The Book Brief: The Very Best New Release Books in August

Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief.

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Fiction Books

Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham

A mother and her teenage daughter are found murdered and a clinical psychologist is called in to help the investigation. Nothing is as it seems about the mother or her daughter or indeed the investigator. This is another intricate crime novel from Robotham that will keep you guessing right to the end. Chris

Circling The Sun by Paula McLain

Beryl Markham was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic east to west. However that is really just the tip of the iceberg. She was a most remarkable woman in many ways. A dare devil, an adventurer, a woman who loved men but made some bad choices. She was friends with Karen Blixen until she fell in love with her long term partner.  She grew up pretty wild and free in Kenya without the restraints of an English education or a mother. She loved animals; she respected the local tribes’ people and hunted with them. She was expelled from various schools in Nariobi because she was a bad influence. She could not understand why she could not train horses and fly both of which she did very well. Do you remember The Paris Wife? This is even better! Chris

The Marriage Of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

Set on the tropical island of St Thomas in 1807. A novel of slavery, racism and bigotry yet the population all live together in some sort of harmony. Rachel has an arranged marrage and a marriage of love. When she gives birth to her tenth child prejudice reaches a new level one that is not going to be tolerated.  He wants to be an artist. He is very talented and in fact is the future Camille Pissarro.  Chris

A Guide To Berlin by Gail Jones

A group of six international travellers, two Italians, two Japanese, an American and an Australian, meet in empty apartments in Berlin to share stories and memories. Each is enthralled in some way to the work of Vladimir Nabokov, and each is finding their way in deep winter in a haunted city. A moment of devastating violence shatters the group, and changes the direction of everyone’s story.

Wind/Pinball by Haruki Murakami

Wind/Pinball includes Haruki Murakami’s first two novels, published back-to-back, available for the first time in English outside Japan. With a new introduction by the author. Published as a reversible hardback. A must for Murakami fans.

The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

I totally loved this book. This sucked me in from the opening sentence and still has not let me go. The moment I finished I started missing all the characters straight away and want to get back to this universes as quickly as possible. This is science fiction at its best; expansive, alien, full of worlds, peoples and technology to explore but at the same time containing an essence and humanity that captures perfectly what we all strive for in our lives. Jon

Armada by Ernest Cline

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before-one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

Non Fiction Books

Women I’ve Undressed by Orry Kelly

Found in a pillowcase, the fabulous long-lost memoirs of a legendary Hollywood designer – and a genuine Australian original. Orry-Kelly created magic on screen, from Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon to Some Like It Hot. He won three Oscars for costume design. He dressed all the biggest stars, from Bette Davis to Marilyn Monroe. He was an Australian. Yet few know who Orry-Kelly really was – until now.

Blindsided by Michael Lynagh

A memoir that explores the fragility and meaning of life, even if you happen to be a Wallaby legend. It’s the unthinkable for anyone – to be blind-sided by a life-threatening illness in the prime of life, with no prior warning and no time to prepare loved-ones for a life after you.

James Halliday Wine Companion 2016

The 2016 edition has been completely revised to bring you up-to-the-minute information. In his inimitable style, Halliday shares his extensive knowledge of wine through detailed tasting notes, each with vintage-specific ratings, alcohol content and price, advice on optimal drinking as well as individual information on the wineries and winemakers.

Sonnyball by Paul Kent

Sonny Bill Williams is a superstar in three sports, an icon around the world. SBW proves a modern truth. That in this new sporting world success is everything and memory is short. And no matter the code, when it comes to Sonny Bill Williams, everyone – clubs, fans, sponsors, media – ends up playing Sonny Ball.

Thermo-Struck by Kim McCosker

With a busy lifestyle, you can rely on Thermo-Struck when preparing dinner for your family or entertaining your friends. A bounty of healthy meals, home-cooked from scratch and full of nutrients, in just a fraction of the time traditionally required.

When We Were Young & Foolish by Greg Sheridan

When We Were Young and Foolish traces Greg’s own journey from impoverished childhood in Sydney’s inner west, on to his formative years at university and then The Bulletin, and in doing so also illuminates the formative years and experiences of his friends would who go on to be prime ministers, premiers and senior cabinet ministers. It offers new and personal insights into the people they were as students and twenty-somethings, and the events, philosophies, demons and relationships that helped make them the people they are.

From Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein

From the mythical heart of Greece to the fruits of the Black Sea coast; from Croatian and Albanian flavours to the spices and aromas of Turkey and beyond – the cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean is a vibrant melting pot brimming with character. Packed with stunning photography of the food and locations, and filled with Rick’s passion for fresh produce and authentic cooking, this is a stunning collection of inspiring recipes to evoke the magic of the Eastern Mediterranean at home.

Rugby World Cup 2015: The Official Tournament Guide

The must-have companion to world rugby’s biggest event. England is the tournament host, and this book contains everything fans will need, from venue guides to detailed information on every team in the finals, key players, playing strengths, coaches, past form and a prediction of teams’ hopes of success.

Childrens’ Picture Books

What’s Up Mumu by David Mackintosh

MuMu is just not feeling right today. AND THAT’S THAT. Does her best friend Lox have enough tricks to make things right. Perhaps with lots of fun and laugher MuMu will feel better. A fun and clever story about friendship and patience. Jan

The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty by Beatrice Alemagna

Eddie knows her Mum would love a Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty for her birthday but what is it and where will she find one. Join her as she tours the charming French town for the perfect present. Another enchanting picture book from the author of A Lion in Paris. Jan

Brave As Can Be by Jo Witek

This delightfullly illustrated picture book is great for toddlers who are afraid of the dark, thunderstorms and many other scary issues. In this lyrical story an older sister explains to her little sister what she did to overcome her fears. The fears that once felt so huge are now a speck of dust. Jan

Books for Young Readers

The 65-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Andy and Terry’s ever-expanding treehouse just got zanier! It now features a room where it’s always your birthday, a time machine, a lollipop shop … and that’s the boring stuff! Just how much more whacky can their treehouse get? You’ll have to read the book to find out…

Hooked On Netball by B. Hellard & L. Gibbs

Meet Maddy and her friends from the Gems!   Maddy can’t wait to play her first game of netball with her new team. She’s been training hard and can’t wait to try out her skills. But Maddy’s excitement soon turns to nerves when she realises that things might not go exactly as she imagined. What position will coach Janet put her in? What if she gets asked to sit on the bench? Suddenly, the netball courts are the last place Maddy wants to be!

The Cut Out by Jack Heath

Meet Fero: an ordinary teenager, uninitiated in the art of espionage, who just so happens to look exactly like Troy Maschenov, a ruthless enemy agent with plans to launch a devastating attack. With the clock ticking, Fero is recruited to impersonate Troy and infiltrate enemy territory. But does the rookie have what it takes? Fans of CHERUB and Alex Rider rejoice – there’s a new hero in town! Simon    

Childrens’ Non Fiction

Rugby World Cup 2015 Fact File

The 2015 Rugby World Cup is just weeks away, and there’s no better way to hone your knowledge than with this easy-to-follow guide. There are profiles of all 20 finalist teams and star players, puzzles and quizzes, and match-by-match progress charts you can fill in during the tournament. Mine’s already filled in with predictions: Wallabies to win the Cup, of course! Simon

Books for Young Adults

Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson

Astrid wants to change the world – she is an environmental activist, popular, clever, perfect. Hiro just wants to survive – he is grouchy, rude and thinks school is not important. Can their common belief that the world needs to be made a better place bring them together. Jan


The Book Brief: The Very Best New Release Books in July

Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief.

Get FREE shipping when you use the promo code bookbrief at checkout

Fiction Books

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Set during the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Scout has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood. An instant classic.

The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop

What is home? What is our idea of homesickness? This a novel that takes us from England to Australia to India. It is not just about the places but the people in them and the expectations on them about the idea of home. Charlotte loves the cold of England, her husband, raised in India wants some warmth. They decide to emigrate to Australia with their young children. Charlotte is a character that will lead you on a journey towards her idea of home. The fascinating part of the novel is that all the time the characters are at home they are looking out. A really satisfying novel that will keep you reading and thinking. Chris

The Dust That Falls From Dreams by Louis de Berniéres

Set in the golden years of King Edward VII’s reign, Rosie McCosh and her three sisters are growing up in an idyllic and eccentric household in Kent, with their ‘pals’ the Pitt boys on one side of the fence and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood innocence and adventure are destined to be followed by the apocalypse that will overwhelm their world as they come to adulthood. How do they cope and what happens after the war? De Berniere puts us right there in the middle of all that devastation and change. Chris

The Song Collector by Natasha Solomons

Another great read from the author of Mr Rosenblum’s List. Love and music and like Mr Rosenblum another great character in Harry. The novel has a feel of Downton Abbey about it, a time of transition and learning to live in a new world. Humour threads it’s way through this compassionate story of families, especially the handling of the talented young musician! Chris

A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman

Two people meet, one an old woman who is waiting for something that she cannot quite explain and the other a young man home from the war broken and waiting to regain his life. He delivers a letter to a man in Cornwall from his dead son and meets Marvellous. Just like When God Was A Rabbit Winman has written another magical, quirky novel. Chris

Motherland by Jo McMillan

Midlands, England in the 1970’s and Jess is helping her mother sell communism to the working class of Tamworth. Jess is twelve years old. Her mother is a delight, a woman who has ideals, a sense of humour and just loves people. She wants them to be happy and above all peaceful. After a few visits to  East Germany she begins to feel a little crushed by all the rules. I laughed out loud a few times at the almost Monty Python humour. If you like your fiction about real events with humour you will love this. Chris

I Saw A Man by Owen Sheers

Three people, three stories all connected by loss and guilt. Owen Sheers builds the tension between these three people like a good thriller. Michael, the writer walks into what he thinks is the empty house of a neighbour. Daniel is an American pilot responsible for ordering drone attacks in various parts of the world. He has written to Michael about his guilt. Josh, a banker and his wife Samanatha and their two children are caught in the middle. So very very good.  Chris

Crime Fiction Books

The Cartel by Don Winslow

Ten years ago Don Winslow wrote the thriller of the decade. The Power of the Dog was an epic thriller that detailed America’s thirty year war on drugs on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Ten years later he has done it again. Winslow blows The Power of the Dog away detailing the next ten years of the so-called “war” on drugs taking everything that was groundbreaking, epic and mind-blowing to a whole new level. A thriller that is impossible to put down and impossible to forget. Jon

Stealing People by Robert Wilson

Charlie Boxer returns in one of Robert Wilson’s best novels to date.There are so many fantastic elements to this story. Big business, politics, war and how they are each inseparable from the other.  Robert Wilson brings all his talent as a supreme thriller writer to bear in the tightly-plotted, fast paced, addictive page-turner. Jon

Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville

Stuart Neville takes his writing up another notch in his latest thought-provoking and tragic crime novel. This isn’t a crime novel where a mystery needs to be solved or a vicious killer is stalking victims, although you are kept guessing at different times. This is a crime novel about what happens afterwards, after a crime has been committed and punishment has been handed out and served. It is about what happens to those who were involved and how they deal with the consequences. Jon

The English Spy by Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva delivers another stunning thriller in his latest action-packed tale of high stakes international intrigue featuring the inimitable Gabriel Allon, the world’s favourite art restorer, assassin and spy. Daniel Silva returns with another powerhouse of a novel – one that showcases his outstanding skill and brilliant imagination.

The Dying Season by Martin Walker

The Dordogne town of St Denis may be picturesque and sleepy, but it has more than its fair share of mysteries, as Bruno, chef de police, knows all too well. But when Bruno is invited to the 90th birthday of a powerful local patriarch – a war hero with high-level political connections in France, Russia and Israel – he encounters a family with more secrets than even he had imagined. When one of the other guests is found dead the next morning and the family try to cover it up, Bruno knows it’s his duty to prevent the victim from becoming just another skeleton in their closet.

Childrens’ Picture Books

Grandad’s Islind by Benji Davies

Benji Davies, author of Storm Whale has quickly become one of our favourite illustrators and authors. In this new book she tackles with great subtlety and care the subject of death and a small boys struggle to come to terms with the loss of grandfather. Ian

The Night World by Mordecai Gerstein

Everyone in the house is asleep, but a little boy sneaks out into the garden to discover the world of the night is alive with movement and adventure. As the moon wains and the sun rises he gets to experience the joy of a new day. This book is worth buying for the wonderful artwork alone! Ian

Books for First Readers

Izzy Folau: Chance of a Lifetime by Israel Folau

Fans of David Warner’s The Kaboom Kid will love Chance of a Lifetime, which unites two young boys from very different backgrounds when they’re offered the chance to be coached by Australian Rugby star Izzy Folau. As much a story of friendship as it is about rugby! Simon

The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

This is Aaron’s first foray into chapter books and he has done it with the wit and humour that we have come to expect from the author of Pig the Pug. The Bad Guys have an image problem they look like BAD guys, they even smell like BAD guys but that is all about to change.  They Bad Guys are planning to break out 200 dogs form the maximum security pound. Can they pull it off? Can they really become the Good Guys ? Ian

Books for Young Readers

The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer

The Bailey twins are back in there eagerly awaited third adventure. Alex is still training to become the next Fairygodmother and Conner is off on a mission in Europe. But there is a creeping evil that threatens the Land of Stories that will bring Alex and Conner back together to face their biggest challenge yet. Jan

Soon by Morris Gleitzman

Soon continues the incredibly moving story of Felix, a Jewish boy still struggling to survive in the wake of the liberation of Poland after the end of World War Two.

Books for Young Adults

Risk by Fleur Ferris

Taylor and Sierra are best friends who both fall for the same gorgeous guy they have met on the internet. Sierra goes to meet Jacob whilst her friends cover for her. But Sierra doesn’t turn up when expected and Taylor and the rest of their friends are thrown into a scary, dark world they know nothing about. Can Sierra be found in time? I couldn’t stop reading this, scary and confronting. Jan

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Minnow has been with the cult since she was five years old. They have taken everything from her but when she rebels they take away her hands. When the Prophet is killed and the camp set on fire the FBI know she is aware of what happened. A truly amazing debut novel. Jan


The Book Brief: The Very Best New Release Books in March

book-brief-lowEach month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief.
Get FREE shipping when you use the promo code bookbrief at checkout

Fiction Books

Touch by Claire North

The premise alone of this book is enough to give you goosebumps. The main character, who we become to know as Kepler, is able to transfer their consciousness between bodies with only a touch. Kepler has lived for centuries. Changing bodies at will. Staying for a time in a life they find interesting, others only fleetingly. But now someone wants Kepler dead and they don’t care how many people they kill to achieve the task. This book is beyond genius and will be one of THE books of 2015. Jon

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years. It is a novel about memory set in a post-Arthurian  period of myth and fantasy. Ishiguro is a master at drawing you into a story, just go with him and enjoy the journey. Chris

If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

This is a heartfelt and wondrous debut lauded by Philipp Meyer as “astonishing”, introducing a supremely gifted and exciting new voice in fiction. This is a remarkable debut full of dazzling prose, unforgettable characters, and a poignant and heartfelt depiction of coming of age.

The Mirror World of Melody Black by Gavin Extence

I loved The Universe Versus Alex Wood, it was funny and clever. Mirror World  is about a young woman who is coping with a mental illness. She has high days and very low days. On her good days she is a brilliant writer, friend, wit and lover but on her down days she parties, spends and doesn’t stop. A novel that might help us understand the lives of others. I loved it. Chris

The Faithful Couple by A.D. Miller

Two friends, Adam and Neil meet when they are young and abroad. They are from different backgrounds but because they meet away from these constraints the friendship thrives. The constraints work loose though and they do something they will think about for the rest of their lives. Marriages, jobs, babies, in fact life rocks and unsettles this friendship especially that past action. Miller has written a novel of great moral complexity. He writes about a holiday in Europe as like a safari of violence. We don’t honour peace in the same way. This is what reading is all about. Chris

A Short History of Richard Kline

All his life, Richard Kline has been haunted by a sense that something is lacking. He envies the ease with which some people slip – seemingly unquestioningly – into contented suburban life or the pursuit of wealth. As he moves into middle age, Richard grows increasingly angry. But then a strange event awakens him to a different way of living. 

Resistance by John Birmingham

John Birmingham takes up where he left off at the end of Emergence. Dave is enjoying a well-earned rest while the rest of the world is coming to terms with the fact that monsters are now among us and wanting to re-subjugate their old food source. However human technologies are proving more than difficult, if not impossible, for them to overcome. New hordes of monsters soon start popping out all over the world and Dave quickly realizes that superpowers do not mean he is infallible. Jon

Soil by Jamie Kornegay

An idealistic environmental scientist moves his wife and young son off the grid, to a stretch of river bottom farmland in the Mississippi hills, hoping to position himself at the forefront of a revolution in agriculture. And so begins a journey into a maze of misperceptions and personal obsessions. By turns hilarious and darkly disturbing, this traces one man’s apocalypse to its epic showdown in the Mississippi mudflats.

Non-Fiction Books

Bad Behaviour by Rebecca Starford

Tells the story of a year in a boarding school, a time of friendship and joy, but also of shame and fear. It explores how those crucial experiences affected Rebecca as an adult and shaped her future relationships, and asks courageous questions about the nature of female friendship. Moving, wise and painfully honest, this extraordinary memoir shows how bad behaviour from childhood, in all its forms, can be so often and so easily repeated throughout our adult lives.

Being There by David Malouf

After exploring the idea of home, where and what it is in A First Place, what does it mean to be a writer and where writing begins in The Writing Life, David Malouf moves on to words and music and art and performance in Being There. This is an unmissable and stimulating collection of one man’s connection to the world of art, ideas and culture.

Going Paleo by Pete Evans

Going Paleo is the only book you’ll need to transform the way you eat – and change the way you look and feel – for good. This comprehensive and user-friendly guide shows you both why to go paleo and how to go paleo, with over 80 essential recipes to get you started.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

In 2012, Jon Ronson’s online identity was stolen. Jon publicly confronted the imposters, a trio of academics who had created a Jon Ronson Twitter bot obsessed by unlikely food combinations and weird sex. At first, Jon was delighted to find strangers all over the world uniting to support him in his outrage. The wrongdoers were quickly shamed into stopping. But then things got out of hand. This encounter prompted Jon to explore the phenomenon of public shaming and what he discovered astonished him.

The Story of Australia’s People by Geoffrey Blainey

The vast, ancient land of Australia was settled in two main streams, far apart in time and origin. The first stream of immigrants came ashore some 50,000 years ago when the islands of Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea were one. The second began to arrive from Europe at the end of the eighteenth century. Each had to come to terms with the land they found, and each had to make sense of the other. It was not – and is still not – an easy relationship, and the story of Australia’s people is as complex as it is rich.

Flashpoints by George Friedman

Friedman zooms in on the region that has been the cultural hotbed of the world – Europe – and examines the most basic and fascinating building block of the region: culture. Analysing the fault lines that have existed for centuries – and which have led to two world wars and dozens more conflicts – Friedman walks us through the ‘flashpoints’ that are still smouldering beneath the surface and are on course to erupt again.

Childrens’ Picture Books

One Step At A Time by Jane Jolly

Luk and his grandmother live in Thailand where they drag timber in the forest with the help of Mali the elephant. Disaster strikes when Mail steps on a landmine and is injured. With blessings from the monks and a practical solution Mali is soon up on his feet again. With beautiful illustrations both tender and dramatic this story draws you to the problem of active landmines around the world. Jan 

This Is Captain Cook by Tania McCartney

This is a charming first introduction to Australian history. Join Miss Bates class as they put on the end of year play about the life of Captain Cook. Told in a humorous and assesable way this is a book parents will enjoy reading and children will enjoy learning with. Ian

Those Pesky Rabbits by Ciara Flood

Mr Bear has new neighbours and he is just not interested, that are way too cheerfully by a long measure! The Rabbits just want to be friends but bear just wants them to GO AWAY. Can the Rabbits melt his heart or will bear scare them away? A fun cute read. Ian

Books for First Readers

Violet Mackeral’s Formal Occasion by Anna Branford

The ever popular Violet returns in her eighth adventure . Mum needs cheering up, and Violet knows just what to do, put on a ” Formal” just for Mum.  As always is it her positive can do attitude that sees her  plans eventually come together. Ian

Books for Young Readers

Tombquest: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop

Nothing can save Alex Sennefer’s life. That’s what all the doctors say, but his mother knows it’s not true. She knows that the Lost Spells of the Egyptian Book of the Dead can crack open a door to the afterlife and pull her son back from the brink. But when she uses the spells, five evil ancients – the Death Walkers – are also brought back to life. An ancient evil has been unleashed.

Worry Magic by Dawn McNiff

Courtney is a worrier – she worries about EVERYTHING! Then one day when Dad finds a pig in the lounge? and there is an argument Courtney starts to feel woozy. Courtney is sure her worry magic dreams are making everything better. Are they? Maybe she just needs to not worry so much. Jan

Books for Young Adults

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Grace has just moved into Embassy Row to live with her grandfather, a powerful ambassador,  she hasn’t seen in three years. Grace is sure of three things – she is not crazy, she witnessed the murder of her mother and she is going to find the killer. She must be very careful though because one wrong move could cause catastrophe. Jan

The Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner

AJ is 17 and just started his first job. Tidying up the store room he finds a key with his name on it. Determined to find what door it belongs to he opens it and find himself back in time, in the very real and grubby year 1830. A terrific read full of intrigue, murder and life changing decisions. Ian