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The Dress cover

The Dress

Review by Giulietta Gigliotti (Girl with a Pen)

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.

Giveaway Time - Win A Signed Copy of Working Class Boy by Jimmy Barnes cover

Giveaway Time - Win A Signed Copy of Working Class Boy by Jimmy Barnes

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:

  1. Follow us on Instagram (@bookabuy)
  2. Find this photo on our Instagram page
  3. Comment with your favourite Jimmy Barnes song and tag a friend
  4. 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!

Good luck!

Black Rock White City cover

Black Rock White City

Review by Giulietta Gigliotti (Girl with a Pen)

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 cover

The Easy Way Out

Review by Giulietta Gigliotti (Girl with a Pen)

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.

The Boundless Sublime cover

The Boundless Sublime

Review by Giulietta Gigliotti (Girl with a Pen)

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.

Giveaway Time - What's On Your Bookshelf? cover

Giveaway Time - What's On Your Bookshelf?

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.

Good luck!

The Hate Race cover

The Hate Race

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.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child cover

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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.

Truly Madly Guilty cover

Truly Madly Guilty

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.

Bookabuy Makes ORIAS Top 100 List cover

Bookabuy Makes ORIAS Top 100 List

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!