All Hallow's Read...Australian Horror Stories

 All Hallow's Read is a Halloween tradition started by Neil Gaiman.  Now in its fourth year, the idea is simply to give someone a scary book to read. So why not borrow something scary from the Library to read yourself? Here is a list of 13 (less one) scary reads written by Australian authors. Have a frightful Halloween!

**Titles sourced from the Australian Horror Writers website. 

1.  Beneath the dark ice by Greig Beck
Strong language, violence and horror. 
After an accident in which her mother dies, Stevie has a near-death experience, and finds herself in a room full of people – everyone she’s ever pissed off. They clutch at her, scratch and tear at her. But she finds herself drawn back to this place, again and again, determined to unlock its secrets. Which means she has to die, again and again.
And she starts to wonder whether other people see the same room… when they die.

2. Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott
Obsession never dies...
When Alex meets Madigan again everything changes. His childhood sweetheart is beautiful and impulsive, but there is something wrong with her. Something dangerous.
Then she commits suicide.
Now Alex can’t get Madigan out of his head. Is it all in his mind, or is she communicating with him?
To save himself and those he loves, Alex must uncover the sinister reason why Madigan took her own life – and why she won’t lie still in her grave.
3. Fairy Tales for Wilde girls by Allyse Near
 Dark, bubblegum-gothic fairy tale.
There's a dead girl in a birdcage in the woods. That's not unusual. Isola Wilde sees a lot of things other people don't. But when the girl appears at Isola's window, her every word a threat, Isola needs help. 
Her real-life friends – Grape, James and new boy Edgar – make her forget for a while. And her brother-princes – magical creatures seemingly lifted from the pages of the French fairytales Isola idolises – will protect her with all the fierce love they possess. 
It may not be enough. Isola needs to uncover the truth behind the dead girl's demise . . . before the ghost steals Isola's last breath.

4. Nine letters long by J.C Burke
Sisters, secrets and a seance.
Evie has a gift - a gift she's not always comfortable with. But when Alex suggests they conduct a séance, Evie reluctantly agrees. The letters on the board start spelling out one name - C-A-Z - over and over, and Evie knows she's been contacted again. A cryptic message with nine letters leads Evie to a family where two sisters, one living, one dead, share a dark secret that must be revealed. 
But is Evie strong enough to solve the mystery and reveal the truth in time to release both girls? 
5.  The broken ones by Stephen M.Irwin
 Supernatural, post-apocalyptic, detective story. 
In the near-future murder is still the same. Its who’s watching that’s different. 
The worldwide aftershock of what becomes known as "Gray Wednesday" is immediate and catastrophic, leaving governments barely functioning and economies devastated. Hollow-eyed apparitions appear, haunting their loved ones and others. But some things never change. When Detective Mariani discovers the grisly remains of an anonymous murder victim in the city sewage system, his investigation will pit him against a corrupt police department and a murky cabal conspiring for power in the new world order. Then there is the matter of the dead boy who haunts his every moment. . . .

6. Slights by Kaaron Warren 
Dark, depressing and deeply disturbing. 
After an accident in which her mother dies, she has a near-death experience, and finds herself in a room full of people – everyone she’s ever pissed off. They clutch at her, scratch and tear at her. But she finds herself drawn back to this place, again and again, determined to unlock its secrets. Which means she has to die, again and again.
And she starts to wonder whether other people see the same room… when they die.
Slights is a deeply intense, disturbing read. Death is not the end, but this is not comforting, heartwarming or safe. The misery memoir craze of the last few years has overshadowed horror fiction’s impact with (allegedly) real-life experiences. Now it’s time for horror and fantasy fiction to fight back.

7.  The corpse rat king by Lee Battersby
Macabre, grotesque and darkly humorous. 
Marius don Hellespont and his apprentice, Gerd, are professional looters of battlefields. When they stumble upon the corpse of the King of Scorby and Gerd is killed, Marius is mistaken for the monarch by one of the dead soldiers and is transported down to the Kingdom of the Dead.
Just like the living citizens, the dead need a King — after all, the King is God’s representative, and someone needs to remind God where they are.
And so it comes to pass that Marius is banished to the surface with one message: if he wants to recover his life he must find the dead a King. Which he fully intends to do. Just as soon as he stops running away.

8. Red queen by Honey Brown
Two brothers, a woman and a virus. 
DEEP IN THE Australian bush, Shannon Scott is holed up in a cabin with his brother, Rohan, waiting out the catastrophic effects of worldwide disease and a breakdown of global economies.  After months of isolation, Shannon imagines there's nothing he doesn't know about his older brother, or himself – until a mysterious woman slips under their late-night watch and past their loaded guns.
Denny Cassidy is beautiful and a survivor.  Her inclusion into cabin life brings about the need for a new set of rules.  Soon the brothers begin to look to her as a source of comfort, hope and intimacy . . . Or is her warmth just a trap?  Could she actually be a cold tactician, a woman with a deadly agenda? 

9. Death most definite by Trent Jamieson
Steve knew something was wrong as soon as he saw the dead girl in the Wintergarden food court. Nothing new, he saw dead people all the time, but this one was about to save his life...Steve is a necromancer in the family firm, tasked with easing spirits from this dimension to the next after death.

10.The Asylum by John Harwood
Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a private asylum in a remote corner of England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor, Maynard Straker, tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton the day before, then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: “Your patient must be an imposter.” Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncle’s house? And what has become of her two most precious possessions, a dragonfly pin left to her by her mother and a writing case containing her journal, the only record of those missing weeks? Georgina’s perilous quest to free herself takes us from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends. Another delicious read from the author praised by Ruth Rendell as having “a gift for creating suspense, apparently effortlessly, as if it belongs in the nature of fiction. 

11. Salvage by Jason Nahrung
Seeking to salvage their foundering marriage, Melanie and Richard retreat to an isolated beach house on a remote Queensland island. Intrigued by a chance encounter with a stranger, Melanie begins to drift away from her husband and towards Helena, only to discover that Helena has her own demons, ageless and steeped in blood.
12. Ghostlines by Nick Gadd
Ghostlines centres on Philip Trudeau, a once-respected investigative journalist who has stepped on the wrong toes. With his personal life and health deteriorating around him, Philip is consigned to a suburban newspaper where he writes filler local news articles to be slotted in among the real estate and restaurant advertisements. Sent to cover what appears to be a tragic yet routine death at a level crossing, Philip is drawn into a multilayered mystery that involves art theft, political intrigue, and business corruption.
13.??? What scary  novel written by an Australian author would you add to this list to make it lucky 13? Tell us about it in the comments. 

Ten book Tuesday...Resurrected reads.

Resurrected books by dead authors. This is where new books are written by living authors in the style of the original novels by deceased authors.

House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
Sherlock Holmes is back in the first officially authorised novel by the Conan Doyle Estate.
THE GAME'S AFOOT . . . It is November 1890 and London is gripped by a merciless winter. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are enjoying tea by the fire when an agitated gentleman arrives unannounced at 221b Baker Street. He begs Holmes for help, telling the unnerving story of a scar-faced man with piercing eyes who has stalked him in recent weeks. Intrigued, Holmes and Watson find themselves swiftly drawn into a series of puzzling and sinister events, stretching from the gas-lit streets of London to the teeming criminal underworld of Boston and the mysterious 'House of Silk' . . .The second novel  Moriarty has been recently published.

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah. This is a new novel featuring the famous detective Hercule Poirot,  originally created by the Queen of crime, Agatha Christie.
In this new story, Poirot plunges into a mystery set in 1920s London—a diabolically clever puzzle that will test his brilliant skills and baffle and delight longtime Christie fans and new generations of readers discovering him for the first time.

The Austen Project: Created by HarperCollins Publishers, this has the six classic novels by Jane Austen reimagined in modern settings by well-known writers. The series starts with Sense and Sensibility by Joanne Trollope. This is a contemporary reworking of the original tale.
Two sisters could hardly be more different. Elinor Dashwood, an architecture student, values discretion above all. Her impulsive sister Marianne displays her creativity everywhere as she dreams of going to art school. But when the family finds itself forced out of Norland Park, their beloved home for twenty years, their values are severely put to the test. Can Elinor remain stoic knowing that the man she likes has been ensnared by another girl? Will Marianne's faith in love be shaken by meeting the hottest boy in the county? And when social media is the controlling force at play, can love ever triumph over conventions and disapproval? Joanna Trollope casts Sense & Sensibility in a fresh new light, re-telling a coming-of-age story about young love and heartbreak, and how when it comes to money especially, some things never change...

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells: A homage to P.G Wodehouse
P.G Wodehouse wrote about the comic antics of Jeeves and Wooster for nearly sixty years. Sebastian Faulks has created a witty tale fully authorised by the Wodehouse estate.
Bertie Wooster is staying at the stately home of Sir Henry Hackwood in Dorset. He is more than familiar with the country-house set-up: he is a veteran of the cocktail hour and, thanks to Jeeves, his gentleman's personal gentleman, is never less than immaculately dressed.
On this occasion, however, it is Jeeves who is to be seen in the drawing room while Bertie finds himself below stairs – which he doesn't care for at all.
His predicament is, of course, all in the name of love …

The black eyed blonde by Benjamin Black.
This novel features Philip Marlowe, the character originally created by Raymond Chandler.
It is the early 1950s. In Los Angeles, Private Detective Philip Marlowe is as restless and lonely as ever, and business is a little slow. Then a new client arrives: young, beautiful, and expensively dressed, Clare Cavendish wants Marlowe to find her former lover, a man named Nico Peterson. Soon Marlowe will find himself not only under the spell of the Black-Eyed Blonde; but tangling with one of Bay City's richest families - and developing a singular appreciation for how far they will go to protect their fortune . . .

The Bourne Legacy by Eric Van Lustbader
Originally created by Robert Ludlum, Eric Van Lustbader was chosen to continue this successful series writing his first, and the series fourth title, the Bourne Legacy. This was an instant hit, and there are now twelve books in the series to date. The latest being  The Bourne Ascendancy.
Jason Bourne is known and feared in the deadly world of covert-ops as one of the most highly skilled assassins for hire. Bourne, however, was merely an identity assumed by CIA agent David Webb, a personality implanted by the CIA to facilitate a dangerous operation, but one that threatened to subsume David Webb entirely. Years after the events of The Bourne Identity, Webb is no longer an active CIA agent and is now a professor of Eastern Studies at Georgetown University, living a quiet life, far from the dangers of his previous life. Until one day he finds himself the target of an assassin nearly as skilled as himself and is framed for the brutal murder of his two closest associates and friends. As he fights for his life against unseen assailants, as well as the full resources of the CIA, who believe he has gone dangerously rogue, the Bourne identity asserts itself, leaving Jason Bourne in control. Now Bourne must use all his skills to stay alive as he battles against a determined assassin, the combined skills of the world's intelligence networks, and a shadowy figure in the background, skillfully manipulating events and people, in a far deadlier and more dangerous game than any of them realize.

Solo by William Boyd.
This is a James Bond continuation novel. William Boyd is just one of a number of well known authors invited by The Ian Fleming estate to write novels about the continuing adventures of 007.
It's 1969, and, having just celebrated his forty-fifth birthday, James Bond—British special agent 007—is summoned to headquarters to receive an unusual assignment. Zanzarim, a troubled West African nation, is being ravaged by a bitter civil war, and M directs Bond to quash the rebels threatening the established regime.
Bond's arrival in Africa marks the start of a feverish mission to discover the forces behind this brutal war—and he soon realizes the situation is far from straightforward. Piece by piece, Bond uncovers the real cause of the violence in Zanzarim, revealing a twisting conspiracy that extends further than he ever imagined.
Moving from rebel battlefields in West Africa to the closed doors of intelligence offices in London and Washington, this novel is at once a gripping thriller, a tensley plotted story full of memorable characters and breathtaking twists, and a masterful study of power and how it is wielded—a brilliant addition to the James Bond canon.

And another thing by Eoin Colfer.
This is the sixth installment of the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy trilogy.This was commissioned to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the original Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.
Arthur Dent's accidental association with that wholly remarkable book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has not been entirely without incident.
Arthur has travelled the length, breadth and depth of known, and unknown, space. He has stumbled forwards and backwards through time. He has been blown up, reassembled, cruelly imprisoned, horribly released and colourfully insulted more than is strictly necessary. And, of course, he has comprehensively failed to grasp the meaning of life, the universe and everything.
Arthur has, though, finally made it home to Earth. But that does not mean he has escaped his fate.
For Arthur's chances of getting his hands on a decent cuppa are evaporating along with the world's oceans. Because no sooner has he arrived than he finds out that Earth is about to be blown up . . . again.

Twenty years, thirteen books and millions of fans.
The Memory of Light, the fourteenth and final book in the epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time was completed by Brandon Sanders in 2013. He worked from extensive notes left by Robert Jordan, to allow another author to complete the series according to his wishes. The first book in the series, published in 1990,  is The eye of the world.

I robot: to protect by Mickey Zuckert Reichert
This is the first in a trilogy inspired by Isaac Asimov's legendary  science fiction collection.
2035: Robotic technology has evolved into the realm of self-aware, sentient mechanical entities. The future of the human race is to be inevitably linked with its most brilliant creation. Intelligent and driven, Dr. Susan Calvin is beginning her residency in psychiatry at Manhattan Hasbro teaching hospital, where a select group of patients is receiving the latest in diagnostic advancements - nanotechnology. Then the patients begin exhibiting extreme behaviour, from shocking violence to baffling self-destructive tendencies. And when Susan tries to alert her superiors to the situation, she is met with callous disregard by those who want to keep the project far from controversy or scrutiny for the sake of their own agenda. There are some who do not want the future to arrive ... THE FIRST LAW OF ROBOTICS 51 . A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Ten books....If you liked Gone girl, try some Chick Noir!

If you liked reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (out now as a film starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike), here are ten other Chick Noir/ Marriage thrillers you may enjoy!
Chick Noir/ marriage thriller: A sub-genre with no happily- ever -afters. These books are exploring the dark side of marriage...  read nail biting tales of couple’s untold secrets.

How to be a good wife by Emma Chapman.

Marta, a housewife and her husband Hector, have been married for many years. During this time, Marta has always followed the advice from a book, How to be a good wife, given to her by her mother in law on her wedding day. This has resulted in a very sheltered existence. Marta narrates the story, telling of how she decides to stop taking her medication (for an unnamed mental condition) and starts seeing visions of a strange girl, who seems to want something from Marta. Is Marta starting to remember bad things from her past, or is she losing her mind, as Hector and her son Kylan seem to think? A chilling and haunting tale of suspense, this debut novel ends with more questions than it answers...

Before I go to sleep by S.J Watson

This is the story of a woman, Christine, who wakes up every day remembering nothing from the day before. She wakes up each morning to the shock of looking twenty years older than expected, and not knowing her name, identity, or recognising her husband or family.  In an attempt to piece together her memories, she starts to keep a journal. As her memories start to return, she finds some disturbing discrepancies between what her husband tells her, the doctor understands her of her background and her own emerging memories.

Broken Harbour by Tana French

This is the fourth book in Tana French's series about the Dublin Murder Squad.(You can read them out of order).  This psychological crime novel starts with a triple homicide of the Spain family, with husband Pat and the two children dead, and wife Jenny in intensive care with multiple stab wounds.  Detective Mick "Scorcher" of the Dublin Murder Squad takes the lead in this case. Having spent his childhood holidays in Broken Harbour, he is finding that returning here for professional reasons summons up personal memories he would rather keep suppressed.  He discovers the picture perfect marriage of Jenny and Pat is not all it seems, with their history being slowly revealed as the investigation deepens. A gripping, terrifying book you'll find hard to put down (it is really scary).

Keep your friends close by Paula Daly

What would you do if your best friend stole your life? A husband and wife, Natty and Sean have a rock solid, if somewhat mundane marriage. Or so they thought, until Natty's best friend Eva comes to visit. Within ten days Sean announces their marriage is over, he is in love with Eva. This is what Eva does. She is a serial mistress, with lies, secrets and a death in her past.  Filled with twists and turns, it keeps you guessing. It has a fairly predictable but satisfying ending. A quick read, very hard to put down!

Into the darkest corner by Elizabeth Haynes

This story chronicles the  relationship between Cathy and Lee, a handsome and charismatic man, who seems to Cathy almost too good to be true. She's right. Behind Lee’s perfect façade is a monster.  As he becomes increasingly more possessive, violent and controlling, Cathy wants to leave, but fe
els trapped not knowing  know how she can escape. It doesn’t help that no-one believes her story (at some points even you the reader may have trouble believing her. Is it all just in her head?). The narrative is told using alternating chapters that contrast Cathy’s past and present persona. Very unsettling, with detailed violence, this book is not for everyone. It is dark, chilling and disturbing.

Until you're mine by Samantha Hayes

A complex mystery/thriller filled with twists, turns and cliff hangers galore.
The story starts with Claudia, a social worker,  and James, a naval officer,  who are happily married and expecting their first child together. Claudia seems to have the perfect life, a great husband, beautiful home and a baby on the way. Zoe, the nanny, has been hired to help with the new baby and two young step children-Noah and Oscar. Despite her perfect references, Claudia senses Zoe has a hidden agenda - she appears almost too good to be true. Is Claudia right to be suspicious or is she just being paranoid?

Alongside this is a second plot line involving Detective Lorraine Fisher, a police officer who is investigating a series of brutal attacks and murders on vulnerable pregnant women.
As the story progresses hidden connections between the characters are revealed.
This story is told in alternating chapters from the point of view of the main characters, Claudia, Zoe and Lorraine –Can you trust these narrators? Are any of these women telling the truth?
The ending is unpredictable and shocking.

You should have known by Jean Hanff Korelitz.
Grace Reinhart Sachs has it all- the perfect life: A devoted husband, who is an oncologist, specialising in paediatrics. Her son, Henry is enrolled in a prestigious private school. She has a successful career as a couple's therapist, with her book, titled You should have known, about to be published. The subject of the Grace's book is discussing how women have a penchant for ignoring the signs of a toxic partner, claiming they should see the signs and know early on in a relationship that he isn't Mr Right.
 A violent death and missing husband suddenly turns her life upside down. Grace has failed to follow her own somewhat smug advice.  The story follows Grace's shame, fear and horror of failure as she questions her life and memories, while trying to find out the truth about her husband. Has her whole life been a lie?

Before we met by Lucie Whitehouse

This novel has the theme of secrets-within-a- marriage.  This is a story of love, marriage and deception. Independent and successful,   Hannah is married after a whirlwind romance with the man of her dreams, Mark, who is successful, suave, ambitious, driven and wealthy. After Mark fails to return after a weekend business trip, lies and secrets Mark has being keeping throughout their marriage are revealed. Hannah starts question her marriage. How well does she really know her husband and can she ever trust him again?  Filled with twists and turns this is an entertaining and engrossing read.

Skeletons by Jane Fallon

The myth of a happy family is exposed in this story of secrets and lies.  For over twenty years Jen has been happily married to Jason Masterton, loving life being surrounded by his big, lively and happy family. One day she is crossing the street, and sees something she should not have seen- something that could destroy her idyllic life forever. Deciding to keep this shocking secret is tearing Jen apart and leads to further complications. What should she do? Despite this dilemma, this is a story is full of warmth and dark humour.

Mr Peanut by Adam Ross

A novel themed did he-kill-his-wife? The husband, David Pepin, loves his wife, Alice, but fantasises about her death constantly. Then it happens. She drops dead at the kitchen table. Was it murder or suicide? David is of course, the prime suspect.  But there's more. The two detectives investigating the suspicious circumstances of Alice's death have their own marital woes and secrets, with the stories of the three marriages being interwoven throughout the book. This is a dark debut.

2014 Man Booker Prize Winner

 Congratulations to Richard Flanagan, winner of the Man Booker Prize, 2014.   This year the award has been opened for the first time to any book published in the United Kingdom and in the English language.Richard Flanagan was the only Australian author on the shortlist.

A novel of the cruelty of war, and tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.
Request a copy  of The Narrow Road to the Deep North from the Library.

Shortlist 2014

The Narrow Road to the Deep North  by Richard Flanagan
August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.

This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour  by Joshua Ferris
Paul O'Rourke is a man made of contradictions: he loves the world, but doesn't know how to live in it. He's a Luddite addicted to his iPhone, a dentist with a nicotine habit, a rabid Red Sox fan devastated by their victories, and an atheist not quite willing to let go of God.

Then someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. What begins as an outrageous violation of his privacy soon becomes something more soul-frightening: the possibility that the online "Paul" might be a better version of the real thing. As Paul's quest to learn why his identity has been stolen deepens, he is forced to confront his troubled past and his uncertain future in a life disturbingly split between the real and the virtual.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves  by Karen Joy Fowler
Rosemary's young, just at college, and she's decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we're not going to tell you too much either: you'll have to find out for yourselves what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone - vanished from her life.

There's something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. So now she's telling her story; a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice.

It's funny, clever, intimate, honest, analytical and swirling with ideas that will come back to bite you. We hope you enjoy it, and if, when you're telling a friend about it, you do decide to spill the beans about Fern, don't feel bad. It's pretty hard to resist.

J (Jonathan Cape) by Howard Jacobson

Set in the future - a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited - J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying.
Two people fall in love, not yet knowing where they have come from or where they are going. Kevern doesn't know why his father always drew two fingers across his lips when he said a word starting with a J. It wasn't then, and isn't now, the time or place to be asking questions. Ailinn too has grown up in the dark about who she was or where she came from. On their first date Kevern kisses the bruises under her eyes. He doesn't ask who hurt her. Brutality has grown commonplace. They aren't sure if they have fallen in love of their own accord, or whether they've been pushed into each other's arms. But who would have pushed them, and why?

The Lives of Others  by Neel Mukherjee
Calcutta, 1967. Unnoticed by his family, Supratik has become dangerously involved in extremist political activism. Compelled by an idealistic desire to change his life and the world around him, all he leaves behind before disappearing is this note …

The ageing patriarch and matriarch of his family, the Ghoshes, preside over their large household, unaware that beneath the barely ruffled surface of their lives the sands are shifting. More than poisonous rivalries among sisters-in-law, destructive secrets, and the implosion of the family business, this is a family unravelling as the society around it fractures. For this is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change: the chasm between the generations, and between those who have and those who have not, has never been wider.

How to be Both  by Ali Smith
How to be both is a novel all about art's versatility. Borrowing from painting's fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it's a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There's a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There's a child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, str
uctural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real - and all life's givens get given a second chance.

We love reading...Staff picks, October 2014

The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller

This novel walks a fine line between fiction and reality.  The author Herta Muller, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature was born in Romania and grew up during the Ceausescu regime.  Her works reflect the turmoils of war, post war events and displacement.  After the war, thousands of Romanians with German backgrounds were deported to Soviet labour camps where thousands of them died.  Muller’s mother was one of these deportees who spent 5 years in such a camp. When the deportees returned home some years later the political climate enforced a silence about what had happened at these camps.  Some 50 years later Muller challenged this silence by talking to former deportees including lengthy conversations with the poet and deportee Oskar Pastior about their experiences in the camps.  After Pastior’s death Muller decided to write her book The Hunger Angel based on survivor’s testimonies.
The novel is narrated by Leo Auberg, a 17 year old deportee.  Leo spends 5 years in a coke processing plant, shovelling coal, carrying bricks, mixing cement and battling hunger. As hunger becomes an insatiable angel ordinary objects take on a new focus – a handkerchief becomes a tallisman, the heart merely a pump, coal, sand and snow take on a will of their own.  Observations of the dehumanising existence of the deportees become both illusionary and profound.  Leo’s torment does not end when he returns home. Those who were left behind cannot imagine the anguish, disconnection and rage that survivor’s experience.
I would recommend this book written in short chapters that build on conversations and images to reveal the whole story because it is different in both content and style to other ‘camp’ novels.  Camp life is not depicted in the graphic way that many authors of this genre employ but primarily by the use of creative language and images.
The Hunger Angel  a different read.

~Reviewed by Angela

 Two Brothers by Ben Elton

Berlin 1920, twin boys are born to Jewish parents. But it is also the birth year of another child of the 20th Century, the Nazi Party. Only one of these three will survive beyond 1945.  Two brothers, united and indivisible, sharing everything. Twins in all but blood. As Germany marches into the Nazi era, onward to the Jewish oppression, the ties of family, friendship and love are tested to the very limits of endurance. And the brothers are faced with an unimaginable choice. Ben Elton has written an epic novel which fully details the times in Germany which led to the Jewish nightmare, and the final evil conclusion, from the viewpoint of a small secular Jewish family. As part of the tale there is also a mystery, with a number of twists in the plot to surprise the reader. Elton usually imparts a message in his novels about problems he sees in our society, and he can lay it on a bit thick, although with a distinct brand of humour. In this novel the message is in the historic facts, which he brings out very well in the story, but in no way could it be called a humorous book. As we learn, this is a story close to Elton’s own family history, which accounts for much of the detail. An alternate story of the Jewish experience leading up to WWII, written with feeling, and a flowing read.

~Reviewed by Glenn

The Ruby Slippers by Keir Alexander

The title and cover of this book conjured up images from the Wizard of Oz-namely Dorothy, her red slippers and the covetous behaviour of the Wicked Witch of the West. The reality was an urban fairytale, with themes of greed, redemption, reconnection and love.

 The ruby slippers are the focal point of the story, being used as a device to tell the stories of the diverse and apparently random characters whom they come into contact with. Reading further, you discover the storylines are cleverly intertwined, revealing unexpected connections between the main characters:  Rosa, the homeless woman, Michael the Latvian grocer, James, a gay librarian who has just lost his partner and Harrison, a troubled teenager who dreams of changing his life by stealing the slippers.

A complex and clever tale, I found the storyline to be compelling and original, with a happily ever after ending for nearly everyone (what else do you expect from a fairy tale?).
Overall, a very enjoyable read and a great debut novel.

~Reviewed by Monique

Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

Mean Streak is the latest offering from NY best selling author Sandra Brown.  The author is well known for her prolific mystery and thriller titles.
The story centres around Dr Emory Charbonneau, a wife, paediatrician and marathon runner who goes missing in the mountains.  Emory wakes in an isolated cabin with a man hiding from the world.
Her husband doesn't seem overly concerned about her disappearance, or at least not initially.
While there are lots of  great cast of characters and strong storytelling, I scoffed frequently at the relationship developing between Emory and her captor.
While eager to finish the book to discover what would happen next -  it certainly didn't place me on the edge of my seat.  I found both mystery and thrill a bit light on, but still satisfying.  Readers who enjoy their stories peppered with romance should enjoy this book even more.
In summary - an enjoyable read, a clever plot and a few surprises.   This is the first Sandra Brown book I've read and I while I would read another I won't be waiting with baited breath for her next.

~Reviewed by Amber

Through the woods by Emily Carroll

I’ve never before read a graphic novel that made me unsure about turning off the light. Yet this occurred in my singly-devoured sitting of “Through the Woods”. Here Emily Carroll presents five macabre stories, all of them revolving around the isolating, mysterious and dangerous world of the deep, dark wood we’ve been warned to fear since childhood. Each story is razor sharp, unnerving as the early work of Stephen King and as iconic as Edgar Allan Poe. Though at times visceral, the most horrifying events are not displayed in full gore, but rather are evoked through the power of suggestion.
The artwork itself is spectacular, achieved in an edgy graphic style. Amid bold blood-red and ink-blank blocks of colour Carroll masterfully injects many subtle and eerie details.
Be prepared for a dead brother (you’d know, you killed him) come back to life; for a lost young girl whose skin is worn by… well, I don’t want to spoil any surprises.
Highly recommended for fans of cinematic and literary horror, and for lovers of fairy tales gone awry.

~Reviewed by Dasha

Take Time for Yourself - October is Mental Health Month

 Sutherland Shire Libraries has a range of downloadable resources that you could use in your 'me' time.
Reading has long been recognised as a good way to relax. Have you ever thought of letting someone else do the reading?  Sutherland Shire Libraries have eBooks and Audiobooks that can be downloaded to your mobile devices. You can find out what eBooks and Audiobooks the library has by searching the library catalogue. Overdrive has recently improved content offering books from best selling authors such as Lee Child, Lisa Jackson, Jodi Piccoult, Patricia Cornwell, Clive Cussler, Judy Nunn, Peter Fitzsimons, David Hill, Tom Keneally. This library never closes and lets you read or listen on your PC or transfer to your e-reader, iPod or tablet.

eBooks and Audiobooks are shown in your library catalogue search results by these two icons:
 The icons with the 'e' as part of the caption indicate the titles which are Electronic Resources. They can be used from anywhere you have an internet connection. No need to physically visit the library to use them.

You can also go directly to the library's Audio and eBook page.
eBooks from Overdrive do not open directly from the search results. First time users should look at the instructions supplied from the library's Overdrive Audiobooks and eBooks  Learn More link help with setup of Overdrive.

Overdrive has a great range of Fiction and Non-fiction titles, which can be found via Encore or in Overdrive itself.
Overdrive allows you to borrow titles for a 3 week period, (shorter if you wish), renew them and place or cancel holds on titles. You can have a maximum of 10 titles out at a time, whether that is a mix of eBook or eAudio.
TIP: Overdrive titles do not appear on your regular library online account, a separate Overdrive account has to be created for each member and loans, returns and holds etc. are managed from there.

eAudio is also available from Overdrive, with the titles coming from over 2,000 publishers and new ones being added all the time, there is something for everyone.

eAudio is the only format available from OneClickDigital, so if you want something to listen to while driving or on your morning walk browse through the range offered by OneClickDigital. Like Overdrive to borrow audiobooks from Oneclickdigital you have to create a new account, which enables the creation of preferences, alerts and collection lists. 
Overdrive and OneClickDigital require software to be downloaded to your PC or portable device on the first use. All the information required to access these all these titles is contained on the library website under each resource.
Do you like to keep up to date with your favourite magazines? Then you’ll love Zinio – a free digital magazine service available at Sutherland Shire Libraries as part of its range of online collections.
The current issue of popular magazine titles can be downloaded onto many devices including PC, Mac, iPad or Android tablet.  Zinio enables readers to move seamlessly between text, graphics, animated illustrations and videos; making reading their favourite titles an interactive experience.
Titles cover a wide range of interests and age groups including Elle, Gardening Australia, Harper’s Bazaar,  MacUser, PC & Tech Authority, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Donna Hay, Taste, Star, OK, Vogue Australia, Weight Watchers,
Gourmet Traveller, Australian Womans Weekly, New Idea and many more.
A list of magazines included in Sutherland Libraries zinio subscription can be found on the library catalogue.
Information and step-by-step instructions on setting up and using Zinio are available on the Sutherland Shire Libraries website
Get free music and music videos from thousands of artists from the Sony catalogue. Using Freegal, library members can download up to 3 free song MP3s, or 1 song MP3 and 1 music MP4 video per week from the Sony Music catalogue. Choose from thousands of artists and hundreds of thousands of songs, all free and legally yours to keep.  Library members can now also access 3 hours of music streaming per day. Information and step-by-step instructions on setting up and using Freegal are available on the Sutherland Shire Libraries website.

These resources are available to members of Sutherland Shire Libraries.