From Manga to Historical Fiction our Epping team have some epic reads to add to your reading pile!
Second Glance by Jodi Picoult:
I’m the first to admit I’m Jodi Picoult’s biggest fan. But you can’t deny the way her work never disappoints! She finds a way to dive deep into your thoughts so that you’re still thinking about her characters and dilemmas, hours (or weeks, or years) later. You can’t help from inserting yourself into the complex situations her characters find themselves in – what if that was me? What would I do?
Second Glance is definitely not an exception. Even though it was originally released 15 years ago, it has stood the test of time and does not fail to captivate the reader’s mind from page one, all the way through to page 500.
Like all of her books, Second Glance starts simply – an old man, waiting to die decides to sell his land, which he has held on to for many years because his wife, Cecilia, and their child died there, to a developer. His only request – build a bagel shop. But when a native-American tribe claims the land is a native and sacred burial ground, weird things begin to happen to the town – rose petals rain from the sky, coffee machines only brew lemonade, and the ground freezes in the middle of Summer. Frustrated by these setbacks, a paranormal investigator, Ross, is hired to rid the land of its ghost. However, what Ross finds is not what anyone expects.
This story jumps from 1932 to 2000 to consider whether Cecilia really died during childbirth or was she murdered? Is it possible to solve a murder more 60 years later? Is it possible to love someone you have never met?
With complicated characters who have all crossed paths at some point in their past, Jodi Picoult reminds us that there are some ghosts we can’t run away from. This is one of her best books, so make sure you give it a read! – Jacqueline
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett:
A spellbinding novel that grabbed me from the first page. The Pillars of the Earth is a must for any fan of historical fiction. The novel centres around the town of Kingsbridge and the building of a cathedral there. Set in the middle ages, with a wonderful ensemble of characters, Pillars of the Earth is an ambitious novel with a compelling plot full of twists. I was up all night reading, wanting to know what happened next in Kingsbridge! It truly is a masterpiece. – Danielle
Everless by Sara Holland:
I really enjoyed the concept for this book, which was quite different to anything I’ve read before! This book is the perfect sci-fi-romance hybrid, which in my opinion is quite hard to balance without one aspect overshadowing the other. However, where most books that fall under this category often end up having the storyline eclipsed by the romance, Sara Holland managed to find a very happy balance. Everless is set in a pre-modern world where alchemy, the practise of finding a solution to mortality, is predominant and has resulted in blood being made into a form of currency called ‘blood-irons’. The rich get to live forever and the poor bleed themselves dry trying to pay their debts and fund their means for survival.
The protagonist, a peasant girl named Jules, is desperate to find ‘blood-irons’ to give to her rapidly deteriorating father, and accepts a job working as a kitchen hand at the castle of Everless, where her and her father fled when she was a child after she witnessed a crime. Her father begs her not to take the job, and warns her to stay away from the queen, who will be visiting the Everless castle. She goes anyway, against his wishes, and is reunited with her childhood love and his rude brother who goes out of his way to make Jules feel targeted and unwanted.
The queen arrives, and takes a strange interest in Jules, which Jules returns. Against her better judgement, she takes a job as the queen’s hand and becomes fast friends with her adoptive daughter, the Princess, and her handmaiden Caroline. As Jules peeks behind the grandeur and witnesses incredible things, Jules makes a shocking discovery about her life and identity, which turns her world upside down. (Any more information and I’ll spoil the best part!) The characters are well developed and well-integrated into the book, and every character plays an essential part to the storyline, which I found very refreshing. For anyone who is a fan of a fast-paced science fiction novels with a touch of romance, I’d recommend picking up this book, and maybe a bowl of popcorn too! – Tiana
Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata:
Death Note (デスノート) is a Japanese manga series
The story follows Light Yagami, a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook from a Shinigami (death God) named Ryuk that grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose name he writes in it and face he can picture.
The series centers around Light’s attempts to create and rule a world “cleansed of evil” as “God” using the notebook, and the efforts of a detective known as L to stop him.
The character development is monumental. It takes you along with Light and the other characters as they grow and morph into solid, individual personalities.
What begins with a stand up honour student, Light, experimenting with the Death Note grows into a full on obsession to purge the earth of anyone HE doesn’t think is worthy of his ‘new world order’. Little by little he begins crossing lines and teeters on the edge of insanity.
Throughout the series Ryuk brings light comedic relief with dark undertones. This apple loving, trouble seeking death God makes frequent visits to Light, nudging him and guiding him. It’s very reminiscent of a cat playing with a mouse.
L, the detective who is responsible for hunting down ‘Kira’ (Light) is Japan’s BEST detective with the highest success rate when it comes to capturing criminals.
When we meet L for the first time he is not what most people expect. A pasty white, socially awkward introvert with a lethal mind.
Although L is awkward and his calculating dialogue is humorous to read sometimes, you find yourself relating to him and sympathising with him more and more as the story progresses. Even the way he holds a telephone, although quite funny, is endearing.
All in all, Death Note is a 5 out of 5 star story which grips you. It will make you laugh, cry and yell with anger at the characters. The plot will take you on a roller coaster until you don’t know which way is up and who is innocent any more.
I highly recommend this read (and watch). It is one of my favourites and I’m sure when you read it, it will be one of yours too! – Jess
The Secret of Excalibur by Andy McDermott:
This is a great action thriller about good verses evil in the mould of Matthew Reilly and Clive Cussler.
Our heroes , archaeologist Nina Wilde and ex-SAS Soldier Eddie Chase are on the hunt for King Arthur’s legendary sword excalibur. It is said to hold great power for whoever wields it.
But, they are not the only ones wanting to find it. However , unlike Nina and Eddie, the villians in this story want to use the sword’s power for evil purposes.
Heaps of action but slightly far fetched at times. The way Eddie Chase is portrayed sometimes in this series , I reckon he could jump out of an aeroplane without a parachute and land on his feet. Then tackle 30 bad guys and be the only one left standing.
But in saying that, this novel is great escapism if you want a good book to read without taking it too seriously. – Peter
Member of the family by Dianne Lake:
Dianne Lake’s story of her life in the Manson family is one of those books that takes you on an incredible journey, not only because of the first hand account of what Dianne went through herself as a young teenager, but also the insight into Charles Manson himself and the events that led to the infamous Tate/La Bianca murders that marked the brutal end of the 60’s.
Dianne writes her account from her childhood through her troubled teenage years and then to adulthood, all written very honestly and providing a vivid description of the psychedelic, free-loving, hippy 60’s flower child era and the idealistic beliefs that were held in high regard at that time in history.
This book is a must read for anyone interested in the Manson counterculture cult and for those like myself that are intrigued about Manson himself and how an egotistical madman was able to brainwash his followers to such a degree that they happily committed the brutal murders of nine innocent people. – Daniela
Because you Love to Hate me. by Ameriie:
This book is a collection of 13 short stories, many based on classics and fairy tales.
However, they focus more on the villains rather than the heroes.
The stand out short story for me was Jack and the Beanstalk. There is a dark twist in the story that you won’t see coming!
Some of the stories have been written in a modern way. The story of King Arthur and Lancelot has been written as a series of text messages.
Also, the characters “Shirley” Homes and Moriarty are students at a local high school. These stories are great spins on classic tales. Great read for young adult readers. – Sarah
Every week a different QBD team lets us know what they’ve been reading!
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