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Staff's Favourite Reads September 2021

Our lovely team are back with some more reviews and recommendations! Here’s what kept them all engrossed throughout the month of August.

Click here to see August’s list

A Court Of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

Chosen by Kate, Customer Experience Officer

The 5th book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, this novel focuses on Nesta Archeron. Nesta has always been fiery, proud to a fault and has never known her place in the world. After becoming High Fae during the war with Hybern, she struggles to come to terms with what she lost and who she is. Nesta and Cassian, a brutally beautiful warrior, have long been drawn each other, in more ways than one.

But Nesta must find who she is, before she can seek acceptance in Cassian’s arms. A Court of Silver Flames is definitely more suited to the new adult genre than the rest of the series, with discussions of abuse, and some intense romantic scenes.

I highly recommend the novel for anyone who has enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses, and for all readers who love young adult/new adult fantasy, romance and action. It wonderfully explores loss, guilt and acceptance, and gives complexity to both Nesta and Cassian’s characters. I couldn’t put it down!

A Thousand Roads Home by Carmel Harrington

Chosen by Jenny, Customer Experience Officer

Ruth is a single mum who has Aspergers and struggles through her day to day life. She tries so hard to fit into the world, keep a job, pay her bills and be the best mum to her 10 year old son DJ. Despite her best efforts she and DJ are evicted by their landlord and are plunged into the very frightening world of homelessness. They end up at a ‘Boutique Hotel’ that offers homeless people accommodation whilst they await a government assisted housing placement. Here for the first time in her life, Ruth experiences true friendship and acceptance and re-unites with a very important, older man from her past, Tom, who has also fallen on hard times.

Burdened by grief and insecurities they are not living their best lives, but together, Ruth, DJ and Tom will manage to achieve extraordinary things.

Acknowledgement: A Memoir So Far by Becky Lucas

Chosen by Jess, Customer Experience Officer

I’ve never been one to pick up an autobiography but decided to give this book a crack as the blurb on this book felt very intriguing/ relatable to me being a female growing up in Australia, the same age as Becky.

The book is comprised of short stories and life lessons told by Becky, featuring everything from her stand up comedy gigs to experiencing heartbreak, finding and losing friends and discovering how each experience in life can teach us to grow and mature. There were lots of situations mentioned in this book that had me thinking “I can relate to that! I’ve done it too!” and reading this book made me feel as if she and I were good friends sharing a laugh about life over a coffee.

Funny at times and also very relatable I appreciate Becky’s honest and authentic laid back writing style. I thought this was a great read for anyone who likes a bit of humor mixed in with genuine sincerity and advice on all things that is life so far. I’m glad that I decided to give it a go!

 

After The Tampa: From Afghanistan to New Zealand by Abbas Nazari

Chosen by Ann, Youth Services Librarian

An epic survival tale, centring around Abbas Nazari’s incredible journey from the foothills of the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan. We read of the difficult and harsh realities of the life of the ethnic Hazara as they struggle for survival and face ongoing persecution from the Taliban.

Abbas’ family make the difficult decision to leave their homeland in search of safety, boarding an overcrowded boat that is headed for Australia. They endure a horrific storm and are eventually rescued by a Norwegian cargo ship called the ‘Tampa.’

What happens next involves the Australian Government developing policies that will have long lasting ramifications for refugees for decades to come, and infuse bitter divisions within the Australian community.

I am pleased to write that Abbas and his family finally find the peace for which they are looking. But not in Australia. This is such a powerful book; it’ll knock you sideways. Abbas’ story juxtaposes aptly alongside recent alarming events in Afghanistan.

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Chosen by Janine, Customer Experience Officer

Meet the Delaney family – Stan and Joy for years ran a very successful Tennis academy which produced a grand slam champion. Their 4 children also were tennis players but were denied that level of success. It’s been a while and they have sold their business and happy to retire, but one night there is a knock at the door and a young girl is there with a head injury. Joy takes Savannah under her wing and welcomes her into their home for shelter, and into their lives. Savannah becomes almost a part of the family much to the horror of their adult children. Joy becomes a surrogate mother to her. Meanwhile the four Delaney children are dealing with their own issues in their lives – Amy is the free spirit who has never been lucky in love, Brooke is trying to establish a business while separated from her husband. Logan is separated from a long-term relationship and not sure if his work is what he really wants and Troy is a jetsetter with plenty of money but an ex-wife who is asking the impossible of him.

All seems ok until one day Joy goes missing, which is very out of character for her. Fingers get pointed at Stan, suspicion rises, and the police are involved. Just what has happened to her?? Secret lives and revelations ensue, and a body is discovered nearby.

I really enjoyed this book which kept me turning those pages quickly, highly recommended for readers of family stories or contemporary women’s fiction.

IT by Stephen King

Chosen by Alex, Library Assistant

Derry, Main is just an ordinary town, however it’s a group of children who see – and feel – what makes Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, It lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront It as It stirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, emerging again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

What an amazing adventure. Once I started reading I could not stop and about 7 weeks later I can tell you that it was definitely worth it. I didn’t really have any expectations coming into this apart from it being horror, but wow did it blow them away!

The world building was phenomenal and the way that King was able to weave so many intricate storylines into one coherent plot line is astonishing. I also really enjoyed the exploration of childhood that King does and his exploration of how things change when we get older, as well as the impact that childhood events have on us.

Also, as a 16 year old it was really interesting to explore and compare the societal norms of the two events to now and how expectations of others have changed over time.

Note to parents of young children: As this book was written in the 1980s there is a culture inside that is not reflective of the world that we live in today. Therefore, as well as the violence there is a lot of racism and swearing present, so make sure that your child is mature enough to see it as it is, a representation of the past that we came from.

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to any Stephen King fans.

The Deep by Kyle Perry

Chosen by Courtney, Branch Manager

The Deep is a wonderfully crafted Murder mystery, family saga novel from one of Australia’s up and coming writers. Centred around the Dempsey family who have built themselves a drug empire under the guise of a reputable diving company, The Deep follows three characters Mackenzie, Ahab and Forest as everything comes tumbling down. Mackenzie is trying to get his life together after a stint in jail, Adam is trying to distance himself from his crime riddled family and Foster is back after disappearing with his parents 5 years ago. Now he has washed back on shore and with secrets of his own. And as the family tries to come together the mystery of what happened all those years ago begins to pull them apart.

A magnificent Australian mystery that will give you whiplash, just when you think you know what’s happening another curveball will come your way. Makes for a thrilling and unstoppable read. The characters are fantastic, though you may not always feel they are reliable narrators, the plot delivers and the setting of Tasmania just adds to the eeriness of the novel. A fantastic Australia author to keep your eye on and a great read to get lost in.

The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott

Chosen by Sue, Team Leader

Shortlisted for the 2021 Miles Franklin Award this is a powerful modern day fairy tale. A strange and wonderful story of mythical beasts set in a harsh landscape – this is a blend of magic realism and dystopian reality. Three seemingly unconnected stories of conflict in fields, a forest and the sea introduce us to the incredible rain heron. The natural world is beautifully imagined as the fate of the heron unfolds alongside the personal journeys of the main characters.

A unique and creative work of Australian fiction. Also available as an audio book and an e book.

You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke

Chosen by Beth, General Manager, Customer Experience

Lucy Clarke is my new FAVOURITE author. Not only is she a master of the twisty turny thriller plot, but she is able to create completely relatable characters. You can see yourself in their shoes as they step through the plot with lives slowly but surely unravelling. This story plays on some clever themes – Air BNB – who doesn’t have some insecurities about renting your own private residence to strangers? Also fundamental family dynamics that just about anyone can relate to – can you really trust your nearest and dearest? This is a true page-turner from beginning to end.

The Bridge by Enza Gandolfo

Chosen by Sandra, Branch Manager

This is a profound and powerful novel that tells the story of two familes living in the western suburbs of Melbourne in the shadow of the West Gate Bridge.
It begins by describing the collapse of the Bridge in 1970 through the eyes of Young Italian immigrant Antonello. Several of Antonellos mates were killed in the collapse and he must now live with the fact that he knew corners were being cut that may have caused the collapse.

Fast forward to 2009 and we meet Jo and her best friend Ashleigh, just about to finish high school. Life is good, but one tragic error in judgement takes place once again in the shadow of the West Gate bridge and it changes Jo’s life forever.

Antonello is profoundly affected by Jo’s mistake and it causes him to face his own buried grief from the fall of the bridge 40 years before and the new grief he must now endure as a result of Jos actions
This is not a thriller or a mystery but a deep dive into trauma and grief of two familes over 40 years and how they live it. What happens to people whose actions cause death, how do they survive and move on to lead meaningful lives. How are those around them affected. What part does forgiveness play? All these contemporary themes are explored though the lives and families of Antonello and Jo

I read this book on audio and found it enthralling, I think in print it may seem over written in the third act, but I will let you be the judge of that. It was a page tuner for me. I love a book about Human frailty, this books has it in spades in a moving realistic way.

A powerful reflection on tragedy and they way it affects family and friendships.