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Robina’s Really Rad Reviews!

 

Our Robina team have hand-picked some really rad reads for a great day at the beach! (or relaxing in your pyjamas!)

 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson:

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a fantastic book if you want a down-to-earth, no punches pulled approach to leading a good life. Mark Manson has written a hilarious and insightful book into the BS people tell themselves to get by in life and how in our materialistic world we care too much for inconsequential people and things instead of prioritising the things that matter. Manson also writes about how we need to stop deluding ourselves into believing our lives should be happy all day, every day instead of accepting the terrible situations we find ourselves in and taking responsibility for our own choices. This book was a great laugh but also made me realise that I can't stand in front of a mirror and tell myself that I am happy. I have to persevere through the hard times and discover true happiness when those hard times are dealt with instead of ignoring them or blaming others. Read this if you want a great motivational book without all the fluff! - Chelsea

The Book Seat:

I've bought two Book Seats so far as presents. One was for my Dad to use after an abdominal operation made reading uncomfortable. Never thought I'd see a sixty-something man willing to use it, but now he wouldn't read without it! The other was for my teenage daughter who fell in love with the new range of colours we recently received. Finally she could get her own to match her room's decor! And I'm a happy Mum knowing she's using it not only to read her favourite books but also for using with her iPad and tablet. - Angela
This product is only available in store. Please see your local store for available colours.

1666- Plague, War and Hellfire by Rebecca Rideal:

England would never be the same after the years 1665-66. Terror and fear came to the island; ongoing war with the Dutch, the Black Death (which killed 68,596 in London alone), and the huge conflagration that destroyed much of the medieval city. Superstition, prejudice, fear of foreigners and invasion reigned. An eloquently written account and anyone interested in British history should read this book. I learnt a lot from it and thoroughly enjoyed it. - Maxine

Blood Meridian by Cormack McCarthy:

Cormack McCarthy's Blood Meridian depicts a more real, less romanticised view of the American west in the 1850s. It is a world with no room for heroes; only men and women who do what they have to do to get by in a world so bankrupt of any morality. The plot follows the Glanton Gang who collect scalps from native americans for bounty and sometimes for pleasure. The amount of sheer violence and lechery of the Glanton Gang can sometimes become a bit too morbid but the narration is written so masterfully it creates a compulsion to continue exploring the juxtaposition of heinous imagery never before told with such beautiful prose. This is the perfect book for anybody who is sick and tired of stories with fake cowboy mythology and camp western tropes. - Elliott

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami:

I can never forget this book, and in Murakami style, it leaves you feeling wonderfully eerie long after you have put it down. This story is about Toru, who welcomes you to delve into his embarrassing and honest thoughts, dreams and strange conversation with all the new people he meets. There are also many interesting parallels and paradoxes he finds himself in, in fact, you will find that Toru himself is both a very ordinary and extraordinary man. I hope the pinnacle moments he shares make you feel something--if it may either be the fright of the unknown or the inspiration to do something others may perceive as completely insane. The thing I hope the most, though, is that you find yourself in that insanity, the way Toru has. - Dana

The Messenger by Markus Zusak:

Written in such a compelling and capturing sense, The Messenger by Markus Zusak will leave readers on the edge of their seat as it follows Ed Kennedy, a card-playing, 19 year old under-age cab driver trying to make a living. Might seem pretty ordinary right? Just a teenager trying to survive the big world. After Ed stops a bank heist in which he is a held hostage in, Ed life turns completely upside down. Playing cards are delivered to his house with dangerous yet society aiding tasks in which he must complete. With the help of his friends, Ed plays with the law in order to complete these tasks successfully and without getting caught. Readers will enjoy the fast paced mystery of; Who is creating the tasks?, Why are the tasks being created? And Why is Ed Kennedy the one receiving these tasks?. Zusak his written this novel in such a way that cannot be put down, it leaves readers wanting answers and reason to these questions. Even if you are fanatic fantasy reader or a dedicated biography reader, The Messenger is sure to keep you captivated and reading for hours on end. - Jade

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang:

A novel written about a girl, Liz Emerson, who's life was supposed to be perfect, but of course, was only perfect in everyone else eyes. She was seen as your typical popular high school teen who was 'loved' but at the same time envied by every student. She partied every week, had a boyfriend everyone wanted and was spoiled. Till one day she decided to test the laws of motion she had learnt in physics class by purposefully driving her car off the road, but why would she do it? After all her life was perfect, right? This story delves into how Liz Emerson truly felt about the way her life was and how she wish it were to be. But it doesn't stop there, after her accident a mystery narrator is thrown into the plot as he's someone who was watching from afar and never really talked to Liz, but may have been the only one who really understood her. Throughout the novel you get to understand her friends and family characters and how the accident impacted them as well as flashing back to all the little things that lead Liz to this decision. Amy Zhang has you rethinking all of your life decisions all the while tears and frustration are evident on your face throughout the read. - Kate

Each week a new store goes under our QBD Spotlight!
Keep an eye out for your favourite QBD team!

QBD Cairns’ Warming Winter Reads

 

These hot titles, hand selected by QBD Cairns, are perfect to keep you warm on a cold winter's night!

 

IT by Stephen King:

"Beware Balloons! While your at "IT" run from Clowns, truly if you see one. Run, run away."
This is what I remember from Stephen Kings brilliant horror book IT many years ago.
Now reading IT once more in preparation for the upcoming movie release all the terror and chills have come swarming back.

This is a classic story about the growing pains of a close group of nerdy misfits. So IT should be a very moving tale, full of quirky misadventures etc. But then this is Stephen King's take on life in the small town of Derry. You will never look at clowns and balloons the same way ever, ever again. Read this one late at night with only a candle for light or better yet try reading IT at the Circus.

Clowns how I love them! - Steve

Weber's Barbecue Bible

This book's title totally encapsulates the essence of this cookbook. It truly is biblical in barbecue scope. If there is only 1 book I would recommend for novices or experts alike on the techniques on barbecuing, this would be it. Hands down. Not only does the author cover the expected topics, such as hamburgers, kebabs and the like, he includes more advanced (but very well described with accompanying pictures) meals. This really is a 1 stop shop for all things related to the barbecue from beginner to advanced. My highest recommendation. - Glen

Spice and Wolf Manga Vol.2 by Isuna Hasekura & Keito Koume & Paul Starr & Terri Delgado:

Spice and Wolf's graphic novel is actually the 3rd in a long line of adaptations for Isuna Hasekura's Spice and Wolf novella series. Each adaptation has been transformed on a new medium, from book to animated series to graphic novel. As this is the third time it's been adapted it does feel like elements of the story have been rushed due the fact that it almost recognizes that the audience has most likely seen or read the story and is buying this just for the novelty factor of it being in comic format. However that's not to say that it's not great, it still offers the same amazing story about two travelers delving into the life of a medieval era merchant gambling with economics. The fact that it's in manga format means that the twists of the story pop with a page turn in a way that a book or a TV series can't.

The manga series also has the advantage of being able to spend much more time on it's artwork compared to an animated series due to the fact that animated series have to
simplify the designs in order for it to be drawn efficiently for each frame. Volume Two also feels like it has come into it's own far better than the first and the story is less rushed.
Therefore I award Spice and Wolf Vol. 2 with a score of 3.5 stars. - Lachlan

Taco Loco! by Jonas Cramby:

You had me at Taco. Taco Loco! Is exactly as the title states, a book thats crazy about Taco's and all things Mexican. The vibrant pictures that Jonas Cramby has incorporated makes you feel like you're walking through the streets of Mexico, sampling the delicious food that is on display. Learn how to prepare margaritas, micheladas, churros and salsas... but watch out, they've got bite! - Nadine

Deliciously Ella Every Day by Ella Woodward:

Deliciously Ella Every Day is an excellent companion to Ella Woodward's first book Deliciously Ella, with more simple and delectable recipes to enjoy. This book is a wonderful resource in the kitchen for all food lovers, but is particularly helpful to those on a gluten-free or plant-based (dairy, egg & meat free) diet. Her recipes are rich and wholesome, and what I particularly enjoy about them is that they are created using simple, everyday ingredients, and are quick to prepare and cook. If you are looking for something healthy, wholesome, and delicious, you can't go past Deliciously Ella Every Day. Bon Appetit! - Kirstie

The Help by Kathryn Stockett:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett focuses on the injustices faced by African American's in the 60's. Set in Mississippi during times of immense change and embedded racial hatred, this novel throws the reader into a different world with first hand accounts of the fear and hate experienced during this time.
The novel follows the journey of an aspiring white woman who wants a career in journalism and two African-American maids who are ready for change! Thus a collaborative project form, and with the assistance of the 'coloured' help, they manage to publish a book that creates upheaval and lights the spark for change.
From the beginning to the end you are intrigued by the characters and their stories. You experience the acceptance and change that occurs as a result of people who stand up for what they believe in. A terrific book that ties in history and a great message- Stand up for what you believe in! - Selena

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins:

Impressive from the very first page, Paula Hawkins knows how to write a good mystery and her second novel Into The Water is nothing short of extraordinary. Mixing modern day drama with historical suspense, follow the residents of Beckford as they try to piece together their shattered community after two deaths in the local "Drowning Pool". While Katie was young and innocent, Nel was mature and provocative. So how did both of these women, with seemingly little in common, lose their lives in the Drowning Pool, and why? Why are their names now added to those of the Beckford Sister's, a name given to all the troublesome women who have met similar ends in this small community? - Erin (Store Manager)

Each week a new store is featured on the QBD Blog.
Keep your eye out for your local team!

Spotlight on QBD Knox

Our Spotlight is shining on the QBD Knox team this week
and all their wonderful reading suggestions!

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss:

Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind is a MUST read for any fantasy fan. A magnificent start to one of the best fantasy series I have ever read! It tells the story of Kvothe, a man from humble beginnings who has become a legend in his own lifetime. From travelling with a troupe of musical performers to surviving as an orphan in a crime-riddled city to entering an esteemed school of magic, the story of Kvothe's adventures are filled with mystery, action, tragedy and romance. The story is presented in first person perspective as Kvothe, now living in hiding as 'Kote' who is retelling his life story to a travelling scribe. This gives you glimpses into the state of the world in the present which is intermingled with Kvothe's past , presenting an intricately layered story that keeps an air of mystery surrounding the overall plot. Quite a long read at over 700 pages, but this one had me getting to the end too quickly and wanting more! The second book The Wise Man's Fear is just as good and has me biting my fingernails while I wait for the final book in the trilogy to be released. Perfect for any fans of Robert Jordan or Brandon Sanderson! - Mitch

How To Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by Matthew Inman:

This book answers the true question in life- “Is my cat plotting to kill me?”.
How To Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You perfectly captures the cynical and evil nature of cats and teaches us that your cat isn't just a fluffy hot water bottle you keep on your lap.
Matt Inman's humorous comics perfectly capture cats plans to obtain world domination.
Whilst they look cute, Inman artfully suggest that your favourite feline friend bringing home a dead animal isn't for trophy purposes, but as a warning of what's to come.
Similarly, getting litter all over the floor isn't just your cat being messy, but instead is a sign your cat is practicing to bury you.
These vibrant cartoons will make you question your cats every move and are very reminiscent of Garfield comics.
This book is a must read for all cat lovers, cat haters and cat enthusiasts at large. I would also highly suggest you buy a copy for your dog so he can learn how to combat the family cat.
- Maddie

A Rose For The Anzac Boys by Jackie French:

A Rose for the ANZAC Boys has made it's way into my Top 10!! Another thoroughly researched book from the amazing storyteller Jackie French.
Set in WW1 this story is about 3 siblings, desperate to sign up to see the world & dreaming of adventure. Little did they know of the dreadful outcome that their naive decisions would hold for them.
You are taken to the deep muddy trenches of France and Gallipoli and experience all the plights of what war really entailed through letters from Midge, Ethel, Anne and the ANZACS.
Great for Young Adults (& Old Adults) who would like an insight into what the men & woman had to cope with when their dreams of excitement turned out to be horrific nightmares.- Tracey

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld:

Uglies is a young adult book by one of my favourite authors. It's set in a world where beauty standards have become so warped that each person undergoes extensive plastic surgery at the age of sixteen, transitioning them from 'uglies' to 'pretties'. But there's something sinister behind all that beauty; those who undergo the transition seem to become different people altogether. When her strange friend runs away, Tally's world is turned upside down as she's sent to retrieve the girl if she ever wants to be 'pretty'.
Scott Westerfeld has created an amazing dystopian world which makes the reader question their own ideals of beauty and of the current world at large. Just how much people are willing to sacrifice to be pretty – and is it all really worth it?
I felt like the book had a great body positivity vibe and really enjoyed exploring the world further in its sequels. - Lana

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas:

The Throne of glass series written by Sarah J Maas has quickly become one of my favorite series that I have read to date. It is packed full of twists and turns, each chapter leaving you not wanting...but needing more.
It is a young adult, fantasy read that follows the journey of Celaena Sardothien, a teenage assassin stuck in a corrupted kingdom. As her journey unfolds, we are introduduced to various characters, kingdoms, and supernatural worlds that all slowly begin to collide and pave the way for Celaena Sardothien to eventually embrace her fate.
Sarah J Maas is constantly leaving me in awe of her ability to write such a thrilling and engaging story, with the characters progessively developing; along with their relationships with one another. She is always planting little seeds that, at the time, seem irrelevant, but as the story continues and bombshell after bombshell is dropped, you find every little detail is crucial.
I highly recommend this series for readers who have as much spare time as possible, because you will need it. You cant put these books down. - Cassie

Each week our QBD Spotlight shines on another store.
Keep your eye out for your local team!

These are a few of our favourite things…

This week our Tea Tree Plaza team feature their favourite books under our Spotlight!
Is your favourite here?

A Dog's Purpose by W B Cameron:

Toby the dog begins life as a stray born on the streets with his family. Only for them to be picked up and taken to a dog shelter run by a caring lady called Senora.
Unfortunately the shelter is unlicensed and Senora gets arrested leaving all the dogs to be taken to the local pound. Sadly to be later put to sleep.
To his amazement Toby is reborn in a puppy mill as a beautiful Golden Retriever named Bailey. One day Bailey escapes & is picked up and left to die in a hot vehicle. He is rescued by a lady just in time who takes him home to her family and introduces him to her 8year old son named Ethan. Bailey and Ethan become best friends as they spend many happy years hanging out, playing games and going on adventures.
His next incarnation is as a female German Shepherd called Ellie. Whose purpose is as a police search and rescue dog which she loves doing until one day she is injured.
Finally we see his real purpose become clear as he finds himself reborn as a black Labrador called Buddy.
This book is written through a dog's eyes and will make you smile, laugh and cry as we see every dog really does have a purpose in life, not just to love and protect their humans.
If you have ever loved a dog this is a must read of the true unconditional love that they give. - Julie

The Fabulous Friend Machine by Nick Bland:

Nick Bland who you are probably more familiar with from his Cranky Bear series has captured the modern day “stranger danger” for toddlers and all ages exceptionally well.
A chicken affectionately called Popcorn ventures into the world of “online” and we follow her footsteps as she learns that not all “friends” are true. A easy tool for parents to start the conversation about online awareness and still have a chuckle about why that chicken did cross the road.
Delightfully illustrated and well thought out with lessons for all of us. - Melanie

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf:

Written almost a century ago, the relevance of Woolf's essay in 2017 is remarkable. A short and empowering read, this book highlights the struggles of women in pursuing education and the arts, as Woolf examines the history of social and legal obstacles women faced leading up to her own experience studying in a university. Looking at the limitations placed on women throughout history she encourages the modern woman to embrace every opportunity available to them now, and use them to follow their passions to honour the women who couldn't.
I'd definitely recommend this read to any fans of modern feminist writers such as: Roxane Gay, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, and Clementine Ford. - Kirsty

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski:

The Last Wish is the prequel to the book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski that spawned one of the most loved and immersive fantasy game series in the world, The Witcher. As those already familiar with the game would know, the Witcher Saga follows Geralt of Rivia, a white-haired monster slayer, better known in this world and in the books namesake as a Witcher. The books are set during a turmoil political period on the Continent, where Geralt, who once fought monsters for coin, finds himself increasingly dragged into the issues of the warring kingdoms of the Continent; as those in positions of power find themselves wanting his Witcher Senses at their disposal. The Last Wish however is a series of short stories, each chapter broken up by a more continuous plot that helps set up the world, with each chapter regaling us with some of Geralt’s most famous exploits and giving us backstory on how he met some of the colourful…or dark characters that become regular fixtures throughout the series. I found myself completely immersed in Andrzej world, with touches of European and polish mythology that can be outright horrifying, and political plots that rival that of George R. R. Martin it is a series that all fans with an interest in medieval European fantasy should find themselves devouring, and to those who have played the games I hardly need to make an argument to you other than you will discover why CD Projekt Red decided to turn this dark but immersive world into a video game. I recommend this book and its subsequent series for fans of authors such as Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, George R. R. Martin, and of course Tolkien. - Ashley

Reviewsday: A Court of Wings and Ruin

Sarah J Maas is back with the amazing third instalment in the Court of Thorns and Roses series, A Court of Wings and Ruin. War looms as Feyre Cursebreaker must decide who is friend and who is foe in a race to stop the destruction of not only Prythian, but the human world as well.

In my not-very-humble opinion, Maas is one of the best fantasy writers out there right now. The world of Prythian is richly imagined and full of complex, evolving, well-drawn characters. Feyre, Rhysand and friends burst into life the moment you open the book, and the world around them teems with magic and wonder. What I enjoy most about Maas’s writing is the way her characters grow, both over the course of each novel and the entire series as well. Feyre began as a frail human girl, starved both of food and of affection; by this book, she’s grown into the commanding High Lady of the Night Court, full of confidence in herself and her abilities, both magic and otherwise. The story itself moves at a cracking pace; even though it’s quite hefty at 400+ pages, it never feels too slow or too wordy.

Three things I loved about ACOWAR:
1. Feyre.
She’s complex, clever, and fearless. Kicks an inordinate amount of ass.
2. The revelation of the Bone Carver’s history.
And by extension the shared history between him and a few other characters (no spoilers!). I’ve always been intrigued by the Bone Carver, and ACOWAR briefly shines a light on the mysterious character.
3. Rhysand.
Just… a total babe.

Three things that drove me crazy:
1. Feyre.
Yes, she was also on the above “things I loved” list. But she made a couple of seriously questionable decisions early on that had me rolling my eyes.
2. Tamlin.
He’s just so different from the Tamlin we met in A Court of Thorns and Roses. His development makes sense story-wise, but I found the whiplash-inducing shift in his character a bit jarring.
3. The Mirror of Ouroboros.
Not the Mirror itself, but the fact that it’s part in the story felt a little glossed-over. I want to know exactly what Feyre saw in the mirror!

All in all, A Court of Wings and Ruin is a really satisfying conclusion to a fantastic series. And Maas has very skilfully managed to resolve the storyline, but also left room to return to Prythian for more adventures – so hopefully we’ll get to see Feyre, Rhysand and their friends again very soon!