Our friendly Eastland team are always ready with a reading suggestion – from everyday quick reads to sagas that stay with you!
Check out their most recent favourites:
The Girl Before by JP Delaney:
Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train, The Girl Before is a thriller for the modern age. Exploring themes of loss, violence, and obsession, Delaney enthralls the reader with her split narrative set in the ultra minimalist One Folgate Street. This is a house that is designed to test your limits and make you strive for perfection, but as the heroines of the story soon discover, this is easier said than done. The Girl Before is a great read for anyone looking for a gripping suspense to draw them and keep them on the edge of their set the whole time. – Sean
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy:
Anna Karenina is about SO MANY THINGS. At first it seems like a novel about love and relationships, but it quickly becomes a novel about religion, faith, class, societal norms, politics, finance, agriculture, psychology, children, marriage and fidelity. No matter what you like to read about I can say with absolute certainty that Anna Karenina has it in spades.
There are many facets to this story, but for me, the stand-out theme was the mistaking of lust for love. Kitty becomes unhappy because Vronsky ditches her for Anna. Anna is unhappy after ditching Karenina for Vronsky. Levin is unhappy because Kitty chose Vronsky over him. Dolly is unhappy because Oblonsky chooses every other woman over her. Almost all of these couplings, but none more so than Anna and Vronsky get their beginnings either in arranged marriage or infidelity a.k.a lust.
Anna so quickly ditches her husband and child for a relationship born of lust that she winds up living in sin and utter unhappiness. That was the overarching story to me, politics and agriculture aside, I think that Tolstoy wrote about love. I feel like he was trying to express his views on infidelity and arranged marriages.
People often worry about books like this being dry and dense. I’m not going to tell you that this one is any different, because its not. But, the dry parts are simply that, parts. The book as a whole is vastly interesting and it is only on maybe four occasions where I was bored of what I was reading. All of those instances were related to characters political leanings and intentions and to agriculture and finance. Things that would bore most people I’m sure.
I loved this book and count it amongst my great achievements that I managed to finish it. If you want to try Russian literature but are not sure where to start, I would definitely start here. – Sam
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas:
Angie Thomas hits an absolute winner in her first piece of YA fiction. Our young narrator/protagonist, Starr, is an inquisitive, thoughtful black girl. Her life is in dichotomy, half spent in Garden Heights, home to crack dealers, drive by shootings and unfortunately, Starr. The other half is spent at Starr’s swanky private school on the other side of town. At home she has to pretend to be ‘more black’ than she feels, and at school, much less. Starr manages to establish some form of equilibrium she is content with, until ‘it’ happens.
Thomas’ characters are wonderfully complex, and meticulously crafted; every point is purposeful, every scene pivotal. This brand new author has produced something important and special, I have no reservations in recommending The Hate U Give. This book will teach you real meaning, as first shared by Tupac, of living a THUG LIFE. I wait in bated breath to read Thomas again in the very near future. – Josh
Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven:
It was 2 years ago when I first read Bad Romeo, and its one I’ll always go back and re-read.
I love everything about this story. It is full of surprise and passion and is very difficult for me to put down, whether I’m reading it for the first time or the fifth!
Its rare for me to like a female lead character, but the way Rayven portrays her heroine Cassie, just made me relate to her on another level. But Ethan Holt will top any book crush you have and put them to shame.
This book got me hooked on romance, I would definitely recommend anything by Leisa Rayven. – Nicole
Hell Island by Matthew Reilly:
Picking this novella up at 11pm on a weeknight wasn’t the best decision I have made recently. I finished it in just over an hour, and struggled to comprehend the full on action that I had just endured. The very few Matthew Reilly books I have read have always left me speechless and in need of a cup of tea and quiet corner to calm down in. Hell Island was no exception. Reilly’s fast paced action, and cliff hanger at the end of every chapter keeps the pages turning. His comfortable style of writing is easy and entertaining, and always manages to make me feel like I am part of the story too.
Admittedly I have not read any of the other Scarecrow books, and this book wasn’t confusing or difficult to understand. Even if you haven’t read the Scarecrow series, you’ll have no issues picking this book up and enjoying it, references to past characters and plots will only trigger you to consider buying the rest of them. I highly recommend Reilly’s books in general, including Hell Island, and I wish you the best of luck to tear your eyes away from the next chapter. – Darci
If Blood Should Stain The Wattle (Matilda Saga #6) by Jackie French:
This YA Jackie French series is very good! It tracks a young girl, Matilda, and her family & friends thru the years from 1894 to the turbulent early 1970’s.
The backdrop to each individual story is an era of interesting Australian history, and each title is a poem or song that we should all recognise.
If Blood Should Stain The Wattle was a fascinating read for me. It covers the years 1971- 1975, a time of massive political upheaval and social change in Australia. As a 1972 baby myself, I learnt & understood more about this era from the book than I ever have before! I knew Gough Whitlam’s Government had been instrumental in introducing much change to Australian society but I hadn’t really thought about what that was.
Jackie’s female characters are very strong individuals, who are frequently at the forefront of changes sweeping across Australia. Jed is the main character here again, and it was great to see how her life has settled after events in Ghost By The Billabong but she still has plenty of challenges confronting her! All of our other favourites are back too, and for me, it was fascinating to see the changes in Scarlett, from young girl to blossoming teen.
Over all this, watches Matilda, our fine matriarch and undisputed Queen of Gibbers Creek, She rules her community & family with a velvet glove! But Matilda is growing old & weary; will the election of a Labor Government be her last great hurrah?
This book could be read independently but I would highly recommend starting at the beginning with A Waltz For Matilda and working forwards- there are lots of characters with their own stories and our attachment to them all will grow this way. Originally, this was going to be the end of the series but I’m very excited to hear that Jackie French has just finished writing Book 8! These have been written as a YA series but as an adult, they don’t feel particularly young. In fact, there are some very mature concepts involved across this series- in particular, Book 4 – To Love A Sunburnt Country – is a very confronting read. – Susan
Girl Online on Tour by Zoe Sugg:
The second book in the Girl Online series follows Penny’s life as she endeavours to adapt to a life in the spotlight alongside Noah. Through a series of misfortunes and a growing gap between the pair Penny grapples with the choice between holding onto the boy she loves or the comfort of her lifestyle back home. The novel keeps you wanting more as you turn each new page hoping for once again another happy ending for the pair. Zoella produces as novel for many readers interested in young adult romances. – Ruby