Friday, May 29, 2009

On the road (magazine)

On The Road is the magazine for Australian travelers who love the caravanning, camping and touring lifestyle. Each month we tempt you to experience the beauty of this country with fascinating destinations to visit, reports on don’t-miss attractions, facts on birds, animals and flowers you’ll see along the way, and information about the best places to camp. Whether you’re living the traveling lifestyle already, or planning your dream trip, On The Road will inspire you to see more of our beautiful country (from the distributor).
This is a great magazine that I pass on to my parents as they love to travel around Australia. My father in particular likes to work on his next destination, check out the latest gadgets, enjoys reading the articles on people that he has met along his adventures.
This is just one of a number of traveling/camping/4WD magazines that the library has.
Rating - I give this 4/5 GREAT!!

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Reviewed by Michelle @ admin

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rhubarb by Craig Silvey

Meet Eleanor Rigby: tiny, blind and left behind. Led by her zealous, overprotective guide dog, Warren, she courses constantly through the places she knows. Tired, mired and sequestered from the world, Eleanor can’t shirk the feeling she’s going nowhere slowly. Until, of course, she recognises something in the sound of Ewan Dempsey, reclusive and compulsive maker and player of cellos, who impels in Eleanor a rare moment of caprice …
I loved the quirky fun nature of this book. It had me laughing out loud in several spots. My one criticism is that it ended to quick, another chapter to tie up a few ends would have been great.
The Childrens Book he wrote around Warren the Dog was fantastic too.
I am looking forward to reading his new book.
Rating - I give this 5/5 GREAT!!
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Reviewed by Sarah @ home

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ransom by David Malouf

With learning worn lightly and in his own lyrical language, David Malouf retells Homer's Iliad. Focusing on the unbreakable bonds between men - Priam and Hector, Patroclus and Achilles, Priam and the cart-driver hired to retrieve Hector's body. Pride, grief, brutality, love and neighbourliness are explored. And, this retelling has a few surprises. The minute you finish this novel you will want to return to the beginning and start all over again. Global Books in Print.
This story is beautifully told!
A long time ago in year 12; I read Homers The Odyssey. There began a love for Homer and the surprise as to how interesting and accessible an ancient story could be. The same here with David Malouf’s new book Ransom. Ransom evokes the grey and strange landscape of war. It also focuses on the connection and honour between men: some who are mortal enemies and some of different social status – utterly intriguing! especially between the characters Priam, Somax and the mule – Beauty. The writing is careful and poetic – and has great depth.
Rating - I give this 5/5
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Reviewed by kim @ ballarat library

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Mother's Eyes by Mark Wilson

A sixteen-year-old Australian farm boy lies about his age to enlist to war and is caught up in the horrors of World War I in Egypt and on the Western Front, where 5,500 Australian troops were lost in two days at Fromelles alone (from the publisher).
A very moving story (based loosely around 23 'boy soldiers') about William, a boy who sneaks out the back door of home and heads off on what was initially thought as a great adventure. The story is also told through the letters that he writes home to his family, with great illustrations that add to the story. This would be a good option when introducing younger children to World War I - it has been suggested from 8+.
Rating - I give this 4/5 Not bad!

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Reviewed by Michelle @ admin

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A rose for the Anzac boys, by Jackie French

It is 1915 and war is being fought on a horrific scale in the trenches of France, but it might as well be a world away from 16-year-old New Zealander Midge Macpherson, at school in England learning to be a young lady. Midge is not unaffected, though - her two brothers are in the army and one of them, her twin, Tim, is listed as 'missing' in the devastating defeat of the ANZAC forces at Gallipoli. Desperate to do their bit - and avoid the boredom of school and society's restrictions -Midge and her school friends Ethel and Anne start a canteen in France, caring for the endless flow of wounded soldiers returning from battle. Midge, recruited by the over-stretched ambulance service, is thrust into carnage and scenes of courage she could never have imagined. And when the war is over, all three girls - and their ANZAC boys as well - discover that even going 'home' can be both strange and wonderful. (from the publisher's notes).
Concentrating on the war to end all wars - which as we know proved to be anything but - and linking to the present, this story is so moving I had to grab the tissues on several occasions. Jackie French's characters ring true and so do their voices - it is obvious that French, that consummate author, has delved deeply into diaries, letters and the history of the day so there is never a false note. The book is recommended for age 12 onwards but adults will also find it an absorbing read, as I did.
Rating - I give this 5/5 GREAT!!
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Reviewed by Jan @ Ballarat branch

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

About Face by Donna Leon

This latest offering from Donna Leon has as its background the world of organised crime and the extortion and environmental destruction surrounding the garbage "contracts" that operate in Italy. There is murder, corruption and philosophy aplenty, and of course the food, wine and family of Brunetti.
I don't care if this series of books is becoming formulaic I still enjoy the detail about life in Venice.
Rating - I give this 3/5
Not bad!
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Reviewed by Sarah @ Hamilton library

Monday, May 18, 2009

True Pleasures by Lucinda Holdforth

Meet the dazzling women of Paris; from Colette to Nancy Mitford; Marie Antoinette to Coco Chanel; Napoleon's Josephine to Edith Wharton. Rule-breakers and style-setters, these women were utterly diverse, yet they shared one common passion - Paris, the world's headquarters of style and fashion. [From the publisher]

This book is part travelogue, part history, part self-reflection. It provides a view of Paris that is away from the usual tourist haunts. An enjoyable read for anyone who has visited Paris or would like to.
Rating - I give this 3/5 Not bad!
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Reviewed by Julie @ Wendouree Library

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett

Here is Plum Coyle, on the threshold of adolescence, striving to be new. Her fourteenth birthday is approaching: her old life and her old body will fall away, and she will become graceful, powerful, at ease. The strength in the objects she stores in a briefcase under her bed - a crystal lamb, a yoyo, an antique watch, a penny - will make sure of it.
How does Sonya Hartnett know me so well? I swear that she was watching me grow up and saw every excruciating moment of my adolescence. Admittedly it was the 80s and everything was cringeworthy! She manages to capture the universal aspects of growing up and all the self doubt and casual cruelty that is so much a part of life as a teenager. I think Hartnett is a revelation. I adore her writing in a way that defies description.
Rating - I give this 5/5 GREAT!!
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Reviewed by Sarah @ Hamilton library

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Country Table by Pamela Clark (and AWW)

Celebrates an approach to cooking, and a way of eating, that revolves around generosity, fresh produce and a respect for meal times. In 200 stunning pages, it brings together beautiful country images and time-honoured recipes that pay homage to simple traditions like a Sunday family lunch and home-baked treats for afternoon tea (from the publisher).
This cookbook has a lot of great recipes. I will be giving quite a few of them a try. The collection of country photos throughout the book work well with the recipes in the book. The Women's Weekly have a lot of fantastic cookbooks and this one is no exception - I liked it that much that I went out and bought it!
Rating - I give this 5/5 Not bad!
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Reviewed by Michelle @ admin

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mad men

Set in 1960s New York, the sexy, stylized and provocative drama Mad Men follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising, an ego-driven world where key players make an art of the sell. The series revolves around the conflicted world of Don Draper the biggest ad man (and ladies man) in the business, and his colleagues at the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency.

As Don makes the plays in the boardroom and the bedroom, he struggles to stay a step ahead of the rapidly changing times and the young executives nipping at his heels. The series also depicts authentically the roles of men and women in this era while exploring the true human nature beneath the guise of 1960s traditional family values. (from the producers)

This show is slick and a feast for the eyes.... The dashing men and well coiffed women will have you daydreaming about living in a world of red nail polish and Eames lounges, It is glamorous and some of the social habits will have you gasping in disbelief....Did everyone really chainsmoke at their desks? The storylines are solid and historically correct, you will want to watch episode after episode as I did.
P.S Upon Visiting The Mad Men Blog I discovered that Fans Of the show are called Maddicts, I am Maddict you will be too.

Rating - I give this 10/5

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Want More Mad Men......

by Melissa @ Wendouree library

Monday, May 11, 2009

The two pearls of wisdom by Alison Goodman

Eon is a potential Dragoneye‚ able to manipulate wind and water to nurture and protect the land. But Eon also has a dark secret.
He is really Eona‚ found by a power−hungry master of the Dragon Magic in a search for the new Dragoneye. Because females are forbidden to practise the Art‚ Eona endures years of study concealed as a boy. Eona becomes Eon‚ and a dangerous gamble is put into play.
The publishers compared this to the Otori sequence by Lian Hearn but it really isn't in the same leaugue. It's a fairly basic fantasy story that could have been set anywhere, but the author chose Imperial China so she could include mention of dragons and martial arts, and details about eunuchs, concubines, palaces, precious objects etc. Quite frankly the movie Kung Fu Panda was more authentic and a lot more amusing.
Rating - I give this 3/5
Not bad!

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Reviewed by Sarah @ Hamlton library

Tea in the Library by Annette Freeman

Fulfilling the dream of many a book-lover, Annette Freeman steps bravely outside her 30 year comfort zone as a CBD lawyer to follow her passion to open a splendid bookshop café in the busy heart of Sydney. Tea in the Library quickly became a sought after haven for literary debate and a cosy forum for writers. But - behind the scenes anxieties small and large were festering as were frustrations and endless challenges. Welcome to retail! [From the publisher]

This was an interesting read. Annette Freeman's dream was to create a bookshop that would be part-library (the sort you'd find 'at the Club' with squeaky leather armchairs), part up-market cafe, part Parisian salon. She made her dream a reality for 18 short months before the challenges of retail began to bite. The bookshop interior was beautiful, the wrapping paper direct from the Bodleian Library in the UK, the coffee superb ... but the books just weren't selling. The name of the shop gave customers the impression that books could be borrowed - and somehow this surprised Annette. A nice little memoir for a weekend read.

I give this 3/5 Not bad!
Borrow Tea in the Library from CHRLC
Reviewed by Julie @ Wendouree

Friday, May 8, 2009

1000 Stars by Natalie Bassingthwaighte (CD)

1000 Stars is an up tempo pop record with a positive lyrical message. Written and recorded over three months in London, LA and Sweden. Natalie co wrote a number of tracks on the album working along side some of the best pop writers in the world including Paul Barry (Cher, Tina Turner), Steve Anderson (Kylie Minogue), Jimmy Harry (Pink, Britney Spears) and rising Norwegian star Ina Wroldsen. Includes the singles 'Alive' and 'Someday Soon' (from the distributor).
Thought I'd give this one a try, and have been pleasantly surprised. Natalie seems to be appearing on everything at the moment, so a bit of Natalie-overload is understandable, but she has done a good job at this. I especially like tracks 1, 9 and 14.
Rating - I give this 4/5 Not bad!
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Reviewed by Michelle @ admin

Monday, May 4, 2009

A most immoral woman by Linda Jaivin

It is 1904. At the age of forty−two‚ the handsome and influential Australian George Ernest Morrison‚ Peking correspondent for The Times of London‚ is considered the most eligible Western bachelor in China. But Morrison has yet to meet his match −− until one night‚ where the Great Wall meets the sea‚ he encounters Mae Perkins‚ the ravishing and
free−spirited daughter of a California millionaire‚ and a turbulent affair begins.
I really thought I would enjoy this book but I had to put it aside after I was only half way through. I could not bring myself to finish it because I didn't care what happened. There is no doubt that Linda Jaivin is a formidable researcher, and the time and place in which the novel is set is really interesting, but the characters were not! Morrison and his cronies were all sexist, racist bores, which is obviously historically and anecdotally correct, but the character of Mae Perkins was a real disappointment. There was not enough "fiction" in this novel and this probably flies in the face of recent criticisms about authors playing fast and loose with historical fact. Mae was both fast and loose but that alone does not necessarily make a great premise for a novel.
Rating - I give this 2.5/5
Nothing Special
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Reviewed by Sarah @ Hamilton library

Friday, May 1, 2009

Women in Black by Madeleine St. John

Written by a superb novelist of contemporary manners, The Women in Black is a fairytale which illuminates the extraordinariness of ordinary lives. The women in black are run off their feet, what with the Christmas rush and the summer sales that follow. But it’s Sydney in the 1950s, and there’s still just enough time left on a hot and frantic day to dream and scheme…
By the time the last marked-down frock has been sold, most of the staff of the Ladies’ Cocktail section at F. G. Goode’s have been launched into slightly different careers. With the lightest touch and the most tender of comic instincts, Madeleine St John conjures a vanished summer of innocence. The Women in Black is a great novel, a lost Australian classic.
I must admit I read this because the author sounded intriguing and I am inordinately fond of wearing black myself. What a little treat! It was deceptively simple but all of the characters were extremely well drawn and so utterly Australian I actually felt a bit nostalgic. Very satisfying.
Rating - I give this 4/5
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Reviewed by Sarah@ Hamilton library

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

When a world renowned scientist is found brutally murdered in a Swiss research facility, a Harvard professor, Robert Langdon, is summoned to identify the mysterious symbol seared onto the dead man's chest. His baffling conclusion: it is the work of the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly four hundred years - reborn to continue their bitter vendetta against their sworn enemy, the Catholic church.
In Rome, the college of cardinals assembles to elect a new pope. Yet somewhere within the walls of the Vatican, an unstoppable bomb of terrifying power relentlessly counts down to oblivion. While the minutes tick away, Langdon joins forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to decipher the labyrinthine trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome to the long-forgotten Illuminati lair - a secret refuge wherein lies the only hope for the Vatican (from the publisher).
I enjoyed this book more than The Da Vinci Code. With the film version about to hit the screens, I thought I would read this one again. If you can, try to get a copy of the illustrated version to read, as the illustrations offer a better understanding for some parts of the story. A lot of twists and turns throughout the book, of course, to keep you guessing.
Rating - I give this 4.5/5 Not bad!
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Reviewed by Michelle @ admin