Books

Quietly Hostile

Book Review: Samantha Irby’s Quietly Hostile is a joyful exercise in oversharing

Quietly Hostile is Samantha Irby‘s fourth collection of hilarious, off-the-wall personal essays. Almost blog-style in its randomness, each chapter takes us on a journey through a variety of Irby’s loves, hates, flights of fancy, reimagined TV episodes, lists of food, embarrassing anecdotes, and misadventures in bodily functions that will give you whiplash as they switch…

Read More
Most Anticipated Books Oct to Dec 2023

The AU’s Most Anticipated Books of 2023: Oct – Dec

I’m not entirely sure how it’s the second week of October. But, here we are! We’re edging ever closer to Christmas and right into the busiest weeks in the publishing and bookselling (and book buying) calendar. Expect a glut of gift books, celebrity memoirs and celebrity penned fiction hitting the shelves any day now. With…

Read More
The Vaster Wilds

Book Review: Lauren Groff’s The Vaster Wilds is an all encapsulating novel

The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff is a historical fiction novel set in the early days of North America’s colonisation. This third person narrative explores a servant girl’s escape from a settlement, her battle for survival, the discovery of a new alien environment, and her belief in God. At the beginning of the book, readers…

Read More
Lowbridge

Book Review: Lucy Campbell’s Lowbridge is a slow-burning rural mystery

Lowbridge, by Lucy Campbell, is a rural mystery set in the fictional New South Wales town of Lowbridge. In the present day, Katherine and her husband Jamie have moved from Sydney to Lowbridge, Jamie’s hometown, to try and heal from a devastating loss. In alternating chapters, also in Lowbridge but back in 1986, the town…

Read More

“I wanted to hear her story in her own voice”: Morgan Is My Name author Sophie Keetch on Arthurian legend, Monty Python, and women with a dark side

Earlier this year, author Sophie Keetch released her debut novel Morgan Is My Name. A stunning retelling of Arthurian villainess Morgan Le Fay, Morgan Is My Name follows her as she fights for independence against the machinations of men, kings, and sorcerers. We sat down with Sophie to find out a little more about the…

Read More

OzAsia Festival’s writing and ideas program In Other Words returns this November

In Other Words, OzAsia Festival‘s writing and ideas program, has today revealed its three day line-up, with more than 60 Asian writers and thinkers heading up an exciting array of panels and special events. Running from Friday 3rd November to Sunday 5th November at Adelaide Festival Centre, In Other Words is the perfect way to…

Read More
Perfect-ish

Book Review: Perfect-ish is the perfect read for your weekend switch-off

It seems that the Australian publishing industry’s hunger for anti-rom-coms (or as I like to call them, Sad Girl Lit) is showing no signs of abating. The perfect successor to the Cecelia Ahern and Marian Keyes heyday of the last decade, today’s heroine is stressed out and has major FOMO. Prue, the heroine of Jessica…

Read More
Rachel Louise Snyder

Book Review: Rachel Louise Snyder’s Women We Buried, Women We Burned is a moving tale of perseverance and tolerance

Rachel Louise Snyder’s most recent memoir – Woman We Buried, Woman We Burned – is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed book No Visible Bruises. The book is an account of Synder’s journey from teenage runaway to award-winning journalist. The often heartbreaking account begins with the death of the author’s mother, when Snyder was eight years…

Read More
Laurie Steed

Book Review: Laurie Steed’s Love, Dad is more than a parenting memoir

Laurie Steed‘s second book, Love, Dad, came out just in time for Father’s Day. It was not, as you might expect, a treatise on how to be a good father. Instead it’s a memoir of one man’s experience of fatherhood, along with a collection of musings on how to be a good father, a good man, and…

Read More
Blackwater Jacqueline Ross

Book Review: Jacqueline Ross’ Blackwater is a uniquely Australian Gothic horror

Grace, recently married and heavily pregnant, heads to Tasmania to visit her new husband’s terminally ill father. King has spoken little about his family, and wants nothing more than to say goodbye and leave. But once they reach Blackwater, King’s crumbling childhood home, things are far from right. There’s a darkness here that Grace can’t…

Read More
Eta Draconis

Book Review: An apocalyptic road trip brings two sisters together in Brendan Ritchie’s Eta Draconis

Brendan Ritchie’s Eta Draconis is a grounded and heartfelt exploration of searching for a future in a world that feels like it has none. Elora has just finished high school in her hometown of Esperance, Western Australia. Her older sister Vivienne, already attending university in the city, has been home for the summer holidays and…

Read More
Never A Hero

Book Review: Vanessa Len’s Never a Hero is an exhilirating, fun and satisfying sequel

The highly anticipated sequel to Vanessa Len’s hit debut Only a Monster, Never a Hero is another wild ride through time and morality as Joan is forced to face the consequences of her actions and take on a new and powerful foe. Joan is still reeling from her decision to unmake the hero. Riddled with…

Read More

“If you take out the hero, you better take out the villain” Vanessa Len on her new book Never a Hero

Vanessa Len is a bestselling Australian author and educational editor, who has worked on everything from language learning programs to STEM resources, to professional learning for teachers. She took time out of her busy schedule to chat with Jess Gately about her writing process, book boxes and her new book Never a Hero. So, first of…

Read More
But The Girl

Book Review: But the Girl by Jessica Zhan Mei Yu is a vividly realised and compelling novel

Author and University of Melbourne lecturer Jessica Zhan Mei Yu is a writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Holding a PhD in Creative Writing, But The Girl, is her first novel. A deeply introspective and at times heavy read, the story transports us to the vibrant streets of London. Here, we encounter an Australian narrator…

Read More
Sir Hereward

Book Review: Garth Nix’s Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz is the gritty, deadpan bite-sized fantasy you’ve been waiting for

Deadpan humour meets swashbuckling swords-and-sorcery in this collection of short stories from fantasy heavyweight Garth Nix. A series of adventurous tales about friendship and duty, Sir Herward and Mister Fitz: Stories of the Witch King and the Puppet Sorcerer pulls together eight previously separately published stories, plus one new story of the dynamic god-slaying duo….

Read More
Sit, Stay, Love

Book Review: Amy Hutton’s Sit, Stay, Love. is a sweet, fun, and easy read

Sit, Stay, Love is the story of Sera Madden, an awkward thirty-something with a deep passion for saving animals and a love for writing. Running the always struggling animal rescue Rose’s Rescue (named after her late grandmother), Sera is comfortable with her life, which she mostly shares with her dreamy best friend, vet Toby. The…

Read More
Pink Slime

Book Review: Disease, loneliness and beautiful prose abound in Fernanda Trías’ Pink Slime

Exploring motherhood and care-giving in the midst of a terrifying algae-borne disease, Fernanda Trías’ latest book Pink Slime is an atmospheric and unforgettable read. The story follows an unnamed woman, living on the coast close to the danger the algae and disease presents. As the area gradually worsens and the people abandon the town, she…

Read More
A Real Piece of Work

Book Review: A Real Piece of Work is a collection of short essays that explores queer and marginalised experiences

A Real Piece of Work, the new memoir from Erin Riley, brings light to disadvantaged and marginalised communities. Riley works with marginalised and disadvantaged people as a social worker in Sydney. In their memoir, a collection of twenty essays, Riley shares their personal experiences of social boundaries. Discussions of justice, family, love, intimacy, power structures, and…

Read More
Good Bad Girl

Book Review: Alice Feeney’s Good Bad Girl is a cleverly-plotted mystery about mother and daughter relationships

Alice Feeney’s Good Bad Girl is a story about mothers and daughters, wrapped up in the mystery of a baby that went missing twenty years ago, an eighteen-year-old who has gone missing in the present, and the murder of someone who isn’t really missed at all. Feeney’s sixth novel is told from the points of…

Read More

Book Review: Jennifer Ackerman’s What an Owl Knows shares the feathery love

Owls are a bird that have fascinated humans for a very long time, appearing all over the world and finding significance almost everywhere. It’s the question of why we love them so much that Jennifer Ackerman explores in her new book What an Owl Knows. Ackerman’s book serves as something of a comprehensive overview of…

Read More
The Heart is a Star

Book Review: Megan Rogers gets to the heart of a family secret in her much-lauded debut

In The Heart is a Star, debut novelist Megan Rogers explores one woman’s struggles to balance the demands of her career and family against her own needs as a person. As the book opens, we meet Layla Byrnes, an anaesthetist who is just ending a period of enforced leave when she receives a disturbing phone…

Read More
Pageboy

Book Review: Elliot Page’s Pageboy is an honest and generous memoir

Pageboy is the recent memoir from Elliot Page, an actor known for his starring roles in Juno, Whip It!, and most recently The Umbrella Academy series. Pageboy is different from many other celebrity memoirs in that the subject wrote it entirely himself, and not through using a ghost writer. This has the effect of the…

Read More
Southern Aurora

Book Review: Mark Brandi’s moving coming of age novel Southern Aurora explores unforgiving small-town life

Southern Aurora is Mark Brandi’s fourth novel, and follows on the heels of the bestseller Wimmera (2017), The Rip (2019) and The Others (2021). Wimmera secured Brandi the coveted British Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger and was also named Best Debut at the 2018 Australian Indie Book Awards. It was also shortlisted for the Australian…

Read More
The Magpie's Sister

Book Review: All the fun of the circus and then some in Kerri Turner’s The Magpie’s Sister

There’s an old trick that writers who participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) know, and that’s when in doubt, add a circus. It works. Circuses are fun. They have glitz and glamour, and underdogs, and sometimes literal dogs and other animals. Everyone loves a circus story. In recent years, the darker side to circuses…

Read More
Fractal Noise

Book Review: Delve into the existential dread of sci-fi horror in Christopher Paolini’s Fractal Noise

Best known for his fantasy series The Inheritance Cycle, author Christopher Paolini first delved into science fiction with his award-winning 2020 novel To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. This new novel, Fractal Noise, serves as a prequel and shows the horrifying events behind the scenes. When a team of scientists and astronauts scouting out…

Read More

Book Review: Take a rock-and-rollercoaster ride through 1970s New York with Rachel Coad’s NEW YORK CITY Glow

It’s 1977, and Strawberry the glowing octopus (Stauroteuthis syrtensis) is finally out of jail. Hitching a ride with Ray, an insurance sales-snake searching for meaning in his life, she heads for New York City, where she eventually finds work at a little bar called CBGB. Centered around the New York City Blackout of 1977 and…

Read More
Sad Girl Novel

Book Review: Pip Finkemeyer’s Sad Girl Novel takes on a publishing-world trend from the inside

The sad girl novel is a relatively new concept in the book world, but it’s one that has fascinated readers since its invention. Hallmarked by novels such as Meg Mason‘s Sorrow and Bliss and often distinguished by cover images of women lying or leaning face-down, this new kind of book takes the classic ‘chick lit’ à la…

Read More

Book Review: Viola Di Grado’s Blue Hunger explores the uneasy intersection of grief, sensuality, and obsession

A young woman, grieving the loss of her twin brother, leaves Italy and heads to the one place he’d always wanted to go – Shanghai. By day, she teaches Italian. By night, she seeks an end to the grief that consumes her. And then she meets Xu. Blue Hunger, the fifth novel from Italian author…

Read More
Threads That Bind

Book Review: Kika Hatzopoulou’s Threads That Bind is a rich, immersive romantasy noir mystery

Threads That Bind, the debut YA novel from Kika Hatzopoulou, follows Io Ora. Io is a descendant of the Greek Fates,  the youngest of three sisters, with the ability to cut the threads of fate that connect people to the things they love and to life itself. Io scrapes a living in the poorest part…

Read More

The AU Review’s resident bookworms share the books they couldn’t put down

The Books Team here at The AU Review is growing, and what better way to get to know the nerds behind all your favourite lit reviews than through the books they can’t stop raving about? Buckle in bookworms – this list is going to be killer! Jemimah Brewster – Every Version of You by Grace Chan Jemimah: I…

Read More