Staff Reviews


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


To place any of these items on hold, click on the book cover image next to the review.  Login to the catalogue with your library card and PIN. 

Not a library member?  Click here, join online and place your holds. 

Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 25 November 2023

The last of the apple blossom  

Homecoming by Elfie Shiosaki

Available in print 

Homecoming pieces together fragments of stories about four generations of Noongar women and explores how they navigated the changing landscapes of colonisation, protectionism, and assimilation to hold their families together.

This seminal collection of poetry, prose, and historical colonial archives, tells First Nations truths of unending love for children—those that were present, those taken, those hidden and those that ultimately stood in the light.

Homecoming speaks to the intergenerational dialogue about Country, kin, and culture. This elegant and extraordinary form of restorative story work amplifies Aboriginal women’s voices and enables four generations of women to speak for themselves. This sublime debut highlights the tenacity of family as well as First Nation’s agency to resist, survive and renew.


The dark  

Tell no one by Brendan Watkins

Available in print

A stunning memoir of one man's search for his birth parents, which uncovered an astonishing global scandal at the heart of the Catholic Church.

Brendan Watkins was eight years old when his parents told him he was adopted. When he was in his late twenties, he started searching for his birth parents and eventually discovered the identity of his birth mother: he was told she was a Catholic nun. And she wanted nothing to do with him. For the next thirty years Brendan had no clues as to the identity of his birth father.

In 2018, a DNA test provided the answer: he was the son of a priest. His father had studied in a Trappist monastery in Ireland, returned to Australia and become a celebrated outback missionary.

After decades of searching and obstruction from the Catholic church, the whole truth was finally exposed. Brendan Watkins' birth parents were a Catholic priest and a nun. Tell No One reveals the moving story of that incredible discovery, and explores the questions, anxieties and reflections arising from his hidden past.


Wrapped in rain  

Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers by Stephen McGrath

Available in print

Jimmy Sharman is a conundrum. Raised in a large poor catholic family, becoming a tent boxer at age eleven. He blinds another boxer and is racked by guilt for the rest of his life yet develops an extremely profitable and popular showground fixture. We learn about Sharman’s boxing tent spruiking, his unconventional business habits, his furious temper, his leadership, and diplomacy. Sharman was 27 and medically fit when the war started.

We learn the real-life stories of several indigenous boxers who were openly defiant against the intense racism they encountered. We meet clumsy Billy Grimes (the flat foot kid) who went on to win several Australian titles. We see an unlikely friendship develop between Rud Kee a Chinese boxer and Sharman.

As losses at Gallipoli and the Western Front grow, townspeople begin to question why a troupe of young men is fighting for profit while others are dying. Soon there are few men left, Sharman struggles to find challengers, recruitment propaganda and white feather campaigns intensify. The conscription plebiscites’ bitterly divide Australia. Then great personal tragedy visits Archie and the troupe. This story is the result of a remarkable new discovery in Australian history, a true story about how Jimmy Sharman navigated his Boxing Troupe throughout the First World War despite; the war fervour, the conscription debate, pressure to enlist, accusations of cowardice and the tragic loss of so many to the war itself.

Based on extensive research of real people and real events, this story tells how Jimmy Sharman managed to continue to tour throughout the war and created an unbeatable boxing troupe of White, Chinese and indigenous boxers, training them to be the most famous of all the Australian Travelling Boxing Troupes. This is an incredible, true, and uniquely Australian story, it is beautifully told, giving us deep insight into the struggles of extraordinary people in extraordinary times.


Wrapped in rain



Sisters in captivity by Colin Burgess

Available in print

The incredible account of Sister Betty Jeffrey OAM and the Australian war nurses who survived the bombing of evacuation ship SS Vyner Brooke in February 1942, and subsequently spent three years in Japanese prison camps in Sumatra.

During those perilous years surviving in squalid conditions, Sister Jeffrey kept a secret diary of day-to-day events which, after the war, was turned into a hugely successful book and radio serial: White Coolies. She would often write of the powerful sisterhood that evolved as the prisoners of war took strength from each other, even forming a vocal orchestra. White Coolies was a major inspiration for the 1997 film Paradise Road.

Sisters in Captivity builds on those diaries to not only re-live the years the nurses spent as POWs but also recounts the early life and influences that encouraged Betty Jeffrey into the field of nursing as a lifelong endeavour. A tireless advocate for returned nurses, she co-founded the Australian Nurses Memorial Centre with sole survivor of the Banka Island Massacre, fellow POW, and her longtime friend Vivian Bullwinkel.

Featuring 32 pages of photos including personal mementos of Betty Jeffrey, courtesy of her family, and her drawings from the prison camps, this is a powerful account of women’s resilience amidst the devastating brutality of war.


Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 18 November 2023

The last of the apple blossom  

Zora books her happy ever after by Taj McCoy

Available in large print 

Zora has committed her life to establishing her bookstore, and she hasn’t had time for romance. But when a mystery author she’s been crushing on agrees to have an event at her store, she starts to rethink her priorities. Lawrence is a charming as she imagined. When he asks her out, she’s almost elated enough to forget about the grumpy guy who sat next to her.

Apparently, the grouch is Lawrence’s best friend, Reid, but she can’t imagine what kind of friendship that must be. But Zora finds first impressions can be deceiving. Reid is smart and thoughtful, but Zora can’t shake the feeling that they’re both hiding something – a mystery she’s determined to solve. 


The dark  

The long way back by Nicole Baart

Available in large print

Mother and daughter Charlie and Eva never sought social media fame, but when a stunning photo of Eva went viral, fame found them. Now, after more than two years documenting life on the road in their vintage Airstream trailer, the duo has temporarily settled on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Eva is happily finishing her senior year of high school and applying to college, but Charlie longs for the adventures they left behind.

When Eva goes missing less than a week before her graduation, it’s Charlie who is immediately suspected of foul play – not just by their fans, but also by the police and the FBI. As a fight about one more road trip comes to light, and the truth about their relationship is questioned, Charlie realises the rosy façade they portrayed online hid a complicated and potentially dangerous reality. Now, to clear her name and find out what has happened to her daughter, she’ll have to confront her own role in Eva’s disappearance – and whether she knows her daughter at all.


Wrapped in rain  

P.S. Come to Italy by Nicky Pellegrino

Available in print and large print

When Belle’s quiet, idyllic life on the coast starts to crumble, it’s a stranger – thousands of miles away in Italy – who provides a shoulder to cry on. And so, when Enrico sends her a beautiful gift with a note signed off ‘P.S. Come to Italy!’ she decides to follow her heart.

Arriving at Enrico’s palazzo in beautiful Puglia, it’s clear that his life couldn’t be more different than the one Belle’s left behind. Yet despite his flashy cars and his glamorous, warring family, she starts to realise that perhaps Enrico needs her just as much as she needed him.

Belle’s holiday of a lifetime was never about falling in love – but under the sun-kissed olive trees, anything can happen…


Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 11 November 2023

The last of the apple blossom  

Lunchbox boss by George Georgievski

Available in print 

Lunchbox Boss shows you how to master the art of putting together a lunchbox that your kids actually want to eat, with 50+ quick and easy recipes for busy parents.

George Georgievski, aka School Lunchbox Dad, tackles some of the most common lunchbox dilemmas, such as fussy eaters, allergies and feeding kids well on a budget. There are sandwiches, wraps, jaffles, bakes, and hot thermos options, as well as bite-sized delicious healthy treats. Try mini roast chicken tacos, pasta salad with bocconcini and basil, panko-crumbed tuna balls, black bean quesadillas, three-ingredient scones, and strawberry jam crust roll-ups.

As well as the simple and delicious recipes, you'll love the tips on how to veganise, remove gluten and other allergens, sneak in hidden veggies and more. There is also a comprehensive Lunchbox 101, with the essentials you need to get organised, save time and money, and ensure your mornings run smoothly.


The dark  

5 ingredients camping

Available in print

Camping is the best way to leave the stresses of your busy life behind, getting away from work and responsibilities. But being out in the great outdoors means you’re away from your kitchen, your fridge and all the appliances that make cooking easier.

What if you could make satisfying meals without those conveniences? The Australian Women’s Weekly 5 ingredients camping cookbook shows you how. The recipes in this book use only 5 ingredients, making the most out of convenience foods and portable packaging, to cook ingenious dishes to serve for your outdoor breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Recipes for snacks and desserts are also included.


Wrapped in rain  

The ultimate fast 800 recipe book by Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison

Available in print

Quick and simple recipes to nourish your body and improve your long-term health.

This book is the ultimate companion cookbook to The Fast 800, the #1 bestseller from Dr Michael Mosley. It contains over 300 delicious low carb, Mediterranean-style recipes to help you combine rapid weight loss and intermittent fasting for long-term good health.

With over 300,000 copies sold, Dr Michael Mosley’s No. 1 bestselling Fast 800 revolutionised Australia’s health through the benefits of an 800-calorie programme, intermittent fasting and a low-carb Mediterranean style of eating.

In this ultimate companion cookbook, Dr Clare Bailey, GP, and acclaimed food writer Justine Pattison have created tasty and super simple meals, from light bites and food on the go, to soups and smoothies, to substantial family meals and even sweet treats.

With more than 300 recipes to choose from, there are numerous low carb, keto friendly, vegetarian and vegan options, plus ready-in 15 or 30-minute meals along with under 200, 400 and 600 calorie-counted meals.

These delicious, nutritious recipes will help you nourish your body and improve your long-term health whether you’re embarking on an intensive weight-loss programme to prevent or reverse Type 2 diabetes, want to bring down your blood pressure and cholesterol or simply aim to improve your mood and general well-being.

Eight weeks of meal plans are included.


Wrapped in rain



The great Aussie roast by Louise Franc

Available in print

The roast dinner remains a staple in homes and restaurants across the globe. It’s a cooking technique that harks back to our earliest days of hunting and roasting meat over the fire in communal celebration.

Of course, much has changed since then, and The great Aussie roast is filled with traditional and modern recipes for roasting. From the quintessential roast chook to “Roasted eggplant with tahini and pomegranate,” right through to “Cinnamon-roasted peaches,” this book features an Aussie roast for every occasion.


Wrapped in rain



Happiness in a mug cake by Kate Calder

Available in print

With fun flavours like mint chocolate or white chocolate and blueberry, and staple classics like carrot cake or apple crumble, whatever mood you're in, we have the cake for you.

No mess, no fuss, no waste, no expense. Just add your ingredients, mix, then wait for the ping and tuck in.

Using this method to make cakes has several benefits. Mug cakes provide people with an easy, speedy way to satisfy cake cravings. Using a microwave instead of your oven is more energy efficient. And by just cooking one portion instead of a large cake, you are reducing chances of food waste.


Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 4 November 2023

The last of the apple blossom  

The last devil to die by Richard Osman

Available in print, CD and eAudiobook

Finally, the long awaited fourth book in the Thursday Murder Club series from the bestselling author Richard Osman. It's rarely a quiet day for the Thursday Murder Club when shocking news reaches them, an old friend has been killed, and a dangerous package that he had been protecting has gone missing.

The gang's search leads them into the antiques business, where the tricks of the trade are as old as the objects themselves. On their quest to discover the murderer they encounter drug dealers, art forgers, and scammers. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim have no idea who to trust. With the body count rising, the clock ticking down, and trouble firmly on their tail, has their luck finally run out? And who will be the last devil to die?


The dark  

Snapshots from home by Sasha Wasley

Available in print, CD and eBook

It’s 1917, three years into the Great War, when Edie takes up a teaching post in the small Australian town of York. Mourning the loss of her beloved brother on the Front and escaping her father’s plans for a respectable marriage, she’s glad to keep busy teaching at Miss Raison’s School for Girls.

After a little persuasion, Edie agrees to take part in a comfort scheme sending photos of home to the troops. Edie’s new venture throws her into the path of the family secrets, scandals, and class complexities of her new town – and a handsome, exasperating man her father would never approve of. With each new encounter, her world gets bigger and more complex, until Edie’s asked to make choices that could turn her cautious life upside down – and change the very course of history.

This story is drawn from the stories of true Australians and all that they experienced and endured during WW1 and how their lives and societies were changed forever.


Wrapped in rain  

Nexus Guardian by Timothy McGowen

Available in CD

Todd’s death was an unfortunate accident and as such you get sent to a goddess to ascertain whether you are eligible to be reincarnated. Todd passes the test and is set to return to earth for another chance at life when unfortunately, earth is destroyed by a giant meteor. 

Already primed for Reincarnation he was given only one other option, but it involved him rising again in an unknown land where magic wasn’t just in the stories it is the story. There wasn’t time to ask much, so he went with it! But like all good Isekai stories, he was given the choice of a guide, so he asked for an attractive pixey guide to join him on his journey. Or at least he asked for a fairy, he assumed that the sexy outfit and attractive part was a given, turns out what they say about assuming is correct.

Reborn as a “Reincarnate” into a place known as Nexus, he stumbles his way through his first moments of a new life. His guide is barely any help at all, a grumpy rotund fairy (neither attractive nor clad in a sexy outfit), named Frank, who would rather sleep and drink himself into a stupor than give any practical advice or guidance.

Join our reluctant hero and follow his progress as he learns just what it means to be a guardian in Nexus.  


Wrapped in rain



The wake-up call by Beth O’Leary

Available in CD and eAudiobook

It's the busiest season of the year, for the Forest Manor Hotel which is quite literally falling apart. So… when Izzy and Lucas (sworn enemies), are given the same shift on the hotel's front desk, they have no choice but to put their differences aside and get on with the job.

The hotel won't stay afloat beyond Christmas without some sort of miracle. But when Izzy returns a guest's lost wedding ring, the reward convinces management that this might be the way to fix everything. There are four rings still sitting in lost property at the hotel, so the race is on for Izzy and Lucas to save their beloved hotel and their jobs.

As their bitter rivalry turns into something much more complicated, Izzy and Lucas begin to wonder if there's more at stake here than the hotel's future. Can the two of them make it through the season and remain sworn enemies?


Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 28 October 2023

The last of the apple blossom  

Really good, actually by Monica Heisey

Available in print

I feel like when you get a divorce everyone’s wondering how you ruined it all, what made you so unbearable to be with. If your husband dies, at least people feel bad for you.

Maggie’s marriage has ended just 608 days after it started, but she’s fine – she’s doing really good, actually. Sure, she’s alone for the first time in her life, can’t afford her rent and her obscure PhD is going nowhere . . . but at the age of twenty-nine, Maggie is determined to embrace her new status as a Surprisingly Young Divorcée™.

Soon she’s taking up ‘sadness hobbies’ and getting back out there, sex-wise, oversharing in the group chat and drinking with her high-intensity new divorced friend Amy. As Maggie throws herself headlong into the chaos of her first year of divorce, she finds herself questioning everything, including: Why do we still get married? Did I fail before I even got started? How many Night Burgers until I’m happy?


The dark  

Fair Rosaline by Natasha Solomons

Available in print

Was the greatest love story of all time a lie?

Romeo Montague is handsome and charming and the first time he sees young Rosaline Capulet, who has secretly snuck into his family's masquerade summer ball, he falls instantly in love.

At first Rosaline is unsure of Romeo's attentions but with her father determined that she join the nunnery, Romeo offers her the chance of a different life. Gradually he convinces her that only true love could make him feel this way, that he is enraptured by her beauty. Indeed, he cannot live without her!

And so begins the story of Romeo and Rosaline. These star-crossed lovers must keep everything hidden from Rosaline's family, at least until they are wed. But when a destitute young girl appears, claiming to be carrying Romeo's child, Rosaline starts to doubt all that she has been told. And as whispers of more girls reach her ears, what once felt like a courtship begins to feel more like a pursuit.

As Rosaline recognises Romeo for the villain he truly is, his gaze turns suddenly towards Rosaline's adored and beautiful cousin, thirteen-year old Juliet. Can Rosaline save Juliet, who falls under Romeo's spell just as quickly as she did? Or can this story only ever end one way?

The subversive, powerful untelling of Shakespeare's best know tale. A fierce, forgotten voice: this is Rosaline's story.


Wrapped in rain  

Paris dreaming by Anita Heiss

Available in eBook

Libby has given up on romance. After all, she has her three best girlfriends and two cats to keep her company at night and her high-powered job at the National Aboriginal Gallery in Canberra to occupy her day – isn't that enough?

But when fate gives Libby the chance to work in Paris at the Musée duQuai Branly, she's thrown out of her comfort zone and into a city full of culture, fashion and love.

Surrounded by thousands of gorgeous men, cute baristas and smooth-tongued lotharios, romance has suddenly become a lot more tempting.

And as if life wasn't hard enough, there's a chauvinist colleague at the Musée who seems determined to destroy Libby's exhibition in every way he can. Then there's Libby's new friend Sorina, a young Romanian, desperate to escape deportation. Libby must save her job and save her friend, but can she save herself from a broken heart?


Wrapped in rain



Shark Heart by Emily Habeck

Available in print

For Lewis and Wren, their first year of marriage is also their last. A few weeks after their wedding, Lewis receives a rare diagnosis. He's turning into a great white shark, and has less than a year left to live as a human. At first, Wren resists her husband's fate. Is there a way for them to be together after Lewis fully transforms? But as Lewis changes, day by day, Wren begins to make peace with the inevitable. After all, this isn't the first time she's lost a loved one.

An extraordinary novel of love, loss, hope and happiness, Shark Heart explores the shapes that love takes, in all its many forms, and asks us to ask ourselves: what makes us human?


Wrapped in rain



The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson

Available in print

Philadelphia, 1948: Fifteen-year-old Ruby's dreams are almost within reach. She's going to be the first in her family to attend college, despite having a mother more interested in keeping a man than raising her only daughter. But falling madly in love with the one boy she is forbidden from threatens to pull Ruby back into poverty and desperation. When she's imprisoned in a home for unwed mothers - locked in the House of Eve with other 'fallen girls' - everything she's worked so hard for starts slipping through her fingers.

Washington, DC, 1948: Eleanor arrives in the city with ambition, hope and a past she's trying her hardest to run from. When she meets William at Howard University, with his inky black eyes and broad shoulders, it's love at first sight. But William hails from one of Washington, DC's elite Black families, who don't let just anyone into their inner circle - especially not a girl from 'the wrong side of the tracks'. Eleanor hopes that a baby will mean they finally accept her, and that her secrets won't see the light of day - but fate has other plans in store...

In the dawn of the 1950s, Ruby and Eleanor are complete strangers - until their paths unexpectedly collide. Forced to make the most heartbreaking decisions of their lives, will their choices save them... or be their undoing?


Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 21 October 2023

The last of the apple blossom  

Weekends with the Sunshine Gardening Society by Sophie Green

Available in print and eAudiobook

Noosa Heads, 1987:  Newly divorced Cynthia has returned to her hometown from Los Angeles to reconnect with her 19-year-old daughter, who is pregnant and determined not to listen to her mother's advice. Cynthia's former best friend, Lorraine, has been stuck mowing lawns as part of a business she shares with her husband - his dream, not hers. When Cynthia convinces Lorraine to join the local Sunshine Gardening Society, they meet young widow Elizabeth, and rootless, heartbroken Kathy.

The four women soon discover the society is much more than an opportunity to chat about flowers. Rather, it offers them the chance to lend a helping hand to people whose lives need a bit of care and attention right along with their gardens.

Between pulling up weeds and planting natives, the women learn from each other that some roots go deep, and others shallow; that seeds can lie dormant for a long time before they spring to life, and that careful tending is the key to lives and friendships that reach their full potential.


The dark  

Four dogs missing by Rhys Gard

Available in print and eBook

While estranged twins Oliver and Theo Wingfield are identical in appearance, they couldn't be more different. Theo, an extrovert verging on arrogant, was always a drifter, a nomad, operating on the fringes of the law. Oliver, intense, creative and introspective, was destined to become a winemaker. Each vintage, every bottle from Oliver's Mudgee-based label, Four Dogs Missing, sells out.

And now, after fifteen years without contact, Theo unexpectedly turns up at his brother's vineyard, bearing an invitation that his twin knows nothing about. The quiet and fulfilling life that the winemaker has built for himself is about to change overnight: Theo's arrival is the catalyst for a series of murders involving those closest to Oliver. Finding himself the main suspect, Oliver soon discovers that not everyone in Mudgee supports a reclusive and unorthodox vigneron who's shied away from the community that helped him succeed.

Oliver is inexorably drawn into a sinister world where poisoned liquor and stolen art leave a deadly trail. Abandoning his grapevines, he sets out to solve the crimes – and confront his damaged past – before someone else he loves is found dead … beside a bottle of his own wine.


Wrapped in rain  

Love match by Clare Fletcher

Available in print

In a town like South Star, everyone knows Sarah Childs’ name, face, entire history … and the fact she’s just been dumped by Johnno West.

Sarah would happily keep to herself on their property, Dunromin, for the rest of her days. But now her parents are refusing to put her in charge until she spends a year getting more involved in the local community and, yes, dating. Well. She’ll show them community spirit. She’ll be Miss bloody South Star if that’s what it takes. How hard can it be?

Under small-town surveillance Sarah rekindles neglected friendships and throws herself in the dating deep end (recruiting the Bush Telegraph, Mabel Peters, to matchmake for her). She joins a new women’s rugby team, the Pink Cockatoos, and even the bristly new cop in town, Sergeant Smith, can't slow Sarah's race to keep up appearances as the perfect daughter, citizen and girlfriend.

As Sarah moves in with Mabel to help catalogue her vast wardrobe – bringing up memories of Mabel’s beauty pageant past and long-lost friend Rose – vintage fashion might not be all that comes out of the closet.


Wrapped in rain



Outback by Michael Davies

Available in print

Insurance investigator Bill Kemp had never wanted to trek deep into Australia’s remote interior. But when his clients Sophie and Adam Church inherit an abandoned opal mine, triggering some explosive long-lost secrets, they – and Kemp – find themselves facing an unknown enemy even more deadly than the vast, forbidding wilderness of the Outback…

The Desmond Bagley centenary novel honours the legacy of the bestselling thriller writer with a new adventure featuring Bill Kemp, described by Jeffrey Deaver as ‘part James Bond, part Philip Marlowe, and all hero’. Writer Michael Davies, who completed the first Kemp novel Domino Island for publication nearly 40 years after the author’s death, now weaves an original tale of danger and death under the blistering Australian sun.