What Cathryn Read – Bestselling author Cathryn Hein on her recent reading

Australian novelist Cathryn Hein, author of The French Prize, Heartland and much more gives her verdict on the books she’s been reading.

January was the month I discovered Australian author Bec McMaster’s wonderful steampunk series. But I also enjoyed a sweet rural romance, a super-steamy novella and a lovely creepy tale.


Kiss of Steel / Heart of Iron

by Bec McMaster

Oh, this series is FUN! I adore Victorian era-set books and the whole idea of steam and clockpunk, but this series has vampires and werewolves woven through for extra paranormal spice. Plotting is clever and the world building great. I can picture vividly McMaster’s re-imagined Whitechapel, and the elevated world of London’s Blue Blood elite. The heroes are tough and sexy, the heroines more than a match, and the romances passionate. Expect lots of twists and turns before the hero and heroine reach their happily-ever-after. Brilliant escapist reads.

Grab a copy of Kiss of Steel & Heart of Iron


Moonlight Plains

by Barbara Hannay

This was a lovely sweet romance set mostly in north Queensland around Charters Towers and Townsville. I happened to be in Townsville when I started reading this and found the historical parts of the story particularly interesting. Moonlight Plains swings between 1942, when the Japanese were heading dangerously toward Australia and our north was populated with Allied troops, and contemporary times. The characters’ stories from both eras are entwined via Moonlight Plains, the homestead of which the contemporary hero, the very sexy Luke, is renovating. Family secrets, romance and more. Gorgeous stuff.

The book is the final in Hannay’s loosely related series that began with her best-selling Zoe’s Muster and continued with Home Before Sundown.

 Grab a copy of Moonlight Plains here


Secret Confessions – Sydney Housewives: Christa

by Keziah Hill

This was a fast and seriously steamy read that I enjoyed hugely. Secret Confessions – Sydney Housewives is a series of short novellas written by some of Australia’s best romance authors. Each story features a wealthy and self-assured Sydney woman whose secret personal life involves some rather sexy adventures. Christa – a formidable raiser of funds for charity – has a unique way of getting Sydney’s elite to part with their money. A touch of voyeurism and a scorching threesome: turn the air-con to high and prepare to get hot!


Forever Odd

by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas, the first in this popular and quirky supernatural thriller series, was one of those books that made me smile and sniffle and want to lie on the couch with every other book in the series.

I can’t give too much away about Forever Odd because I wouldn’t want to spoil the twist of the first book for anyone, but in this we follow our dead-person-seeing short-order cook hero Odd on another of his paranormal adventures. After being visited by the ghost of his friend Dr Jessop, Odd heads to the Jessop house to investigate. There, he finds not only a murder scene but the realisation his fragile friend Danny has been kidnapped. Determined to find him, the ensuing battle of wits between Odd and his cunning and evil enemy makes for a compelling and exciting read. Next please!

Grab a copy of Forever Odd here


Hein, CathrynThanks Cathryn Hein, we look forward to seeing what you have read next month!

Cathryn Hein was born in South Australia’s rural south-east. With three generations of jockeys in the family it was little wonder she grew up horse mad, finally obtaining her first horse at age 10. So began years of pony club, eventing, dressage and showjumping until university beckoned.

Armed with a shiny Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Roseworthy College she moved to Melbourne and later Newcastle, working in the agricultural and turf seeds industry. Her partner’s posting to France took Cathryn overseas for three years in Provence where she finally gave in to her life-long desire to write. Her short fiction has been recognised in numerous contests, and published in Woman’s Day.

Now living in Melbourne, Cathryn writes full-time.

Click here to see Cathryn’s author page

The French Prize

by Cathryn Hein

An ancient riddle, a broken vow – a modern-day quest for a medieval treasure.

Australian-born Dr. Olivia Walker is an Oxford academic with a reputation as one of the world’s leading Crusade historians and she’s risked everything on finding one of the most famous swords in history – Durendal. Shrouded in myth and mystery, the sword is fabled to have belonged to the warrior Roland, a champion of Charlemagne’s court, and Olivia is determined to prove to her detractors that the legend is real. Her dream is almost within reach when she discovers the long-lost key to its location in Provence, but her benefactor – Raimund Blancard – has other ideas.

For more than a millennium, the Blancard family have protected the sword. When his brother is tortured and killed by a man who believes he is Roland’s rightful heir, Raimund vows to end the bloodshed forever. He will find Durendal and destroy it, but to do that he needs Olivia’s help.

Now Olivia is torn between finding the treasure for which she has hunted all her life and helping the man she has fallen in love with destroy her dream. And all the while, Raimund’s murderous nemesis is on their trail, and he will stop at nothing to claim his birthright.

Grab a copy of The French Prize here

The winner of our exclusive Bryce Courtenay signed First Edition pack!

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Recently we gave Bryce Courtenay fans the chance to win a First Edition pack signed by the late great author.

The pack included 9 limited edition bookmarks and a signed First Edition of his books Jessica, Sylvia and Fortune Cookie.

All you had to do to enter was buy a copy of The Silver Moon

BC

 

…and the winner is:

I.Stojkovski, Calamvale, QLD


Congratulations to the winner!
Not a winner? Don’t worry, we have plenty more prizes to giveaway! Check them out here.
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TIME Magazine’s 10 Greatest Books of All-Time

A few years ago TIME magazine asked 125 of the world’s most celebrated writers to name their Top 10 novels of all time. No doubt after the resignations of many, many unpaid interns, they combined all these lists to make the ultimate Top 10 list.

We thought we’d share it with you. We’d like a few more women on there but hey, isn’t that always the way.

Do you agree with the picks? Did your favourite book mis the cut? Tell us in the comments section below.


middlemarch10. Middlemarch
by George Eliot

George Eliot’s most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community.

Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past.

As their stories interweave, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced and moving drama, hailed by Virginia Woolf as ‘one of the few English novels written for adult people’.

Grab a copy of Middlemarch here


the-steppe-and-other-stories-1887-919. The Steppe and Other Stories
by Anton Chekov

The Steppe established Chekov’s reputation. It is the simple yet unforgettable tale of a young boy’s journey to a new school in Kiev, travelling through majestic landscapes towards an unknown life. Gusev depicts an ocean voyage, where a man dies and is thrown to sharks, and the sea takes on a terrifying, primeval power. In The Kiss a shy soldier is kissed by mistake in a darkened room; in A Dreary Story a man reaches the end of his life and questions its worth; and in The Duel two men’s enmity ends in farce.

Grab a copy of The Steppe and Other Stories here


in-search-of-lost-time-vol-1-swann-s-way8. In Search of Lost Time Vol 1: Swann’s Way
by Marcel Proust

The definitive translation of the greatest French novel of the twentieth century

In the opening volume of Proust’s great novel, the narrator travels backwards in time in order to tell the story of a love affair that had taken place before his own birth. Swann’s jealous love for Odette provides a prophetic model of the narrator’s own relationships. All Proust’s great themes – time and memory, love and loss, art and the artistic vocation – are here in kernel form.

Grab a copy of In Search of Lost Time Vol 1: Swann’s Way here


9780099541530 (1)7. The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald’s glittering Jazz Age masterpiece

Jay Gatsby is a self-made man, famed for his decadent champagne-drenched parties. Despite being surrounded by Long Island’s bright and beautiful, Gatsby longs only for Daisy Buchanan. In shimmering prose, Fitzgerald shows Gatsby pursue his dream to its tragic conclusion. The Great Gatsby is an elegiac and exquisite portrait of the American Dream.

Grab a copy of The Great Gatsby here


97800079023476. Hamlet
by William Shakespeare

Considered one of Shakespeare’s most rich and enduring plays, the depiction of its hero Hamlet as he vows to avenge the murder of his father by his brother Claudius is both powerful and complex. As Hamlet tries to find out the truth of the situation, his troubled relationship with his mother comes to the fore, as do the paradoxes in his personality. A play of carefully crafted conflict and tragedy, Shakespeare’s intricate dialogue continues to fascinate audiences to this day.

Grab a copy of Hamlet here


9780099572978 (1)5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain

It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them’

Huck Finn spits, swears, smokes a pipe and never goes to school. With his too-big clothes and battered straw hat, Huck is in need of ‘civilising’, and the Widow Douglas is determined to take him in hand. And wouldn’t you know, Huck’s no-good Pap is also after him and he locks Huck up in his cabin in the woods. But Huck won’t stand too much of this, and after a daring escape, he takes off down the Mississppi on a raft with an runaway slave called Jim. But plenty of dangers wait for them along the river – will they survive and win their freedom?

Grab a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn here


97801410234964. Lolita
by Vladimir Nabocov

Humbert Humbert is a middle-aged, fastidious college professor. He also likes little girls. And none more so than Lolita, who he’ll do anything to possess. Is he in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? …Or is he all of these?

Grab a copy of Lolita here


war-and-peace3. War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy’s enthralling epic depicts Russia’s war with Napoleon and its effects on the lives of those caught up in the conflict. He creates some of the most vital and involving characters in literature as he follows the rise and fall of families in St Petersburg and Moscow who are linked by their personal and political relationships. His heroes are the thoughtful yet impulsive Pierre Bezukhov, his ambitious friend, Prince Andrei, and the woman who becomes indispensable to both of them, the enchanting Natasha Rostov.

Grab a copy of War and Peace here


97818474932242. Madam Bovary
by Gustave Flaubert

‘It has a perfection that not only stamps it, but that makes it stand almost alone.’ Henry James

Beautiful Emma Rouault yearns for the life of wealth, passion and romance she has encountered in popular sentimental fiction, and when her doctor, the well-meaning but awkward and unremarkable Charles Bovary, begins to pay her attention, she imagines that she may be granted her wish. However, after their marriage, Emma soon becomes frustrated with the boredom of provincial life and finds herself seeking escape and contemplating adultery.

As Emma’s efforts to make a reality of her fantasies become more dangerous, both she and those around her must face the shattering consequences of her actions. Causing widespread scandal when it was published in 1857, Madame Bovary is Gustave Flaubert’s masterpiece and one of the landmark works of nineteenth-century realist fiction.

Grab a copy of Madam Bovary here


anna-karenina1. Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina is a novel of unparalleled richness and complexity, set against the backdrop of Russian high society. Tolstoy charts the course of the doomed love affair between Anna, a beautiful married woman, and Count Vronsky, a wealthy army officer who pursues Anna after becoming infatuated with her at a ball.

Although she initially resists his charms Anna eventually succumbs, falling passionately in love and setting in motion a chain of events that lead to her downfall. In this extraordinary novel, Tolstoy seamlessly weaves together the lives of dozens of characters, while evoking a love so strong that those who experience it are prepared to die for it.

Grab a copy of Anna Karenina here

Are you a winner of 1 of 2 original artworks?

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We had 2 original artworks during December and January to giveaway. These pieces were created by Cheralyn Darcey and Sofan Chan. They themselves are the authors of Australian Wildflower Reading Cards and Buddhism Reading Cards, respectively.

All you had to do to enter was buy a Rockpool Reading Card Set. Check out if you are a winner below….

Artwork by Cheralyn Darcey 

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And the winner is…

M.Bartle, Werribee, VIC

Artwork by Sofan Chan

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And the winner is…

J.Walkden, South Hobart, TAS


Congratulations to the winners!
Not a winner? Don’t worry, we have plenty more prizes to giveaway! Check them out here.
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What books are on Man Booker Prize Winning Author Richard Flanagan’s bookshelf?

Earlier this week The New Yorker produced a short film about Man Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan, focusing on his ‘writing shack’ on Bruny Island.

FlanoIt’s a beautiful piece, full of vintage musings on life, happiness and the writer’s life.

We also get a glimpse into the award-winning author’s writing room: a modest, empty desk with a laptop, a lamp and a couple of notepads. And a galah that sits next to him. Seriously, he is amazing, both Richard and the galah.

The real treat is a couple of lingering shots of Flanagan’s bookshelves, an intentionally small collection. ” I don’t keep many books here,” he says. “I keep the books I’m reading at the moment, but I do read a lot when I’m writing.’

Being the crafty book nerds that we are, we thought we’d compile a list of the books in Richard Flanagan’s bookcase, a look into the reading habits of one of Australia’s finest writers. Enjoy.

A Death in the Family: My Struggle
by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Light in August
by William Faulkner

Umbrella
by Will Self

Dear Life
by Alice Munro

Love in the Time of Cholera
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Crossing to Safety
by Wallace Stegner

The Childhood of Jesus
by J. M. Coetzee

To Name Those Lost
by Rohan Wilson

The Blood of Heaven
by Kent Wascom

A Possible Life
by Sebastian Faulks

Alone in Berlin
by Hans Fallada

The Story of a New Name
by Elena Ferrante

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend
by Elena Ferrante

Troubling Love
by Elena Ferrante

Half of a Yellow Sun
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Paradise Reclaimed
by Halldor Laxness

This War Never Ends: The Pain of Separation and Return
by Michael McKernan

Moscow, 1937
by Karl Schlogel

The First Man
by Albert Camus

An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter
by Cesar Aira

Living to Tell the Tale
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The River Swimmer
by Jim Harrison

Long, Last, Happy: New and Collected Stories
by Barry Hannah

Sanctuary
by William Faulkner

The Virgin and The Gipsy & Other Stories
by D. H. Lawrence

Sons and Lovers
by D. H. Lawrence

A Burnt-out Case
by Graham Greene

A Life Like Other People’s
by Alan Bennett

Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying – the Secret WWII Transcripts of German POWs
by Sonke Neitzel

Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East
by Reza Aslan

The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Belomor
by Nicolas Rothwell

Sandakan: The Untold Story of the Sandakan Death Marches
by Paul Ham

Fallen Land
by Patrick Flanery

Submergence
by J. M. Ledgard

The Accidental
by Ali Smith

A Meal in Winter
by Hubert Mingarelli

the-narrow-road-to-the-deep-northThe Narrow Road to the Deep North

Winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize

by Richard Flanagan

A novel of the cruelty of war, and tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.

August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier.

Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.

This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.

Grab a copy of Richard Flanagan’s award-winning
The Narrow Road to the Deep North here

Two big prize announcements from Booktopia’s Summer of Cricket!

Cricket_ball_on_grassWe don’t like cricket.

No.

We love it.

And it seems plenty of Booktopians do as well. We had a huge response to a couple of big competitions we’ve been running to celebrate the summer of cricket.

A beautiful limited edition of Adam Gilchrist’s memoir and a brand spanking new Kaboom cricket bat signed by Australia’s master blaster David Warner! But the big question is, are you a winner?


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We had a signed leatherbound limited edition of  Adam Gilchrist: The Man. The Cricketer. The Legend. in celebration of the 17 centuries Adam made at test level, to give away. All you had to do to enter was order a copy of Adam Gilchrist: The Man. The Cricketer. The Legend.

And the lucky winner is…

A.Hinze, Buderim, QLD


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We had a Gray-Nicolls bat signed by David Warner, to give away. Worth $249.99!  All you had to do to enter was order a book from The Kaboom Kid series.

And the lucky winner is…

J.Davidson, Quinns Rocks, WA


Congratulations to the winners!
Not a winner? Don’t worry, we have plenty more prizes to giveaway! Check them out here.
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Did you buy a book from our Holiday Haven Collection? You might have won a book pack worth $415!

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During December and January we threw some of our favourite holiday reads together to make our Holiday Haven. You could find thousands of books handpicked for our sections:

New Year, New You
Beach Reads
Australia Wide
Summer Reading
Boredom Busters
Back to School

And if you ordered anything in our Holiday Haven range, you went into the draw to win a book pack worth $415! Are you the winner? Find out below……


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And the lucky winner of a book pack is…

H.Toohey, Kinross, WA


Congratulations to the winner!
Not a winner? Don’t worry, we have plenty more prizes to giveaway! Check them out here.
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