Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Fate of the Furious (Fast and Furious 8) DVD

Cover image of the Fate of the Furious DVD
The Fast & Furious family is back, but this time things will get serious. Dom (Vin Diesel) is going evil and betrays his friends and family to work with Cipher (a.k.a. Charlize Theron), a cyber terrorist who is really evil.
The Rock, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludicrous, Tyrese, Kurt Russell, and Nathalie Emmanuel reprise their roles and they did a good job as well. Scott Eastwood and Helen Mirren are great and a welcome addition to the franchise. There's also some surprise appearances and they are great as well.
The fate of the furious is filled with lots of action, car chases, violence, explosions, shooting, guns, bombs, cars, army tanks, different types of vehicles, motorbikes, jets, airplanes, snow, snowy white landscapes like mountains and glaciers, sunshine, beaches, tall buildings (like tall skyscrapers), loyalty, family, friendship, betrayal, treachery, arguments, falling outs, fights, punch ups, tongue in cheek stuff, some comedy and funny moments, high tech stuff that is incredible, plenty of on the edge of your seat stuff, prisons, prison guards in black suits with shields, all types of people and nationalities, lots of close shaves, near misses and many other things throughout the movie (Whew!)
The fate of the furious is as ridiculously entertaining as you might expect and no eighth movie in any franchise has been in my opinion as fun or effective as ‘Fate’ manages to be.
Real fans of the Furious franchise will absolutely love it, it delivers! This movie is so very clearly made for the fans ! If you're a fan, you know exactly what to do going into this feature, just sit back and enjoy the ride. It's a good one, Enjoy!

Monday, 18 December 2017

Favourite reads of 2017

Book cover image of The last painting of Sara de Vos
As 2017 comes to an end it's nice to reflect on what we have read and enjoyed this year. One of my favourite reads was The last painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith.
It explores the history of a painting and the people involved with it over three different periods in time. In 1631 Sara de Vos paints a landscape picture "At the edge of the wood" in honor of her daughter who has died of fever. Sara is the first woman to be admitted to the Guild of St Luke, an exclusive society of Master painters who control much of the art output in Holland, and profit from it at the expense of their artists. A landscape painting is particularly unusual for a women to paint at that time. Sara has a hard life, eking out a meager living and devastated by the death of her only child.

In the 1950's, the painting is the only one of her works remaining, and it now hangs in the house of one of her descendants Marty De Groot, a wealthy New York businessman. The painting is stolen and replaced with a forgery, which goes unnoticed for some time. When Marty realizes the loss, and the police have no leads, he decides to conduct his own investigation into the whereabouts of the painting. At the same time, Ellie Shipley, a struggling art student is persuaded to paint a forgery of the painting, a decision that will bring her into contact with Marty de Groot and have consequences later in her life when she is co-ordinating an exhibition of Dutch painters in Sydney, and the 2 copies of the work are both set to arrive at her Museum.

A beautifully written work, The last painting of Sara de Vos explores the relationships and emotions between the characters, themes of grief, loss and acceptance, and the effects of the past on our lives. I loved the historical context and it also has some fascinating details of the materials and techniques used to reproduce a 17th century painting.

What was your favourite read of 2017? Please send me your comments by clicking on the comments link below.


Friday, 15 December 2017

Every lie I've ever told by Rosie Waterland

Book cover image of every lie I've ever told
Every lie I’ve ever told is the follow up to Rosie Waterland’s debut book and memoir The Anti-Cool Girl.

It contains a collection of emotional (sometimes heart-breaking) yet hilariously told stories, that are drawn mostly from Rosie’s childhood and young adulthood which are interspersed with a recent story, the time Rosie found herself in hospital after suffering a breakdown following her best friend’s death. She had been telling everybody (and herself) that she was ‘okay’- which was in fact, the biggest lie she’d ever told.
Rosie’s stories are sometimes crude, sometimes sad but always funny and brutally honest. Nothing is off-limits and in this book she shares stories about overcoming depression and anxiety, her alcoholic mother, being the daggy younger sister of a super cool and popular older sister and finding out her best friend had been killed in a tragic accident while living overseas, leading to Rosie’s suicide attempt.

I enjoy reading Waterland’s biographic works as she writes with an incredibly raw, emotional and candid voice. So many of her childhood experiences are relatable, particularly to women who grew up in Australia in the 80’s and 90’s. When reading her stories, it’s as though you’re hearing them from a close friend in High School.
If you enjoyed ‘The Anti-Cool Girl’ or any of Rosie’s blogs, Every Lie I’ve Ever Told is a must read!


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2018

Image of Victorian Premier's Literary Awards
Nominees for the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards were announced last week.
The winners of the five award categories – fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry and writing for young adults – will each receive $25,000, and go on to contest the Victorian Prize for Literature.
The winners will be announced on 1st February 2018.

The shortlisted works are :

A New England affair Steven Carroll
Australia Day Melanie Cheng
The life to come Michelle de Kretser
The Choke Sophie Laguna
The restorer Michael Sala
Taboo Kim Scott

The museum of words : a memoir of language , writing and mortality Georgia Blain
The trauma cleaner: one woman's extraordinary life in death, decay and disaster Sarah Krasnostein
For a girl : the true story of secrets , motherhood and hope Mary-Rose MacColl
No way but this: In search of Paul Robeson Jeff Sparrow
Tracker Alexis Wright
Anaesthesia : the gift of oblivion and the mystery of consciousness Kate Cole-Adams

Young Adult
Because of you Pip Harry
Living on Hope Street Demet Divaroren
Ida Alison Evans

The general public can vote online for their favourite in the People's Choice Award

Congratulations to the nominees.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Summer Reading - New Fiction for December

Cover image of Murder at the millBook cover image of The great aloneBook cover image of Surprise me

Boost your Summer reading with this selection of up-coming titles from some favourite authors like Tilly Bagshawe, Kristin Hannah, Jonathan Kellerman and Sophie Kinsella.

Murder at the Mill Tilly Bagshawe
Only Story Julian Barnes
Judgement Road Christine Feehan
Look for me Lisa Gardner
The great alone Kristin Hannah
Haunted Charlaine Harris
Night moves Jonathan Kellerman
Surprise me Sophie Kinsella
Dead men whistling Graham Masterton
Million love songs Carole Matthews
Fall from grace Danielle Steel

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds. Want ideas for what to read next? Ask our friendly staff for a recommendation.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Summer Reading Club - Blueberry pancakes forever by Angelica Banks

Book cover image of Blueberry pancakes forever
Summer Reading Club has begun, with a chance to win some great prizes just for reading your favourite books.

Here's one you might enjoy...

The setting of Blueberry pancakes forever starts off with Vivienne Small, a creature with wings, enduring a winter that is progressively getting “deeper”. The snow and ice are widespread and the animals continue to hibernate. She can do nothing but watch. Why did this happen and what are the consequences of wintertime continuing? Is she just a girl who lives a simple life in a Treehouse or is there more to Vivienne Small?

Early on in the story we are introduced to young Tuesday McGillycuddy, a budding writer, and her dog Baxter.(Is he just a dog or something more?) We find the McGillycuddy household in a state of despair and turmoil. What went so terribly wrong? I found the darkness, cold and “sadness” that Vivienne describes that overwhelms her land during winter and what the McGillycuddy house is experiencing at the same time is very cleverly written. They seem to be going through similar experiences and feelings but in different situations.

“Out of the blue”, who then arrives on their door step one day to help turn their lives around? This “amazing person” Colette, is she a Godmother, an explorer or filmmaker or all three ?
This book reflects real life events but with a magical twist on different “worlds”. The book is full of blissful imagination and escapism from everyday life, transforming ordinary people with extraordinary events. (Throughout the book, as the title suggests, “pancakes” are often talked about and their significance to the family). This book very much reminded me of the books of my childhood such as “Peter Pan” and “Mary Poppins” and this is reflected in the “A note from Angelica Banks” page at the back of the book.
I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did but might I suggest you start at the beginning of the series so you don’t miss out on learning everything you need to know about “Tuesday McGillycuddy”! See the other titles Serendipity and A week without Tuesday.
Blueberry pancakes forever is a superb book and I would highly recommended it!

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Summer fun - Despicable Me 3 (DVD)

Cover image of Despicable Me 3
I saw Despicable Me 3 in theatres with my children during the school holidays and it was awesome! I have never seen the previous two films in the series but I have heard of the “Minions” (those little yellow people in overalls) and now I know why these characters are so popular. They don’t speak a word of English (rather French) but somehow you know what they mean. And there’s like a million of them too. They are hilarious.
The third film in this series is about the main character Gru and how he gets fired from his job because he failed to catch the world’s biggest super villain, Balthazar Bratt (who I have to say is one of the funniest villains in animated film history – he is so funny!). Gru is not sure what to do with his life and how he can tell his children that he’s no longer got a job. But all that changes one day when a total stranger tells Gru that he has a long lost twin brother named Dru. So Gru desperately wants to meet his brother he never knew he had and he manages to track him down. Dru wants to be like his brother and he tries to persuade Gru to do one last heist together. Will it happen? Will Balthazar Bratt foil their plan? Will Gru finally catch the world’s biggest super villain? Watch Despicable Me 3 and find out.

Friday, 1 December 2017

While you are waiting... Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Each month we will highlight a current popular title - one that everyone wants to read and is hard to get hold of - and give you some suggestions for other great reads you might enjoy while you are waiting in the queue. This month it is Jane Harper's Force of Nature.

Book cover image of FOrce of Nature

Jane Harper's The Dry was a bestselling hit with readers. Now her new novel Force of Nature, again featuring detective Aaron Falk, explores the disappearance of a bushwalker Alice Russell whilst on a team building hike with work colleagues. Alice is an informant in Aaron's latest case, and she knew secrets that many would not want revealed.

While you are waiting to read Force of Nature, here are some other titles you might enjoy:

The Mountain Story, Lori Lansens (ebook)

Book cover image of The Mountain Story
On the anniversary of the day his best friend, Byrd, had a tragic accident on the mountain which had been the boys' paradise and escape, Wolf Truly reaches for the summit again with the intention of not coming home.

But Wolf meets three women in the cable car on the way up from Palm Springs and finds himself agreeing to help them get to a mountain lake. As the weather suddenly deteriorates, the group is stranded on a lethal ridge as the lights of the city twinkle below, so close and yet so terrifyingly far away. Those who will survive the ordeal will do so through a mixture of bravery, determination and self-revelation.

The Hidden Hours, Sara Foster

Book cover image of The hidden hours
Arabella Lane  is found dead in the Thames on a frosty winter’s morning after the office Christmas party. No one is sure whether she jumped or was pushed. The one person who may know the truth is the newest employee at Parker & Lane, the office temp, Eleanor. Eleanor has travelled to London to escape the repercussions of her traumatic childhood in outback Australia, but now tragedy seems to follow her wherever she goes. To her horror, she has no memory of the crucial hours leading up to Arabella’s death, a  memory that will either incriminate or absolve her.

Even if it kills her, Kate White

Book cover image of Even if it kills her
 Bailey and Jillian were best of  friends in College. Things changed when Jillian's family were murdered by a deranged neighbor. Jillian left town and Bailey regrets that she lost touch with her old friend. Now, sixteen years later, Bailey is shocked to see Jillian at her book event, and even more stunned when her still-gorgeous friend approaches her with a case. The man accused of murdering her family is on the brink of being cleared of the crime through new DNA evidence. With the real killer walking free, Jillian is desperate for Bailey’s help to identify him and allow her the closure she yearns for. As the two women return to Jillian’s childhood town to investigate, it doesn’t take long for their sleuthing to cause shock waves, and someone is watching their every move.

Picnic at Hanging Rock, Joan Lindsay

Book cover image of Picnic at Hanging Rock
Classic, atmospheric Australian mystery story set in 1900. A class of young women from an exclusive private school go on an excursion to the isolated Hanging Rock, deep in the Australian bush. The excursion ends in tragedy when three girls and a teacher mysteriously vanish after climbing the rock. Only one girl returns, with no memory of what has become of the others .

The Broken Shore, Peter Temple

Book cover image of  Broken Shore
Joe Cashin was different once. Transferred from Homocide to a small town near where he grew up, all he has to do is play the country cop and walk the dogs. And sometimes think about how he was before. When prominent local Charles Bourgoyne is bashed and left for dead, everything seems to point to three boys from the nearby Aboriginal community; everyone seems to want it to. But Cashin is unconvinced. And as tragedy unfolds relentlessly into tragedy, he finds himself holding onto something that might be better let go. The Broken Shore is a novel about a place, about family, about politics and power, and the need to live decently in a world where so much is rotten.

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds. Want ideas for what to read next? Ask our friendly staff for a recommendation.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The 5 love languages : the secret to love that lasts by Gary Chapman

Book cover image of The five love languages
Gary Chapman wrote this original bestselling book The Five Love Languages more than ten years ago. The core message has hit home with over 5 million people as it focuses on the need to "feel" loved. This need is felt by married people and singles alike and the book continues to strengthen relationships worldwide.

"Nothing has more potential for enhancing one's sense of well-being than effectively loving and being loved. The Five Love Languages : the secret to love that lasts is designed to help you do both of these things effectively" - Gary Chapman.

Although originally crafted with married couples in mind, the love languages have proven themselves to be universal, whether in dating relationships or with parents, co-workers, or friends.

The premise is simple: different people with different personalities express love in different ways. Therefore, if you want to give and receive love most effectively, you have got to learn to speak the right language.

The five languages of love are : words of affirmation - to encourage others; receiving gifts - signs of appreciation ; acts of service - doing things for others ; quality time - is giving your undivided attention to someone and physical touch - it is all in the timing, knowing when and how.
Understanding yourself and others will provide you with a greater fulfilled life. I would recommend that you read any or all of Gary Chapman’s material as another step forward in your own self-development.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks by Gina M. Newton

Book cover image of Amazing animalsof Australia's national parks
Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks is a beautiful guide to the animals of Australia’s national parks for middle to upper primary school students. It opens with a map showing the various habitats of Australia and the National Parks featured in the book. Each section has a double page spread introduction to the featured habitat and each page is divided into easy to understand blocks of information e.g. ‘What is it?’ ‘Where does it live?’ ‘What’s its life like?’ with a map showing the area the animal is from and picture symbols that label the animal’s habitat.
There is also bonus interesting information at the end of each page. Introducing key biology concepts such as habitat and adaptation, this is a great book for animal lovers, and the budding ecologists/zoologists in the family. With the helpful glossary at the back (glossary words are underlined in red throughout the book) it is also suitable for Primary School level projects.
Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks won the 2017 Children’s Book Council of Australia Eve Pownall award for information books. For more great book recommendations go to Children's Book Council of Australia website.
Junior non-fiction books can be found in the non-fiction collections at both Dandenong and Springvale branches.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

All Star Batman – My Own Worst Enemy

Cover image of All star Batman My own worse enemy
Swamp Thing! Animal Man! New 52 - DC’s reboot back in 2015. Must reads!
Definitely not Batman comics; But when it comes to writers, the Swamp Thing and Animal Man run had Scott Synder – in my opinion, a writing genius, and I haven’t been able to avoid not throwing my money at whatever he releases.
And with good reason! Synder arguably wrote one of the most intricate and deep Batman stories of our time. His New 52 take on the much loved super hero saw his Batman title become the standard to which all the other titles were held accountable. That is perhaps why many found the New 52 era a disappointment – nothing was as good as the writing found in Batman.
Fast forward to 2017, we find the New 52 has been replaced by Rebirth – DC’s new era. Even though DC has actively tried to move away from and change their characters links to the New 52 era, unsurprisingly what didn’t change was Synder’s attachment to Batman. While not given the reins of the lead Batman title, Synder was able to continue writing a hybrid New 52/Rebirth Batman story on the side. And let me tell you, it’s another must read!
Synder’s New 52 Batman saw Bruce Wayne clash with all his classic archenemies, most notably the return of Joker. He ticked boxes against the Riddler, the Penguin and others. But there was a story still left untold.
All Star Batman Vol.1, My own worst enemy is that story.
It’s a Harvey Dent, aka Two Face, story that pushes Bruce to his absolute limits as he tries to save his friend, Harvey, from his own worst enemy – himself. In this road trip style narrative, Batman must transport this criminal mastermind across America to a safe house that holds the answers to vanquishing Two Face from Harvey once and for all. The problem is getting there, as Batman must fend off all his old enemies and other hired henchmen called to arms by none other than Two Face himself. Wildly over the top, colourful and insanely gritty, this Batman story brings to the table a brutal, stubborn, yet calculated side of Batman that can only be redeemed in light of his good intentions.
Pair all of this with the excellent art style and pencilling by Declan Shalvey and John Romita Jnr, and a colourist in Danny Miki, who in my opinion presents one of the best examples of his art in these issues with his beautiful use of reds, blues and purples, and you have a complete experience rarely matched in the DC Universe. All Star Batman Vol.1, My own worst enemy is one of my favourite Batman experiences to date!

Friday, 17 November 2017

The first fifteen lives of Harry August by Claire North

Book cover image of First fifteen lives of Harry August
For anyone who knows of the film Groundhog Day (1993) this novel is a very interesting adaptation of the main premise. For anyone that hasn’t seen it or doesn’t know about it, The Fifteen Lives of Harry August is a book about time repeating itself over and over again, which was a lot of fun to get my head around, imagining what sort of experiences one could have. Where the film covers the idea of same day repeating at its end, this novel is about a life repeating once it’s over and in this case it is Harry August’s life, at least for the first (or last?...) fifteen. While the book is a very interesting metaphor for self-discovery, it still deals with the concept of belonging in a community and the responsibility (or lack thereof) that certain power can bring.

Harry soon finds himself dealing with other individuals in the same situation and having already developed a secret society, tries to find how or whether he fits in with the rules of such a group. Given these gifts, the ouroborons or kalachakrans as they refer to themselves are capable of some great societal power, being beyond the limitations of mortal life, but as a result play some interesting games with each other, even being able to communicate into the past and future. Where these individuals are not capable of truly dying very easily (though it is explained early that they can permanently die), the resultant narrative becomes an interesting cross between existential mystery and psychological thriller, using time in a rather unique way, instead of just time travel.

The Fifteen Lives of Harry August was thoroughly enjoyable to see how Harry uses his gift (or curse) and it lead me to thinking how I could have used it differently or more effectively (choosing between pondering the concept or continuing to read was tough at times). An exciting speculative novel, moving beyond typical tropes of power, while asking one traditionally tough question: does the power to make a better world necessarily lead to one? As the ouroborons often state, it’s the first time that is the most confusing.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A Mother's Story by Rosie Batty with Bryce Corbett

Book cover image of A Mother's story
Family violence happens to everybody, no matter how nice your house is, how intelligent you are. It happens to anyone and everyone.”
Rosie Batty
If there is a book that can grab you so intensively and make your heart ache with pain and compassion for the victims of family violence, it’s this one - A Mother's story.
This is a story of young Luke Batty whose short life was marked by ongoing violence and led to his tragic end, and his mother who was not able to prevent it.
But also, this is a book on our society that sometimes turns a blind eye to violence that should not be allowed and tolerated.
Luke was growing up fearing for his mother, but never for himself.
His heart was filled with love, and he tried very hard to help his mum and make everyone happy.

Image of note to his Mum written by Luke Batty
This remarkable book gives us a tragic insight to a childhood burdened with violence, and the toll it took on a young boy who had been witnessing his father’s violent attacks on his mother from a very young age.
Young Luke Batty lost his life in the most disturbing circumstances, and that was a tragedy that could have been prevented.
Rosie Batty wrote this remarkable book in memory of her son, on a love she once had and her tragic loss.
The tragedy helped Rosie to find her voice. Since Luke’s death, Rosie has been speaking passionately about the need to address the family violence epidemic. “If Luke hadn’t died in such an extreme way, I’d just be one of those ‘family violence’ people no one listens to,” says Rosie.
But now she had a newfound purpose to make a difference, and to create a legacy for Luke through the Luke Batty Foundation.
The book has attracted a lot of attention and deeply touched many: “Honest, inspiring, heartbreaking. An amazing, thoughtful, articulate and extremely harrowing story from a courageous survivor" (reader review).
A Mother's story is a reminder that violence is always damaging and can never be tolerated or justified. And it should be everyone’s business.

Friday, 10 November 2017

If you like Stranger Things - you might like to read these

Stranger Things is a popular American Science Fiction/Horror series on Netflix. Set in the fictional town of Hawkins in the 1980s, the first season investigates the mysterious disappearance of a young boy as a series of freaky supernatural events happen around the town. The boy's friends become involved in the search and are helped by the appearance of a stranger, a girl with psychokinetic powers. The second season, currently screening, shows how the characters try to get back to their regular lives after the events and consequences of the first season.

If you like science fiction/mysteries based around young people with a supernatural element you might like to read these titles :

Book cover image of The girl with all the gifts
The girl with all the gifts, by M.R. Carey

Not every gift is a blessing. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh. Melanie is a very special girl. Emotionally charged and gripping , The girl with all the gifts is powerful and affecting thriller. (See also the sequel/prequel The boy on the bridge)

Book cover image of Miss Peregrine's home for peculiar children
Miss Peregrines home for peculiar children, by Ransom Riggs
See our previous Blog review of this book

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous.

Book cover image of Disappearance at Devil's Rock
Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay - e-audio book
Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her 13-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished in the woods of a local park. Riddled with worry, pain and guilt, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened become more haunting and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night.

Book cover image of Welcome to Night Vale
Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink
Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.

Book cover image of The ocean at the end of the lane
The ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman
A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Happy Reading !

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Murder on Norfolk Island - Fatal flaw by Roger Maynard

Book cover image of Fatal flaw
Fatal flaw explores the murder of a Norfolk Island local Janelle Paton on 31st March 2002 which sparked national headlines. “Easter Sunday, Norfolk Island, the first murder in 150 years” and everyone is a suspect. As Norfolk Island measures only 8 x 5 kms with a fluctuating population of 2771 (many of them tourists), you would think that the prospect of finding the murderer of a local would be easy, but that was not the case here!
The victim Janelle Paton aged 29 had just finished her breakfast shift as restaurant manager at the Castaway Hotel. A few hours later, her mutilated body which had been brutally beaten and stabbed 64 times is found wrapped in a black plastic sheet and dumped in a reserve on Norfolk Island.
The investigation was headed by a mainlander DS Bob Peter from Canberra Federal Police as there were no detectives on the island, with the support of the local police. The local population many of whom are descendants of the Bounty crew are very protective of each other and suspicious of any strangers, including the Police. The Police had suspicions there was a conspiracy of silence, with few locals talking on the record, making the truth harder to find. Initially the case had a number of suspects but none proved to be involved. Desperate for evidence, the Police do a mass fingerprinting of more than 1200 people on the island, to find a match for the fingerprints on the black plastic wrapped around the body. This was reported in the national papers as a unique exercise in criminal history and caused quite a stir amongst the locals, yet they failed to find the killer.
Four years later a man named McNeill is arrested in New Zealand, a chef who was working on the island at the time of the death. Now on trial, on such a small island can he get a fair hearing being an outsider? Then in March 2007 a verdict of guilty is handed down to McNeill, but does this end the case? You will need to read the full story to fill in the blanks and follow the twist and turns of the investigation. See how some early mistakes made by the police prolonged the case by an extra 2 years.
I don’t often read true crimes, but I recently had a holiday on Norfolk Island and heard about this story, I was intrigued to find out more, so I read Fatal flaw, a condensed version of the original 2007 edition to satisfy my curiosity. After reading the facts as detailed in this book, I still have my own suspicions about the killers.

Monday, 6 November 2017

New fiction for November

Get ready for action with new releases this month from Robert Crais, Dean Koontz and Stephen Leather

Book cover image of The WantedBook cover image of The whispering roomBook cover image of the Shout

Secrets of Cavendon Barbara Taylor Bradford
Iron gold Pierce Brown
The Wanted Robert Crais
Shroud of eternity Terry Goodkind
Country girl Cathryn Hein
Secret Vineyard Loretta Hill
One kind man Anna Jacobs
Darker E. L. James
Whispering room Dean Koontz
Shout Stephen Leather
One of us will be dead by morning David Moody
Image of you Adele Parks
Manhunt James Patterson
Revelation Nora Roberts
Demon crown James Rollins
Damned serious business Gerald Seymour

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds. Want ideas for what to read next? Ask our friendly staff for a recommendation.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry

Book cover image of the Plant Paradox
There are so many health/diet books out there, from paleo to vegan to Atkins, that it becomes difficult to ascertain what we should eat for health. Some diets are based on a scientific research-based foundation, while others seem to be trend-driven, or worse, money-driven. The Plant Paradox is one of the former, written by a doctor with a background in cardiology, who has spent years researching and testing his theories on the root cause of the sickness, disease and obesity plaguing western society.
The Plant Paradox illustrates how much of modern day health advice is making us sicker. His research has led to a focus on lectins. Lectins are plant-based proteins residing in many of the ‘healthy’ foods we consume in the belief that these foods are making us healthier. These pesky proteins are produced by plants to deter insects and other predators from consuming them. For humans, the end result is systemic inflammation. Lectins reside in grains, legumes and certain fruits and vegetables.
The Plant Paradox lays out a framework for minimising exposure to lectin-producing foods and their adverse effects. Dr. Gundry has been witness to the reversal of diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, among many other conditions, while following the Plant Paradox diet.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Dear Mister M by Herman Koch

Book cover image of Dear Mr M
I picked up Dear Mr M by a total chance, since it definitely wasn’t the cover that caught my eye. We’re told not to judge a book by its cover, but let’s face it, most of us do. I recognised the author as I’ve read another one of his books, The Dinner, and enjoyed it. I think. I only say this because Herman Koch definitely has his own writing style and while both books are written very well and the stories are very interesting in both instances, it does leave somewhat of a bitter taste in your mouth.

If you are looking for a happy go lucky book, something light and airy to read, this is definitely not the book for you.
The premise of the story is laid out fairly early on and you more or less know most of the plot. Dear Mr M revolves around M, who is a famous writer of dwindling popularity, and a protagonist who is closely watching him and writing to him. You quickly figure out that the protagonist’s life seems to closely resemble the story Mr M wrote and the story that brought him his fame. The story line quickly starts unravelling as different viewpoints of the faithful event are given to the reader in dribs and drabs. M’s book plot revolves around a disappearance and possible murder of a high school teacher who had an affair with one of his students, and his obsession over her once she leaves him, told as part fact, part imagination. And like in every good thriller, the story behind the story is always more sinister.

Herman Koch is great at giving you just enough details for you to create a version of the characters as they may be, but as you keep reading, and delving more and more into the psyche of the main protagonist and the famous author M, you realise that everything is not quite as hopeful and innocent (and vice versa) as it seemed. Koch appears to be very philosophical and this comes through in his work. Dear Mr M explores different coping mechanisms, ambitions and dark secrets we keep inside.

Monday, 23 October 2017

The winner of the Man Booker Prize 2017

Book cover image of Lincoln and the Bardo
The winner of this years Man Booker prize is Lincoln and the Bardo by George Saunders.

In 1862 Abraham Lincoln is grief stricken after the death of his young son Willie. As he roams the graveyard where his son has just been buried, Willie is trapped in the ghostly world between the dead and the living - drawn to his father but surrounded by the recently deceased and the long dead.

"Unfolding in the graveyard over a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices,Lincoln and the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief and the deeper meaning and possibilities of life".

The work is the first full length novel from American short story writer George Saunders. The Man Booker prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the UK.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Book cover image of Behind her eyes
In Behind her eyes, Louise is a single mother that works part time at a medical centre. She shared kiss with a stranger in the pub only to find out the next day that he is her new boss and he is married to a beautiful woman.
Very soon she becomes involved in their life and she is not sure whom to believe - husband David who is always half drunk or wife Adele who has to hide her friendship with Louise from her husband.
What did happen in the past, what did happen to Adele’s parents and why are Dave and Adele are still together?
Find out for yourself.
Once you start reading Behind her eyes you will have to finish it. I really enjoyed this book.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

One Photo by Ross Watkins ; Illustrated by Liz Anelli

Book cover image of One Photo
Children’s picture books cover an enormous range of subjects. Many are light and entertaining ; as they should be. One Photo is a book of tragedy and heartbreak. It is a serious read.

This book tackles a difficult subject with beneficial outcomes for readers. It is a book for every family who is willing to face the potential of grief and loss in their own or others’ circumstances. We never know what life has in store for us. Our children can benefit greatly by being exposed to a range of experiences through books. It can be the basis of conversation that can raise questions and allow children, and adults to develop empathy for others. It can help to build resilience and to develop strategies for dealing with pain and loss.

One Photo is a deeply moving book. It examines the roles we play in our families. Sometimes the children are the leaders and remind the adults of what they have forgotten. Always, we need to support each other when things start to change.
Liz Anelli’s illustrations are heart-warming and heart-breaking. The mother, the son and the cat are touchingly portrayed as the story unfolds. The father is seen only from a distance or from an angle that doesn’t show his face. His photos tell his story. We see the pain in the faces of his family and in the text that is so beautifully crafted by Ross Watkins.
One Photo was shortlisted for the Childrens Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year 2017

Friday, 13 October 2017

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Book cover image of Astrophysics for people in a hurry
Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an eminent cosmologist and one of the world’s premier science communicators. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is an illuminating and witty exposition about what science currently knows concerning the nature and history of the universe. Though the ideas are mind blowing they are presented with clarity and concision. The book delivers an awe inspiring insight into some of science’s most incredible ideas and discoveries.
The big bang, the theory of relativity and the mystery of dark matter are some of the subjects explored. DeGrasse Tyson relates how the elements forged inside stars form the building blocks of life thereby linking humans to the great unfolding cosmic story. I highly recommend Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Book cover image of Salvage
Salvage is Martin Rodoreda's thought provoking debut novel set in dystopian future Sydney. A future caused by global warming and a past resource war, the remaining population have been forced to life crammed under a protective dome and those who were left outside have mutated in a feral parody of humans, cannibalistic and wild.
This is very interesting and thoughtful book which will grip the reader and will keep them enthralled from the start. It follows Silver, a strong female character, who is part of a salvage team who scourge the old suburbs looking for anything of value to bring back to the dome.
Martin Rodoreda makes some interesting points about greed and political corruption, and though the world has gone to ruin, how people can use their power to feed their greed to the detriment of others. Salvage is a book for this generation dealing with global warming and its effect on the future.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Triangle by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Book cover image of Triangle
Triangle tells the story of Triangle, a mischievous prankster who lives in a triangle shaped house in a triangle village. He embarks on a journey to visit his friend Square, whom he intends to play a sneaky trick on. What follows is a simple, yet intriguing adventure story that you won’t be able to read just once!

The story is delightfully funny, the text is minimal and much of the humour is drawn from the pace and tone of the narrative which makes it really fun to read aloud. The illustrations are some of Jon Klassen’s finest, drawn in neutral colours with so much depth and texture, very different to the solid, bright colours featured in other children’s picture books.

The book is fun to read and fantastic listen to. Children will enjoy the quirky shape creatures and their antics, set amongst a beautifully illustrated backdrop. The ending is sure to start a conversation amongst readers and their audience!

I would recommend Triangle to children of all ages. It is adored by my two year old son and is currently his favourite bedtime story that we read over and over again! We cannot wait for the next two instalments in the upcoming Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen 'Shape Trilogy', ‘Square’ (to be released in 2018) and ‘Circle’ (to be released in 2019), to see what adventures they will get up to next!


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life

Unfu*k yourself : get out of your head and into your life
Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life is yet another self-empowerment guide that joins the likes of Life-changing magic of not giving a f*ck, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, You are a bad ass, and F*ck Feelings.
It offers an honest, no-nonsense, tough-love approach to help you move past you own self-imposed limitations and ‘self-talk’. It covers divorce, loss, failure, burden, health…..

I feel many self-help reads out in the market are full of far too much detail and gooey love yourself concepts. Once you have read them, you will have a life changing epiphany and be able to solve all simply by following their concepts. This book would appeal to anyone with little time, as it is relatively easy to follow and is short, neatly packed into a quick read and is nearly not as "offensive" as Gary tries to make it out to be.

Originating in Scotland and moving to the U.S. Gary John Bishop, comes from a background of personal development with a lifelong commitment to changing people’s lives utilising a no-frills approach. As a result, he has an increasing worldwide following and has developed a world leading personal development company. He has coached top athletes to fortune 500 company executives and now has self-published his ‘urban philosophy’ to appeal to the general reader that represents a new wave of personal empowerment reads.

Curious? Then borrow this book from the library, have a browse, if you are not easily offended by urban speak and determine if it makes a life changing impact in your life. If you are easily offended, then Gary himself urges you to stop reading and re-gift - or in our case - lend this book to someone else in your life that may benefit from it.


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Tunnel by Anthony Browne

Book cover image of The Tunnel
Beautifully written text with haunting paintings by Anthony Browne, The Tunnel tells an intriguing fantasy story about sibling rivalry and how their love for one another transformed their relationship. The two main characters are siblings Rose and Jack. The story follows the two going for a walk after having an argument.

Soon Jack discovers a tunnel, which he crawls through alone. After waiting for Jack to return, Rose builds up the courage to crawl through the “damp and slimy” tunnel to find him. In spite of her inner fears, Rose followed her brother into a mysterious tunnel, through a frightening wood. There she finds her brother Jack has been turned to stone, but Rose’s love and tears bring Jack back to life. The experience bonds the two and as they return home they smile at one another when their mum asks "Is everything alright"?

The main problem that Rose faces in The Tunnel is conquering her fears to save her brother, this is something both children and adults can relate to - that they need to conquer their fear in life to achieve the outcomes they desire.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Vote for new books !

Greater Dandenong Libraries has introduced its new book selection tool. You can register and vote for the books you would like the library to buy.

Click on the Vote for new books link on the right or Vote here. Enter your email address and Library card number to see the current selection.

Vote now and have your say in our collection.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Suri's Wall by Lucy Estela, illustrated by Matthey Ottley.

Book cover image of Suri's Wall
Suri’s Wall tells the story of a young girl named Suri who lives with lots of other children in a grand, old building located on the side of a mountain overlooking the local town below. However, despite the other children being of similar age to Suri, the children were afraid of Suri as she was much taller than they were. Suri spent many days and nights feeling lonely and found companionship in the big, stone wall that surrounded their home.

One day, Suri realised that she was suddenly tall enough to see over the stone wall and could see the beautiful view of the town and surrounds from where she stood. The other children noticed this and began to approach Suri to find out what the world beyond the wall looked like. Suri delighted in using her imagination to tell her new friends about the spectacular view from their big, grand building. The children continued to ask Suri every day about what she could see over the wall until one day, everything changed.

Suri’s friend Luca noticed there were some big, loud bangs and asked Suri to tell him what she could see. Despite seeing the turmoil across the wall, Suri chose to allow their innocence to continue for just a little while longer and used her wonderful imagination to once again delight her friends with the possibilities of an exciting life on the other side of the friendly wall.

Suri’s Wall leaves you asking many questions throughout the story while you feel for Suri as she relies on resilience in her lonely life followed by navigating new friendships as the story progresses. The confronting reality of war impacts the final pages of the story which in turn compels you to turn right back to the first page and read the entire story again.

The beautiful illustrations throughout enhance the emotions you feel as you read each page and the way the author has unraveled the story leave you eager to find out what is on the following page, even before you have had a chance to appreciate the the words on the current page. Suri’s Wall is a lovely story to read with a primary school aged child who will have many questions as you move your way through this emotional tale.
Amanda C.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Into the water by Paula Hawkins

Book cover image of Into the water
Into the water is the follow up to the very successful Girl on the train by Paula Hawkins. It is based on a series of deaths in a small English town. Like Girl on the train, the story alternates between different narrators, although this time there are a larger cast of characters, which can be quite challenging to keep up with, but it is interesting to get the different character's points of view and the story moves at a good pace with the intrigue gradually building.

Jules has come back to her hometown of Beckford after the drowning death of her sister Nel. Nel’s teenage daughter Lana is reeling from this bereavement and also from the apparent suicide of her best friend Katie. These two are part of a long line of women who have met untimely ends in the waters of Beckford’s “drowning pool”. Nel had been documenting and photographing the pool and its history as a project, now strangely she has become one of the victims of it. Did she drown herself, or was she killed? Jules’ suspicions increase as she finds out Nel had more than a few people in town unhappy about her little project.

As the background stories of all the characters are revealed, their connections and secrets slowly emerge. There are enough motives amongst many of the characters to keep you guessing who the culprit is (which is not revealed until the last page). There is an eerie quality to the story, with a hint of the supernatural, and Hawkins writing is sharp and self-assured, making it easy to read. If you like suspense and were a fan of her first novel, you will enjoy Into the water.