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Berkelouw Balgowlah - Book Reviews

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The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkoski

Reviewed by Jamie, Balgowlah

Think Roman Empire meets Victorian England, with a main character who is Elizabeth Bennet cross Katniss Everdeen.    When Kestrel, the privileged daughter of a General, impulsively purchases Arin, a slave, at the market she sets the whole city talking. After being surrounded ... (continued)

The Shepherd's Life- James Rebanks

Reviewed by Elias, Balgowlah

The English Lakes are famous for their beauty, but less famous for their farmers. James Rebanks, proud inheritor of a tradition that spans millennia, is a tenth-generation shepherd – that rarest of beasts, a working small hold farmer. This book is an account of his life on a land enshrin... (continued)

Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner? - Katrine Marcal

Reviewed by Elias, Balgowlah

When Adam Smith theorised modern economics in the 18th Century, he based it on the individual. The workings of the market were driven by this individual pursuing their rational self-interest, as natural to humans as eating or breathing. In this hilarious, breezy, and sharp book, Katrine Mar&cc... (continued)

Landfalls- Naomi J.Williams

Reviewed by Lee, Balgowlah

One voyage, many voices.  Leaving France in 1785 with the grand purpose of scientific and geographic discovery, Laperouse commands La Boussole and Astrolabe, and the fate of 114 men. This novel captures that ill-fated expedition with meticulous research and terrific characterisation. ... (continued)

The Other Side of the World- Stephanie Bishop

Reviewed by Jamie, Balgowlah

  Charlotte belongs in her little cottage, which always leaks and is far too small and far too cold, in England. Her husband however has had enough, and begs her to move to Australia. Run down by two children, Charlotte throws her hands in the air and says “Fine, I’ll go&r... (continued)

One True Thing- Nicole Hayes

Reviewed by Jaimee, Balgowlah

A nice alternative to dystopian fantasy. Following in the tradition of Looking For Alibrandi, this is a “real life” fiction about Frankie. Frankie, whose mother is the current Victorian Premier, who is in the middle of election season, and is being trotted out as part of the &lsquo... (continued)

So You've Been Publicly Shamed- Jon Ronson

Reviewed by Elias, Balgowlah

When Jon Ronson discovers a fake account on Twitter bearing his name and picture, posting fatuous updates about imaginary food, he is, naturally, annoyed. Being an investigative journalist, he soon tracks down those responsible – a group of young academics running a dubious experiment &n... (continued)

Spark- Rachael Craw

Reviewed by Imogen, Balgowlah

This is a great book for teens. A girl named Evie is a normal teenager one day, and the next she is a Shield, a protector for her friend Kitty. Evie doesn't know who she is protecting Kitty from- all they know is that someone is out to get her. I really enjoyed this book- it's a gr... (continued)

The Paying Guests- Sarah Waters

Reviewed by Lee, Balgowlah

A beautifully written, entirely engaging novel set in 1920s London. This is a London recovering from WWI, its inhabitatnts negotiating subtle (and not so subtle) soicial and economic change. A widow and her daughter, whose circumstances are slowly shrinking, live in a large fraying house. Taki... (continued)

Lost and Found- Brooke Davis

Reviewed by Jaimee, Balgowlah

This is undeniably the best debut novel I have ever read. Lost and Found is a beautifully human tale about how a little girl, an old lady, and an old man, learn to grieve and to laugh, to cry and to smile, to fear and be thrilled. While a story about death and loss wouldn't always be c... (continued)

The Lies of Locke Lamora- Scott Lynch

Reviewed by Jeremy, Balgowlah

Stranded and starving orphans are not meant to survive for long in Camorr, a city of dark alleys, rancid canals and sprawling slums. Locke Lamora, blessed with a quick wit and a certain moral flexibility, is one of the lucky few. When he is taken under the wing of a priest of the Crooked Warde... (continued)

Wolf Hall- Hilary Mantel

Reviewed by Elias, Balgowlah

Hilary Mantel's dark masterpiece, charting the traslation of Thomas Cromwell from Putney blacksmith's son to brilliant and drangerous courtier in the court of Henry VIII. A literary page-turner and insightful, unsettling reflection on history and power, Wolf Hall is set at a time when ... (continued)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Stephen Chbosky

Reviewed by Brendan, Balgowlah

Written as a series of letters to an anonymous stranger, this coming of age account invites the reader into a world populated by unforgettable characters sure to remain in your mind long after the last page is turned. We accompany Charlie, the eponymous wallflower, as he navigates the world of... (continued)

Why we took the car

Reviewed by Em & Mel, Balgowlah

For readers who enjoyed Perks of being a Wallflower or Matthew Quick. Herman does the voice of a disgruntled judgemental teen so well. A story of a social nobody who does something completely off he radar for the attentions of the class beauty. A great coming of age story for 14 and up (not re... (continued)

The Enchanted

Reviewed by Em, Balgowlah

Rene Denfeld has written a book like none I’ve read before, combining the harsh and volatile reality of the American penal system with the magical, almost poetical narration by one of its death row inmates, a mute schizophrenic who creates a fantastical world in this bleak and unforgivin... (continued)

& Sons

Reviewed by Em, Balgowlah

This book is about the lives and fractious relationships of two upper east side Manhattan families. The fathers and sons, with all their disappointments and unsaid admirations, create a rich and ambitious storyline. The patriarch at the centre of this wors is a writer of Salinger-like proporti... (continued)

The Convent

Reviewed by Mel, Balgowlah

The convent is a story that will have you wishing you were one of the characters. It takes you back in time to meet three extraordinary women who barely know each other but are irreversably tied to the convent. This story highlights the devastating or wonderful consequences of the choices we m... (continued)

The Invention of Wings

Reviewed by Em & Val, Balgowlah

Based on the lives of the Grimke sisters, suffrogettes abnd civil rights activists who betrayed their sourthern upbringing and joined the abolisionist cause, and the life of their maid and family slave Hetti 'handful'. A power story of standing up for what is right , of conscious and c... (continued)


Reviewed by Fin & Mel, Balgowlah

We all absolutely LOVE this book. This is one of The Great Reads” a book that only occurs once a decade and redefines the genre.  I literally read non-stop until four in the morning in order to finish: about eight hours for those curious.  A Techno-Thriller that straps you ... (continued)

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Reviewed by Elena & Maria, Balgowlah

LOVED IT! LOVED IT! LOVED IT! Imagine a world without love. There would be fewer wars. Fewer lies. Less pain. People would all have a life that is "safe, measured, predictable, and happy". Of course, there would also be no romance. No family ties. No real friendships. Less pa... (continued)

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