Review: Blakwork by Alison Whittaker, by Jess Rae

Title: Blakwork Author: Alison Whittaker Genre: Poetry Look at that: the fantasy editor is reviewing poetry! Pigs really do fly after all. I actually read a lot of poetry, but my preferred written form is prose so it’s rare for me to talk about poetry on this platform, especially when we have quite a fantastic…

Review: ‘Black Cockatoo’ by Carl Merrison & Hakea Hustler, by Shelley Timms

Title: Black Cockatoo Authors: Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler Genre: Middle grade fiction Favourite part: The inclusion of words from the Jaru language throughout the book – very educational and it added to the authenticity of the story. Favourite quote: “You have his mark, Mia, between your shoulderblades. The dirrarn is your totem. Your jarriny…

Review: Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman, by Jess Gately

Title: Terra Nullius Author: Claire G. Coleman Genre: Fiction/Science-fiction Favourite part: Esperance reflecting on how the Settler’s colonisation methods set the Natives up for failure. Favourite quote: ‘He knew now though, that when you plant bones, nothing grows from them. Nothing but pain.’ For all the fiction in this book, it is the truths that…

Review: Oriental Vagabonds by Richard Regan, by Fred

Title: Oriental Vagabonds: A Tale of a Far East Tramp Author: Richard Regan Genre: Fiction Favourite part: Captain Rowden finds himself entangled with Chinese warlords. Favourite quote: “Aye, life’s tough enough tramping around these waters. But it’ll get harder, much harder if General Tojo and Herr Hitler get their way.” Oriental Vagabonds chronicles the trials…

Review: Rohypnol by Andrew Hutchinson, by Fred

Title: Rohypnol Author: Andrew Hutchinson Genre: Australian fiction Favourite part: The narrator’s revelation in the finale. Favourite quote: ‘The New Punk is not about moving towards your future. It is about your life right now, impatiently standing still.’ Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse, Sexual Predators, Rape, Sexual Assault Rohypnol by Andrew Hutchinson is the story of…

Review: ‘Alfred’s War & ‘Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean-Up’

Editor Kate Lomas Glendenning reviews two recent children’s book releases from Magabala Books. Alfred’s War by Rachel Bin Salleh, illustrated by Samantha Fry Alfred’s War is the stunning debut from Rachel Bin Salleh and Samantha Fry. The story follows Alfred, an Indigenous veteran who served in The Great War (now known as World War One),…

Review: How To Be Held by Maddie Godfrey, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Title: How To Be Held Author: Maddie Godfrey Genre: Poetry Favourite quote: ‘oh kneecaps, you equator of ankle and thigh/you who feel the breeze through torn/windows of my dungarees’ Favourite part: the poems Porcelain, Past Self, Halsey and I Shave Our Heads in the Dark, and Ode to My Kneecaps How To Be Held is the…

Review: Off the Track by Cristy Burne, by Kate Lomas Glendenning

Title: Off the Track Author: Cristy Burne Genre: Australian children’s fiction Favourite quote: ‘Around them leaves rustled and birds sang and he felt alive.’ Set in Western Australia,  the story follows the pre-pubescent Harry as he hikes the Bibbulmun Track with his mum, her friend Ana, and Ana‘s daughter Deepika. Off the Track is an…

Review: Stay Well Soon by Penny Tangey, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Title: Stay Well Soon Author: Penny Tangey Genre: Australian Middle-grade fiction Favourite part: The times when Stevie is playing imaginative games and her friends come to join her. Favourite quote: ‘[Mum] can’t stop me going to the toilet, it is against the Geneva Convention.’ Stay Well Soon by Penny Tangey is told through the eyes…

Review: The Sisters’ Song by Louise Allan, by Jess Gately

Title: The Sisters’ Song Author: Louise Allan Genre: Historical Fiction A review by Jess Gately If you’re struggling to understand why gender roles are so persevering, this book might be a good place to start. As more and more mothers admit to feeling judged, Louise Allan’s debut novel can tell us a lot about the…

Review: Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein, by Jess Rae

Title: Small Spaces Author: Sarah Epstein Genre: YA Psychological Thriller Favourite Quote: “But different is okay. Different will feel normal after a while.” I came across this book on one of my many peruses through bookshops. There’s a small sense of accomplishment when you come across a newly-released book that no one else around you…

Review: Bird Country by Claire Aman, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Issue 22’s review Bird Country (2017) by Claire Aman A review by Jemimah Halbert Brewster (this review can also be read in the Underground zine, issue 22: Pop!) Bird Country is Claire Aman’s first book, a short story collection featuring works that have previously been published by Black Inc., Griffith Review, Spineless Wonders, Margaret River Press,…

Review: Fire Boy by Sami Shah, by Shelley Timms

Title: Fire Boy Author: Sami Shah Genre: YA Urban Fantasy Favourite Part: The interludes between the regular plot that describe the destruction and pain Djinns cause to civilians. Sounds dark, but it gave more insight into the mythology surrounding them! Favourite quote: “The only thing more powerful than a horny djinn is a girl who…

Review: Honey Farm Dreaming by Anna Featherstone, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Title: Honey Farm Dreaming Author: Anna Featherstone Genre: memoir Themes: Australian farm life, sustainability, agriculture, animal husbandry, humour, learning Favourite quote, p. 167: “There’s no chooks or compost within a concrete mile and I can’t believe how much I care. I wonder how tower-dwellers exist and connect, when their feet can’t touch the ground; when…

Review: Stone Circle by Kate Murdoch, by Shelley Timms

Title: Stone Circle Author: Kate Murdoch Genre: Historical Fantasy Favourite part: The scenes that involved Antonius learning how to transform, and learning about the extent of his powers. Favourite quote: “A third image on the next page was an eagle, its coal-black wings extended, its beak a noble flash of gold. Traces of the coloured…

Review: Songs That Sound Like Blood by Jared Thomas, Jess Gately

Title: Songs That Sound Like Blood Genre: New Adult Fiction Themes: Coming of Age, Change, Coming Out, Racism Favourite quote: “[Dad] always said that people are supposed to move, that it recharges and calms us down. He explained that our ancestors formed our country perfectly to give us everything we needed. Water and bush tucker were…

Review: Small Farm Success Australia, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Title: Small Farm Success Australia Authors: Anna Featherstone & Andrew Campbell Genre: Non-fiction Favourite part: The case study of the farmer in Tasmania who rents tiny plots of land to farm organic rhubarb Favourite quote: ‘Though wineries sell romance to customers, we’re not a romantic industry. We’re in agriculture and you need a strong business…

Review: Grace Beside Me by Sue McPherson, review by Kate Lomas Glendenning

Caution: strong language quoted in this article – not recommended for readers under 16 years of age Title: Grace Beside Me Author: Sue McPherson Genre: Young Adult Favourite part: When Fuzzy explains Gran’s meticulous rules on how to hang out the washing Favourite quote: “I never enjoyed playing with dolls as a child so I wasn’t…

Review: Defying Doomsday, by Jemimah Halbert

Defying Doomsday is a Pozible-funded anthology of short stories published by the indie publishing house Twelfth Planet Press. Twelfth Planet is an organisation that seeks to ‘interrogate, commentate, inspire or provoke thought’, and to ‘raise the awareness of underrepresented voices in science fiction, fantasy, horror and… crime’. They have certainly achieved that with this anthology. Defying…

Australian titles reviewed in 2017!

Below are all the Australian titles reviewed by Underground Writers in 2017!     The Other Woman by Kylie Jones, reviewed by Kate, Shelley, and Jess Rae That Eye, the Sky by Tim Winton, reviewed by Kate Lomas Glendenning Rubik by Elizabeth Tan, reviewed by Jess Gately Portable Curiosities by Julie Koh, reviewed by Jemimah…

Review: My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier, reviewed by Jess Rae

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier A review by Jess Rae 17-year-old Che only wants 4 things: to go back home to Australia, to be allowed to spar, to get a girlfriend and most importantly to keep his little sister Rosa under control. Angelic, intelligent and only 10, Rosa seems like the perfect, talented little…

Review: ‘Women of a Certain Age’, reviewed by Shelley Timms

Women of a Certain Age is a collection of 15 vastly different, but all beautifully written stories about what it’s like to be “woman on the other side of 40, 50, 60 and 70.” Masterfully collated by editors Jodie Moffat, Maria Scoda and Susan Laura Sullivan, the book features stories from both the past and…

Review: Barking Dogs by Rebekah Clarkson, reviewed by Kate Lomas Glendenning

Barking Dogs is Rebekah Clarkson’s debut novel, which reveals a promising start to Clarkson’s career as a writer. Barking Dogs is a series of connected short stories, told from various perspectives of residents within a new housing estate in the South Australian town of Mount Barker. Clarkson’s plot is held to great promise with a…

Review: Bad to Worse by Robert Edeson, reviewed by Jess Gately

Winner of the T.A.G. Hungerford Award, Robert Edeson’s style of fiction is unlike anything I’ve ever read. His latest book, Bad to Worse, is the story of a vendetta that dates back to the old American West. When a pilot insists that the crash of his plane is the result of a collision with an…

Review: Portable Curiosities by Julie Koh, reviewed by Jemimah Halbert

July’s Review is here! Portable Curiosities by Julie Koh A review by Editor-in-Chief Jemimah Halbert Julie Koh’s first full-length collection of short stories, Portable Curiosities, is a strange journey through an unsettling landscape of curious characters in familiar but altered settings. A young girl’s third eye, located in her navel, sees the undetectable and impolite…

Review: Rubik by Elizabeth Tan, reviewed by Jess Gately

May’s Review is here! Rubik, by Elizabeth Tan A review by editor Jessica Gately I was lucky enough to be introduced to this book at its launch at Beaufort Street Books in Mt Lawley. I joined a throng of other local literature lovers as store reps served wine and nibbles and Tan signed copies of…

Review: Black Hole Blues by Janna Levin, reviewed by Jess Gately

Issue 18’s Review Black Hole Blues by Janna Levin A review by editor Jessica Gately (this review can be found in issue 18: Black Hole) The timing of this book falling into my hands could not have been better. Apart from the impending release of this issue of Underground, whose theme is also somewhat coincidentally…

Review: The Other Woman by Kylie Jones, reviewed by Kate, Shelley & Jess Rae

Issue 17’s Review The Other Woman by Kylie Jones (self-published) A collaborative review between Shelley Timms, Jessica Wilson-Smith, and Kate Lomas Glendenning (this review can be found in issue 17: The Hitchhiker) The Other Woman is the heart-wrenching true story of a woman coming to terms with her husband transitioning into a woman, and subsequent…

Issue 16’s Review: Am I normal Yet? by Jess Rae

Issue 16’s Review Am I Normal Yet? By Holly Bourne A review by editor Jessica Wilson-Smith (this review can be found in issue 16: Normal?) Am I Normal Yet? is a contemporary look at what it’s like to struggle with a mental illnesses and being a young girl in today’s society. As Book 1 of…

Issue 15’s Review: Defiance, by Tim Adeyemi

Issue 15’s Review Defiance by C. J. Redwine A review by editor Timilehin Adeyemi (this review can found in issue 15: Change) This intriguing story is plotted around Rachel Adams and a firmly kept secret within the shadow of a brutal leader in the city – state of Baalboden. Unlike other girls who opted for…

Issue 14’s Review: Death of a Bachelor (album), by Ana Neves

Issue 14’s Review Death of a Bachelor by Panic! At the disco A review by editor Ana Neves (this review can be found is issue 14: Bittersweetness) A lot of people feel betrayed that Brendon Urie is still performing on his own under the moniker of Panic! At the Disco. The band has been known…

Issue 13’s Review: Closer (play), by Kate Lomas Glendenning

Issue 13’s Review Released February 2016 Closer (play) by Patrick Marber A review by editor Kate Lomas Glendenning (this review can be found in issue 13: The Shadowed Side) An important feature of a good play is dialogue. The expressions, actions and scenery are minor to dialogue and character development in Patrick Marber’s play, Closer. Marber captured moments…

Issue 12’s Review: The Power of One, by Dylan Dartnell

Issue 12’s Review The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (1989) A review by editor Dylan Dartnell (this review can be found in issue 12: Small and Potent) Set in South Africa, The Power of One surrounds the character of Peekay during the closing years of WWII and well into the apartheid years following. We are…

Review: Ophelia by Breanne McIvor, reviewed by Dylan Dartnell

April’s Review Ophelia (2017) By Breanne McIvor (Illustration by Timothy Greene) A review by editor Dylan Dartnell I am sure no one remembers their first crush with much fondness. In fact, I am even more certain that those are memories we all suppressed until it was safe to laugh about without feeling the sting of…