Book Review The Alice Network

Last month our ‘Dundas Readers’ book club read ‘The Alice Network‘ by Kate Quinn and it looks like they enjoyed reading it like most of our other book clubs. This title is definitely a popular pick!

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Summary

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her little problem taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister. 1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the queen of spies, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. That is until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth … no matter where it leads.

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Parra Reads Online Book Club 2021

Welcome to another year of reading!

2020 was our first year of reading along together in an online environment, while COVID may have been the trigger it was an enjoyable experience for me. The ‘Parra Reads’ online book club proved to be an excellent way for me to connect, collaborate and read with my colleagues. City of Parramatta Libraries operates across seven branches and it is often hard for us book nerds to catch up and talk about books. The online book club has been one way for us to come together and share our love of reading with you all.

After much discussion we have decided to do things a little differently this year, in the hopes we can encourage more of you to read along with us.

So, what will 2021 look like for our ‘Parra Reads’ online book club? Well! For starters there will be more choices in regards to what title you read each month, we will be sharing more online via our blog, podcast, social media and in our Libraries.

If you are reading along with us and would like to participate and share your thoughts on what you have been reading, please do. You can share via Twitter, using the hashtag #parrareadsbookclub, or just comment on one of our tweets. Send an email to parrareads@cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au and I will share any suitable book related comments on our blog and in the library, rest assured I will only share first names. If you are a Goodreads member and would like to join our Parra Reads Virtual Book Club, log in and send us through a request.

We also hope to run a couple of online book club meetings via Zoom throughout the year. I will share more information on this as details are confirmed.

Don’t forget to check out our ePlatform, rbDigital & BorrowBox collections! We have a huge library of both eBooks & eAudiobooks available for you to download.

However you choose to read & share with us this year is up to you, our only wish is that you read!

Each month we will provide some great reading recommendations to help you along your way, look out for these online and at all our Libraries.

Here’s wishing 2021 is a great year for reading!

Jody

Parra Reads Online Book Club – Monthly Reading Themes for 2021

February – A book by an Australian Author – Aussie Authors Rule! Check out our recommended reads below.

March – Books to Screen – Do you prefer to watch then read? Or read then watch? For me it is definitely read first!

April – A Thriller or mystery book.

May – Prize Winners – With so many different book awards each year what better selection could a reader ask for. Personally I will be reading my way through as many of the ‘Miles Franklin’ longlist titles that I can manage before the shortlist is announced in June.

June – Second Chances – Read a book you have tried to read before but couldn’t finish! My nemesis is ‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel; I have tired many times and still haven’t managed to get past the first chapter.

July – Memoir – What makes a memoir a great one? Is it the setting, person or subject?

August – Big Bang Books – Books that have made a big splash in the last 10/20 years! Literally an endless supply of choices with this one!

September – Banned Books – One for the rebels!

October – The first book in a series.

November – Hot of the printing press! With so many great books planned for publication in 2021, what better way to end the year.

Miles Franklin Shortlist, Our Picks!

Over the last month, myself and my colleague Sarah have been super busy reading!

What have we been reading? Well, as many books on the ‘Miles Franklin’ longlist that we could manage! Not to mention our leisure reading and book club titles. Luckily we both love books and reading; although Sarah is by far the superior reader. I am constantly in awe of her seemingly endless list of books she has finished.

Now back to the ‘Miles Franklin’ longlist. While we didn’t get through the whole longlist, we did manage to read six out of ten titles, which I think is not a bad effort.

We read:

The White Girl by Tony Birch, UQP, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – This made me cry! In a good way. I was totally invested in Odette and Sissy’s story. If I am honest I would have read another two hundred pages. Jody

Room For A Stranger by Melanie Cheng, Text Publishing, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – Meg is an elderly lady living alone in her childhood home. After a break-in she finds a student to share her house. This is Andy, an international student from Hong Kong. Although they are from different backgrounds they develop a friendship as they do have some things in common. Sarah

Islands by Peggy Frew, Allend & Unwin, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – The many different layers/perspectives in this book did confuse me a times; enough so that I did find myself re-reading parts. However, overall I did enjoy the book and after finishing it, felt that on some level the way it was written perfectly matched the disjointed lives of the characters. Jody

Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany, Text Publishing, 2020. eBook – This book had the power to mess with my head! The narrator of this book is a teenage girl living with her mother, brother and a dangerous man. She uses her mechanical skill to fight back. I found this book quite disturbing. Sarah

The Yield by Tara June Winch, Hamish Hamilton, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – Simply a perfect book! I enjoy reading books about Australian History, particularly Indigenous stories. ‘The Yield’ is complex and emotional book, with characters that will stay with you long after you finish reading their story. – Jody

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood, Allen & Unwin, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – Four women in their 70s have been lifelong friends. After the death of one of the group the others spend a weekend at her beach house to clean it out. But there is conflict between the three ladies without the friend that held the group together. This novel looks at growing older and dealing with past regrets. – Sarah

We are crossing our fingers that our three favourite books, ‘The White Girl’ by Tony Birch, ‘The Yield’ by Tara June Winch and ‘Room for a Stranger’ by Melanie Cheng make it onto the 2020 ‘Miles Franklin Shortlist’.

Do you have a favourite? What will be your pick for the 2020 Winner?

Jody

Ready, Set, Read!

If you, like me are preparing for a long weekend of reading, you might be interested to check out the list of awesome books I will be picking from this June long weekend. You will find some new releases and old favourites.

I might not even finish reading one book, I have an embroidery project to work on too, but I will definitely enjoy browsing through them all! I might even add more to the list, once I start browsing our eBook collection.

I recently discovered, I have become just a little bit addicted to scrolling through all the pretty eBook covers. I discovered two new authors this way, Annie Lyons and Sarah Bennett.

Happy Reading!

Jody

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

The River Home by Hannah Richell

Stella and Margie by Glenna Thompson

Bruny by Heather Rose

The Swtich by Beth O’leary

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Home: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews

The Silence by Susan Allott

The Drop-off by Fiona Harris & Mike McLeish

The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon, who by the way is holding a live event tonight via Facebook with Dymocks Books.

Good Reading Online

Want to keep up with the news from the literary world but your dog chewed up your brand new issue of Good Reading magazine? Parramatta library is here to help! Not only can you reserve the latest copy and pick it up at any of our branches, but you can even read it online through our GR online database! Here is how to access it:

  • Open Parramatta library online catalogue
  • Choose e-resources from the menu on the left side of the screen
  • Choose ‘For Readers’ icon
  • Scroll down to find #4 Good Reading Online
  • Click on the Electronic Access link
  • Choose Browse Good Reading Mag here icon
  • Read the current issue online or browse through past issues

Or just click the image below for a shortcut!

If you are experiencing difficulties accessing this online resource, please let us know in the comments.