Reviews

The Cautious Travellers Guide to the Wasteland

Book Review: The Cautious Travellers Guide to the Wasteland is a mysterious adventure about connection and belonging

There are books where you feel like you are watching the action unfold and there are books where you feel like you are somehow part of the action. The Cautious Traveller’s Guide to the Wasteland, a historical fantasy by Sarah Brooks, is certainly one of the latter. This is largely due to its intimate setting on…

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Dune Exposures

Book Review: Dune: Exposures is a diary and memory album for Dune 2’s production        

A diary is the only place that someone writes with complete candour. So, only in a diary do we often get the truest insight into a person’s life and motivations. Dune: Exposures may be billed as a photo book, and although it’s true that Dune 2 cinematographer Greg Fraiser has taken some gorgeous photos capturing…

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Depth of Field

Book Review: Heartbreaking and evocative, Depth of Field is Kirsty Iltner’s incredible debut

A portrait of two people, of their grief and regrets and relationships, Depth of Field is author and photographer Kirsty Iltners’ emotionally charged and deeply effective debut novel. It was the winner of the 2023 Dorothy Hewett Award, and it’s a beautiful novel well deserving of its accolades. Told through simple yet evocative prose, Depth…

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Has Anyone Seen Charlotte Salter?

Book Review: Nicci French’s missing mum mystery is compelling but ultimately underwhelms

Crime writing duo, Nicci French (a.k.a. husband and wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French) returned with a new detective series earlier this year. The first offering, Has Anyone Seen Charlotte Salter? is set to be the first in the Maud O’Connor detective series. Though curiously, the eponymous heroine does not actually appear until the latter…

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Review: International Crime fiction takes center stage at the 2024 Brisbane Writers Festival

This past week, Brisbane hosted its annual Brisbane Writers Festival, drawing thousands of eager bookworms to Southbank for four days of literary celebration. With 150 events packed over four days, there was certainly plenty on offer. Featuring author panels, speeches, and performances showcasing both international and domestic talents from blockbuster bestsellers to literary luminaries, BWF…

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Book Review: Hello Keanu! is a poetic love letter to everyones favourite Hollywood icon

“Here, one man becomes a multiplicity. Here, the star is both indie and a block, busting.” – Scott-Patrick Mitchell, “Hello Keanu” Canadian actor Keanu Reeves has captured hearts around the globe with his thrilling action blockbusters on screen and genuine affable nature off-screen. Hello Keanu! is a quirky love-letter to the actor from the contemporary poets…

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Book Review: It’s a tale of two cities in Siang Lu’s Ghost Cities

Following his well-regarded first novel The Whitewash, Siang Lu returns to long form fiction with his latest novel Ghost Cities, an unusual tale filled with imaginative twists and turns, philosophical discussions and sparks of dry humour. Ghost Cities is a novel told in two parts. The first in the modern day, follows a young man…

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The Ministry of Time

Book Review: Kaliane Bradley’s blockbuster debut The Ministry of Time is a charming mix of quirky and critical

Some books really pack a punch, stuffing so much into their pages that it’s difficult to know where to start in a review. Kaliane Bradley‘s The Ministry of Time is one such book. The endorsements plastered across the cover and inside pages describe it as everything from clever, witty, charming and wonderful, to brilliant, thrilling,…

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Book Review: Lauren Chater’s latest explores the high cost of beauty in the 17th Century

Bestselling author of historical fiction, Lauren Chater returned this year with her latest novel, The Beauties – a story of independence, loyalty, desire and fine art. The novel follows Emilia Lennox, a noblewoman who loses everything when it is discovered that her husband’s family have aided and abetted traitors to the crown in the years following the restoration…

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Deep in the Forest

Book Review: Cults and crimes in Erina Reddan’s Deep in the Forest

Author and former journalist Erina Reddan delves into grief, cults, and power in her latest novel Deep in the Forest. The result is a thriller which, though not perfect, holds a deliciously tense and twisty layered mystery. As her hometown’s resident pariah and suspected arsonist, our protagonist Charli is a young woman who spends most…

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Heartsease

Book Review: Heartsease is a refreshing book about familial ties and the complexity of memories

Kate Kruimink, the Fiction Editor at Tasmania’s literary magazine Island, has just released her second book – Heartsease. Heartsease is a beautifully complicated story that focuses on two sisters, Charlotte (Lot) and Ellen (Nelly), who are doing their best to process their mother’s death while also trying to get sober at a retreat. However, this…

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Not Here To Make Friends

Book Review: Not Here To Make Friends by Jodi McAlister is the cherry on top of the Marry Me Juliet series

Delving into the world of reality TV with a flair for drama, Not Here To Make Friends by Jodi McAlister introduces us to Murray O’Connell, a seasoned producer navigating the tumultuous waters of a Bachelor-esque reality show, Marry Me Juliet. Tasked with concocting a captivating narrative by the demanding showrunner, Murray faces the challenge of…

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Book Review: Best Australian Political Cartoons 2023 edited by Russ Radcliffe wraps up bumper year of misdirection and contradiction

2023 was a big year in politics. The year started with unrest in the major party ranks, progressed into a cost-of-living crisis, a series of polarising court battles around corruption in parliament, and finished with the disastrous referendum on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Along the way, there were of course all the ongoing political…

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Book Review: A love of Italy is what shines through in this Italian love story from Jenna Lo Bianco

It seems like we are living in the golden age of the romance novel. Readers are discovering all that this often overlooked and much maligned genre has to offer, thanks in no small part to BookTok and writers such as Emily Henry. And with everything that’s going on in the world generally, who can blame…

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Book Review: David Baldacci’s Absolute Power takes us back to the 90s where it all began

Absolute Power was first published in 1996 and was the launching point for the career of author David Baldacci. The book sold record numbers and with over 150 million books sold since, Baldacci is still a regular on the thriller circuit. Now, the book that started it all has been re-released with an exclusive introduction…

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The Pulling

Book Review: Exploring the roots of compulsion in Adele Dumont’s The Pulling

Adele Dumont is a writer, and a critic. Her essays are well-regarded, having been published in prestigious literary journals including Meanjin, Griffith Review, Southerly and more. Her first novel, No Man is an Island, was an account of her experiences teaching English to asylum seekers in detention. But there is one thing about her that…

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Red River Road

Book Review: Red River Road by Anna Downes is the thriller to get obssesed with this winter

This week saw the arrival of Red River Road by Anna Downes into book stores around the country. Brace yourself for an intensly scary ride! Anna Downes established herself in the thriller genre and gained international success with her previous novels: The Safe Place (2020) and The Shadow House (2021). This is her third novel…

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The Clinic

Book Review: Check into The Clinic for murder, mystery, and malice

In her latest novel The Clinic, Cate Quinn invites you to escape to a luxury rehab facility for the rich and famous. Fans of Liane Moriarty will devour the glamorous setting and hooky murder-mystery investigation. Hidden in the fog-laden American North-West, The Clinic is the world’s most exclusive and secluded rehab centre. When country superstar…

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Book Review: Interior design becomes erotic in Kyoichi Tsuzuki’s Love Hotels

Flipping through this unassuming pocket book, you become privy to a kaleidoscope of exotic rooms. One has seedy fluorescent lighting and a gritty VCR playing an unknown pink film, another is done up like a convenience store, another looks like a child’s playroom, and yet another has steel doors, brick walls and a dentist’s chair….

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The Fires Next Time

Book Review: The Fires Next Time is Peter Christoff’s urgent call to action

Australia’s summer of 2019/20 was one of the most catastrophic bushfire seasons ever recorded. Dubbed ‘Black Summer’, the fires killed 33 people, burned more than 24 million hectares of land, and saw three billion animals killed, injured, or displaced. Few will forget the smoke-shrouded season, the ramifications of which are still being felt today and…

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Book Review: Emily Gale and Nova Weetman deliver a thrilling Aussie adventure in Outlaw Girls

Outlaw Girls is the second teen novel by Emily Gale and Nova Weetman. Their debut as a team was 2001’s Elsewhere Girls, a teen novel exploring the lives of two Australian girls living in different times. The new release, Outlaw Girls follows the same idea: a time-slip adventure, told from two perspectives at once. The novel…

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An American Dreamer

Book Review: David Finkel’s An American Dreamer is a gripping report on a fractured America

David Finkel is an award winning American journalist known for his bestselling book The Good Soldiers (2009), a recounting the USA-Iraq war, which secured the title ‘New York Times Best Book of the Year’. The Washington Post editor and writer won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 along with other awards throughout his career reporting across…

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The Lost Supper

Book Review: Taras Grescoe’s The Lost Supper celebrates ancient food, glorious food!

Journalist Taras Grescoe is like the Willy Wonka expert of ancient foods. In his eighth book, The Lost Supper he invites readers along on a journey of pre-imagination to rediscover the lost flavours that our ancestors enjoyed. These flavours looked like they would be extinct…until now. Grescoe fuses together a tome that is part travelogue…

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Book Review: Raimond Gaita’s Justice And Hope is a thought provoking collection of writings and ideas

Raimond Gaita, a German-born Australian philosopher and award-winning writer, released Justice And Hope: Essays, Lectures and Other Writings in November 2023. Published through Melbourne University Press, the collection appears at a time when war and terror seem to roam our world more than ever and many questions are raised on the topics of morality, human…

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Book Review: See how the Imperium was born in The Art And Soul Of Dune Part Two

Dune Part Two is so successful in blurring the line between reality and science fiction that you might not want to break the illusion and know how this magic trick of a film was pulled off. But reading The Art And Soul Of Dune Part Two gives such specific and incisive insight into the design…

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Your Utopia

Book Review: Snapshots of strange worlds in Bora Chung’s Your Utopia

Filled with tales of robots and cannibals, aliens and immortals, Bora Chung’s latest book Your Utopia is a fascinating exploration of the worlds just beyond our own. Highly original, passionate and weird in the best way, it makes for an enthralling read, even if there are some hiccups along the way. Following in the tradition…

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My Brilliant Sister

Book Review: Amy Brown’s debut explores who gets to be creative through the lens of an Australian classic

The legacy of Australian writer Miles Franklin lives on in the two literary prizes named for her. But, how much do we really know about the woman herself? For instance, many readers would not have been aware that Stella (Miles) Franklin had a sister named Linda; a sister who took the expected path for women…

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Book review: Never Ever Forever is a showcase of the best romantic comedy tropes and we are here for it

There’s just something about a romantic comedy. They’re comfortingly predictable, often laugh out loud funny, and there’s that deeply satisfying feeling of being able to race through a book in a single day because you’re so absorbed in what you’re reading. Enter Karina May’s second novel, Never Ever Forever, the follow up to her debut Duck…

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Birds of a Feather Cover

Book Review: Rhianna King’s Birds of a Feather is a delightfully sweet debut

Coming from new author Rhianna King, Birds of a Feather is an utterly charming – and very Aussie – debut novel. A little funny, a little poignant, it makes for a wonderfully relaxing read. Beth, our protagonist and the first of our two viewpoint characters, is a very practical and unsentimental young woman. This puts…

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The Woman In Me

Book Review: Britney Spears’ bombshell memoir The Woman In Me is here to make waves

The Woman In Me is the highly anticipated and heavily gossiped about memoir from Britney Spears. The late 90s- early 2000s icon doesn’t need any introductions. Britney is a household name, a pop singer known for her numerous hits and impressive performance career spanning over two decades. She is also, more recently known for her…

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