Review: Fire Front poetry anthology, by Shelley Timms

Title: Fire Front: First Nations Poetry and Power Today Editor: Alison Whittaker Genre: Anthology/Poetry collection Publisher: UQP “Our legacies become futures, written from and for anywhere.” Evelyn Araluen, Too Little, Too Much “When non-Indigenous people tell us to move on, they assume we want to be stuck in a painful place. That we love having…

Review: The Coconut Children by Vivian Pham, by Ebony Bryant

Title: The Coconut Children Author: Vivian Pham Genre: YA, coming-of-age, urban fiction Favourite quote: ‘The coconut children on the trees need to drop into the water. That way the ocean can carry them to another island, where they can grow.’ When offered the chance to review The Coconut Children, I jumped on it right away….

Review: An Inheritance of Secrets by Sonya Bates, by Shelley Carter

Title: Inheritance of Secrets Author: Sonya Bates Genre: Historical Thriller Publisher: HarperCollins Australia (2020) After the horrific death of her Oma and Opa, Juliet Dunne must trace her family history and uncover secrets that were supposed to stay buried forever. She discovers that her grandfather, Karl, somehow had a connection to the Nazi party before…

Review: The Salt Madonna by Catherine Noske, by Jess Gately

Title: The Salt Madonna Author: Catherine Noske Publisher: Picador Australia Genre: Thriller, literary fiction This review was first published in the Underground zine, issue 30: Thriller ‘Faith has preconditions in need and hopefulness. It doesn’t re-quire actual hope, just willingness for it, and the need for change. We all of us had need.’ Written with a…

Review: In the Dark Spaces by Cally Black, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Title: In the Dark Spaces Author: Cally Black Genre: YA Sci-fi Thriller Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont Cally Black’s debut YA novel, In the Dark Spaces, is, in a word, intense. Teenager Tamara is a stow-away on a space freighter, living in a tiny cabin with her toddler cousin, Tamiki, while her aunt, Lazella, works as a…

Review: The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks, by Max Vos

Title: The Year the Maps Changed Author: Danielle Binks Publisher: Hachette Australia Fred has to get used to a lot in 1999—her family is changing and so is her hometown, and there are going to be growing pains. Despite being set over two decades ago, The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks provides a…

Review: The Valley by Steve Hawke, by Kate Lomas Glendenning

Title: The Valley Author: Steve Hawke Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Fremantle Press(2018) I have never quite read a mystery novel like Hawke’s before. What stood out to me was not the setting of the Kimberley, or that it is a multigenerational book, or that is was a slow-paced mystery unfolding over generations; what stood out to…

Review: The Fragments by Toni Jordan, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

The Fragments by Toni Jordan is a brilliant novel incorporating themes of coming of age, taking charge of one’s destiny, and learning to love again, all centred around a fictional historical literary mystery. The fragments are seven charred pieces of text, representing the only surviving remains of a much-anticipated second novel from celebrated novelist Inga…

Review: The Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner, by Shelley Carter

Title: The Daughter of Victory Lights Author: Kerri Turner Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: HQ Fiction, HarperCollins Australia imprint, (2020) After serving her country proudly in World War II, Evelyn Bell is not ready to go back to a life of domestic duties. The independence she gained as a member of the all-female 93rd Searchlight Regiment introduced…

Review: Challenge Accepted by R J Amos, by Shelley Carter

One of the most difficult aspects of being a writer is remaining consistent with your writing, and pushing through the all-too-common writer’s block. One of the ways that we can combat this is challenging ourselves to write every day, even if it’s just for a month at a time. That’s what author R J (Ruth)…

Review: The Lost Summers of Driftwood by Vanessa McCausland, by Shelley Carter

Title: The Lost Summers of Driftwood Author: Vanessa McCausland Genre: Fiction Publisher: HarperCollins Australia (2020) This book was provided by NetGalley and HarperCollins Australia in exchange for an honest review. From the outside, it seems as though Phoebe has it all. A successful job at luxury champagne company Joet et Halo, a relationship heading for…

Review: What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Title: What the Woods Keep Author: Katya de Becarra Published: 2018 Genre:  YA thriller fantasy Katya de Becerra’s debut YA fantasy novel What the Woods Keep follows the story of Hayden Bellatrix Holland, who is bequeathed her deceased mother’s family estate on her eighteenth birthday. But she can only receive the bequest if she adheres to…

Review: A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop, by Shelley Carter

Title: A Constant Hum Author: Alice Bishop Format: Short stories Genre: Fiction Published: 2019 A Constant Hum is a collection of short stories all relating to the Black Saturday bushfires that tore through the Victorian bush in 2009. Split into three sections, Prevailing, Southerly and Northerly, the book brings the reader increasingly closer to the…

Review: I Am Change by Suzy Zail, by Shelley Carter

Title: I Am Change Author: Suzy Zail Published: 2019 Publisher: Walker Books Australia Genre: Young adult fiction Lillian wants so much more out of life than what is expected of her. Growing up in rural Uganda, her life is destined to follow the same path as her sisters, mother, and so many women before her:…

Review: Highway Bodies by Alison Evans, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Title: Highway Bodies Author: Alison Evans Published: 2019 Genre: YA, horror Publisher: Echo Publishing Highway Bodies (2019) is a debut novel by Alison Evans that follows the stories of three groups of queer teens as they fight for survival in and around Melbourne as the city becomes overrun by zombies. The actual cause of the zombification…

Review: Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard, by Jess Rae

Trigger Warnings: This book contains suicide, abuse, homophobia and alcohol. If any of these topics are a potential hazard to you this might not be a book for you. Favourite quote: “I run down the hotel corridor, each day of the past week flashing before my eyes, a whole row of tombstones in the cemetery…

Review: The Orange Grove by Kate Murdoch, by Shelley Carter

Title: The Orange Grove Author: Kate Murdoch Publisher: Regal House Publishing Genre: historical fiction The Orange Grove follows an extensive cast of characters within an affluent French chateau in the 1700s. When the duc takes a new mistress, Letitia, and brings her to live in the chateau, tensions flare within the household. Fellow mistress Henriette…

Review: Fabulous Lives by Bindy Pritchard

Fabulous Lives (2019) by Bindy Pritchard From Margaret River Press comes the short story anthology Fabulous Lives by debut author Bindy Pritchard. Each pocket of story speaks to the marginalised sorts that exist on the periphery—almost out of sight—if not for the surreal and whimsical characters they are or situations that they find themselves in….

Issue 28: Invitation

Cover art by Frank Candilaro ‘Invitation’ is special because, apart from being our 28th issue, it is being released on the 10th birthday of Underground’s conception in a coffee shop in Perth, way back in 2009. We’re incredibly proud of the work we do at Underground, and we look forward to growing, reaching new audiences,…

Review: Two new Australian children’s titles, by Kate Lomas Glendenning

Editor Kate Lomas Glendenning reviews two recent children’s book releases from Fremantle Press and Magabala Books. Rodney by Kelly Canby Rodney is another children’s masterpiece by Kelly Canby (who wrote and illustrated the recently published book.) The story follows Rodney, a small tortoise, who dreams to know a life among the treetops. Rodney’s journey is…

Review: On The Sunday, She Created God by Gerii Pleitez, by Shelley Carter

Title: On The Sunday, She Created God Author: Gerii Pleitez Publisher: Kara Sevda Press (2019) Genre: Literary Fiction Novella THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS On The Sunday, She Created God is a gritty, unapologetic glimpse into the lives of urban outcasts. It paints a picture of life in the underbelly of the city, fuelled by…

Review: Alt-Ctrl by Rebecca Freeman, by Jemimah Brewster

Title: Alt-Ctrl Author: Rebecca Freeman Publisher: Thea Press Genre: YA Dystopian Fiction Alt-Ctrl is a YA dystopian novella by West Australian freelance writer and editor Rebecca Freeman. It is set in a not-too-distant future Australia in which climate collapse has forced most citizens into domed cities run by the international corporation PlanetRescue. Governments are at…

Review: Not Bad People by Brandy Scott, by Jess Rae

Title: Not Bad People Author: Brandy Scott Publisher: HarperCollins Genre: Thriller/mystery Isn’t it funny that the books we’re drawn to read reflect a little in what’s going on in our own life? This book came to me when I was trying to figure out some of my own friend-related troubles; mind you mine don’t involve…

Review: Half Moon Lake by Kirsten Alexander, by Shelley Carter

Title: Half Moon Lake Author: Kirsten Alexander Publisher: Bantam (Penguin Random House); 2019 Genre: Historical Fiction/Crime When Sonny disappears without a trace in the summer of 1913, his family is thrust into the media spotlight and his case stays in the public eye for years. What is different about this case, however, is that the…

Review: If I Tell You by Alicia Tuckerman, by Shelley Carter

Title: If I Tell You Author: Alicia Tuckerman Publisher: Pantera Press (2018) Genre: YA Contemporary If I Tell You follows the story of small-town teenager Alex Summers as she navigates her final year of high school and a budding relationship with her first love, Phoenix Stone. When Phoenix moves to the farming community of Two…

Review: My Father’s Shadow by Jannali Jones, by Jess Gately

Title: My Father’s Shadow Author: Jannali Jones Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller Favourite Part: Just when you think you’ve figured it out, Jones throws a curve ball at you! The Black&Write! Fellowship has produced some cracking reads so of course I couldn’t wait to dig into Jannali Jones’s debut. The blurb for My Father’s Shadow doesn’t give…

Review: The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean, by Shelley Carter

Title: The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone Author: Felicity McLean Genre: Fiction Thriller/Mystery Favourite Part: When a young Tikka re-enacts (unsuccessfully) the Lindy Chamberlain saga as her talent show act — it was a great juxtaposition to the seriousness that was happening regarding the Van Apfel sisters during the climax of the story, and also…

Review: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte, by Jess Gately

Title: Four Dead Queens Author: Astrid Scholte Publisher: Allen & Unwin (2019) Genre: YA Fantasy Every so often a book comes along where the pacing is so perfect—the tension rises steadily  and the plot races forward—that you find yourself turning the last pages at two o’clock in the morning wondering how ‘just one more chapter’…

Review: The Wounded Sinner by Gus Henderson, by Shelley Carter

Issue 26’s Review Review by Shelley Carter (this review can also be read in the Underground zine, issue 26: Ashes) The Wounded Sinner is a slow-burning, gritty glimpse at the lives of a group of Western Australians brought together by random circumstance on a hot summer’s day in the bush. It’s an intense character study,…

Review: The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale, by Jess Rae

Trigger warning: this review discusses a book that contains themes of abusive relationships, drug-abuse, and sexual assault. WARNING: This is the kind of book that requires a comfy couch, a good hot beverage and maybe some snacks too because once this book gets going you’re not going to want to stop. I saw this book…

Review: Driving Into the Sun by Marcella Polain, by Dylan Dartnell

Title: Driving Into the Sun Author: Marcella Polain Genre: Literary fiction Publisher: Fremantle Press (2019) The novel that took some ten years to write, Marcella Polain is back with her breath-taking work, Driving into the Sun (Fremantle Press, 2019). The story revolves around an eleven-year-old girl named Orla on the precipice of womanhood. She, like most…

Review: Survival by Rachel Watts, by Jess Gately

Issue 25’s Review Survival (2018) by Rachel Watts Review by Jessica Gately (this review can also be read in the Underground zine, issue 25: Roots) This fast-paced novella from Rachel Watts is a quick and easy read for those of you with a bite for dystopian fiction. In the not-too-distant future, Earth has suffered environmental disaster…

Review: Blue in the Red House by Sarah Madden, by Shelley Carter

Title: Blue in the Red House Author: Sarah Madden Genre: Magical Realism & Memoir Favourite Part: When Ms. De Beer and Me-Two meet for the first time Favourite Quote: “She had been poised to triumph, to step out into the world with new resolve and the battle won, but now she was sucked back into…