Staff's Favourite Reads February 2022

Our lovely team are back with some more reviews and recommendations! Here’s what kept them all engrossed throughout the month of February.

Click here to see January’s List

The Gilded Cage by Lynette Noni

Chosen by Courtney, Branch Manager

The Gilded Cage is a follow up to The Prison Healer and as with its predecessor, it’s a high fantasy novel that delivers dynamic characters, thrilling plots and an ending to make you scream.

Noni uses book 2 to further develop the characters we met in book  one and introduce some new favourites. We get a deeper glance into Jaren and Kivas families and histories. The story gives the reader a clearer picture of the past and present, with Kiva stuck in the middle attempting to reconcile both. Walking a fine line between what she believes and what’s she experience, The gilded cage leads Kiva and the reader on a whiplash journey to figure out whose side to be on. It’s a emotional back and forth ride that gives you more questions than answers. And if you thought the cliffhanger of book one was cruel I assure the cliff hanger of book two is excruciating leaving you bouncing in your seat for book 3. A fantastic additional to the high fantasy genre for YA but also one that can be enjoyed and appreciated by readers of all ages.

Animals Make Us Human by Leah Kaminsky & Meg Keneally

Chosen by Amy, Customer Experience Officer

In a response to the devastating 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires, this book both celebrates Australia’s unique wildlife and highlights its vulnerability. Using words and images from people with true connections to the specific species (e.g., writers, photographers, researchers), they share stories that are truly uplifting and deeply moving. Nearly every short story brought tears to my eyes, being a beautiful reminder that Australians have a strong connection with the nature that surrounds us in our daily lives.  

The Forever Dog by Rodney Habib & Dr Karen Shaw Becker

Chosen by Jenny, Customer Experience Officer

I don’t normally read a lot of non-fiction but being the mother of the most gorgeous fur child, a husky cross Lab called Oscar, I’m always on the lookout for books that can help me improve the life and health of my dog. The Forever Dog is all about the science of getting our dogs to live longer and addressing the very real issues of why are our beloved dogs dying much earlier than their predecessors and suffering from diseases such as diabetes, cancer, pancreatitis, eczema etc  at an increasingly alarming rate.

Of course it all comes down to diet and exercise, our dogs simply aren’t eating what they should due to non-regulation of the pet food industry nor are the exercising enough.

All of the studies were done on American pet food companies however so I’m not sure how this translates to us in Australia but it was an extremely detailed and eye opening read. I’m the first to admit however that I did get bogged down in all the science and really skipped through chunks to get to the real nitty gritty of what small, easy changes I could make to start improving my dogs diet and took away some very helpful tips and information.

So if like me you want a happier and healthier canine companion or if you are considering bringing a dog into your life, it’s well worth a read. After all the expression ‘You are what you eat’ not only refers to humans, but our faithful companions too.

I’ll give it 3 and a half stars. It loses points due to the complexity of the science and the fact that I now feel very guilty every time I dish up dry food mixed with canned food to my dog.


Seeking Asylum, published by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

Chosen by Sandra, Branch Manager

Published by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, this beautifully illustrated hardback captures the stories of those who have lived the experience of seeking asylum.

In their own voices, people share how they came to be in Australia, and explore diverse aspects of their lives- growing up in a refugee camp, studying for a PhD, changing attitudes through soccer, being a Muslim in a small country town, campaigning against racism, surviving detention, holding onto culture, and dreaming of being reunited with family.

There are moving stories of love, pain, injustice, achievement and everything in between. Accompanied by beautiful portrait photographs, they show the depth and diversity of people’s experience and trace the impact of Australia’s immigration policies.

The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

Chosen by Sue, Team Leader

This is a great new book from Fiona Davis – the author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue.

Once again the author has skilfully split the novel between two time periods , this time the setting is the magnificent Frick mansion in New York City.

Twenty-one-year-old Lilian Carter has just lost her mother in the Spanish Flu outbreak and has accidentally found employment as the private secretary of the demanding heiress Helen Frick and finds herself deeply involved in the dramas and secrets of the wealthy family.

 Nearly 50 years later English model, Veronica Weber is locked in the former Frick residence after a disastrous photo shoot. The house is now a museum, and she chances upon a series of hidden messages from the past which could reveal the truth behind a long-ago murder in the infamous Frick family.

Recommended for historical fiction readers.

Little Whispers by K.L. Slater

Chosen by Janine, Customer Experience Officer

Janey is happy that her family is moving to Buckingham Crescent, a highly desirable address in a fabulous suburb. She has been under stress lately, having cared for her mother during the final stages of her life. On her deathbed, her Mother shares a secret with her – a very shocking secret.

But now that her husband has been offered a new job, with more pay, things are looking up. It’s time for Janey and Isaac (her husband) to re-connect and for them to have a better life. She is soon befriended by Tanya a woman on her street and is happy to finally have a friend and acceptance. Then there is her husband and his long hours and strange behavior…is that something to worry about?

I listened to this on audio book and there were lots of twists and turns which kept me fully engaged.   Highly recommended for readers of family dramas and fast paced thrillers.