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Booktopia Buzz
MARCH 2012 | Edition 42
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BUZZ IN BRIEF


A good half of my job is spent talking to publishers searching out the best books, the best deals, the best opportunities to put to you. These conversations take place months ahead of publication so I am forever in this halfway world, somewhere between what is happening today and what might happen in a distant tomorrow.

All of this makes it a special thrill when I get to actually read some of those books and they really do turn out to be terrific, or when I can put  together those little extra somethings that make it even more worthwhile you shopping at Booktopia . And all of this makes me very happy with what I have on offer for you this month. What a line up!

On another note, this will be my very last Booktopia Buzz. Having established the Buzz, and written it for nearly four years, it is now time to move on. It has been a pleasure being able to put together my monthly selections for you all and I do hope you have got as much out of it as I have.

I leave you in good hands.

As always, happy reading.

Toni Whitmont
Editor-in-Chief
Booktopia
MISS FISHER'S MURDER MYSTERIES
Go here to see the books in this offer

Kerry Greenwood's Phyrne Fisher has long satisfied those of us with a taste for mayhem, and a feather boa and long string of pearls on the side. Now Miss Fisher has been lovingly and meticulously brought to life in the ABC TV series that started last week.

Click here for more detail or to buyTo celebrate, Booktopia is bringing you this terrific offer.


That's more murder than you can poke a cigarette holder at.

For those of you who haven't yet discovered Miss Fisher, think Miss Marple, halve her age and put her in Melbourne. Pure class!

Go here (right hand column) to see all of the books in the offer.

To  read details and conditions, go here.


Go here for author Kerry Greenwood's piece for Booktopia about how Phryne Fisher made it to the small screen.
OFFERS: TWO FREE BOOKS WITH TWO GREAT NEW RELEASES
Click here for more details or to buyLONE WOLF by JODI PICOULT + bonus free THE PACT

Jodi Picoult's special skill is to conjure up relationship and family dramas so real, and so complex, that the reader is almost living them.

In Lone Wolf, Jodi is right on the money with the tale of a family that is both estranged and emeshed, all battling over decisions around whether or not to turn off the life support for the father, and all questioning each other's motivations and intentions. This intersection of medical science and morals is Jodi at her best.

Now you can get double your fill of Jodi with this exclusive Booktopia offer.


That's great reading and great value!

Meanwhile, read Jodi's generous answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions here.

Click here to buy Lone Wolf + free bonus The Pact
Retail Price: $57.98
Booktopia Price: $24.95  SAVE 57%
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Click here for more details or to buySIBERIAN RED by SAM EASTLAND + bonus free THE RED COFFIN

It's cold, it's tense, it's spies, it's Russia on the brink of war. Inspector Pekkala is back for another thrilling adventure.

If you are new to Sam Eastland, we have something very special for you - two edge-of-your-seat adventures for less than the price of one. That's a Pekkala double in this exclusive Booktopia offer.


That's great reading and great value!

Click here to buy Siberian Red + free bonus The Red Coffin
Retail Price: $62.98
Booktopia Price: $23.95  SAVE 62%
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PICADOR TURNS FORTY: WIN A COMMEMORATIVE COLLECTION
Go here to see the range of Picador's

Happy 40th anniversary Picador.

To celebrate, we have a great prize for one lucky Booktopia customer.

Win the full 40th anniversary Picador collection
 worth $315.00

The winner will be chosen from the customers who buy books from this collection before April 1.

Go here for details.

Go here (right hand column) to see the entire list of the Picador anniversary editions.

The Picador's 40th anniversary editions are a re-issue of some of its classic fiction titles. Among them you will find prize-winning books, books that have become global sales hits, books that caused huge controversy when published or were published to huge critical acclaim. Together they are a valuable set of must-reads.

Every cover is different and each works individually, but they certainly all work together as a set. Better still, each book comes with a section of extra material which puts it in its historical context and provides a spring board for readers to discover more. These pages include contemporary review coverage, author interviews and essays, original jacket art work, reading guides, information about adapting the books for film as well as information about other books by the authors and recommended reading lists.

So what is the Picador story?

In the early 1970s, an Englishman by the name of Simon Master convinced his bosses at Macmillan that a new paperback imprint was needed, and in 1972 Picador was officially launched. Its aim was to publish the very best writing by the very best writers, irrespective of genre or nationality. Neither parochial nor strictly populist - its standards were necessarily high - it quickly drew fans from from New Farm to New York, and many places in between. Early Picador authors included Angela Carter, Samuel Beckett and Thomas Pynchon; while the first Picador million-copy seller was Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest . This was soon followed by Alex Haley's Roots.

As the list of books grew, Picador established a reputation for publishing outstanding narrative non-fiction, travel writing, American fiction and contemporary memoir. These included Dispatches by Michael Herr, Edmund White's A Boy's Own Story, P.J. O'Rourke's Holidays in Hell and Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho . In paperback, Picador published the 1981 Booker Prize winner, Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, as well as the 1985 Booker Prize winner, The Bone People by Keri Hulme.

The year 1986 saw the launch of the Australian Picador list. From that day on, our literary landscape would be forever changed. Kate Grenville, David Malouf, Kathy Lette, Peter Carey, Helen Garner, David Foster and a host of other acclaimed Australian authors flocked to the imprint.

Alongside such international heavyweights as Roberto Bolaño, John Banville, Graham Swift, Bret Easton Ellis, Don DeLillo and Cormac McCarthy, new Australian talent continues to flourish: James Bradley, Brendan Cowell, Sam de Brito, Karen Hitchcock, Elisabeth Holdsworth, Christopher Kremmer, Emily Maguire, Gregory David Roberts, Kim Scott, Carrie Tiffany and Markus Zusak, to name just a few.

As well as strong fiction, Picador continues to publish groundbreaking non-fiction in the areas of reportage, literary biography and memoir. Local and international authors include Waleed Aly, Augusten Burroughs, Les Carlyon, Robert Dessaix, Charles Firth, Helen Garner, Clive James, Michael McGirr, Andrew Mueller, Oliver Sacks, Matthew Thompson and Don Watson.
 THE TWO BEST DISCOVERIES FOR THE MONTH
The marvellous thing about this time of year in the world of reading is that we get to see books from authors who aren't the big brand names and who don't gobble up the publishers' marketing budgets. February through to May is when we get the interesting debuts, the quiet achievers, the authors who may, in time, turn out to be Kate Grenvilles, or Alex Millers, or Jodi Picoults. And for me, there is nothing better than being introduced to one of them through their writing.

So what am I looking for? No suprises there. I simply ask myself these questions.

Did I stay up all night? Can I get the characters out of my head? Did my heart sing with the beauty of the prose? Was I plunged into emotional turbulence? Did I just want to pick up the phone and talk? Was it like falling in love? Did I feel like I was being presented with something new and fresh and alive? Do I suddenly have clarity?

If the answer is yes to all or most of the above, then I have the great privilege of giving you a reading experience that hopefully will be as rewarding for you as it was to me.

Guess what? This month it was yes, and .......yes again!

I found not one, but two terrific, new fresh books and I couldn't decide which you would like better. May I present to you ..... Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend and The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals.
MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND by MATTHEW GREEN
Click here for more details or to buy According to popular wisdom, there are only seven original plot lines for stories and every thing else is but a variation. This is not a theory generally put about by publishers, nor by authors. No wonder then that every now and then I am presented with books that are almost mirror images of each other, despite being penned by different people. It breaks my heart to think that two authors might have laboured away, sometimes for years, only to find themselves shadow boxing their alter ego on release day.

If that were not hazardous enough for authors, there is the situation of a novel that has captured the zeitgeist of the moment, that becomes the standard by which all other ones in the genre are judged.  In 2003 for example, Mark Haddon blew everyone away with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  That, and John Boyne's The Boy in Striped Pyjamas a few years later, became the benchmarks for the authentic depiction of the child's voice in adult fiction.  Darren Groth's Kindling was a great addition, with the advantage of having a wonderfully Australian setting. Last year,  Emma Donoghue's Room, listed for the Man Booker, added gravitas to this sub-genre of contemporary writing. There have been a swag of wannabes and not-good-enoughs but these four have stood out as beacons. Until now.

Recently, I was presented with three new novels for early 2012, each one being sold to me as the natural successor in that lineage. I have dipped into all three but only one quickly became mandatory reading.

I don't know which of the seven plot lines Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend draws on, but I can tell you that Matthew Green's novel is fresh and original enough to almost live up to its publisher's claim of being "unforgettable". Certainly it was that other over-used word - "unputdownable".

Not only is Green clever enough to get into the headspace of a youngster, he is clever enough to do it with the clarion call of authenticity - no mean feat given that the child in question is Budo, who is in fact an imaginary creation of a boy called Max.

Max is no ordinary boy. If he were described by an adult, he might be labelled autistic, or Asbergers, or something else (not that his peculiar behavioural traits are labelled by Budo - it is simply my interpretation of Budo's observations). And Budo is no ordinary imaginary friend. For a start, at about 10, he is comparatively old and he is staring down the barrel of his own mortality. (Imaginary friends have a short life span because they die when the person who created them stops believing in them). Budo is also the only one who can save Max from a situation that is very real, very scary and that no one could possibly have imagined or anticipated.

In Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Green has done something quite remarkable. He has written a book which requires an adult intellect, and adult emotions, to navigate despite presenting it entirely from the perspective of the child within us all. It is a tense psychological thriller, and in parts, it is an absolute page-turner. And he has penned a warm and moving story about life, death, love, loyalty and destiny. This is no block-buster, but if you are anything like me, Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend will leave you sadder, happier and itching to talk to someone about the ingenious, the incredible, the invisible Budo.

Go here to read an extract.

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

Click here to pre-order Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
Retail Price: $24.99
Booktopia Price: $18.95  SAVE 24%
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THE THOUGHTS AND HAPPENINGS OF WILFRED PRICE, PURVEYOR OF SUPERIOR FUNERALS by WENDY JONES
Click here for more details or to buy Recently I had an official pyjama day - a whole day to doze, dream and devour books. I set myself up early with - pots of tea, the pile of books by the bed, the appropriate reading music (instrumental - no distracting lyrics allowed). Twelve books to be selected from, only one to be chosen. All to be published over the next few months.

And so I started  with a vaguely scientific method in mind. Skim the first few pages of each book. Select the one to read in full that seemed the most promising. Revel in the quiet, quirky offerings of novels that would almost certainly be shouted down in the noise that is Christmas.

An undertaker called Wilfred Price blew that idea out of the water completely.

From the minute I met him, I was hooked. Wilfred is perfect - he is Welsh, neat and trim, full of entrepreneurial ideas both for his business as a purveyor of superior funerals, and for his side line (from the front room) of hosting a wallpaper showroom. He is just as handy at knocking up a coffin out the back as he is instructing his underlings on the correct etiquette for addressing the bereaved. He reads a dictionary daily to improve his general knowledge. And he knows that for his business to prosper, he has to take a wife.

Now, finding a wife in the early 1920s in a small seaside town in Wales shouldn't prove too difficult. After all, nearly a whole generation of young men haven't returned from the trenches. But Wilfred - earnest, deliberate, dutiful and positive Wilfred - is completely inexperienced and extraordinarily naive. And then he meets Grace...

For the early part, The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals is definitely in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society genre of fiction. It certainly has the same kind of charm. It does a good line in the eccentric nature of the small, isolated village struggling to deal with a devastating world event. The Welsh Tourist Bureau could definitely adopt Wilfred as a quaint front man for a campaign to promote visitors in seaside settlements of bygone eras.

To dismiss it as simply charming however would be to do the novel a great disservice.

Wendy Jones has written a surprisingly restrained and moving book. There are secrets which aren't pretty, there are shocks without sensationalism. This is a novel about duty, love, loss and responsibility and it deserves a very wide audience. An added bonus is that it comes as a lovely demi-hardback edition. As I said, Wilfred is just about perfect.

Go here to read Jones' answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions.

Click here to buy The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals
Retail Price: $24.99
Booktopia Price: $18.95  SAVE 24%
Read More...
TONI'S BOOK OF THE MONTH
Click here for more details or to buyTHE BOOK OF SUMMERS by EMYLIA HALL

Newcomer Emylia Hall weaves a touch of magic in The Book of Summers. It is not the magic of vampires or faeries. This is the magic of snatched dreams, half recollected in the dawn. The magic of snapshots of memory. The magic of some really beautifully pieced-together sentences.

When we first meet Beth she is a 29 year old guarded, emotionally distant gallery attendant, virtually estranged from her father, the only family she has. Her principal preoccupation is forgetting - forgetting her past, denying her memories. This strategy has served her well for fourteen years, the fourteen years since the scarifying break from her mother, a passionate and exotic Hungarian called Marika.

So when her father delivers her a parcel one day, a scrapbook that documents the many summers she spent as Erzsi, visiting Marika and her artist partner Zoltan in a bucolic hunting lodge cum studio in a forested region of Hungary, Beth is totally unprepared for the torrent of memories that come flooding back.

The Book of Summers is a lovely coming of age story with a sting in its tail. Written very much from the perspective of Beth/Erzsi as she watches her parents marriage disintegrate, and as she tries to protect both parents from the depredations of their failed relationship, it teeters on the edge of  pastiche, avoiding it both through the beauty of the language and the compelling story telling.

Just because I love the book so much, I have managed to secure a supply of the lovely matching tote bag (while stocks last).

The Book of Summers - best read on a hazy warm afternoon on a verandah. With a box of tissues. And a ticket to Budapest in your back pocket.

Go here for the book trailer and an extract.

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

Go here for more from the author.

Click here to buy The Book of Summers
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95  SAVE 20%
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YOUNG ADULT BOOK OF THE MONTH
Click here for more details or to buy BALTHAZAR by CLAUDIA GRAY

Just when you thought it was safe to go out into the sunlight, your favorite hot vampire is back with a new tale of life, death and subsequent adventure. Balthazar is the spin-off book to the NY Times (and Australian) bestselling Evernight series.

For hundreds of years, the vampire Balthazar has been alone-without allies, without love.

When Balthazar agrees to help Skye Tierney, a human girl who once attended Evernight Academy, he has no idea how dangerous it will be. Skye's newfound psychic powers have caught the attention of Redgrave, the cruel, seductive master vampire responsible for murdering Balthazar and his family four centuries ago. Now Redgrave plans to use Skye's powers for his own evil purposes.

Balthazar will do whatever it takes to stop Redgrave and exact his long-awaited revenge against his killer. As Skye and Balthazar stand together to fight him, they grow closer-first unwillingly, then undeniably. Balthazar realizes his lonely world could finally be changed by her. . . .

In a story filled with forbidden love and dark suspense, one of the most beloved characters in Claudia Gray's New York Times bestselling Evernight series will captivate readers with his battle to overcome his past and follow his heart. .

Click here to buy Balthazar
Retail Price: $19.99
Booktopia Price: $14.95  SAVE 25%
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MAKING HEADLINES : BIG FAT LIES - HOW THE DIET INDUSTRY IS MAKING YOU SICK, FAT AND POOR
Click here for more details or to buyAre you one of the thousands have people who have read Sweet Poison or the Sweet Poison Quit Plan ? Are you like me now so much the wiser when it comes to sugar and additives in our food? Well, let me tell you, Big Fat Lies is going to really make you sit up and take notice.

Author David Gillespie
Diets and exercise won't help us lose weight. Vitamins and minerals are a waste of money and sometimes downright dangerous. Sugar makes us fat and sick. And polyunsaturated fat gives us cancer and works with sugar to give us heart disease.

This book exists because I desperately hope that with a little knowledge we can all vote with our feet and change the rules of the game before the game kills us.

At last - someone who calls it like it is.

Read Gillespie's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions here.

Read an extract here.

Click here to buy Big Fat Lies
Retail Price: $29.95
Booktopia Price: $23.95  SAVE 20%
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WIN YOUR OWN PSYCHIC READING: THE AUSTRALIAN GHOST WHISPERER by CATERINA LIGATO
Click here for more detail or to buyExplore 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 April to be in the draw to win
.

Go here for details.

The 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.

Click here to buy The Australian Ghost Whisperer
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
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BIG NAMES IN FICTION
It is March and the big names are hitting the shelves. In a moment, I want to talk to you about Cathy Kelly but first a quick word on the other key titles.

Alexander McCall Smith is back with a new look in his beloved No. One Ladies' Detection Agency series, The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection. Jeffrey Archer is on the case again with The Sins of the Father, after the cliff hanger that was Only Time Will Tell. James Patterson's Women's Murder Club gets another installment with 11th Hour while Danielle Steel is doing what she does best with Betrayal . Clive Cussler is in Isaac Bell mode with Thief. After much encouragement from fans, Robin Hobb has extend the popular two-book series to a trilogy with City of Dragons while Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware gets down and dirty with Victims.

Click on the jacket images below for more details on these titles.

I have combed through the new releases looking for the very best of fiction from around the world and put together another selection here (right hand column).

Alternatively, browse our March fiction favourites here.

Now, back to Cathy...

Click here for more details or to buyTHE HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET by CATHY KELLY

Nobody explores marriage, friendship and motherhood with the same tenderness, honesty and warmth as Cathy Kelly. The natural heir to Maeve Binchy, every woman needs a friend like Cathy.

Her previous book Homecoming, reached number 1 in Australia. Now she is back with a warm and wonderful new novel, The House on Willow Street , in which four women must face their past before they can look to the future.

Cathy will be in this country on her Friendship Tour early in March and this is good news for Booktopia as she will be our guest on March 7.

Cathy will be coming into the warehouse to sign copies of her new book so if you can wait just one week longer than the official publication date, you can have your own signed copy!

Better still, she will be available for a half hour chat with you via Facebook on March 7.

And if that is not enough, we have a signed 10 book Cathy Kelly library worth $222.90 to give away to one lucky customer who buys The House on Willow Street before April 1.

Go here for details.

As I say, every woman needs a friend like Cathy!

To whet your appetite, go here to read her answers to our Six Sharp Questions.

Click here to buy The House on Willow Street SIGNED by CATHY KELLY
Available SIGNED after March 7
Retail Price: $32.99
Booktopia Price: $24.95  SAVE 24%
If you prefer not to wait until then, contact customer service with your order number and they will dispatch the book immediately.
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BETRAYAL by DANIELLE STEEL
  THE THIEF by CLIVE CUSSLER
  CITY OF DRAGONS by ROBIN HOBB
Click here for Betrayal
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $26.40 SAVE 20%
 
Click here for more details or to buy
Click here for The Thief
Retail Price: $29.95
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
  Click here for
City of Dragons

Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
THE LIMPOPO ACADEMY OF PRIVATE DETECTION by ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH
  THE SINS OF THE FATHER by JEFFREY ARCHER
  11th HOUR by JAMES PATTERSON
Click here to details
The Limpopo Academy for Private Detection

Retail Price: $34.99
Booktopia Price: $25.95 SAVE 26%
  Click here to details
The Sins of the Father

Retail Price: $45.00
Booktopia Price: $34.95 SAVE 22%
  Click here to details 11th Hour
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $24.95 SAVE 24%
AUSTRALIAN FICTION
What's new in Australian fiction? Everything of course.

We can't keep up with the demand for Zoe Foster's The Younger Man. The big news is that she will be here mid March for a Facebook chat with all of you, so make sure you grab your copy and read it in time.

Read Zoe's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions here.

Click here for more details or to buyDeborah Robertson's Sweet Old World would have to be my favourite from the Australian list this month. A most poetic and heartfelt new novel, it concerns the unlikely coming together of the older David Quinn and the much much younger Esther Bradley.

From a review by Catherine Hill, who edited the manuscript:
The novel is about their affair and its endpoint, which is jaw-dropping; it is one of the most affecting endings to a book I've read for ages. The whole story is really thought-provoking: about 'life' (a horribly vague description, but surely what the best novels make us examine) and the directions some people's lives take without their 'permission', as it were. How we might find ourselves, aged thirty or forty, lonely and living in a way we really didn't mean to. And whether that's in any way recoverable - how much say do we really have on the most important aspects of our existence? It's also very much about 'humanity' - how we interact with our friends and our lovers and our family, and the effect they have on us.
Read the rest of her review here.

For a different take on Asbergers, try Kathy Lette's The Boy Who Fell to Earth . She has first hand experience with the syndrome in her own family so she is the perfect person to pen a book that it is both witty and poignant with a single mum trying to get it together in a new relationship, and a son that doesn't quite fit in.

And do look here at the clip Kathy has made for Booktopia. She is one impressive woman.

Wendy James' Mistake is Jodi Picoult territory. Harrowing and haunting, it is about a woman who is desperately trying to justify her decision to adopt out her baby some 25 years ago, soon after giving birth as a resourceless teen. The problem is, she told no one, records have disappeared and now she is the subject of a nation wide police and media witch hunt.  This is strong commercial women's fiction with a strong authentic ring to it.

Read Wendy James' answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions here.

The Fine Colour of Rust is about a woman in an outback town fighting to save the local school.

Read author Paddy O'Reilly's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions here.

For more details on my Australian fiction selection, click on the jacket images below.
THE YOUNGER MAN by ZOE FOSTER
  SWEET OLD WORLD by DEBORAH ROBERTSON
  THE BOY WHO FELL TO EARTH by KATHY LETTE
Click here to buy
The Younger Man

Australian author
Retail Price: $29.95
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
  Click here to buy
Sweet Old World

Australian author
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $25.95 SAVE 21%
  Click here to buy
The Boy Who Fell To Earth

Australian author
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $24.95 SAVE 24%
THE FINE COLOUR OF RUST by P. A. O'REILLY
  THE MISTAKE by WENDY JAMES
  MAD MEN, BAD GIRLS AND THE GUERILLA KNITTERS INSTITUTE by MAGGIE GROFF
Click here to buy
The Fine Colour Of Rust

Australian author
Retail Price: $24.99
Booktopia Price: $19.95 SAVE 20%
  Click here to buy
The Mistake

Australian author
Retail Price: $29.95
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
  Click here to buy
Man Men, Bad Girls And The Guerilla Knitters Institute

Australian author
Retail Price: $27.99
Booktopia Price: $22.40 SAVE 20%
BELLA'S RUN by MARGARETA OSBORN
  A DISSECTION OF MURDER by FELICITY YOUNG
  PUTTING ALICE BACK TOGETHER by CAROL MARINELLI
Click here to buy
Bella's Run

Australian author
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $26.40 SAVE 20%
  Click here to buy
A Dissection of Murder

Australian author
Retail Price: $24.99
Booktopia Price: $19.95 SAVE 20%
  Click here to buy Putting Alice Back Together
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
PLENTY OF INTEREST IN FICTION
This part of the Buzz is supposed to be the best of the rest - and my goodness, there are plenty of "bests" to choose from.

Click here for more details or to buyTop billing will have to go to Defending Jacob by William Landay which has catapulted to top spots in the UK and the US with reviews like this one from The Daily Mail: 

Not since Scott Turow has a crime thriller - any thriller, though this too happens to be a literary legal thriller - shaken me by the throat like this. It's a stunning, shocking, emotionally harrowing ride in which the reader is plunged into a riveting but terrible murder trial and the equally heartbreaking implosion of a loving family. I had to lie down when I finished it (all too soon) to still my beating heart.

Marina Lewycka is back in A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian form with Various Pets Alive and Dead in which is she shows her deft comic touch in this sprawling, quirky novel about a very mixed up family.


Read a full review here, from Booktopia's Sarah McDuling.

The Stag and Hen Weekend is another comic novel, more Nick Hornby style, with both the male and female approach to upcoming nuptials.

The Bellwether Revivals, part The Secret History and part Brideshead Revisited, is a literary mystery about beauty, music  and faith set in academia and is garnering good reviews overseas. If literary thrillers are your thing, you will want to know about Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd as well as new comer Howard Cunnell's The Sea on Fire which which is a brilliantly suspenseful story about a man torn between responsibilities to his family and the freedom of the open water. The Virgin Cure is set in the dark underbelly of New York in the 1870s and centres around a slum child sold into servitude.

If you have a taste for the exotic, you'll be interested in the following three books. A doomed colonial love affair in Mauritius is the background for the elegaic The Prisoner of Paradise by Sir Lankan born Romesh Gunesekera.  Tatiana De Rosnay is now in English with The House I Loved, about a woman and her obsession with her house in the time of Baron Haussman's rebuilding of Paris. And finally, in something completely different to these previous two, there is the feel-good contemporary romantic comedy that has taken Europe by storm, Puppy Love by Frauke Scheunemann.

Meanwhile, there was a bidding war for John Ironmonger's debut which is called The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder and features a man who has shut himself away for 30 years in an attempt to record every memory he has ever had. Now he lies dead, surrounded by his magnum opus - The Catalogue - which comprises an exhaustive set of memories, experiences, references - a kind of map of his brain.

Now to crime and thrillers.

Indie crime readers will enjoy the return of chief superintenant Michele Ferrara in the Michele Guittari's Florentine thriller, The Black Rose of Florence.

Click here for more details or to buyIn The Golden Scales by Parker Bilal we have the launch of a major new detective series set in modern-day Cairo. This elegantly written crime novel delivers Chandleresque plots and plenty of intrigue against a background of upheaval, chaos, corruption and the Arab Spring.

There is fast paced action in spades in Sam Bourne's Pantheon, a thriller set in wartime England. Similarly, the pace is relentless in M. R. Halls latest Jenny Cooper series, The Flight, which involves a terrible plane crash and two mysterious deaths.

The Expats is half The Good Wife and half Jason Bourne - about an undercover CIA agent living in Luxembourg as an expat. There is creepy, psychological crime in Jaye Ford's Scared Yet? while if you are into zombies, you will already be lusting after The Return Man, which is all walking dead, bounty hunters and post-apocalytic America.

For a cold crime fix this month you can't go past The Ship by Icelandic author Stefan Mani. It has won lots of accolades and been translated into many languages.

As I said, that is a list and a half. Go here (on the right) and click on the jacket images for all the details.
NON-FICTION: THE BOOKS MAKING HEADLINES
POLE TO POLE: ONE MAN, 20 MILLION STEPS  by PAT FARMER

Pole to Pole

After running from the north to the south poles - the equivalent of 600 marathons back to back - Pat Farmer's incredible feat of endurance will go down in history alongside the great adventurers of our time.

He's run 21,000 kilometres, he has faced two alligators, one black bear, crashed two Winnebagos, been robbed twice, been lost 26 times, he's consumed nearly 3,000 litres of water. Pat has had aching legs, infected toes, frostbite, sunburn, windburn, dehydration, exhaustion and altitude sickness and he has run Pole to Pole to raise funds for the American, Canadian and Australian Red Cross.

This really is Shackleton, Heyerdahl and Hillary territory. Pat was previously already a huge achiever in  the political, sporting and philanthropic arenas. Now that the run is complete, you can read his whole incredible story. There is never going to be another one like it.

Click here to buy Pole to Pole
Australian author
Retail Price: $32.99
Booktopia Price: $25.95  SAVE 21%
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Scroll down for more books that everyone will be talking about.
PARTNERS AND CRIME by ROCHELLE JACKSON
  AUSTRALIAN MOMENT: HOW WE WERE MADE FOR THESE TIMES by GEORGE MEGALOGENIS
  MURRAY RIVER: ONE RIVER, MANY LANDS by SHANE STRUDWICK
Why would a woman chose to be the partner of Chopper Read, or Robert Trimbole or George Freeman? What is going on inside their heads? Eight Australian women tell their stories.

Click here to buy Partners and Crime
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
 

Is Australia in danger of becoming a great nation? Our avoidance of the last three global shocks - the Asian financial crisis, the tech wreck and the GFC - would all suggest so, according to Megalogenis. In Australian Moment , he looks back on the last three decades, gets our past prime ministers talking to each other, and comes up with a conclusion that is about as far from the Lucky Country thesis as possible.

Go here for a book trailer.

Click here to buy Australian Moment
Australian author
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $26.40 SAVE 20%
 
For more than 65 million years, the Murray River has held Australia's soul within its long, winding banks. More than 2,520 kilometres long, it is arguably our most important river. A truly national icon, it sits alongside the world's great rivers - the Mississippi, Amazon and Nile. From ancient times, to pioneering days, to the environmental challenges of today - the Murray River has been at the centre of the story of our nation.
The Murray River is a loving, passionate and contemporary tribute to Australia's iconic and ancient river.

Click here to buy
The Murray River

Australian author
Retail Price: $39.99
Booktopia Price: $31.95 SAVE 20%
FOOD: THE BIG FIVE
I have picked out five great foodie books to feature this month, each presented by talented cooks who have been in the limelight for one reason or other.

I have the new kids (literally) on the block  with the latest in the incredibly popular Junior MasterChef series. Also from the MasterChef stable is young Callum Ham who is on a mission to get non-foodies into the kitchen. Then I bring you the very gorgeous Manu Feildel with his very gorgeous Manu's French Bistro (which are SIGNED by him) before wrapping it up with my personal favourite, Merle's Kitchen put together by Merle Parrish who has been baking for over 70 years!

Scroll down for details on these four.

go here for all the detailsBut first, a surprise new celebrity chef - Marian Keyes! And for the oddest of reasons.

A couple of years ago we were saddened to hear that Marian Keyes, the woman dubbed 'the queen of chick-lit', the funny and brilliant author of such enduring classics as Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Rachel's Holiday, and Anybody Out There , had stopped writing because she was crippled by depression. We all knew there was a darker side to Marian, the characters in her novels have had to overcome real world issues such as domestic violence, drug abuse, mental illness, divorce and alcoholism. But we certainly never expected this.

Thankfully, after two years of darkness, Marian is back and it is cooking that got her through.


SAVED BY CAKE: OVER 80 WAYS TO BAKE YOURSELF HAPPY includes an extremely honest account of Marian Keyes' recent battle with depression, and how baking has helped her. But much more importantly, it is chock-full of delicious recipes all just waiting for the oven. It certainly makes me want to get my spatula and piping bag.

Go here to see some internal images and to see some clips of Marian doing her kitchen-thing.

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For more wonderful cook books, go here.
 THE STARTER KITCHEN: LEARN HOW TO LOVE TO COOK by CALLUM HAM

JUNIOR MASTERCHEF: AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 AMAZING RECIPES
First up is Callum Ham's The Starter Kitchen. You will remember him from MasterChef I am sure.
Young Callum's inspiration for this book is all of his friends - twenty somethings who cheered him on during the season but still went into their kitchen and knocked up some baked beans on toast. Well, The Starter Kitchen will inspire them all to actually get into the kitchen to create real food. He covers the basics from utensils to the pantry, there are 60 great recipes and if this gorgeous little hard cover doesn't get them going, then nothing will.
This is THE book to put in the hands of anyone who is, shall we say, challenged in the culinary department. And it makes a great moving out of home present.

Have a look inside here.

Read Callum's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions here.

Click here to buy The Starter Kitchen
Australian author
Retail Price: $24.99
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There is not much to say about this other than Wow - these kids are amazing.
Here is it - a great introductory book full of achievable dishes from around the world. Taste sensations for kids, and their enthusiastic parents.
This one will sell up a storm.

Go here to see inside Junior MasterChef.

Click here to buy Junior MasterChef
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
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MERLE'S KITCHEN by MERLE PARRISH

MANU'S FRENCH BISTRO by MANU FEILDEL
Cake baking and decorating is making a huge comeback. Cooks everywhere are keen to get back into the kitchen and feel the comfort and security that comes with the lingering smell of a cake baking in the oven. No one knows this more than Merle who has been a CWA champion for decades. After showing her talents as a guest chef on MasterChef, she decided to share her secrets with us, and here they are at last.

Go here to see inside Merle's Kitchen.

Click here to buy Merle's Kitchen
Australian author
Retail Price: $39.95
Booktopia Price: $31.95  SAVE 20%
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Now, we all know Manu from Ready Steady Cook and My Kitchen Rules and some of us (me! me!) have been lucky enough to eat at his restaurant.
Now you can all join your favourite Australian French chef as he guides you through one hundred classic bistro recipes that will expand your dinner party repertoire and impress your guests.

Go here to see inside Manu's French Bistro.

STOP PRESS: 
Celebrity chef Manu Feildel has just visited Booktopia to sign his gorgeous new celebration of French bistro food. Place your order now so you can secure one of these coveted signed editions - your own little piece of Manu (while stocks last).

Click here to buy
Manu's French Kitchen

Australian author
Retail Price: $49.95
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COMPELLING STORIES
There is no one more passionate than a committed reader of non-fiction - and no wonder given the worlds and lives that they enter into when they pick up the latest book on their favourite topic. How about this for a selection?

Mad Women is the wickedly funny flip side of Madison Avenue from a woman who lived through those days of struggle and sometimes humiliation. Also honest, hopeful and hilarious is Good in a Crisis, in which Margaret Overton gives and informed, intimate yet varied perspective on divorce, dating, illness and putting yourself back together.

Fishing the River of Time is about an eighty year old Australian grandfather and the fishing trip he takes to visit his eight year old grandson in Canada. A journey of a different nature is taken by Rachel Robertson in Reaching One Thousand, a story of love, motherhood and autism. Robert Dessaix is also back with a collection of musings in As I Was Saying.

Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo has written a story of life, death and hope in a Mumbai undercity in Behind the Beautiful Forever s. Equalling as interesting, and reminiscent of Nine Parts of Desire and Reading Lolita in Tehran, is Abu Dhabi Days, Dubai Nights . For the opposite kind of memoir, try The Prez, from a man who was at the head of one of Australia's outlaw bikie gangs for forty years. Perfect Stranger is a memoir of obsession and domestic violence, all taking place with a Sydney harbour view and a glass of champagne.

For details and more, click on the jacket images below.

PERFECT STRANGER: A TRUE STORY OF DESIRE AND OBSESSION by KAY SCHUBACH
  ABU DHABI DAYS, DUBAI NIGHTS by JILLIAN SCHEDNECK
  THE PREZ: MONEY, VIOLENCE, MONEY AND THE CODE: THE INSIDE STORY OF AN OUTLAW BROTHERHOOD  by DAVID SPITERI
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Australian author
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Abu Dhabi Days, Dubai Nights

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The Prez

Australian author
Retail Price: $32.99
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BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS by KATHERINE BOO
  MAD WOMEN: THE OTHER SIDE OF LIFE ON MADISON AVENUE IN THE 60s AND BEYOND by JANE MAAS
  GOOD IN A CRISIS by MARGARET OVERTON
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Mad Women

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Good in a Crisis

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REACHING ONE THOUSAND by RACHEL ROBERTSON
  FISHING IN THE RIVER OF TIME by TONY TAYLOR
  AS I WAS SAYING by ROBERT DESSAIX
Click here to buy Reaching One Thousand
Australian author
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  Click here to buy Fishing in the River of Time
Australian author
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As I Was Saying

Australian author
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LIFESTYLE
Click here for more details or to buyWONDERDOGS: TRICKS AND TRAINING by DR KATRINA WARREN & KELLY GILL

As one of the country's most recognised and loved veterinarians, there is no greater authority on caring for and training your dog than Dr Katrina Warren.

With its step-by-step photographs of 24 individual tricks and commands, and fun-filled full colour layout, Wonderdogs: Tricks and Training will get help you show  your own wonder dog how to fetch, shake hands and even dance and spell.

There is also great information on caring for puppies and dogs of all ages - all in all, an invaluable go-to guide.

Go here for plenty of inside pages from the book.

Click here to buy Wonderdogs: Tricks and Training
Australian author
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Wonderdogs heads a strong list of lifestyle books this month.

What more can I show you? Well, for a start, there is Australian sexual anthropology in Sex Drive. And while we are on the subject of working it all out, there is Getting Sorted, a decluttering manual that will get the rest of your life in place. And in a humorous, blokey tale from Shamus Sillar, Sicily, It's Not Quite Tuscany will blow the lid of those endless romantic Italian sea change books (volcano change in this case).

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

Down to Earth is a manifesto for simple living by Rhonda Hetzel.

Go here for here answers to our
Ten Terrifying Questions and here for a look inside the book.

Timeless Make-Up is the latest from Rae Morris, this time aimed at an older audience - go here to see inside .

Shakunutula Devi, known as the Human Computer, unlocks her secrets in Super Memory.

In Fatloss Forever, The Biggest Loser's Tiffiny Hall answers the question everyone wants to know. What is the secret to weight loss and how can you maintain your ideal weight forever? This book shares the latest research, recipes, tips, strategies and inspiration for how to win the fat loss battle in the real world.

The Alzheimer's Prevention Plan has been selling well overseas and is now available in Australia with a seven day program that is great for keeping mind and body on track while Inside Apple exposes the story of the company with the best cult-like following in the world.

Click on the jacket images below for all the details on these titles and
go here for more intriguing non-fiction (right hand column).
SEX DRIVE: IN PURSUIT OF FEMALE DESIRE by DR BELLA ELLWOOD-CLAYTON
  FROM STUFFED TO SORTED: YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO ORGANISING, ROOM BY ROOM by MARY ANNE BENNIE
  SICILY - IT'S NOT QUITE TUSCANY by SHAMUS SILLAR

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Sex Drive

Australian author
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From Stuffed to Sorted

Australian author
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Sicily, It's Not Quite Tuscany

Australian author
Retail Price: $24.99
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TIMELESS MAKE-UP by RAE MORRIS
  DOWN TO EARTH by RHONDA HETZEL
 

SUPER MEMORY: IT CAN BE YOURS AGELESS MEMORY IN 12 PRACTICAL LESSONS by SHAKUNTULA DEVI

Click here to buy Timeless Make-Up
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Down to Earth

Australian author
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Super Memory

Retail Price: $24.95
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FATLOSS FOR GOOD THE SECRET by TIFFINY HALL
  ALZHEIMER'S PREVENTION PLAN: KEEP YOUR BRAIN HEALTHY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE by DR GARY SMALL & GIGI VORGAN
  INSIDE APPLE: THE SECRETS BEHIND THE PAST AND FUTURE SUCCESS OF STEVE JOB'S ICONIC BRAND by ADAM LASHINSKY
Click here to buy Fatloss For Good
Australian author
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  Click here to buy Alzheimer's Prevention Plan
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Inside Apple

Retail Price: $32.99
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BEST FOR THE LITTLIES
Click here for more details or to buyHUNTING FOR DRAGONS by BRUCE WHATLEY

Ask any parent and decades afterwards they can probably still tell you which was their child's favourite picture book, which was the one that really stirred their child's imagination.

Some authors of children's picture books can really get inside the head of their readers, and it is their books that remain the cherished favourites on the bookshelf. Alison Lester would have to be in that category with her gorgeous Magic Beach . Much more recently Peter Carnavas gave us the superb The Great Expedition.

This month, the very talented Bruce Whatley's Hunting for Dragons is at last in paperback. It is sweet, funny, well laid out, simple to read, wonderful to look at. Best of all, it is a beautiful depiction of a child's imaginary world.

I am delighted to make it my picture book of the month.

Go here to see inside.

Click here to buy Hunting for Dragons
Australian author
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For more outstanding books for this age group, go here.
MIDDLE READERS  - FROM WONDER TO THE END OF THE WORLD
There is great fun to be had this month with fiction for kids aged 6 - 12.

First up, a slim novella and a tiny price for all you Skulduggery Pleasant fans. Derek Landy is back with The End of the World.

With the change you have from that one, you can certainly indulge in the first special price edition of a new series for middle primary boys from the team that brought us Beast Quest. Star Fighters: Alien Attack is an attention grabber for sure. Deadly Mission and The Enemies Lair are the follow-ups and still well priced at under $10 from Booktopia.

Click here for more details or to buyLast month I was very enthusiastic about Wonder by R. J. Palacio . It is only just in stock now so do consider it, and read it yourself as well.

We have a book trailer here and the author's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions here.

Colin Thompson is back with his funny, creepy TV spoof series, The Floods. This time it is DisasterChef. Thank you Colin!

Deborah Abela launches her new contemporary series for upper primary kids. The first one is called Ghost Club 1: The New Kid. Apparently, she based her idea on a club from the 1890s which counted Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and Thomas Edison among its members.

For the pink girls, there is Olympia the Games Fairy, the latest in the Rainbow Magic series.

Heaven is Real for Kids is the illustrated version of Heaven is Real, the memoir with  a strong Christian message about life, death and hope which has been such a word of mouth hit around the world.

For details on these books, scroll down.

For more suggestions for 6 - 12 year olds, go here, including some lovely picture books for the slightly older child - the very beautiful Mouse & Lion, Show Day and Mr Bear Branches and the Cloud Conundrum. Have a look at the images here for that one.

SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: THE END OF THE WORLD by DEREK LANDY
  HEAVEN IS REAL - FOR KIDS by TODD & SONJA BURPO
  STAR FIGHTERS 1: ALIEN ATTACK by MAX CHASE
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It's the End of the World

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Alien Attack

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DISASTERCHEF by COLIN THOMPSON
  OLYMPIA: THE GAMES FAIRY by DAISY MEADOWS
  GHOST CLUB by DEBORAH ABELA
Click here to buy DisasterChef
Australian author
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Booktopia Price: $11.95 SAVE 20%
  Click here to buy Olympia: The Games Fairy
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Ghost Club

Australian author
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TEENS ONLY
Click here for more details or to buy HUNGER GAMES MOVIE TIE-IN EDITION  by SUZANNE COLLINS

Of course, the big news is the release on March 22 of The Hunger Games movie. If your kids haven't read the book, they really need to do it now!

Apart from that, I have the cream of the crop in dystopian, paranormal, historical, thrillers, coming of age - I reckon I should just about have it covered.

Scroll down or go here for more  teen titles.

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PANDEMONIUM by LAUREN OLIVIER
DEAD, ACTUALLY by KAZ DELANEY
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Click here to buy Pandemonium
Available March 14
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Click here to buy Dead, Actually
Australian author
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TORN by CAT CLARKE

EREBOS by URSULA POZNANSKI

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Archives
In This Issue

Miss Fisher's murder mysteries

2 free books with 2 great new releases

Picador turns 40

the 2 best discoveries this month

Toni's book of the month

young adult book of the month

Big Fat Lies

The Australian Ghost Whisperer

big names in fiction

Australian fiction

more fiction of interest

non fiction making headlines

food - the big 5

compelling stories

lifestyle

best for littlies

middle readers

teens only

the wonderful Phryne Fisher

fiction highlights for March

film tie-ins

those elegant Picadors

more foodie favourites

non fiction extra

for the under 6s

Easter

great suggestions for primary school kids

13 & up
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BOOKTOPIA BLOG


Not reading the Booktopia Blog? You are missing out on some daily breaking news, exclusive author interviews, funny observations, fascinating insights, titbits, gossip and a whole lot more.

Featured authors from this newsletter include Jodi Picoult, Zoe Foster, R. M. Palacio, Kerry Greenwood, Cathy Kelly, Emylia Hall, Matthew Green, Wendy Jones, Kay Schubach, Wendy James, Parker Bilal, David Gillespie, Callum Ham, Rhonda Hetzl and Chris Flynn. 


Click here for the Booktopia Blog.

   THE WONDERFUL PHRYNE FISHER
Go here for all the details on our Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries promotion. Meanwhile, these are the books that are included in it. Click on the jackets for details.
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FICTION HIGHLIGHTS
FOR MARCH

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FILM TIE-INS

I know you can't get enough of them so here is the latest crop of books which are about to be on screen as well.





THOSE ELEGANT PICADORS

Here is the complete list of the Picador 40th Anniversary editions.


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MORE FOODIE FAVOURITES
From Spain to Afghanistan and everywhere in between. Slow cooking, Jewish cooking, home cooking, fine dining focusing on vegetables. Names like Maggie Beer, Margaret Fulton, Claudia Roden. It all adds up to some pretty wonderful cookbooks.
(PS - if you think there are a lot of goodies on offer here, just wait until you see what is coming in April. Yes, Mother's Day is around the corner).

Click on the jacket images below for details, including some lovely page spreads.

To see my 5 favourites for this month, go here.
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NON FICTION EXTRA

I have to draw your attention to these books - there are some beauties amongst them.

Click on the jackets for all the details.

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 FOR THE UNDER 6s - MORE GREAT BOOKS

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EASTER


The little ones will delight in these Easter books.







GREAT SUGGESTIONS FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL KIDS
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13 AND UP

More great reads to keep teens out of trouble

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