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Reviewsday: Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Explosive from the first kindling down to the last ember. Krysten Ritter has a detailed imagination and, in her debut novel, she weaves a mysterious web.

Protagonist Abby Williams returns to her small county hometown of Barrens to investigate a case of corporate pollution in the reservoir. This case burns a little too bright and hits a little too close to home for Abby, and the fire begins to entrance her, leading her on a downward spiral towards the truth. She didn't really come home for the case, she came home in search of her missing school friend turned tormentor- Kaycee. And she'll walk through fire to find out what happened to her. Did she simply walk away from their hometown of Barrens? Or is there a dark secret waiting to be uncovered?

- Erin Glover

 

Spotlight on QBD Broadmeadows

 

Meet our Broadmeadows team as they go under our QBD Spotlight for the first time!

 

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll:

This story began with a well-to-do, ambitious, self absorbed character that I absolutely could not relate to. I was into the first chapter and almost put the book down... But there was just something intriguing about TiFani FaNelli and I needed to know why was she this way.

As I read further, I found her personality and behaviour in everyday life revolved completely around how others perceived her, she would say something to someone just to illicit a particular reaction, then smile at someone, or be rude to someone, or dress a particular way to get another specific reaction. Ani (as she had re-named herself) was a complete lie, a facade, someone she had invented so no one could she was anything except exactly what she wanted them to. For someone who wants to have complete control of every little facet of her life, she really has lost all sense of self.

How did she become like this?
Why Has she changed her name and made her whole life a performance?
What will happen when the truth comes out?
-Sam-Maree

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig:

“Reasons To Stay Alive” is my favourite book of all time. Matt Haig’s writing style is rare. He has been through the battlefield of mental illness, stigma and criticism. Instead of being a typical Depression selfhelp book, Matt has told his story with a comedic voice to make it relatable. You will be laughing and crying at the truthfulness found in this masterpiece. By the last page you will have an alternative thought process to living well with a mental illness. I cannot recommed it enough for anyone suffering from Chronic Illness, Depression or Anxiety. - Cassandra

Pokemon Deluxe Essential Handbook:

This is a decent starting point for anyone looking to just start getting into Pokémon but it is lacking some details. For each Pokémon up to 6th Generation (out of 7) it has Pokédex entries, their typing, which region they're from, and some moves it can learn but lack Pokédex numbers, stats and abilities of Pokémon, and doesn't explain how the typings interact. It does have the pronunciation of Pokémon's names though which can be a point of conjecture.
All in all, a decent first step but will find lacking at any step afterwards except for pronunciations. - Nathan

Grimm's Complete Fairy Talesby Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm:

These classic fairy tales are short and sweet. The perfect short distraction or before bed read. As the foundation for many of our entertaining stories today, these tales are bound to entertain and creep you out, just a little. A beautiful story, with a life lesson and a touch of evil. Definitely worth a read. - Sam-Maree

Queens Of Geekby Jen Wilde:

I loved Queens of Geek. It’s a fun but emotional read that is for every pop cultural fan. It explores the notion of friendship and relationships. It’s about falling in love and letting yourself love. It’s about stepping out of that bubble and letting yourself be free. With beautiful friendships and romance, this book is one for everyone. - Angelique

The Hate U Giveby Angie Thomas:

The Hate U Give is a brilliant and powerful story. It’s heartbreaking, poignant and so so true. It’s a book that everyone should read, and understand. The Hate U Give explores family, friendship and what is right. I wanted to cry, scream and hurt. So I beg you please pick up this book, read it, take it in and understand. - Angelique

Everything, Everythingby Nicola Yoon:

Nicola Yoon takes people on a crazy and emotional rollercoaster with her first novel Everything, Everything. Yoon's novel isn't just your ordinary forbidden love story with the predicable "sick teen" plot. Everything, Everything is a beautiful love story that you will make you unable to put down, and will leave you smiling, chuckling to then crying and massive shock. - Stacey

Wombat Stewby Marcia K Vaughan:

With fun and engaging rhythm, rhyme and repetition, Wombat Stew is an Aussie classic that will have you and your little wombats giggling and singing along as all the clever Aussie animals work together to save the wombat from the cooking pot, and make sure the sly old dingo gets what's coming to him! - Jessica

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Stay tuned every week as a different store goes under our QBD Spotlight!

Reviewsday: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I love contemporaries, and "Anna and the French Kiss" is up there with the best of them.

Fluffy, cute, beautiful, real, brilliant and imaginative; "Anna and the French Kiss" is an absolutely adorable read that will have you hooked and leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

I love how Anna and Étienne didn’t just have chemistry, but friendship too. They are absolutely adorable together and I just following their relationship – all the little things he would give her, the way they laughed together and confided in each other, the days out and movies – brought tears to my eyes. They were each other’s rock. If I had a relationship, I’d want it to be like theirs (minus the complications with Ellie).

I love how Stephanie made every character important. The “side” characters made you love them (or hate them, it depends) and were brilliantly well developed. They were deep – each with their own story to tell. The beauty of it is that they weren’t just there, a prop the author needed in order for the protagonist to do something or get somewhere, but they were important – they could tell their stories and they did. Not one character was overlooked.

I just – it was perfect. The scenery; the character development; the giggly, mushy feeling in your chest as you followed the story, and which you were left with; the overall ease of reading.

"Anna and the French Kiss" isn’t just about romance, but family, friendships and life – dealing with it, enjoying it, finding people who will stick by you no matter what and making mistakes along the way. It is about endings and beginnings, possibilities, the future, relationships and practicalities and forgiveness. "Anna and the French Kiss has lessons in it for us all.

- Melissa, QBD Plenty Valley

As an added bonus we have hunted down a deleted chapter from the book! Check it out on Stephanie Perkins' blog here

Eastlands Top Christmas Gift Ideas!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and our team in Eastlands Tasmania
have picked out their Top 5 Christmas Gift Ideas just for you!

Get a load of these great reads!

A Column of Fire by Ken Follett: 
The saga that has enthralled the millions of readers of The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End now continues with Ken Follett's magnificent, gripping A Column of Fire.  A sweeping tale of politics, espionage, court intrigue, and a little bit of romance this big hardcover is perfect for Ken Follett lovers, lovers of sagas, historical fiction and magnificent writing.

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur:
From Rupi Kaur, the top ten Sunday Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. Illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. It is a celebration of love in all its forms.  Perfect for lovers of poetry, modern literature, deep thinking, and reads that give you #feels.

Please note this title has a content warning and is not suitable for children. 

Artemis by Andy Weir:
From the author of the best seller, The Martian, comes a tale about a wise cracking smuggler on the moon. Perfect for anyone who loves science fiction, fantasy, space or just a plain good read!

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.
Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of Jazz's problems, as she learns that she's stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself - and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even more unlikely than the first.

Windfall by Jennifer .E Smith:
Alice doesn't believe in luck, Alice believes in love. Mostly that she's been in love with her best friend, Teddy, for the last three years. When she buys him a lottery ticket for his birthday and he wins 32 million dollars, they are thrown together with the world at their feet. Teddy decides that he will spend his money committing random acts of kindness, and who better to go on that adventure with him than Alice? In the process they get to know themselves and each other better than they ever have before, but money can't buy you love . . .

Saga Land by Richard Fidler & Kari Gislason:
A gripping blend of family mystery, contemporary stories and the beautiful and bloody Viking tales, set against the starkly stunning landscape of Iceland. Perfect for any armchair adventurer!

 

Author Guest Post: Serena Hodson Tells Us About Her New Book!

Photographer Serena Hodson takes beautiful colour photographs of man's best friend ... but her furry subjects are all upside down. Today, she tells us how she came up with the inspiration for her gorgeous new book 'Upside Down Dogs'.

"When I first got involved in photography, I saw it as a hobby – a way for me to record those magical moments that happen in an animal’s everyday life. At the time I was living with Rocco, my bullmastiff and my sister’s dachshund, Ralph. Their relationship was my inspiration and what I managed to capture drove me to take my photography seriously. I’ve always been an animal lover, but I never knew that passion would lead to my life’s purpose – photography. This creative outlet allows me to capture the joy dogs bring to my life and then share that with the world.

I believe every animal has a secret life – a unique personality that few people get to witness – that’s why I get so much satisfaction from capturing each individual animal’s expression. My aim is to capture that unique personality and humour that animals can bring into our lives. I believe a home isn’t complete without a companion animal.
Upside Down Dogs began with a simple idea – to capture the delight and joy of dogs in an upside down pose. The way dog’s lips and wrinkles drop towards gravity almost gives this impression they are smiling and their facial expressions offer an antidote to human stress.

My two bulldogs Simon and Garfunkel make me laugh every day – they bring an optimistic and fun-loving perspective to my day. A ride in the car is like a rollercoaster ride, a bowl of kibble is a delicious 5-star meal and rolling around on their backs is heaven on earth for them. This is where I saw my first glimpse of ‘Upside Down Dog’ captured in that unique moment of upside-down-bliss. Though this angle on dogs is original in publishing I think it’s familiar to anyone who lives with a dog.

Luckily my four-legged models are photogenic from any angle, especially when they are relaxed and happy with their place in the world (ie. on a bed). I wanted to photograph different breeds to allow a broad range of subjects to be captured for maximum audience appeal. Not every dog was comfortable to lie on their backs straight away while a complete stranger pointed an unusual object at them. Some took more time and calm energy to relax – others were not so shy and flopped like a sack of potatoes. The book was incredibly fun to make and I loved every minute from the more challenging subjects to manoeuvring enormous drooling Mastiffs on and off their backs. It was such a privilege to meet so many wonderful dogs and their humans.

I hope this book goes to the heart of why humans and dogs have such a wonderful symbiotic relationship and people visually enjoy as much as I did photographing it. I think we need dogs to help us find joy in everyday pleasures, and our dogs need us to make the bed so they can jump up and roll around."