Monday, 31 October 2011

Die for you by Lisa Unger

I have never read a title by Lisa Unger before but was encouraged to try this author by a work colleague who finds her thrilling with her nail biting suspense and vocabulary that is tense and excellent. I also couldn't put it down. Unger builds and maintains tension and expertly weaves the backgrounds of her characters into the novel.

Isabel Raine thought she had everything–a successful career, a supportive family, and a happy marriage to the man she loved. Then one ordinary morning, her husband, Marcus, picks up his briefcase, kisses her good-bye, and simply vanishes. As phone message go to voicemail and no-one knows anything – the only thing Isabel knows for sure is that her husband of five years is gone. Where is he and who is he are questions no one seems able to answer. But Isabel will not rest until she discovers the truth about the man she loves, even if it means risking everything–including her own life.

Die for you is a very good story of family deceptions, finding out that people you love aren't always what they seem. It's also about forgiveness and moving on.

Unger is a master of psychological suspense and her writing is beautiful. I can't wait to read the rest of her work!


Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Inky Awards 2011

There is no other award in Australia that reflects what teenagers want to read. The Inkys are international awards for teenage literature, voted for online by the readers of There are three awards: the Golden Inky for an Australian book, the Silver Inky for an international book, and the Creative Reading Prize, won by a young person for a creative response to a book they love, in any format they choose.

The Gold Inky went to James Moloney for his novel Silvermay

Sixteen-year-old Silvermay Hawker feels drawn to the newcomer in her village - a young man of solemn good looks named Tamlyn. But only heartache can come of this, because Tamlyn is devoted to Nerigold and to little Lucien, her son.
So things seem, until the dark forces of Coyle Strongbow come in search of Nerigold′s baby and Silvermay is swept up in the young family′s escape. When Lucien is entrusted to her care, she discovers the startling horror of what he might become, and the truth about Tamlyn, too.
Can Lucien be spared his fate, or is he doomed to become like Coyle? And Tamlyn, can he be trusted, can he be loved and can he love in return? Silvermay′s heart will not give him up, but what happens when devotion becomes a weapon in the hands of the ruthless?

The Silver Inky was awarded to Cassandra Clare for Clockwork Angel

The Infernal Devices trilogy, a prequel to bestselling The Mortal Instruments trilogy, follows 16-year-old orphan Tessa Gray, whose quiet life is thrown into turmoil when her older brother Nathaniel suddenly vanishes, leaving her alone. Tessa's search for him leads her to England during the reign of Queen Victoria, into London's dangerous underworld, where warlocks throw masked balls for half-demon Downworlders and vampires and supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets.
When the friendless and hunted Tessa discovers that she herself is a Downworlder, she must learn to trust her natural enemies, the demon-killing Shadowhunters, if she ever wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by – and torn between – two best friends; beautiful Will, a Shadowhunter hiding a deadly secret, and the devoted Jem, whose addiction to a demon drug is slowly destroying him. Tessa quickly realises that love may be the most dangerous magic of all and must draw on all her strength to save her brother and keep herself alive in this deadly new world

For more information about the Inky awards visit their website at inside a dog.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

National Year of Reading 2012: Our Story

This summer, discover six wonderful books with a Victorian flavour, and help us choose the winning book!

The Victorian shortlist, which includes both fiction and non-fiction titles, are as follows:
The comfort of water by Maya Ward
Sold by Brendan Gullifer
Radical Melbourne by Jeff Sparrow
Unpolished gem by Alice Pung
Well done, those men by Barry Heard
Bearbrass by Robyn Annear

So get reading over the summer break, and vote for your favourite by 6 January, online or at a participating public library or bookshop. The winning book will represent Victoria in the national Our Story program in 2012. For details, visit Our story.

Our Story is part of the National Year of Reading 2012, and the Victorian program is coordinated by the State Library of Victoria in collaboration with the Public Libraries Victoria Network.


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

New fiction titles for October

Cloudburst / Andrews, V.C
Agatha Raisin: As the pig turns / Beaton, M.C
Lethal / Brown, Sandra
Infernals / Connolly, John
Silk Road / Falconer, Colin
Silent mercy / Fairstein, Linda
Ed King / Gutterson, David
Fear index / Harris, Robert
Lovesong for India / Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer
Nanjing requiem / Jin, Ha
Bonnie / Johansen, Iris
Alterant / Kenyon, Sherrilyn
Changes / Lackey, Mercedes
Promise / Lightfoot, Freda
Unusual uses for olive oil / McCall Smith, Alexander
Christmas wedding / Patterson, James
Lionheart / Penman, Sharon
Twilight fulfilled / Shayne, Maggie
Best of me / Sparks, Nicholas
Nurse Anna’s war / Staples, Mary Jane
Hotel Vendome / Steel, Danielle

To reserve your copy of one of these new titles click the link below:

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

Ellen, a hypnotist, begins a new romance with Patrick, a widowed father who she meets on the internet. Patrick ticks all the right boxes, but comes with the added bonus of a stalker ex-girlfriend, Saskia.

The story, partly inspired by the author’s own experience, swings between Ellen and Saskia's points of view and examines the nature of love amid obsession and grief. There is a lot of intrigue, first as you try to work out which client is really Saskia, and then as you wonder how things are going to come to a head.

Unlike most chic lit which tells a story about a man and woman falling in love, The Hypnotist’s Love Story is more about staying in love and feeling secure within a relationship. The author provides insights into the impact of previous relationships and how these experiences can seep into current relationships. It's also about the murky areas between right and wrong, and the complexities of modern relationships. I found it to be a really enjoyable read.


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Winner announced for the Man Booker 2011

British writer Julian Barnes was announced as this year’s winner of the prestigious Man Booker prize for his novel The sense of an ending. He has been nominated on three previous occasions for the award but this is his first win. As well as the honour of being a Booker prize winner, he also takes home $A78,000 in prize money.

Book synopsis: Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.
Now Tony is in middle age. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.

The sense of an ending is the story of one man coming to terms with the mutable past.


Monday, 17 October 2011

One day by David Nicholls

One Day by David Nicholls is a story of male-female friendship, love, and career in the post-University years. Set across England in the 1980s and 90s, this is a tale of two unlikely friends that is told one day at a time, on the same day each year.

Dexter and Emma spend the night together following their graduation from Edinburgh University in 1988. Though they do not fall into a romantic relationship, they become friends. Over the subsequent years their lives take them in different directions, but they keep in contact with each other. The book revisits them on July 15th, each year, for twenty years.

I picked up this book after seeing it was one this year’s “50 books you can’t put down”. While I enjoyed the story and loved the idea of revisiting them on the same day of each year, I found the characters to be a little annoying and unlikeable. It was hard to see what drew them together and kept them together. Dexter was self-centered and obnoxious. Emma was insecure and self conscious. At times, they were both quite mean. Having said that, the book is very well written and I can see why it has a lot of fans. While this book wasn’t quite for me, I would still recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well written story.


Monday, 10 October 2011

A wild sheep chase by Haruki Murakami

A fun hybrid of mystery with mythology built in. I picked up A Wild sheep chase as a friend had recommended Murakami. Murakami is not your traditional author with his blend of humour and dialogue that defies immediate purpose. However his reputation has now been consolidated on the international scene.

The novel begins with a simple dialogue of a twenty-something advertising executive who receives a postcard from a friend, and casually appropriates the image for an insurance company’s advertisement. The picture used depicts a pastoral scene with a mutant sheep complete with a star on its back. What he hasn’t realised is the significance of the image used in this photo and has unwittingly captured the attention of a mysterious businessman who presents a menacing ultimatum: find the sheep or lose your business. Thus begins a surreal and elaborate quest that takes our hero together with one of his female friends across Japan, from the urban haunts of Tokyo to the remote and snowy mountains of northern Japan, where he confronts not only the mythological sheep, but the confines of tradition and the demons deep within himself.

This is definitely rather quirky but also full of expectancy. I found myself intrigued and compelled to read on.


Monday, 3 October 2011

If you were here by Jen Lancaster

If You Were Here follows Amish-zombie-teen-romance author Mia and her husband Mac (and their pets) through the frustrating, but hilarious, process of buying and renovating their first home in the Chicago suburbs that the John Hughes's movies of the 80’s made famous. Along their harrowing renovation journey, Mia and Mac get caught up in various wars with the homeowners' association, meet some less-than-friendly neighbours, and are joined by a hilarious cast of supporting characters, including a nightmare ex-landlady. As they struggle to adapt to their new surroundings and with a rapidly dwindling bank balance, Mia and Mac will discover if their marriage is strong enough to survive months of DIY renovations.

This book took me on a nostalgic trip down movie memory lane. I grew up with the John Hughes films in the 80’s so when the author referenced scenes and characters from his movies I could picture them immediately. I also couldn’t resist googling “Jake Ryan’s” house to remind myself exactly what it looks like. This book is hilarious and I would recommend it to anyone who loves 80’s movies, home renovation disasters and a good laugh.