Requiem by Lauren Oliver (Review by Sarah McDuling – Editor of the YA & Teens Buzz)

Lauren Oliver is mean.

Please understand, this criticism comes from a place of love. I say this as a devoted Lauren Oliver fan. I’m not suggesting she is a bad person. I’m sure she’s a lovely person. But she’s downright cruel to her readers.

Case in point: The Delirium Trilogy.

Anyone who suffered through the heart-breaking ending of Book One in this trilogy will back me up here. Delirium ends with the sudden and completely gut wrenching death of a beloved character. It’s pretty brutal.

And then there is Book Two, Pandemonium. Unlike so many Young Adult series that start out strong and then tend to fall apart, the second book in the Delirium Trilogy is stronger than the first. Even better, it’s a game changer. The ending of Pandemonium is a real sucker punch – one that I never saw coming.

And now the trilogy is coming to an end (don’t worry, fans. There is a TV show in the works). Requiem marks the dramatic conclusion of this emotionally fraught, completely addictive, dystopian series.

But I am drifting off topic. The subject at hand is Lauren Oliver’s cruelty.

There are some authors who give readers what they want and everyone is happy (if slightly bored). And then there are authors like Lauren Oliver, who give readers agonizing cliffhangers, shocking twists and bucket-loads of heartbreak – which is all fine and dandy until that moment when you turn the last page and… nothing. The book is finished and you have no choice but to wait on tenterhooks for the next one.

That’s mean. I’m just saying.

All things considered, I’m very, very glad that I did not discover Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy until recently. I feel as though I dodged a real bullet, avoiding the painful wait between each instalment. To all those poor, patient fans out there who have been with this series from the beginning, I can say only this: Respect.

Seriously guys, I feel for you. After the way Delirium ended, if I had been forced to wait more than three seconds for the next book, my head might well have exploded. And if, having finished Pandemonium, I did not have immediate access to Requiem, I would have had no real choice except to hunt down Lauren Oliver and demand answers.

Luckily for me (and Lauren Oliver) I was able to read all three books in quick succession

Set in a grim future where love has been identified as a disease and scientists have developed a cure, The Delirium trilogy is dystopian YA at it’s best. Bound to appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent, this is a series that combines romance, suspense and adventure in an imaginative and original dystopian setting. Our main character, Lena, has been raised to view love as a fatal disease and looks forward to turning 18 so that she can be “cured”. And then she meets a boy called Alex and her simple world gets all messy and complicated.

Tales of forbidden love are always pretty amazing. But creating a world where love of any kind of is literally against the law… well, that takes the “forbidden love” angle to a whole new level.

Undercover missions, family secrets, shocking deaths, ever more shocking resurrections, heartbreak, betrayals, suspense, betrayals, adventure, and a few more  betrayals, a love triangle, an evil totalitarian government and best of all…. rebels! I love rebels. Nothing gets me cheering quite like a rag-tag group of rebels banding together to fight injustice. It’s just so heart warming and makes me want to start waving a French flag and singing, “Do You Hear The People Sing”. But that’s another story…

If you have read the first two books in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy then I’m sure you already have Requiem on pre-order. And if you haven’t read the first two books?  Get cracking. Requiem comes out on the 12th of March so this is really a perfect time or you to begin.

If you like being kept on the edge of your seat and having your mind blown by surprise twists – or if you just like the sound story about brave kids fighting for for love, Lauren Oliver is the author for you.

Just be warned… she’s kind of mean. Awesomely, amazingly, additively mean.

Click here to buy Requiem from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Sarah is the editor of Booktopia’s YA & Teens Buzz. You can follow her genius on twitter here.

Toxic Oil: Why Vegetable Oil Will Kill You and How to Save Yourself by David Gillespie

Toxic Oil: Why Vegetable Oil Will Kill You & How to Save Yourself

by David Gillespie, author of
Big Fat Lies: How the Diet Industry is Making you Sick, Fat and Poor ,
Sweet Poison and The Sweet Poison Quit Plan

Everything you believe about fat is wrong.

  • Polyunsaturated oil – everyone knows it’s good for you, right? Wrong!
  • And we all know artery-clogging, cholesterol-forming saturated fat is bad for you, don’t we? Wrong again!Click here for more details or to buy Sweet Poison

In his previous book Big Fat Lies, David Gillespie showed that these ‘truths’ are in fact myths, based on poor research and bad evidence.

‘Vegetable oil’, which isn’t made from vegetables at all, but manufactured from seeds, has systematically replaced saturated fats in our diets over the past one hundred years, but our rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer are higher than ever.

In Toxic Oil, David reviews the latest evidence on why vegetable oil will kill you. He shows us how to avoid it and leads us through the supermarket, explaining how to read food labels and which products to buy. In the recipe section, you’ll discover how to make versions of delicious meals and snacks that are difficult to buy without seed oil. No need to give up hot chips!

With this practical guide in hand, you’ll be able to make healthy food choices based on evidence rather than what the processed food industry wants you to believe. So have a good breakfast – preferably bacon and eggs – strap yourself in, and be prepared to have everything you thought you knew about fat turned upside down.

Click here to order TOXIC OIL from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Oscar spoiler alert – And the Best Picture is…..

Look away if you’re taping the Oscars and watching them tonight, but Booktopia is proud to announce that…..

ARGO has won the Best Picture for 2013.

Directed by and starring past Oscar-winner Ben Affleck, Argo is the extraordinary story of the evacuation of a group of American consular officials during the Iranian Shah crisis in Tehran in 1979.

The amazing thing about Argo is it plays out as a great action film, littered with suspense and edge-of-your-seat stuff. But the defining quality is the human story. From the CIA operatives trying to save lives while juggling their own, to the American Embassy Staff desperately trying to retain hope in the face of a terrifying situation.

Ben Affleck’s acting is as good as his beard, and his beard is excellent.

The rest of the cast is exceptional as well. Alan Arkin as the grizzled Hollywood producer hits all the right marks, John Goodman hasn’t put in a bad performance on screen since Rosanne, and Bryan Cranston, once known as ‘the Dad off Malcolm In The Middle’, is now well and truly known as ‘that awesome actor Bryan Cranston’.

Argo comes out on DVD in just a few days, so pre-order your copy today with Booktopia and avoid the rush.

Click here to pre-order the 2013 Academy Award Best Picture Argo from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans are taken hostage. However, six manage to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA is eventually ordered to get them out of the country.

With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez devises a daring plan: to create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez creates the ruse and proceeds to Iran as its associate producer.

However, time is running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House have grave doubts about the operation themselves.

Click here to pre-order the 2013 Academy Award Best Picture Argo from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

You can follow Andrew’s ramblings on twitter here, and read the rest of his posts here

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – A review by Andrew Cattanach

An IT consultant in his 50s decides to write his first novel. The novel is sold to 30 different countries and advances exceed $1 million.

And that’s just the About The Author section, imagine how good the story inside the book is.

Don Tillman  needs a wife. He has evaluated data and it’s obvious that this is all that is required in his life. He is a professor of genetics, physically attractive, is an excellent cook, even a martial arts expert. But has never ever been on a second date. So he designs a questionnaire to separate the wheat from the chaff, The Wife Project. His friends (the few he has) are worried that perhaps his awkward attempts at social interaction may leave him heartbroken yet again. But with a few bumbles along the way, he meets a woman who is spectacularly wrong for him, the questionnaire says so. But as he is about to pass her over she enlists him in an exciting new project, and there’s no harm in getting to know her a little better, is there?

While I rarely read romantic comedies (my attempts at romance in my own life are comical enough), the sheer noise reverberating from The Rosie Project demanded my attention, and I’m incredibly thankful I took notice.

I’m not sure I’ve read a more steady, comic hand than that of author Graeme Simsion’s as he takes you into The Rosie Project. At first you find yourself drawn to Don Tillman, your narrator and protagonist, and his case of what appears Aspergers. Often to hook readers in authors turn to an offbeat voice but in The Rosie Project this simply adds to the subtle comedy rather than being the architect of it.  Don is intense, happy as one could be, and completely unaware that much of his life and rigid personality has been shaped by his condition. He is exceptionally bright and totally aware of it, yet never comes off as arrogant, only calling things as he sees them and unfortunately for most of the people around him, he makes a lot of calls.

As Don begins to embark on his quest to find a soulmate you find yourself gripped by the story, and what was once a character piece becomes a warm, touching journey towards life’s greatest question, who are we, or rather, why are we?

It’s astounding that this is Simsion’s first novel, although it was as a screenplay that The Rosie Project was originally imagined. As frustration piled, on waiting for production to take place, Simsion turned his wonderful tale into a novel.

Perhaps it’s with the help of his screenplay that you feel as though every word, every breath from the characters is meticulously considered yet feels completely off the cuff. As I say, an astonishing effort for a debut novel. The dialogue is sharp and funny, the story engaging and thoughtful.

At last we have a Rom-Com with a brain as well as a heart, a story about loving people for who they are, not who we want them to be. Perfect for the book-a-week reader as well as a great gift to the friend who should read more.

The Rosie Project will be talked about for a long time to come, why not grab a copy and join in the conversation today.

Click here to buy The Rosie Project from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Don’t forget to check out the terrific interview with Graeme Simsion and Booktopia’s own Caroline Baum, it’s a real treat.

Dreaming of the Orient Express – by Booktopia’s Christopher Cahill

If you’re going to dream, dream big.

So when my partner and I were throwing around ideas for how to spend our not too far off honeymoon my first thought was a trip on the legendary Orient Express.  As Caroline’s eyes lit up in excitement I knew in a heartbeat that her love for Agatha Christie was going to cost me. This love affair with one of history’s greatest crime writers began with the novel Murder on The Orient Express, which Caroline loved so much that her book case is slowly being filled with every Agatha Christie book ever printed.

This love for the books led to an interest in the many film and television incarnations of Agatha Christie’s two most beloved characters; Miss Marple and the world’s greatest Detective Hercule Poirot. It was the 1974 film adaptation that got me interested in the works of Agatha Christie and in turn the luxury train The Orient Express.

As much as I enjoyed Albert Finney’s interpretation of Hercule Poirot it was English actor David Suchet who really took my mild interest in the arrogant and eccentric Belgian Detective and turned me into a huge fan. His performance as Hercule Poirot in its recent reincarnation is nothing less than a masterclass in acting. When he’s on screen as the slightly hunched and rotund Detective he simply disappears into the role. There’s no actor playing the role here, he is Hercule Poirot.

So it was with great delight that I came across an audio version of Murder on the Orient Express read by none other than David Suchet himself. The audio book format is sometimes a forgotten art form but as we listened to this excellent performance on a long trip to Mudgee I couldn’t believe the quality of this one man production of the classic novel.

This is no mere reading of the book. David Suchet shifts bet ween his role as the reader to voicing every character in the book, both male and female.  It’s an astonishing performance as he shifts effortlessly between up to five characters at once and made me wonder what I was missing out on with the audio books in general. Long drives are seldom fun for all involved but listening to this performance made it an absolute delight.

As Caroline and I marvelled over what we heard all thoughts turned to our trip on the Orient Express. The idea of lounging around the bar car of this beautiful train, cocktail in one hand and a copy of Murder on the Orient Express in the other, is a dream we both now share.

Christopher Cahill is the Product Strategy Manager at Booktopia. You can read other posts by Christopher here.

The 2013 Stella Prize Longlist announced

The longlist for the 2013 Stella Prize has just been announced, containing a great mix of exciting new talents and familiar faces.

Named after one of Australia’s most important female authors, Stella Maria Miles Franklin, the Stella Prize is worth $50,000, and both fiction and non-fiction books are eligible.

The 2013 Stella Prize shortlist will be announced on Wednesday 20 March. The inaugural Stella Prize will be awarded in Melbourne on the evening of Tuesday 16 April.

Don’t miss the chance to grab a copy of these fantastic books and judge them for yourself with the help of Booktopia.


by Romy Ash

Tom and Jordy have been living with their gran since the day their mother, Loretta, left them on her doorstep and disappeared.

Now Loretta’s returned, and she wants her boys back.

Tom and Jordy hit the road with Loretta in her beat-up car. The family of three journeys across the country, squabbling, bonding, searching and reconnecting.

But Loretta isn’t mother material. She’s broke, unreliable, lost. And there’s something else that’s not quite right with this reunion.

They reach the west coast and take refuge in a beachside caravan park. Their neighbour, a surly old man, warns the kids tostay away. But when Loretta disappears again the boys have no choice but to askthe old man for help, and now they face new threats and new fears.

This beautifully written and gripping debut is as moving as it is frightening, and as heartbreaking as it is tender.

About the Author

Romy Ash is a Melbourne-based writer. She has written for GriffithREVIEW, the Big Issue and frankie magazine. She has a regular cooking column in Yen magazine and writes for the blog Trotski & Ash. The forthcoming Voracious: New Australian Food Writing features one of her essays.

Floundering is her first novel.

Click here to buy Floundering from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

Mazin Grace

by Dylan Coleman

Winner of the 2011 David Unaipon Award for Indigenous Writing

Growing up on the Mission isn’t easy for clever Grace Oldman. When her classmates tease her for not having a father, she doesn’t know what to say. Pappa Neddy says her dad is the Lord God in Heaven, but that doesn’t help when the Mission kids call her a bastard. As Grace slowly pieces together clues that might lead to answers, she struggles to find a place in a community that rejects her for reasons she doesn’t understand.

In Mazin Grace, Dylan Coleman fictionalises her mother’s childhood at the Koonibba Lutheran Mission in South Australia in the 1940s and 50s. Woven through the narrative are the powerful, rhythmic sounds of Aboriginal English and Kokatha language.

Mazin Grace is the inspirational story of a feisty girl who refuses to be told who she is, determined to uncover the truth for herself.

About the Author

Dylan Coleman is a Kokatha-Greek woman who grew up in Thevenard, on the far west coast of South Australia. She has a PhD in creative writing from the University of Adelaide, where she teaches Indigenous health, and her short stories have been published in Southerly and various anthologies. For over twenty years Dylan has worked across Aboriginal education, health, land rights, and the Arts, with a focus on Aboriginal community engagement and social justice. Dylan lives on the outskirts of Adelaide with her partner and son.

Click here to buy Mazin Grace from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

The Burial

by Courtney Collins

A breathtakingly brilliant debut novel in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy – inspired by Australia’s last bushranger, young woman Jessie Hickman.

It is the dawn of the twentieth century in Australia and a woman has done an unspeakable thing.

Twenty-two-year-old Jessie has served a two-year sentence for horse rustling. As a condition of her release she is apprenticed to Fitzgerald ‘Fitz’ Henry, who wants a woman to allay his loneliness in a valley populated by embittered ex-soldiers. Fitz wastes no time in blackmailing Jessie and involving her in his business of horse rustling and cattle duffing.

When Fitz is wounded in an accident he hires Aboriginal stockman, Jack Brown, to steal horses with Jessie. Soon both Jack Brown and Jessie are struggling against the oppressive and deadening grip of Fitz.

One catastrophic night turns Jessie’s life on its head and she must flee for her life. From her lonely outpost, the mountains beckon as a place to escape. First she must bury the evidence. But how do you bury the evidence when the evidence is part of yourself?

Inspired by the life of Jessie Hickman, legendary twentieth-century bushranger, The Burial is a stunning debut novel, a work of haunting originality and power.

About the Author

The Burial is the debut novel of Courtney Collins. It has been optioned for a feature film by Pure Pictures. Courtney’s next work in progress, The Walkman Mix has already received attention through the Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Award 2011. Courtney grew up in the Hunter Valley in NSW. She now lives on the Goulburn River in regional Victoria.

Click here to buy The Burial from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

The People Smuggler

by Robin de Crespigny

Winner of the Queensland Literary Awards 2012 – Non-Fiction

The True Story of Ali Al Jenabi, the ‘Oskar Schlindler of Asia. At once a non-fiction thriller and a moral maze, this is one man’s epic story of trying to find a safe place in the world.

When Ali Al Jenabi flees Saddam Hussein’s torture chambers, he is forced to leave his family behind in Iraq. What follows is an incredible international odyssey through the shadow world of fake passports, crowded camps and illegal border crossings, living every day with excruciating uncertainty about what the next will bring.

Through betrayal, triumph, misfortune – even romance and heartbreak – Ali is sustained by his fierce love of freedom and family. Continually pushed to the limits of his endurance, eventually he must confront what he has been forced to become.

With enormous power and insight, The People Smuggler tells a story of daily heroism, bringing to life the forces that drive so many people to put their lives in unscrupulous hands. It is an utterly gripping portrait of a man cut loose from the protections of civilisation, attempting to retain his dignity and humanity while taking whatever path he can out of an impossible position.

‘An engrossing account of a figure seen by some as saviour and others as criminal. A significant book.’ Thomas Keneally

About the Author

Robin de Crespigny has spent three years working with Ali Al Jenabi to write his story. She is a film maker and lives in Sydney. This is her first book.

Click here to buy The People Smuggler from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

Questions of Travel

by Michelle de Kretser

A dazzling, compassionate and deeply moving novel from one of world literature’s rising stars.

A mesmerising literary novel, Questions of Travel charts two very different lives. Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events.

Around these two superbly drawn characters, a double narrative assembles an enthralling array of people, places and stories – from Theo, whose life plays out in the long shadow of the past, to Hana, an Ethiopian woman determined to reinvent herself in Australia.

Award-winning author Michelle de Kretser illuminates travel, work and modern dreams in this brilliant evocation of the way we live now. Wonderfully written, Questions of Travel is an extraordinary work of imagination – a transformative, very funny and intensely moving novel.

About the Author

Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and emigrated to Australia when she was 14. Educated in Melbourne and Paris, Michelle has worked as a university tutor, an editor and a book reviewer.

She is the author of The Rose Grower, The Hamilton Case, which won the Commonwealth Prize (SE Asia and Pacific region) and the UK Encore Prize, and The Lost Dog, which was widely praised by writers such as AS Byatt, Hilary Mantel and William Boyd and won a swag of awards, including: the 2008 NSW Premier’s Book of the Year Award and the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, and the 2008 ALS Gold Medal.

The Lost Dog was also shortlisted for the Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction, the Western Australian Premier’s Australia-Asia Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Asia-Pacific Region) and Orange Prize’s Shadow Youth Panel. It was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Click here to buy Questions of Travel from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

Sufficient Grace

by Amy Espeseth

Ruth and her cousin Naomi live in rural Wisconsin, part of an isolated religious community. The girls’ lives are ruled by the rhythms of nature – the harsh winters, the hunting seasons, the harvesting of crops – and by their families’ beliefs. Beneath the surface of this closed, frozen world, hidden dangers lurk.

The Ruth learns that Naomi harbours a terrible secret. She searched for solace in the mysteries of the natural world: broken fawns, migrating birds, and the strange fish deep beneath the ice. Can the girls’ prayers for deliverance be answered?

Sufficient Grace is a story of lost of innocence and the unfailing bond between two young women. It is at once devastating and beautiful, and ultimately transcendent.

‘Simply brilliant. Haunting, gritty and emotionally dark.’ Jessica Au

‘A novel of heart-rending beauty. Seldom have grace and nature, spirit and flesh, spoken to each other so wonderfully.’ Michael McGirr

‘As disturbing as they are, there are stories that demand to be written. This is such a story, delivered by a writer of remarkable talent. Long after reading Sufficient Grace you will not forget it, and will be left with wanting more from Amy Espeseth.’
– Tony Birch

About the Author

Born in rural Wisconsin, Amy Espeseth lives in Melbourne, having immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. A writer, publisher and academic, she is the recipient of the 2007 Felix Meyer Scholarship in Literature, the 2009 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, the 2010 QUT Postgraduate Creative Writing Prize, and the 2012 CAL/Scribe Fiction Prize. Her fiction has appeared in various journals including Wet Ink, antithesis, and The Death Mook.

Click here to buy Sufficient Grace from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

The Sunlit Zone

by Lisa Jacobson

The Sunlit Zone is a moving elegy of love and loss, admirable for its narrative sweep and the family dynamic that drives it. A risk-taking work of rare, imaginative power.

“The Sunlit Zone combines the narrative drive of the novel with the perfect pitch of true poetry. A darkly futuristic vision shot through with bolts of light. Brilliant, poignant, disconcerting.” Adrian Hyland

“This novel in verse, at once magical and irresistible, draws us in to a vivid future. In Lisa Jacobson’s telling, the Australian fascination with salt water and sea change is made over anew. Romance holds hands with science and takes to the ocean.” 
Chris Wallace-Crabbe
About Lisa Jacobson

About the Author

Lisa Jacobson’s The Sunlit Zone was short-listed for the 2009 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. An earlier poetry collection, Hair & Skin & Teeth, was shortlisted for the National Book Council Awards. She has studied literature at Melbourne and La Trobe Universities, and remains an Honorary Research Fellow at La Trobe. She shares a bush block in Melbourne with her partner and daughter.

Click here to buy The Sunlit Zone from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

Like A House On Fire

by Cate Kennedy

From prizewinning short-story writer Cate Kennedy comes a new collection to rival her highly acclaimed Dark Roots.

In Like a House on Fire, Kennedy once again takes ordinary lives and dissects their ironies and injustices and pleasures with her humane eye and wry sense of humour. In ‘Laminex and Mirrors’, a young woman working as a cleaner in a hospital helps an elderly patient defy doctor’s orders. In ‘Cross Country’, a jilted lover manages to misinterpret her ex’s new life. And in ‘Ashes’, a son accompanies his mother on a journey to scatter his father’s remains, while lifelong resentments simmer in the background. Cate Kennedy’s poignant short stories find the beauty and tragedy in illness and mortality, life and love.

About the Author

Cate Kennedy is the author of the highly acclaimed novel The World Beneath, which won the People’s Choice Award in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2010. She is an award-winning short-story writer whose work has been published widely. Her first collection, Dark Roots, was shortlisted for the Steele Rudd Award in the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards and for the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal. She is also the author of a travel memoir, Sing, and Don’t Cry, and the poetry collections Joyflight, Signs of Other Fires and The Taste of River Water, which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry in 2011. She lives on a secluded bend of the Broken River in north-east Victoria.

Click here to buy Like A House On Fire from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

Sea Hearts

by Margo Lanagan

A mesmerising selkie novel from multi-award winning, internationally acclaimed Australian author, Margo Lanagan – one of the most exciting voices in speculative fiction.


‘Why would I? People are uneasy enough with me – if I start bringing up sea-wives, they’ll take against me good and proper.’
‘It could be secret.’
‘Could it?’

On remote Rollrock Island, the sea-witch Misskaella discovers she can draw a girl from the heart of a seal. So, for a price, any man might buy himself a bride; an irresistibly enchanting sea-wife. But what cost will be borne by the people of Rollrock – the men, the women, the children – once Misskaella sets her heart on doing such a thing?

Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire and revenge, of loyalty, heartache and human weakness, and of the unforeseen consequences of all-consuming love.
‘Lanagan is in a class of her own.’ The Weekend Australian

About the Author

Margo Lanagan is an internationally acclaimed writer of novels and short stories. Her collections of short stories have garnered many awards, nominations and shortlistings. Black Juice was a Michael L. Printz Honor Book, won two World Fantasy Awards and the Victorian Premier’s Award for Young Adult Fiction. Red Spikes won the CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, a Horn Book Fanfare title, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Her novel Tender Morsels won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and was a Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. Margo lives in Sydney.

Click here to buy Sea Hearts from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

The Mind of a Thief

by Patti Miller

A superior memoir by an accomplished writer at the height of her powers

For 40,000 years the Central NSW area of Wellington was Aboriginal – Wiradjuri – land. Following the arrival of white men, it became a penal settlement, mission station, gold-mining town and farming centre with a history of white comfort and black marginalisation. In the late 20th century, it was also the subject of the first post-Mabo Native Title claim, bringing new hope – and new controversy – to the area and its people.

Wiradjuri land is also where author Patti Miller was born and, mid-life, it begins to exert a compelling emotional pull, demanding her return. Post-children, having lived a dream life in Paris, it is hard for her to understand, or ignore, and so she is drawn into the story at the heart of Australian identity – who are we in relation to our beloved but stolen country?

Wellington and the Wiradjuri people are the main characters – and in revealing their complex narratives, Patti uncovers her own. Are her connections to this place through her convict forefathers, or through another, secret history? She sets out on a journey of exploration and takes us with her. Black and white politics, the processes of colonisation, family mythologies, generational conflict and the power of place are evoked as Patti weaves a story that is very personal and, at the same time, a universal story of country and belonging.

The Mind of a Thief is about identity, history, place and belonging and, perhaps most of all, about how we create ourselves through our stories.

About the Author

Patti Miller was raised on a farm in central western NSW and has worked teaching writing for over twenty years. Her many books include Writing Your Life (Allen & Unwin, 1994, 2001), The Last One Who Remembers (Allen & Unwin, 1997), Child (Allen & Unwin, 1998), Whatever the Gods Do (Random House, 2003) and The Memoir Book (Allen & Unwin, 2007). In 2012 she will teach at the innovative Faber Academy in Sydney.

Click here to buy The Mind of a Thief from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

An Opening: Twelve Love Stories about Art

by Stephanie Radok

Artist and writer Stephanie Radok possesses a unique international perspective. For over twenty years she has written about and witnessed the emergence of contemporary Aboriginal art and the responses of Australian art to global diasporas.

In An opening: Twelve love stories about art, Stephanie Radok takes us on a walk with her dog and finds that it is possible to re-imagine the suburb as the site of epiphanies and attachments.


‘Art wants to enter our lives, yet it is a rare art writer who lets it do that. Writing with full personal disclosure, Stephanie Radok lets us in on her secret. Art can inspire love, and a whole host of other unruly emotions. An Opening is a confession, a provocation, a celebration – a highly original, much-needed book in a field that too often prefers to be offputting and hermetic. A revelation, a gem.’ – Nicholas Jose

‘In An Opening Stephanie Radok engages sensuously and poetically with the art she has seen from her place in the suburbs of Adelaide and as a citizen of the world. Her contribution to Australian art is idiosyncratic and determinedly marginal. I once titled an essay on Australianness “The margins strike back”. Australian art needs more margins.’ – Daniel Thomas

‘Peppered with lovely anecdotes and a gentle wisdom, An Opening draws the reader into a wonderful discussion about art, culture, and identity. Radok’s style is so accessible that she makes thinking critically about art a less rarefied occupation it might otherwise seem.’ – Lucy Clark, Weekend Australian Review

‘A meditative and enriching read.’ – Sarah Braybrooke, Artshub

‘It has been a rare pleasure to review this book; the philosophy and spirituality Stephanie Radok expresses in relation to Aboriginal art are enlightening.’ – Paul Newbury, Bonzer

‘Stephanie’s engagement with art is sentimental, poignant, deeply reflective and a revelation for the uninitiated! – PS News

Click here to buy An Opening from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

Mateship with Bird

by Carrie Tiffany

On the outskirts of an Australian country town in the 1950s, a lonely farmer trains his binoculars on a family of kookaburras that roost in a tree near his house. Harry observes the kookaburras through a year of feast, famine, birth, death, war, romance and song. As Harry watches the birds, his next door neighbour has her own set of binoculars trained on him. Ardent, hard-working Betty has escaped to the country with her two fatherless children. Betty is pleased that her son, Michael, wants to spend time with the gentle farmer next door. But when Harry decides to teach Michael about the opposite sex, perilous boundaries are crossed.

Mateship with Birds is a novel about young lust and mature love. It is a hymn to the rhythm of country life – to vicious birds, virginal cows, adored dogs and ill-used sheep. On one small farm in a vast, ancient landscape, a collection of misfits question the nature of what a family can be.

About the Author

Carrie Tiffany was born in West Yorkshire and grew up in Western Australia. She spent her early twenties working as a park ranger in the Red Centre and now lives in Melbourne, where she works as an agricultural journalist. Her first novel, Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living (2005) was shortlisted for numerous awards including the Orange Prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Guardian First Book Award and the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, and won the Dobbie Award for Best First Book (2006) and the 2006 Western Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction. Mateship with Birds is her second novel.

Click here to buy Mateship with Birds from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

Cover for Dan Brown’s upcoming blockbuster ‘Inferno’ revealed

UPDATE: Now that the book is out, read our review here.

Publisher Random House has promised “…the most thrilling secrets remain locked inside”.

Exciting news for Dan Brown fans today as the cover for his early anticipation new novel Inferno was unveiled today.

Collectors of his previous bestsellers The Lost Symbol, Angels & Demons and the record-breaking The Da Vinci Code won’t be left disappointed, with Inferno carrying much the same design as the rest of his catalogue.

A clue to the city where long-time protagonist Robert Langdon will match wits is featured prominently, along with the mysterious outline of a face at the top of the cover. What links the haunting image has to the story we can only guess, but it’s sure to have some huge twists and turns to the very last page.

It’s Dante’s famous work Inferno that is at the center of Brown’s latest novel of the same name.

“Although I studied Dante’s Inferno as a student, it wasn’t until recently, while researching in Florence, that I came to appreciate the enduring influence of Dante’s work on the modern world,” Brown said in a statement. “With this new novel, I am excited to take readers on a journey deep into this mysterious realm … a landscape of codes, symbols, and more than a few secret passageways.”

You can check out the details of the book here.

And go to Dan Brown’s author page here


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