Francis, the son of Catherine Toner of Garfield, enlisted on March 3, 1916. He was Killed in Action in France, March 24, 1917.

Williams Percy Francis (SN 7099) Percy enlisted on April 28, 1916 and was the son of Mary Ann Williams of Main Street, Bunyip. He died of pneumonia in a Military Hospital in England on March 14, 1917.

Watson Albert (SN 3664)  Albert was the son of  Mrs Jessie Adamson of Garfield and enlisted on August 25, 1915. He died of wounds received in Belgium on March 9, 1918.

Whiston Julian Thomas (SN 3526)
Whiston Frederick (SN 3524)   Julian and Fred were the sons of Fred Whiston of Cora Lynn. Fred was born in Garfield and Julian at 'Bunyip Swamp'. Sadly both boys died on wounds received, Fred on July 7, 1916 and Julian on March 21, 1918.

I wish to acknowledge the research of Chris McKenna of the Berwick RSL, who has researching local soldiers for many years, it has been very helpful in correctly identifying these soldiers.

Victorian Premier's shortlist

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards shortlists have been revealed. The winners will be announced on 28 January 2015.

The titles are:

Only the Animals (Ceridwen Dovey, Penguin)
Golden Boys (Sonya Hartnett, Penguin)
The Snow Kimono (Mark Henshaw, Text)
Demons (Wayne Macauley, Text)
N (John A Scott, Brandl & Schlesinger)
To Name Those Lost (Rohan Wilson, A&U)

Non fiction
The Europeans in Australia: Volume Three: Nation (Alan Atkinson, NewSouth)
Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen (Erik Jensen, Black Inc.)
Darwin (Tess Lea, NewSouth)
Where Song Began (Tim Low, Penguin)
The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama (Julie Szego, Wild Dingo Press)
The Bush (Don Watson, Penguin)

Two of the fiction titles, Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett and Demons by Wayne Macauley, are part of the 2014/15 Summer Read at libraries across Victoria. The winner of each category is awarded $25,000 and goes into the running for the Victorian Prize for Literature, which is worth $100,000. 

For information on the awards and the poetry, young adult and drama category shortlists, visit the Wheeler Centre website.

Our Best Reads - 2014

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Our Reading Rewards Blog team has spent some time scratching heads, mulling over past reviews and has, at last, come up with their Best Reads of the Year 2014.  What a broad range it is – from three wildly different non-fiction, to fantasy, suspense, horror, thriller and one that is heading for the big screen next year!  So, without further ado ...

How I Rescued My Brain: a psychologist’s remarkable recovery from stroke and trauma  By David Roland
This book is written in a warm and engaging way.  David Roland is able to explain complex processes in simple terms and doesn’t shy away from his emotions.  I was kept interested and very curious about his incredible journey.  Such a fantastic non-fic!!

Our Houseless Home by Lyle Courtney 
Subtitled A colourful bush childhood during the great depression, Lyle Courtney has written of the years he and his family spent living in a
tent in the bush near Maryborough Victoria. With no job and no income, Lyle's widower father is forced out of their home in town and set up house under canvas with his children and a much loved sister-in -law, who had looked after the younger children when her sister died. It is a story of resilience and resourcefulness with recycling skills that we would never have imagined and of a happy, loving childhood amidst extreme poverty. My parents grew up during the 1930's depression and much of Lyle's story resonated with me it was just like the stories my parents told me.

Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson
How would you feel if you woke up every morning not knowing who you are or where you are? Who can you trust to tell you the truth? What if all is not what it seems.  A great psychological thriller and a real page turner.

My best read of 2014 is Skin Game, book 15 of the fantasy-fiction ‘The Dresden Files’ by Jim Butcher.  Skin Game continues the tale of Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. 
I had been eagerly awaiting the release of this book ever since finishing the previous one back in December 2012.  The library’s copies arrived in the same week as the book release and I started reading it on the same day it arrived.  Thankfully that was a Friday afternoon, so I didn’t have to go to work bleary eyed the next day after staying up until 2am to finish it.

With so long to wait between books in a series, you run the risk of forgetting details of previous books.  To overcome this problem I immediately picked up book 1 (Storm Front) and re-read the entire series. Now I just need to wait for book 16 to be released! 

Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner
This book is fast paced and very well done.  The action is thick and fast, but not too overwhelming.  The main characters respective histories and current situations are intricately woven into the story, making you barrack for them as they face adversity and as their own interactions develop in a way that both scares and appeals to them.  Twists, turns, bad guys, good guys who have their own issues – it’s all there and more!

Tree Palace by Craig Sherborne
Shane, Moira and Midge, along with young Zara and Rory are “trants” - itinerants roaming the plains north-west of Melbourne in search of disused houses to sleep in, or to strip of heritage fittings when funds are low.  When they find their Tree Palace outside Barleyville, things are looking up. At last, a place in which to settle down. A warm and moving story of a different sort of family and their very believable rural life.  This is a Summer Read 2014/15 title – try it!

Sandra E
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
The outrageous blurb captured my attention - Pirrawee Public's annual school trivia night has ended in a shocking riot. A parent is dead. Was it murder, a tragic accident or something else entirely? Big Little Lies is fabulous study of twisted schoolyard politics and how lies and rumours - big or small - damage reputations and lives.  Based around a fictitious primary school in Sydney's beachside suburbs, Liane Moriarty's latest bestseller was engrossing from beginning to end. A must-read for parents and coming soon to the big screen.

This House of Grief: the story of a murder trial by Helen Garner
Helen Garner’s book of the courtroom trial of Robert Farquharson, the man who drove his sons off the road and into a dam on Father’s Day 2005, drowning all three, is at the top of my list for 2014 reads.  The story is enthralling but it is the quality of Garner’s writing that for me made the book so memorable.  The tale is tragic and awful yet she manages to invoke feelings of pity and at times even sympathy for this wretched man.  Unputdownable. 

Audrey’s Door by Sarah Langan

There have been a few stand-out reads for me this year – Poirot and Me by the remarkable David Suchet and Hunter Davies’ authorised biography, The Beatles, but my read of the year comes from the fiction realm.  It’s the Bram Stoker Award-winning supernatural thriller, the creepy, quirky and haunting - Audrey’s Door.  The story has all the hallmarks of a classic gothic thriller, albeit set in the modern day, and the author deploys some very clever writing by using humour to keep us happily tripping through this horror-fest while employing slow-building suspense.  Her use of repetitious onomatopoeia adds a discordant ‘Psycho/Jaws music’ type of edginess, thereby ramping up the fear factor times 10!   A totally surprising book and a memorable read!

Cardinia Shire and the City of Casey turn 20 - Local Government Timeline

Links to our Past - history -

Congratulations to the Cardinia Shire and the City of  Casey - they both turned 20 on December 15, 2014 at 4.00pm!

Here is a time line of local government in this area -

1842 -  The Town of Melbourne created - the first local government body in Victoria.

1860 - Cranbourne Road Board proclaimed June 19.  The first members of the Cranbourne Road Board were Dr James Smith Adams, Chairman, who owned Balla Balla Estate ; James Bruce, owner of Sherwood Park ; Richard Burgh Chomley, owner of Tongola at Lyndhurst ; James Lecky, Cranbourne land-owner who also owned the Cardinia Creek property ; Edward Malloy, owner of Mayune property ; Alexander Patterson, owner of St Germains Estate ; Christopher Bond Peed, owner of Springmount ; Patrick Thompson, owner of Oaklands and John Wedge, owner of Johnswood at Lyndhurst. Populaton of the Road Board area was 857. The Road Board met at the Mornington Hotel.

1861 - The town of Berwick and the town of Cranbourne proclaimed on February 25.

1862 - Berwick Road Board proclaimed September 29.  The first members of the Berwick Road Board were John Brisbane (Chairman), early Berwick landowner ; Robert Bain, the owner of the Border Hotel (Berwick Inn) in Berwick ; Francis Barr, a Berwick land owner ; Michael Bourke, owner of the La Trobe Inn, later known as Bourke’s Hotel, at Pakenham; James Buchanan, owner of Ardblair, who later went on to be a Member of the Legislative Council ; David Connor, licensee of the New Bunyip Hotel on the Bunyip River ; John Pitman, Pakenham landowner ; John Startup of Mount Ararat Station ; John Troup, land owner at Narre Warren North and Gotlieb Wanke, a land owner at Harkaway. The Road Board met at the Border Hotel (Berwick Inn)

1865 - Shire of Berwick Council chambers built in High Street.

1868 - Shire of Cranbourne proclaimed  February 24

1868 - Shire of Berwick proclaimed, May 5

1875 - Cranbourne Shire Offices opened March 6

1889 - The Scoresby Ward of the Shire of Berwick, including Scoresby, Fern Tree Gully,  Clematis, parts of Emerald and Avonsleigh was severed from Berwick and became the Shire of Fern Tree Gully on May 23.

1893 - Yannathan and Lang Lang East annexed from the Shire of Buln Buln  to the Shire of Cranbourne on January  23.

1902 - Shire of Berwick Offices move to Pakenham Mechanics’ Institute.

1912 - Shire of Berwick Offices open in Main Street Pakenham, corner of John Street.

1963 - Shire of Fern Tree Gully split and the Shire of Knox was formed on  November 16 (it became a City on July 4, 1969)  The remains of the Shire of Fern Tree Gully were renamed Shire of Sherbrooke on December 23, 1964.

1973 - The City of Berwick and the Shire of Pakenham were formed on October 1,  when the Shire of Berwick split. The Shire of Pakenham continued to use the Main Street Offices and the City of Berwick used temporary buildings in Kays Avenue, Hallam until the Civic Centre opened in 1978.

1978 - Cranbourne Shire Offices officially opened in Sladen Street, April 22

1978 - Civic Centre at Narre Warren opened December 8

1979 - Cr Jeune Matthews first female Shire President of the Shire of Pakenham.

1980 - Cr Jan Bateman, City of Berwick’s first female Mayor of the City of Berwick

1983 - Shire of Pakenham Offices opened July 28 in Henty Way

1988 - Cr Judy Elso, first female Shire President of the Shire of Cranbourne

1994 - City of Cranbourne created on April 22

1994 - The City of Casey and the Cardinia Shire officially came into being on the December 15 at 4.00pm.

The City of Casey was created from the western section of the short-lived City of Cranbourne (Cranbourne, Tooradin, Pearcedale, Devon Meadows, Hampton Park etc) and the entire City of Berwick.

The Cardinia Shire was created from the Shire of Pakenham, the eastern end of the City of Cranbourne (Koo-Wee-Rup, Lang Lang, Yannathan, Bayles, Catani etc) plus Emerald, Clematis and Avonsleigh which were annexed from the Shire of Sherbrooke.  Langwarrin and Carrum Downs went to the City of Frankston from the City of Cranbourne.

The City of Cranbourne, Shire of Pakenham and City of Berwick ceased to exist on December 15.

2014 - Cardinia Shire Offices opened on November 17 in Officer.

2014 - Cardinia and Casey  both turn 20 on December 15.

Mean Streak

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Mean streak by Sandra Brown.

From the cover: "Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a paediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyse the search for her.

While police suspect Jeff of “instant divorce,” Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won’t even tell her his name. She’s determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive.

Unexpectedly, however, the two have a dangerous encounter with people who adhere to a code of justice all their own. At the centre of the dispute is a desperate young woman whom Emory can’t turn her back on, even if it means breaking the law.

As her husband’s deception is revealed, and the FBI closes in on her captor, Emory begins to wonder if the man with no name is, in fact, her rescuer."

My View:

This is the first book I have read by Sandra Brown and I must say it will not be the last. The story is gripping and keeps you involved throughout. It's a good thriller with that classic twist towards the end that I didn't see coming. I felt for the victim and for her captor, it put you on edge, and as the story goes along, you don't know what to believe and who was the goodie and the baddie!!

I listened to this on audio book and the narration by Jonathan Davis was excellent. Definitely an author to look up. She writes Crime/Thrillers, Historical & Romantic fiction.

~ Janine

The News: a users manual

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The News: a users manual  by Alain de Botton

From the cover: Alain de Botton explores our relationship with 'the news' in this book full of his trademark wit and wisdom. Following on from his bestselling Religion for Atheists, Alain de Botton turns now to look at the manic and peculiar positions that 'the news' occupies in our lives. We invest it with an authority and importance which used to be the preserve of religion - but what does it do for us? Mixing current affairs with philosophical reflections, de Botton offers a brilliant illustrated guide to the precautions we should take before venturing anywhere near the news and the 'noise' it generates. Witty and global in reach, The News will ensure you'll never look at reports of a celebrity story or political scandal in quite the same way again.

De Botton has produced another elegantly written, philosophical examination of modern life. He has turned his attention to our news services, and asks why they select certain stories, the consequences of those choices, and what the benefits to society might be if different stories were presented to us as "news". 

The book examines issues ranging from politics to murders, economics to celebrities, the weather to paparazzi shows - in an effort to work out whether any of our news is doing us any good.

We have several copies available including an audio e-book.

The Wall and the Wing

Book Swamp -

The Wall and the Wing
Author: Laura Ruby

The Wall and the Wing is a beautiful and most interesting book I have ever read! I don’t know how to say how I felt when reading this book, it was fascinating! It’s about a girl who can turn herself invisible and a boy who can fly better than anyone. They come from completely different families, not remembering their past, go on an adventure to discover their past, along with many other people, enemies and friends.

I think everyone reading this should read this book!
How good was it? Fantastic
Type of story: Adventure

Age: 8

Queensland Literary Awards

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Richard Flanagan has won yet another award for The Narrow Road to the Deep North! The novel about an Australian surgeon held in a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway has won the University of Queensland Fiction Book Award at the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards. The Tasmanian author won the Man Booker Prize in October and the Fiction Prize at the Prime Minister's Literary Awards this week.

Other winners at the Queensland Literary Awards include:
University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book AwardWinner: 1914: The Year the World Ended, Paul Ham
State Library of Queensland Poetry Collection - Judith Wright Calanthe AwardWinner: Earth Hour, David Malouf
University of Southern Queensland History Book AwardWinner: Broken Nation, Joan Beaumont
Australian Short Story Collection - Steele Rudd AwardWinner: Only the Animals, Ceridwen Dovey
Griffith University Young Adult Book AwardWinner: The Cracks in the Kingdom, Jaclyn Moriarty
Griffith University Children's Book AwardJoint Winners: Refuge, Jackie French and Rules of Summer, Shaun Tan

The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the YearWinner: How to do a Liver Transplant: Stories from my Surgical Life, Kellee Slater
Emerging Queensland Author Manuscript AwardWinner: We Come From Saltwater People, Cathy McLennan
Unpublished Indigenous Writer - David Unaipon AwardWinner: It’s Not Just Black and White, Lesley and Tammy Williams

PM's Literary Awards

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Minister for the Arts Senator George Brandis have announced the winners of the 2014 Prime Minister's Literary Awards.The winners are:Fiction — joint winnersA World of Other People, Steven Carroll (Harper Collins)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan (Vintage Australia)Non-fiction — joint winnersMoving Among Strangers, Gabrielle Carey (University of Queensland Press)
Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John, Helen Trinca (The Text Publishing Company)Prize for Australian history — joint winnersBroken Nation: Australians in the Great War, Joan Beaumont (Allen & Unwin)
Australia's Secret War: How unionists sabotaged our troops in World War II, Hal G.P. Colebatch (Quadrant Books)Young adult fictionThe Incredible Here and Now, Felicity Castagna (Giramondo Publishing Company)Children's fictionSilver Buttons, Bob Graham (Walker Books UK)PoetryDrag Down to Unlock or Place an Emergency Call, Melinda Smith (Pitt Street Poetry)Two of the award winners generously donated their prize money to charity. Richard Flanagan donated $40,000 to the Indigenous Literary Foundation, while Bob Graham donated $10,000 to Melbourne's Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.In addition to the copies on our shelves, we have two of these titles available through BorrowBox: 
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North (e-audio read by the author)
  • Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War (e-book)


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