This month has the highest number of reviews linked to the database this month which is fabulous, we had 19 books reviewed. Some of these are repeats of past books that we haven’t seen in awhile and a couple of new ones.

Reading Matters reviewed The Animals in that Country by Laura Jean McKay and says “I ate this book up in the space of a weekend. I would put it down and then itch to pick it up again. It’s spellbinding in a way few dystopian novels can be spellbinding. It posits a truly preposterous idea, yet makes it seem totally plausible.” and “By the time I got to the end of this dazzling novel, I felt spent — but in a good way. This is a challenging and compelling read, one that makes you look at the world, and how we relate to animals, in a completely different way. I feel forever changed having read it.”



Book coverWhispering Gums reviewed The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shookoofeh Azar, a former Iranian author who came to Australia as a political refugee. This is a book that I have wanted to read for a while and after reading this review I hope to get to it this year. She says “The enlightenment of the greengage tree is a wonderful read if you like books which pose these sorts of fundamental questions about how to live in difficult times. It could be a grim read, given the brutality contained within, but it’s not. It’s tragic, of course, but it has a sort of unsentimental, slightly melancholic tone that doesn’t weigh you down. Two-thirds of the way through the novel, Beeta tells Bahar that “imagination is at the heart of reality”. A perfect description of what Azar has done in this book.”


SnowWhiteCover copyA New Release from our favourite retellers of fairytales is Snow White and Rose Red by Kate Forsyth and illustrated by Lorena Carrington was reviewed by Ashleigh at The Book Muse. She says “Kate’s magical and evocative words are accompanied by the delightful illustrations by Lorena Carrington, who uses photography and everyday objects to create her images – in the author and illustrator notes after each tale, Kate and Lorena describe their process for each tale, which adds to the richness of the book, the stories and the illustrations. Each illustration is layered with texture and colour, with silhouetted figures against colourful and textured backdrops, or framed in a door or window against a white background. I found it really hard to choose a favourite – they were all lovely and fit very nicely with the rest of the series. Kate and Lorena are currently working on the fourth book in the series, and I’m eager to see what they do with that one, and if they are able to, any others. Each book has seven stories – a magic number in fairy tales!” and “This is one of those books that will be treasured and adored, and will set well with other fairy tale collections and fairy tale retellings. I love Kate and Lorena’s work, and hope that there will be many more of these collections to come.”

Nadia King reviewed New Release Snow by Gina Inverarity and says “If you enjoy reading modern retellings of fairytales or dystopian fiction, this book is for you. Highly recommended reading for YA readers and anyone who enjoys a good story.”

Carolyn reviewed one of my all-time favourite novels A LIfetime of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird, she says “Tabitha Bird has written a beautiful and enchanting story of permitting yourself to take second chances and fix the impossible. She handles the trauma that Willa experiences as a child with an abusive father with sensitivity and compassion and allows Willa’s spirit and enthusiasm (so much is ‘amaze-a-loo’ to her) to shine through.”

Veronica reviewed Letters From the Light by Shel Calopa, a debut dystopian sci-fi novel, and said “A well-crafted and unique world populated by a broad cast of the good and the bad. This is a multilayered story with strong threads of culture, politics, societal inequities, religion, and revolution. Loved the Australian flavour.” She also reviewed the novella Troll Hunter: Witch for Hire by P.A. Mason and said “Fun, quirky, and clever. A delightful blend of modern, magical, and mis-adventure.

Another novella is a horror story Into Bones Like Oil by Kaaran Warren which was reviewed by Tinted Edges who says “This is an incredible eerie story about guilt and greed, and how those made vulnerable by pain can easily be exploited by others. Dora is a great character, and the more we learn about her past, the more we understand how she ended up at a place like The Anglesea. Although it is a novella, there is plenty packed in and Warren’s writing is complex and insightful. This book seeps into you and lingers long after you finish reading.”

Underground Writers reviewed a book I haven’t seen mentioned for a long time, In the Dark Spaces by Cally Black. I know I enjoyed this one, it was very different and they seem to be in agreement saying “I’d recommend In the Dark Spaces to anyone who enjoys highly imaginative sci-fi, intense YA narratives, edge-of-your seat thrillers, or tear-jerking separation stories.”

To check out the full list of Spec Fiction books read in May click here. Thank you all for your contributions, until next time, happy reading.