1. Book Reviews – 2021

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Rating Scale:

*****  Fantastic! You’ve gotta read this one!

****  Great. Well worth a look

***   OK. You may enjoy it.


“Berlin: The story of a city” by Barney White-Spunner


Genre: Non-Fiction: History

Read:  February


“Consolation” by Garry Disher


Genre: Fiction: Crime, Rural Noir

Read: February


“Meet America’s Presidents” by Scott Peters

Rating:  *****

Genre: Non-Fiction: Children/History

Read:  January

A very cute and entertaining look at the American president from George Washington to Donald Trump. “Meet America’s Presidents” by Scott Peters offers a snappy and concise overview of each president. It includes basic biographical information, the dates of their time in office, what they are best known for, quirky facts, and a famous quote,  Less than charming activities are dealt with diplomatically, allowing the astute child to seek more information if required. Well worth the read, and I hope that the author will update this when new presidents come to office.

“The World of Adam Dunne” by Tobor Eichmann

Rating:   ****

Genre: Fiction: Young Adult/Mystery

Read:  January

Adam Dunne is the new kid in town. This is hard enough for a young boy, but he has the added complication of being a little odd. Having recently suffered from a traumatic accident, Adam suffers from amnesia and terrible headaches. If this wasn’t bad enough he is haunted by frightening dreams of a dark man in a torn jacket. When the dark figure starts appearing during the day, Adam must take action to find out who this person is.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and found the character of Adam pleasant and easy to relate to. The plot flows smoothly and draws the reader into the action. The book is Novella length, with easy to digest chapters. The book is suitable for readers from Middle-grade and beyond. 4 stars for the story, 3.5 stars for the writing.

“Factory 19” by Dennis Glover  

Rating: ****1/2    

Genre: Fiction: Literary Fiction

Read:  January

When political speechwriter Dr Paul Richey suffers a very public nervous breakdown and develops an “allergy” to the modern world he thinks his life is over. He moves to Hobart, which since the closure of the only economically viable business, the “Gallery of the Future/GOFA” has become a technological dead zone. But then out of the blue, eccentric billionaire and former GOFA owner Dundas Faussett returns to town to set up a new project. 

Welcome Factory 19, where every day is 1948. Dundas establishes an old-fashioned post-war factory, replete with typing pools, tea ladies, mechanical workshops, and traditional shipping. There’s a job for everybody and a purpose-built 1948 style town. Dundas creates what he considers to be the ideal society, with 1940s everything, but with some elements of modern thinking (gender equality for example). What could go wrong?

Readers familiar with recent Australian politics and social history will recognise some of the characters in this very entertaining and highly amusing satire. 

The story is set in the near future and is narrated by Paul, who describes the development of Factory 19, and the lives of all within.  The book is easy to read, entertaining, and often funny. There are many moments where you almost wish that you were living with them back in 1948…but then again…

“Pig City: From the Saints to Savage Garden” by Andrew Stafford

Rating: ****   

Genre: Non-Fiction: Music and Culture

Read:  January

A comprehensive examination of the development of the Brisbane (Australia) music scene through the 70s, 80s, and early 90s – a period of censorship, political turmoil, and police corruption. I was a teen during the mid-80s and remember some of the bands and events described. I was particularly interested to read about the activities during the 70s, when I, as a young child, was unaware of the reality of cultural life. The book brings back many memories of good and bad times. It is well researched and works hard to present a fact-based view of the activities of the time.

“Little Grey Cells: The Quotable Poirot” by Agatha Christie

Rating:   **** 

Genre: Non-Fiction: Gift Book

Read:  January

A natty little gift book full of fun, frivolous and astute quotes from the sometimes vain, sometimes annoying, but always right, Hercule Poirot. A must for fans.



Previous Years Book Reviews: Archives

2020: Sarah’s 2020 Book Review List

2019: 2019 Book Reviews 


2017: 2017 Book Reviews by Sarah Jackson

2016: 2016-book-reviews

2015: 2015 Book reviews download