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Concealed in Death

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Concealed in Death.  Being book number 37 in JD Robb's 'In Death' series, one would think there is nothing new to bring to these futuristic mysteries!
But one would be wrong...

When billionaire Roarke takes the ceremonial first swing in the demolition of one of his buildings, he finds hidden behind a false wall the remains of two teenage girls. Luckily he's married to Lieutenant Eve Dallas, New York's top Homicide cop, who quickly uncovers more remains, 12 in total. It will take all of Eve and her team's considerable skills to crack this case; one that has twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end! 

Cop Town

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Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

Atlanta, 1974:  As a brutal killing and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way — wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.  Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are sidelined in the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.

This is another brilliantly written, evocative, deeply moving and exceptional read from the master of crime fiction. She is so good at her craft and makes writing and reading this seem easy, with well-developed protagonists and bad guys – there are many – which you simply hate! Slaughter captures the flavour of the 70’s and reduces it down to a piquant stock that flavours the entire narrative. The 70’s are a transforming time – not just in Atlanta but all over the world and she captures it so well. It gives a female perspective on being a police officer and the daily battles they must face not only from the criminals but also from within their own force.

This is a good standalone novel or perhaps the start of another series? She has definitely left the door open for us to read more of the Lawson’s story or Kate’s story. Devote an evening to Ms Slaughter’s fare – you will not be sorry.

When You Reach Me

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When You Reach Me
Author: Rebecca Stead

Miranda lives in a small apartment and goes to an ordinary school. She lives with her mum, and sometimes also with her mum's boyfriend included. One day, she receives a letter, a letter from no name but some how knows her. Days and weeks past and more letters appear. Who is this mystery person? Join Miranda found out what happens!!
I recommend this to anyone who loves a bit of mystery. Great for all ages, but most better for ages around 11 or 12. A great book written by Rebecca Stead, and has lots of cliff hangers at ends of chapters too!
How good was it? Fantastic
Type of story: Mystery
NaomiAge: 11

Zac Power

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Title: Zac Power
Author: H. I.  Larry

Tell us about it: Zac Power is a adventure book and a chapter book.They are mysteries to be found.
How good was it? OK
Type of story: Adventure

Age: 9

Meet Alice

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Meet Alice by Davina Bell

It's about Alice in the 1918's and  how life was during world wars. Alice is a talented dancer and loves her family more than anything! But when the person she loves most decides to join the war, she is heartbroken and stops Ballet. Alice must question herself if there are more important things than dancing! It's such a good book with suspense and how life was like during the world war days. It's so sad but Alice will have to stand up for herself.
How good was it? Fantastic
Type of story: History

Cranbourne Adventures Club

Meet Pearlie

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Meet Pearlie (Our Australian Girl)
Author: Gabrielle Wang

This book is set in the 1900's in Darwin. Everything is changing...spies, lots of soldiers and war. When Pearlie's friend gets taken away, she has to stand up for Japan and what's right. She and her friend Reddy must see if Mr. Beak is a spy sent from Japan or an ordinary Aussie. I thought this book was very sad and interesting!!!
How good was it? Fantastic
Type of story: History

Age: 10
Cranbourne Adventurers Club

39-Storey Treehouse

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39-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Andy and Terry hate their once upon a time machine. They want to get rid of it so they go get Professor Stupido on the dark side of the moon to uninvent it. He soon ends up un inventing the whole universe and and even himself! Terry has to draw every thing back up and the once upon a time machine draws itself back. They are back to the start until the birthday card bandits take it and it explodes! Before that happened the machine gave them the book. It was about the things that had just happened. This was awesome!
How good was it? Fantastic
Type of story: Adventure
YenulAge:9Cranbourne Adventurers Club

13-Storey Treehouse

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13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Andy and his friend Terry are having a very gloomy day. Mostly Andy. He had to watch Barky the barking dog show which was pretty silly and they both had to battle a monsterous mermaid.They also had to stop the monkeys from ruining their treehouse and also a gorilla from breaking down the tree. Finally they get to write down everything they had done that day.
So exhausting!
How good was it? Fantastic
Type of story: Funny

Age: 9
Cranbourne Adventurers Club

A New Hope

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A New Hope by Emma Grange

Darth Vadar and his evil empire have seized control of the galaxy. They have built a powerful weapon called the Death Star. The rebels are a group of people who are determined to free the galaxy from the Empire. A brave rebel called Princess Leia is determined to defeat the Empire. Can Princess Leia and the rebels stop Darth Vadar's villainous plans?
How good was it? Fantastic

Age: 9
Cranbourne Library Adventurers' Club

Dealing with Racism

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Title: "Choices and Decision" Dealing with Racism
Author: Pete Sanders and Steve Myers

This is an educational book that answers questions that you might have about racism. It contains helpful information about why racism starts and also explains the factors that caused racism. It also has practical tips and advice on how to deal with racism. In addition, this book contains real-life examples and useful websites to provide additional information on what is being explained in the book.
How good was it? Fantastic

Age: 9
Cranbourne Library Adventurers' Club

Trapeze Dreams

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Trapeze Dreams
Author: Holly Smith Dinbergs

Rosa is inspired to be a trapeze artist after watching a circus. After collecting some materials, Jules, her friend built a trapeze for her. When Rosa stepped on the trapeze bar, the bar tilted. Will Jules's trapeze be safe enough to use or will Rosa's trapeze dreams come to a sudden end? This book will be of great interest to readers who have enjoy reading books in the Girls Rock series.
How good was it? Fantastic
Type of story: Adventure

Cranbourne Library Adventurers' Club
Age: 9

The Broken Ones

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Broken Ones by Stephen M Irwin 

From the cover:  The world has descended into chaos. On the surface, everything looks the same, yet the unthinkable has happened. The dead have risen.

Everyone is haunted by a relative, friend, spouse, or stranger, and these spirits are unshakeable, silent and watching. Governments the world over fail to deal with the epidemic. Crime is rife, and murders commonplace. But who is responsible: the ghosts or the people?

Finding out is where Detective Oscar Mariani comes in. He stumbles onto a case that cuts through his apathy. A ritualistic, brutal serial killer is at work murdering young women and the evidence implicates those in high places. If Mariani can solve the case, and keep alive himself, he may be able to exorcise his own ghostly shadow, a dead young man who might have a message Mariani needs to hear. 

This Australian author has been making it big overseas – his debut novel The Dead Path (reviewed here back in 2011) was a great introduction to his trademark of blending genres.  This one is crime and mystery mixed with the supernatural, horror and some semi-dystopian elements.  I really enjoy a good ghost story, but initially I didn’t know whether to stick with this or not as it’s rather bleak and depressing.  It is, however, a powerful read ... it gains a sense of urgency and the ending came as a surprise. Well done Mr Irwin.  I enjoyed Grant Cartwright's narration on the Playaway format I borrowed.  We also have this title in hard print, CD, MP3 and e-audiobook.

Set Up

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Set Up by Claire McNab 

From the cover:  Detective Inspector Carol Ashton is faced with three unsolved murders that seem linked by the fact that the victims' names appear under the heading Notable Deletions on the website of a radical international environmentalist group. Overseas, the entrepreneurs and magnates that the group, Gaia's Revenge, describes as environmental vandals have been dying mysterious deaths. Now it seems as if it's Australia's turn to play host to a hired killer. Three unsolved murders; her son, David, accused of selling marijuana; and a journalist hanging around, following her every move. Life is challenging for Detective Inspector Carol Ashton. 

I wished I had’ve seen the “this is the 11th book in the series” note in the catalogue, but alas, too late; I was already well into this story when I got the feeling that this might be the case. Who is Sybil never got answered.  Well narrated by Caroline Lee, this had the potential to be a good series, but it’s just a tad on pedestrian side and that's what stopped me from searching for Book 1.  However, having a female, gay police inspector who has a teenage son puts a new spin on things, and environmental radicals keeps it topical, so some may enjoy it.  But when all is said and done, this is a fairly average police procedural and there are too many other titles beckoning.   

This Is Not a Test

Quicksand -

This Is Not a Test-  Courtney Summers

I’m so over books about zombies and vampires, angels and demons. The un-dead in any form. There are so many out there….so if you have to write one, make it good.

This is good. Although in reality the zombies, or in this case the ‘infected’ are merely a tool to throw six teenagers together.  Yes it is the end of the world and the six students are sheltering in their High School, while the dead pound on the doors and wait for them to come out. But this novel is much more.

Main character Sloane waits for the doors to open, for her world to end. In fact she feels her life ended when her older sister Lily ran away from home. Leaving her alone with their abusive father. Sloane finds no reason to keep on living, wants to give up. Has her suicide note already written. But hiding in the school with others that are fighting for survival, means she has to think of others. Not just herself.

Like a lot of readers, this novel in some way reminds me of The Breakfast Club. Teenagers thrown together, who would never become friends in normal circumstances, begin to see each other in a new light. As time inches by, tensions build, personalities war.

Then it’s time to leave, to take their chances out in the streets. Try to find a way to survive, to make it to Rayford and the shelter it promises.  I won’t give too much away, but the ending is one that I really didn't expect. Not after the fact that the group had survived so much.

Recommend read
Vicki @ Pakenham

East of Innocence

Reading Rewards - reviews -

East of Innocence by David Thorne

From the cover:  One man. On the hunt for the truth. On the edge of London. And way outside the law. Daniel Connell is a disgraced ex-City lawyer now scraping a living in Essex, a man trying to escape the long shadows of his past. When an old childhood friend visits him, asking for his help with a case of police brutality, Daniel wants nothing to do with it. But obligations are obligations, and he soon finds himself on the wrong end of police attention, and dragged into the shady business of a local gangster. But there is far more at stake than he could ever have anticipated, including the mystery of what happened to his mother, who disappeared months after he was born. Daniel must keep ahead of his pursuers long enough to uncover the bloody mysteries of the past, and the fate of another young woman, too innocent to protect herself in the midst of a dangerous game. Welcome to Essex.

If you’re familiar with English crime shows in the realm of The Bill, The Minder, Blood on the Wire, that sort of thing, then you’ll know what this book was like - it packs a punch in more ways than one.

East of Innocence is incredibly violent, has more than its share of nasty criminals looking to inflict more than “a bit of bovver, Sunshine”, features a bent cop and his cronies, a gangster and his thugs, and is peppered with more foul four-letter words than a bad Scrabble day … mmmm … not quite your average cuppa tea: “fanks son, put the kettle on, ta” [without sounding the letter ‘t’ once]. 

Surprisingly, two characters in the book stopped me from returning it pronto. Our protagonist Daniel and his mate Gabriel, two seriously flawed mid-thirties guys who just happen to be doubles tennis champions.  Go figure.  Daniel, a lawyer, has been hurt in so many ways it tugs at the heart strings, while Gabe, an undercover sniper home from the war in Iraq, is minus the lower half of one leg.  Does it get any better than this?  How about Daniel’s mother – ah, but that would spoil it.
If you are liberal minded with your language and strong of stomach, you might really enjoy this book.  It’s very well written, and if you get the audio version as I did, Rupert Degas delivers an excellent narration.  

Western Port - a short history of early European activity

Links to our Past - history -

Both the Cardinia Shire and the City of Casey have Western Port as part of their border. The Bay has been a popular recreation spot for many of us over the years - for instance, we used to go to the beach at Tooradin when I was young; Dad and my uncle had a boat so they used to water ski down there, and Dad used to go fishing there as well. These activities would have been repeated by many local families since the European settlement of the region. Further afield, Phillip Island continues to be a holiday destination for many locals. The Bay has also been used commercially by fishermen. What follows is a short history of the Bay since the arrival of  the Europeans.

Western Port Bay was 'discovered' by George Bass (1771-1803)  on January 5, 1798. Bass had left Sydney (Port Jackson) on December 3, 1897 with the purpose of discovering whether a strait existed between Tasmania (Van Diemen's land) and the mainland. As we know the Strait did exist and it was named after him. Bass named Western Port thus as it was the most westerly port that was known at the time - or as he wrote in his journal I have named the place, from its relative situation to every other known harbour on the coast, Western Port. Bass navigated around what was to be called Phillip Island, but did not realise that the land mass that became known as French Island, was indeed, also an island. They were also unaware of Port Phillip Bay - I wonder what Western Port would have been called if they were. The journey was a remarkable feat of navigation and enterprise, the party was away for eleven weeks, had eked out the original six weeks of supplies they took with them, they sailed 600 miles of uncharted coast line all in an open boat that was only 28 feet, 7 inches (8.7 metres) long.

After Bass, the next official  European activity was carried out in the Lady Nelson, under Lieutenant James Grant (1772-1833) - they arrived  at Western Port on March 21, 1801. The crew planted a garden on Churchill Island and they charted the Bay. The Lady Nelson returned in December 1802 under First Lieutenant John Murray (1775-1803) and harvested the wheat crop planted by Grant the year before, and on January 5,  1802 they 'discovered' Port Phillip Bay. In April 1802, the French Captain Hamelin in the Naturaliste reached Western Port and circumnavigated  and mapped French Island.

Oyster breeding park, Rutherford Creek, Western Port BayState Library of Victoria Image A/S22/09/84/15
The French interest in this region prompted the British Government to establish, in 1803,  a settlement at what is now Sorrento, under Lieutenant Governor David Collins (1756-1810). In Western Port, enterprising sealers had moved in - seals were hunted for their skins and their oil. Sealers also abducted Aboriginal women, to act a sex slaves and to exploit their hunting knowledge. In 1826,  the British sent the Dragon, under the command of Captain Samuel Wright and the Fly, under the command of Captain F. Wetherall to Western Port, they landed at what is now Rhyll and claimed formal possession on December 3, 1826 and on December 12 they claimed formal possession of a site near Corinella. At Corinella, a settlement was soon established - gardens, roads, wells, buildings including Government House, military barracks, storehouse, hospital, blacksmiths, stables etc - most of the labour was supplied by the 21 convicts. This was a short lived settlement and was abandoned in January 1828.

Captain Wetherall's 1826 map of Western PortSource: Western Port Chronology 1798-1839: Exploration to Settlement by Valda Cole (see below)
Later on pastoral settlements took place - in 1835 Samuel Anderson (1803-1863) and Robert Massie settled on the Bass River.  Moving  around to the Bay, to the area now covered by Casey and Cardinia - in 1839 Robert Jamieson and Samuel Rawson settled at the Yallock Station, on the Yallock Creek. Frederick and Charles Manton took up Manton's Old Station in 1840; the Balla Balla run was taken up by Robert Innes Allen in 1839; Thomas Rutherford took up the station (Bourbinandera) based around what was to be known as Rutherford Inlet in 1842; the Lang Waring run was taken up in 1843 by William Willoby. Later on, from around the 1850s,  all these  large runs were broken up and sold and other European settlers arrived.

These are aerials of the top section of Western Port, taken January 22 1970 - not exactly what the early Europeans would have seen, but I can never resist using an aerial photograph! You could only imagine what these early explorers and cartographers would say if they could see the land they charted today, from an aerial or satellite image. The township is Warneet. The land mass on the left is Quail Island, Rutherford Inlet separates Quail island from Chinamans island. Quail island was originally known as Harris Island, it was named for Surgeon John Harris, member of the N.S.W Corps. Chinamans Island was so named as Chinese fishermen were said to live on the island.

This is Warneet, again, and Cannons Creek. We also see the top of Quail Island and Rutherford Inlet.

The land mass on bottom right is Quail Island, with Watson Inlet to the left. From the middle top, there is an L-shaped road - this is Craigs Lane. The road running down to a creek/inlet on the right is Vowell Drive.

This connects to the aerial above - on the right is Vowell Drive. On the left is Tyabb-Tooradin Road and Callanans Lane, this forms a triangle, where the Pearcedale Conservation Park and  Moonlit Sanctuary is located. There is Watson Inlet, part of the Yaringa Marine National Park, again. The inlet is named after  John Watson, whose property 'Freehall', was near to the Inlet.  John Watson was the owner of considerable property in the Parish of Tyabb, a prominent citizen and a member of the Mt. Eliza District Road Board. A Mornington Peninsula Shire  Council Ward is named after him (Personal correspondence from historian, Valda Cole)


Reading Rewards - reviews -

Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough

From the cover:  This is the story of two sets of twins, Edda and Grace, Tufts and Kitty, who struggle against all the restraints, prohibitions, laws and prejudices of 1920s Australia.  Only the submissive yet steely Grace burns for marriage; the sleekly sophisticated Edda burns to be a doctor, the down-to-earth but courageous Tufts burns never to marry, and the too-beautiful, internally scarred Kitty burns for a love free from male ownership. Turbulent times, terrible torments, but the four magnificent Latimer sisters, each so different, love as women do: with tenderness as well as passion, and with hearts roomy enough to hold their men, their children, their careers and their sisters.

Twins.  Hurrumph!  If anything is going to put me off a storyline, it’s one of twins! I have no idea why I borrowed this book but it is way better than the publisher’s blurb, so much so it would make a very enjoyable movie!  There’s a depth and intelligence to it that is not even hinted at - a strong commentary on the politics of the day runs through the story -  Joseph Lyons, Jack Lang, and a young ‘upcoming’ Menzies;  the Depression, which has such impact under this author’s pen, more so than others I’ve read; and the machinations of a running a hospital as opposed to those that populate one.  

This is an obvious choice of setting for Ms. McCullough; she started out as a teacher, librarian, then journalist, changed to medical studies at the University of Sydney then switched to neuroscience and worked in Royal North Shore Hospital. She eventually took a research associate job at Yale University, followed by ten years researching and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, where she first turned her hand to writing novels.  It comes as no surprise that this book has so much of her background underpinning it, and I think it’s stronger for it.  My only negative is the ending.  Is it an ending?  It is so open-ended I can’t help but think there’s a sequel.  Considering it closes just before the rumblings of Hitler and WWII, it’s the next logical step.

Les Cochrane - from AIF to MLA

Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War -

Cochrane Park in Koo-Wee-Rup is named after Leslie James Cochrane.  Mr Cochrane died on April 25, 1972. His funeral was held on April 28 at the Presbyterian Church in Koo-Wee-Rup and attended by an estimated 1,000 people with another 700 people attending the service at the Springvale Crematorium. Mr Cochrane was a man who served his country in the Great War and then served the community after being elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the Victorian Parliament.

Leslie was born in Bentleigh in 1894 to David and Lucy (nee Burgess) Cochrane. The family moved to Caldermeade when he was eight. He enlisted in the First World War on May 2, 1916 at the age of 21. He was in the 46th Infantry battalion and saw war service in France. He returned to Australia in February 1918 and in the December of the same year he married Ivy, the daughter of Harry and Sarah Wildes of Yannathan.  Leslie and Ivy moved to a soldier settlement block on the Pakenham Road.  After the war, as well as running the farm, Mr Cochrane began a life of community service. He joined the Cranbourne Shire Council in 1930, representing the Koo-Wee-Rup Riding until 1964 and was Shire President on four occasions. It was said he never missed a meeting.

This wonderful photograph belongs to the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society and shows Les Cochrane, Billy McGree and Bill Gilchrist and their 'Welcome Home' party in 1918.

Mr Cochrane also represented Gippsland West in the Legislative Assembly from May 1950 until May 1970 for the Country Party. He held various Parliamentary positions and was the Country Party ‘whip’ from 1961 until 1970. When he died, the Premier, Sir Henry Bolte; the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Clive Holding and the leader of the Country Party, Mr Ross-Edwards, each presented a short eulogy on Mr Cochrane in the Victorian Parliament. In fact, Sir Henry pointed out that Mr Cochrane was the last surviving member of this Parliament who served as a member of the Australian Infantry Forces during the First World War. Mr Cochrane was also the President of the Westernport Memorial Hospital Board and he was awarded a Life Membership for his work with the R.S.L. He was a Past Master of the Koo-Wee-Rup Masonic Lodge and an Elder of the Presbyterian Church and was awarded an O.B.E in 1971.

Leslie and Ivy had two children - Irene (Mrs Jack Haw who died in 2001) and Stewart who died in 2000. Mrs Cochrane was also involved in community organizations such as the Presbyterian Ladies Guild and attended the first Koo-Wee-Rup Red Cross meeting. She was Foundation President of the Hospital Ladies Auxiliary and was awarded a Life Governorship of the Hospital in 1974. Mrs Cochrane died in September 1986, aged 91.

Cochrane Park was developed by the Apex Club in 1980 on Railway land. It was then taken over by the Lions Club who named it for Leslie Cochrane.

The two small photographs are from the Koo-Wee-Rup Sun May 3, 1972 from a report about Mr Cochrane's funeral.

Ned Kelly's Shortlist

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Ned Kelly Awards are Australia’s oldest and most prestigious prizes honouring Australian crime fiction and true crime writing. The awards began in 1995 and is now run by the Australian Crime Writers Association.  The shortlist for 2014 is:

Angela Savage, THE DYING BEACH

Candice Fox, HADES
Ellie Marney, EVERY BREATH

John Kidman & Denise Hofman, FOREVER NINE
Eleanor Learmonth & Jenny Tabakoff, NO MERCY

Winners will be announced at the Brisbane Writers Festival on 6th September.


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