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QBD Reviews: Khaki Town by Judy Nunn

A new drama from Australian's best historical fiction author!

Khaki Town, Judy Nunn’s exciting new novel, is inspired by a true wartime story that has remained a well-kept secret for over seventy years.

Khaki Town is the fantastic new novel from Judy Nunn, set in the north eastern town of Townsville during the second world war. It's the story of hostile race relations between the black and white American soldiers stationed in the town and features a host of both American and Australian characters who are vivid and well developed.

The A and C Companies of the 96th division of the American Army are in Townsville to build a new base and an airport, but not everyone is happy to have them there. The White Australia Policy is in full effect and the Australian government is hesitant to have Negro soldiers on Australian soil. The locals though, tough publican Val, girlfolk Betty and Jill, Aunty Edie and intrepid reporter Pete, are happy to bring the new soldiers into their lives. Tensions still arise though and when the soldiers are banned from the town, the situation explodes in a violent and deadly riot.

A fictionalised account of true events, Nunn's latest book demonstrates her amazing skill at character building. Well researched and very realistic, Khaki Town will stick with you for a long while.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Shannon, QBD Books Rockingham

Get your copy of Khaki Town in store or online here.

Classic novels for the reader who’s been scared of them since High School

Did you cringe in fear every time your English teacher said "This semester we'll be reading....", and then proceeded to trot out some classic novel that sounded like a lot of work?
Take it from us, you are not alone!  Reading is rarely fun when it’s being forced upon you. That’s why so many of us are so resistant and resentful about some of the actually great books we've been assigned to read.

However now we're older, and wiser, it might just be time to take a second look at some of those books again... you just might enjoy them!
Payton has put together a list of common classroom classics that are definitely worth a second glance.

1. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger:

I approached this book with trepidation, believing that it would be full of dense sentences I would hardly be able to understand , but with less than two-hundred pages, I felt like I had no excuse to not dip my toe into the classic genre with this book. All of my worries turned out to be irrelevant as this quickly became one of my favourite stories of all time; the stream-of-consciousness writing style Salinger adopts sucked me into Holden's psyche. If you're interested in stories that don't sensationalise mental illness, and elaborate on the issues young adults go through, this book is timeless, relatable, and easy to read.

2. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde:

The language of this novel is slightly less modern than that of The Catcher in the Rye, but the story is so twisted and gothic that I found it to be just as encapsulating. Plus – it's another short one with less than three-hundred pages!

 

 

3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut:

I just read this for my university literature class , and even researching and writing a series of mini-essays and a major two-thousand word essay hasn't negated from my love for this book. It is very easy to read, fast-paced, and the story itself is thought-provoking and sadly relevant in today 's political climate, where people all around the world become casualties in conflicts they cannot escape.

4. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams:

Yes, yes, this is a play – I'm still new to the classic genre, too, okay? And I want to keep the running theme of books that are easy to read – we're still just dipping in our toes! This story is charming, sad, and incredibly aggravating as we see Blanche DuBois struggle with internal and external conflicts and pray that she finds self esteem, inner strength, and happiness.

5. A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen:

This is another play, and like “A Streetcar Named Desire” it deals with a female protagonist who struggles to be independent and respected in a male-dominated world. Both of these stories highlight how far our Western society has progressed in the past century, while also reminding us of what our fore-mothers had to live through and encouraging us to continue fighting for our rights and freedom.

I hope you enjoy these stories. Classic books don't have to be scary – or boring! ~ Payton

10 books that will make your skin crawl

 

Whether you're a fan of Halloween or just love spine-tingling reads,
the great reads in this list are guaranteed to chill your bones!

The Haunting Of Hill House by Shirley Jackson:

Now a series on Netflix, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Salem's Lot by Steven King:

Thousands of miles away from the small township of 'Salem's Lot, two terrified people, a man and a boy, still share the secrets of those clapboard houses and tree-lined streets. They must return to 'Salem's Lot for a final confrontation with the unspeakable evil that lives on in the town.

Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris:

There's a killer on the loose who knows that beauty is only skin deep, and a trainee investigator who's trying to save her own hide. The only man that can help is locked in an asylum. But he's willing to put a brave face on — if it will help him escape.

World War Z by Max Brooks:

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the 10-year fight-back against the horde, World War Z brings the very finest traditions of American journalism to bear on what is surely the most incredible story in the history of civilisation.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman:

There is something strange about Coraline's new home. It's not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It's the other house - the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever.

The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow and other tales by Washington Irving:

The Headless Horseman faces off with Ichabod Crane in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," a ghost story of enduring popularity that takes place at the time of the American Revolution. "Rip Van Winkle," another traditional favorite from the same historic period, tells the tale of man who fell asleep for 20 years and found his small town in the Catskill Mountains much changed by the time he awakened. Both are included — along with many other tales — in this classic collection by Washington Irving.

Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice:

In a darkened room a young man sits telling the macabre and eerie story of his life - the story of a vampire, gifted with eternal life, cursed with an exquisite craving for human blood.

Someone Like Me by M.R. Carey:

Liz Kendall wouldn't hurt a fly. She's a gentle woman devoted to bringing up her kids in the right way, no matter how hard times get.
But there's another side to Liz---one which is dark and malicious. A version of her who will do anything to get her way, no matter how extreme or violent.
And when this other side of her takes control, the consequences are devastating.

The Passage by Justin Cronin:

An epic, awe-inspiring novel of good and evil.
Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old and her mother thinks she's the most important person in the whole world.
She is.
Anthony Carter doesn't think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row.
He's wrong.
FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming.
It is.
THE PASSAGE.

NOS4R2 by Joe Hill:

A spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, centred around a woman trying to save her son from a vicious, supernatural killer who has set his sights on him.

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Do you have a favourite creepy thriller?
Let us know in the comments!

 

Awesome books celebrating women!

 

Happy International Women's Day!

Today, Karina counts down her top 5 collections featuring amazing women!

"All these books contain amazing women throughout history, taking names and kicking butt. I love that each of these books show a wide range of people from history, including businesswomen, musicians, scientists, actors, suffragettes, activists, really every kind of woman.

I highly recommend all these books, especially Shout Out To The Girls, because they're specifically Australia women that may be less well known."

 

FIVE...

Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzi Lee: 
Bygone Badass Broads features 52 remarkable and forgotten trail-blazing women from all over the world. With tales of heroism and cunning, witty bios and in-depth storytelling, the book takes a closer look at the bold and inspiring women who dared to step outside of traditional gender roles for their times. Coupled with illustrations and Lee's Drunk History-esque storytelling style, this book is an outright celebration of the badass women who paved the way for the rest of us.

FOUR...

100 Nasty Women Of History by Hannah Jewell:

This great book contains profiles of women from across every century, race and continent, united in the fact that they were all a bit 'nasty'. From 3rd-century Japanese Empress Jingu to 20th-century British social reformer Octavia Hill, these are the women who were bold and powerful, but maybe put people (men's) backs up by being so. An accessible, intelligent, hilarious (and sometimes sweary) guide to the history-making women whom you probably don't know - but definitely should.

THREE...

Women In Science by Rachel Ignotofsky:

A fascinating collection full of striking, singular art, the book features 50 profiles and illustrated portraits of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world, and also contains infographics about interesting and relevant topics such as lab equipment and rates of women currently working in STEM fields.

TWO...

Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli:

What if the princess did not marry Prince Charming but instead went on to be an astronaut or an activist? What if the jealous step sisters were supportive and kind? And what if the queen was the one really in charge of the kingdom?

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls introduces us to one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives. From Marie Curie to Malala, Ada Lovelace to Zaha Hadid, this book brings together the stories of scientists, artists, politicians, pirates and spies. Each double-page spread contains a mini-biography written in the style of a modern fairy tale and a full-page portrait capturing the spirit of each heroine, by one of the sixty female artists from across the globe who were commissioned to illustrate the book. Powerful, moving and very necessary, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girl will inspire and delight readers of all ages.

ONE!

Shout Out to the Girls by Various: 

Let's hear it for the Australian women who have shaped our history and are expanding our future!
Shout-outs to 50 awesome Australian women with easy-to-read biographies of their incredible achievements. From Cathy Freeman to Turia Pitt, Edith Cowan to Julia Gillard, Mum Shirl to Vali Myers, plus rally car drivers, molecular biologists and more, this book is a celebration of women in all fields, from all walks of life, and from Australia's past and present.

QBD Reviews: The Secrets At Ocean’s Edge by Kali Napier

Meet our February Book of the Month!

The Secrets At Ocean's Edge has been likened to Australian classics like M.L. Stedman's award-winning novel The Light Between Oceans, and Rosalie Ham's The Dressmaker.

1932. Ernie and Lily Hass, and their daughter, Girlie, have lost almost everything in the Depression; all they have keeping their small family together are their secrets. Abandoning their failing wheat farm and small-town gossip, they make a new start on the west coast of Australia where they begin to build a summer guesthouse. But forming new alliances with the locals isn't easy.

Into the Hasses' new life wanders Lily's shell-shocked brother, Tommy, after three harrowing years on the road following his incarceration. Tommy is seeking answers that will cut to the heart of who Ernie, Lily, and Girlie really are.

Inspired by the author's own family history, The Secrets at Ocean's Edge is a haunting, memorable and moving tale of one family's search for belonging. Kali Napier breathes a fever-pitch intensity into the story of these emotionally fragile characters as their secrets are revealed with tragic consequences. 

This novel will break and warm your heart! The story of this Australian family will hit close to home for many, as they struggle to find where they belong. As family secrets break these beautifully vulnerable characters, I thought of my own family history and how lives evolve and change. If you loved The Light between Oceans, you will fall hard for this family's tale.
- Kaitlyn, QBD Kotara

The Secrets At Ocean's Edge is available online & in all QBD Books' stores now.