Staff Reviews


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


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Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 13 April 2024

The last of the apple blossom  

The tea ladies by Amanda Hampson

Available in print, CD, eBook and eAudiobook

Sydney, 1965: After a chance encounter with a stranger, tea ladies Hazel, Betty and Irene become accidental sleuths, stumbling into a world of ruthless crooks and racketeers in search of a young woman believed to be in danger.

In the meantime, Hazel’s job at Empire Fashionwear is in jeopardy. The firm has turned out the same frocks and blouses for the past twenty years and when the mini-skirt bursts onto the scene, it rocks the rag trade to its foundations. War breaks out between departments and it falls to Hazel, the quiet diplomat, to broker peace and save the firm.

When there is a murder in the building, the tea ladies draw on their wider network and put themselves in danger as they piece together clues that connect the murder to a nearby arson and a kidnapping. But if there’s one thing tea ladies can handle, it’s hot water.


The dark  

The cryptic clue by Amanda Hampson

Available in print and eAudiobook

In ZigZag Lane, in the heart of Sydney’s rag-trade district, tea ladies Hazel, Betty and Irene find themselves in hot water. Having already solved a murder, kidnapping and arson case, and outwitting an arch criminal, they have proved themselves a useful resource and earned the respect of a local police officer. Now he needs their help to solve a plot that threatens security.

As if that’s not enough, Irene gets a coded message directing her to the spoils of a bank robbery, which sends the tea ladies on a treasure hunt with an unexpected outcome.

There’s also trouble brewing within the walls of Empire Fashionwear, where an interloper threatens not just Hazel’s job but the very role of tea lady. It’s up to Hazel to convince her friends to abandon their trolleys and take action to save their livelihoods – before it’s too late.


Wrapped in rain  

Big yum by Chloe Joy Sexton

Available in print

Cookie fanatics, rejoice! Bakery owner and beloved TikToker Chloe Joy Sexton is here to bring you the biggest, yummiest, most indulgently scrumptious cookies you’ll ever taste. Discover outstanding recipes for oversized confections that will recall all the joys of your childhood cookie jar. Sweet or salty, fruity or stuffed— thanks to Chloe’s bold and inventive approach to cookie-making, there’s a giant cookie recipe for every giant craving.

Delight in whimsical creations like Marshmallow- Stuffed Fruity Funfetti Cookies or the Giant Coffeedoodle. Get your chocolate fix with melt-in-your-mouth Chocolate Churro Cookies, decadent Brownie-Stuffed Cowboy Cookies or drool-worthy Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Cookies. Each creative, showstopping recipe in this book is sure to yield big cookies and bigger smiles!


Wrapped in rain



Sweet France: the 100 best recipes from the greatest French pastry chefs by Francois Blanc

Available in print

France has a rich history of sweet traditions and talented patissiers, and with Sweet France, readers will discover 100 recipes for irresistible cakes and pastries to satisfy every sweet tooth. The book includes the essentials, classics revisited, pastries, signature cakes, cookies, and other bite-size treats.

Indulge yourself with caneles de Bordeaux, gateau Basque, traditional fraisier cake, chocolate eclairs, and the legendary Saint-Honore. Inside, you'll find recipes for every level of proficiency to try at home, including the favourite creations of Cedric Grolet, Yann Couvreur, Pierre Herme, Philippe Conticini, and a host of other big names and up-and-coming talents in contemporary French patisserie.


Wrapped in rain



Comfort eating: what we eat when nobody's looking by Grace Dent

Available in print

From one of the nation's best-loved food writers and inspired by the award-winning podcast, Comfort Eating is a wonderfully scrumptious, life-affirming journey through the foods that really mean the most to us.

Have you ever wondered why eating cheese can sometimes feel like a cuddle? Or how a big bowl of pasta can be just what we need after a tough day? Oh, and what is it about butter that seems to make everything just that little bit better… ?

The foods we turn to behind closed doors are deeply personal, steeped in nostalgia and topped with a healthy dollop of guilty pleasure. In Comfort Eating, Grace Dent throws open her kitchen cupboards to reveal why we hold these secret snacks and naughty nibbles so dear to our hearts.

Exploring her go-to comfort foods through a series of joyous encounters, Grace reflects on the memories they uncover and pays tribute to her parents, the people who taught her what comfort eating truly means. Along the way, she catches up with some famous friends to chat about their own favourites - from Jo Brand's fried bread sandwich and Russell T. Davies' 'butterpepperrice' to Scarlett Moffat's crushed-Wotsits-topped beans on toast and many, many more . . .So grab a plate and pull up a chair: unfussy, honest and filled to the brim with heartwarming stories and comfort food tales, Comfort Eating is the perfect treat for food lovers everywhere.


Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 6 April 2024

The last of the apple blossom  

Me vs Brain : an overthinkers guide to life by Hayley Morris

Available in print 

Do you run through imaginary arguments while showering?

Do you panic about your partner hearing you fart?

Do you constantly overanalyse every aspect of your life?

The Queen of overthinking - Hayley Morris takes us on an adventure through panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, menstrual cups and everything else that wakes you up in a cold sweat at 3am. 


The dark  

Why am I like this? : the science behind your weirdest thoughts & habits by Dr. Jen Martin

Available in print

Why can’t I stop taking photos?

Why do I always feel like I’m missing out?

Why can’t I remember why I walked into this room?

You’re not the only one. Whether it’s procrastinating, feeling like an imposter or blushing when you don’t want to, our strange thoughts and habits are hardwired into us. Award-winning educator with a PhD from the University of Melbourne, Dr. Jen Martin delves into the science behind our strangest thoughts and habits, from why smells make us homesick to why we stick our tongues out when we’re concentrating.


Wrapped in rain  

The health habit by Dr. Amantha Imber

Available in print

Are you trapped in a cycle of unhealthy habits? You are not alone - we all have unique barriers that get in the way of making permanent changes to our health. Eat healthier, boost your energy, and sleep better with this easy-to-use, practical guide inspired by the latest scientific research.

In The Health Habit, psychologist Dr Amantha Imber steps away from the one-size-fits-all approach and brings together:

  • The specific psychological barriers stopping you from achieving better health.
  • Cutting-edge research into what we should eat, how to get fit, and how to sleep better, by professors at institutions including Harvard and Oxford, plus health experts such as Dr Norman Swan, Dr Layne Norton and Jessie Inchauspé.
  • The latest behavioural science that helps us make these changes stick for good.
  • An easy method to create your own personalised and actionable plan to change your habits.


Wrapped in rain



The vagus nerve reset : train your body to heal stress, trauma and anxiety by Anna Feguson

Available in print

Harness the power of your vagus nerve to reduce stress, overcome anxiety and release past trauma.

The vagus nerve connects our brain with other major organ systems in our bodies, it has both a mental and physical role in relaxing tension and counteracting stress. Stimulation of this nerve can help restore calm, moving us out of the ‘fight or flight’ response, and activating the parasympathetic nervous system ‘rest and digest’ response.

Feeling anxious and disconnected are signs of a nervous system that's out of balance. Something as small as a curt message from our boss can be perceived by our bodies as a threat to life. By understanding our physiological stress response, we can override and heal our emotional response, and fix the behaviours sabotaging our health and happiness.

Including a programme of mindful movement, breathwork and meditation, journalling, and more, this comprehensive guide allows us to find anchors of safety amongst the chaos, reclaim a sense of control and step into the most confident, resilient and grounded version of ourselves.


Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 30 March 2024

The last of the apple blossom  

The summer of songbirds by Kristy Woodson

Available in print and large print

Four women come together to save the summer camp that changed their lives and rediscover themselves. Nearly thirty years ago, in the wake of a personal tragedy, June Moore bought Camp Holly Springs and turned it into a thriving summer haven for girls. But now, June is in danger of losing the place she has sacrificed everything.

June's niece, Daphne, met her two best friends, Lanier and Mary Stuart, during a fateful summer at camp. They've all helped each other through hard things, from heartbreak and loss to substance abuse and unplanned pregnancy, and the three are inseparable even in their thirties. But when attorney Daphne is confronted with a relationship from her past--and a work issue becomes personal--she is faced with an impossible choice. Lanier, meanwhile, is torn between the commitment she made to her fiancé and the one she made to her first love. And when a big secret comes to light, she finds herself at odds with her best friend...and risks losing the person she loves most in the process.

But nothing is more important to these songbirds than Camp Holly Springs. When the women learn their favourite place is in danger of closing, they band together to save it, sending them on a journey that promises to open the next chapters in their lives. 


The dark  

Digging for victory at Rookery House by Rosie Hendry

Available in large print

It’s March 1941, and after Flo Butterworth loses everything in Manchester’s Christmas Blitz, she decides to leave the area and join the Women’s Land Army. Putting the past firmly behind her, she arrives at Rookery House in Norfolk hoping for a new start and a chance to do the gardening work she loves. The grip of war has intensified and growing more food is vital to keep the nation going. Thea buys an extra field to grow crops, and in the village, her sister Prue leads members of The Mother’s Day Club and Women’s Institute as they take on a derelict allotment.

Meanwhile the construction of a nearby aerodrome disrupts village life and brings even more new residents to Rookery House, including Hettie’s difficult sister, Ada. With Rookery House now bursting at the seams, will it still be the happy home it’s always been? When an enemy plane crashes nearby, Flo must help German airmen who might have been directly responsible for her family loss. She quickly finds that her heart-breaking past cannot so easily be forgotten. Can she do the right thing? And will her new friends help her move on towards a brighter future?


Wrapped in rain  

50 ways to save the honey bees: (and change the world) by J. Scott Donahue

Available in print

Help save the bees – and the world – with these simple and considerate ways! 

Did you know that honey bees pollinate a third of the food we eat, but that a third of them are dying off each year.  You have the power to keep them buzzing for years to come. For decades, bees and bee colonies have been disappearing around the world, worrying beekeepers, ecologists, and farmers. But it’s easy help save and revitalize your local bees, as well as the local ecosystem, with these 50 ways.

Simple contributions can start with sharing a link on social media or buying local, organic foods, while more intense steps can include gardening, building habitats and beekeeping! If you’ve ever wondered what you can do to help, here is the best place to start!


Wrapped in rain



Pickle and ferment by Susan Crowther and Julie Fallone

Available in print

60 classic and unique recipes for probiotic-rich ferments such as pickled veggies, salsas, kimchi, sourdough, and more! Fermenting, in the simplest definition, is changing food into a healthier version of itself—a version that basically stays fresh, forever. Sounds kind of magical, doesn’t it?

This book explores a specific type of raw pickling or live-fermentation. Live-fermented foods are the healthiest to eat and easiest to make. Live-fermentation is simpler than canning and the food lasts longer than freezing. This technique saves time and energy, as it cuts down on heating and cooking. Live-fermented foods do not require refrigeration. Plus, they can stay fresh indefinitely. In addition to saving energy costs, fermenting increases a food’s health benefits. Live-fermented foods are healthier than their original raw products. Vital nutrients and vitamins—often destroyed with heating—are not only kept alive but improved. And other nutrients are actually created during fermentation.

The authors, Susan Crowther and Julie Fallone offer step-by-step instructions for pickling and fermenting all kinds of produce from carrots to garlic to sweet potatoes, plus offers recipes for Live-Fermented Hot Sauce, Fermented Hot Honey, and more unique and healthy goodies, from kombucha jun tea, to chocolate sauerkraut cake. 


Wrapped in rain



Hello, fears: crush your comfort zone and become who you're meant to be by Michelle Poler

Available in print

Are you ready to break free from the grip of fear and embark on a journey of personal growth and empowerment?

This growth mindset personal development book from acclaimed speaker and influencer, Michelle Poler, will help you push out of your comfort zone and find authentic happiness. With a captivating blend of vulnerability, humour, and actionable insights, Michelle shares her story of conquering 100 fears in 100 days and provides a roadmap to help you navigate the uncharted territories of your fears. From public speaking and taking risks to facing rejection and embracing vulnerability, Hello, Fears equips you with the tools and mindset needed to set life-changing goals, embrace courage, and live a life without limits. Overcome the fear of failure and transform setbacks into stepping stones for success. 

Whether you're struggling with fear in your career, relationships, or personal aspirations, Hello, Fears provides the guidance and motivation you need to break free and live a life driven by courage, resilience, and purpose. Embrace the transformative power of fear and unlock your true potential today!



Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 16 March 2024

The last of the apple blossom  

Taking to the field: a history of Australian women in science by Jane Carey

Available in print

If asked to name an Australian woman scientist from the past, very few could. Let's change that.

Histories of Australian science largely overlook women. Their absence gives the impression that, until recently, there were no Australian women scientists. But this is far from true: women formed a much larger proportion of the scientific community from the 1900s to the 1940s in Australia than in Britain or the United States, and numbers have only grown since.

Why don’t women scientists make it into history books? Because women’s work is less cited than men's and more likely to be forgotten. Taking to the Field is the first comprehensive history of Australian women in science from the colonial period to contemporary times. This untold story shows that women have played a greater role than is commonly recognised. 


The dark  

A history of the world in 21 Women by Jenni Murray

Available in eAudiobook

Jenni Murray gives the lie to Thomas Carlyle's infamous declaration that 'the history of the world is but the biography of great men.' Women have played just as great a role in the story of humankind, only for their own tales to be marginalised, censored and forgotten. Their names should be shouted from the rooftops.

Marie Curie discovered radium and revolutionised medical science. Empress Cixi transformed China. Frida Kahlo turned an unflinching eye on life and death. In A History of the World in 21 Women, Jenni Murray celebrates the lives, struggles and achievements of some of the most extraordinary people to have ever walked the Earth. They ruled empires, they led nations. They were pioneers in the arts and geniuses of science. They led while others followed, spoke truth to power and fought for change. All left behind an indelible mark.


Wrapped in rain  

Gigorou: it’s time to reclaim beauty by Sasha Kutabah Sarago

Available in print, CD and eBook

'You're too pretty to be Aboriginal' is a shocking statement Sasha Kutabah Sarago experienced at a young age. In her 2020 TEDx talk, 'The (de)colonising of beauty', Sasha shares how she reclaimed her femininity by redefining beauty. In challenging our modern-day concepts of beauty from a First Nations woman's perspective, she asks, does beauty liberate you, or is it time to rethink beauty?

Gigorou, meaning 'beautiful' in Jirrbal her grandmother's language is an extension of this conversation. In this intimately fierce, funny and reflective memoir, Sasha retraces her footsteps as a beauty assistant, model and magazine editor to where beauty began over 60,000 years ago. It is through the voices of her matriarchs, the creation stories of Oolana, The First Rainbow and Majal, and the spirit of Barangaroo, Truganini and Patyegarang that her healing begins and authenticity arrives.


Wrapped in rain



My Tidda, My Sister: stories of strength and resilience from Australia’s First Women by Marlee Silva

Available in print

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and society has existed on this continent for millennia. It's a culture that manifests itself as the ultimate example of resilience, strength and beauty. It’s also a culture that has consistently been led by its women.

My Tidda, My Sister shares the experiences of many Indigenous women and girls, brought together by author and host of the Tiddas 4 Tiddas podcast, Marlee Silva. The voices of First Nations’ women that Marlee weaves through the book provide a rebuttal to the idea that 'you can’t be what you can’t see'. For non-Indigenous women, it demonstrates the diversity of what success can look like and offers an insight into the lives of their Indigenous sisters and peers.


Wrapped in rain



This woman’s work by Kim Gordon

Available in print

This book is for and about the women who kicked in doors, as pioneers of their craft or making politics central to their sound: those who offer a new way of thinking about the vast spectrum of women in music. This Woman's Work: Essays on Music is edited by iconic musician Kim Gordon and esteemed writer Sinead Gleeson and features an array of talented contributors, including Anne Enright, Fatima Bhutto, Jenn Pelly, Rachel Kushner, Juliana Huxtable, Leslie Jamison, Liz Pelly, Maggie Nelson, Margo Jefferson, Megan Jasper, Ottessa Moshfegh, Simone White, Yiyun Li, and Zakia Sewell.


Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 9 March 2024

The last of the apple blossom  

Rambling man : my life on the road by Billy Connolly

Available in print and large print

When Billy set out from Glasgow as a young man he never looked back. He played his banjo on boats and trains, under trees, and on top of famous monuments. He danced naked in snow, wind and fire. He slept in bus stations, under bridges and on strangers' floors. He travelled by foot, bike, ship, plane, sleigh - even piggy-backed - to get to his next destination. Billy has wandered to every corner of the earth and believes that being a Rambling Man is about more than just travelling - it's a state of mind.

Rambling Men and Women are free spirits who live on their wits, are interested in people and endlessly curious about the world. They love to play music, make art or tell stories along the way but, above all, they have a longing in their heart for the open road. In his joyful new book, Billy explores this philosophy and how it has shaped him, and he shares hilarious new stories from his lifetime on the road. 


The dark  

The first ladies by Marie Benedict

Available in large print

The daughter of formerly enslaved parents, Mary McLeod Bethune refuses to back down as white supremacists attempt to thwart her work. She marches on as an activist and an educator, and as her reputation grows she becomes a celebrity, revered by titans of business and recognized by U.S. Presidents. Eleanor Roosevelt herself is awestruck and eager to make her acquaintance. Initially drawn together because of their shared belief in women's rights and the power of education, Mary and Eleanor become fast friends confiding their secrets, hopes and dreams--and holding each other's hands through tragedy and triumph.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected president, the two women begin to collaborate more closely, particularly as Eleanor moves toward her own agenda separate from FDR, a consequence of the devastating discovery of her husband's secret love affair. Eleanor becomes a controversial First Lady for her outspokenness, particularly on civil rights. And when she receives threats because of her strong ties to Mary, it only fuels the women's desire to fight together for justice and equality. This is the story of two different, yet equally formidable, passionate, and committed women, and the way in which their singular friendship helped form the foundation for the modern civil rights movement.


Wrapped in rain  

The Orphanage girls reunited by Mary Wood

Available in large print

Ellen: Abandoned by her father for the second time, left scarred from the orphanage, Ellen finally finds happiness and hope - reunited with her long-lost gran. But it cannot compensate for being torn apart from her beloved friends Ruth and Amy. When a devastating encounter leaves Ellen broken and desperate, she is forced to fight her past demons.

Ruth: Ruth has found peace, building a new life as an actress surrounded by new friends. But still, she longs to be with Ellen and Amy after everything they endured together in the orphanage. Amy was shipped to Canada with hundreds of other orphans, what hope have they of finding her? One wish comes true when Ruth's acting career leads her to Ellen.

No sooner has the dust settled, war is on the horizon. Friendship locked them into each other's her hearts forever. Will they find Amy? Can The Orphanage Girls ever unite?


Wrapped in rain



The safe house by Cameron Ward

Available in large print and eAudiobook

When Jess accepts an offer to caretake a luxury property in the Australian outback, the solo trip is just what she needs. But Jess isn't as alone as she thinks. As bushfires rage, strangers start showing up to seek refuge. To keep them safe, Jess must let them in. Quickly, the guests begin to panic. Phone lines go down. All exits are cut off. And as the fires close in, tensions in the group rise. And when the first guest goes missing, Jess realises that someone in the house isn't who they say they are. The danger is already inside...


Sunraysia Daily Library Column - 2 March 2024

The last of the apple blossom  

The Little Veggie Patch Co by Fabian Capomolla and Mat Pember

Available in print 

Lots of fun, and packed full of all the information you'll need, this colourful guide is for anyone interested in growing their own food.

Fabian Capomolla and Mat Pember run a successful business installing edible gardens: in polystyrene boxes on balconies, in crates you can put anywhere in your backyard, or by creating no-dig, raised garden beds. After years of helping clients set up spaces to grow their own fruit and vegetables, they believe anyone can create their own little edible garden, in most any area. And in this easy-to-use guide they show you how simple it is!

Fundamentals such as Soil, Climate, Watering, Composting, Worm Farms, Saving and Sowing Seeds, and Raised Garden Beds and Crates are all discussed comprehensively - each with a fully illustrated step-by-step activity to help you create your own little veggie patch.

The complete A-Z of Edible Plants gives you vital information on more than 40 vegetables (and fruit trees), including detailed planting information, ongoing maintenance advice, tips on best companions and when to harvest. And the family activities scattered throughout the book will get the kids involved too, whether it's making a scarecrow, building a spud tower or growing beans in a bean can.


The dark  

Stress free lunchbox by Sophia Young

Available in print

It's an everyday dilemma in households across the country- what to pack the kids for lunch that's quick and easy to put together, but also healthy and so yum they won't leave anything behind. Stress no more with these great ideas for prep and pack lunches. Start with the prep, aiming to get as much done as you can ahead of time - baking, making sandwiches, bliss balls, washing fruit, cutting vegies - then store them in the freezer, pantry and fridge until needed.

When it's time to pack, it's super quick assembly grabbing a selection of pre-made items to fill each box compartment. Watch out, the kids might even want to get in on the fun!


Wrapped in rain  

This book may save your life by Dr Khan Rajan

Available in print

The hilarious, myth-busting survival guide to the human body from TikTok's favourite General Surgeon.

Though the odds are stacked against us, the human body has an extraordinary tendency to survive...

Full of hard-learned lessons and health hacks from Dr Karan Rajan's years working the hospital wards, This Book May Save Your Life is a head-to-toe ode to our amazing bodies - warts and all - that will help you to worry less and live better for longer.

Here, Dr Karan explains the weird and wonderful bodily functions that keep us going and offers practical advice to help you thrive when things go wrong.


Wrapped in rain



Growing an edible landscape: how to transform your outdoor space into a food garden by Gary Pilarchik and Chiara D'Amore

Available in print

Converting unused areas of the landscape into food gardens helps mitigate the effects of climate change, reduces food miles, improves food security, and allows us to be a better steward of our little slice of the planet. But how do you get started? Which plants do you choose? Is there a series of best practices to follow to successfully convert your yard into an edible oasis so that it’s not just high-yielding, but it’s also attractive? Growing an Edible Landscape is here to help answer all of these questions and many more.

Setting up an edible landscape is much more than just placing a few tomato-filled raised beds in the middle of the lawn, though for some gardeners, this might be a logical place to start. The eventual goal, however, is to have a landscape filled with layers of fruitful plants combined together to produce edible harvests for as many months of the year as possible. To reach that end, there’s much to plan and do to ensure your success.