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Tag / book reviews

Reviewsday: The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

Let me start by saying how much I enjoy reading local Australian content novels. There's nothing wrong with overseas titles but an Aussie title always draws me deeper in. It's not the sometimes over-the-top outback dramas I'm talking about (which I do love!) but the ordinary settings and situations. Things like the seasons being the right way around; the sounds; the localities and the references to society, events & culture. Even Australian crime seems a little bit more believable...

Gemma is a detective in the same regional town that she grew up in. Sometimes that can be beneficial to investigations but at others it can all get just a bit too close to home & personal. This is one such case. The victim is a teacher at the local high school, the same school Gemma attended ten years back- with Rose as one of her classmates. There was some type of connection between the two back then but Gemma swears that her personal feelings will not effect her impartiality to the investigation. Rose appears to have been well liked so who could be responsible for her death? Is it random or personal?

The investigation drags along like the long, hot days of pre-Christmas summer. For Gemma, the case opens up old wounds that she tries to keep hidden from her partners- work & life , but even here the lines are blurred. Gemma is a great detective but will this be the case that breaks her?

A solid debut from Sarah Bailey and one that I really liked.

~ Susan, Eastlands QBD

Join our Chatswood team in a world of pure imagination….

Our Spotlight has lit up all the great reads our Chatswood team have been enjoying!
From thrillers to fantasy there's something here that everyone will enjoy.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch:

If you enjoy heist movies like Ocean's Eleven and TV shows like Hustle or Leverage, you'll love Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora. Set in a gritty Venice-like city where the rich live in high alchemical glass towers and the poor live by the squalid canals, the book follows the adventures of the sometimes incompetent and vastly unlucky Locke and his gang of thieves as they prey on the rich and powerful. The story is grim at times, with some truly awful events visited upon the main characters, but it is told with a great wit and is ultimately intensely satisfying. There are three books so far in the series, each one following on seamlessly from the last, while at the same time being a self-contained story. With a fourth one due out at some point in the future, I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a darkly humorous fantasy series.
- Eleanor, Store Manager

The Martian by Andy Weir:

Both an action story and a sci-fi thriller, The Martian is a suspenseful book which you won't be able to stop reading. Each chapter leaves you hanging as Mark, stranded on Mars after a catastrophe, struggles to survive and make his way home. Written in first person, you really get to know the main character and appreciate his dark yet optimistic sense of humour. Not many people could make jokes about being stranded on Mars with only a very slim chance of rescue! The author, Andy Weir, has done an incredible amount of research to deliver a scientifically feasible story which appeals to people of all ages and reading habits.
- Shoshana, Assistant Manager

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons:

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons is a wonderful novel that takes you through the chaos of World War 2 communist Russia to give a realistic perspective of the country's experience. The historical setting is gripping with just the right mix of drama and romance. I would definitely recommend this as it is a great read and I was compelled to continue on and finish the series. This is also a great read for those interested in historical fiction and is a terrific introduction to the period of WW2 Russia.
- Bianca

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham:

This is how a psychological thriller should be written. Michael Robotham’s new novel is a dark, twisted and shocking page turner. Agatha and Meghan, both pregnant, are both due at the same time but, like most psychological thrillers, things aren't always as they seem. Agatha admires Meghan's perfect little family from afar until one day while she's at work in the grocery store, Meghan comes in and they meet. They become unlikely friends but Meghan has no idea that Agatha is possibly not the friend she thought she was. The Secrets She Keeps provides shocks, thrills and real ‘deep intake of breath’ moments.
- Tina

Perfume by Patrick Suskind:

Patrick Süskind's Perfume: The story of a murderer, opens in the slums of 18th century Paris, where Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born as an unloved orphan. Yet he has been endowed with an extraordinary sense of smell. Perfume follows the obsessive genius Grenouille, as he murders unsuspecting young women in the pursuit of the ultimate perfume. Perfume is a dark, brooding and very unique novel. It feels similar in tone to the gloom, mystery and horror of Graeme Macrae Burnet's His Bloody Project, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2016. I have heard Perfume accurately described as 'a cross between The Silence of the Lambs and a period drama.' Perfume is a horror at its core but its exploration of the cites, towns and landscapes of France create a mysterious and unique setting for the murderous plots of Grenouille. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to explore a more modern kind of gothic classic, inspired by the likes of Bram Stoker and Edgar Allan Poe.
- Sacha

House of Names by Colm Toibin:

If you're looking for a book that blends historical fiction with the backstabbing family drama and 'domestic noir' that is so popular right now (e.g. Gone Girl and Pretty Baby), then this is it. House of Names by Colm Toíbín retells the classic Greek myth of Clytemnestra, who plots to kill her husband Agamemnon after he sacrifices their daughter, Iphigenia, to the gods. It's a chilling re-imagining that reads like a thriller and mystery. Each chapter gives the perspective of different members of Clytemnestra's family, all of which have been irrevocably affected by Iphigenia's death and Agamemnon's murder. The story masterfully interweaves the tale of a broken wife and mother with that of a vengeful daughter and naïve son, centring around the house of lies that they tiptoe within.
- Jamaica

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton:

Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet is a sprawling saga of two families unexpectedly brought together by unfortunate events. Each distinct character endures their own personal struggle and travels through life, coping with loss, poverty, and a struggling sense of identity. The exploration of race, class, family, unity and discovery defines the novel as uniquely Australian. The twists and turns of life are perfectly captured by Winton’s skilled writing. The relatability of each character drives this phenomenal novel, allowing any reader to thoroughly enjoy the book. The story of personal struggle ultimately leading to enlightenment and self-actualisation, is an inspiring, heart-warming novel that perfectly represents Australian literature.
- Tara

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh:

I Let You Go is an excellent psychological thriller that has twists and turns in ways that you won't expect. After a tragic accident, Jenna decides to move to the Welsh coast in a desperate attempt to flee her past. While all seems to be going smoothly, you can't always escape those that you're running from. In a split second, it seems that Jenna's past has caught up with her. This has to be one of the best books I've read this year. I've really sunk my teeth into the thriller genre, but if you're looking for something a bit different, something a little more unusual, I would definitely recommend giving 'I Let You Go' a read - you won't regret it!
- Jackie

Each week a different store tells us what they have been reading!
Keep an eye out for your local QBD team.

You won’t be able to put these books down!


Great literature you can't put down, as reviewed by our Tweed Heads Team!


Two Brothers by Ben Elton:

Historical fiction doesn't get better than this! Two Brothers is a fascinating blend of the horrors of war and the infallible strength of family ties. Following the story of two young boys, brothers in all but blood, navigating their way through life in Nazi Germany, this novel is packed with many twists and turns but no mystery is as prominent as the question that hangs over you the entire novel – which brother has survived the war to tell their tale? Perfect for fans of The Book Thief, Two Brothers is a rich, immersive read that will linger in your mind long after you finish it – Karen, Store Manager

The One Who Got Away by Caroline Overington:

A psychological thriller with unsettling twists and turns throughout. A page turner leaving you questioning many aspects of the characters. Caroline Overington has brought her characters to life highlighting peoples' hidden agendas and motivations for the things they say and do. What lengths would you go to to have the life that you have always dreamt of? The author has managed to create diverse characters evoking emotion from the reader, however, as readers, are we gunning for the right person? Which characters do you or should you believe, who can you trust and who is really to blame? Lies, deceipt and betrayal....but who is really the villain in manipulating the situation for their own gain? I did not anticipate the ending and you are left asking so many questions! - Sheridan

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne:

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a novel that provides the reader with an exclusive outlook on how ignorance and violence affect innocent people. Bruno an eight year old boy, the son of a Nazi commandant of world war II, is forced to move to a new home with his family on a property only miles away from a Jewish concentration camp. Bruno is limited to exploration at his new home and is forbidden to leave the grounds of the front court yard. He disobeys his parents and decides to explore the new place he calls home and comes across a barbed wire fence, where he meets a young boy Shmuel. Shmuel; captive to Bruno's father's inhuman acts; loses his father inside the camp and becomes worried he will never see him again. Bruno feels for Shmuel and decides he will crawl under the wire to help him find his father. Through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy readers observe a forbidden friendship. Bruno and Shmuel shed light on the brutality, senselessness and devastating consequences of war from an unusual point of view. Together their tragic journey helps recall the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust. - Ashley

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch:

I have been reading Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, and I was captivated from the first page. By skilfully combining the real and fantastical worlds, Aaronovitch has created a unique sector of the London police force that is the vehicle for Peter Grant's strange, quirky, and often times dangerous adventures as a rookie policeman. Rivers of London is only the first book in Peter Grant series, and it is a great book for those who enjoy crime and fantasy. I personally can't wait to dive further into the world Aaronovitch has created - Bridie

The Dry by Jane Harper:

Australian Journalist Jane Harper's crime novel The Dry could be set in any drought stricken, small rural town in Australia. A tragic accident sees protagonist Federal Agent Ryan Faulk reluctantly returning to his childhood home town after a long absence. Are things what they seem? Will he stay to find out? Cleverly narrated, exploring the complex relationships within a small fractured community the plot unfolds painting a picture of a town and its inhabitants as desolate as the unchanging landscape. Keeping you turning the pages until the last and satisfying conclusion. - Raychel

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee:

To Kill a Mockingbird is a beautifully written novel told from the perspective of Scout, the young daughter of lawyer Atticus Finch. Set during the Great Depression in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, Scout and her older brother Jem are quickly pushed into the public spotlight when their farther is given a morally challenging court case. In charge of representing a black man for the alleged rape of a white girl Atticus has no choice but to expose his children to the racism and prejudice that thickly veil the town, topics they themselves don't fully understand - Emma

Each week our QBD Spotlight falls on a different store.
Keep your eyes open for your local QBD team!

Hornsby’s Hot Reads


Today our Hornsby team showcase their latest reads under our QBD Spotlight!


It by Stephen King:

This would have to be one of my favourite Stephen King novels. I read this when I was in early high school growing up in a small town, so it was easy to identify with the characters. The story follows a group of kids known as the Loser's Club. They notice a lot of unusual creepy occurrences involving a demonic clown known as Pennywise. The other problem is that they (and children only) seem to be the only ones who can see Pennywise. As each member of the Loser's Club encounters this evil clown they know they will have to come up with a plan to take down this clown before it's too late. But this is only the beginning as these kid's have to also deal with school bullies, abusive family relationships and a lot of other life hurdles which just seem to keep this Loser's Club closer together. - Chris, Store Manager

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson:

Absolutely fantastic read, and with the new book in the series on its way out soon, it's the perfect time to try the first one!
These captivating and flawed characters are the perfect lens through which to solve an intense murder mystery that has spanned several decades. While early chapters are slower and crammed with details, it all pays off as the plot comes together at a gut wrenching pace.
The book tactfully handles its darker themes and it was very interesting to read about the controversial topics covered through the eyes of two very different protagonists. I've recommended this book to many fans of thrillers and I will continue to do so for a very long time! - Alex, Assistant Manager

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz:

Odd Thomas, a fry cook in Pico Mundo, can see the lingering dead. In love with his girl Stormy Llewellyn, Odd keeps his life simple, as he helps the dead cross over. However when Odd sees Bodachs – hyena-like shades – arrive, following a mysterious new man, there's trouble brewing. Big trouble. In less than 24 hours, catastrophe will occur, unless Odd Thomas can stop it. This is a fantastic read and for anyone looking for something a little different. - Beth

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee:

In a world where your social class (or floor level) is everything, having a girl fall off the roof of the thousand floor building you live in can really damage your reputation. Told from the perspectives of six teenagers as they try to deal with the scandals and secrets of the towers elite. This is my favourite book this year as it is easy to relate to every character and is fantastically written.- Amber

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso:

#GIRLBOSS is Sophia Amoruso's part-autobiography, part-manifesto on how she went from a struggling 20's-something to become the CEO of her own company. The combination of wit and honesty makes this a must read. This book is the kick up the bum every young woman needs in order to reach her full potential! - Eleanor

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern:

The Night Circus is a work of literary genius. It tells the story of two young sorcerers battling against each other in a show of power and creativity. The Arena – a circus that opens at dusk and closes at dawn, with tents and performances so enchanting it's almost like 'magic'. This story will sweep you up into a beautifully written romance, a breathtaking tribute to mystery and love. Reading this book felt like being lulled gently to sleep, and filled me with a strange sense of homesickness when I finished. For anyone with a keen imagination or strong sense of wanderlust (and a sucker for romance), your ticket is waiting. - Jaime

Every week a new store hits centre stage!
Keep an eye out for your local QBD team.

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Maroochydore’s Marvellous Reads


Today our Maroochydore team share with us some of their latest reads.
Some of these will give you #allthefeels!


Out Of My Mind by Sharon M Draper:

I have chosen to review Out of My Mind by Sharon M Draper not because it is my favourite book, but because it is a book I believe everybody needs to read.
It is about a ten-year-old school girl with severe cerebral palsy, enduring a childhood of being unable to express herself. Lacking the physical ability to walk, have basic movement, write and most importantly talk all Melody’s thoughts and feelings are left locked up inside her head. Growing up, Melody can’t tell her parents she loves them, she can’t cuddle the soft fur of her toy cat and she can’t show the teachers at school how smart she really is.
After years of sitting through the same learning cd’s and alphabet cards in the disabled class Melody is finally able to spend a few days in a mainstream class with the able-bodied kids her age. It’s from there that she begins to find her voice in the world through many physical and mental challenges, while the other children in her class embark on their own internal journey, learning to accept and befriend people with obvious differences.
What makes Out of My Mind so valuable is that it can be easily understood by a twelve-year-old but also delivers its strong message through engaging writing that adults and teenagers alike will get hooked on. This is a book that I would strongly recommend people of all ages to read. - Hazel

Delirium by Lauren Oliver:

Lena Haloway is only a few weeks off from having her procedure which is forced upon her and every other seventeen year old, called "the cure", which must be taken as soon as they are eighteen. She never questions the government or the way things are done, it is “normal”. Lena expresses that she feels relaxed in knowing her husband and career will be decided for her in the future. Nothing could get in her way of being “free” from pain, i.e. "cured".
Life takes a sudden turn, when one morning as Lena and her best friend take their usual run, they both meet a young boy named Alex. He flutters her heart with his luscious looks and smooth speech and even though he is "cured", in that moment there was nothing to stop the disease from growing inside her. As the book goes on and secrets are relived which stirs everything up, Lena discovers that Alex is not so innocent.
This book will most definitely have the heart racing with passion to find out what will happen next. It is addictive and will have you hooked. The only thing that is a let down, is that the very last words will have you ever so eager to buy the following book; it will leave you speechless. - Lilly

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon:

Mark Haddon’s stunning novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time shows the world from the perspective of Fifteen year old Christopher Boone; a boy with unfailing intellect and an irrational hatred of yellow food. However when he finds his neighbour's dog murdered, Christopher embarks upon a heart-wrenching journey to find the killer and uncovers the true answer to what happened when his mother died. Polarising and undeniably unique The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will leave you shell shocked for days. - Kale

Everything, Everything by Nicole Yoon:

I have read hundreds of books and within the first few chapters Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was in my top ten. This book made me laugh then cry then blush then get butterflies then cry then laugh from the first word to the last. A classic YA romance story but the quirky format made it even more enjoyable. With strong characters and beautiful writing, I highly recommend reading this novel! - Chelsea

First, we make the beast beautiful: a new story about anxiety by Sarah Wilson:

I loved this book! Sarah Wilson vulnerably details her own journey with mental health, relating to any reader who decides to give it a read. I loved the idea of this book and was impressed with how candidly she spoke about mental health; her own and in general - bravo! It was honest and brave and the conversational manner when she discussed anxiety’s manifestations made it both entirely relevant and relatable. It was both inspirational and educational, I highly recommend this book to anyone even slightly intrigued. -Chelsea

Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward:

A bright and colourful cookbook packed with incredible recipes perfect for anyone. From a recipe on Chocolate Chia Cookies to Veggie Lasagne, there is plenty of treats, meals, and drinks. I really enjoy how the recipes are easy to follow and contain minimal ingredients. This book is a definite recommendation to all the plant-based eaters and vegetarians, and also to anyone wanting to try some amazing recipes. - Tariana