Home » Blog
News & Reviews
Imagine a service like Airbnb, allowing users from around the globe to find the perfect place to stay. However, instead of simply renting out someone’s home, you lease their lifestyle. That’s the idea behind ShelfLife, a start-up company that aspires to “help people change their lives, one week at a time”.
ShelfLife centres around three key characters – Trent (“the Hustler”), Gavin (“the Hipster”) and Shanti (“the Hacker”). The story opens with Trent pretending to be a doctor in an Emergency Room, and quickly moves towards the three friends becoming fast business partners. They are taken on a fast-paced rollercoaster ride, exiting their mundane employment to build a new and exciting worldwide company based in Singapore.
Barrie Seppings has created a highly enjoyable, witty and addictive storyline that clearly shows his immense understanding of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the crazy world of tech start-ups.
While incredibly easy to read, ShelfLife is also very provocative and stimulates careful consideration.
If you could swap lives for a week with anyone on the planet, who would you choose to be?
In the next instalment of our "We Love to Imagine" series, we meet Grace from VIC!
Here’s what Grace told us about herself:
"I work from home as a bookish jewellery designer. I like all things Beauty and the Beast, the Addams Family (Morticia and Gomez are #goals) and books. I like 80s horror films and Disney films which I usually watch with my fluffy ragdoll cat (and on the special occasion, I can con my partner into watching them with me too)."
If you’re a current Bookabuy subscriber and would like to be featured next, let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
“Are you ever afraid?”
“Yes, just like everybody else. But only after the danger is done—before that, fear is an indulgence. Welcome to the Alice Network.”
Based on real characters and events, The Alice Network is a historical fiction novel weaving back and forth between 1915 and 1947, with Evelyn “Eve” Gardiner, a former World War I spy, and Charlotte “Charlie” St Clair, a pregnant American in search of her cousin, Rose. Everyone assumes Rose died during WWII, but Charlie wants proof which leads her to Eve.
The Alice Network is an admirable, fast-paced, and fascinating story about two women facing challenges and discrimination because of their gender. In the last several years, women from many different walks of life and ethnicities, and their integral contributions to the arts and science, are being uncovered, recognised and brought to mainstream attention in literature and film. The Alice Network is another such contribution; the retelling of a spy network consisting of women who put themselves in grave danger to collect information that the allies could use to defeat Germany. The Alice Network was lead by the remarkable Louise de Bettignies, alias Alice Dubois.
Perhaps the most powerful element of the novel is Eve’s emotional, heartbreaking, broken, grief- and guilt-stricken narrative, as we learn her backstory and her part in The Alice Network. Eve’s character and her perspectives are very strong, and I loved how Kate Quinn gave her a stutter; it was interesting to see how she was able to use this weakness to her advantage.
The Alice Network makes for an interesting group read and discussion for those in a book club.
What a year for literature! Here’s our Top 10 Books of 2017:
- Modern Fiction: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
- Fantasy: La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust #1) by Philip Pullman
- Science Fiction: Artemis by Andy Weir
- Chick Lit: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
- Horror: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King
- Non Fiction: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
- Autobiography: Every Lie I've Ever Told by Rosie Waterland
- Crime: The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
- Historical Fiction: The Boat Runner by Devin Murphy
- Young Adult: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
We’d love to know what you think of our Top 10!
Lionel Shriver’s brand new novella The Standing Chandelier tells the story of Jillian Frisk and Weston Babansky, two former lovers who have held an intense friendship lasting a quarter of a century. Jillian is a loud and opinionated woman with an artistic sensibility, while Weston is a natural introvert.
The story centres around an artwork created by Jillian, known as the “Standing Chandelier”, a symbol that is representative of her life and everything in it.
When Weston becomes involved with a new woman, Paige, his friendship with Jillian is truly tested and becomes increasingly threatened. Paige gives Weston an ultimatum when he proposes marriage – stop seeing Jillian. She says, “I couldn’t stand her when I met her, and I can’t stand her now that I’ve gotten to know her better”. When Weston and Paige are given the Standing Chandelier as a pre-wedding gift, the question arises as to whether it is a simple gift of friendship, or something more devious. And Weston starts to question whether it is possible for a man and woman to ever be “just friends”.
The prose throughout the novella is incredibly intelligent, pulling me in from page one. Shriver involves a lot of depth when crafting her characters, and both Weston and Jillian come across as fully-formed and believable individuals in the novella’s 122 pages. The way that the characters’ frailties and insecurities play off each other, to a miserable end, is beautifully achieved.
This story asks many tensely awkward questions about our social natures, the emotional risks of intimacy and the limits of friendship.
With Christmas just around the corner, we are giving one lucky person the chance to win back the cost of their subscription each week... for the next four weeks!
To be in the running, simply place a prepaid book subscription order for yourself or your loved one via our website. You’ll then automatically be in the draw to win back the full cost of your order!
We will announce our winners via our Facebook page every Friday for the next four weeks, starting from Friday 8 December.
There will be one winner for orders placed within the following periods:
- 1 December to 7 December (winner announced on 8 December)
- 8 December to 14 December (winner announced on 15 December)
- 15 December to 21 December (winner announced on 22 December)
- 22 December to 28 December (winner announced on 29 December)
This offer applies to prepaid subscriptions only. Monthly (recurring) subscriptions will not be qualified.
Winners will received refunds within 3-5 working days of the relevant winner announcement.
Home Fire is a powerful reimagining of Sophocles' Antigone, a Greek tragedy about the daughter of Oedipus following her father's death. The novel moves the themes of Antigone into contemporary times, and features two Muslim families with very different perspectives on how to display their beliefs.
The novel introduces a young Muslim woman named Isma who has spent many years raising her two twin siblings, Parvais and Anneka, following the death of their mother and grandmother. The family of three has long been under the surveillance of the British security service as their father was a known jihadist. Now that her siblings are old enough to look after themselves, Isma decides to move to Massachusetts to complete her interrupted education.
The novel is narrated in alternating chapters by five main characters, and each succeeding chapter increases its intensity. By the time we hear from Aneeka, the story radically changes, becoming super charged when we learn that Anneka’s twin brother Parvaiz has disappeared to follow in his father’s footsteps.
The novel displays a confidence not only in prose but in how the story is related. Complex issues are explored, including familial love, youthful mistakes, and the power of forgiveness. It also delves into the extreme methods used to recruit young people to the Islamic terrorist cause.
There were some missed opportunities, including conversations and interactions between characters. However, I did appreciate the deep thinking it inspired, and I ended up in a place far removed from my expectations at the beginning. Home Fire has well-deservedly been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017.
The New York Times bestselling author of Plum Island and Night Fall is back with a fast-paced and action-filled thriller underpinned with an impressive amount of detailed research surrounding Cuba’s history and political relations with the US.
Daniel “Mac” MacCormick is a US Army combat veteran turned charter boat captain who is propositioned with an unexpected mission – a dangerous trip to retrieve a huge stash of cash hidden in a Cuban cave since the 1959 Cuban Revolution. Mac accepts this mission following the promise of a massive payoff that will see him settle the debt owed on his charter boat, The Maine.
The instigators of the operation are the beautiful Sara, mysterious Cuban exile Eduardo, and Miami lawyer Carlos. As the story progresses, we learn that it is not only money driving these characters on a seemingly suicidal mission. Mac is faced with the decision to either continue on with the job with three million dollars in his sights, or turn back to his home in Key West.
DeMille’s writing is weaved with witty humour that had me giggling throughout. The plot is intriguing, and the characters are well-rounded and dynamic. It is evident that DeMille has spent a great deal of time researching content for The Cuban Affair, and it makes for a very authentic and plausible story.
“We never really talked much or even looked at each other, but it didn't matter because we were looking at the same sky together, which is maybe even more intimate than eye contact anyway. I mean, anybody can look at you. It's quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.”
Turtles All the Way Down is John Green’s follow up to his bestselling and award winning book, The Fault in Our Stars. I couldn’t imagine being in a more high pressure situation as this, but John Green has delivered once again with this beautiful portrayal of mental illness, lifelong friendship and love.
After hearing about the upcoming release of Turtles All the Way Down, I was crossing my fingers that we would be given another gorgeous love story similar to that of Hazel and Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars. After reading it, however, I came to the conclusion that we got so much more than that.
Aza is a teenage girl who ends up in an unlikely and bizarre chase for the truth when her childhood friend Davis’s billionaire father goes missing. From the outside looking in, Aza seems to have it all. She's a good daughter, a good student, and a good friend. But life for Aza isn't what it appears. She struggles every day with invasive thoughts, thoughts which at times leave her unable to focus on nothing but the fear and anxiety they cause.
This is a brave, bold move by John Green who so imaginatively portrays what it is like to have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. You are not just reading about someone with OCD, you are experiencing what it's like to have OCD while reading this book.
I’m tempted to flip back to page one and read the book again!
Pretty Little Liars meets Gossip Girl meets Thirteen Reasons Why meets The Breakfast Club in Karen M. McManus’ debut Young Adult masterpiece, One of Us Is Lying. This mystery thriller is set at Bayview High where five students are sent to detention one afternoon when contraband mobile phones are found in their bags. From there, the story takes us on a whirlwind of twists and turns, leaving us guessing until the end.
When Simon, the school’s gossip app creator and blogger, suddenly dies from anaphylaxis caused by peanut oil, it is initially ruled to be a tragic accident. However, a series of clues leads to police investigating his death as a possible homicide. The other students who were in detention with him that afternoon become caught up in the investigation. What was Simon getting ready to post on his gossip app? Did someone murder him to keep their secrets hidden?
We are introduced to the first-person perspectives of Bronwyn, a geek who dreams of getting into Yale; Addy, a beautiful homecoming princess; Nate, a former drug-dealing criminal; and Cooper, a baseball player who has been hiding a massive secret from everyone he knows.
Was Simon murdered by one of the members of the “Murder Club”? Or is their something more behind his death?
McManus has successfully created an ambitious and skilfully written high school mystery. I am looking forward to reading more of her work in the hopefully not too distant future!
"I wonder what the sound of a heart breaking might be. And I think it may be quiet, unperceptively so, and not dramatic at all. Like the sound of an exhausted swallow falling gently to earth."
More than just a love story, Tin Man is an exquisite piece of art. Sarah Winman captivates readers with a beautifully touching story of three individuals, Ellis, Michael and Annie. The book is a tender portrayal of love, friendship and loss.
The first half of the book is written in third person and tells the story of Ellis. While exploring Ellis's life, we also meet Michael. Their bond and closeness commences instantly, and never leaves either of them, even after Ellis meets Annie. In the second half of the book the writing switches to first person, and we hear Michael's very sad and detailed account of his life with and without Ellis.
A print of one of Van Gogh's paintings, Sunflowers, won in a raffle in the prologue by Ellis’s mother, features strongly throughout the book. It is a perfect metaphor for the freedom of love and the trials of grief experienced by the characters.
Tin Man gets five big shiny stars from me.
Following on from her bestselling memoir The Anti-Cool Girl, Rosie Waterland’s Every Lie I’ve Ever Told is another honest and hilarious account of her journey through life. Trigger warning: This book deals with some difficult issues, including mental health, suicide, abortion, and abusive relationships.
Every Lie I’ve Ever Told reveals the struggles that Waterland faced when she lost her best friend and “soulmate” to a tragic accident while he was on the other side of the world. The friendship they shared is recounted in the most beautiful and blissful way.
Waterland speaks openly about her nervous breakdown and suicide attempt, but the book is also filled with hilarious stories, like the time she posted a naked selfie on social media, and cringe-worthy sexual encounters.
Waterland has the ability to make you cry from both laughter and heartbreak without even turning to the next page. I am eagerly awaiting her next memoir.
If you do read this book and feel triggered, do not be afraid to speak to someone. If you do not feel comfortable with opening up to someone you know and trust, I encourage you to call the amazing people at Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Any book that is endorsed by celebrated author Margaret Atwood already has my tick of approval before I open to page one. Naomi Alderman’s The Power is a genius story that turns society so perfectly on its head. It begins when teenage girls worldwide develop a 'skein', a strip of muscle in their collarbone which conducts electricity, allowing them to instantly inflict pain and death.
Virtually overnight, the world changes beyond recognition. Women are elected as political leaders, the army is almost completely made up of women, God changes gender, and sex-trafficked women break free from their bonds.
The story moves between chapters from the point of view of four very different characters. Allie is an adopted young woman who uses the power to murder her abusive foster father, and becomes “Mother Eve”, the head of a worldwide movement re-writing world religions to emphasise the primacy of women. Roxy is the daughter of a gangland boss. Tunde captures video footage of one of the first manifestations of the power and quickly becomes the reporter on the emerging phenomenon. Margot is an American mayor who gains confidence as the result of her Power, and use that confidence to fuel a rapid rise to power.
The Power is well deserving of the 2017 Bailey's Prize for Women's Fiction. Alderman has created a unique world with this clever and thought-provoking story, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves first-class dystopian fiction.
Madame Zero is a short collection of dark and mysterious stories in which prize-winning author Sarah Hall establishes well-developed themes of relationships, sexuality, nature and existentialism. Hall is at it again with an exploration of the connections between the civilized and natural worlds, probing the beast that lies beneath the skin.
In the first story of the collection, “Mrs. Fox”, a woman transforms into a fox and her husband attempts to sustain a relationship with her. In “Wilderness,” a woman on a dangerous hike with her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s friend contemplates her mortality. In “Evie,” a woman’s sexually-charged behavior becomes alarming for her husband.
Hall’s exquisite writing makes for a compelling and rewarding read. It is not difficult to become engulfed in each story as they are so captivating, and leave you wanting more.
I have also read (and thoroughly enjoyed) Hall's The Wolf Border, however, I think the short story format really suits her writing style. I look forward to reading more of her collections.
To celebrate CBCA Children's Book Week from 19-26 August, we have a special promotion for our little bookworms from ages 0-10.
For a limited time, you can start your child on a personalised reading journey for only $20 per month!
What's included in our Kids Book Subscription, you ask? Your child will receive a brand new, handpicked and gift wrapped book, delivered to their door once a month. Each book is tailored to your child's reading tastes, and is selected based on your child's age and reading level. We also include fun stickers, postcards and bookmarks in each package!
There is no lock-in contract, so you can cancel at anytime. Offer ends on 26 August 2017.
In this month’s instalment of our We Love to Imagine series, we meed Elrien from NSW.
Here’s what Elrien told us about herself:
“I am a girl who loves her flowy white dresses and flower crowns. I love a good thriller, and curling up with my three cats, Nikita, Rose and Tinkie. They can keep me entertained for hours!
“One of my biggest wishes is to have my own secret garden with dark red roses covering the old brick walls. I prefer to read outside rolling in the grass, with the new weird tea I recently discovered. I love dreaming up my own worlds, with a Mr. Darcy somewhere in between.”
Do you think we’ve captured her personality accurately?
If you’re a current Bookabuy subscriber and would like to be featured next, let us know by emailing us at email@example.com!
Child trafficking is not a typical subject for a Young Adult book, but Zana Fraillon has perfectly portrayed this issue in her latest release, The Ones That Disappeared. Following her Carnegie Medal-shortlisted The Bone Sparrow, Fraillon tells the story of three children, Esra, Miran and Isa, who dream of returning home.
Esra, Miran and Isa belong to the Snakeskin gang, and have brandings on their wrist representing their lack of freedom. The children are responsible for the maintenance of marijuana plants in a home they cannot escape from. They are exposed to all kinds of cruelty, including beatings and chemical poisoning. Following an accident which destroys the marijuana plants they are accountable for, Esra, Miran and Isa flee their prison.
The Ones That Disappeared is told through the eyes of the children, enhancing the emotional and heartwrenching aspects of the story. The book not only communicates survival, but also hope and courage.
Without glamourising the issue, Fraillon has beautifully composed a necessary depiction of human trafficking, shining a light on the dangers and struggles faced by these children.
"I am nowhere near as brave as people believe me to be. As a writer, armed with words, I can do anything, but when I have to take my body out into the world, courage fails me."
Powerful quotes like this one are abundantly strewn throughout Hunger, Roxane Gay’s intimate, heartbreaking, honest and raw memoir about her body. Gay talks about her daily struggles with moving through the world as an obese person, and what led her to find comfort and solace in food: one devastating act of violence that changed her life forever at the tender age of 12.
While difficult to read about Gay’s personal challenges at times, her willingness to lay bare her darkest thoughts about that horrifying day, and society's cruelty towards obese women, is truly inspiring. Gay writes with a vulnerability that I have never witnessed before.
I can only imagine how difficult it would have been for Gay to pour out her entire heart and soul into this memoir, but she has done a superb job of empowering survivors of eating disorders and various forms of assault, encouraging those to use their stories to create.
To say that I highly recommend this memoir is the understatement of the century. I have loved every single one of Gay’s works, but Hunger definitely stands out as my favourite so far. Very much looking forward to her next one!
#GIRLBOSS is a refreshingly honest account from Sophia Amoruso, an entrepreneur who built her own fashion empire from scratch and with pocket change. A self-professed high school dropout, Amoruso shares her journey from rags to riches with the founding of Nasty Gal, a multi-million dollar retail business. In the process, Amoruso touches on ideas of creativity, business, and personal morals and ideals.
What I absolutely loved about this book is Amoruso's honest voice. When asked about how they have achieved success, most people would respond with something along the lines of “It all comes down to luck." But Amoruso shares that her success is all hard-earned, and not merely the fabric of luck. One of Amoruso’s key messages in this book is that part of what made her and her brand so successful hinges on the mistakes she has made. Not only are they learning opportunities, but most often the coolest people are those off the beaten path.
As someone who is interested in how successful businesses have come to be (especially when they are created by women), I loved reading about how Amoruso created the idea of Nasty Gal, as well as the growth and evolution of the business in her eyes, rather than in business terminology. While Amoruso talks heavily about the fashion industry, non-fashion forward readers should still read this if they’re looking for a bit of motivation and inspiration.
This isn't a self-help book; it’s a memoir with some advice to GIRLBOSSes. So if you're going into this thinking you'll learn how to start a business, you're wrong. Amoruso is simply giving that motivational push while telling her own relatable story about taking risks and doing what we personally think is right for our lives.
#GIRLBOSS has taught me that #GIRLBOSSes aren't superhuman. They're just like you and me.
In the next instalment of our “We Love to Imagine” illustration series, we meet Jeff from Victoria!
“Our Dad has worked as a teacher, nurse and midwife, and spent many years in mental health care and support work for people with disabilities. He has seen and done a lot in his 70 years. He has a little more 'spare' time these days, so more time for reading! He is not at all squeamish and enjoys a gory novel.
He is also a grandfather and looks after our son while we work, often trying to find a moment or two to read a few pages of whatever book he is in the middle of.
We have four cats who he enjoys playing with. He's a very family oriented man who loves nothing more than some chocolate, a cup of tea, his family around, and a good book!”
Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be featured in our next instalment of “We Love to Imagine”!
When a book is recommended by the former president of the United States of America, you know it’s a winner. Barack Obama described Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad with one word (“Terrific”), and I wholeheartedly agree with this endorsement.
The Underground Railroad tells the story of Cora, an African American slave at a Georgia plantation in the antebellum South. When a fellow slave tells her about the underground railroad, she finds the courage to run for her freedom. Thus begins her odyssey as a runaway slave, where her adventures introduce her to unprecedented horrors and lead her to disheartening realisations.
The core metaphor of The Underground Railroad is very powerful. On one level it signals early in the novel that this story is not meant to be taken literally, which allowed a lively revisionist history to bloom as the chapters progress. On another level, the railroad feels like so much more than a metaphor. To imagine a real railroad dug by African American hands and kept secret from their white enslavers is a slap-in-the-face reminder of the extraordinary accomplishments of African American slaves. By making this impossible railroad real, Whitehead forces readers to acknowledge just how unbelievable and extraordinary the true history of African American resistance really is.
While this was a tough read, it was also an incredibly worthy one. Whitehead deserved the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
It's not often that a book resonates with me so much that I feel as though it was written for me personally. This is one such book. From the very first page, Delphine de Vigan’s Based on a True Story captured my attention and did not let go. But what is truth? And what is fiction? Many readers around the world, including myself, have been left in the dark when it comes to these questions.
The narrator of the book is an author named Delphine (just like the real author) who has recently published a successful autobiography. She has subsequently fallen into a depressive state, resulting in an inability to put pen to paper to write a new novel.
Delphine then meets “L.”, a woman who quickly becomes an integral part of her life. L. is mysterious, elusive, and gradually creeps further and further into Delphine's life to the point that the book becomes very reminiscent of Stephen King's Misery. Based on a True Story tells of the claustrophobic relationship which rapidly develops between Delphine and L., and becomes a philosophical two-hander between the two women as they debate the nature of truth and fiction, and how much a writer should reveal of oneself in their work.
This thriller will have you in sheer and utter shock at the end, and will leave you asking more questions days after you finish the last page. I was thrilled to find out that de Vigan's masterpiece is currently being adapted for film, with the director set to be the one and only Roman Polanski. I have my fingers crossed that my unanswered questions will be revealed in the film!
We wrote a piece for The Sydney Morning Herald's My Small Business on Amazon's impending arrival into Australia (and what it means for small business).
Read the full article here.
In the fourth instalment of our “We Love to Imagine” illustration series, we are excited to introduce you to Kirsty from Forbes, NSW! Kirsty has enjoyed 15 months worth of personalised books so far, and here's the information she shared with us when placing her order:
“I love writing, reading, music, travelling, cooking and lately I'm interested in trains because my current career is a train driver assistant!
I adore books and love to read. I have recently caught the travel bug so I am always thinking about my next adventures. I plan on writing them down for my future kids to read and cherish.
My black cat Billi loves to chill out on my lap whilst I read.”
If you would like to be featured, send us an email at email@example.com and you could be next!
Review by Heather from Bits & Books
In Testosterone Rex, psychologist Cordelia Fine draws on decades of research in an attempt to show that differences between the sexes are not as great as we’ve been led to believe, and that they are a result of societal and cultural influence, rather than being natural and a result of biology and evolution – and testosterone.
Fine discusses everything from conception to neurons, and Wall Street high-rollers to toy-shop aisles, so there’s a lot of information in this book to work through. It felt like a bit of information overload at times, but Fine presents the research in a largely easy to understand way, while some witty commentary and personal anecdotes also help to break up the science and made for some relatable and entertaining reading.
Although my eyes may have glazed over occasionally, I found the book interesting and engaging and I feel like I’ve come away from it with a better understanding of what gender is and isn’t. It’s a readable book even for people (like me) for whom science isn’t their best subject.
Testosterone Rex challenges what we perceive as natural, and is a must-read for anyone interested in gender politics and the science of the body.
Review by Heather from Bits & Books
The German Girl is a fictionalised retelling surrounding the true events of the St Louis, a ship that carried Jewish refugees from Europe to Cuba before the outbreak of WWII.
Armando Lucas Correa uses the lives of two 11-year-old girls to tell the story: Hannah, who we follow from 1939 Berlin, through to her time on board the St. Louis, and then in Havana; and Anna living in New York in 2014, who eventually ends up in Havana also.
Correa has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years, so the detail in the novel is incredible and really supports the fictional characters. The contrast between the grey feeling of Berlin and the heat of Havana was lovely to read, while the scenes on board the St Louis had a sense of hopeful unreality about them.
It was difficult not to be affected by the things that happen to the characters in The German Girl – especially to Hannah and her family. It’s been a while since I cried so much at the end of a book, so maybe don’t read the final chapters in public like I did (or at least make sure you have tissues).
The new year is well and truly upon us and at Bookabuy, we want to make 2017 a year of great books for everyone.
Whether you’ve got reading target set or just want to challenge yourself to read more, we can help!
But don’t take our word for it – here are 12 bone-fide reasons a Bookabuy book subscription is the perfect gift for a loved one, or a great treat for yourself.
It has been an incredible year for literature. Here’s our Top 10 Books of 2016:
- Fiction: Nutshell by Ian McEwan
- Fantasy: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
- Science Fiction: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
- Chick Lit: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
- Horror: The Fireman by Joe Hill
- Non Fiction: Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger
- Autobiography: Working Class Boy by Jimmy Barnes
- Crime: Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
- Historical Fiction: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
- Young Adult: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
We’d love to hear what you think of our Top 10!
With only days left until Christmas, we want to give one lucky person the chance to win back the cost of their book subscription!
Place an order anytime between 3pm on Monday 19 December and 11.59pm on Saturday 24 December (AEST), and you'll automatically go in the draw to win your money back!
Terms & Conditions
1. Subscriptions purchased between 3pm on Monday 19 December and 11.59pm on Saturday 24 December (AEST) are eligible for entry.
2. The prize is available across all Bookabuy book subscriptions or gift vouchers purchased from www.bookabuy.com.au which are paid for upfront.
3. The competition is not applicable to monthly/recurring subscriptions or mystery book purchases.
4. The refund will be made to the payment option selected at checkout and may take up to 10 days to be processed.
5. The winner will be notified by email. Unsuccessful entrants will not be notified.
Bookabuy has been featured in this year's Urban Walkabout Christmas Gift Guide!
See the full guide and the great list of other gift ideas here.
Anne Benjamin's Saffron and Silk is the incredible personal account of an Australian living in India. The author writes about the massive life changes she combats when she moves from suburban Sydney to Chennai, the capital city of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Benjamin's memoir commences with a fast-moving romance and wedding with Susai - a man that she met at an education conference in Canada. We are then taken on her journey from Australia to India, where the vast cultural differences between the two countries are beautifully portrayed.
Benjamin does a magical job of weaving both her own personal memories into important historical moments that we have all read about in textbooks, but have failed to truly see through the eyes of ordinary people. I especially appreciated the detail Benjamin went into when discussing the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination, and the catastrophic impact this had on the people of India.
As a woman who has lived in two polar opposite worlds, Benjamin is able to share her experience in the most authentic and eye-opening way. Saffron and Silk will give you insight into life in India from an Australian woman’s perspective that you have never seen before.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake follows the story of three sisters Mirabella, Katharine and Arisone, separated while young to live with different families. All three sisters have magical abilities, three different elements of magic that connect to the lineage of the Royal family. Without having a family to teach them or guide them, the three sisters are on their own as they try to work out who they are and how they will rule. But with that responsibility comes the harsh reality of death. Faced with training for their magic or finding their magic, the three sisters must face the same trials and only one sister can win the crown.
This grisly filled story is a hard book to describe, as little details lead to a spoiler and can ruin the book. This is a book that should be read. There is nothing out there in the market like it. This Harry Potter/Hunger Games/Insurgent hybrid book will have you clinging from page to page, only to make you scream at the end, leaving you wanting more. The writing is strong and dramatic, the names may cause you some hassle, but don’t let that stop you from reading this deceptive book. Romance, intrigue and family issues combine to bring you a story that will leave you reeling.
If you’re looking for an adventure to go on or looking for a book to transport you to another world filled with magic and intrigue, then this is the book for you.
Mindy Kaling, comedian and writer of The Office and The Mindy Project, has released her second biography. A collection of essays, stories and memories that encapsulate her life, her work and her family. The book follows Kaling as she grows and becomes the woman she is, wanted to be and thought she was going to be. In the book, Kaling explains why and how she almost became a college sorority girl during her studying, what she gets up to, why she freaks out getting ready for a date, and even her day to day routine as a writer on her own television show.
The writing, because Kaling is a professional writer, is awesome, it is funny, and it is hilarious to the point where you want to share it with a sister or girlfriend because you connect with what Kaling is saying. As a reader of the book you learn a lot, you read a lot, and you experience a lot of what Kaling has gone through, thanks to her writing that brings you right into the book. If you haven’t watched The Mindy Project then you won’t have Kaling’s voice in your head, which brings a whole new perspective to the book, and you should check out the show along with the book.
If you are looking for a book to give to your sister or girlfriend for Christmas that will make them laugh, or even for yourself, then this is definitely a book for you to grab.
We love to read. And we love to imagine.
Our customers provide incredible detail in their book subscription orders, and we love imagining what they are like in real life!
In the third instalment of our “We Love to Imagine” illustration series, we are excited to introduce you to Kelsy from Victoria! Kelsy has enjoyed three subscriptions with Bookabuy so far, and here's some information she shared with us about herself:
“I love reading, taking photos, shopping, tea, film, history and my friends, family and amazing boyfriend. I love getting immersed in new worlds.”
If you would like to be featured, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be next!
International Number One bestselling author Nicholas Sparks is back with another heartbreaking story to tell. Two by Two is the story of a hard working father, Russell and his wife, Vivian who is a stay at home mother taking care of their daughter, London, before Russell decides to step out and start his own advertising business.
As his business struggles to meet ends, Vivian starts making life changing decisions that affect her life, husband, daughter and entire family. Enter a new flame, an old love and a sister beyond salvation and Russell’s life is turned upside down. Packed with unforeseeable twists and turns, Two by Two sees Vivian and Russell go head to head in a battle of ‘who is the better parent’, whilst Russell’s family comes to grips with an unavoidable family tragedy.
Nicholas Sparks has produced yet again another tear jerker to read and fall in love with. Filled with tragic emotions and family problems, this book is filled with fun, laughter, heartbreak and sorrow all wrapped up in one big pile of mush. With his spectacular writing that makes you feel like you are part of the characters’ lives, Sparks has produced the kind of book you take with you when you go on a holiday and read all at once. Known for his play on human emotions, Sparks has created a winning combination.
If you like the kind of book that makes your heart swell, than this is the book for you.
Great news for all bookworms – Bookabuy is now accepting monthly payments across all of our subscription packages!
Subscribing is just as easy as it was before - but you now have the option to pay a recurring monthly price. There are no obligations for recurring subscriptions, and you can cancel at any time. Please note that monthly/recurring subscriptions are not available for purchase as gifts.
There is of course still the option of paying up-front when buying a subscription for yourself, or if you are buying a subscription as a gift.
We’re sure this new addition will make it even easier for readers of all ages to enjoy Bookabuy and discover some amazing new books!
Every so often a book comes along that spices everything up. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland is exactly that book. A simple story about a boy called Henry, who is striving to get into a college, whilst hoping to become the editor of the school newspaper, and find himself a girlfriend. But with the arrival of a new girl at his school, his whole world changes. The new girl, Grace, clothed in baggy, smelly male looking clothes, with unwashed hair and the face of a zombie, finds herself the centre of Henry’s world when they are both placed on the editorial team of the school newspaper. But as their friendship blossoms, so does Henry’s feelings for Grace. Meanwhile, Grace is still lost in love with her deceased boyfriend.
Krystal Sutherland has written a new and fresh perspective on teenage angst and first love in a gripping and heartbreaking tale about a girl and boy who are just right for each other, if only they met each other before. Before the accident, before Grace changed, before Henry knew what a broken heart felt like. This clever, witty, and lyrical story is a classic, but with fresh and modern twists and turns thrown in. This book is an almost perfect representation of how love can physically hurt us all.
If you like the kind of book that makes you feel, makes you hurt from the inside out whilst reading, then this is the book for you.
Emma Donoghue, author of the astounding novel Room, has written another gripping book based on the real life case of the Fasting Girls. This phenomenon saw the recording of girls who lived without the consumption of food for long periods of time. It was seen mostly in Western Europe and Northern America between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries. The Wonder is about a girl, Anna, who lives in Ireland and does not eat. When a Florence Nightingale trained nurse, Lib, is called in to supervise and determine whether or not Anna is lying or is really surviving without food, questions of belief and of parental abuse are raised. Highly trained Lib is sceptical from the start, but when she spends hours on end with Anna, she begins to question her own beliefs.
This is a tough book to read, filled with family heart break, famine and many religious passages. The Wonder makes you question your own beliefs. There are many twist and turns to follow when reading this book and many shocking developments to wrap your mind around, but getting to the end is where you will find all of the good stuff and the truth is finally revealed. The writing is gripping and suspenseful, making you want to know what is going to happen and wonder after the last page.
If you like the kind of books that make you wonder about your own life or how other people live or lived, then this is the book for you.
Debut Australian author J.D. Barrett has hit the nail on the head with this food filled, ghostly themed book, The Secret Recipe for Second Chances. Lucy Muir is looking for the next thing to do with her life after her cheating, sleazy husband and co-owner of their famous inner city restaurant takes her house, favourite chair, and her restaurant where she flourishes behind the bench with knives in her hand. When fate finally decides to deal Lucy a good hand, her whole life changes for the better, bringing new, exciting and interesting people into her life, including a ghost called Frankie. With touching moments between Lucy and Frankie, the story doesn’t just focus on Lucy’s love for food, but also her desire for happiness with Frankie.
When you buy a book written by an Australian author there are two things to expect – one is wonderful scenery descriptions, and the other is great Aussie slang. This story is filled with both of these and so much Australia that you can almost smell the Jacaranda in the air as you read the book. J.D. Barrett has done a phenomenal job in blending aspects of Australian food, romance, new beginnings and even the idea of ghosts and unrealistic possibilities.
This is definitely a book for anyone who is a fan of Australian writers, reading about Australian suburbs and food and the idea that love is possible even if you may or may not be dead.
Words in Deep Blue is a love story. A love story between its main characters Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie and their shared love for second-hand books and words. The story follows best friends Henry, who is stuck with a girlfriend who only wants him when she is lonely, and Rachel who is trying to deal with the sudden death of her brother and losing everything she ever planned for her future all at the same time. When Rachel comes back to town and is tasked with recording every marking and letter in Henry’s Letter Library, their relationship and what it once was is put to the test.
The story of Henry and Rachel takes place in a poetic and romantic landscape, between the shelves of a second-hand bookshop and hand written letters of friends and loved ones. This romantic and heartbreaking story is filled with hurt, pain and overwhelming emotions. A gripping and breathtaking story, it is a must read for anyone who has dealt with pain or loves reading. This story is filled with book knowledge and references that make you wonder how you can purchase your own second-hand bookshop. A powerful and moving story of a girl and boy who are struggling with change in their lives, and who find solace with each other and books.
This book is a must read for anyone who has ever fallen in love with a dusty old book or simply loves getting lost in the world presented by bounded words.
American author Jane L. Rosen’s debut novel The Dress is the kind of book you want to read cover to cover, curled up with a nice glass of red wine and a block of chocolate. The story follows a group of people, strangers from one to the next, and how their lives after coincidence connect. When the ‘dress of the season’ makes its big debut and whispers about it being ‘the dress of the season’ start to circulate, only its creator and designer believes in it. But when it starts to make its way across town and hits the news, the lives of the characters are changed forever. From the retiring designer to the runway model, the tired old secretary with a crush enduring 20 years to the girl who sell the dresses, all of their lives are changed when fate intervenes and the dress comes into their lives.
With fun, bubbly, loveable characters within the story, this is a hard book not to like. It is easy to read and understand, and has a great ending. It ends, but even so, you want more. I wanted more, I wanted to know how all of their lives go on. The writing is seductive and pulls you right into their New York lives and makes you wish you could jump on through and have your own life changed thanks to the dress of the season.
It’s quirky, romantic, and a must read if you like happily ever afters coming true.
We love Jimmy Barnes! To celebrate the release of his memoir, Working Class Boy, we are giving you the chance to win a copy autographed by Barnesy himself!
All you need to do to enter is:
- Follow us on Instagram (@bookabuy)
- Find this photo on our Instagram page
- Comment with your favourite Jimmy Barnes song and tag a friend
- Share this photo on your Instagram page and hashtag #bookabuy
Entries close at 12:00pm AEST on Friday 30 September 2016. The winner will be announced on our Instagram page on Saturday 1 November 2016!
Winner of the 2016 Miles Franklin Literary Award, A. S. Patric’s Black Rock White City is a book with real heart. The story follows the lives of married couple Jovan and Suzana, who have settled in suburban Melbourne after fleeing from their home in Serbia due to war. While Jovan works as a janitor at a hospital and Suzana looks after a family in a private house, the couple go through the ups and downs of marriage and life after traumatising death together. With illicit relationships, an unstable character with a statement to make and language barriers proving unhelpful, Jovan and Suzana’s lives are rocked by a number of events.
This is not an easy book to read, but it is a book that needs to be read. The content within is heavy to read because of its relevance to the world today, and makes the reader look at the delicacy of their own lives and how they treat other people. Towards the end of the book, when you think nothing else can happen to Jovan and Suzana, something unexpected occurs and made me gasp out loud. It finishes suddenly, without a resounding ending, which made me want to know what just happened, why, and what the consequences are going to be for Jovan and Suzana’s life afterwards.
Through poetically written prose, Black Rock White City is filled to the brim with emotions, telling the story of life after war and the instability of life.
The Easy Way Out is a life questioning story about a young man whose job deals with a very ethical issue – assisted suicide, and his mother’s life draining terminal illness. Evan, a trained nurse, finds himself a trusted individual who specialises in helping people during the most important time in their lives – the end. Working for an in-hospital organisation that is trying to legalise and push through a helpful law, Evan learns the delicacies of life when patient after patient rely on him during the worst time of their lives.
The blurb of this book is very capturing, and really made me wonder what was going to happen within. The enticing world of a man who helps people end their own lives isn’t a story you read freely and isn’t written about in many books. When I started reading I didn’t know what to expect from the story but what I got was an honest and slightly scary reality check.
The book centres on the issue of euthanasia and the idea of a dying assistant. It plays on the idea of morals and ethics, and how a person can live with themselves when they are responsible for the death of others. The issues that are mentioned in the book are heavy, morally questioning and ethically worrying. A lot happens in this book, but it is the message the book is trying to give its readers that is important, as is the under talked conversation of death.
A gripping and bizarre book based on the life of a teenage girl, Ruby, who is going through a tough time facing grief over a family member. Lured into the unique life of a boy she meets on the street, Fox, Ruby embarks on a mission to take control of her out of control life and feelings, and makes a decision she has no idea is going to change the rest of her life.
This book is a thrill-seeking story that made my heart race from the first page all the way until the last. Ruby turns her seamlessly normal life upside down when she runs away to join a ‘cult’, only to realise all too late that her life and the life of the people she loves is in danger. This story is about more than a girl struggling with grief;it is also about accepting herself and the family she has.
I enjoyed reading every word of this book. The author has gone to extreme lengths to world-build a very realistic and daunting community within the characters’ world that makes you wonder how something like this can still happen in the 21st century. Different from a lot of young adult books out and a fresh perspective on humans dealing with the grief process. This book will make chills run down your spine.
We want to see your shelfies! Share a photo of your bookshelf and you'll be in the running to win a 3 month personalised book subscription from Bookabuy!
We have 3 subscriptions to give away, and we'll select the best photo from each of our social media pages:
You'll need to be following us, add the hashtag #bookabuy and tag @bookabuy to be in the running!
Entries close at 12:00pm AEST on Monday 29 August 2016.
Maxine Beneba Clarke is hands down my new favourite author. I absolutely loved Foreign Soil, and when I heard that she was releasing a memoir I was so ecstatic! It certainly lived up to my expectations and then some.
The Hate Race is an incredible exploration of the effects of racism on a young dark-skinned girl growing up in Australia. This powerful memoir uncovers the traumatic memories held by Clarke from her schooling years in Sydney, including the constant taunts, catcalls, and nicknames, as well as the isolation felt by Clarke as the result of her skin colour.
I feel that it would be very beneficial to include this book in every high school curriculum – simply so that young adolescents can understand the hurt they can cause as a result of their racial bullying.
It would have taken a lot of strength and courage to put pen to paper to write this book, and Clarke should be commended for shedding light on the endemic issue of racism. A must read for anyone, regardless of whether you have experienced racism or not.
As a diehard Harry Potter fan, I really hate to do this... but I give this release a 3 out of 5. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a lovely gift to every Harry Potter fan out there who has spent a long time waiting to see their wizard friends again. But it really is a magnificent piece of fan fiction at best.
There are some redeeming factors. Although the plot holes are visible, they make for charming and heartfelt conversations between much-loved characters. The best thing about this book is how nostalgic it is - not only are all of our favourite characters brought back to life, but we get to revisit some of our favourite scenes such as the Triwizard Tournament and more.
This was a risky experiment and, while quite fun while it lasted, I do not want to read about Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger rolling around in magical wheelchairs.
Liane Moriarty is triumphant once again with her latest release, Truly Madly Guilty. The book tells the story of a friendly neighbourhood barbecue gone wrong and its social and psychological impacts on each of the party guests. I know what you’re thinking – sounds a bit like Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap! But, unlike The Slap, we don’t find out from the word get-go what exactly happened at Moriarty’s barbecue.
I always fall in love with Moriarty’s characters, and the characters in this one are no exception. We are introduced to three couples – Erika and Oliver, Clementine and Sam, and Tiffany and Vid. Each character has their own secrets and flaws, but there were a few that I was drawn to more than others.
The friendship between Erika and Clementine is very complex and somewhat bizarre, and I initially didn’t really like the neurotic Erika. However, as the book progressed I had a better understanding of where Erika came from and why she is the way she is. Clementine’s character is mostly described in relation to her friendship with Erika, her marriage to Sam and her life as a cellist, so it was difficult to get a good sense of who she was. But Tiffany was a nice distraction and added some interesting twists to the story. And Vid was by far my favourite character of the book – a loud, gregarious man with a heart as big as a house.
The suspense surrounding the events of the barbecue will make any impatient person a little mad (including myself!), but it is what drives the book and is certainly worth the wait.
This is by no means my favourite Liane Moriarty book – my favourites would certainly be Big Little Lies and What Alice Forget. But it’s still a beautifully written story that I have been recommending to all of my friends.
A sincere thank you to everyone that voted for Bookabuy in the 2016 ORIAS!
We made the Top 100 list (alongside brands like BONDS, Amazon, David Jones, Black Milk and Booktopia), which is pretty incredible for a small business in its first year of operation.
Bookabuy was also named as a finalist in the Australia Post Small Business Awards.
This has been the second – and biggest-ever – year of the StarTrack ORIAS People’s Choice Award with around 100,000 loyal online shoppers voting for 750 of their favourite online retailers.
Thanks again for all of your continued support!
We love to read. And we love to imagine.
Our customers provide incredible detail in their book subscription orders, and we love imagining what they are like in real life!
In the second instalment of our “We Love to Imagine” illustration series, we are excited to introduce you to one of our youngest and cleverest little bookworms, Lily from Victoria! Lily’s parents Myf and Steve purchased a Bookabuy subscription for her, and this is the information they provided to us in their order:
"This is a gift for our daughter Lily's 4th birthday. She loves animals, princesses, the human body, laughing at poo jokes, cars, dinosaurs, fairies, food, music, making up stories from pictures, and learning about other families and countries. She's funny - sometimes the oddest things will scare her in a book, but she insists on going back to it and talking about it until she finishes processing it, so a little bit of scary is OK. Anything that fuels her imagination to keep going with dramatic play is a winner! She's starting school next year so we are keeping up the rhythm of reading together and encouraging her to tell us the stories she sees too."
If you would like to be featured, send us an email at email@example.com and you could be next!
"There’s Still Space For Niche Retailers As The Traditionals Have Broken Online Experiences"
Chris had a chat to B&T ahead of the Online Retailer Conference in Sydney next week!
We’ll be speaking from 2:00pm-2:30pm on Thursday July 21, and we’ll be covering our 5 Proven Winners to Improve Online Loyalty.
We’ll be speaking at this year’s Online Retailer conference in Sydney!
Our session runs from 2:00pm-2:30pm on Thursday July 21, and we’ll be covering our 5 Proven Winners to Improve Online Loyalty.
For more information and tickets visit the Online Retailer website.
Every now and then, I come across a book that will really open my eyes to the struggles of people whose lives are very different to my own. Behold the Dreamers is one such book. The incredible debut novel from Imbolo Mbue tells the story of a married couple from Cameroon who leave behind their comfortable small town life to chase the American Dream in New York City.
Jende Jonga find himself working as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers, while his wife Neni also lands a temporary housekeeping job with the Edwards family. As the Jongas become entangled in the Edwards’ affairs, they soon discover that money isn’t everything.
Mbue has written an insightful account into immigration, race, and a couple’s struggle to create a better life for their family. A must-read for just about anyone.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sonia Nazario also gives Behold the Dreamers praise: “A beautiful novel about one African couple starting a new life in a new land, Behold the Dreamers will teach you as much about the promise and pitfalls of life in the United States as about the immigrants who come here in search of the so-called American dream.”
Before I begin, I feel compelled to give you this warning: Do not read this book in a public place. It will result in wild, irrepressible laughter that will ultimately lead to unwanted stares from strangers. Our Tiny, Useless Hearts provides an absolutely hilarious and unforgettable insight into the life of a suburban family on the brink of crisis.
Microbiologist Janice gives up her weekend to babysit her nieces, Mercedes and Paris, while her sister Caroline faces the devastating breakdown of her marriage. Henry has left Caroline for the much younger (and prettier) grade school teacher Martha. In an effort to save their marriage, Caroline follows Henry and Martha to Noosa.
With the addition of the nosy neighbours Craig and Lesley who are having their own marital issues, Janice’s ex-husband Alec, and pizza guy Brayden, this book is a one-stop shop of brilliant wit and accurate observation.
Liane Moriarty sums this book up perfectly: “A new Toni Jordan is always a special pleasure and her latest is a wonderful, witty treat of a novel: cutting and clever, and yet so very romantic, as though P.G. Wodehouse had satirised life in the suburbs.”
American novelist Hanya Yanagihara brings to life the incredible story of four college friends – the actor Willem, the painter JB, the architect Malcolm and the lawyer Jude – in this powerful and perfectly crafted novel.
A Little Life commences shortly after the friends graduate from college in Massachusetts and move to New York to follow their dreams. It then takes you on a rollercoaster ride that spans over three decades, where friendships strengthen and weaken, and romantic relationships begin and end. And, amongst all of these ups and downs, we observe the trajectory of their professional careers.
I have never read a book like this before, nor do I believe I ever will again. The writing is flawless and the characters are so well developed that by page 100 you know them well enough to call them your friends.
Throughout the novel, the characters are stretched beyond unthinkable limits. By the time I finished, I was physically and mentally spent and I marvelled that a book had made me feel that way. This book is overwhelmingly sad; but where there is darkness, there is also light.
We love to read. And we love to imagine.
We especially love imagining what each one of our wonderful readers are like in real life! We get many amazing orders, and each one is filled with incredible detail about who you are and what you’re like.
So, we teamed up with an illustrator and brought to life one of our customers - Kimberly W from Victoria. Based on the information she gave us in her order, we put together our interpretation of what she might be like in real life!
“I'm a secondary maths teacher at a specialist science school, so I love to learn about different things. I'm on maternity leave at the moment and love playing with my 3 month old son. I also sew a bit (mainly presents for babies at the moment) and I love to read but get overwhelmed trying to find new books.”
We're proud to announce a partnership with Books in Homes Australia!
$1 from each Bookabuy subscription sold will be donated to this wonderful organisation. Books in Homes Australia’s vision is to create an Australia where every child and family has access to books of choice at home.
You can read more and donate at:http://www.booksinhomesaustralia.com.au/bookabuy
What a year for literature! 2015 saw so many amazing new releases, so it was a real struggle to pinpoint our top 10 for the year. We’d love to hear what you think of our list!
- Best Fiction: Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
- Best Fantasy: Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
- Best Science Fiction: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
- Best Chick Lit: Confess by Colleen Hoover
- Best Horror: Bird Box by Josh Malerman
- Best Non Fiction: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Best Autobiography: A Work in Progress by Connor Franta
- Best Crime: Memory Man by David Baldacci
- Best Historical Fiction: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
- Best Young Adult: Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Gillian Flynn's short story, The Grownup, drew me in from the very first lines: "I didn't stop giving hand jobs because I wasn't good at it. I stopped giving hand jobs because I was the best at it." But don't be turned off by this, because I can assure you that the story does not revolve around handjobs! The narrator does not go into lurid detail about her profession; this is just the hook that draws you in. Right from the very beginning, I was taken on a whirlwind journey filled with so many twists and turns - something that I have come to expect from Flynn's works.
Without giving away any spoilers, the storyline centres on a narrator who finds herself on a new career path as, what I would call, a quasi-prostitute/aura reader. It's not long into this job before she meets Susan, a rich housewife and mother who is in utter distress, convinced that both her house and her 15-year-old stepson, Miles, are evil.
While reading The Grownup, which lasted for well under an hour, I had to constantly ask myself whether the events were supernatural or merely psychological. And, because the story is so short, it seemed to me that the tension was twice more profound.
My only real criticism of the story is that the ending was very ambiguous, and I was left hanging with way more questions than answers. Needless to say, if Flynn ever writes a (much longer!) sequel to The Grownup I would race out to buy a copy of it. Flynn is the absolute queen of suspense who never fails to have me on the edge of my seat.
I am always wary when it comes to Pulitzer Prize-winning books as I have hated quite a few of them in my time. But that is certainly not the case with this one. All the Light We Cannot See is BRILLIANT in every sense of the word.
Anthony Doerr tells the remarkable story of two protagonists living parallel lives during World War II: a blind French girl, Marie-Laure LeBlanc, and an orphaned Germany boy, Werner Pfennig. Doerr not only alternates between the individual lives of both children from one chapter to the next, but also time-hops through a 10-year period from 1934 to 1944. However, by a sheer twist of fate, Marie-Laure and Werner’s lives are brought together for a short moment in which they establish an incredible bond.
All the Light We Cannot See is not only an account of the Nazi invasion of France, but a powerful, beautifully envisioned and heartfelt tale which shines light on the human element during that horrific era.
It is very rare for me to give a book a 5-star rating, and I certainly don’t do it frivolously. But I cannot see a fault with this book. It is definitely the best Historical Fiction novel I have ever read, hands down.
With exponential advances in smartphones, tablets and e-readers, e-books are now a popular reading standard in this digital age. However, there is still something about the feel of an old-fashioned paper book that excites people and makes for the perfect gift for a loved one. Books can be a very personal gift: they show that you care, and that you have put in special thought for someone’s birthday, anniversary, and so on.
However, picking the perfect book for someone is a tricky business. So tricky that a common solution is to avoid it altogether and just slip a Dymocks gift voucher into a card. So, should you choose to brave the bookstore shelves in search of something to get the bookworm in your life, here are some tips to remember:
1. Know Your Genres
If you’re thinking about buying a book for someone, it’s more likely than not that you know what they like to read. Whether it is science fiction, fantasy, crime, autobiographies, or all of the above, you should at least know what genre is best. In other words, it would be silly to buy the latest John Green release for your wife if she’s obsessed with good old-fashioned Vintage Classics. Just stick with what they like, and you’ll even find that it helps with narrowing down with sections of the bookstore you’ll need to peruse before finding the perfect book.
2. Booksellers Are Your Friends
Walking into a bookstore can be a daunting experience for some. Trying to pinpoint the one title out of thousands that would be just right can seem almost impossible. But never fear! It’s important to stay clear-headed and patient at all times. And don’t forget that you can actually seek help from your friendly bookstore employee... who would have thought! Whether you’re shopping at Dymocks or the local bookstore, the employees are *surprise surprise* there to help you pick the perfect book. They are surrounded by books all day every day, and they know what’s out there better than you probably ever will. For example, if you tell them you’re shopping for your boyfriend who loves historical fiction, they’ll know the right questions to ask, and can take your knowledge of what he’s read lately and turn it into recommendations for what he’ll want to read next. So don’t be shy; speak to the experts!
3. Don’t Use This As A Chance To Give Recommendations
Sometimes it’s hard to accept that your best friend loves Edward Cullen and is obsessed with stories involving moody vampires. So you decide, out of the kindness of your heart, to intervene and correct their taste. We all think our own taste is best (it’s our taste, after all), but people like what they like. No use trying to change that! Sometimes you love a book so much you just want everyone to read it. But that is not an excuse to buy 20 copies and give one to every person on your list. Don’t be that pushy person trying to impose your tastes on everyone else.
Now that you have read the above list, you should feel safe to go forth and buy your loved one a book that says “This really made me think of you”. Happy shopping!
I love Tina Fey. I loved her in Mean Girls, on 30 Rock and, of course, Saturday Night Live. On my recent trip to New York City I picked up a copy of Bossypants at the SNL Exhibition. And, surprise surprise, this brilliant autobiography did nothing but cement my love for her even more.
So, what is there to love about Bossypants, besides everything? For starters, I love how Tina just tells it (and by "it," I mean everything from impersonating Sarah Palin to her struggles with breastfeeding) like it is. I also love that Tina's voice can be heard throughout the entire thing. That's not an easy thing for an author to do, but you feel as though Tina is reading these stories to you (I’m keen to get my hands on the audio version of this book too!).
Except for the fact that she is a talented, wealthy television writer and performer, Tina basically stole my life! Our early years were so similar, I found myself wincing instead of laughing as Tina recounted her childhood and awkward adolescence.
I honestly cannot remember the last time I laughed this hard while reading anything. One of my favourite lines is: "Do I think Photoshop is being used excessively? Yes. I saw Madonna's Louis Vuitton ad and honestly, at first glance, I thought it was Gwen Stefani's baby." If you haven't read this already, please do. Or better yet, have Tina read it to you.
A Cure for Suicide is a peculiar, yet strangely enticing, dystopian tale filled with Orwellian undertones that will keep you hooked right until the very last page.
How do you build a person from scratch? How do you reconstruct a memory in place of a painful one forgotten? If you surrender your identity to stay alive, have you really survived? Jesse Ball explores these questions and more in a plot filled with elements of memory, time, relationships, control, and what it means to be human.
The book explores the nature of self and identity, and our place in the flow of life. It’s also about memory: “We think of memory as a redeeming thing. We built monuments that appear to be monuments to this person or that person or this struggle or that, but really, do you know what they are? They are monuments to memory itself.” Who are we, indeed, without memory or a known past?
A Cure for Suicide is thoughtfully written and downright haunting. If you're a fan of The Handmaid's Tale and Never Let Me Go, you will love this one. Highly recommended!
If you were to judge Fangirl by its cover and blurb alone, you may think that it is nothing but a quirky, fun read about an interesting girl addicted to writing fan fiction. But I would strongly encourage you to take a peek inside, because it's really so much more...
What is there not to love about Fangirl? Rainbow Rowell has written an absolutely brilliant coming-of-age tale about fan fiction, family and first love. Cath, Fangirl’s protagonist, is a Simon Snow fanatic. When she isn’t writing fanfiction, she’s thinking about it, and she is perfectly happy that way; until, of course, her world starts changing around her.
This story thrives in its delicate simplicity, and offers power through its unique characters. But let's not forget Rowell's genius writing: clever and unique, fluid and natural, and allowing every situation to become relatable. The dialogue is witty, funny, and effortless.
Fangirl has at least one massive fan: ME! A must-read for all Young Adult book lovers.
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." It is with these words that the reader is introduced to the ludicrousness of this highly visionary novel in which George Orwell creates a disturbing picture of the future. Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece serves to provide a warning to the generation of his time about the dangers of totalitarian government.
The premise of the novel is simple: by the year 1984, which may or may not literally be 1984, the world has been divided up into three major nations known as Eurasia, Eastasia and Oceania. The novel spends the whole of its time in Oceania, a society in which the Party rules and Big Brother reigns. The world of 1984 is a police state full of video screens watching all actions, manipulation of historical data to brainwash the masses, hate speeches to incite anger against Party enemies, and total elimination of anyone who commits the hated “thoughtcrime”.
However, under the idyllic peaceful life most people live, one man in particular knows something is wrong. Winston Smith is the unforgettable protagonist who sets out to expose the Party for the cynically fraudulent organisation it is. Winston is a character that readers can identify with; a kind of innocent in a world gone wrong. It is through him that readers are able to understand and feel the suffering that exists in the totalitarian society of Oceania.
I get chills every single time I read this. It is terrifying to think of a world in which your own children are spies for the government and can turn you in, where cameras are watching you 24/7, a world in which you live nervously worrying about whether the sensitive machinery that is watching you will pick up an increase in heartbeat that may incriminate you.
House of Cards commences with the latest general election, as cabinet posts are being mulled over. Cue the beginning of the end for those holding the reins of power. The protagonist is Francis Urquhart, the Chief Whip with an addiction to power who is willing to betray every secret in politics to become Prime Minister. The reader will also see the lengths to which a young political correspondent will go to obtain the scoop of her lifetime. Mattie stumbles across a web of deceit and financial corruption, risking her life to reveal the truth. In what can
only be described as a true ascent to power of both characters, Dobbs sets the scene for some explosive action that had me on the edge of my seat.
Like many people, I read this novel after developing an addiction to the Americanised television adaptation and, as such, it suffers a little by comparison. However it is full of the same intrigue and humour that made the TV show a huge success. It was impossible for me to absorb Dobbs’s well-written dialogue without imagining Urquhart being played by an iconic actor, and I could hear Kevin Spacey’s evil, manipulative voice throughout the book.
Anyone with a passion for politics (and especially a love of the parliamentary system) will thoroughly enjoy this drama. You will be kept on your toes right until the very last page.
American Sniper tells the gripping story of the career of Chris Kyle, the courageous U.S. Navy SEAL who served four tours in the Iraq War. Kyle, known as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, writes an unforgettable account of his missions, personal challenges, and the difficult choices he faced during frontline combat.
This is a book written by a Navy SEAL sniper, not a professional author. Yes, he did get some help, but it is ultimately his tale. Could it have been written better? Maybe. but I think it would have made the book feel more like a fictional story and less like an account of his experiences. There is no sugar coating in this book. This is an account of war, and it is realistic and gritty.
Kyle writes in the beginning of his novel that he chose to write it because it had come to his attention that others wanted to tell his story. He decided to tell it himself, and I am so grateful that he did. I laughed, I cried, and I couldn't put the book down. This is a book about a real hero, written by the hero himself. He's not perfect, he's no saint, but he's no doubt a hero. Do yourself a favour and check this book out, then share it with your friends.
American Sniper is a first-rate military memoir that will be talked about for generations to come.
Is there someone in your life who loves books? Whether they’re an avid reader, or are looking to renew their love of books, Bookabuy makes the perfect gift for that very special person. It could be a gift to mark an occasion - Birthday gifts, Wedding Anniversary (especially first anniversary paper gifts), Mother's Day Gifts, Valentine's Day Gifts, Father's Day Gifts, Wedding Gifts or Christmas Gifts. Our book subscription packages are perfect for celebrating all special occasions, or to simply delight a loved one.
Choose from one of 12 categories: Classics, Crime & Thriller, Young Adult, Children’s Books, Chick Lit, Horror, Historical Fiction, Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction or Modern Fiction.
Or, for those who want to tailor a more special book journey, our Mixed Genre category will allow you to tailor a subscription containing multiple genres.
Whatever the reason and whatever the occasion, Bookabuy delivers personalised book subscription gifts all over Australia.