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


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

Useful by Debra Oswald

I was really reminded of The Rosie Project while I was reading this very entertaining novel. It has all the humour and poignancy of that book. A man feels that life just isn’t easy, he has made a few awful mistakes and feels he has failed at so many things. He decides to do something useful like donate a kidney. However he finds being altruistic is also not easy! Chris

Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty

Full of McKinty’s wickedly black humour and brilliantly plotted this just maybe the best book in an exceptional series so far. The Sean Duffy trilogy was already something special and Gun Street Girl not only reaffirms that but makes it even better. Jon, Chris, Phil & Simon

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

This a novel that will shock you, surprise you and make you rethink your view of the world and the people in it. It is exactly what all great fiction should do and does so with style, honesty and empathy. It will strike a nerve, it will make you angry and break your heart and is a novel you will never forget, and nor should you. Jon

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

While this is ultimately a very sad story it is also a moving and insightful story about the weight of identity. How that weight is put on us by people around us and how that weight is passed down generations and how the best intentions can have tragic and unforeseen consequences. An incredible exploration of grief and family and the pressures of expectations that come from both. Jon

The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again! by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

The little old lady is back! This time, Martha Andersson and her friends – the League of Pensioners – have left behind their dreary care home in Stockholm and are enjoying the bright lights of Las Vegas. A truly laugh out loud novel, if only I might have this much fun at 80! They are robbing the rich to help the poor but will they go too far? Chris

Emergence by John Birmingham

John Birmingham delivers in spades in the first book of his explosive new trilogy. Birmingham mixes up a combination of Middle Earth orcs with a Marvel universe sensibility but with his own trademark humour and insight firmly stamped all over any comparisons. Jon

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. One day she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. What will she do? Great thriller. Chris

The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Sarah’s  twenty-two year old son, Cully, has been killed in an avalanche, and she is trying to pick up the pieces of her life. One day shortly after the funeral a girl turns up with a few surprises about Cully. Told in Kaui Hart Hemmings’ unsentimental and refreshingly wry style, this is a novel about what we will risk to keep our loved ones close – a novel full of hope, humour and love. Chris

Non-Fiction Books

The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge

As he did so lucidly in The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge presents exciting, cutting-edge science with practical real-world applications, and illustrates how anyone can apply the principles of neuroplasticity to improve their brain’s performance.

Marissa Mayer and the Fight To Save Yahoo! by Nicholas Carlson

From her controversial rise and fall from power at Google, to her dramatic reshaping of Yahoo’s work culture, people are obsessed with, and polarised by, Marissa Mayer’s every move. She is full of fascinating contradictions: a feminist who rejects feminism, a charmer in front of a crowd who can’t hold eye contact in one-on-ones, and a geek who is Oscar de la Renta’s best customer. Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! tells her story.

Mayday by Matt O’Sullivan

Big egos, public spats, betrayal and revenge – the decline of the national carrier has all the makings of a modern corporate tragedy. So how did it come to this? This is the inside story of how Qantas flew off course. This vivid, highly readable account of the fall of Qantas is the story of big egos in a high-stakes fight for supremacy of the skies, and of a company of tribes at war with itself.

Paul Keating by David Day

Paul Keating was one of the most significant political figures of the late twentieth century, firstly as Treasurer for eight years and then Prime Minister for five years. Although he has spent all of his adult life in the public eye, Keating has eschewed the idea of publishing his memoirs and has discouraged biographers from writing about his life. Undaunted, best-selling biographer David Day has taken on the task of giving Keating the biography that he deserves.

Growing Great Kids by Father Chris Riley

Compulsory reading for parents, teachers and anyone who has anything to do with young people. A must-have book for all parents, youth workers and teenagers on parenting and raising children. a priceless guide through the maze of childhood and adolescence for both parents and their children and, with so many real life stories to tug on the heart-strings, the kind of gripping read no one will be able to put down. 

Money, Marriage and Divorce by Paul Clitheroe

Money is always a tricky subject to broach, especially when you’ve just found the love of your life. But Paul Clitheroe, expert financial advisor, says it’s never too early to have the conversation. By agreeing on a financial plan, you will eliminate many money-related arguments and together you can build more wealth than you could separately.

Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook

Bestselling author Rachel Khoo is on the go once again with her latest cookbook, Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook. Her latest cookbook is packed to the brim with 100 standout recipes, full-colour photography and Rachel’s very own sketches of the food and places she encounters. Out and about, she finds the most delicious fare, recording it all in her kitchen notebook.

Childrens’ Picture Books

Thelma The Unicorn by Aaron Blabey

Full of Aaron’s orginally and quirky humour, this is the story of one pony’s search for  her true self. Thelma longs to be more than the ordinary pony she is, then one day through a series of fortunate accidents she is transformed into a  unicorn. But is fame all it’s cracked up to be? Jan

Recipe For A Story by Ella Burfoot

Every wondered how hard it is to write a story? Well the star of this charming story thinks it is as easy as baking a cake. Take cup of thoughts, add some characters and sprinklle liberally with full stops and capital lettes. A wonderful introduction to the joys of reading and writing. Ian

Books for Young Readers

Friday Barnes: Under Suspicion by R. A. Spratt

Friday Barnes is back in her second adventure. Having solved her first case, she didn’t expect  to find herself arrested and in trouble with the authorities! Boarding school continues to be a labyrinth of complications that leave her wondering if she has made the right choice. Of course there is a mystery to solve too! Jan

The Dark Wild by Piers Torday

Kerster is no ordinary boy. He has an extraordinary gift – the ability to talk to animals. In a future where humanity has retreated to a single island, it is believed that all animals are extinct. Only Kerster knows their secrect hiding place. So when the animals plan an uprising against their human enemies, Kester is the only one who can stop them! A book full of courage and the triumph of the underdog faced against impossible odds. Jan

Books for Young Adults

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14: A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school. Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15: A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. Frankie Landau-Banks at age 16: Possibly a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way. This is a fresh take on the boarding school experience starring a strong female lead. Simon

Stella By Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

This is a new wonderfully mocving and inspiring novel form the auithor of Out of Mind. Brimming with courage, compassion and resilience, is set in North Carolina during the Depression; a less than hospitable time and place for African-Americans. When 11-year-old Stella and her brother witness nine robed figures burning a cross near their home late one night, she knows life in Bumblebeeis about to change. Jan

Children’s Non Fiction

A is for Australia by Frané Lessac

Do you know what the Fremantle Doctor is? Or where Qui Qui is? If not, then this is the book for you. Full of useful tidbits and humorous illustrations, it makes a perfect gift for visitors or just the plain curious. Ian

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


Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief.
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The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years. They have found a species of animal no one believed even existed. It will amaze the world. Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing discovery within the greatest zoo ever constructed.  Get ready for action on a GIGANTIC scale!


Emma by Alexander McCall Smith

Beloved and bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith lends his delightful touch to EMMA, the next book in The Austen Project. Ever alive to the uproarious nuances of human behaviour, and both the pleasures and pitfalls of village life, beloved author Alexander McCall Smith’s Emma is the busybody we all know and love, and a true modern delight.


Lamentation by C.J. Sansom

The eagerly anticipated new Shardlake novel. Still haunted by events aboard the warship Mary Rose the year before, Shardlake is working on the Cotterstoke Will case, a savage dispute between rival siblings. Then, unexpectedly, he is summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by his old patron, the now beleaguered and desperate Queen.


The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

In the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die a decade after the crime. So when Orlando Merced finally succumbs to complications from being shot ten years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but any other evidence is virtually nonexistent. 


The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber

Peter Leigh is a husband, a Christian, and now a missionary. As The Book of Strange New Things opens, he is set to embark on a journey that will be the biggest test of his faith yet. From the moment he says goodbye to his wife, Bea, and boards his flight, he begins a quest that will challenge his religious beliefs, his love and his understanding of the limits of the human body.


South of Darkness by John Marsden

Thirteen-year-old Barnaby Fletch is a bag-and-bones orphan in London in the late 1700s. Barnaby lives on his wits and ill-gotten gains, on streets seething with the press of the throng and shadowed by sinister figures. Life is a precarious business. When he hears of a paradise on the other side of the world- a place called Botany Bay – he decides to commit a crime and get himself transported to a new life, a better life.  A riveting story of courage, hope and extraordinary adventure.

Non-Fiction Books

Australians: Flappers to Vietnam Volume 3 by Thomas Keneally

As in the two previous volumes of Australians Keneally brings history to vivid and pulsating life as he traces the lives and the deeds of Australians known and unknown. As another war grew closer he follows the famous and the infamous through the Great Crash and the rise of Fascism, and explains how Australia was inexorably drawn into a war which led her forces into combat throughout the world.


Gallipoli by Peter FitzSimons

On 25 April 1915, Allied forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in present-day Turkey to secure the sea route between Britain and France in the west and Russia in the east.  Peter FitzSimons, with his trademark vibrancy and expert melding of writing and research, recreates the disaster as experienced by those who endured it or perished in the attempt.


Margot At War by Anne De Courcy

Margot Asquith was a very unconventional Prime Minister’s wife. She was extremely outgoing and spoke her mind which  did not endear her to everyone. She lived in those years that ushered in  the decline of the upstairs downstairs regime. The first world war, Irish home rule, social reform  and suffragettes all contributed to a time of change. Although some things never change and Margot had to endure her husbands love of a younger woman who was her daughters friend. Like the Fishing Fleet this is social history with a real dash of what was going on behind the scenes in those very turbulent times. Chris

Family Food by Pete Evans

With two children of his own, Pete Evans knows how hard it can be to get a healthy and delicious meal on the table night after night. Family Food is filled with Pete Evans’ go-to recipes when he’s looking for something quick, tasty and nutritious to cook for his own loved ones, and these meals are sure to become favourites in your home too.


Abducting a General by Patrick Leigh Fermor

One of the greatest feats in Patrick Leigh Fermor’s remarkable life was the kidnapping of General Kreipe, the German commander in Crete, on 26 April 1944. This is Leigh Fermor’s own account of the kidnap, published for the first time. Written in his inimitable prose, it is a glorious first-hand account of one of the great adventures of the Second World War. 


Lists of Note by Shaun Usher

Humans have been making lists for even longer than they’ve been writing letters. They are the shorthand for what really matters to us: our hopes and aspirations; likes and dislikes; rules for living and loving; records of our memories and reminders of the things we want to do before we die. Just as he did with Letters of Note, Shaun Usher has trawled the world’s archives to produce a rich visual anthology that stretches from ancient times to present day.


Childrens’ Picture Books

The First Hippo On The Moon by David Walliams

First Hippo on the Moon is another hilarious, delightful read from one of our favourite authors.  Fans of the Slightly Annoying Elephant will love this new book. A must have for all David Walliams fans. Jan

The Book With No Pictures

This innovative and wildly funny read-aloud will be the Must Have book of the season. You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except…here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say…BLORK. Or BLUURF. Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY.

Books for First Readers

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

Princess Magnolia is not your average princess, she has a secret, she defeats monsters as the ‘Princess in Black’. Will Duchess Wigtower discover her alter ego and ruin everything? This is a great first chapter book for readers who are gaining confidence. Danica

The Cleo Stories by Libby Gleeson & Freya Blackwood

Cleo is a little girl with a big imagination, and she has quite a clever way of working out any dilemma that comes her way. It is beautifully illustrated by Freya Blackwood, and will charm little people and big people alike. A perfect book to read together. Danica

Books for Young Readers

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney

Greg, our hapless hero of the much loved Wimpy kids series is back in an all new adventure. This time he leaves the trials and tribulations of the school yard behind and goes on holidays. Of course nothing every goes smothly for Greg, his family are driving him nuis ….it looks like this trip is going to be a LONG Haul .

Ruby Redfort: Feel The Fear by Lauren Child

Ruby Redfort, everyone’s favourite detective, is back and she may be up against her hardest case yet. She has an ivisilbe foe, and how do you catch someone you can’t even see?! Ruby is up for the challenge, and the fourth installment of this beloved series will not disappoint.

Books for Young Adults

Laurinda by Alice Pung

Laurinda is an exculsive school for girls. Lucy Lam has just started as a scholarship girl, and she finds herself being courted by the most powerful girls in school ‘The Cabinet’. Everyone summits to them, even some of the teachers, but it might be time that someone stood up to them. Is Lucy up for task? Danica

The Monthly Book Brief – The Very Best New Release Books in September


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

Fiction Books

When The Night Comes by Favel Parrett

A story of growing up, journeys into the great unknowns and that anything in life is possible. Parrett’s writing is truly mesmerizing. Her words immediately draw you in and you are swept away. Poetical, evocative and truly moving this will not only have you immediately falling for her characters but also have you falling in love with an Antarctic supply ship, the Nella Dan. Favel Parrett has carefully crafted an exquisite novel. Skilfully written, elegantly constructed, beautifully told and an absolute pleasure to read and experience. Jon

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

David Mitchell fans will absolutely love this book and it will definitely create new ones too as you are swept away by the storytelling, the language and the imagination. The novel opens in 1984 in England. We meet Holly Sykes, aged 15, who has run away from home. In the process Holly becomes part of a chain events outside her, and our, comprehension. Holly inadvertently makes a promise the consequence of which will have repercussions for many lives. Jon

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

A love story full of surprises. A crime story of immense tension, a deeply satisfying read. Set in 1920’s London, this is an atmospheric portrait of that fascinating period. A time when women have to make many choices about surviving without fathers and brothers and an income. A mother and daughter decide to take in paying guests (lodgers only they don’t use that word) . The arrival of a young couple into this seemingly quiet and ordered household has dramatic and disturbing consequences.  Chris

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan’s new novel is one of his best. His delicate and smooth tone pulls you into a thrilling novel with a moral dilemma at its core.  A High court judge is about to have her private life shattered and her professional life compromised. What makes this an exceptional novel is the way it is told. Full of compassion, so unpretentious and tender towards all the characters and ideas. Chris

Lock In by John Scalzi

Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. 4% suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And 1% find themselves ‘locked in’ – fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. But then two new technologies emerge that gives people hope. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse…

Non-Fiction Books

This House of Grief by Helen Garner

On Father’s Day 2005 a father and his three sons plunged into a dam. The boys drowned and the father survived to face a murder trial. Why does Helen Garner choose to write such uncomfortable and confronting books and more to the point why do we read them? I think it is because we want to understand ourselves and other people. Helen Garner is the best writer for such a task. Her eye for detail, her precision and clarity of writing plus her non-judgemental attitude make this a formidable read. Chris

Jamie’s Comfort Food by Jamie Oliver

Jamie’s new cookbook brings together 100 ultimate comfort food recipes from around the world. It’s all about the dishes that are close to your heart, that put a smile on your face and make you feel happy, loved, safe and secure. Inspired by everything from childhood memories to the changing of the seasons, and taking into account the guilty pleasures and sweet indulgences that everyone enjoys, it’s brimming with exciting recipes you’ll fall in love with.

Lego Architecture by Philip Wilkinson

These amazing LEGO Architecture sets showcase incredible buildings from around the world. From the Empire State Building and the Guggenheim, to Farnsworth House revealing amazing exploded images of the LEGO Architecture models, showing every LEGO brick involved in the build. This is perfect for architects, designers and architecture enthusiasts of all ages.

1-Minute Gardener by Fabian Capomolla & Mat Pember

As the brains behind The Little Veggie Patch Co., Fab and Mat have taken the mystery out of – and put the fun back into – growing fruit and vegetables. 1-Minute Gardener features 70 fast, illustrated step-by-step guides to edible gardening essentials, from preparing and caring for your patch through to harvesting the rewards (and getting the kids involved along the way).

Strictly Parenting by Michael Carr-Gregg

In his work as a family psychologist, Michael Carr-Gregg has noticed a worrying trend in our modern parenting styles, which sees kids running riot and parents running for cover. In our desire to give our kids the best, we may have given them way too much, and overlooked the importance of setting boundaries. He believes it’s a recipe for disaster. In Strictly Parenting, Michael asks parents to take a good hard look at the way they are parenting – to toughen up and stop trying to be their kids’ best friends.

Travelling To Work: Diaries 1988-1998 by Michael Palin

These latest Diaries show a man grasping every opportunity that came his way, and they deal candidly with the doubts and setbacks that accompany this prodigious word-rate. As ever, his family life, with three children growing up fast, is there to anchor him. Travelling To Work is a roller-coaster ride driven by the Palin hallmarks of curiosity and sense of adventure. These ten years in different directions offer riches on every page to his ever-growing army of readers.

Childrens’ Picture Books

Is There A Dog In This Book? by Vivian Schwartz

Tiny, Moonpie and Andre are scared of dogs, and there might be a dog in this BOOK! What are they going to do? The dog could be anywhere, on any page, there are so many hiding spots in this book. So funny! You’ll love it! Jan & Danica

A House of Her Own by Jenny Hughes

Audrey is getting bigger and bigger, so she decides that she needs a house of her own. Her dad builds her a fabulous treehouse, but there is something missing. A story of the need for independence and the importance of family. Such a charming read! Jan

Books for First Readers

Squishy McFluff and the Supermarket Sweep by Pip Jones

You might have thought that you’d seen the last of Squishy McFluff, but he is back and as funny as ever! Perfect for a new reader that needs a bit of a challenge. Ian & Danica

Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan by Jeffrey Brown

I could not wait for this book to come out, and now it’s here! This book made me laugh so hard. You don’t even have to be a Star Wars fans to enjoy this book, but if you are then you’ll love it all the more. Great for kids who are becoming confident readers. Danica

Books for Young Readers

The 52-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

It’s here! It’s here! It’s here! The wait is over! Andy and Terry have added ANOTHER 13 storeys to their treehouse and things are more hilarious than ever. Come and get your copy today! Danica, Ian & Jan

Loot by Jude Watson

International jewel heists, a twin that March never knew he had, and a curse that destroy them all. This book is packed with more action and intrigue than any book we’ve read in a long time. Great for girls and boys alike, everyone will love this book! Ian & Danica  

Books for Young Adults

The Mission by Allen Zadoff

If you loved ‘Boy Nobody’ as much as we did, then you going to absolutely love the sequel! It’s even better than the original, and that’s saying a lot. Get this book into every teenager’s hands that you know! Danica & Ian

The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore

This is the latest installment in the ‘I am Number Four’ series, and it won’t disappointment fans waiting to read about what happens when Seven fights back. A gripping read from start to finish!

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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


Fiction Books

Life or Death by Michael Robotham

Audie Palmer has spent the last ten years in prison for an armed robbery that netted 7 million dollars. Money that has never been recovered. Everybody wants to know where the money is; other prisoners, guards and various law enforcement. Audie has survived beatings, stabbings and other assaults and is finally due to be released from prison tomorrow. Except he has just escaped. And so begins an epic thriller. Jon

The Heist by Daniel Silva

Legendary spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon is in Venice repairing an altarpiece by Veronese when he receives an urgent summons from the Italian police. The eccentric London art dealer Julian Isherwood has stumbled upon a chilling murder scene in Lake Como, and is being held as a suspect. To save his friend, Gabriel must track down the real killers and then perform one simple task: find the most famous missing painting in the world.

Fives and Twenty-Fives by Michael Pitre

A remarkable piece of fiction following proudly in the footsteps of the The Yellow Birds. Wars never truly end for everyone involved and this is the territory Michael Pitre explores in his impressive debut novel. On the eve on the Arab Spring in Tunisia three men are grappling with their futures now that their war has supposedly finished. Each is scarred and tainted by what they have witnessed and the decisions they have made. They are changed men returning to a changing world not sure if they achieved what they were fighting for. And if they possibly did whether it was worth the price. Jon

The Sun Is God by Adrian McKinty

This is a seemingly dramatic departure from Adrian McKinty’s usual books but he pulls it off marvelously. Based on a true story McKinty heads to the South Pacific circa 1906 to tell a tale of mad Germans, sun worship and possible murder. There is a real 19th century flare to McKinty’s writing and characters in this novel and he has had obvious fun writing it. This may not appeal to all the Adrian McKinty fans but I think it is going to win him a few new ones. Jon

The Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Huraki Murakami

Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine’, and Oumi, ‘blue sea’, while the girls’ names were Shirane, ‘white root’, and Kurono, ‘black field’. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it. One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn’t want to see him, or talk to him, ever again. Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago.

The Golden Age by Joan London

Frank, a young boy is learning to walk again after contracting polio. His family have just arrived in Perth, survivors of Nazi -occupied Hungary.  The family struggle with settling in Australia while mourning who and what they have lost in Budapest. Polio is another cross for them to bear. An amazing novel of people looking for connection and finding it eventually and in unexpected ways.  I loved the way Joan London evoked a time gone by but made it so relevant to today. The writing takes your breath away. Chris

The Final Silence by Stuart Neville

Just when Jack Lennon thinks things couldn’t get any worse an ex-girlfriend contacts him. She has just inherited a house from her uncle and has found a journal detailing murders going back two decades. It appears there are links to her father, a prominent Belfast politician so she has turned to Jack for help, who can’t even help himself at this point. Stuart Neville doesn’t take his foot off the pedal once in this gripping thriller and once again demonstrates why he is the crime writer everybody is and should be talking about at the moment. Jon

Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty

Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. A parent is dead. Liane Moriarty’s new novel is funny and heartbreaking, challenging and compassionate. The No. 1 New York Times bestselling author turns her unique gaze on parenting and playground politics, showing us what really goes on behind closed suburban doors.

Non-Fiction Books

The Climb by Geraldine Doogue

Iconic journalist and television presenter Geraldine Doogue turns her attention to an issue central to our times. How are we, as women, represented at the top levels of power in Australia? In candid and personal conversations with fourteen women leading the way in fields as wide-ranging as business, politics, religion, education and the armed forces, Doogue gets to the heart of what it means to be a woman in power in Australia.

Hey, True Blue by John Williamson

The long-awaited life story of John Williamson: an Australian icon, a much-loved veteran of the music industry and man of the land. Williamson takes us through his life, from growing up on the land in the Mallee and Moree in a family of five boys, to being the voice of Australia.

Favourites by Gary Mehigan

This book is the result of Gary’s ongoing food obsession: a collection of his most favourite recipes garnered from thirty years in the industry. It includes treasured treats from his childhood in England, diverse dishes inspired by MasterChef Australia, as well as the comforting family meals he cooks for his wife and daughter at home.

Hell-Bent by Douglas Newton

Most histories of Australia’s Great War rush their readers into the trenches. This history is very different. For the first time, it examines events closely, even hour-by-hour, in both Britain and Australia during the last days of peace in July–August 1914.

He Who Must Be Obeid by Kate McClymont & Linton Besser

This is the story of how Eddie Obeid controlled (and then brought down) the NSW Labor party. It seems if there has been something on the nose in NSW, Eddie Obeid probably had at least a finger in it. Uncovering new stories daily, this will be up-to-the-minute and mind-boggling. Written by two of the country’s most prominent, respected and award-winning journalists, this story will make your hair curl.

The Fights of My Life by Greg Combet

Greg Combet has been central to some of the biggest public struggles of our time on the waterfront, the collapse of an airline, compensation for asbestos victims, the campaign against unfair workplace laws and then climate change. His latest target is the labour movement, arguing that the Labor Party and the trade unions must democratise to engage the next generation of activists to fight the good fight: to achieve a more fair and just Australia.

Childrens’ Picture Books

The Skunk With No Funk by Rebecca Young

Woody is not what his family expected. He is a skunk with NO funk. A failure. A flop. An odourless plop. Poor Woody! What is he going to do? A funny read that the whole family will love! Jan & Danica

Lucky by David Mackintosh

Mum announces that there will be a surprise at dinner tonight, but what could it be? Two brothers spend the whole day at school in anticipation, creating more and more elaborate guesses, until they’re convinced it is the best surprise of all time! A book about what family really means and how lucky we are to have each other. Danica & Jan

Books for First Readers

Wild Moose Chase by Siobhan Rowden

Twins Burt and Camilla are in competition with each other about everything. So they jump at the chance when they hear about the ultimate competition that will guarantee just one person eternal glory. The Queen wants moose cheese. Moose cheese is scrumptiously delicious, worth an absolute fortune and  near-impossible to make. It’ll require a dangerous world-wide adventure to collect the ingredients for the Queen – but nothing will stop the twins.

Ciao EJ! by Susannah McFarlane

Strange things are happening in some of Italy’s most famous cities. What is evil agency SHADOW up to? Team Leader Agent EJ12 and the SHINE STARS split up to find the clues. But will EJ12 be able to piece them all together in time to stop SHADOW?

Books for Young Readers

Plenty by Amanda Braxton-Smith

Maddy’s home has always been in Jermyn Street, ALWAYS.  Now her Mum and Dad are doing the unthinkable – making her move from the city to a place called Plenty. Nobody understands how she feels, how can she survive without everything and everyone she knows. Then she meets the mysterious classmate, Grace Wek, the girl from the refugee camp. Maybe Grace will understand! Jan

Emperor Pickletine Rides The Bus by Tom Angleberger

Make sure you don’t miss the last of the Origami series! The gang is off to Washington DC for a school trip, but horror of horrors, Principal Rabbski decrees the field trip an “origami-free zone.” Dwight secretly folds a Yoda from a Fruit Roll-Up, but will Fruitigami Yoda be up to scratch?! Ian

Books for Young Adults

Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

Surry Hills in 1932 was not a pretty place to be, and no one knew this better than Kelpie and Dymphna. These two very unlikely friends share a most extraordinary day hiding from the coppers, rival mob bosses, and the danger that awaits them around every street corner. Will they both make it out alive? Have a read and find out. Danica

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

A beautiful family. A private island. Summer after summer spent …  It is not long before the cracks start to appear, and nothing is what it seems. This book will keep you guessing until the very end! Jan & Danica

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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


Fiction Books

The Lie by Kestin Hesh

A complex political thriller full of suspense, set within the Israel security organisation. A rescue operation that will have you on the edge of your seats. So many lies, so many rationalisations for twisting the truth. But in the end what wins: love of country or family? Terror seems to have a certain equality. Chris

Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball

I was so engrossed in this book it wasn’t until finishing it that I truly digested what I had read. In many ways this is a modern parable about the moral fallacies we place on our systems of justice, but the skill and subtlety in which Jesse Ball tells the story gives it not just power but also emotional resonance. And by doing so Jesse Ball gets to the absolute core of what a crime story is and what it should mean when we read one. Jon

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

A Swedish crime book with a difference. Martha wants to rob a bank to escape her care home. Her team, the League of Pensioners want to get caught because they feel conditions are better in prison than where they are now. Very reminiscent of the wonderful One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. Of course everything does not go to plan, a delightful and immensely entertaining novel which should be read with a glass of cloudberry wine. Chris

Close Call by Stella Rimington

Liz Carlyle and her Counter Terrorism unit in MI5 have been charged with the task of watching the international under-the-counter arms trade. With the Arabic region in such a volatile state, the British Intelligence forces have become increasing concerned that extremist Al-Qaeda jihads are building their power base ready to launch another attack. As the pressure mounts, Liz and her team must intercept illegal weapons before they get into the wrong hands.

The Extraordinary Journey of The Fakir Who Got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe by Romain Puertolas

An absolutely hilarious romp, like a farce but instead of walking in and out of rooms the main character does the same with wardrobes. A fakir is on a journey to pick up a bed of nails from IKEA but ends up on a tour to many countries. However it wasn’t until I had finished that I realised the more serious side of the story as the Fakir meets many people seeking a better life but instead were shunted from country to country. Extremely entertaining but with an edge. Chris

Upstairs at the Party by Linda Grant

A story about an experimental university in the North of England which wanted to educate thinkers to prevent totalitarianism and future wars. Oh but they were just young people thinking about sex and parties. The experiment goes wrong with some awful consequences. A wonderful read about post war Britain that nobody would recognise now! No mobiles no internet. How did they communicate and it really wasn’t that long ago! Chris

Non-Fiction Books

Ten Conversations You Must Have With Your Son by Dr Tim Hawkes

Every parent of a teenage boy knows there are certain conversations they must have with their son. But too often they put them off – or don’t have them at all – because they simply don’t know where to start. Internationally recognised in the field of raising and educating boys, Dr Tim Hawkes provides practical, accessible and invaluable about how to get these discussions started.

City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death and the Search for Truth in Tehran by Ramita Navai

Reading this book reminded me of Stasiland and Behind the Beautiful Forevers, both wonderful examples of narrative non-fiction where the idea is conveyed to the reader in the style of personal stories. We get an understanding of modern Iran through the stories of young people living under repressive regimes. Reads like fiction, in fact at times I thought I was reading a really riveting crime novel! Chris

Asia’s Cauldron by Robert D. Kaplan

For anyone interested in our region you will find this a very interesting read. Kaplan has been named one of the top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. He looks at the shift of power from Europe to Asia, particularly the South China Sea. He looks at the booming cities and the slums from Vietnam, to Malaysia, Singapore to the Philippines and of course China.  One of the questions that intrigued me was the contention that the conflicts of the future in this area will be driven by power and economics rather than humanitarian or ideological ideas. Intensely readable. Chris

Last Days of the Bus Club by Chris Stewart

In this latest, typically hilarious dispatch from El Valero we find Chris, now a local literary celebrity, using his fame to help his old sheep-shearing partner find work on a raucous road trip; cooking a TV lunch for visiting British chef, Rick Stein; discovering the pitfalls of Spanish public speaking; and, most movingly, visiting famine-stricken Niger for Oxfam.

Australian History in 7 Questions by John Hirst

From the author of The Shortest History of Europe, acclaimed historian John Hirst, comes this fresh and stimulating approach to understanding Australia’s past and present. Hirst asks and answers questions that get to the heart of Australia’s history. Engaging and enjoyable, and written for the novice and the expert alike, Australian History in Seven Questions explains how we became the nation we are today.

Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant by Owen Beddall

Everyone wants to be a flight attendant, or at least they want to know about the cushy lifestyle they lead – flying to exotic destinations, swanning about in five-star hotels, daytime lazing around the pool and night-time tabletop dancing with Bollywood stars. At last the lid is lifted. Come on board a real airline with a real flight attendant and find out what really goes on.

Pink Sari Revolution by Amana Fontanella-Khan

This is the story of Sampat Pal and the Pink Gang’s fight against injustice and oppression in India. Amana Fontanella-Khan delivers a riveting, inspiring portrait of women grabbing fate with their own hands – and winning back their lives.

Childrens’ Picture Books

Mr Chicken Lands on London by Leigh Hobbs

Mr Chicken is excited! He can’t wait to get on the plane  and go to London. Join Mr Chicken as he takes a unique look at the sights of London. A great new picture  book from one our favourite authors. Ian

Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey

You may be surprised to hear that Pig is a pug not a pig, and he is the greediest pug in the world. MINE is his favourite word and he won’t share his toys with anyone. One day that all changes. Has Pig learned his lesson? Have a read and find out! Danica

Books for First Readers

Do You Dare? Fighting Bones by Sophie Laguna

Danny and Duncan are two young convict brothers, who are in jail in Tasmania in 1836. As if life is not tough enough, a new boy arrives who is a terrible bully. Is escape their only option? Will they dare? A great action series full of history for boys. Ian & Danica

Nancy Clancy: Secret of the Silver Key by Jane O’Connor

The ever popular super sleuth Nancy Clancy returns in her fourth adventure. Nancy finds an old desk at a garage sale that leads her and Bree into another mystery that proves to much harder to solve than they expected. Ian

Books for Young Readers

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

If you loved ‘Wonder’ and ‘Out of My Mind’, then you have to read this book! Willow is a character unlike any other and she will capture your heart and not let go! We could not put it down! Danica & Jan

Friday Barnes: Girl Detective by R.A. Spratt

Friday Barnes – girl detective, 11 years old. When Friday solves a bank robbery she decides to put herself through boarding school with the reward money. What surprises her is that Highcrest Academy has a high crime problem. While trying to solve these mysteries Friday also has to deal with Ian, the most gorgeous boy in school, who hates her and loves nasty pranks. What is the point of high school? Jan

Books for Young Adults

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Set in Germany during the rise of Hitlers power, seventeen year old Gretchen Muller starts to question why Uncle Dolf (Hitler) has become her protector, father figure and taken her family under his wing. Desperate for answers and why her father took a bullet for Hitler, Gretchen embarks on a mission to uncover the truth. A mother who is very timid, a brother who can be cruel, and a forbidden love this book is an excellent historical fiction novel for young adults. Jan

Spark by Rachael Craw

One day she’s an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer. The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death. Jan

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