Spotlight on QBD: Penrith, NSW

It has been a wild time for Penrith lately. We've had author visits galore, so many exciting new books and an incredible amount still to arrive! We've been doling out 'Signed By the Author' stickers left, right and centre and it has been great for the team to have a chat to the people behind some excellent books. If you want a signed copy of Chris Hammer's thrilling tale Scrublands or of any of Lynette Noni's phenomenal YA books, definitely come visit us! We still have a few left on our shelves after meeting them.

We've had a few great reads throughout the last couple of weeks, and we're ready to spread the love for them.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco:

You like bleak stories and the stench of death seeping into your soul? Well, you'd better believe The Bone Witch is the book for you. A young girl raises her brother from the dead in a fit of grief, and she must learn to live with the consequences of her dead-sibling-familiar following her around for the rest of her life. Tea is a bone witch. Where others can raise fruit or wealth, she can raise the dead. Ostracised by everyone who fears her power, she must train to control it. Yet controlling it doesn't mean she isn't going to change the world, one necromantic incident at a time. She knows what she is doing, and she's going to follow through. The story flows so easily and you'll find yourself endlessly caught up in her tale. Gotta love a bit of undead fun. -Paige

Paige is looking forward to so many new releases. Top of her inbound list are Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor, The Witch Who Courted Death by Maria Lewis, and Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life by Eric Idle. Between the fantasy and the biographies, she's a keen true crime buff.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman:

This book gave me chills. In a perfect world where humans have conquered hunger, disease, war and death, Sycthes are the only thing standing between eternal life and death. Citra and Rowan are chosen to compete for the title of Scythe or risk losing their own lives.
I originally had no interest in picking up this book but when someone is hounding you to give it a chance then you don’t really have a choice right? (Manager's Note: You're welcome, Kate. I'm glad my months of hassling you paid off. Literal months.) Well, I'm so glad I read it because Neal Shusterman is a genius. He has created a utopia, a world humanity dreams about yet he brings to light just how sad of a world it could be. Everything about this book is just so fascinating and shocking. Scythe hits you hard and leaves no room for you to walk away unaffected. Scythe compels you to consider what a World without mortality could be like whilst creating a “noble” way of culling the population. -Kate

Kate is holding out for Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas. She's the romance reader of the store, and does a darn good job of sharing her knowledge.

Star Wars: Phasma by Delilah S Dawson:

Phasma is an interesting read to get insight into background characters, like Phasma and General Hux, who the audience are not always familiar with on a deeper level. The novel is about Captain Phasma’s past from the perspective of a new introduced character in the beginning, which provides an exciting spin on how the story reads. Readers get a fascinating introduction to how Phasma’s mind works, who she is loyal to, and what her values are. This story is fast-paced, thrilling, and easily pulls the reader into the world. Highly recommended for Phasma fans who love a page-turner! - Reeya

Reeya is great with sci-fi fantasy, and knows more about the fandom-based books than the rest of us put together!

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton:

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to travel to the beautiful islands of Hawaii. While I was there, I visited some of the stunning locations used in the film adaptations of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. This then got me thinking – although I had grown up, watching these films over and over again, I had never taken the time to sit down and read the inspiration behind them. Clearly then, it was time I read Crichton’s classic, captivating thriller!
And I was not disappointed.
Jurassic Park is an incredibly well researched, romp of a story, that will grab you by its teeth - hooking you into its pages, until you have read every last word. When John Hammond invites a group of experts to inspect his creation – a theme park exhibiting real, living, breathing dinosaurs, brought to life by a breakthrough in cloning and genetic engineering – he doesn’t expect that everything will go horribly wrong. However, by creating these creatures, Hammond is about to discover that life cannot be so easily controlled. Life cannot be contained. “Life finds a way!”
Fans of the movie franchise will take particular delight in this book, as it is evident that all five films have taken a great deal of inspiration right out of Michael Crichton’s pages. Readers will recognise many sequences, ideas, and even dialogue, taken from the book, and sprinkled throughout the film’s many sequels. Even this year’s latest instalment, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, can still be seen as paying tribute to the ideas Crichton penned in his novel, twenty-eight years ago.
But, even for readers who have (somehow) never seen the movies, there is still much to be enjoyed! Crichton’s novel is action packed, scientifically fascinating, and full of wonderfully fleshed out characters, who keep the story grounded – even as they attempt to escape the jaws of an eight tonne T-Rex.
So, if you’re looking for an excellent page-turner, look no further. Jurassic Park is a gripping read, that will leave you hungry for more -Alyssa

Alyssa will read just about anything, with the passion and ferocity of a true book-lover.

Purity by Jonathan Franzen:

Purity is an eloquent, overwhelming and incredible novel about self discovery. It follows Pip on her search to find out the truth behind her family history, which interweaves with the stories and lives of those around her in the hopes of forming her own identity. Pip is a young girl struggling with the tough aspects of life, all while trying to figure out who she wants to be. This enlightening and multi-dimensional story divulges a sense of self and illustrates the way everyone around us connects and impacts the way one person understand their story. A 5 Star, must read! - Courtney

Courtney also just finished The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham, so she can't wait for Rosalie's new book The Year of the Farmer. She knows all the best in literary fiction and horror.

Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer:

This is the perfect read for dystopian lovers and I could not give a higher recommendation. Marissa Meyer reimagines everyone's favourite fairy tales in a futuristic world where hover cars and robot sidekicks are the norm. Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White are now fierce heroines Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter, who show that there is more to fairy tale princesses than pretty dresses and handsome princes. Cinder is a cyborg, Scarlet is one fiery redhead, Cress is a tech-savvy super spy, and Winter has the biggest heart of gold in whole kingdoms. You'll recognise these stories for the lengendary tales that have been popular for generations, but Meyer brings exciting things like interplanetary travel, hidden heroes, battles against raging plagues, and races of genetically enhanced super soldiers to the table in The Lunar Chronicles. A true page turner and exciting journey throughout every page of this series. I enjoyed it so much that I'm currently writing my Honours thesis on it! - Mackenzie

Mackenzie knows young adult like the back of her hand. Head her way for some of the best titles in YA over the last 10 years.

100 Nasty Women of History by Hannah Jewell:

What a book. What a spectacular book. 100 Nasty Women of History is indeed yet another book composing lists of women who did incredible things and have been overshadowed in the history books. This book, however, doesn’t focus on the usual lists of women who did amazing things but instead shows the others, the ones who are even more overlooked than usual. The women who should have been famous and renowned but have instead been forgotten.
Marie Curie may have been spectacular but she was far from the only woman in science and this book illustrates that better than any I’ve ever read before. It’s pages demand attention as they bellow of the scientists, the mathematicians, the adventurers and the explorers. It depicts the lives of poets and actors, activists and rebels, rulers and revolutionaries. There are women who did horrible things for what they believed in,those who were inspirational and others who’s lives were unbelievably hard yet still rose above the masses for their cause.
This is one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read. And also one of the funniest. The author has an incredible sense of humour which had me laughing even as I cried for some tragic ending. She did not hold back in the slightest and gave every piece of her wit and humour to each and every story. This is just one of the qualities that makes it so easy to read but that each woman has only a few pages, if that, for her story certainly helps. It makes it incredibly easy to take in the condensed information of each story, pick up and put down the book and take breaks in-between to more thoroughly google the woman whose life’s recap you just experienced.
I will say though, I wouldn’t recommend it to younger readers just yet. It’s a little R rated at times especially in the language department and it doesn’t shy away from the more horrible lives and ends that many of these women suffered.
In saying all that, to summarise, this was one of the first books I read this year and it is still at the top of my list. It left such a lasting impression on me and I will forever be recommending it to people. I don’t know if I managed to convey just how much I loved it but I really did love it. So, so much and I really hope you will too. - Georgia

Georgia is counting the days till the Illustrated Tales of Beedle the Bard. JK Rowling and Chris Riddell. Who wouldn't be excited for that! She is the best person to talk to for sociology and history.

Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence:

Wheel Of Osheim is the final book in the Red Queen's War trilogy, picking up where Liar's Key left off. But not quite. While Liar's Key ends with our protagonists Jalan and Snorri entering Hel(Hell), Jalan is quickly found half naked falling from the sky, in "women trouble", much like the earlier books. This allows Mark Lawrence to show his pure talent in storytelling as he artfully controls the information you receive, building the story you hope for while making you doubt with twists and turns. Wheel Of Osheim sets a awe-inspiring benchmark for all fantasy writers seeking to write a trilogy for the ages - Josh

Josh is great for both the grimdark fantasy and those kind of obscure titles that will be a guaranteed brilliant read.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde:

Have you ever wondered about what life would be like if you were young and beautiful forever? After reading this you'll appreciate the glorious inevitability of ageing. Promise. Simply put, this story is about an ethereal young man who trades his soul for eternal beauty and youth. With themes exploring the power of vanity and the consequences of living a life without rules, Oscar Wilde also delves into an exploration of the parameters of the incorporeal essence of man. Scary, but oh-my-god great. This book forces contemplation in themes and topics that you inattentively skim over in everyday life.
One word: Powerful. - Sarina

Sarina is the store's science guru, and the go-to person for all things that boggle the mind.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead:

6 stars out of 5. Yeah.
I know what you're thinking; another vampire book. Or, alternatively, that movie was awful. But do not let these concerns stop you from reading one of my favourite series of all time. In it's defence, it came out the same year as Twilight and is literally a thousand times better. I recently read the entire 6 book series again for what must've been the actual 5 time fully through, and I love it as much as now as I did when I first read them in 2009. Yeah. My love has spanned almost a decade.
When Rose took Princess Lissa Dragomir away from the secure boarding school for vampires they've lived in their entire lives, she knew they'd try and get them back. Two years later, and the Guardians from St Vladimir's have found them to take them back to school. Rose, a half human/half vampire, rejoins her classmates training to protect Lissa while Lissa herself faces royal politics, her growing depression and the strange things that keep happening around her. The bond these girls share will be pushed to the limit when magic, enemies and blood come together.
This book and it's sequels are the type that you can't stop thinking about even when you're finished; you just always want more. It definitely doesn't hurt that Dimitri Belikov, the lead male protagonist, is the fictional character I would bring to life if I could. Seriously, do yourself a favour and get on board; Richelle will not disappoint you. - Karrie

Karrie dabbles with thrillers and paranormal, but can recommend a dozen titles for any fiction genre you could imagine.

As the most "Halloween" store ever it hurts us to say this, but if you're starting to plan your Christmas gifts for others or making a wishlist for yourself you should really check out some of the things we've been reading. Each of us can attest to a few of the books reviewed and there are some gorgeous editions out there. We're always happy to spread great recommendations, and we all live for those moments when a customer recommends something to us. A good book is best shared.