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