Monday, 19 December 2011

Angels of vengeance by John Birmingham

Being the third book of this series, I expected a bit more of an "impact" in the opening chapters, but I found the beginning of this book a little slow. The author also presumes the reader has read (or re-read) the previous 2 books, but that being said, this is the only down point to a continuation of another of John Birmingham's "alternate reality" series of books.

This book focuses on the three main female characters that survived the "Disappearance" in the first of the books, and their journeys across a changed world to seek vengeance on the people responsible for violence and sorrow aimed against them, attacked and murdered her family (Sophia), attempted to kidnap and hold for ransom her husband and daughter (Caitlin) and to find and stop the person who put a contract on her life (Jules).

Typically of John Birmingham's latest books, the story is fast paced, quite graphic with the action scenes, and his imagination running rampant with the alternate world people and places. He is also not adverse to killing off main characters to the story.

I have enjoyed this series of books (Without Warning, After America) but not as much as his other trilogy, the alternate world of 1942 and World War 2 (Weapons of choice, Designated targets and Final impact), but I would recommend this book (and the series) as an escape from now and a thought of "what if".........


Friday, 16 December 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The staff at Greater Dandenong Libraries would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.

The libraries will be open over the Christmas-New Year break for the following hours:

Friday 23rd December 9-9pm
Saturday 24th December 10-5pm
Sunday 25th December Closed
Monday 26th December Closed
Tuesday 27th December Closed
Wednesday 28th December 9-6pm
Thursday 29th December 9-6pm
Friday 30th December 9-6pm
Saturday 31st December 10-5pm
Sunday 1st January 2012 Closed
Monday 2nd January 2012 Closed
Normal hours resume from Tuesday 3rd January 2012.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Paris noire by Francine Thomas Howard

A light-hearted, entertaining and poignant tale reflecting life for coloured ‘emigrates’ to Paris in 1944

Not a novel I would normally read other than seeing a good review. It wasn’t long before I couldn’t put the book down, drawn into the developing characterisations so well presented by Howard.

I like the French flavour that permeates throughout the novel and it is easy to relate to the thinking of Marie-Therese, a middle-aged single mother who has migrated from Martinque to Paris, and the contrast of approach to life post war by her two young adult children, Colette and Christophe.

Throughout the narrative the racial aspect of black French is cleverly embedded in the story. Francine Howard is very delicate with the subject reflecting the personal knowledge and research used as a base for the novel.

Set against the historical events of the period this is also a star crossed romantic romp with a good touch of humour mixed with a dose of suspense right to the end.


Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts

Beckett Montgomery leads a pretty happy and satisfied life. He enjoys his job as an architect and loves that he, his brothers Ryder & Owen and their mom run a successful construction firm. There's one thing that's missing from his life and that's a chance to get to know Clare Brewster, whom he has had a crush on since high school. Clare has returned home to Boonsboro after her husband was killed in the war and she now runs her own bookstore in town. With three young sons, Clare doesn't have the time to date and is happy with the life she has built for them. Despite being busy and not interested in romance, Clare becomes intrigued by Beckett's transformation of the old inn. Will the Inn help transform Beckett and Clare’s friendship into their “happy ever after”?

I enjoy reading Nora Roberts. Yes, her books can get a little formulaic after a while, but considering how many she has written, she can be forgiven. She always seems to find ways to keep the stories and characters feeling fresh. In this trilogy she has cleverly interwoven her real life home-town of Boonsboro, and the businesses owned by family members, within the plot. Out of curiosity I googled the town and discovered the Inn BoonsBoro has been restored, and is now run, by Nora. The “Turn the Page” bookshop is actually owned by her husband, and stocked with Nora’s books, and her son owns “Vesta Pizza”. So I guess if you are a real fan you can sleep in Nora’s Inn, buy one of her books in her bookshop and grab a bite to eat in her restaurant….

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to escape, for a moment, the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Make a cup of tea, put your feet up, relax and enjoy a very light hearted, easy going read.


Monday, 12 December 2011

Men and dogs by Katie Crouch

If you are looking for a good read that is easy and entertaining this may well be it. I read it cover to cover very quickly. It was funny, light and also had that epiphany that you'd hope your protagonist will have when going through a life-change.

The story is about Hannah whose marriage is falling apart. She is excellent at sabotaging herself! She is also obsessed with the disappearance of her father when she was a child, convinced he is alive and somewhere out there. When she falls and injures herself, she goes back to her childhood home to rest up, and seek answers. The characters in this book are well developed and flawed, but also mostly likable.

For a break from more challenging reads I found this a real joy.


Monday, 5 December 2011

The Ballroom: The Melbourne Punk and Post-Punk Seaview Ballroom by Dolores San Miguel

The Ballroom is a brutally frank memoir of what has become known as one of the most pivotal, fascinating and influential periods of Australian musical and cultural history. The story is illustrated with original flyers and candid photos, some never before seen or published.

The scene: St. Kilda, Melbourne in the late 70s. It was here amongst the prostitutes, drunks and junkies that a music venue was born, a venue that would soon become the pulse of punk and new wave music in Australia. Melbourne’s most famous and infamous musicians, artists, filmmakers and fashion designers such as Nick Cave, Hunters and Collectors, Richard Lowenstein, Sam Sejavka, Howard Arkley and Alannah Hill gathered on a weekly basis during their formative years. Internationally acclaimed acts such as Iggy Pop, The Cure, INXS and Johnny Rotten also performed there.

Although the flow of the story feels a little disjointed in places, jumping between the bands, band members, venues, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, reliving memories of bands, musicians (both living and sadly passed) and a music scene past. I'd recommend this autobiography to anyone that lived through the Melbourne punk and post punk scene, those that are interested in the fantastic array of bands and live venues in Melbourne, and to those looking for a trip down a hazy memory lane, complete with sticky carpet underfoot.