Review: So You Want to Live Younger Longer? – Dr Norman Swan

So You Want to Live Younger Longer?

Dr Norman Swan

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733648342

RRP $34.99

Description:

The ultimate guide on what you can do at any age to stay young and healthy longer, from Australia’s trusted, straight-talking doctor and broadcaster, Dr Norman Swan, bestselling author of So You Think You Know What’s Good for You?

Many of us dream of staying as young as possible as long as possible whether we’re in our 30s, 40s, 70s or even 80s, and there’s a growing Conga line of products and people offering you just that dream. The dilemma is, which of the pills, mental and physical exercise programs, diets and superfoods actually work? Some of them do help to keep us young, healthy and living longer, others may work when the researchers get the potions right and some are a downright waste of money. So how do you know what and who to trust? That’s the journey that Dr Norman Swan is going to take you on in So You Want to Live Younger Longer?

Deeply researched and written with his trademark wit, common sense and accessibility, Norman brings together what’s known, not known, hopeful but not harmful and harmful and not hopeful, summarised with quick takeaway messages backed up by the science and evidence. No matter what your age, So You Want to Live Younger Longer? gives you the information you need to make your own choices without wasting your time and money or even missing a nice dinner because you might be on a diet that is getting you nowhere.

Norman disentangles our ‘Book of Life’ – the genes we’re born with and what we subject them to later on – and shows that in the search for youth, genes matter much less than you’d think for most of us. In other words, we can overwrite our personal Book of Life and Norman’s book will help you do it.

We can live younger, longer – at any age – we’ve just got to know what to do.

My View:

An excellent, informative, well written, engaging read. So much science based, researched information presented with wit and humour. This is an author I would love to hear speak in person…his ability to connect with the reader/the room is amazing.

A great read.

Review: Here be Leviathans – Chris Flynn

Here be Leviathans

Chris Flynn

University of Queensland Press

ISBN:9780702262777

Description:

A collection of funny, brilliant, boundary-pushing stories from the bestselling author of Mammoth. A grizzly bear goes on the run after eating a teenager. A hotel room participates in an unlikely conception. A genetically altered platypus colony puts on an art show. A sabretooth tiger falls for the new addition to his theme park. An airline seat laments its last useful day. A Shakespearean monkey test pilot launches into space. The stories in Here Be Leviathans take us from the storm drains under Las Vegas to the Alaskan wilderness; the rainforests of Queensland to the Chilean coastline. Narrated in Chris Flynn’s unique and hilarious style by animals, places, objects and even the (very) odd human, these short fictions push the boundaries of the form by examining human behaviour from the perspective of the outsider. 

My View:

What an impressive range of styles, voices and ideas this collection showcases, I could read more. There is something here for everyone to enjoy but a couple of these stories are standouts for me; the first, which gives a brilliant, witty insight into the thinking of a grizzly bear – hilarious. But my very favourite was the last, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, set in the underground sewers and the sky scrapers of Las Vegas. A story that illustrates how hope, joy and love can be found anywhere. Loved this one.

PS I was really fortunate to be gifted a set of “chapter cards” with brilliant artworks on the front and extracts of each chapters on the back. What a fabulous idea!

5 star read!

Review: The Pachinko Parlour – Elisa Shua Dusapin, translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins

The Pachinko Parlour

Elisa Shua Dusapin

Translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins

Scribe

ISBN: 9781922585172

Description:

From the author of Winter in Sokcho, which won the 2021 National Book Award for Translated Literature.

The days are beginning to draw in. The sky is dark by seven in the evening. I lie on the floor and gaze out of the window. Women’s calves, men’s shoes, heels trodden down by the weight of bodies borne for too long.

It is summer in Tokyo. Claire finds herself dividing her time between tutoring twelve-year-old Mieko in an apartment in an abandoned hotel and lying on the floor at her grandparents: daydreaming, playing Tetris, and listening to the sounds from the street above. The heat rises; the days slip by.

The plan is for Claire to visit Korea with her grandparents. They fled the civil war there over fifty years ago, along with thousands of others, and haven’t been back since. When they first arrived in Japan, they opened Shiny, a pachinko parlour. Shiny is still open, drawing people in with its bright, flashing lights and promises of good fortune. And as Mieko and Claire gradually bond, their tender relationship growing, Mieko’s determination to visit the pachinko parlour builds.

The Pachinko Parlour is a nuanced and beguiling exploration of identity and otherness, unspoken histories, and the loneliness you can feel within a family. Crisp and enigmatic, Shua Dusapin’s writing glows with intelligence.

My View:

Another beautifully written book which has been excellently translated, a joy to read.

Shua Dusapin writes with intelligence and with a deep understanding of what it is to be human. Her writing evocatively reflects on aging, culture, belonging … The writing has a sense of innocence that is peaceful yet confident; vignettes of the ordinary that are so revealing.

Review: Legitimate Sexpectations – Katrina Marson

Legitimate Sexpectations : The Power of Sex Ed

Katrina Marson

Scribe

ISBN: 9781922585516

RRP $ 32.99

Description:

Can we promise future generations a life free of sexual violence, in which their sexual wellbeing will be protected? Is this a promise we can keep?

As a sexual offences prosecutor, Katrina Marson works for an institution that can only respond, one case at a time, to sexual violence once the damage is already done. During a decade of looking back, she kept returning to a single question: what could have been done to prevent this?

In 2019 she stepped out of the justice system to travel abroad on a Churchill Fellowship, where she witnessed first-hand the power of comprehensive relationships and sexuality education to safeguard sexual wellbeing and act as a protective factor against sexual violence. Combining her coalface experience in the criminal law with her international research on sex education, Marson’s perspective is unique, looking in two directions at once.

Legitimate Sexpectations exposes the limits of the criminal justice system and the fault lines in our society when it comes to sex, sexuality, and relationships. Through storytelling that moves between heartbreak and hope, Marson makes the case for a cultural shift towards valuing sexual wellbeing and preventing sexual violence in the first place. In doing so, she calls on us all to play our part to ensure that young people’s sexual experiences are not just free from violence, but far from violent.

My View:

A life changing book! A book I wish was around and being talked about when I was a child. Child you ask? YES! You are never to young to be empowered about your own safety and to be given permission and the language to talk about sexual abuse at whatever age, child/teenager/adult.

A well balanced, clear and rational discussion regarding “consent”.

Be warned there are triggers in this book – and yes it triggered so many things for me that even now as a 63 year I am still trying to deal with.

This book should be in the hands of every educator, politician, parent, library, resource centre, school…that’s right YOU SHOULD READ THIS

5 stars

Guest Review: Verity – Colleen Hoover

Verity

Colleen Hoover

Sphere

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781408726600

RRP $32.99

Description:

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

Rachel’s View:

In a stark departure from her run of popular young adult romance novels, Colleen Hoover has delivered a dark, tense thriller.

When a successful novelist who writes from the chilling perspective of the villain is involved in a terrible accident, struggling writer Lowen is brought in to finish the final contracted books. Staying in the house with the famous but now irrevocably changed Verity Crawford and her husband Jeremy, Lowen begins sifting through a room full of the author’s notes.

As she sets about outlining the new novels, she stumbles across something almost too horrible to read – but read she must. And as the pages unfold, Lowen is given a disturbing insight into what really happened surrounding the tragedies of the Crawford family.

Ill at ease from the dark words she has discovered, Lowen begins to question her own sanity as she sees things around the house that don’t add up.

With a last minute twist you’d never expect, Verity is a compelling page turner. Of course there are elements of the romance Colleen Hoover is so well known for, with a few of the common tropes thrown in for good measure. Still, it is an exciting and creepy read that’s easy to finish in a matter of hours.

But reader beware – if you’re a new mum like me, there are parts that will make your stomach turn!

Davitt Awards Shortlists 2022

Davitt Awards 2022 shortlists announced

26 July 2022

Sisters in Crime Australia has announced the shortlists for the 2022 Davitt Awards for best crime books by Australian women.

The shortlisted titles in each category are:

Adult crime novel                

  • Unforgiven (Sarah Barrie, HQ Fiction)
  • Before You Knew My Name (Jacqueline Bublitz, A&U)
  • You Had It Coming (B M Carroll, Profile Books)
  • All That I Remember About Dean Cola (Tania Chandler, Scribe)
  • Bodies of Light (Jennifer Down, Text)
  • Shelter (Catherine Jinks, Text)
  • The Beautiful Words (Vanessa McCausland, HarperCollins)
  • Once There Were Wolves (Charlotte McConaghy, Hamish Hamilton)
  • The Family Doctor (Debra Oswald, A&U)
  • The Second Son (Loraine Peck, Text)
  • The Silent Listener (Lyn Yeowart, Viking) 

Young adult crime novel

  • The Gaps (Leanne Hall, Text)
  • Dirt Circus League (Maree Kimberley, Text)
  • Sugar Town Queens (Malla Nunn, A&U Children’s)
  • House of Hollow (Krystal Sutherland, Penguin)

Children’s crime novel

  • Night Ride into Danger (Jackie French, HarperCollins)
  • The Detective’s Guide to Ocean Travel (Nicki Greenberg, Affirm)
  • Ella at Eden #6: The London thief (Laura Sieveking, Scholastic)

Nonfiction crime book

  • Empowering Women: From murder and misogyny to High Court victory (Susie Allanson with Lizzie O’Shea, Wilkinson Publishing)
  • Larrimah: A missing man, an eyeless croc and an outback town of 11 people who mostly hate each other (Caroline Graham & Kylie Stevenson, A&U)
  • The Winter Road: A story of legacy, land and a killing at Croppa Creek (Kate Holden, Black Inc.)
  • Banquet: The untold story of Adelaide’s family murders (Debi Marshall, Vintage) 

Debut crime books

  • Before You Knew My Name (Jacqueline Bublitz, A&U)
  • Shadow Over Edmund Street (Suzanne Frankham, Journey to Words)
  • Larrimah: A missing man, an eyeless croc and an outback town of 11 people who mostly hate each other (Caroline Graham & Kylie Stevenson, A&U)
  • The Waterhole (Lily Malone, Lily Malone Publishing)
  • Unsheltered (Clare Moleta, S&S)
  • The Family Doctor (Debra Oswald, A&U)
  • The Second Son (Loraine Peck, Text)
  • Shiver (Allie Reynolds, Hachette)
  • Crime Writer (Dime Sheppard, Ruby Books)
  • House of Hollow (Krystal Sutherland, Penguin)
  • The Silent Listener (Lyn Yeowart, Viking).

This year’s judging panel was made up of medical autopsy expert Philomena Horsley; YA expert and reviewer Joy Lawn; Sisters in Crime’s president Moraig Kisler; and authors Janice Simpson, Emily Webb and Jacquie Byron. The judges selected the 33 shortlisted titles from a longlist of 169 books.

The six category winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Melbourne on Saturday, 27 August. No prize money is attached to the Davitts; the winner of each category receives a trophy.

Last year’s winners included Sally Hepworth for The Good Sister (Macmillan) and Leah Swann’s Sheerwater (Fourth Estate).

For more information, see the Sisters in Crime website.

https://www.booksandpublishing.com.au/articles/2022/07/26/218068/davitt-awards-2022-shortlists-announced/

Review: The Reunion – Polly Phillips

The Reunion

Polly Phillips

Simon & Schuster

ISBN:9781398513600

RRP$29.99

Description:

An utterly addictive, deliciously dark look at the underside of glamorous university life . . . An absolute five star read’ GYTHA LODGE

‘I was completely hooked. Reminiscent of Big Little Lies‘ VICTORIA SELMAN

A chance to reconnect.
A chance to get revenge . . .

Emily Toller has tried to forget her time at university and the events that led to her suddenly leaving under a cloud. She has done everything she can to forget the shame and the trauma – and the people involved. She has tried to focus on the life she has built with her children and husband, Nick.

But events like that can’t just be forgotten. Not without someone answering for what they’ve done. 

When an invitation arrives to a University reunion, everything clicks into place. Emily has a plan.

Because if you can’t forget – why not get revenge?

My View:
Picture this…… a long fuse….you hear a match strike, you see a flicker of light, and the flame “catches” and the fuse ignites, a gentle trail of red/orange/gold fizzes slowly along the fuse…you are mesmerized by the flame. BOOM!!! The dynamite explodes – as does this read!

A powerful read with a conclusion that will knock your socks off.

Guest Review: The Woman in the Library – Sulari Gentill

The Woman in the Library

Sulari Gentill

Ultimo Press

ISBN: 9881761151033

Description:
In every person’s story, there is something to hide…

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.

Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with The Woman in the Library, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.

Brenda’s View:
This is spectacular! Literary genius!
The best-selling author within our book, Hannah Tigone, is writing her book from her home in Australia, set in Boston in the US. The only time Hannah is mentioned is at the end of each chapter when she is emailed by her beta reader, Leo, who lives in the US. The beginning of the book is set in the Boston Public Library, where four strangers are brought together by a piercing scream. While security searched for the origin of the scream, but initially found nothing, the four strangers became acquaintances and then friends.

Freddie (Winifred) is the narrator of the story, and also a writer. She won an award in Australia which brought her to Boston to write her crime novel. Her meeting in the library with Cain (another author), Whit (a student trying to fail law) and Marigold (fixated on Whit) felt right. Freddie couldn’t believe how quickly the four became friends. When the body of a young woman was found in the library, it was just the start of their nightmare.

With the police focusing on the four friends, Freddie and Cain did their best to follow leads to find the killer. When another murder occurred, one of the four was in the frame. Strange text messages were sent to Freddie, odd happenings which were freaking her out – was the killer amongst them? Could Freddie identify the deranged murderer before anyone else died?

The Woman in the Library by Aussie author Sulari Gentill is so incredibly clever – I’ve never read anything like it! I loved the way it was done, loved the intricate juggling the characters perfected, and found the twists delicious! Ms Gentill has always had my admiration for her historical mystery series – Rowland Sinclair – and The Woman in the Library has cemented her place at the top of my favourite authors. Highly recommended.

With thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review. Also Ultimo Press AU for my ARC which I devoured!! 

Review – When Only One – Meg Gatland-Veness

When Only One

Meg Gatland- Veness

Panterra Press

ISBN:9780648987666

Description:

‘There’s someone in the school. Someone who’s not supposed to be there. This person is walking towards the classroom. They’re holding something in their hands. Something terrifying.’

Sam lives with his mum, dad and four brothers in a small farming town. At his school, there are three main factions: the rich kids, the mid-grounders and the farm kids who live on the outskirts. Sam is a comfortable mid-grounder and life is pretty good. He works as a lifeguard at the local surf club, is saving to buy his first car, he’s training with his friends for the Ironman challenge, and on Sunday afternoons he and his family take care packages to their less fortunate neighbours. Then, five years since they last spoke, Emily Burrow climbs back into Sam’s life and everything changes.

Emily’s life is very different to Sam’s – her absent father has returned and her mum struggles with her mental health. Sam does his best to be there for Emily when he wasn’t for so long, but there seems to be no right way to help her.

When Rei starts at school, Sam is smitten. Rei’s parents are social workers, she’s from the rich side of town, and her life seems a thousand miles away from how the kids on the outskirts live. In a world that’s ill-equipped to support kids struggling with unseen burdens, is there a way to help Emily before the worst happens?

From the bestselling author of I Had Such Friends comes a novel that’s gritty, full of heart and shines a light on kids who are doing it tough in a rural Australian town.

My View:
Where can I start? I was so impressed with this read! It’s gently written despite the emotive, evocative and difficult material it discusses. And for some readers, some of the issues raised here could trigger memories of events or actions that are distressing, Panterra Press hope those so affected will connect with https://au.reachout.com/

The book – the prologue sets a disturbing scene; a shooting in a school, who is involved, why? A grim but intriguing introduction to the narrative.

Each chapter begins with brief recollections of the incident by various people at the scene. These recollections juxtaposed against the chapter contents that recount events before and leading up to the shooting create tension and is a powerful and seductive device to engage the reader in this story of moral dilemmas, of life in a small rural town, of domestic violence, of poverty, of loss, of grief, of addictions, of mental health issues…this gently spoken book touches on so many contemporary issues. It doesn’t preach, it allows the reader to think, to assimilate all the background information and to ask their own questions.

A powerful and emotional read. 5 stars.

Review: Our Members Be Unlimited – Sam Wallman

Our Members be Unlimited

A Comic About Workers and Their Unions

Sam Wallman

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925713053

Description:

An original and visually powerful exploration of unionism.

In our current political climate, people are looking for answers — and alternatives. The promise of unions is that their ‘members be unlimited’: that they don’t belong to the rich, the powerful, or special interests, but to all workers.

How did the idea of unionism arise? Where has it flourished? And what are its challenges in the 21st century? From Britain to Bangladesh, from the first union of the 18th century to today, from solidarity in Walmart China to his own experiences in an Amazon warehouse in Melbourne, comics journalist Sam Wallman explores the urge to come together and cooperate that arises again and again in workers and workplaces everywhere.

With a dynamic and distinctive art style, and writing that’s both thoughtful and down to earth, Our Members Be Unlimited serves as an entry point for young people or those new to these notions of collective action, but also as an invigorating read to those already engaged in the struggle for better working conditions — and a better world.

My View:
This book is so relevant! I hope you get a chance to read this; it is well written, the illustrations are excellent and really help to get the messages across. There is so much detail here…I can appreciate all the work that went into creating this epic, illustrated, narrative.

This book reminds us (workers worldwide) of the progress made in ensuring better pay and conditions over the years and yet illuminates that there are still much more we can aspire to change if we unite. The Amazon case cited here has surprised and disappointed me, I thought “we” were better than this, better than the practices here.

This narrative is honest – unions are made up of people and people are not always perfect, but the majority are working towards a common goal – of making work conditions fair, safe and beneficial to all involved, making “work” equitable and “seen” and hopefully at some point “work need not necessarily be awful.” Collective action rules the world.

This is a great read!