Friday, September 30, 2022

Reviews & Releases


Review – A Remarkable Woman

Fashion, culture, romance and a storyline peppered with twists and turns - what's not to love about A Remarkable Woman ... if you’re a lover of fashion, romance, outback life and a darn good story, this book makes a great summer holiday read. It’ll keep you turning the pages from start to finish and remind you that, in life and in love, “timing is everything”.

Review – Outback Teacher

I was unexpectedly, and in the end pleasantly, surprised to find a story that is as much about 1950s and 1960s Australia as it is about one young woman’s experiences. It is the north-west Western Australia of Aboriginal missions, of cultural clashes, of extremes in temperature and of distance, of hardships tempered by moments of joy, of connections made and still treasured more than half a century later.

New release

New release – Why Do Birds Do That?

An entrancing, informative book filled with answers to many of the common questions we ask about birds and their lives. For thousands of years birds have fascinated us. We've observed what they do - their behaviours, their characteristics, their survival skills, the food they eat and their habitats - and wondered why they do it.

New release

Local author booking success

Emma Pritchard. When Clarence Valley resident Paul MacNamara decided to transition from an everyday teacher to an education officer in the prison system, he found himself in an unfamiliar classroom with strict settings and new students. Some were sex offenders and murderers, others were serving time for armed robbery, drug offences, or breaking and entering ... "I noticed that people of all ages would ask me about my job and what is was like to teach in a gaol," he recalled.

New release

New book – The Men of the 2/26 Battalion

A book by two authors, one of them an Allora local, delves into the war years of the brave men of the 2/26 Battalion. Read through the personal interviews, family stories and archive research of the military history and personal history of the men compiled by two dedicated women, daughters of two of the soldiers - Norm Newport and Bill Anderson - who were mates in the 2/26 Battalion.

New release and review

Book review – Great Properties of Country Victoria

The book demonstrates, through both the truly beautiful photography of Kimbal Baker and the meticulous detail regarding agricultural practices and the history of the establishments provided by Richard Allen, that properties are far more than houses. They are the land and the farming businesses which sustain the families, which the houses protect, and who, in turn, create, manage and develop the farming businesses which sustain the land and the houses. Each supporting and nurturing the other.

New release – Great Properties of Country Victoria

A new, updated edition of this bestselling title featuring stunning photography of the great mansions of the Western District.


Book review – Of Marsupials and Men

We Australians pride ourselves on our native animals. Koalas, kangaroos, wombats, deadly snakes, platypuses (platypi?), drop bears, emus … just some of the animals that have spent millions of years evolving separately from the rest of the world’s fauna on this island nation of ours. But most of us probably don’t think too much about them during our day-to-day lives. Alistair Paton’s “Of Marsupials and Men” puts a spotlight on men (and the occasional woman) who made Australia’s wildlife the centre of their lives.

New release

New release – Clarke

A compelling new novel from the bestselling author of Goodwood and Cedar Valley ... 'Clarke is illuminated with such wonderful, vivid characters. Rarely have I felt so deeply invested in a story - I loved this book so much. Throsby is a supremely gifted storyteller, and Clarke truly is a wonder.' Mark Brandi.

New releases

New release – Growing Up in Country Australia

Growing Up in Country Australia is a fresh, modern look at country Australia. There are stories of joy, adventure, nostalgia, connection to nature and freedom, but also more grim tales – of drought, fires, mouse plagues and isolation.

New release – Once Were Wild

A captivating memoir about a woman's passion to save the wild brumbies who mysteriously appeared on the rugged landscape of the Mount Beckworth State Forest.

New release – My Father and Other Animals

A moving and hilarious fish-out-of-water memoir of a millennial leaving his inner-city life to take over the family farm. Sam Vincent is a twenty-something writer in the inner suburbs, scrabbling to make ends meet, when he gets a call from his mother: his father has stuck his hand in a woodchipper, but ‘not to worry – it wasn’t like that scene in Fargo or anything’.

New releases

New release – A Remarkable Woman

From postwar Paris to Australia to find love, fashion and freedom. One woman's quest to follow her head, and her heart. Twenty-six-year-old Frenchwoman Avril Montdidier sails from Paris to Australia with a suitcase and a dream: to start her own fashion business.

New release – Rachel

Rachel Kennedy stood out on a wild frontier dominated by men ... her extraordinary and unputdownable pioneering story is told for the first time ... Rachel Kennedy was a colonial folk hero. Born in the wild and remote Warrumbungle mountains of western New South Wales in 1845, she was described by Duke Tritton of The Bulletin as Australia's greatest pioneer woman of them all.

New release

New release – Unmaking Angas Downs

A new work of history that seeks to unmake mythologies of pioneers, pastoralism and possession in the Northern Territory. 'A rare and wonderful book ... Unmaking Angas Downs is a profound act of listening, and a dazzling piece of historical scholarship.' Billy Griffiths

Book launch

Adyi ngadya arraygi ngulungginy, ngamiiga

Geoff Helisma. Translated from the Yaygirr dialect (historically spoken near the mouth of the Clarence River) these words are: ‘Hello there, how are you; this is Yaegl country. I remember my Elder men and Elder women.’ On Friday July 22, as part of the NAIDOC Week exhibition of Yaegl Elders portraits at the Yamba Museum, a book was launched, Keeping our Stories - Stories from Yaegl Country.

New release

New release – A Good Yarn

David Vernon’s latest book, A Good Yarn, provides a fascinating insight into how popular myths are made and can wield influence not just at the time of their invention, but for years, even generations to come. A Good Yarn shines a spotlight onto seven historical events that have grown into Australian legends.

Book review – A Good Yarn

A fascinating concept – reviewing the historical background to an array of possibly tall and maybe true tales from Australia’s past ... The author has gone to a lot of trouble to combine excellent research and footnotes with an enjoyable set of short stories able to be read easily. We are introduced to some beguiling tales from Australia's past, some of which may be familiar to us whereas others may be new discoveries.

New release – Paperbark Hill

A pitch-perfect rural romance from the bestselling author of Magpie's Bend. Diana McIntyre and her four boys have had a tough eighteen months but with the love and support of her family, she believes their lives are finally back on track. Diana's dream of starting a flower farm has been the perfect diversion, with an elderly dahlia expert showing her the ropes. She won't have to do this alone.

New release

Jacaranda book sales blooming

Emma Pritchard. Flicking through the pages of The Lonely Jacaranda, Manager of The Book Warehouse in Grafton Jess Wood is delighted by what she sees and reads. Written, illustrated and self-published by Grafton author Russell Irving, The Lonely Jacaranda tells the tale of a little jacaranda tree, the first one to arrive in Australia from South America as a seed.


Book review – Fires, Farms and Forests – A Human History of Surrey Hills, north-west Tasmania

The author has set himself an enormous task to survey in depth the history of the Surrey Hills district of north-west Tasmania. Fires, Farms and Forests represents the culmination of much detailed and careful research, combined with the author’s extensive personal experience as a forester, and, in particular, his role managing the native grasslands and buttongrass moorlands on Surrey Hills. All this enables the author to weave a story which encompasses both general history as well as specialist insights into the management of land and forests.

New releases

New release – Outback Teacher

A charming story of a young woman who faces challenges and finds joy teaching in outback schools. The year is 1956. Sally Gare is twenty. She's just out of teachers' college, and has been sent to work at a two-teacher school more than 3000 kilometres from Perth. With the head teacher away, she starts out alone with a class of forty-five Aboriginal children, ranging in age from five years to thirteen. Thus begins the career of a remarkable teacher and a life-changing adventure in remote Australia.

New release – Rising Dust

Detective Dave Burrows returns in another breathtaking tale of rural suspense. After the family's devastating tragedy, Detective Dave Burrows is crystal clear that his wife, Mel, is no longer interested in their marriage ... 'Fleur McDonald is a master of the rural suspense novel, her characters and storyline crackle with authenticity.' Family Circle

New release

New release – Sydney Royal, celebrating 200 Years of the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales

The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) has launched a new commemorative book, at a function held at Government House in Sydney, honouring the bicentenary of the organisation in July this year. 


Book – A Voice in the Night

When it came time to finally throw away her corporate wardrobe and city lifestyle in favour of pursuing her long-held dream of becoming a full time novelist, Sarah Hawthorn relocated to the sleepy village of Bundanoon in NSW’s Southern Highlands. Sarah's debut novel, A Voice in the Night, is a psychological thriller about a woman seeking answers after her lover who died 20 yeas earlier in the 9/11 attacks suddenly contacts her.

First of the series

Truck That

This book introduces the main characters in the Carter De Freitas series by Steve Rogers. The story is set in WA's far north, features road-train driver Carter De Freitas and his cattle dog Carpenter who are inadvertently caught up in a drug smuggling operation. De Freitas, an ageing character, picks up a young Swedish back packer, Elise Alquist, who is stranded after her vehicle breaks down on the way to a job as a cook/deckhand on a charter boat out of Broome ... Key to the story are the characters and scenery of the Pilbara and Kimberley region ... meet Carter in the extract here.


Death in a Matchbox

One of the Carter De Freitas crime series by Steve Rogers, this is set in Western Australian goldfields, where farmers and miners are at loggerheads, emotions run high and motives are many. A search prompted by high gold prices, for a gold stash buried 50 years ago, uncovers several bodies. Who killed them and why?

Upcoming release

New book for rural, regional & remote women in business

A brand-new book is currently in the pipeline, featuring 16 amazing rural, regional and remote women in business. ‘Rural Business Women – Inspiration and advice to grow your business from regional Australia’, aims to inspire and offer advice to other rural women who are thinking of, or have already started, a business from a rural, regional or remote area of Australia.

New release

New release – Lily’s Little Flower Shop

When Lily misses out on a well-deserved promotion the day her boyfriend is offered a job overseas, she faces a choice: should she embrace an expat life, or follow her childhood dream and become a florist? Deciding to follow her heart, she moves to Clearwater, a fictional town on the NSW south coast, and decides to start again. But fitting into the tight-knit community proves harder than she expected ... It's been seven years from inspiration to publication, and author Lisa Darcy, from Gerroa on the NSW coast, is thrilled readers are loving Lily as much as she does.

New releases

New release – Once Burnt, Twice Shy

From the best-selling Karly Lane comes a pitch-perfect story of rural tragedy, old flames reawakened and the meaning of home. A tribute to the Rural Fire Service and the work they selflessly do.

New release – Great Australian Mysteries

Australia's master storyteller Graham Seal brings to life the enigmas and puzzles behind famous unsolved crimes, long-held secrets, buried loot and strange phenomena from the bush and the city. Australia has always been a land of mysteries. Some are ancient, some are historical, and many continue to perplex us today - and will probably continue to do so tomorrow.

New release – Summer at Kangaroo Ridge

A stunning new rural romance from the bestselling author of The McCalister Legacy and Lawson's Bend. 'Heart-warming, captivating and absolutely perfect.' - Blue Wolf Reviews on The McCalister Legacy.


Book – Not for Self But for All: A History of the Art Gallery of Ballarat Association

Commended in the Local History Small Publication Award, 2019 Victorian Community History Award. This award recognises the best small publications or or e-books which feature Victorian local, cultural or social history. The fascinating story of the establishment and development of the Art Gallery of Ballarat has been told in a book by noted Ballarat historian Dr Anne Beggs-Sunter.

Book review

Book review – Sold Down the River

An in-depth review of an excellent, timely and well-written book. Sold Down The River is really a text book on water trading for the uninitiated which sums up the tragedy of the Murray-Darling created by successive governments of all persuasions. Highly recommended.

New releases

New release – Australian Architecture: A History

A comprehensive narrative history of building and design styles in Australia, from traditional Aboriginal gunyahs; to the local interpretations of northern hemisphere trends; to the sustainable, climate sensitive and high-tech constructions of the 21st century.

New release – The Islands

A moving and original debut novel. Observant, warm and extraordinary. 'There is an other-worldly quality about the Abrolhos which is beyond the reach of ordinary storytelling. Emily Brugman has captured them, staked them to the page in all their isolation and aridity and scoured indifference, because her storytelling is extraordinary.' Jock Serong, bestselling author of Preservation.

New release – Nomad Girl

‘There are so many stories to tell of my life, and sometimes I think they are not of importance, but they are, because often it is the little details that are the most important. I still remember every detail. [Like] Oodnadatta Country – I can still see it, in my mind’s eye, exactly as it was back in my time. The Country still calls me back to where I was born, a very exposed and stony land, but I still love it. That’s where my spirit is’: Kanakiya Myra Ah Chee.

New release

New release – Where There is a Will

A massive cyclone swell on Sydney’s beaches claims a big wave surfer, leaving his long-term partner without a body to mourn. His four adult godchildren from far and wide gather for the reading of his will. A mystery girl from Tasmania joins them Down the coast, a man is pulled from the water and abandoned to his fate with a head injury and amnesia ... The debut novel by Coffs Coast local, Michel Vimal du Monteil, himself a surfer and former SES volunteer.

Book review

Review – Walkabout to Wisdom

In many ways this captivating book describes the relationship between the author, Lachlan Hughson, and his much loved Australian Outback. In travels rivalling those of Odysseus in extent, the author takes us across the vast expanse of the ancient Australian continent, mixing geological insights, historical background, and personal experiences with vivid descriptions of nature in all its forms.

New release

New release – Abandoned

In the country town of Alumuna Creek, things are about to turn deadly. Samuel Levi, a young man molded into a life of crime, is left to die in the harsh Australian outback after a botched drug deal.


Tale about NT town has links to the Barkly

When Caroline Graham and Kylie Stevenson set out to write a book about the town of Larrimah, 490km north of Tennant Creek, they had no idea the research would lead them all over the Northern Territory, including the Barkly region. The journalists, who met in a newsroom in Mackay 15 years ago, first told the story of missing man Paddy Moriarty in their 2018 Walkley Award-winning podcast Lost in Larrimah.


Book reviews

Review – Flames of Rebellion

The opening quotation of Henry Lawson’s ‘Ode to Peter Lalor’ sets the tone for what is to come in this rollicking tale set in colonial Australia at the height of the gold rush in the mid nineteenth century. The themes of mateship, danger, struggle against authority and the enticement of that precious metal – gold – are all there.

Review – The Forgotten Menzies

An in-depth review of Stephen A Chavura and Greg Melluish's investigation into the philosophical roots of Australia's longest-serving Prime Minister.