Book Reviews Alice to Prague and The Mother-in-Law

Alice to Prague

Tanya Heaslip

A Parra Reads Book Club title for May 2020. ‘Alice to Prague’ was one of two titles picked for our newly established online book club and it was an enjoyable read!  

In it, Tanya shares her personal experiences as she leaves behind her life as a lawyer in Alice Springs to teach English in the Czech Republic. With no prior teaching experience or grasp of the language, Tanya certainly shows us she is a person of considerable determination with an unstoppable strength of spirit.

Alice to Prague is a well-rounded read with a good balance of ‘something for everyone’ through the story. History and travel, a life adventure and even love.

Well worth a read!

Keep an eye out for Tanya’s new book ‘An Alice Girl’

Jody

The Mother-in-Law

Sally Hepworth

Sally Hepworth’s ‘The Mother-in-Law’ is one of those reads that grabs you from the first page, and doesn’t let go. Told from two points of view, daughter-in-law Lucy, and mother-in-law Diana, and spanning alternate timelines, it is fast-paced and engaging.

From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana is extremely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying her son Oliver, that they’ll never have the closeness she’d been hoping for. Diana is picture perfect. The pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. And yet, while Lucy tries time and again to please her, Diana remains cold and distant.

That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something…

Creating a character that you both love and hate is never an easy feat, but Sally Hepworth manages to do just that. I found myself conflicted, changing my opinion of Diana constantly between chapters, which is refreshing. In fact, I liked the nuanced character of Diana more than I did Lucy. As Sally Hepworth peeled back the details of the experiences that shaped her personality I wanted more. She seemed very reflective of the time in which she was born, and recognisable.

While people expecting to read a thriller might find themselves disappointed, I found the book to be an ideal mix of thriller and domestic drama.

A must read!

Jody

All About Books Autumn 2020

The new All About Books for Autumn 2020 can be downloaded above. 

The new reading suggestions guide has been revamped after survey results from readers in our last Summer edition, there is more short descriptions of books, more young adult and more pages. There are so many amazing books coming out this March, April and May for adults and young adults in a diverse range of genres and subjects – there is sure to be something for everyone.

There are two books in particular that I want to mention as they were left out of the guide when our author talk program was suspended recently.

The Coconut Children by Vivian Pham (March 3) is a moving debut by a talented new storyteller.

Growing up can feel like a death sentence.
Life in a troubled neighbourhood demands too much too young. But Sonny wouldn’t really know.
Watching the world from her bedroom window, she exists only in second-hand romance novels and falls for any fast-food employee who happens to spare her a glance.
Everything changes with the return of Vince, a boy who became a legend after he was hauled away in handcuffs at fourteen.
Sonny and Vince used to be childhood friends. But with all that happened in-between, childhood seems so long ago. It will take two years of juvie, an inebriated grandmother and a porn stash for them to meet again.

Gathering Dark by Candice Fox (March 31) is her new thriller, set in Los Angeles, introducing a new – and decidedly unconventional – team of ‘detectives’.

A convicted killer. A gifted thief. A vicious crime boss. A disillusioned cop.
Together they’re a missing girl’s only hope.
Blair Harbour, once a wealthy, respected surgeon in Los Angeles, is now an ex-con down on her luck. She’s determined to keep her nose clean to win back custody of her son. But when her former cellmate begs for help to find her missing daughter, Blair is compelled to put her new-found freedom on the line.
Joined by LA’s most feared underworld figure, the crew of criminals bring outlaw tactics to the search. Detective Jessica Sanchez has always had a difficult relationship with the LAPD. 
It’s been ten years since Jessica arrested Blair for the cold-blooded murder of her neighbour. So when Jessica opens the door to the disgraced doctor and her friends early one morning she expects abuse, maybe even violence.
What comes instead is a plea for help.

All About Books – Summer 2020

The latest edition of our reading suggestions guide for adults and teens is now out for Summer 2020. It has an amazing array of books that are being published over the next 3 months in a variety of genres and subjects – there is sure to be something for everyone. Pick up your FREE copy at any of our Library branches or click the cover to download. Each book cover in the guide contains a one-click link to our Library Catalogue for easy reservations. Why not quick link your copy even before it is published!

We are also asking for feedback about the format and contents of All About Books via a short survey in order to help us make the booklet even better. You have until Sunday 15 March 2020 to complete the survey and you can go into the draw for a chance to win a $30 book pack prize – just for having your say. The survey can be completed here or ask Library Staff for a paper copy.

Don’t forget that the All About Books – Kids edition for 0-5 year olds is also out and available at any of our Libraries. It has a range of suggested books to read as well as many fun puzzles.

Podcast Memorable Memoirs

In this episode of Parra Pods Katherine & Nisa asked themselves why do some memoirs resonate so much with people?

Michelle Obam’s ‘Becoming was City of Parramatta Libraries most borrowed non-fiction title so far in 2019. Her spouse Barak Obama was the President of the United States for eight years, yet it is she who has garnered both popular and critical acclaim for this “tell it like it is” memoir.

Sally Fields is a Hollywood legend and, an Oscar recipient, here is her memoir about growing up in a dysfunctional family, overcoming the limitations of  her early career playing the “Flying Nun” & “Gidget”.  Finally forging a career that has afforded her longevity as an actress, but more importantly finding peace with the dark secret that cast a shadow over her life.

Some of the books discussed in this podcast include:

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama. London, Viking, 2018
  • In Pieces by Sally Fields London, Simon & Schuster, 2018

All About Books – Winter 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of our reading suggestions guide, All About Books. As usual the guide is packed full of an amazing selection of books being published over the next 3 months in addition to the popular staff picks section. There is something for everyone no matter there reading tastes or interests.

Pick up your FREE copy of the guide at any one of our library branches or download it now for those on the go – just click on the cover above.Each cover or title in the guide has a link to our library catalogue to make reserving your copy even quicker and easier – why not reserve the book before it is event published!
Stay tuned for our inaugural kids edition of the guide which will be available soon.