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We are very proud to introduce you to Bookmarked – the first Australian book forum run by an Australian bookstore. It's a novel place, and we wanted to give our Booklovers their very own online home to come and talk about the books they’re loving and the books they’re itching to read. Bookmarked is a Booklover’s hub that never sleeps, so come join the conversation today. 

Most Recent Discussions

In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

Hi History Lover, Two wonderful books just in today.....: " Robert Graves War Poems: ed. by Charles Mundye, Seren Publishers Wales and " From The Line: Scottish War Poetry 1914-1945"  ed. by Daniel Goldie and Roderick Watson , Assoc. for Scottish Literary Studies, Glasgow. Both are handsome hardbacks and most welcome editions to one's library  collection. Seren has produced a solid book of Graves' war poems including the much sort-after collection "A Patchwork Flag" and other fragments not before printed. I could imagine this book will be sort after by academics as well as the occasional reader of war poetry. Already, it has been in and out of printing since its release in October this year and from where I'm standing, I'm glad I have my copy, having chased it around the globe for weeks since you first put me onto it. Hope you are well and reading some interesting and thought-provoking books.

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

Hi Ghost writer, sounds like two excellent books on poems, poetry and poets from the Great War. Nice additions to your library :)

At the moment I am reading a book on Alexander the Great, his father and the empire they forged between them. I am thinking about reading this new book I received a few weeks ago: "The Day the Renaissance was Saved: The Battle of Ahghiari and Da Vinci's Lost Masterpiece" by Niccolo Capponi.

​Other than that no new books for me for awhile although I have a few on order, hopefully I will receive a few in the mail before Christmas, fingers crossed :)

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

Hi History Lover,  I saw that book " The Day the Renaissance was Saved.." in your listings and I put it in my wishlist for a future purchase. Those two wonderful books I received today were the last for me before Christmas( I planned no more deliveries  this side of Christmas for good reason!). Some on order, including " Hemingway At War:  Work as a War Correspondent in WW11" by Terry Mort, " The Last Post: Music and The Great War". A new biography of "Wilfred Owen: The Man and The Myth" by Barry Matthews is going to be published February 2017. I see there are a few books on Alexander the Great around, just like a plethora of books on Hemingway in the coming months.Good find, History Lover!  Have you caught the series on The Art of Spain on the Arts Channel(Foxtel)? Airing on Sundays. The episode on Velasquez and El Greco was good though sketchy in content. At least when the guy is in the gallery one gets an idea of the sheer size of some of these paintings....Cheers

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

Hi Ghost Writer, I just got back from some shopping and checked my PO Box on the way home and found these two books waiting for me: "Putty From Tel-El-Kebir to Cambrai"  by Anthony Leask and "the Rise of Athens" by Anthony Everitt, one of my favourite authors covering the Greeks and Romans of ancient times.

​There is no shortage of books on Alexander the Great, as Arrian, one of the earliest historians stated; "different authors have given different accounts of Alexander's exploits, and there is no one about whom more have written, or more at variance with each other".

​Anyhow I am just going up to my library with a glass of red wine and my two new books to browse through to finish my afternoon :)

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

Oooooh, nice one for you History Lover. Books arriving is always a joy.

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

No books at the Post Office today, very disappointing :(

​However I visited a cafe/second hand book shop today to chat with a fellow bibliophile and came home with a nice 1870 edition hardback; "Pius the Ninth and His Times" by John Francis Maguire. I just love handling old books, a piece of history in my hands to cherish and enjoy when reading.


RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

Hi History Lover, Sorry to hear nothing in your PO box today..still have two more delivery days this week, so maybe...... I quite agree with you  History Lover, old books are very delightful to handle, to read and to cherish in one's library, much like when I found some very old documents in my days in Archives; old history, memories, thoughts. Those books had some really nice bindings. Craftsmanhip.

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

I usually don't like buying second hand books with markings inside the covers but occassionally I pick up a book published in the 1800's with the previous owner or owners names inside the cover along with the dates. I reckon that is a piece of history in itself. In one book on Napoleon that was published in the 1880's there is a lovely hand writen letter between the the book owner and the author, very nice :)

​My copy of "Hold at all Costs: The Battle of Delville Wood" finally arrived, not sure when I will get around to reading it as I have just started the second volume of David Glantz four book series on Stalingrad, over 800 pages!

​I hope you are well and enjoying a good book :)


RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

I like books without markings in them, however,  some of my books are heavily annotated in pencil or with stick- it notes inserted in the pages by me. Your current purchase sounds like a real boon. I bought Kershaw's Hitler: Hubris and it had someone's markings in it, in biro(gughhh!!) . When one finds personal letters in books it does add another dimension as to the history and  previous ownership. Glad to hear you " Hold At ll Costs!" arrived. Surprisingly, the postman came to my door this  morning with my copy of " The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth- Century  British and American War Literature" ed. Adam Piette& Mark Rawlinson . I wasn't expecting it until late next week when the POffice goes back mid-week. Nice surprise. What am I reading? " Bloody Good( as in medieval terminology ) : Chivalry, Sacrifice and The Great War" by Allen Frantzen , Chicago University Press, 2004. I had wanted this for a long time as I had Stefan Goebel's book on the subject " The Great War and Medieval Memory", Cambridge University Press 2007. Let you know more when I've finished. Just begun. Thank you, I am well. Not too flash on this hot weather heading our way. Hope you are well. 800 pages spred over four volumes ,on Stalingrad! That is dedication to a subject, History Lover.

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

These books sounds very interesting. Thanks for the tips.

“In this life, when you deny someone an apology,
you will Remember it at time you beg forgiveness.”

Best Regards Holger

Ajmer Escorts

I enjoy reading a post that can make people think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!
Ajmer Escorts

Just a short walk to The Poetry Bookshop @ No 35 Devonshire Street..

.....and there you might have found Isaac Rosenberg, Wilfred Owen and other eclectic brilliant young men( some in khaki)with Harold Munro holding sway over the proceedings, reading poetry, looking for new poets, some on leave from the front, others recuperating from battle fatigue and wounds. Aside from all this, three new books to add to my growing collection of rare volumes of First World War poetry/poets/literature/ criticism... " Harold Monro and the Poetry Bookshop" by Joy Grant( 1st edition 1967), a clean tight unblemished copy; " Wilfred Owen: Anthem for a Doomed Youth" by Kenneth Simcox(1st edition 1987) also unblemished, and finally, "Journey to The Trenches: The Life of Isaac Rosenberg 1890-1918" by Joseph Cohen (1st edition  1975). All good, tight ,clean hardcovers. No foxing, no marks. Nice dustjackets, too. Not very expensive fo these gems either! Am I impressed by my purchases!! It is a joy when one opens a parcel from overseas(mainly) and the sweet musty old-book smell wafts out  from the bubblewrap...when it hits fresh air it is an indescribable thing(if you have been around books for a few decades you'll know what I mean), it is like walking into a hole-in-the -wall secondhand bookshop just when it is open on a Monday morning and the mustiness mingles with  the air from a door just swung open after being locked up for a few hours... These volumes are what books are all about. Treasures. Harold Monro was a man people didn't write much about apart from odd bits in other's memoirs or biographies  until Joy Grant's illuminating book. The indomitable Dominic Hibberd also wrote a biography of Monro later than Grant's(much harder to obtain and at a hefty price tag if one can get a copy). Grant's book is a step in the right direction in exposing  Harold Monro, his poems and his work to promote young Georgian poets, and establishing The Poetry Bookshop, to the wider literary community in the heady days leading into the Great War. Sir Edward Marsh, private secretary to Winston Churchill, also played a key role in supporting young poets of the day and artists, even entertaining them at breakfasts before he trotted off to work in the morning. These "patrons" should not be forgotten, for without them,the world would have been worse than it was in that hazy summer of 1914 and before. Christopher Hassall's magisterial and mammoth biography of Edward Marsh is a must- read for those with a more passing interest in the period and its poets.

Letters of a Super F(r)iend...

Yes, this small volume by Joseph Torchia, "The Kryptonite Kid"(1979) is a real gem of a book. In 180 pages of gruelling, agonising, sometimes misspelt and missed the mark, Jerry Chariot, catholic schoolboy from Pulpburg writes to his superpal, Superman,  all revealing and being a telltale like all kids, Superman's real identity, to the world, trying to save him from the likes of Sister Mary Justin(schoolteacher at Holy Redeemer School), in his own kid's way sorting out Lois Lane, and M. Mxyzptlk! and assorted ne'r do wells. With his best earth friend , Robert Sipanno, in tow to share these childhood super-adventures, Jerry hurtles head-long in the crack of Sister Mary's angry hand, his father's punishment of early beds without comics, his mother's enduring and somewhat tried patience( at times) and...his First Communion. Jerry is full of life, optimism and cheer as he fantasies about helping his Super Pal protect his identity and keeping all the krytponite in the world away to save Superman( and the Day). The novel is dotted with believable characters like Mrs Bacchico and the terse Sister Mary. Nothing can tear Jerry and Robert away from their daily consumption of comics and the belief that Superman lives in  Metropolis, Illionois. With child-like enthusiasm Jerry races to his awful and inevitable fate, believing that Superman is real and will be there for him. This book is a beautiful chronicle of an era that doesn't exist anymore and I am glad that I was part of those days, when we had imagination, playfulness and a belief that right will conquer evil. Every few years I pick up this book from my personal library and read it because in spite of its awful conclusion, it is a positive novel about positive values and ideals which are non-existent today. It is well worth the read and have a good laugh as well. Go, Superman!

Anna and the Swallow Man

A beautifully written book, the language is superb. The imagery is so strong that I felt cold when reading the scenes in the snow. As a story of a 7 year old girl escaping and avoiding the opposing forces in Eastern Europe during WWII, it offers a different perspective but adds nothing to what most already know of the conflict. There are mysterious characters, particularly the Swallow Man, but little resolution. The ending is sudden, somewhat implausible and unsatisfying. The author stops short of ending with 'and they all lived happily ever after', but only just.

Anna and the Swallow Man is not in the same league as The Book Thief or The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, but it does try so hard to be.

RE:Anna and the Swallow Man

Stuart wrote: A beautifully written book, the language is superb. The imagery is so strong that I felt cold when reading the scenes in the snow. As a story of a 7 year old girl escaping and avoiding the opposing forces in Eastern Europe during WWII, it offers a different perspective but adds nothing to what most already know of the conflict. There are mysterious characters, particularly the Swallow Man, but little resolution. The ending is sudden, somewhat implausible and unsatisfying. Need help finding no deposit bonus slots? The author stops short of ending with 'and they all lived happily ever after', but only just.

Anna and the Swallow Man is not in the same league as The Book Thief or The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, but it does try so hard to be.

Great story :)

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

Was stoked to score an ARC of this new Aussie crime novel due to hit shelves next month! Here's my review. :)

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this novel through a Goodreads Giveaway.

This is an Australian crime novel set in a small town in New South Wales during a particularly trying summer. As with any small town, everyone knows everyone, though there are plenty of secrets. The murder of a local girl forces everyone's business under the microscope, and this novel is as much about those secrets as it is about solving the mystery of who killed Rosalind Ryan.

I have to be completely honest, I disliked the protagonist, Gemma, from the very start. The reality was addressed before her emotions were revealed and the cold facts of her situation had me instantly appalled. It was unclear what her relationship with the victim was, and this aspect created a darkness around the mystery that admittedly made it quite fascinating. However it also made it hard to get into the story, as I couldn't relate to Gemma in the slightest. I had no sympathy for her or her struggles so all that held my attention was the mystery itself.

Rosalind (Rose) Ryan is an enigma, with many characters professing to have known her but only superficially. As a teacher at the local high school she was loved by many, but it becomes increasingly clear that no one had any clue who she really was. There are subtle references to the past she and Gemma shared, but never enough for us to really sink our teeth into. Beyond being beautiful, we never really get a clear picture of the victim, which again creates a sense of detachment that makes the mystery a simple curiosity rather than something we can be invested in.

It's obvious the crime has something to do with the past, but we're given very little information in that regard. There are never really any clues for us to play with, and the detective work feels messy and unsatisfying. We discover a lot of the town's secrets but none seem relevant to the mystery at hand. We meet a lot of characters but get to know very few of them. There's nothing to create attachment to any of the main players, really, which is a shame because with an invested element this could have been a ripper of a read. Instead the reader is left impartial, and there's little to propel the narrative. Even the mystery of the past seems patchy and the slowly revealed glimpses of it are unsatisfying and anti-climatic. 

The relationship between Gemma and Felix seems more of a focus than the mystery which was a little disappointing to me, particularly as I didn't approve of it. It made the story drag and detracted from the suspense. It made a rather long, tedious novel of what could have been an intriguing, fast read. This novel is all about Gemma and her tumultuous life, but there's little for the reader to relate to on an emotional level, making it a redundant angle. Even with her as a mother, we're given little to work with. Her relationships are ill-defined and we're given very little reasoning for the way she thinks and acts.

I was quite interested in the crime and its relation to the past, with lots of loose strings revealed throughout the novel. Unfortunately, when the conclusion came, I felt that a lot of things were left unanswered or nonsensical in their inclusion. I just couldn't understand a lot of what happened and the resolution left me feeling impartial and unaffected.

This is a rather ambitious story with beautiful prose in parts, but it's tied messily together and seems like it could have used a lot of tough love from an editor. It has a lot of potential and is still an entertaining read, but I feel like it missed the mark a little. Hopefully further work from the author will iron out the kinks in her storytelling.

The Girl Before by J P Delaney

This one has finally hit shelves so I figured it's time to share my review! :)

Being compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train leaves one with big expectations for this novel and it does not disappoint. I was lucky enough to win an advanced copy of the novel through a Goodreads giveaway and I'm so excited to see the reactions when the novel receives the inevitable momentum it rightfully deserves!

This is a tangled web of complex characters running quietly rampant with the inherent flaws of humankind. The alternating stories of 'Then' and 'Now' thread together seamlessly, crafting suspense through the slow release of suggestions and the accompanying chills. As the reader learns more about each character, the mystery of The Girl Before becomes increasingly convoluted, surrounded by deception and gradually darkening until its thrilling conclusion. The depth of these characters allows the reader to feel their experiences and react viscerally to their vices. Their layered formation allows one to, if not sympathise with, at least understand the nature of these flawed beings.

The writing is solid, building the story with small, quick, steps into a crescendo of suspense. The similarities between the alternating stories unite the two narratives brilliantly, creating the connection between the two women and permeating their stories with recurring characters. That being said, the subtle difference between style and the slow release of information forks the narratives elegantly, allowing each to take on their own life as the novel gains momentum.

Absolutely loved it from start to finish, as can be assumed from my finishing it in a single day. There's not too many novels these days that sink their claws in quite like this one did!

Highly recommend for fans of suspense and an absolute must for anyone who enjoyed The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl. Get it as soon as it hits shelves - this one is going to be big!

RE:The Girl Before by J P Delaney

Have you read this month's He Said She Said? I'm reading it at the moment and loving it.

One to look out for later in the year is Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica. I read it in a single sitting over the weekend and it was so, so good. I had a couple of issues with the story overall, but I raced through it to get to the end!

RE:The Girl Before by J P Delaney

I've seen He Said She Said floating about but haven't got my hands on a copy yet! I'll add that other one to my to-read list as well! I love books that I can smash through in one or two sittings. Crime/thriller in particular, because it always leaves me thinking about it after I'm done.

A Potted(Potter) Life of Wilfred Owen

Jane Potter's book " Wilfred Owen: An Illustrated Life", Bodleian Library 2014, is a wonderful introduction  and addition to the genius of Wilfred Owen, one of England's greatest Great War poets. I think he is THE greatest.  Lavishly illustrated with photographs, Potter recreates the life and times of Owen, dotted with anecdotes and poems throughout. This book, of 144 pages ,should be used in conjunction with Stallworthy, Hibberd and Cuthbertson( more detailed biographies) and not really as a stand-alone. I noticed this book has come under  intense  and heavy artillery  fire from readers who think it shallow and somewhat purile. Potter will become the next authority on Owen in the coming years if she persists with her ongoing research of Wilfred Owen. The  best grab in the book is the very smiling and beguiling Owen in uniform taken in 1915 by John Gunston. For a poet who wrote about the 'pity of war' so often and so intensely, it is really 'that melt your heart moment' of how so young the soldiers were and how so many did not come back home to grow into old men after a lifetime of experience with family, work and peace. This is a nice volume and would sit well next to other books on Wilfred Owen.

RE:A Potted(Potter) Life of Wilfred Owen

Sounds like an excellent addition to your library Ghost Writer! I'm not too sure if this link will work but is this the photo you mentioned of Wilfred Owen:

​I just came home from morning tea and a visit to my local Dymocks and picked up this new release: "Sword and Baton: Senior Australian Army Officers from Federation to 2001, volume one: 1900 to 1939" by Justin Chadwick. It's a nice volume of bite sized bio's on some of our senior officers who led our troops during the Great War.

​I am currently reading a pretty interesting book on the British Redcoat; "All For The King's Shilling: The British Soldier under Wellington, 1808-1814" by Edward Coss.

RE:A Potted(Potter) Life of Wilfred Owen

Hi History Lover, Nice to be back on Bookmarked again after  such a hiatus. Ehh. I saw that book on the Australian Commanders in the Great War and really didn't stop to give it a look. I'll check it out. I feel a little embarassed  for myself because I've ordered some many books lately, among them Robin Gerster's " Big-Noting: The Heroic Theme in Australian War Writing, Melb  Uni Press . It was a long-ago title of mine and I was wandering around the internet and found a h/c copy in perfect condition, very inexpensive, (with plastic book wrap) in Gympie, Qld. All mine in a few days! While on Abe I saw a few second hand bookshops in the UK that were offering some Waterloo and Napolean books published  from waybackwhen.  Well done on " All For The King's Shilling". The  historical development of the army is so important and don't you love the changes in uniforms and accroutements.This Wilfred Owen Conference in London next year, I was telling you about, is speeding up with some interesting guest speakers, I think Santanu Das is attending as well. The university is putting up some big money into it . Tis a pity that Jon Stallworthy, and Dominic Hibberd aren't around to participate i the conference. I'm hoping there will be a publication of the papers or some such thing after it.  Good reading !!Cheers

RE:A Potted(Potter) Life of Wilfred Owen

Hi Ghost Writer,

​Well I am at home watching it rain from my library window, its been wet all week which is great for the garden. I am currently reading two very different but quite enjoyable books; "Imperial Triumph: The Roman World from Hadrian to Constantine" by Michael Kulikowski ​and Ben MacIntyre's "SAS Rogue Heroes". I was out shopping today and dropped in at one of the Dymocks stores and purchased the revised edition of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror" which I will try and read very soon.

Good news on your purchases of Robin Gerster's "Big-Noting: The Heroic Theme in Australian War Writing". Very nice indeed :)

I really enjoyed "All For the King's Shilling" and it has me all fired up to read similiar books on the subject covering both the British and French armies of the period.

​What new books have you managed to bring home lately and what are you currently reading? I hope you are well and enjoyign some decent weather down your way.


RE:A Potted(Potter) Life of Wilfred Owen

Hi History Lover, I was thinking about writing when I opened this up....hope you are well. Sounds like a nice spot to watch the rain, in the comfort of one's library. Good to hear you enjoyed " All For The King's Shilling". I did check it out and put it on the back- burn list. My copy of " Big- Noting" is a little foxed and smells " booky" as if it has been entombed somewhere in a dank dungeon for years and finally has taken that  breath of fresh air. It is marked , unfortunately, with pink and purple underscoring in places but a good working copy and  otherwise nicely intact. 'The Book Gods' should wreak  book deprivation on those who used marker pens in books( just kidding)..could have used pencil at least. Very pleased to have it again. My copy of " Charmed Life: The Phenomenal World of  Phillip Sassoon" by Damian Collins arrived last week. He was a cousin of Siegfried, both really didn't want to be seen in each other's company for their own reasons. He was a gad-about in political , artistic and  social circles, had enormous wealth , looks, contacts, the works. I thought it would be interesting because of all the background information. Waiting on a few books I ordered from places in UK, France and US.... Wilfred Owen books, two Jon Silkins( nice h/cs), Oxford Book of Twentieth Century Poetry h/c . Most of these books are ex-library, used, h/c, good condition. Remember I told you I'm too embarrassed to say how many, but all in all not that expensive total cost.? Heh. All  the stuff I had in my former library , pared to the most-wants! I am stoked at not only have found them but also I have secured them for myself and on the way here. I'm going to end up in 2-3 weeks with a nice heap of Owen, poetry and an old  biography of John Singer Sargent, literature of the Edwardian and First World War. Sorry for talking about my finds so much , however, it is truly wonderful. Currently reading " The Hand on the Shakespearean Stage: Gesture, Touch and the Spectre of Dismemberment" by Farah Karim-Cooper. It is fascinating as it brings to light how the hand is used, on the stage but also in painting etc. Cheers, History Lover. having writ, keeps on...

When I was younger, I read Paul Auster's " New York Trilogy" and thought it was a good , succint and  interesting read, but didn't follow his novels after that. I really tried with his new book " 4 3 2 1" and I must admit I found it quite a struggle to keep up the pace of his 866 page mammoth novel, all the while thinking he was trying hard to outsmart( outwrite and outwit) John Dos Passos( " USA"). That isn't really possible because Dos Passos is in a league of his own when it comes to writing. Then I thought back to Charles Dickens and his 10 page description of a puddle( which is brilliant by the way).  But I digress. Coming back to Auster....some of the literary and historcial ramblings are interesting and the description early in the novel of how a man got his namesake on Ellis Island  as an immigrant is funny...but, protracted ,because Auster keeps repeating the same tired joke over and over,( like an acquiantance of mine who tells me the same Yom Kippur joke every time he sees me .  I acquiesce and smile  because I like the person and have repect for him) like ' do you remember the time etc etc etc'. Seriously ,the novel  is too long for the subject and I respected Auster for " The New York Trilogy" long ago and was really disappointed at the attempts to write an autobiographical novel . I expected a lot more from Auster from the calibre of his other books and he falls short of 866 pages in trying too hard to be too smart. I see that other reviewers are not really taken with "4321" and the ending which is crucial to any book, is inconclusive, elusive and meanders with characters in search of repose.  When I recieved this novel from Dymocks Booklover( thank you) I wondered what I was getting myself into: seriously  disfunctional family members and a boy who seems to have a  split personality in four lives, in search of some respite from each other. I just want to read about normal people when I read novels and not feel I am burdened with the world's psychological and emotional crises( yes, we all have our quirks but that is different from being  this dysfunctional)  On the up side, this novel will certainly keep the reader entertained. One really just needs to persist  with the door-stopper issues and size. I'm sure this will appeal to readers of Paul Auster fans and others. I would have appreciated this novel better if he didn't try so hard to be brilliant and the book would have held together better if it was around 360-400 pages. He wouldn't have been searching for an ending.. I'll give it another read at the end of the year.

Duskfall by Christopher Husberg

So I just got done with this novel this morning and I absolutely loved it! If you're a fantasy lover like me this one is an absolute must, it's so unique - I loved everything about it! Below is my review, which you can also find on Goodreads:

Hold on to your hats, fantasy lovers, because this is one wild ride. From the first pages of the prologue the reader is swept up into the action and the deluge doesn't let up until the very last page - and only then because there's no more to read until the second installment is published. It's going to be a long wait, my friends.

Knot, our hero, is dragged from a freezing sea pierced with arrows and with no memory of himself. The mystery is consuming and creates much of the pace of the novel, with glimpses of his past propelling the reader further to find out more. Despite his lost memory, Knot is a likable character separate to the person he once was, so that we get the impression that we might not like him to recover his former self. It creates a quiet suspense throughout the novel that hovers underneath the non-stop action.

Duskfall is a refreshingly unique creation in the world of Fantasy. It combines familiar elements in unfamiliar recipes, making old ideas seem fresh and full of new flavour. The action comes fast but is dynamic, so that it's not all sword fights and epic chases. There is intelligence in the storyline, and it's crafted cleverly so that the reader is never bored by repetition. Much of it travels unexpected paths, making it hard to predict what comes next; imagine speeding down the ski slopes with no warning of the layout and obstacles to dodge the entire way - the rush is hard to beat. That thrill of not knowing what to expect makes this novel stand out in a genre overrun with stereotypes and cliches. 

The mix of characters is bizarre yet they complement each other nicely, making it hard to choose favourites. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, which gives them depth and layers that are fascinating to peel back. There is a mixture of hard and soft, but there is no black and white - the characters in this novel are very much in the grey area. This realism allows the reader to connect on a deeper level, and feel a lot more through the written eyes of multiple viewpoints. 

The writing is commendable, and it's apparent that a lot of thought went into producing work of a very high standard. It's not just the pace, or the perfect balance of action and description; the true mark of brilliance is in the small details. For example, the new terminology that spawns from words we know: new names for well-known fantasy elements. There's also the very real, present-day themes that enter this novel under the guise of fantasy. The reader is confronted with issues like racism, substance abuse, and warring religion, and the deep thinkers will appreciate this subtle inside view on such topics. The dynamics between different opinions and beliefs give a lot of heart to the novel, making character exploration as important a factor as the fluidity of the story. 

An absolute rush to read, and a refreshing addition to the world of fantasy, Duskfall had me hooked from beginning to end. A quote on the cover from Steve Diamond states that this novel has him 'thrilled for the future of Fantasy' and I can't help but agree. I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book in my new favourite fantasy series.

Close Enough To Touch by Colleen Oakley

I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview of this novel and absolutely loved it. My review is fairly short but hopefully it conveys how much I enjoyed it! :)

Jubilee Jenkins has a rare disorder: she's allergic to humans. 

It makes for a fascinating premise, and this novel deals with the issue elegantly, slowly releasing the multitude of emotions Jubilee inevitably feels. It begins with Jubilee living as something of a recluse, when a change of circumstances forces her to leave the house for the first time in nine years. What follows is the thoughtful portrayal of a woman blossoming into a self-assured woman in spite of the cards life has dealt. Close Enough to Touch is, at its core, a warming exploration of the human heart.

The key characters are intriguing and well-developed, and relationships are built cautiously, creating realism through layered characterisation. Eric is likable enough but the true charmer is troubled son Aja, whose quirks endear him almost immediately. The rest of the ensemble round out the story giving it variety without too much to keep track of.

The alternating chapters from both Jubilee and Eric add extra depth to the tale, and insight into two very different dynamics. While Jubilee is somewhat timid and naive, Eric is dealing with pieces of a broken family, and has almost a wearied quality to him; you can clearly picture the frazzled father struggling to keep control over a rapidly unravelling thread. This contrast between the two is the soul of the novel.

Overall a fantastic read with delightful characters and an intelligent story. Highly recommend for lovers of atypical chick-lit. Enjoyed it immensely and my sincere thanks to Allen & Unwin for the advanced copy!

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