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Tag / book reviews

Carousel’s Cracking Christmas Reads!


Relax! Santa and his Carousel team have Christmas all sorted for you this year
- they even did their job early!

Check out these amazing reads - perfect to gift to someone you love (or yourself!)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern:

The Night Circus is the most magically enchanting book I have ever had the pleasure to read. One that I make a point to read at-least once a year around this time. A stand-alone book that will give you a completely new definition on magic. Join Celia and Marco, two differently gifted individuals competing in a game of chess with the Circus as their game-board and battlegrounds. This book will push your imagination to its limits as Celia and Marco are pushed to theirs. - Nate (aka SANTA)

Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E Feist & Janny Wurts:

Set within the same world as Feist's The Magician, Mara is torn from her impending servitude to the goddess Lashima in order to lead her family's house the Acoma. Only through careful use of diplomacy and tradition can she ensure the survival of her house against ancient feuds and political ambitions. A great read for anyone who is looking for a fantasy book with a strong, intelligent, and three-dimensional female lead. - Belinda (aka RUDOLPH)

The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne:

The Cursed Child presents information about the progressions of our favourite characters that sometimes seem like they deserve to be revealed in a novel written only by J.K. Rowling herself. Despite my initial reactions to fearing what could be done to the memory of these characters and places I cherish so much, I began to open myself up to, not only the screen writing format, but also the warm and heartfelt dialogue which Jack Thorne has contributed to. His writing captures the charming and magical presence of the books that came before The Cursed Child, and though it is difficult to analyse the contributions of each creative influence, the team constructs a story, regardless of medium, that is undoubtedly Harry Potter. The screenplay format offers the communication of the narrative primarily being delivered with dialogue, and through conversation and observation, the story flourished and became visualised like any book (though the stage directions given would often allow me to also imagine it set in the theater, which I had no issue with at all). This allows for a great opportunity to explore characters through each other and not rely on heavy descriptive blocks of text or exposition which some novels fall victim too. The book flows, and is wonderfully easy to read, allowing all the focus to be put into enjoying a continuation of the Harry Potter universe, and becoming a part of again, those characters we all grew up loving. Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is a screen play meant for theater production, and though I had no chance to witness the play, I am glad I had the opportunity to imagine it all for myself and return to this world which I love so much. - Paul (aka BERNARD THE ELF)

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson:

The Final Empire is set in a world where the Hero of Ages, the one prophesied to defeat the greatest evil ever known... failed. For a thousand years, the Lord Ruler has been a tyrant in a world of ever present ash, and that's where our underdog, Vin, lives. Every one Brandon Sanderson's books has a system of magic I've never seen before and The Final Empire is no different. Burning metals inside them to Push or Pull on objects and emotions in a diverse world of twists and intrigue, the characters are realistic and strive to do one thing above all others: Survive. - Matt (aka DASHER)

At My Table by Nigella Lawson:

Where to begin when another Nigella Lawson book graces our shelves so close to Christmas...

At My Table is not only a wonderfully thought out cook book with delectable treats waiting to be discovered within its pages, it is also a celebration of food. Nigella takes us on a journey through her latest release explaining just how important food and food culture is in a world constantly bombarded with deadlines and KPI’s. Nigella says “slow down!” and reminds us that food is to be appreciated not only for taste but also for comfort and its incredible ability to bring people together.

At My Table is not a cookbook for the Blumenthal’s of this world, but rather the home cooks who love to create fantastic food for themselves and their families. Whether it be a recipe for Nigella’s “Emergency Brownies” (I could really use one of those right about now) or something spicy like “Spanish Eggs”, Nigella has you covered. I encourage all the wonderful home cooks of this world to take a chance and explore Nigella’s latest book At My Table this Christmas, I know you won’t be disappointed! - Liam (aka COMET)

Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan:

Ruins of Gorlan is the first installment in the 12-part Ranger's Apprentice series by Australian author John Flanagan. Aimed at the teen community Ruins of Gorlan explores the adventures of Will and his mentor Halt as they strive to protect the kingdom of Araluen. John Flanagan’s Ruins of Gorlan ,while set in a fantasy universe, offers children and their parents alike opportunities to learn real life lessons. As the reader journeys with the main characters of the series they can appreciate the authors attention to detail in trying to both entertain and inform them about the trails and tribulations of growing up. This book is perfect as a stepping stone into darker themed stories and novels such as Lord of the Rings and the famous Harry Potter series. - Alex (aka BLITZEN)

Absolutely Beautiful Things by Anna Spiro:

Absolutely beautiful book for all interior design lovers this Christmas. Anna Spiro's sense of colour and her eclectic style will inspire you to create a home that tells your story. Her advice, is to collect pieces that you love and have meaning to you. Anna will show you how to develop your unique sense of style with layering of patterns, adding colour, and mixing old and new furniture with confidence. I adore this book, her gratitude to family and belief in traditions. The way she brings a room together so beautifully will keep me inspired well into the New Year! - Angela (aka DANCER)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Illustrated Ed. by J.K. Rowling:

My favourite book of this year is the beautifully illustrated release of the third book in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. With stunning and evocative pictures illustrated by Jim Kay, it brings the well known text of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban alive and will inspire new and old Harry Potter readers. This book is definitely one to be cherished and enjoyed by future generations. - Tabitha (aka VIXEN)

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard:

Mare was an ordinary girl like any other in her world, any other “red” that is. In this world of segregation , the world is divided into two factions, that of the powerful and political ones born into the world of “silvers", armed with god-like powers and those of the lower servant class “reds". When Mare's brothers are conscripted to be soldiers she begins to orchestrate a plan to escape from the same fate and will let nothing stand in her way. After a fateful encounter one night with a strange man , her life changes and she is hurled into the silver world and soon finds herself in the silver palace, surrounded by the imperial silvers she despises most. Being cautious of Mare's inside strength, the royalty conceal her true identity and rebirths her as a lost silver child raised in the harsh environments of poverty. When Mare realises she has a chance to make a difference, she takes every opportunity she can to collapse the society that has been chosen for her and free her fellow red servants.

The Red Queen, the first book of Victoria Aveyard's racing trilogy, draws you into the story and leaves you wanting more. It is a fast paced battle for power and justice, acting on intense emotions of love and hate. With themes of romance, betrayals, adventure and lies, it is hard to put this book down. - Merrin (aka ELF)

The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm:

I've grown up seeing through Disney's rose-tinted view of the famous Brothers Grimm tales and when I read these original tales I was absolutely enchanted. There's not a story in the book that has failed to fascinate me! I would recommend this book to readers above the age of 8 as some of the stories can get a bit dark. - Sri Maha (aka CUPID)

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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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