Win a signed copy of The Silkworm

Illuminated by a solitary lamp on the corner of the desk, a well rounded man strikes furiously at the keys on an Olivetti creating a cacophony of dull thuds as the arms swing back and forth. Occasionally he pauses to take a sip from the tumbler sitting to his right, or when the lamp starts to flicker. A haze of smoke hangs low in the room, the overflowing ashtry provides substantial proof as to how this might have happened.

He suddenly tears the paper from the platen crushing it in one hand and throwing it aside. Stretching for another leaf of paper he grimaces as he notices the time. 'Five hours', he sighs wiping his brow. Only five hours remained until the deadline. He was cutting it close this time, but unlike other manuscripts he wanted this one to be perfect, he didn't want it to end.

Could this be Robert Galbraith? In 140 characters or less, how would you describe Robert Galbraith? Head over to our Facebook page and write your own description for a chance to win a signed copy of The Silkworm. While you're there don't forget to "Like" us.

Competition Terms and Conditions

OMG New Harry Potter!

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Ever since the books and movies ended all die-hard Harry Potter fans have wondered how his life turned out. Especially because he fought so hard to keep it. Add to that the fact that J.K. Rowling admitted she should have married Hermione off to Harry and you get a whole mass of fan-girl screams (especially out of me!) when a new story comes out.

reviewpicblogThe epilogue at the end of the last movie is a little sneak peak into what all the characters might look like- but J.K. Rowling has now released a new Harry Potter short story authored by everyone's favourite 'reporter' aka gossip columnist Rita Skeeter and Harry Potter's wife, Ginny Weasley (now Ginny Potter). You do need to join the Pottermore website to view the story, but it's worth it!

Taking place at the Quidditch World Cup, Ginny is actually reporting the game but Rita is just dishing all the goss on our favourite characters from the Harry Potter series. Who knows? Maybe a book will come out of it? We can only hope. In the meantime we can check out what sort of man Harry has become and speculate on whether or not there are any more adventures in his future.

Win!

We're so excited to announce our new competition to win a $50 gift voucher! And more $ = more books = more fun!

Simply:

  • Review any product on our site (max 1000 characters)
  • Email your review to reviews@qbd.com.au with your contact details (name, phone number, email address)
  • Winner will be drawn at 2pm on the 1st of August 2014.

Not sure how to write a review or even where to start? Check out our previous blog post for some tips

Some quick tips:
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  • It's best to aim for between 75 and 300 words.
  • Reviews don't have to be favourable but they do need to be squeaky clean- no profanity please!
  • One sentence reviews don't count, e.g. This was a good book.
  • Reviews need to be 1000 characters max.

Continue reading

Reviewing how to review

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If you're a bibliophile like me, then you have a stack of 'just read' books and a whole lot of opinions on them. But if you have already chewed your friends' and family's ears off about how romantic, disappointing, frustrating, or completely awesome a book is, who else can you tell? and how can you tell them? In a book review of course!

If you've never written a book review before it can be a little daunting and a lot confusing, but there is good news- there is no right or wrong way to do it! All you need is an opinion and a keyboard and off you go...

On our website you can review a book by logging in (or joining up!), searching for the product you would like to review, clicking on it to open the product page and then clicking on 'review' underneath the product's picture. It's that easy! If you are feeling shy, you can post your review anonymously.

A few pointers:

♦ Be concise: All good arguments have a beginning, middle and an end. A simple example would be to start with whether or not you liked the book, followed by why (maybe using some examples), and finishing up with whether or not you would recommend it to other readers.

♦ Have a point of view: Book reviews are highly personal persuasive pieces of writing containing a combination of summary and commentary.

♦ No spoilers! Let other people discover the fun bits and major plot twists for themselves

♦ No profanity: We all love to have our say, but please keep it clean.

Some basic things to ponder while developing your review (hopefully you will find them as helpful as I did)

  • Why should/ shouldn't someone read this book?
  • What are it's strengths/ weaknesses?
  • How did the book make you feel? was it interesting, dull, disappointing?

For fiction books: Are the characters enjoyable? ;Are there any major plot twists that keep the reader interested?;  Is the book part of a series? Does the book make you want to read the other titles in the series?

For non-fiction books:  How does this title contribute to it's field? e.g. mathematics, science, engineering; Is the author a leading authority in this subject?

When you're finished and you're happy with it, give it a snappy title and a gold star rating and you're done!

Author Interview With Liz Byrski

We are proud to present an exclusive interview with bestselling author Liz Byrski!

Her new book, Family Secrets, is out now and available at all QBD Bookshops for only $20.99, with free shipping available from the online store.

We'd like to say a huge thank you to Liz for taking the time to share her insights with us and her readers.


QBD: You have a very extensive career in media and have won numerous awards. Where did your passion for words come from?

I always loved reading, and any form of story telling, and used to write my own stories when I should have been doing my homework! I think it may have come from my grandmother who was a great storyteller and used to keep me amused for hours with her own stories. She never wrote anything but she made up wild and often quite blood thirsty tales of princesses, and knights and magicians that enthralled me.

QBD: As a writer in the 1980’s, when there was such a big transition in the media industry as well as the role of women in the workplace, what was the hardest challenge you faced?

The 1980s were a lot easier than the sixties, which was when I started work. By the eighties I’d grown accustomed to the battles involved for a woman who wanted to do something new or different. But all that time really it was the struggle to be taken seriously and having to fight for and defend what you wanted to do that made things so difficult. And of course there was always the work/family balance to juggle with.

QBD: Being a fiction and non-fiction writer, which genre do you find you’re most drawn towards?

From the age of twenty to sixty I only wrote non-fiction, but ten years ago I tried my hand at fiction and I’ve found it incredibly exciting and rewarding. I love writing my novels and the connection it establishes with readers. I’ve written a couple of non-fiction books in the last decade too and going back to non-fiction seemed really hard but very rewarding. I suppose I enjoy a mix of both.

QBD: In 1981 you moved to Australia with your family from England, what inspired this decision?

We’d had some setbacks and a rather unhappy time in England, and my then husband and I decided on a new start. He was offered a job here in Perth and so we came with my two sons.

QBD: With many of your novels set in different parts of Australia and the world, what type of research do you do to choose your setting?

I prefer to use settings that are familiar to me, even if I’ve only visited them once. I find it easier to create an authentic sense of the place if I have seen it for myself. And I draw a lot on places from my past. For example one of the settings in my latest novel Family Secrets, is a small fishing port in northern France, and it’s based on a place where I lived for six months as a teenager. And in this book too, a lot of the places in England, which the characters visit are in the area I lived as a child. And the part set in Tasmania was inspired by a visit there in 2011.

QBD: Your newest novel, Family Secrets (released July 1, 2014), focuses on your resilient character Connie Hawkins and her journey as a widow – where did the inspiration for this character’s strength come from?

During my visit to Tasmania in 2011, I was reading All Passion Spent – a novel by Vita Sackville West, written in the 1930s. It’s about a woman who is in her eighties when her husband dies, and who sets out to reclaim something of the life she once wanted for herself but gave up decades earlier, in order to marry. Despite the difference in time it seemed to be as story with timeless themes. Connie in younger than Lady Slane in Vita Sackville West’s book, and her situation is very different but the inspiration came from All Passion Spent.

QBD: In terms of plot and characters, what was the hardest decision you had to make while writing your latest novel, Family Secrets?

I had a lot of difficulty with viewpoints in this book and ended up with too many. It was really hard to juggle the intersecting voices and storylines and it got rather messy and out of hand. Fortunately I have a terrific editor at Pan Macmillan who suggested keeping all the characters but reducing the number of viewpoints. Once she pointed that out to me it all worked much more effectively.

QBD: As a university lecturer and a mentor for many literature lovers, what advice would you give to those looking at entering the writing world?

Keep trying, keep writing every day and don’t expect it to be easy. Be prepared to draft and redraft, not just once or twice but a dozen or more times until you get it right. And don’t be precious about your work - take advice and listen to criticism, but only from people who know what they’re talking about. Those people are rarely your family or closest friends. Don’t give up!


Here at QBD The Bookshop we tend to call many of our fans ‘book hipsters’, they’ve confessed everything to us from ‘I frequently use random objects as bookmarks and now I don't know which book I've left the electricity bill in’ to ‘as a kid I ran my own book lending business in order to buy new books from profits. Worked great 'til school shut me down’.

QBD: Do you have a book hipster confession you would like to get off your chest?

I never go out without a book in my handbag or in the car in case I get stuck somewhere. I absolutely have to have a book with me - something I really want to read.