Booktopia Buzz
FEBRUARY 2012 | Edition 41
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BUZZ IN BRIEF
February. Silly season over, we are all settled in for the year ahead, and a month of really exciting titles to tempt us.

The two strongest contenders would have to be The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey and Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton. There are also some terrific debuts with Pure, The Cartographer and The Rook. However, for my money, the most rewarding book of all is Carrie Tiffiny's Mateship with Birds, a stunning achievement of imagination and writing.

As for promotions I have something for everyone - gorgeous Vintage Classic card collections to give away, movie passes with the film tie-in of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a great deal on Jack Higgins action thrillers and you can even win your own psychic healing with Caterina Ligato

This month's Booktopia Buzz brings you best of newly released books for all ages. Use the navigation bar on the right to help you or just get into it. A feast of good reading awaits!

Toni Whitmont
Editor-in-Chief
Booktopia
THRILLS, SPILLS AND A LOW, LOW PRICE - BOOKTOPIA'S JACK HIGGINS PACK
Go here for details on this great offer

I always like to bring you something that is worth shouting about and this Jack Higgins pack certainly fits the bill.

Click here for more details or to buyJack Higgins knows how to write a high-octane thriller that will keep you turning pages from beginning to end.

New to action man Sean Dillon? Booktopia is bursting out of the blocks with this exclusive offer (only while stocks last).


Each copy of A Devil is Waiting comes to you with a free bonus The Killing Ground.


That's $50 worth of books for only $24.95.

Click here to buy
A Devil is Waiting PLUS BONUS FREE The Killing Ground.

Retail Price: $49.98
Booktopia Price: $24.95  SAVE 50%
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VINTAGE CLASSICS - WITH FOUR BEAUTIFUL FREE VINTAGE CARDS

Vintage Classics free gift with purchase - go here for details

Vintage Classics - stacks more here Vintage Classics - you won't find a better, more beautiful or more stylish collection of classics from traditional and contemporary writers, all for under $11 with Booktopia's policy of site-wide discounting.

This month, the range expands to include many more books, including two seminal local titles, The Sound of One Hand Clapping and Gould's Book of Fish, both by Richard Flanagan and both absolute must-reads.

The Vintage Classics range is extensive - with everyone from Karl Marx to Mary Durack. The covers are gorgeous and many of them include new introductory essays by prominent contemporary writers.

Our Vintage Classics range is searchable by title, and we have made browsing easier by grouping together books with similar themes.

To see the entire range of Vintage Classics, see our re-launched site here.

Free Vintage Classic greeting cards - more details hereAnd to celebrate, we have a very beautiful, very stylish Vintage Classics promotion  for you.

Buy any two Vintage Classics from the range here this month* and receive a free Vintage Classics Greeting Cards Pack consisting of four custom-made letterpress cards with two different designs. These limited edition greeting cards have been printed by The Distillery and are valued at $19.95.
*while stocks last, limit of one packet of cards per order.

BUY THE BOOK/SEE THE MOVIE FOR FREE

What could be better than pitting your vision of a story against the movie director's? Buy the book, receive a free pass for two movie tickets (at participating cinemas, while stocks last) and you be the judge!

Click on the image for all the details. (Stock is going FAST - get in QUICK!)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy book and movie pass details here

WIN YOUR OWN GHOST READING
THE AUSTRALIAN GHOST WHISPERER by CATERINA LIGATO

Click here for more detail or to buyThe Australian Ghost Whisperer is a collection of the accounts of the incredible experiences of Caterina Ligato, an extraordinary medium and psychic.

'I opened the door and could just smell the blood and gunshots. I could sense these people who were still in agony because they were caught in the moment of being shot. It was so intense that excruciating pain...'

This is the intriguing insight into the world of a Sydney psychic healer. Caterina Ligato first communicated with spirits at the age of three and has since come to accept her gift for dealing with the supernatural to use her talent to help people in need. Her stories of exorcism, healing sessions and spiritual communication have spread through word-of-mouth, lectures and workshops so that she now receives requests for help from around the world.

We have a very special promotion for you this month.

Explore your own relationship between the psychic and the spiritual world with a personal reading with Ligato. Buy your copy of The Australian Ghost Whisperer before the beginning of March to be in the draw to win.

Click here to buy The Australian Ghost Whisperer
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
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BOOKTOPIA'S FEBRUARY FIVE - OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE MONTH
BEST FICTION - THE CHEMISTRY OF TEARS BY PETER CAREY
Click here for more details or to buy THE CHEMISTRY OF TEARS
by PETER CAREY


A new novel from Peter Carey is always cause for celebration and so it is with great excitement that I embarked on the reading of The Chemistry of Tears.

From the very first pages, it is clear that we are in the hands of a writer of great polish and poise, someone who can handle the eccentricities and meanderings of the human heart with delicacy and insight. His descriptions of the grief of Catherine Gehrig, having just discovered the death of her secret lover of thirteen years, are searing. Here, reassuringly, is an author who can write, an author whose promise shown in the late 70s with his short story collections ( The Fat Man in History and War Crimes) has fully matured into writing worthy of two Man Booker prizes, three Miles Franklins, two Commonwealth Writers prizes, plus a host of others, all for good reason!

Once again, Carey employs the device of the dual narrative, something he explored successfully in Parrot and Olivier in America, His Illegal Self and Theft: A Love Story.

This time he gives us the current day Catherine, an horological restorer working at London's Swinburne Museum who is isolating herself in her work in an attempt to forget her loss. Catherine is supposedly restoring a reproduction of Vaucanson's famous mechanical duck, an automaton from the mid eighteenth century which could flap its wings, eat and digest grain. At the same time, she plunges into the world of Henry Brandling, whose journals she uncovers, written in the 1850s.

Brandling has embarked on a journey from England that takes him into the depths of the Black Forest in an attempt to have one of these ducks made for him to bring back home to his consumptive child. Brandling too is dealing with grief - he has lost his first child to the disease, his wife has cut off from the family emotionally, he may well lose his second child. Catherine becomes obsessed with Brandling's journals and both of these characters are consumed with bringing something mechanical to life - and here we have it. Two people mad with grief, linked with a machine from the dawn of the industrial age, just at the time when the mechanical age seems to be in its catastrophic death throes.

In an interview on ABC Radio last week, Peter Carey said the following:
What do I want people to think? I want them to think that they have walked into a work of art, that they are pleased by the beauty of the language and that they are astonished by things that they haven't thought of before.

Asked what makes great art, he said:
Ambiguity is what makes us treasure great art. The pleasure is returning to it again and again, grasping it and feeling it slip away. That's why great art lasts.

In The Chemistry of Tears, Carey gives us tantalising glimpses into the questions that have haunted so many great artists over the centuries, from way before the mechanical ingenuity of the automatons - what is life? what is a body? do we have a soul? how are we connected? This book is an emotional exploration of  love, death, loss and incandescent life. The Chemistry of Tears takes as its starting point the mysteries of life and death, the miracle and catastrophe of human invention, and the body's astonishing chemistry of love and feeling. This is Carey at his best, the Carey that will no doubt be on the judges' lists yet again.

Click here to buy The Chemistry of Tears
Australian author
Retail Price: $39.95
Booktopia Price: $31.95  SAVE 20%
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BEST NON-FICTION - RELIGION FOR ATHEISTS BY ALAIN DE BOTTON
Click here for more details or to buy The battle being fought between atheists and believers has raged for centuries. In one camp stand those quoting holy writ and in the other stand those quoting Richard Dawkins.

With his new book, Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion, Alain de Botton steps into the firing line, deciding bravely to walk a path up through the middle of 'no man's land'.

This is book which will certainly get people talking. And arguing. And I am sure the warring parties will leave off shooting at each other for a time to take aim at the lonely figure standing between them. But I do not fear for Alain de Botton. He is a very clear thinker. Easily a match for most hotheads.


Read an extract here.

Click here to buy Religion for Atheists
Retail Price: $35.00
Booktopia Price: $27.95  SAVE 20%
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BEST CROSS OVER TITLE - PURE BY JULIANNA BAGGOTT
Pure -  go here for details
Dystopian fiction is fast overtaking paranormal romance as the hot area for young adults and there are plenty of older people who are also finding these books enormously satisfying.

Enter Julianna Baggott with her apocalyptic vision of a world of haves and have-nots, with Pure. There has been a lot of noise about this book in the months leading up to its publication and I am yet to read anything from a disappointed reviewer. It looks like it could be the breakout novel for the year AND it is getting endorsements from all the right people.

"A great gorgeous whirlwind of a novel, boundless in its imagination. You will be swept away."
-Justin Cronin, New York Times bestselling author of The Passage.

"PURE is not just the most extraordinary coming-of-age novel I've ever read, it is also a beautiful and savage metaphorical assessment of how all of us live in this present age. This is an important book by one of our finest writers."
-Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize winner

"...PURE is a dark adventure that is both startling and addictive at once. Pressia Belze is one part manga heroine and one part post-apocalyptic Alice, stranded in a surreal Wonderland where everyone and everything resonates with what has been lost. Breathtaking and frightening. I couldn't stop reading PURE."
-Danielle Trussoni, New York Times bestselling author of Angelology

"Baggott delves fearlessly into a grotesque and fascinating future populated by strangely endearing victims (and perpetrators) of a wholly unique apocalypse. And trust me, PURE packs one hell of an apocalypse."
-Daniel H. Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse

"Julianna Baggott's novel of a post-apocolyptic world is gritty, unadulterated and unapologetic in its treatment of characters. The author does a superb job creating realistic landscapes, and horrible mutations ... the quality of the writing will make the reader want to continue to the very end." - Netgalley

"Baggott's highly anticipated postapocalyptic horror novel ... is a fascinating mix of stark, oppressive authoritarianism and grotesque anarchy. Baggott mixes brutality, occasional wry humor, and strong dialogue into an exemplar of the subgenre. "
-Publisher's Weekly, starred review

Film Rights have sold to Fox 2000 Pictures  and foreign language rights have already sold to ten countries overseas.
Click here for more details or to buy
THE STORY
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost - how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss - maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

To read the opening pages and see the book trailer, go here.

Click here to buy Pure
Retail Price: $19.99
Booktopia Price: $15.95 SAVE 20%
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BEST CHILDREN'S CROSS OVER TITLE - WONDER BY R. J. PALACIO
Go here for details on Wonder by Palacio

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school-until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

Wonder is the imagining of first time author (and many time book cover designer) R. J. Palacio. It is one of those kid's books that really is suitable for any age. I found it extremely moving and satisfying  - definitely the richer for having read it.

Again, the word of mouth on this one is huge. It combines the strong, authentic narrative voice of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time with the warmth and poignancy of Before I Die, with the originality of Holes thrown in. All of these books are worth reading, regardless of where the marketing boffins are pitching them. Wonder handles difficult, delicate issues with sensitivity and honesty and stays with the reader long after the last page is turned.

Wonder by R J Palacio

Click here to buy Wonder
Available from February 15
Retail Price: $21.95
Booktopia Price: $17.56  SAVE 20%
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BEST BOOK FOR BABIES - PAMELA ALLEN IS BACK WITH THE LITTLE OLD MAN WHO LOOKED UP AT THE MOON
Pamela Allen is so much a part of the life of small children in this country that generations of them can recite books such as Mr McGee, My Cat Maisie, Bertie and the Bear, long after they have grown up. Certainly their parents can - for years after those bedtime stories have come and gone.
Click here for more details or to buy
In The Little Old Man Who Looked Up at the Moon , we have on one level, classic Allen, with her characteristic rhythmic text that reads almost like a chant, her beloved animals (yes, ducks, cows, the whole barnyard), her child's eye view of the world.

While the littlies will be enjoying all of that, (I can almost hear them playing with the words and begging for one more animal, one more verse), they may or may not realise that this is a book about the big questions of life - why are we here, where do we come from?

For those whose kids only seem to know one word - why - this picture book goes to those eternal themes in an age appropriate way. For the rest of them, it is simply pure Pamela whimsy.

Go here to see inside this book.

For ages 3 and up.

Click here to buy The Little Old Man Who Looked Up at the Moon
Australian author
Retail Price: $24.95
Booktopia Price: $19.96  SAVE 20%
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VALENTINE'S DAY
Is that love I hear knocking on the door? It must be Valentine's Day.

Yes, there are the usual offerings of sex manuals -  you can find those on our site anyway. Meanwhile, let me draw your attention to these two new releases both of which promise happy-ever-afters.

Click here for more details or to buyBODY LANGUAGE OF LOVE by BARBARA & ALLAN PEASE

From using body language to increase your mating rating to finding a long-term partner, THE BODY LANGUAGE OF LOVE will help you to identify and correct the body language that could be letting you down. This book covers essential tips when looking for love:

Understanding the mating game

The art of flirting and courtship signals

Speed-dating, first dates, parties, internet dating and other suicide missions

For better or worse - the secrets of successful relationships

Click here to buy Body Language of Love
Retail Price: $19.99
Booktopia Price: $15.99 SAVE 20%
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THE CATCH by SAMANTHA BRETT

Click here for more details or to buy
Strategies for women to get the man of their dreams, from Australia's number one online dating expert.


Having listened to hundreds of men and women recount their ups and downs in the dating game, Sam uses these real-life experiences to provide a fool-proof method of how to get that man to catch you!


Click here to buy The Catch
Australian author
Retail Price: $24.99
Booktopia Price: $19.99 SAVE 20%
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STRONG FICTION FROM LOCAL AUTHORS
As well as the new Peter Carey, there is a very impressive line-up of local fiction titles this month with The Cartographer and Mateship with Birds (reviews below) being my two favourites.

Go here for the picks of overseas fiction, as well as here (right hand column) for more suggestions. If all else fails, see an extensive range of new fiction for February here.
FREE FALLING BY NICOLA MORIARTY

CURRAWALLI STREET BY CHRISTOPHER MORGAN
Click here for more details or to buy
Free-Falling is a tragic-romantic comedy - a tale of heartbreak and heroism, grief and ghostly dreams.
Belinda is not coping well with her fiancé Andy's death - and that is before she realises she is pregnant ... with twins.
When out of the blue she starts receiving gifts that were so typical of Andy, and when problems around the apartment are mysteriously fixed, Belinda decides she now believes in ghosts.
Meanwhile Evelyn, Andy's mother, is also struggling with her loss. Her coping strategies include blaming Belinda, shop-lifting, hating Belinda even more, and taking up sky-diving. And it is Baz, her instructor, who helps her look to the future. So why is he so twitchy when he hears how Andy died?
Cutting between the past and present, Nicola Moriarty cleverly weaves the heart-warming story of two women and the man they loved and lost.
This is Australian-made chick-lit from a woman with a very strong fiction pedigree and is essentially about how people can be separated by their grief. It is not going to set the literary world on fire but is perfect for a light summer read, and is rather sweet.

Click here to buy Free-Falling
Australian author
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $26.36  SAVE 20%
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Click here for more details or to buy

Currawalli Street is a very special book indeed, and undeniably the house favourite for its publisher, Allen & Unwin. Currawalli Street is in some respects a celebration of all that's good
about small communities, and the strength we get from our neighbours
when we most need it. Though nothing like it in style or substance, there are undeniably strong echoes of Jasper Jones - an Australian classic of the future perhaps.
The story moves between 1914, when the street was new and residents were trying to settle just as the war to end all wars was starting, and 1972 as a former resident and Vietnam vet tries to fit back into his former life. The two generations have connections that they are not aware of. Of course, they  smell some of the same smells, touch the same dirt, look at the same views and feel some of the same feelings, but they are also connected by threads that weave back to the first decade of the century.
Morgan writes this about its origin:
I was pulling off the palings off a side fence at my home which was built in 1910. I exposed the neighbour's house wall and was surprised to see a man wearing clothes suitable to the early 20th century, standing there, just as surprised to see me. Without a word, he pulled his cigarette from his lips and disappeared around the corner of the house. Shaken, I replaced the palings and then walked inside to tell my partner that I may have just seen a ghost.  It occurred to me then, that he may have done the same thing; gone
around the corner to his partner and told her that he had just seen a ghost. Wearing strange clothes. Maybe from the future.
That's one way the story started.
But most importantly there is a deep story behind every name that we read on those World War One remembrance plinths and those tiny names carved into the stone don't even begin to tell those stories. Ordinary people who did something extraordinary. Without paying it too much attention.

Click here to buy Currawalli Street
Australian author
Retail Price: $27.99
Booktopia Price: $22.39 SAVE 20%
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THE CARTOGRAPHER BY PETER TWOHIG
THE ROOK BY DANIEL O'MALLEY
Click here for more details or to buy
I had finally done it: I had become the boy who knew too much. I had rolled the dice and they had come up with snake-eyes, and now I was a wanted criminal.
I asked if I could go for a little walk, and I was told, to my amazement, not to go too far. Too far! I was planning on going to Costa Rica, or maybe Heligoland, because I had no idea where those places were, so I reckoned no one else would either....

I have always had a soft spot for fiction that can speak in an authentic child's voice, and Peter Twohig pulls this off brilliantly. Not only that, but he is very clever in the uses of maps as means by which his main character can navigate his physical and emotional universe. This was used to great affect in Reif Larsen's wonderful The Collected Works of T. S. Spivet only this time we are in the much more familiar territory of Melbourne in 1959.
Peter Twohig is a funny and interesting man, as you can see for yourself by reading his answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions.
I got a lot out The Cartographer. Twohig  brings his original life view to his debut novel, which is bold, inventive and unexpectedly poignant.
The nameless child who tells the story handles the terrors of his life by adopting the strengths of fictional pop culture characters he admires, drawing on comics, radio and television dramas, and movies, finally recreating himself as a superhero who saves himself by mapping, and who attempts to redeem himself by giving up his persona so that another may live again. His only mentors are a professional standover man, his shady grandfather, and an incongruous neighbourhood couple who intervene in an oddly coincidental way.  Better still, it is all still in the dark, dangerous lanes and underground drains of grimy 1959 Melbourne.
The Cartographer is a story bristling with outrageous wit and irony about an innocent who refuses to give in, a story peopled with a richness of shifty, dodgy and downright malicious bastards, mixed with a modicum of pseudo-aunts, astonishing super heroes, and a few coincidentally loving characters, some of whom are found in the most unlikely places.

Click here to buy The Cartographer
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.99  SAVE 20%
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Click here for more details or to buy
While The Cartographer is wonderfully idiosyncractic and  unmistakenly Australian, Daniel O'Malley's slick debut novel The Rook has international best seller written all over it.
Having dipped into it recently, I quickly found myself devouring it. Page turner is definitely accurate. And what an opening line - The body you are wearing used to be mine.
I have trawled around the reviews for this one. Here is a sampler of the comments:

This is the only debut novel on this list, and it's a monster... The Rook snapped my head around. It's utterly convincing and engrossing - totally thought-through and frequently hilarious. The writing is confident and fully fledged. Even this aging, jaded, attention-deficit-disordered critic was blown away.
Lev Grossman, Seven Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2012, TIME Entertainment
Daniel O'Malley's contribution to the growing field of high-octane paranormal spy thrillers is filled with smart flourishes....O'Malley keeps a humorous edge...without diminishing the threat level....Very few of the plot developments are obvious, and the ones that are don't undermine the suspense....There's some wiggle room for a sequel, but The Rook stands on its own as an entertaining integration of paranormal flash with watertight espionage narrative.
Ron Hogan, Shelf Awareness.
Secret agents as Rooks and Pawns? Plausible, since Checquy Group is a paranormal version of Britain's MI5....O'Malley's narrative is peppered with sly humor, referential social commentary and the ironic, double-layered self-awareness that will have genre fans believing Buffy the Vampire Slayer has joined Ghostbusters...No clairvoyance required to recognize there will be more outlier reports from Myfanwy, Rook of the Checquy.
Kirkus
This Australian author's first novel adroitly straddles the thin line between fantasy, thriller, and spoof.
The book has, in approximately equal measures, an X-Men vibe (the Checquy Group runs a boarding school for gifted youngsters) and a Tom Holt vibe (the story is about an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary world and scrambling to play catch-up). O'Malley is a nimble writer, effortlessly leaping back and forth between comedy and action. There's plenty of room here for a sequel that readers will no doubt begin clamoring for before they've even finished this book.
David Pitt, Booklist
First-time novelist O'Malley has fashioned a near-perfect supernatural thriller. The heroine is appealing, the villains all monsters or freaks, and something unexpected happens on almost every page.
David Keymer, Library Journal

Click here to buy The Rook
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.99 SAVE 20%
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FESTIVAL BY THE SEA BY JUNE LOVES

MILES OFF COURSE: A ROWLAND SINCLAIR NOVEL BY SULARI GENTILL
Click here for more details or to buy
From the author:
The Festival By the Sea is the second instalment of Gina's (mis)adventures. I've taken readers back into the entrancing world of a small beach community where all you need to cure your woes, is an ice cold sav blanc in the inviting little pub or a bracing walk (with Dog) along the golden strip of sand to the sound of swooping seagulls. In my new book I've written about Gina, her strengths and vulnerabilities when she's up against an unexpected challenge which could result in a complete debacle.
Just when Gina thinks it's time to turn her ship around and re-join the rat race (she inherits a the Shelly Beach writer's festival).
In her well-hidden state of numbed panic and with her new festival-director status, Gina spends the next four weeks with the festival jitters juggling author hissy-fits, champagne galas, rogue pirates, a mice plague and the unfortunate death of the festival's VIP.
And if that wasn't enough, Gina's personal life has gone into a spin with a new love triangle, a job offer in the city, her ex-mother-in-law back on the scene and a marriage proposal!

Click here to buy Festival by the Sea
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.95
Booktopia Price: $23.96  SAVE 20%
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Click here for more details or to buy
With 6 novels in only 3 years, including a 2011 Commonwealth Writers' Prize nomination, Sulari Gentill is not your average author. Writing fiction in two concurrent series - adult historical crime fiction (the Rowland Sinclair series) and a Young Adults fantasy adventure series (the Hero trilogy) - 2012 will see her launch three more novels to satisfy her ever-growing bands of readers.
Booktopia's Sarah McDuling on Miles off Course:
There are few things more gratifying than discovering an author whose books seem so perfectly suited to your tastes as a reader that it feels as though they may have been written especially for you.
After devouring Sulari Gentill's Miles Off Course in a whirlwind reading session - a reading session interrupted only by a quick break to jump online and purchase A Few Right Thinking Men and A Decline in Prophets (being the previous two installments in the Rowland Sinclair series), I knew that Sulari Gentill had made it onto my list of top ten crime writers.
Set in Australia in 1933, Miles Off Course is a lively and consistently action-packed Historical Crime novel. It could also be classified as a rollicking Outback Adventure or thrilling Spy Drama, or even a witty "fish-out-of-water" comedy, plucking a set of fashionable dilettantes from a bohemian art scene and dropping them in the rugged, rural countryside of the Snowy Mountains. More...

Click here to buy Miles Off Course
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.99 SAVE 20%
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MATESHIP WITH BIRDS BY CARRIE TIFFANY
AFTER THE DARKNESS BY HONEY BROWN
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Carrie Tiffany's luminous Mateship with Birds which strips Australian rural life of pastiche and sentimentality, leaving us with something that is beautiful and raw with its own  living, breathing energy.
It is the kind of book that you just don't want to end. I was left with a feeling of great sadness and loss - not because of the way the story finished, but because I was suddenly cast out of the world into which she transported me. I simply didn't want to be cut adrift from the gentle dairy farmer, Harry, the purposeful single woman next door Betty, with her two children Michael, on the brink of sexual awakening, and Little Hazel the younger sister dealing with her own initiation into the world of nature.
Tiffany sets her novel in the sexually repressed 1950s of Victoria but her story has a universality about it that transcends time and place. It is a story about love, lust, loneliness, family, animals and the rhythms of nature. She writes with lucid clarity, bringing as much beauty to descriptions of the daily ministrations to lactating cows, to those of Harry's observations of the viciousness of the birds that patrol the boundaries of his paddock, to the surprising and unexpected yearnings of the human heart. And let's not forget that despite the strictures of society at the time, growing up in the country meant be surrounded by fecundity and a lot of rutting - the cycle of sex, birth, decay, death is simply an observable fact.
This is a particularly sensual novel....

Read the rest of my review here.

Read the author's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions here.

Click here to buy Mateship with Birds
Australian author
Retail Price: $19.99
Booktopia Price: $15.95  SAVE 20%
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Click here for more details or to buy
Honey Brown isn't afraid of the dark, and this versatile author writes about the darker side of everyday life with great skill and depth. Her theme for her latest novel is an exploration of what happens to normal people when they are confronted with violence. In this case, the normal people are Bruce and Trudy Harrison, who are kidnapped and brutalised by an artist who wants to use them for "inspiration".
In After the Darkness , Brown combines this exploration with exemplary prose to create a page-turning, ripsnorter of a story that will keep you up all night either reading, gripping your pillow, or both. You have been warned...
Brown's debut novel Red Queen was published to critical acclaim. The second one, The Good Daughter, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin.

Click here to buy After the Darkness
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.95
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THE VERY BEST OF INTERNATIONAL FICTION
A CROWN IMPERILLED BY RAYMOND E. FEIST

ONE FOR THE MONEY FILM TIE IN BY JANET EVANOVICH
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Feist is one of the world's most successful fantasy writers, with his work rivalling David Gemmell, Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind when it comes to action and drama.
With more than six million books on bookshelves around the world, the publication of A Crown Imperilled, the second book of the last ever Riftwar Cycle trilogy is a major event.
Better still, look our pricing!

Available from February 8

Click here to buy A Crown Imperilled
Retail Price: $39.99
Booktopia Price: $25.95  SAVE 35%
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By the look of the movie trailer here, this film adaptation of the very first Stephanie Plum novel looks like a winner.
While Booktopia customers are already big Evanovich fans, this movie is sure to bring new readers to her brand of action, humour, fun and dysfunctionality.

Go here to see our Janet Evanovich author page

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SUDDENLY, A KNOCK ON THE DOOR BY ETGAR KERET
THE SNOW CHILD BY EOWYN IVEY
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Salman Rushdie calls him "a brilliant writer - completely unlike any writer I know. The voice of the next generation".
Clive James describes him as "one of the most important writers alive - enchantingly witty".
According to the New York Times, he is simply a genius.
Etgar Keret has long had a cult but he deserves so much more. His latest collection of short stories, Suddenly, a Knock on the Door,  is original, dark, edgy, funny and poignant all at the same time.
Keret serves up bite-size morsels of satire, realism and absurdism - the perfect combination for anyone suffering from the bloated , overblown hyperbole that constitutes so much of the the best sellers list.


To read more about this gem of a collection, go to my review here.

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You know you have found a really special book when reading it gives you shivers. This is especially true when you happen to be reading the book in weather conditions far more conducive to sweltering than shivering.
I took Eowyn Ivey's The Show Child on holiday with me. I read it in surroundings that could not be further removed from the book's ice-cold, Alaskan setting. And yet despite the fact that I was on a beach, and in the middle of a baking hot Australian summer, I still found myself hopelessly lost in a wintry world of frost and snow......

Read the rest of the review from Booktopia's Sarah McDuling here.

Go here to see the gorgeous book trailer.

Go here to read Ivey's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions.

Available from February 16.

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AMERICAN DERVISH BY AYAD AKHTAR

IN DARKNESS BY NICK LAKE
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Hayat Shah was captivated by Mina long before he met her. His mother's beautiful, brilliant friend is a family legend. When he learns that she is leaving Pakistan to live with the Shahs in America, he is thrilled.
Hayat's father is less enthusiastic. Every wary of fundamentalism, he doesn't relish the idea of Mina's fervid devotion under his roof. But Mina's real magic may be that the Shah household becomes a happy one, until she catches the eye of a Jewish doctor and family friend, at which point Hayat's jealousy is enflamed by the community's anti-Semitism, and he acts with catastrophic consequences for those he loves the most.
American Dervish got a cracker of a review in the NY Times a couple of weeks ago. Here are some excerpts:
Mr. Akhtar's astute observations of the clashes between old world and new, between secular and sacred, among immigrants might seem familiar to readers of both contemporary and classic literature....but what distinguishes the  novel is its generosity and its willingness to embrace the contradictions of its memorably idiosyncratic characters and the society they inhabit.
Mr. Akhtar is particularly adept at depicting the tensions between Jews and Muslims in pre-Sept. 11 America, and he does not shy away from mocking the misogynistic or anti-Semitic beliefs among the more radical Muslims.
Yet for all the rage and satire contained within its pages, Mr. Akhtar's novel is far from an antireligious screed in the tradition of Christopher Hitchens. It is instead admirably restrained, deeply appreciative of some aspects of Islam and ultimately far more interested in raising provocative questions than in definitively answering them.
A flawless work? No, not entirely...though this reader was left hungering to read a sequel, one, it is hoped, that will prove to be every bit as heartfelt as this charming debut.

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In Darkness tells the story of Shorty, a boy trapped in a collapsed building in Port au Prince in Haiti. Enveloped in darkness, Shorty relives the brief life that brought him at the age of 14 to be in the hospital with a gunshot wound. Woven with his story is that of Toussaint L'Ouverture, the revolutionary black leader of Haiti in the 1790's who led the slave revolt. Despite being centuries apart, their two lives will become irrevocably entwined.
The book is as appealing to me as adult as it would be to anyone over the age of 14.
From a letter to booksellers by the author:
Like everyone, I was horrified by the recent Haitian earthquake - and fascinated to by the stories of those dug out from the rubble hours and even days later. What would it be like to be trapped in the darkness like that for so long, uncertain of salvation?
Even more awful was that the earthquake was only the most recent horror in Haiti's history...The more I though about these things - being trapped in the darkness, living in the slums, rising up to throw off the yoke of slavery - the more I felt like there was something that linked them. I felt compelled to write about Toussaint, but also about a present-day boy from the slums, lying under the rubble after the earthquake, uncertain of being saved, dreaming that he is a slave from two hundred years ago.
If you read this book, you will find that there is actually little in it that is made up, either present or past. That  is the worst thing about it. But we  have all been in darkness, so we all know the other side of it - that sometimes, afterwards, there is light.

Go here to read the author's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions.

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THE PHANTOM BY JO NESBO

ROBERT LUDLUM'S THE JANSON COMMAND BY PAUL GARRISON

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Jo Nesbo is everywhere at the moment - on the screen with Headhunters and on the shelves with more than 9 million of his Harry Hole books having been sold world-wide and everyone talking about him as Norway's answer to Stieg Larsson.
In this is thrilling follow up to The Leopard, ex-police inspector Hole is stalked on the dark, cold streets of Oslo.
This is cold crime at its best.

Go here to see Nesbo in interview.

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The Phantom

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This is a brand new series created by the master of the thriller genre, Robert Ludlum.
Garrison presents us with Paul Janson, whose experience honed by assassination and conspiracy makes him a hero every bit as fascinating, complex and intriguing as Jason Bourne.

Available from February 14.

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The Janson Command

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I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER BY SOPHIE KINSELLA

THE SOLDIER'S WIFE BY JOANNA TROLLOPE
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The reigning queen of chick-lit, she of Shopaholic fame,  is back again with a fresh and fun stand alone novel.
When Poppy loses her engagement ring and her mobile all in the same disastrous evening, it seems the obvious solution to make use of a phone she finds by chance abandoned in a hotel bin.
Inevitably, her life becomes entangled with the real owner of the phone, a high-flying businessman called Sam who becomes increasingly irritated when Poppy can't resist meddling in his affairs.

Go here to see Sophie introduce her book.

Go here for our Sophie Kinsella author page.

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I've Got Your Number

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Dan Riley is a major in the British Army. After a six month tour of duty in Afghanistan, he is coming home to the wife and young daughters he adores. The outside world sees those reunions as a taste of heaven after months of hell.
But are they? Can a man trained to fight adjust again to family and domestic life? And how will the family cope, if he can't? How much, indeed, can Alexa, Dan's wife, sacrifice her own needs and fulfilment to serve his commitment to a way of life that demands everything not just of him, but of her and the children as well?
This novel takes a keen look at the home lives of the modern army. What happens, these days, when love and a vocation collide, head on?
Joanna Trollope gets inside family life like no one else, her profile has never been higher and the topic of this book is reason enough for its success.

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The Soldier's Wife

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BIRTHDAYS FOR THE DEAD BY STUART MacBRIDE
  THIS BEAUTIFUL LIFE BY HELEN SHULMAN
  THE LITTLE SHADOWS BY MARINA ENDICOTT
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The tartan noir author diverges from the Logan McRae series with a compelling and brutal thriller.
Children go missing all the time. Parents sit at home, jumping every time the phone rings, wanting any news. But sometimes, it is better not to know.
The tabloids call him the Birthday Boy. He snatches girls just before their thirteenth birthdays. No ransom demand. No evidence. No signs of foul play - until a year later when the homemade birthday cards scrawled in blood-red ink with ghastly photos start to arrive.
Gritty isn't the word for this. It is tale of revenge with a very twisted killer.

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Birthdays for the Dead

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Giggling, 13-year-old Daisy e-mails her private strip tease video clip to 15-year-old Jake Bergamot, a boy she'd "hooked up" with at an unsupervised party in her spectacular  home, where there's plenty of booze and empty bedrooms.  Shocked, Jake watches the video twice, not sure if it's pornographic or even sexy, and flings it to a friend for an opinion - who instantly forwards it to two other friends. And on and on and on. Pretty soon it is on a website with millions of viewers, news helicopters are hovering over Jake's school and the story is front page in the New York newspapers. Jake's shameful ostracism has begun.
The brutal, painful fallout that results in this modern-day viral nightmare is all the more chilling because it is so easy - the wrong moment, the impulsive message, one quick touch of a key - and even the most accomplished lives can come tumbling down.
This Beautiful Life is a powerful story of a good family in crisis. Schulman vividly portrays the circularity of events and the instantaneous connections of lives caught in a very real world wide web where  the mere tap of a key can unleash storms of such unimaginable consequence.

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This Beautiful Life

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The Little Shadows follows three sisters into the backstage world of Polite Vaudeville before and during the First World War. Overseen by their fond but barely coping Mama, the sisters (Aurora, Clover and joyous, headstrong Bella) set out to make their living as a singing act after the untimely death of their father. With little in their favour save youth and hope, the sisters navigate their way to adulthood among a cast of extraordinary charmers, charlatans, ruffians and impresarios-and once in a rare while, a true star with transcendent gifts. From the brightly lit stage into the little shadows that lurk behind the curtain, the art of vaudeville-in all its variety, madness, melodrama, hilarity and sorrow-echoes the art of life itself.

In this highly anticipated follow-up to her award winning first novel, Good
to a Fault
, Marina Endicott tackles the fascinating world of vaudeville in it's hey day of the early 20th century. The Little Shadows is itself something of a variety act, at turns tragic and comedic, melodramatic and risqué. It is a theatrical performance of a book, written in four acts and separated by an overture, intermission and encore. And from the moment the curtains rose on this tale of the three Avery sisters and their widowed mother, I was hooked.
Read the rest of Sarah McDuling's review here.

Go here for the author's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions.

Go here to see an interview with Marina Endicott.

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The Little Shadows

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THE UNDERSIDE OF JOY BY SERE PRINCE HALVERSON
  THE ROUNDABOUT MAN BY CLARE MORRALL
  ME & YOU BY NOCCOLO AMMANITI
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Losing a husband is virtually unbearable. Losing your children to the birth mother who abandoned them is one heartbreak too far. It must not be allowed to happen.
If you like Jodi Picoult, you will enjoy The Underside of Joy.

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The Underside of Joy

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I was just a character in a book, a man who didn't have the initiative, the enterprise, to break away from his childhood home and so something different.
The caravan was a passing fancy, a place that could go wherever you wanted, whenever you wanted. It had no history, no stories, no empty dreams.
Speculation about its possible listing for the Man Booker prize has been rife in the months leading up to the release of Morrall's latest novel.
Quinn is the adult son of a famous writer whose skills were honed more to story-telling than to mothering. His response is to sequester himself in a caravan surrounded by trees on an enormous roundabout, where he lives quite happily until a nosy reporter decides to come knocking.

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The Roundabout Man

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I don't want to be flippant about this, because I am a huge Ammaniti fan, but what is it about him and locked cellars? I'm Not Scared, in which a cellar was prominent, won the prestigious Premio Strega Prize (the Italian Man Booker) in 2007.
Already a bestseller in Italy, Me & You , Ammaniti's slim but immensely engaging fourth novel presents Lorenzo Cuni, a precocious 14-year-old desperate for some space of his own. He achieves this respite from reality with "Operation Bunker," an elaborate ruse whereby his parents believe he is skiing in the Italian Alps, when actually he has secluded himself in the basement of the family's apartment building. Settling in among dust, sheets, and other items of a "Fifties household amassed in a cellar," Lorenzo surveys the food and video games he's stockpiled and hunkers down for a glorious week of self-induced solitary confinement. Lorenzo describes his childhood as a friendless existence, much befitting the diminutive outcast that he's become, and as narrative sympathy swells, Ammaniti expertly ratchets up the suspense with a rare appearance by half-sister Olivia, 23. Feigning homelessness and a mysterious illness, she joins him in an emotional reunion that soon morphs into a bittersweet, heartbreaking alliance. Both tender and emotionally arresting, Ammaniti's novel is wonderfully memorable.

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Me & You

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NON-FICTION
AROUND THE TABLE - COOKING AND MORE
When it comes to cooking this month, the most interesting story is told by Irish author Marian Keyes who spent much of 2010 battling a debilitating and crippling depression. She shared her experience on social media and received enormous support. Well, the good news is that she is much better. She baked her way back to health. Yep, she was Saved by Cake ! Marian's particular brand of recipes and philosophy, complete with an eye-popping Victoria sandwich cake and a no-bake ginger and Lime Cheese Cake looks a treat.

Not that Michelle Bridges would approve. Her No Excuses Cookbook is certainly of more practical appeal, as is 4 Week Energy Diet - from Exhausted to Energised the Natural Way by Julie Maree Wood, dietician and nutritionist to a host of Australian professional sports people.

And on the subject of practicality, The $120 Food Challenge is just about perfect. Yes, feed a family of four for $120 a week. This book has everything from setting a food budget, stocking the pantry to seasonal recipes, and it is all based on the author's real experience.

Click on the jacket images below for all the details, to see inside the books etc.
SAVED BY CAKE BY MARIAN KEYES

THE NO EXCUSES COOKBOOK: WEIGHT LOSS RECIPES FOR EVERY DAY LIFE BY MICHELLE BRIDGES
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Go here to see inside Saved by Cake.

Available from February 16.

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Australian author
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THE $120 FOOD CHALLENGE: FEED  YOUR FAMILY FOR $120 A WEEK BY SANDRA REYNOLDS

4 WEEK ENERGY DIET: FROM EXHAUSTED TO ENERGISED THE NATURAL WAY BY JULIE MAREE WOOD
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Go here to see inside The $120 Food Challenge.

Go here to read the author's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions.

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$120 Food Challenge

Australian author
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Australian author
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PERSONAL STORIES
Click here for more details or to buy This month I bring you stories of real people and their rich, varied and sometimes terrible experiences - people like media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Wiggle founder Anthony Field, adventurer Peter Allison and businessman and sex crime murder victim Herman Rockefeller.

But of all of the memoirs and biographies, the one with the broadest appeal is probably Sammy, I Love You.  An inspirational weepfeast,   Sally Nielsen puts down on paper her Australian Story which reverberated about the world when she found the key to bringing her 24 year old fiancé out of the coma for 60 minutes of communication every day. Sam Goddard remains largely in a coma after a sports injury a couple of years ago. Sally and Sam are still engaged.

For details on all of these interesting books, click on the jackets images.

RUPERT MURDOCH: AN INVESTIGATION OF POLITICAL POWER BY DAVID McKNIGHT

HOW I GOT MY WIGGLE BACK BY ANTHONY FIELD
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Click here to buy Rupert Murdoch
Australian author
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How I Got My Wiggle Back

Australian author
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THE DOUBLE LIFE OF HERMAN ROCKEFELLER BY HILARY BONNEY

MEMOIRS OF AN ADDICTED BRAIN: A NEUROSCIENTIST EXAMINES HIS LIFE ON DRUGS BY MARC LEWIS
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The Double Live of Herman Rockefeller

Australian author
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Memoirs of an Addicted Brain

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HOW TO WALK LIKE A PUMA BY PETER ALLISON

OFFICIAL AND CONFIDENTIAL: THE SECRET LIFE OF J EDGAR HOOVER BY ANTHONY SUMMERS
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How to Walk Like a Puma: My (Mis)adventures in South America

Australian author
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Official and Confidential

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UNDER THE BAOBAB TREE: A MEMOIR OF TWO GREAT LOVES BY JANE CHIDGEY

TRAFFICKED: THE TERRIFYING TRUE STORY OF A BRITISH GIRL SOLD INTO THE SEX TRADE
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Under the Baobab Tree

Australian author
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ISSUES THAT REVERBERATE AROUND AUSTRALIA
Did you know that about 150,000 Australians investigate buying a retirement home every year? What they encounter is a minefield of confusion, complications, contradictory regulation (or worse, no regulation at all) hidden traps and costs.

Richard Andrews is a buyer's advocate with loads of experience with investing in retirement communities. If there is anyone who knows how you should approach what is in all likelihood your last major investment, it is him. Don't buy Your Retirement Home Without Me! is practical, has check lists, gives you access to a member website and is a living resource for people in all states and territories of Australia.

Scroll down to see more books of particular Australian interest.

DON'T BUY YOUR RETIREMENT HOME WITHOUT ME! BY RICHARD ANDREWS

GREAT AUSTRALIAN FLOOD STORIES BY IAN MANNIX
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Dont Buy Your Retirement Home Without Me

Australian author
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Great Australian Flood Stories

Australian author
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TIME BOMB: WORK REST AND PLAY IN AUSTRALIA TODAY BY BARBARA POCOCK, NATALIE SKINNER & PHILIPPA WILLILAMS

THE AUSTRALIAN GHOST WHISPERER BY CATERINA LIGATO
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Click here to buy Time Bomb
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We have a great promotion on until the end of this month in which you could win your very own reading from the author. Go here for the details.

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The Australian Ghost Whisperer

Australian author
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WORLD ISSUES
REFRAME by ERIC KNIGHT

Click here for more details or to buyIn the tradition of Freakonomics and The Tipping Point, Reframe brings a fresh perspective to our most complex political problems. Australian economist and Rhodes scholar, Eric Knight, explains how a change of focus can reveal a solution that was lying just outside your frame of vision.

Knight shows that the way we view a problem is integral to how we solve it. Reframe is not just a book about thinking. Knight shines a new light on the key political issues of our time: terrorism, finance, immigration and climate change. Reframe provides new tools so we can make meaningful political choices. This is an optimistic, lucid, original book by a literary star in the making.

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Australian author
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THE GREAT DIVIDE: HISTORY AND HUMAN NATURE IN THE OLD WORLD AND THE NEW by PETER WATSON

Click here for more detailsIn this synthesis of archaeology, anthropology, geology, meteorology and mythology, Watson gives a new shape and understanding to human history.

Sweeping through politics, history, religion, technology and climate change, he examines the different histories of the old world and the new (ie Africa/Europe and the Americas) at a time when water separated them and they were unaware of each other.

Quite where Australia fits into all of that I am not sure, but certainly, The Great Divide sounds like Guns, Germs and Steel territory. Marvellous stuff!




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WORLD IN THE BALANCE: THE HISTORIC QUEST FOR AN ABSOLUTE SYSTEM OF MEASUREMENT by ROBERT CREASE

Click here for more details or to buyCod, Salt, Double Entry, Atlantic - I love these single focus histories. The World in the Balance is the story of international trade and how it depended on agreed systems of weights and measurements.

From early times, merchants and their customers needed a set of standards that would assure both that they were getting a fair deal. In China, each new dynasty needed to prove its legitimacy by "improving" its predecessors' standards for weight, length and music. In West Africa, the use of small figurines to measure gold became the keystone of society. But as trade became more international, the great trading nations began to impose their standards on their partners.

Britain and France were in many ways the leaders, the former with the Imperial system, the latter, after the Revolution, with the metric system. This battle for dominance makes up much of the narrative with the metre a philosophical construct, based in theory on the size of the Earth-specifically, on the meridian of longitude passing through Paris. The French government sent out expeditions to measure the meridian and arrived after some trouble at a standard metre. Advocates of the new system immediately began to proselytise for it, sending copies of the standard to other nations including the United States, where the "scientific" measure had a strong advocate in Thomas Jefferson.

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EL NARCO: THE BLOODY RISE OF MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS by IOAN GRILLO

Click here for more details or to buyA gripping, sobering account of how Mexican drug gangs have transformed into a criminal insurgency that threatens the nation's democracy and reaches out to the world.

The world has watched stunned at the bloodshed in Mexico. Thirty thousand murdered since 2006; police chiefs shot within hours of taking office; mass graves comparable to those of civil wars; car bombs shattering shopfronts; headless corpses heaped in town squares. And it is all because a few Americans are getting high. Or is it? The United States throws Black Hawk helicopters and drug agents at the problem. But in secret, Washington is confused and divided about what to do. Who are these mysterious figures tearing Mexico apart? What is El Narco?

El Narco draws the first definitive portrait of Mexico's drug cartels and how they have radically transformed in the last decade. El Narco is not a gang; it is a movement and an industry drawing in hundreds of thousands from bullet-ridden barrios to marijuana-growing mountains. And it has created paramilitary death squads with tens of thousands of men-at-arms from Guatemala to the Texas border. Journalist Ioan Grillo has spent a decade in Mexico reporting on the drug wars from the front lines. This piercing book joins testimonies from inside the cartels with first hand dispatches and unsparing analysis. The devastation may be south of the Rio Grande, El Narco shows, but America is knee-deep in this conflict.

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NEW BOOKS FOR THE UNDER 6s
I love this part of the newsletter. I always get to have a laugh, a reminisce, and occasionally, a bit of a sniffle. And I always get a surprise.

This month, Lightning Jack managed to cover all that and more. Glenda Millard  and Patricia Mullin's gorgeous picture book for children five and up is a lovingly created and illustrated poem in the vein of The Man from Snowy River about "a gallant horse, a midnight horse, a horse called Lightning Jack". With both text and images to fire the imagination, this is a book that you will keep coming back to for years.

Meanwhile, back on the beach...
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Thong, I don't know why she swallowed the thong, that's gotta be wrong!
There was an old lady who swallowed a seahorse. It was snack size only, not the main course. She swallowed the seahorse to fetch the thong, I don't know why she swallowed the thong, that's gotta be wrong!
Know where I am going with this one? It's loads of fun.

And while we are on the subject of nonsense rhymes, Wash Your Face in Orange Juice, with its bonus CD, is sure to get tiny toes tapping!

For more lovely books for littlies, go here on the right , or else here for February favourites for babies and toddlers.
LIGHTNING JACK BY GLENDA MILLARD & PATRICIA MULLINS
  THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A THONG BY P. CRUMBLE AND LOUISE SHEA
  WASH YOUR FACE IN ORANGE JUICE WITH CD BY PETER COMBE & DANIELLE McDONALD
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Click here to buy Lightning Jack
Australian author
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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Thong

Australian author
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Wash Your Face in Orange Juice

Australian author
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NEW BOOKS FOR UNDER 12s
There are so many wonderful new offerings for primary school aged children this month, but before I get into it, I want to point out a little gem than snuck through last month with very little attention.

Click here for more details or to buyBlexbolex is a French illustrator and graphic artist and his new book People won the best book design in the world award (who knew there was such a thing) at the Leipzig Book Fair. People is not your average picture book. Even before you start leafing through its Matisse-like matt images, the production values are obvious. The jacket for example comes off and folds out into a lovely poster. But the real value of People comes from sharing it with a child.

People is a wordless picture book consisting of a series of opposite silhouettes of characters. The coupling of the images is intriguing.

Here is a review from The Source:
Some juxtapositions are funny: a sailor faces a siren; a nudist faces an invisible man. All are clearly intended to start young readers thinking or drawing connections. For example a hard-working cowboy is shown in an identical posture to an actor playing a cowboy. A bricklayer builds a wall which a labourer knocks down. A painter and a tagger share another wall.

All the people of stories are here: a princess, a bedouin, a castaway, a rabbi, a snake-charmer, a genie, a pirate, a romantic and, of course, the daydreamer who will weave them into their own stories. (Adults are free to talk about the human dichotomy; kids enjoy the fun of having a footballer and a brat displaying the same kicking technique.) Some of the people shown aren't really people; Sisyphus is labelled as a myth, while a yeti, a centaur, a scarecrow, a vampire and a ghost also make appearances. A muezzin is on a minaret, an emperor on his throne and Father Christmas appears as a seasonal worker. Best of all, on the very last page, a small boy draws a stick man on the footpath; the caption reads "a drawing".

This handsome book is a springboard for a reader's creativity.

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Now, on to perhaps more familiar territory. Click down to the book covers below to see more details.

First up, is the Arena Spectacular edition of Cressida Cowell's much-loved How to Train Your Dragon . Dragon-lovers under the age of ten will thrill to this, and if you are lucky enough to be going to the events on the east coast (which look like they will be truly spectacular - go here for a teaser clip), you will want to be well-primed on the story of dragon-whisperer and sword-fighter par excellence, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock 111.

A deaf puppeteer author dreaming up a magic fantasy with a touch of Tim Burton about it? The Grimstones: Hatched is a mixed media collage of photographic and text comprising a gothic fairy tale which is both charming and intriguing. Go here to see the clip.

The unstoppable Jackie French is back with a new series, Animal Rescue - great little stories, big print, line drawings, fantastic introductory price - for 6 to 9 yrs. Our Australian Girl , which is a terrific historical series, introduces two new characters, Nellie and Alice. Go here to see the whole series. And for around the same age (ie upper primary) is the new one in the Red Dirt Diary series.

I have highlighted some other titles below, and also here on the right. For a wider selection, go to my February favourites for kids here.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: ARENA SPECTACULAR EDITION BY CRESSIDA COWELL   OUR AUSTRALIAN GIRL: MEET ALICE BY DAVINA BELL
  OUR AUSTRALIAN GIRL: MEET NELLY BY PENNY MATTHEWS
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How to Train Your Dragon

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Our Australian Girl: Meet Alice

Australian author
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Our Australian Girl: Meet Nelly

Australian author
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WHERE'S WALLY?: THE SEARCH FOR LOST THINGS BY MARTIN HANDFORD
  THE GRIMSTONES: HATCHED BY ASPHYXIA
  RED DIRT DIARY 2: BLUE ABOUT LOVE BY KATRINA NANNESTAD
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Where's Wally: The Search for Lost Things

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Hatched

Australian author
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$14.99
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Blue About Love

Australian author
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$14.99
Booktopia Price: $11.99
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ALICE MIRANDA IN NEW YORK BY JACQUELINE HARVEY
  ANIMAL RESCUE: ELEPHANT ALERT BY JACKIE FRENCH
  THE EXQUISITE CORPSE ADVENTURE: A PROGRESSIVE STORY GAME PLAYED BY 20 CELEBRATED AUTHORS AND ILLUSTRATORS
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Alice Miranda in New York

Australian author
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Animal Rescue: Elephant Alert

Australian author
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The Exquisite Corpse Adventure: A Progressive Story Game Played by 20 Celebrated Authors and Illustrators

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FOR YOUNG ADULTS
What will all the teen readers be after this month? Certainly, paranormal romance fans will be falling all over themselves to get hold of Fallen in Love.

Click here for more details or to buy Fallen In Love

Wonder and Pure will also certainly be word of mouth favourites. 

Go here to see a handful of my favourites for the month, including a Spoiled, a Hollywood teen version of The Devil Wears Prada written by the authors of the fashion satire site gofugyourself.

I have a fuller range of books for 13+ here for you to browse.

Meanwhile, spec fantasy fans have been waiting for years for Margot Lanagan's novella Sea Hearts to be fleshed out in a full book and at last, it is here.

Click here for more details or to buySea Hearts weaves an extraordinary tale of desire, despair and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, Lanagan reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also unspoken love as men go to sea to make their livings - and to catch their wives. 
    
The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And, for a price, any man might buy himself a sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment.
 
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Australian author
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In This Issue


Buzz in brief

Jack Higgins 2 for 1

Vintage Classics free gift

win a psychic reading with the author of The Australian Ghost Whisperer

buy the book - see the movie for free

Toni's fiction for the month - Peter' Carey's The Chemistry of Tears

Toni's nonfiction for the month - Alain de Botton's Religion for Atheists

best cross over YA book - Pure

best cross over kids' book - Wonder

best book for littlies - from Pamela Allen

Valentine's Day

strong local fiction

strong international fiction

non-fiction

food and diet

personal stories

books of Australian interest

more non-fiction

books for under 6s

books for 12 and under

books for 13 +

more great fiction

strongly visual books

more for preschoolers

more for kids

more for teens
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MORE GREAT FICTION
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There is a lot of buzz around the publication of Advent
Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker
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BOOKS THAT ARE PLEASING TO THE EYE

I am covering all bases here with this collection of visually driven books.

First up - cars - 60 Years of Holden: A Complete Encyclopedia of All Models Click here for more details or to buyand then Clive Cussler's personal collection of some 56 vintage cars in Built for Adventure: The Clasic Automobiles of Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt .
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For something completely different,there is Origami Architecture: Papercraft Models of the World's Most Famous Buildings. From the Eiffel Tower, to the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City of Beijing, to the Sydney Opera House, you can cut and assemble your own miniature landmarks without glue using the CD Roms to create the templates.
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Guide to the Younger You is Troy Thompson's definitive how-to from spas to surgery and everything in between. Click here for more detail or to buy Go here to see inside the book.

Ultimate Fashionista: The Young Hollywood Style Guide will suit those with an interest in the tastemakers. Ultimate Fashionista is complete with quizzes, industry interviews, celebrity shopping hot spots, iconic labels, must-visit websites and yes, a whole lot more. Click here for more detail or to buy Go here to see inside.
MORE BOOKS FOR PRE-SCHOOLERS
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MORE GREAT BOOKS FOR UNDER 12s

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BOOKS FOR 13+
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