Tanya Saad reflects on her extraordinary new memoir From the Feet Up

9781743566770When we are teenagers we dream of being many things. I dreamt of writing today’s classic women’s novel just like Jo March in Little Women by Louise May Alcott.

Life was an adventure for my two sisters and I growing up in a country town with a Lebanese heritage. And like the March sisters, despite growing up in the same household we experienced very different childhoods and have gone on to lead very different lives.

It just so happened that the profound moments in my life were about discovering one thing – who we are and what it means to be a woman – be it as a Lebanese woman, an athlete, a proud gay woman and one of two sisters in my family that carried the BRCA 1 breast and ovarian cancer gene fault.

Thanks to this common thread of family life experiences, at the age of thirty five I found the story I wanted to tell and share.

My Memoir, From the Feet Up, gives some novel and insightful perspectives on issues confronting today’s women from tackling bullying, exploring our femininity, to how we socially interact with one another and plan or not plan our lives.  It offers some revelations along the way but I also hope its gets women talking to one another, questioning what you would do if you were in my shoes. I love books that do that.

I especially wanted to share my BRCA journey and the life changing decisions I had to make amid my wonderful and entertaining family dynamic, for other women and families out there facing the same or similar challenges. Often I have found a line or two in a book to hold on to and live by that has helped me find my feet and the natural order of my life amidst the chaos and confusion of society and its social constructs. I hope my Memoir will do the same.

Grab a copy of From the Feet Up here

Grab a copy of From the Feet Up here

Charlaine Harris returns with Midnight Crossroad!

image(21)From Charlaine Harris, the bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse and the world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, comes a new, darker world – populated by more strangers than friends. But then, that’s how the locals prefer it?

Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road.

It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town. There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger).

And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal.

Stay awhile, and learn the truth…

Order your copy of Midnight Crossroad here

Congrats to the following lucky Booktopians, winners of advance copies of one of  the biggest novels of 2014!

Belinda Cunningham, Myra Smedley, Barbara Shepherd, Cate Povey, Leonie Tuit, Leisa Steele, Melanie Lalewicz, Billy Royal Ray, Caroline Gunnulson, Lynette Dawson

Winners, please email us at promos@booktopia.com.au with your details!

Emma Watson to star in film adaptation of upcoming fantasy novel The Queen of the Tearling

Have you heard of The Queen of the Tearling?

No? Neither had I. In fact, it hasn’t even been published yet. But Emma Watson has heard of it. And so has the producer of the Harry Potter films, David Heyman. They were both given the manuscript to read.

“I had kind of said I would never do a franchise again, so I was desperate to hate it,” Watson said in an interview with Wonderland magazine this month.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep for about a week because I couldn’t put the bloody thing down. It would be fair to say I became obsessed with the role and the book. Now I am executive-producing it.”

Watson has previously made it clear she will only dedicate herself to films with a strong script, so we can only assume that The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, has a remarkable narrative, honest characters and is extremely addictive. Particularly since she signed on nearly a year in advance.

As stated on her website, “In terms of the type of parts I am drawn to, I need to be interested in the role, and who I would be working with.”

Emma WatsonThat being said, we now know why David Hayman approached Emma Watson about the film and why she agreed. It takes a special someone to see the greatness of a book, or seven. David Heyman saw something so special with the Harry Potter series that he wanted to bring them to the big screen, and it didn’t disappoint.

In an interview with Yahoo.com Emma Watson nails the character quality of the protagonist Kelsea Glynn, and why The Queen on the Tearling by Erika Johansen, is not only the next big blockbuster, but it could be THE fiction debut of 2014.

“I play all sorts of different types of characters and no one is perfect. I would hate to play a sort of nauseatingly perfect person as well. You want to play someone that you feel is relatable and real and who makes mistakes and has fears and doubts, insecurities.”

This is a book for lovers of Game of Thrones and, because of its strong female lead, lovers of The Hunger Games too. While set in a time three centuries ahead of us, it has all the hallmarks of compelling historical fiction, and initially feels very much like it’s set in medieval times. Ruled by the cruel and vicious Red Queen, there are only two levels of society, and you can guess which one benefits from the medieval systems in place.

The book’s genre will be listed as fantasy, but it really should be in the women-are-really-kicking-butt-at-the-moment category, which keeps getting bigger. Just look at Emma Watson!


Hayley Shephard is contributor to The Booktopia Blog and loves reading about history, fantasy and hot men (with big big muscles).

Australia’s Hannah Kent and Evie Wyld join Donna Tartt, Eleanor Catton and more in 2014 Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist

FictionThe longlist for the 2014 Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction is here, a list of incredible books by some extraordinary talents. This year’s longlist is perhaps the finest the Women’s Prize has put forward in its history. I really can’t recommend each book highly enough.

Australia’s Hannah Kent and Evie Wyld have thrust themselves into a stellar field with literary heavyweights Donna Tartt, Margaret Atwood and Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton. Former winners Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Suzanne Berne also feature alongside Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things and Man Booker shortlisted The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Announcing the 20 novels, chair of judges Helen Fraser said the judging panel was “really proud of the list”.

She said: “There was a real feeling there was immense talent and depth in the list. I think there is a lovely mixture of new authors and those at the top of their form.”

Australia’s Hannah Kent

Fraser, who read an amazing 158 novels in her role as chair of the judging panel, said the number of debut novels was not the only significant thing about the list. “We have got six debuts, and seven second novels. As a former editor, I know how difficult the second novel can be, so it’s nice to know seven writers have cracked it.”

Fraser said: “There are always more books that you like and want to squeeze in.”

The judging panel, which also includes Mary Beard, Denise Mina, Caitlin Moran and Sophie Raworth, is due to meet on March 25th to decide on the shortlist of six novels, which will be announced on April 7th.

The winner will be announced on June 4th.

The 2014 Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist

americanahAmericanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. Ifemelu – beautiful, self-assured-departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home… Read More

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood

From one of the world’s most brilliant and exciting writers comes a new novel of astonishing power; the final novel in her dystopian trilogy.

Told with wit, dizzying imagination, dark humour and a breathtaking command of language, Booker-prize-winning Margaret Atwood’s unpredictable and chilling Maddaddam takes us into a carefully-crafted dystopian world and holds up a mirror to… Read More

The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne

The Dogs of Littlefield is a wry exploration of the discontent concealed behind the manicured lawns and picket fences of darkest suburbia.

Littlefield, Massachusetts, named one of the Ten Best Places to Live in America, full of psychologists and college professors, is proud of its fine schools, its girls’ soccer teams, its leafy streets and quaint village centre. Yet no sooner has… Read More

The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto

Fatima Bhutto’s stunning debut begins and ends one rain swept Friday morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border.

Three brothers meet for breakfast. Soon after, the eldest, recently returned from America, hails a taxi to the local mosque. The second, a doctor, goes to check in at his hospital. His troubled wife does not join the family that morning. No one knows where Mina… Read More

The Bear by Claire Cameron

Anna is five. Her little brother, Stick, is almost three. They are camping with their parents in Algonquin Park, in three thousand square miles of wilderness. It’s the perfect family trip. But then Anna awakes in the night to the sound of something moving in the shadows. Her father is terrified. Her mother is screaming. Then, silence… Read More

Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter

A stunning debut novel – unexpected, tautly written, suspenseful – that touches on some of the most profound questions we have about war as it tells us a haunting story of a single mother, and her son, a member of the US Special Operations Forces.

Eleven Days is, at its heart, the story of a mother and a son. It begins in May 2011: Sara’s son Jason has been missing for nine days… Read More

The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter

India. 1837. William Avery, a fresh young officer in the East India Company, arrives in Calcutta expecting to be seduced by its ancient traditions. Nine months later he hasn’t learnt a word of Hindoostani, is in terrible debt, and longs to return home before the cholera epidemic finishes him off.

A few months earlier, so rumour has it, the infamous and disgraced poet Xavier Mountstuart leaves Calcutta in order to… Read More

the-luminariesThe Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The astonishing and epic second novel from the prize-winning author of The Rehearsal – a sure contender for every major literary prize.

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes… Read More

Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies

Pearl can be very, very good. More often she is very, very bad. But she’s just a child, a mystery to all who know her. A little girl who has her own secret reasons for escaping to the nearby woods. What might those reasons be? And how can she feel so at home in the dark, sinister, sensual woods, a wonder of secrets and mystery… Read More

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things is a big novel, about a big century. It soars across the globe from London, to Peru, to Philadelphia, to Tahiti, to Amsterdam. Peopled with extraordinary characters – missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses and the quite mad – most of all it has an unforgettable heroine in Alma Whittaker, a woman of the Enlightened Age who stands defiantly on the cusp of the modern… Read More

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men.  Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids… Read More

the-flamethrowersThe Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

An extraordinarily ambitious big American novel about a young artist and the worlds she encounters in New York and Rome in the mid-1970s – by turns underground, elite, dangerous. In 1977 the city is alive with art, sensuality and danger. She falls in with a bohemian clique colonising downtown and the lines between reality and performance begin to bleed… Read More

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Epic in its canvas and intimate in its portrayal of lives undone and forged anew, The Lowland is a deeply felt novel of family ties that entangle and fray in ways unforeseen and unrevealed, of ties that ineluctably define who we are. With all the hallmarks of Jhumpa Lahiri’s achingly poignant, exquisitely empathetic story-telling, this is her most devastating work of fiction to date… Read More

The Undertaking by Audrey Magee

A stunning, riveting debut novel in the tradition of Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader and Rachel Seiffert’s The Dark Room, The Undertaking shines an intense light on history and illuminates the lives of those caught up in one of its darkest chapters… Read More

A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

To read A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing is to plunge inside its narrator’s head, experiencing her world first-hand. This isn’t always comfortable – but it is always a revelation.

Touching on everything from family violence to sexuality and the personal struggle to remain intact in times of intense trauma, McBride writes with singular intensity, acute sensitivity and mordant wit. A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing is moving, funny – and alarming. It is a book… Read More

almost-englishAlmost English by Charlotte Mendelson

This is the extraordinary new novel from the Orange Prize shortlisted author of When We Were Bad. In a tiny flat in West London, sixteen-year-old Marina lives with her emotionally delicate mother, Laura, and three ancient Hungarian relatives. Imprisoned by her family’s crushing expectations and their fierce unEnglish pride, by their strange traditions and stranger food… Read More

Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined… Read More

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a legal aid attorney who idolises Jim, has always… Read More

the-goldfinchThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph – a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate… Read More

All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

Set between Australia and a remote English island, All the Birds, Singing is the story of one how one woman’s present comes from a terrible past. It is the second novel from the award-winning author of After the Fire, A Still Small Voice.

Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It’s just her, her untamed… Read More

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Sarah Wilson chats to John Purcell about her new book I Quit Sugar for Life

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar for Life here

I Quit Sugar for Life

by Sarah Wilson

Quitting sugar is not a diet. Quitting sugar is a way of living without processed food and eating like our great-grandparents used to before the crap.

With her bestselling book, I Quit Sugar, Sarah Wilson helped tens of thousands of Australians to kick the habit. In I Quit Sugar for Life, Sarah shows you how to be sugar-free forever. Drawing on extensive research and her own tried and tested methods, Sarah has designed a program to help families and singles:

  • banish cravings by eating good fats and protein
  • deal with lapses
  • maximise nutrition with vegies
  • exercise less for better results
  • detox safely make sustainable food choices
  • cook sugar-free: 128 desserts, cakes, kids’ stuff, comfort dinners and tote-able breakfast and lunches

I Quit Sugar for Life is not just about kicking a habit it; it’s a complete wellness philosophy for your healthiest, calmest, happiest self.

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar for Life here

About the Author

Sarah Wilson is an Australian media personality, journalist and blogger. She’s the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and was one of the hosts of the first series of MasterChef Australia, the highest rating show in Australian TV history.

She’s now the host and program developer for Foxtel’s Lifestyle YOU, and is a commentator and fill-in host on Channel 7′s Sunday Night, The Morning Show and Sunrise and The Project.

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar for Life here

Haven’t even started quitting sugar yet?

Come on now, back to the start for you…

I Quit Sugar

by Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson was a self-confessed sugar addict, eating over 30 teaspoons of sugar every day. She’d developed mood disorders, a weight issue, sleep problems and an overactive thyroid. She knew she had to make a change. In January 2011, she decided to quit sugar. What started as an experiment soon became a way of life, and she hasn’t looked back since.

This book outlines the dangers of sugar, provides a step-by-step guide to kicking the habit, and provides 80 delicious sugar-free recipes. Packed with great advice, fun tips, personal stories and gorgeous photography, this is a sensible, simple and accessible guide to losing weight and getting well.

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar here

REVIEW: A Million Ways to Die in the West by Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy and Ted (Review by Elizabeth Earl)

To start with, this was not what I expected. The name Seth MacFarlane brings to mind surreal, boundary-breaking, explicit, black humour. It’s the stuff you know you really shouldn’t laugh at, but you can’t help when you do.

I was expecting something really funny, and extremely inappropriate. Instead, I got a comic love story set in the wild west, kinda Cohen brothersesque. And… I liked it.

The story centres on Albert Stark, a cowardly and decidedly unhappy sheep farmer who has just been dumped by his girlfriend, and Anna, a beautiful, smart and self-assured woman – with a merciless gunslinger for a husband. Anna befriends Albert after a moment of uncharacteristic heroism where he rescues her from a bar brawl, and in a desperate attempt to win back the love of his life, Albert challenges his ex-girlfriend’s new beau to a duel- one that he can’t possibly win, without Anna’s help.

This is a story about a man who was born in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Everything in the west disagrees with him, and his general ineptitude and distaste for the brutality of the west makes him all the more endearing. The characters are well-rounded and likeable- in particular Anna, who is just the right mix of sweetness and fortitude.

A word of warning though, do not go into this book expecting Family Guy in the wild west, which would be great, Seth- if you’ve got time, but this is its own kind of great. A Million Ways to Die in the West is very funny, with the patented black, deadpan humour and cynicism MacFarlane is known for, but there’s more here than comedy for comedy’s sake. Get in before the film comes out, you won’t be disappointed.

Review by Elizabeth Earl

Grab a copy of Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West here

Our End of Summer Sale Is Now On – All Our Bestsellers From Summer at Huge Discounts

So we have a Sale on now that I’m very, very excited about. A Sale where we’ve discounted only the best of the best, our biggest bestsellers from the summer. And this morning we’ve decided to make it even bigger.

This morning we’ve put prices down even further, with some massive books at half price and then some.

Love Matthew Reilly? You can pick up a copy of (in my opinion, easily his best book) The Tournament for just $19.95, that’s 50% off!

Love To Cook? Pick up my favourite cookbook of last year Delicious: Love to Cook for just $19.95, that’s half price as well!

Maybe you want a copy of Ricky Ponting’s memoir? Believe me, it’s very good, the man can write. It’s a lazy 52% off at just $23.95!

Now I know what you’re thinking. You want something really special. Maybe as a gift for someone? Did you know that we have a special edition of John Grisham’s Sycamore Row (the acclaimed follow up to A Time To Kill), an edition so special only 5000 will ever be printed around the world! You can have that for 56% off the RRP!

And there’s loads more amazing books at prices that, quite frankly, we might get in trouble for having so low. But we just get a little carried away sometimes.

Our End of Summer Sale ends on Saturday, so don’t miss your chance to grab the best books of summer at prices you won’t find anywhere else.

Check out all the books in our End of Summer Sale here

REVIEW: A Mad and Wonderful Thing by Mark Mulholland (Review by Caroline Baum)

‘You wouldn’t get involved, Johnny, would you? What about those terrible bombs? You wouldn’t do a bad thing, would you?’

Remember that phrase from Jerry McGuire ‘You had me at hello’?

Well, this book did that. It reeks of Irish charm, without laying on Oirish cliché.

Intense and unashamedly passionate and romantic, this is the story of Johnny Donnelly, a young man blessed with charisma and charm, beloved by all who know him.

He falls hard for the beautiful Cora Flannery but keeps a secret from her: in his other life, he is an IRA sniper, shooting British soldiers. When tragedy strikes, Johnny has to choose his loyalties and find a new way to love his country.

Written with playful, light and poetic language that embraces music, a proud history, a beloved and wild landscape and the country’s darker torment, the novel shifts mood effortlessly from tragedy to love story as swiftly as the Irish weather.

It tackles the great moral paradox of its central character with deftness and sensitivity and changes gear, ramping up the drama to an unexpected thriller-style climax.

A sparkling debut that celebrates the vitality, resilience and humanity of Ireland.

Grab a copy of A Mad and Wonderful Thing here

Congrats to the following lucky Booktopians, winners of advance copies of this Mad and Wonderful novel

Amanda Barrett
Sarina Weyland
Daniel Claxton
Janelle Kirk
Judy Goodson

Winners, please email us at promos@booktopia.com.au with your details!

Book Trailer of the Week – Half Bad by Sally Green!

This week’s Book Trailer of the Week goes to Half Bad by Sally Green.

Intense, mysterious, gripping, our own Sarah McDuling reviewed Half Bad recently and absolutely loved it, saying that, despite her “ridiculously high expectations, Half Bad did not disappoint.”

Could Half Bad be the next Harry Potter? The next Hunger Games?

Order your copy today and find out.

Grab a copy a Sally Green’s Half Bad here

Grab a copy a Sally Green’s Half Bad here


Storyteller by Zoe Daniel: A Foreign Correspondent’s Memoir Like No Other

“Only a few weeks ago I was a stay-at-home mum. What am I doing? But there’s no time for reconsideration now. My brain snaps into action and so does my mouth. “Flak jackets, helmets, gas masks – everyone, now!”

Zoe Daniel is the ABC’s South-East Asia correspondent, based in Bangkok with her husband and young family. She reports on nine countries across Southeast Asia filing copy and stories for TV, radio, online and social media.

She was the Africa correspondent from 2005 until 2007 and spent 2009 covering the Khmer Rouge war crimes trials from Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

Zoe’s frank and brave memoir, Storyteller, deals with the effects of her work (with its stresses and its constant travel) on her marriage, with the physical and psychological effects of a dangerous, confronting job, and the difficulty of slipping back into her ‘regular’ life after witnessing deeply disturbing events.

This is also the story of a mum and the universal juggle of career and family, as much as it is a foreign correspondent’s memoir.

About the Author

Zoe Daniel is one of only a few mothers to be appointed as an ABC correspondent; her memoir documents how she has managed to work as a correspondent, settle her family into a new country, and be a mother to her two children – as well as providing a fascinating insight into the politics and history of South East Asia.

Grab a copy of Zoe Daniel’s Storyteller here


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