Maggie Alderson is well known for writing fun, witty, enjoyable books with strong female characters. Shall we dance’s Loulou Landers is one of my favourites. A witty, vintage loving, almost-forty-nine year old, Loulou is a self made style icon and owner of the cult vintage shop Loulou Land in London. Her daughter Theo is a hilarious 20 year old who seems to be going through teenage rebellion a few years too late. The book alternates between Theo and Loulou’s perspectives which is what saves you from thinking Theo is as awful as the way she treats her mum would (sometimes) imply. This is a book about family and love, breaking your routine, and the rules. That, and a healthy serving of priceless vintage frocks (Loulou), fast fashion high street style (Theo), and several dangerous pairs of killer high heels. A great holiday read that sucks you into its world, high-heeled gumboots and all. Trade paperback, $32.95.
Brendan Cowell, is a very busy, multi talented guy. He is an actor, writer, scriptwriter and director. How it Feels is his first novel, and he writes very well. The story is about Neil, Nelly to his friends, whose growing up in Cronulla, one of Sydney’s beach suburbs. He loves his friends, but by the end of school the Sutherland Shire is suffocating him, and he decides to go to University in Bathurst, 3 hours drive away. His friends and girl friend feel abandoned by him, and as Nelly goes through his course, the distances between him and those left back in the ‘Shire’ become wider. In some ways I was reminded of The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas when reading this, although How it Feels has characters you are able to like, which is not the case in The Slap. But Neil does a lot of things which certainly aren’t likeable, and he manages to hurt plenty of people along the way. There is a lot of sex, drugs and more sex and more drugs, but there is also love, betrayal and fruit whips.
Brendan Cowell grew up in Cronulla and went to Uni in Bathurst, so it is very tempting to think the book is at least partly autobiographical. If it is, I’m impressed he is still here with clearly a lot of braincells left!! I’ve heard it described as ‘blackly comic’. I didn’t find it comical, black or otherwise, but it is moving. It isn’t a cosy read with a cup of tea sort of book, be prepared to be confronted by a contemporary story written by a highly talented Australian man. Paperback, $33
The tenth installment in the much loved Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan series has finally arrived!
The Ranger’s Apprentice series was born when John wrote a few short stories to get his non-reading teenage son into books. When John realised that his son had started waiting impatiently for the next story, instead of just reading them because he had to, John thought he might be onto something. Ten books down the track, this series is still as exciting as ever, packed with fast paced adventure. Set in a time when knights fought with swords and kings still lived in castles, Ranger’s Apprentice has it all; thrilling action and epic journeys with a bit of romance on the side.
In The Emperor of Nihon-Ja (PB $17.95), young ranger Will Treaty is helping oversee negotiations between two rival countries. All is going swimmingly until Crown Princess Cassandra arrives unexpectedly with the news that Will’s best friend, royal knight Horace, has disappeared. Horace had been on an uneventful fact gathering trip to the exotic Nihon-Ja until the Emperor, Shigeru, comes under threat from a violent uprising. Having come to respect and like the Emperor, Horace elects to stay by his side, hoping to use his extensive battle experience to combat the evil Arisaka and his followers. Little does he know, help is already on its way as Will, Cassandra, Alyss, Selethen and Halt cross sea and country to be by his side.
Ranger’s Apprentice is perfect for teens who aren’t keen readers – the accessible characters and brilliant action-adventure story will have them hooked. Check out the book trailer below.
Puzzles will always be a favourite game with kids and parents alike. Fun, educational and made to be played over and over again – a great puzzle is the perfect toy.
Available now instore are a great range from Ravensburger. With a range of difficulties, sizes (20 piece, 49 piece, 100 piece and 200 piece) and designs, there is something to suit all tastes and ages. From $17.95.
In the beautiful Dreaming of Dior we got our first glimpse into the covetable clothing collection of Charlotte Smith. Bequeathed to her by her American godmother, the priceless vintage collection spans from 1790 to 1995, and by the looks of things, every single piece is positively dreamy. When Charlotte then found her godmother’s book of notes and stories about the dresses and the women who wore the fantastic pieces first, things got even better. The clothes became more than just great fashion, they were a collection of stories, written in dresses.
Once again illustrated by Grant Cowan, in Dreaming of Chanel (HB $35) Charlotte shares a few more stories and lets us delve a little deeper into fashion fantasy. A truly pretty book and a great gift for anyone who loves Chanel…or Dior..or Pucci…or Vionnet… the list is endless.
As a taste, click here for pictures featuring some beautiful clothes from the book launch which was in Sydney last night, courtesy of Dreaming of Chanel’s facebook page.
The mind is a complicated and wonderful place. It makes us who we are and yet there are so many things about it we just don’t understand. In his inimitable style, psychiatrist Oliver Sacks brings us a little closer with his latest title The Mind’s Eye (PB $35). This is Sacks’ tenth book (previous titles include The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (PB $27) and Musicophilia (PB $25)) on the brain and its various quirks, but with a subject matter as interesting and as endless as the brain, The Mind’s Eye does not disappoint.
The Mind’s Eye focuses on the stories of people who have lost the ability to ‘see’, whether that be the loss of actual sight, or the the loss of the ability to read or recognize faces. And lest you think he is speaking only from an observers point of view, Sacks himself suffers from prosopagnosia, a severe difficulty in recognizing faces.
While the difficulties the people in this book experience are clearly important, even more important are the ways they learn to deal with and largely overcome those difficulties. Amazingly, a concert pianist struck down by a sudden inability to read music, managed to continue living a fulfilled musical life by playing only pieces from her extensive musical memory.
Very readable and intensely interesting, The Mind’s Eye is highly recommended!
In a genre so well populated as supernatural romance, new arrivals can struggle to keep their heads above the crowd. But Rebecca Lim’s fantastic new series, Mercy, is certain to stand out.
Ever since she can remember, and even long before that, Mercy has been someone else. Never existing in her true form, Mercy must borrow her body from others, able to walk in anyone’s shoes except her own. Mercy used to be thoughtless with her carriers but now she is more careful as she pushes inside her hosts. Exiled from heaven and never knowing her true mission, Mercy is mysteriously moved in and out of bodies, cities and lives. But when she one day wakes up as Carmen, a slight, shy girl with bad skin and an extraordinary voice, Mercy wishes for once she could stay a little longer…
Mercy is an angel haunted by dreams of Luc and hunted by a host of angels determined to punish her for a crime she can’t remember committing…
A great new series full of mystery and romance – angels are the new vampires! The first book is available instore now, PB $20. Check out the book trailer below.
We are often asked in the shop for suggestions of titles suitable for book groups, so we have risen to the challenge and produced a new brochure full of titles we think fit the bill. They are mostly fiction, as this seems to be the focus for most groups, but there are a couple of biographies there too. We have tried to have a range so there are some classics, recent prize winners and lots of modern fiction. If you know of any books which have been good for discussion, and we will consider adding them to an updated flyer some time in the future. The flyer gives details on how your group could get a discount on your selection, if they are bought in bulk.
In February 2011, we are planning to start a book group at the shop. If you are interested, fill in the Expression of Interest form at the shop, or email us at email@example.com and we will put you on the list to be contacted when the group starts meeting.
Some of the suggestions are shown here, but the flyer has over thirty titles. Come in and get a copy soon.
The sequel to the intriguing Hush, Hush (PB $25), Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick continues the saga of bad-boy-fallen-angel turned still-bad-boy-but-now-guardian-angel, Patch. Immortal, immoral and seriously attractive, Patch has done it all and gotten away with most of it. But when Nora Grey walks into his life, Patch does something absolutely forbidden for angels, fallen or otherwise, and falls for Nora. Really falls. The punishment isn’t so bad, just eternity in hell. And when Nora realises what Patch will have to give up to be with her, it’s already far too late…
This series is more than better than your average supernatural romance – highly recommended! Best for 13+.
Headlines around the country called this the ‘media trial of the century’, when Bruce Guthrie won his court case against Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited. This book tells the story of events leading up to and including the dramatic six days in court. Bruce Guthrie has been a journalist for many years before he started editing magazines and newspapers, so he knows how to write a story. This has the lot, big ego’s, power, and involves the media and the law. A rollicking read for anyone interested in how big corporations, and in this case, media corporations, react when they are thwarted by a man who just wouldn’t go away quietly. Hardback, $50