Book Review Good girl, bad girl

Good girl, bad girl by Michael Robotham

Summary

Evie Cormac is a girl without a past. Six years ago, filthy and half starved, she was discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a shocking crime. She had lived for weeks in the murder house, sneaking out at night to steal food, hiding from the ‘faceless men’.  Six years later, still unidentified and given a new name, this same girl is living in a secure children’s home when she launches a court action, demanding that she be released as an adult. Forensic psychologist, Cyrus Haven is called upon to decide if Evie is ready to go free, but he discovers a girl unlike anyone he’s ever met. Damaged, destructive, and self-hating, yet possessed of a gift that makes her both fascinating and dangerous to be with—the ability to tell when someone is lying.
Meanwhile, Cyrus has another crime to investigate – the death of champion figure-skater Jodie Sheehan. The two cases are soon interwoven, drawing him into a world of secrets where nobody is telling the truth and only one person knows who’s lying.

Comments

This is now the second book we have read by this author that we have thoroughly enjoyed. The story follows forensic psychologist, Cyrus Haven, 

as he investigates the murder of a school girl figure skater, while also taking Evie Cormac into his care.  While we wanted to find out whodunit, we were equally,

if not a little more, intrigued in Cyrus and Evie’s past.  We loved the way the narrative was split between them, alllowing both side of the story to be told. 

Between the murder and murky pasts of the main characters we were turning pages, eagerly trying to find out more about Evie and how she came into Cyrus’ care. Wonderfully written. Loved all the characters and cannot wait to read the other books in this series.  Definitely recommend this one. Would make a great summer read. 

Read by Cultcha Club

Book Review Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Summary

As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.

Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

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Book Review – Salt Creek

Salt Creek by Lucy Trealor

Summary

Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch.

Once wealthy political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the few travellers that pass along the nearby stock route – among them a young artist, Charles – and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Over the years that pass, and Aboriginal boy, Tully, at first a friend, becomes part of the family.

Stanton’s attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people’s homes and livelihoods, and unleash a chain of events that will tear the family asunder. As Hester witnesses the destruction of the Ngarrindjeri’s subtle culture and the ideals that her family once held so close, she begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated?

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Book Reviews – Book Clubs

Becoming by Michelle ObamaRead by MJ Readers

Summary

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it – in her own words and on her own terms.

Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations – and whose story inspires us to do the same.

Comments

Our group enjoyed Michele Obama’s autobiography. So much of what we know of the White House is male centric so reading a female perspective was refreshing and informative.

Michele’s life story tells of a close knit family, institutional racism and hatred, the importance of education, taking opportunities, questioning, listening and learning. Her family was her great strength encouraging and supporting her to embrace her ‘smartness’ without pride. She tells of the sense of fear and resentment she and Barack provoked in others as hatred of people of colour was ‘old, deep and dangerous as ever’. How they and their family coped with  and rose above prejudices was an enthralling read that created much discussion in our group.

Lyrebird by Cecelia AhernRead by Dundas Readers

Summary

‘An emotional love story with great heart’ Sunday Express Her life is a secret waiting to be set free… Following the death of her father, Laura Button’s hidden life in remote West Cork is revealed. Encountering her by accident, deep in the woods, Solomon Fallon feels an instant connection. Laura, nicknamed Lyrebird for her gift with sound, has a talent that offers her a passport into the world. Through Solomon, she seeks a new life. But Solomon’s fear is that the world won’t set Lyrebird free. Instead, it will put her in a cage… The story that unfolds is one of a quite extraordinary love.

Comments

Reclusive twenty six year old Laura is found
living alone on a remote farm in Ireland by a TV documentary crew.

Laura  is an excellent mimic, almost unconsciously reproducing any sounds she hears just like the
Australian Lyrebird, hence her becoming known as Lyrebird. She is encouraged by the TV crew to participate in a TV talent show to showcase her unique gift.  As a result, she faces many challenges as she attempts to adapt to city living and navigate relationships.

This story received a mixed response from our group. Some detested it and others enjoyed it. Those who didn’t enjoy it felt that it was poorly written, unrealistic, predictable and that it belonged it the YA category. Others who enjoyed it felt that although some of it was predictable and unlikely, the concept of Laura’s gift and ensuing rise to fame was intriguing. One member even said ‘I hated it and I loved it’! Our group score was 6 out of 10.

Book Review The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Summary

A full-hearted novel about a big-city baker who discovers the true meaning of home-and that sometimes the best things are found when you didn’t even know you were looking When Olivia Rawlings-pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club-sets not just her flambUed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of-the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts. Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn’s property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired-to help Margaret reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest. With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought. But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee-or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected-it could be even better.

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