The ninth installment of short reviews by library staff  features plenty of books, a couple of dvds and a bit of music.

The late Christopher Hitchens once saidA good day is one where I can not just read a book, but write a review of it“, so, with that out of context quote, let me present that latest set of short reviews by library staff. Get a taste of what we have been reading, watching and listening to on our good days.

Book reviews

Cover - Link opens in a new window  Alone / Robert J Crane
Reviewed by Melody
This book, which leads into an extensive series, is a fantastic blend of action and scifi. The characters have abilities similar to Xmen, and the lead character Sienna could be compared to Rogue, however with a killer snark and attitude. The writing is incredibly current and full of pop-culture references that allow you to connect more personally with the story. Sienna’s wit and strength will make you cheer out loud. The action is gripping, and the story so engaging that I think I will re-read it right now!

Cover - Link opens in a new window  “Shouldn’t you be in school?”  / Lemony Snicket
Reviewed by Lawley
“I was spending a bad morning in a good library.” You might ask, ‘Why wasn’t Lemony Snicket in school?’, but that would be the wrong question. It’s the third installment of ‘All The Wrong Questions’ series, nominally aimed at primary school aged kids, but, really, you are not too old to enjoy these books. More fun than an episode of Sherlock.

Cover - Link opens in a new window  Fresh off the boat / Eddie Huang
Reviewed by Pieter 
Fresh off the boat is a brilliant read. About the life of Eddie Huang, it’s a glimpse into the world of a Taiwanese immigrant in the US. Eddies family is explored and explained in both emotional and hilarious ways. Eddie’s love for rap, basketball and mischief is also well documented. Huang is able to explain his passions in a very engaging way and made sure I didn’t want to put it down.

I now also want to eat at his restaurant in NYC, Baohaus.

Easy to read. Hard to put down. Hilarious. Highly recommended.

Cover - Link opens in a new window  The love-charm of bombs : restless lives in the Second World War / Lara Feigel
Reviewed by Leah
A fascinating and original work of narrative nonfiction, a biography of five writers, a literary examination of the exhilaration of wartime (for the upper classes, at any rate).I really enjoyed it, though it opened my eyes to the unpleasant personality traits of writers I had previously admired greatly. What price death and destruction when you can have intense love affairs and escape to your stately home in Ireland whenever you’re tired of being bombed?

Cover - Link opens in a new window  Room : a novel / Emma Donoghue
Reviewed by Michaela 
A brilliant book about the unbreakable bond between a mother and child, despite traumatic circumstances. I stayed up past midnight the night I started this book, and finished it the next day. The movie, although not as detailed as the novel, is also excellent. I highly recommend both.

Cover - Link opens in a new window  Empire V : the prince of Hamlet / Victor Pelevin
Reviewed by David
“Roman thought he’d found the perfect opportunity to rebel. He may have been wrong.“ This vampire fantasy novel is actually a satirical comedy about our contemporary, hyper-consumerist* society (*I made that word up!) and the hidden forces that manage, manipulate and exploit it. While I am enjoying this adult fantasy title the fact it originally hails from Russia gives me the impression, every now and then, that I’ve missed out on a hilariously cutting comment on Russian politics and/or the social elite. (Just as well, because if I laughed out loud I might find myself down the local FSB office for a “chat”).

Cover - Link opens in a new window  The mountain shadow / Gregory David Roberts
Reviewed by Pieter 
The mountain shadow follows on from Roberts’ first novel, Shantaram. Lin is back in India and is trying desperately to understand the elusive Karla. Didier still commands the attention of all at Leopolds. There are new characters introduced and some that have been lost.The mountain shadow is written in the same style as Shantaram. Lin still dishes out his clever lines and has his mental battles with those who surround him. However, I dont feel like it had the same flow as Shantaram and maybe a bit clunkier in introducing Roberts philosophical thoughts.

Still a great read, but a few steps below Shantaram.

Cover - Link opens in a new window  A murder without motive : the killing of Rebecca Ryle / Martin McKenzie-Murray
Reviewed by Lawley
I don’t really read much true crime, but after hearing the author speak at the Perth Writers Festival earlier this year, I felt compelled to buy this book. A thoughtful study of our how families deal with senseless crimes; but also look at youth culture in outer suburban Perth.

Cover - Link opens in a new window  The hidden oracle / Rick Riordan
Reviewed by Melody
A wonderful return to Percy Jackson’s universe – though this time, the God Apollo has been stripped of his immortality and must suffer the trials of being a teenage boy – zits and all. I really love reading exciting Junior Fiction like this – great for all ages!

Cover - Link opens in a new window  A murder of quality / John le Carré
Reviewed by Leah
In his second novel, before he really got going on his electrifying spy stories, le Carre turned his hand to that classic of English crime fiction, the murder mystery.In part a social commentary on the places police inquiries can’t go and the fading of the upper-class world after WWII, and in part a fairly unimaginative attempt at an Agatha Christie-esque whodunnit, this is enjoyable enough in the moment.The plotting is mediocre, the reveal underdone, but what saves it is the quiet, melancholy tone the author brings to the whole sordid affair.

Cover - Link opens in a new window  Lies, damned lies, and history [ebook] : Chronicles of St. Mary’s, Book 7 / Jodi Taylor
Reviewed by Melody 
This is the 7th full length book in Jodi Taylor’s wonderful Chronicles of St. Mary’s series. Dr Maxwell is still recklessly traipsing through time and causing no end of trouble for the long suffering Dr Bairstow and the rest of the historians. This time the team has to steal one of King Arthur’s swords, save three lost historians, and face a messy encounter with the Time Police.

Cover - Link opens in a new window Down Under [ebook]  / Bill Bryson
Reviewed by Matt
One of those 3am thoughts- I had to re-read one of my favourite chapters, alas, I didn’t want to get out of bed in Winter to find it, I downloaded it on Overdrive without any issue. I really just wanted to re-read the part about Perth and the Echidna!

DVD reviews

Cover - Link opens in a new window   Adventure time. Stakes! [dvd]
Reviewed by David
“… and the fun will never end, it’s Adventure Time!” (Yes, I was singing the theme tune in my head!) The story of this 8 episode mini-series revolves around Marceline (the Vampire Queen) and her desire to become mortal again. With the help of her friends her dream appears to be coming true but at what cost. Ooooo, scary! Join your favourite (okay, my favourite) Adventure Time characters for some crazy fun, get some insights into how Marceline became a child vampire all those eons ago and why it’s not necessarily a good idea for her to un-become one. 4.5 out of 5 sharpened wooden stakes.

Cover - Link opens in a new window   Son of a gun [dvd]
Reviewed by Matt
Yes, I love this movie. Probably just because it’s set in Perth, but when our quiet little town is seen in an International movie, I’m all in! Make sure you check out the cameo by the City of Cockburn’s own, Soa Palelei.

Music reviews

Cover - Link opens in a new window   Björk greatest hits [sound recording]
Reviewed by Pieter
Greatest hits albums are always a hit and miss affair, as the compilations either include weird tracks or miss some of the essential tracks. Björk’s greatest hits album does a good job of compiling most of her best tracks up until when it was released (2002). The album does have one exclusive track, “Its in our hands”. The album is brilliant for this track alone.Weird and eclectic, this album shows how brilliant Bjork is.

Want more short reviews?

That’s it for this installment of short reviews, but make sure you check out previous installments for many more book, dvd, and music recommendations.

Cat looking at stack of books

“Let me see what’s in the to-be-read-next pile”    | Image: CC0 – public domain, modified version of this original