Staff Reviews

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Read about the latest items the library has added to its collections.

Reviews

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Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 21 January 2023

The last of the apple blossom  

The girl who fell from the sky by Emma Carey

Available in print and eBook

There on that helicopter, somewhere over Switzerland on a Sunday in June, came the first tiny whisper. A voice that would carry me for years to come. 'I'm going to be ok. There's still joy here.'

When Emma Carey was twenty, she fell from 14,000 feet and survived. In The Girl Who Fell From the Sky Emma tells us the inspirational story of how, through one of her greatest tragedies, she found her truest self. From waking in the hospital, a paraplegic to learning how to use her legs again, through the six-year long court case and now being finally free to make the most of her life, Emma teaches us the importance of courage and resilience.

This heartfelt book is more than a memoir, it's a call to action that reminds us not to take our lives and abilities for granted - to live every day like it could be our last.

 

The dark  

Surrender: 40 songs, 1 story by Bono

Available in print

Bono – artist, activist and the lead singer of Irish rock band U2, has written a memoir: honest and irreverent, intimate and profound.

Surrender is the story of the remarkable life he’s lived, the challenges he’s faced and the friends and family who have shaped and sustained him.

 

 

Wrapped in rain  

What moves the dead by T. Kingfisher

Available in print

An internationally famous photographer, Tucker Mason has travelled the world, capturing things other people don’t see.  But what Tucker himself can’t see is how to let go of the past and forgive his father.

On a sprawling Southern estate, Tucker and his younger brother, Mutt, were raised by their housekeeper, Miss Ella Rain, who loved the motherless boys like her own.  Hiring her to take care of the Waverly Hall and the boys was the only good thing their father ever did.

When his brother escapes from a mental hospital and an old girlfriend appears with her son and a black eye, Tucker is forced to return home and face the agony of his tragic past.

Though Miss Ella has been gone for many years, Tucker can still hear her voice – and her prayers.  But finding peace and starting anew will take a measure of grace that Tucker scarcely believes in.

 

Wrapped in rain

 

 

Lessons by Ian McEwan

Available in print, eBook and eAudiobook

When the world is still counting the cost of the Second World War and the Iron Curtain has closed, 11-year-old Roland Baines's life is turned upside down. Two thousand miles from his mother's protective love, stranded at an unusual boarding school, his vulnerability attracts piano teacher Miss Miriam Cornell, leaving scars as well as a memory of love that will never fade.

Now, when his wife vanishes, leaving him alone with his tiny son, Roland is forced to confront the reality of his restless existence. As the radiation from Chernobyl spreads across Europe, he begins a search for answers that looks deep into his family history and will last for the rest of his life. Haunted by lost opportunities, he seeks solace through every possible means – music, literature, friends, sex, politics and finally love cut tragically short, then love ultimately redeemed.

His journey raises important questions for us all. Can we take full charge of the course of our lives without causing damage to others? And what can we really learn from the traumas of the past?

 

Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 14 January 2023

The last of the apple blossom  

Friends, lovers, and the big terrible thing by Matthew Perry

Available in print

The beloved star of Friends takes us behind the scenes of the hit sitcom and his struggles with addiction in this candid, funny, and revelatory memoir that delivers a powerful message of hope and persistence In an extraordinary story that only he could tell, Matthew Perry takes readers onto the soundstage of the most successful sitcom of all time while opening up about his private struggles with addiction.

Candid, self-aware, and told with his trademark humour, Perry vividly details his lifelong battle with the disease and what fuelled it despite seemingly having it all. Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is an unforgettable memoir that shares the most intimate details of the love Perry lost, his darkest days, and his greatest friends. Unflinchingly honest, moving, and hilarious: this is the book fans have been waiting for.

 

The dark  

Five bush weddings by Clare Fletcher

Available in print and eBook

With her ex soon to be married, her mum back on the dating scene, and her best friend threatening to settle down with the Most Boring Man Alive, Stevie is feeling left behind. To top it off, her old uni mate Johnno West, whom she hasn't seen for years, keeps turning up as best man at Stevie's jobs. And he is looking so good.

Perhaps their youthful pact - that if they were both still single in their early thirties they'd get together - is not so crazy after all? Then the enigmatic Charlie Jones walks into the frame...

 

Wrapped in rain  

The orphans by Fiona McIntosh

Available in print, CD, eBook and eAudiobook

Orphan Fleur Appleby is adopted by a loving undertaker and his wife and she quickly develops a special gift for helping bereaved families. Her ambition to be the first female mortician in the country is fuelled by her plan to bring more women into the male dominated funeral industry.

Raised in the outback of South Australia's Flinders Ranges, Tom Catchlove is faced with a life-changing tragedy as a young boy. He works hard but dreams big, striving for a future as a wool classer. A chance encounter between the two children will change the course of their lives.

By adulthood Fleur finds herself fighting for the survival of the family's business, while her widowed father drinks away generations of prosperity and a new, conniving stepmother wants Fleur gone.

When Tom emerges from the isolation of the desert to find new work at the port wool stores, his path crosses with Fleur's again - only to be caught up in a murder investigation, in which they can only trust each other.

 

Wrapped in rain

 


 

Courtiers: the hidden power behind the crown by Valentine Low

Available in print

Who advises the royal family, what influence do they have and how have they shaped history?

Throughout history, the British monarchy has relied on its courtiers - the trusted advisers in the King or Queen's inner circle - to ensure its survival as a family, an ancient institution, and a pillar of the constitution. Today, as ever, a vast team of people hidden from view steers the royal family's path between public duty and private life. The Queen, after a remarkable 70 years of service, is entering the final seasons of her reign without her husband Philip to guide her. Meanwhile, Charles seeks to define what his future as King will be, with his court wielding ever greater influence as he plans for his imminent accession.

The question of who is entrusted to guide the royals has never been more vital, and yet the task those courtiers face has never been more challenging. With a cloud hanging over Prince Andrew as well as Harry and Meghan's departure from royal life, the complex relationship between modern courtiers and royal principals has been exposed to global scrutiny.

 

Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 7 January 2023

The last of the apple blossom  

The liars by Petronella McGovern

Available in print

The close-knit community of Kinton Bay is shocked when fifteen-year-old Siena Britton makes a grisly discovery near a cave in the national park. Siena believes it's a skull from the town's violent colonial past and posts a video which hits the news headlines. But her parents, Meri and Rollo, think the skull is related to their teenage parties in the Killing Cave back in the 1990s. And a school mate who went missing then.

None of them foresees the dangers that the discovery will create for their family. The dangers of past deceits, silences and lies that have never been resolved. The Liars is a heart-stopping cocktail of family secrets, sinister unsolved disappearances, and a community at war with itself.

 

The dark  

The resemblance by Lauren Nossett

Available in print and CD

On a November morning at the University of Georgia, a fraternity brother steps into a busy crosswalk and is struck dead by an oncoming car. More than a dozen witnesses all agree on two things: the driver looked identical to the victim, and he was smiling.

Detective Marlitt Kaplan is first on the scene. A local and the daughter of a professor at the university, she knows all its shameful history. But in the course of investigating this hit-and-run, she will uncover more chilling secrets in the sprawling, interconnected system of fraternities and sororities that empower the university's most elite students.

The lines between Marlitt's police work and her own past begin to blur as she seeks to bring to justice an institution that took something precious from her many years ago. When threats against her escalate, Marlitt must question whether the corruption in her hometown has run off campus and into the police force, and how far these brotherhoods will go to protect their own.

 

Wrapped in rain  

The binding room by Nadine Matheson

Available in print

The Serial Crimes Unit are called in to investigate when a local pastor is found stabbed to death. As DI Henley assesses the crime scene, she discovers a hidden door that conceals a room set up for torture – and bound to the bed in the middle of the room is the body of a man. When another body is found, also tied down, Henley realises there's someone out there torturing innocent people and leaving them for dead. But why? There's nothing that connects the victims. They didn't know each other. Their paths never crossed. But someone has targeted them, and it's up to Henley and the SCU to stop them before they find another binding room…

 

Wrapped in rain

 


 

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Available in print

Daisy Darker is arriving at her grandmother’s house for her eightieth birthday. It is Halloween, and Seaglass – the crumbling Cornish house perched upon its own tiny private island – is at one with the granite rocks it sits on.

The Darker family haven’t all been in the same place for over a decade, and when the tide comes in they’ll be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours. When the tide goes back out, nothing will ever be the same again, because one of them is a killer . . .

 

 

Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 31 December 2022

The last of the apple blossom  

Elodie’s library of second chances by Rebecca Raisin

Available in print

When Elodie applies for the job of librarian in peaceful Willow Grove, she’s looking forward to a new start. As the daughter of a media empire, her every move has been watched for years, and she longs to work with the thing she loves most: books.

It’s a chance to make a real difference too, because she soon realises that there are other people in Willow Grove who might need a fresh start – like the homeless man everyone walks past without seeing, or the divorcée who can’t seem to escape her former husband’s misdeeds.

Together with local journalist Finn, Elodie decides these people have stories that need sharing. What if instead of borrowing books readers could ‘borrow’ a person, and hear the life stories of those they’ve overlooked?

But Elodie isn’t quite sharing her whole story either. As the story of the library’s new success grows, will her own secret be revealed?

 

The dark  

The proxy bride by Zoe Boccabella

Available in print and eBook

When Sofie comes to stay with her grandmother in Stanthorpe, she knows little of Nonna Gia's past. In the heat of that 1984 summer, the two clash over Gia's strict Italian ways and superstitions, her chilli-laden spaghetti and the evasive silence surrounding Sofie's father, who died before she was born. Then Sofie learns Gia had an arranged marriage. From there, the past begins to reveal why no-one will talk of her father.

As Nonna Gia cooks, furtively adding a little more chilli each time, she also begins feeding Sofie her stories. How she came to Australia on a 'bride ship', among many proxy brides, knowing little about the husbands they had married from afar. Most arriving to find someone much different than described.

Then, as World War II takes over the nation, and in the face of the growing animosity towards Italians that sees their husbands interned, Gia and her friends are left alone. Impoverished. Desperate. To keep their farms going, their only hope is banding together, along with Edie, a reclusive artist on the neighbouring farm and two Women's Land Army workers. But the venture is made near-impossible by the hatred towards the women held by the local publican and an illicit love between Gia and an Australian, Keith.

The summer burns on and the truth that unfolds is nothing like what Sofie expected ...

 

Wrapped in rain  

Limberlost by Robbie Arnott

Available in print

In the heat of a long summer Ned hunts rabbits in a river valley, hoping the pelts will earn him enough money to buy a small boat.

His two brothers are away at war, their whereabouts unknown. His father and older sister struggle to hold things together on the family orchard, Limberlost.

Desperate to ignore it all-to avoid the future rushing towards him-Ned dreams of open water.

As his story unfolds over the following decades, we see how Ned's choices that summer come to shape the course of his life, the fate of his family and the future of the valley, with its seasons of death and rebirth.

The third novel by the award-winning author of Flames and The Rain HeronLimberlost is an extraordinary chronicle of life and land- of carnage and kindness, blood ties and love.

 

Wrapped in rain

 

 
 

The bullet that missed by Richard Osman

Available in print, large print and eAudiobook

The third book in the record-breaking Thursday Murder Club series from British national treasure Richard Osman.

It is an ordinary Thursday and things should finally be returning to normal.

Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club is concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers.

Then, a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill . . . or be killed.

As the cold case turns white hot, Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), while Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim chase down clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?

 

Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 24 December 2022

The last of the apple blossom  

Country Style grazing edited by Sophia Young

Available in print 

Grazing boards are the ideal way to entertain with effortless style. Visually appealing, these abundant displays celebrate the generosity of country hospitality that make everyone feel welcome.

This beautiful book contains ten themed boards, each with a guide on what to make, what to buy and what drinks pair well to serve. The themed boards include cheese & fruit, morning or afternoon tea, casual brunch, antipasti, from the market, from the sea, middle eastern, country fete and something sweet.

Country Style Grazing is beautifully illustrated and presented with glossary and measures and temperature charts provided. So, whether you’re after a luxe cheese platter, pretty morning tea, vegetarian spread or sweets board, there’s bound to be a sumptuous selection perfect for your next gathering.

 

The dark  

Quick + easy gluten free by Becky Excell

Available in print

Are you avoiding gluten but lack inspiration and the time to cook for yourself? Do you need convenient, simple and delicious recipes to see you through the week? Looking for midweek meals that all of the family will love?

Packed with over 100 recipes for everything from 30-minute fakeouts, quick dinners, easy breakfast and lunch dishes to speedy sides, party food, 30-minute sweet treats, classic bakes and simple no-bake desserts, Quick & Easy Gluten Free instantly brings back the thing that a gluten-free diet takes from us all: convenience.

What’s more, Becky includes slow cooker, pressure cooker, air fryer, oven and stovetop instructions for lots of the recipes, plus dairy-free, lactose free, low FODMAP, veggie and vegan options. An essential book when it comes to gluten-free home cooking, Quick & Easy Gluten Free will be a constant companion on your daily gluten-free journey.

Becky Excell has created a publication that reunites the reader with all the food and flavours that gluten-free people never get to enjoy, she has provided so many tips and information from storage and equipment to ingredients and much more, and most importantly doesn’t assume you have hours to prep and produce a meal. Well worth a look if you are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Low Lactose, Vegan, Vegetarian or FODMAP challenged.

 

Wrapped in rain  

How to go plant-based by Ella Mills

Available in print

Over a hundred brand new, delicious recipes as well as insights from experts, including doctors, dieticians and nutritionists. You’ll find one-pan recipes traybakes and ideas for batch cooking and feeding your family. Plus, there are five chapters detailing the latest research on a plant-based diet, the impact our diet and lifestyle has on our health and wellbeing, how to make a dietary change in a healthy way, the psychology of making a change, and advice on plant-based diets for children and teenagers.

Ella Mills goes into detail about what plant-based means, FAQs, why we need to make the change and what a healthy diet should look like. If you are working on moving to a majority plant-based diet to improve your health and wellbeing this could be the book for you.

 

Wrapped in rain

 

 
 

Spice: a cook’s companion by Mark Diacono

Available in print

A vibrant exploration of flavour, fragrance and heat that majors on the kitchen, Spice is a celebration of over 80 spices and blends that will fill your plate with a wealth of heady aromas and tastes.

Mark Diacono shares the techniques at the heart of sourcing, blending and using spices well, and provides over 120 innovative recipes that build on bringing these spices alive – whether that’s creating blends to enhance your food when short of time on a weekday evening, or in infusing and blooming spices to bring out the very best of these treasured ingredients. With additions throughout from chefs and food writers for whom spices are an integral part of their cooking identity. Spice is sure to inspire and uplift; it is a look at all things ‘spice’ with some fabulous recipes for you to try your skills at blending.

 

Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 17 December 2022

The last of the apple blossom  

The Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital by Joanna Nell

Available in print, large print and CD

The Marjorie Marshall Memorial Cafeteria has been serving refreshments and raising money at the hospital for over fifty years – long after anybody can remember who Marjorie Marshall actually was. Staffed by successive generations of dedicated volunteers, the beloved cafeteria is known as much for offering a kind word and sympathetic ear (and often unsolicited life advice) as for its tea and buns.

Stalwart Hilary has worked her way up through the ranks to Manageress; Joy, the cafeteria’s newest recruit, has been late every day since she started; seventeen-year-old Chloe, the daughter of two successful surgeons, is volunteering during the school holidays because her mother thinks it will look good on her CV. And when they discover the cafeteria is under threat of closure, this unlikely trio must band together to save it.

 

The dark  

The hat girl’s heartbreak by Lindsey Hutchinson

Available in large print and CD

It’s been five years since Ella Bancroft lost the love of her life, and she’s still not been able to move on. The one thing keeping Ella smiling is her hat shop, Ivella. Her fabulous creations are the first choice for the fashionable Edwardian ladies of Walsall, and her fame is spreading far and wide.

Darcie Newland won’t ever forgive Ella for stealing her fiancé, even though he was never really hers in his heart. After being exiled by her parents after yet another scandal, Darcie is now back in Birmingham and set on revenge.

As her hat shop flourishes, and the possibility of a new love appears, Ella finally dares to hope for a happy future.

But storm clouds are gathering over the Black Country, and life might have other plans for the hat girl from Silver Street.

 

Wrapped in rain  

The 3 am Shattered Mums’ Club by Nina Manning

Available in large print

Meet Aisha, Sophy and Mel. Three new mums. All absolutely shattered.

For her social media fans, influencer Sophy has the picture-perfect life. But why does she feel so lonely all the time?

Older mum Mel wasn’t planning on being a mum later in life. What does this all mean for the career that she loved?

And Aisha, whose much loved twin boys bring her so much joy, but have caused a rift in her own family that she isn’t sure she can ever fix.

Navigating this new world of motherhood is hard. And the only sanity these three friends have is their 3am mums’ club, where they can chat and support each other as their babies, finally, finally sleep.

But in the still of the night, secrets are revealed that could turn all their lives upside down…more than they already are!

 

Wrapped in rain

 


 

Murder in Tuscany by T. A. Williams

Available in large print and CD

Nestled high in the Tuscan hills lies Villa Volpone, home to renowned crime writer Jonah Moore and his creative writing course. It’s also the last place DCI Dan Armstrong expected to spend his retirement! Dan’s no writer, but maybe this break will help him to think about the next chapter in his own life story?

But only days into the course, Jonah Moore is found stabbed to death with his award-winning silver dagger! And Dan finds himself with a killer to catch.

The other guests all seem shocked by Jonah’s death, but Dan knows that one of them is lying. And as he and Italian Commissario Virgilio Pisano begin to investigate it quickly becomes clear that everyone at Villa Volpone has secrets to hide…

But can Dan discover who the murderer is before they strike again?