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QBD Belconnen’s Favourite Ladies

Today our Belconnen team introduce us to some of their favourite ladies... lady authors that is!
From classic fiction to true crime add these great female authors to your shelves today!

Monstress by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda:

Monstress is about disembodied heads, magic, horror, and of course, monsters. Set during a cease fire between humans and Arcanics, a race of Magic users, this book has some really amazing women. In a society where women are in charge, it follows a Arcanic woman, Maika Halfwolf, as she tries to find out about her mother. The story explores the inhumanities of war, and the crimes that are committed by the winners. I really loved this book, the art is really beautiful and pleasing to the eye.
All the characters are fully formed beings, you can feel their history and strength. Plus there's an adorable kitty that I love. - Laurence

Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein:

This is one of the best thrillers I've read in a long time. Sarah Epstein crafted such an amazing debut book that I read it all in one sitting, desperate to get to the end of the book and thankful that I didn't have to work the next morning.
The story centres around Tash, and a case of a missing girl from 10 years before. The girl, Mallory, was found safe after 6 days, but what happened to her? Why does Tash feel like she has a key to unlock Mallory's trauma? Are they connected somehow, like kindred spirits? Why don't the people closest to Tash believe that she knows something?
This book is a fantastic example of an unreliable narrator, and if you follow it, you can see why. It made me question my memory of small events as a child, looking through it with the eyes of an adult. Bonus points for this being the first thriller I've read in a long time that doesn't victimise women or children. - Karina

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein:

'Code Name Verity' drew me in with promises of strong female characters and it delivered! As someone who is not a huge fan of historical fiction, this book really surprised me with how engaging the story was and how real the characters felt. I finished this book in 3 days and as I am a really slow reader but once you get into it you can't put this book down. There were many plot twists that I did not see coming and just as I thought I knew what was going to happen, Wein would throw a curve ball again.
This is a book about two young British women who are undertaking a secret mission in German occupied France in 1943. It begins with one of them writing a confession for the Gestapo after they were captured. For the first few chapters of the book very little information is given but as you continue reading you realise that everything is part of a bigger more intricate picture. The book switches between both the main characters being the narrators, and the reader is able to slowly piece together what happened. You gain and lose hope with the characters as they try to complete the mission and plan an escape. You never really know what's going to happen until the last page. - Rina

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy:

The God of Small Things is a multi-generational family drama, that explores those often fleeting moments that end up shaping our lives. The world that Arundhati Roy creates for the reader is an immense achievement not just for its scope but for the incredible level of detail with which she litters it. A rich and complex novel, The God of Small Things is a rewarding read sure to stay with you long after you’ve put it down. - Lachlan

Joe Cinque's Consolation by Helen Garner:

Helen Garner recounts that terrible crime committed by Anu Singh, when she kills her boyfriend, Joe Cinque. The book is full of court transcripts and interviews with those close to the people in the case, as well as Garner's outrage at the justice system and criminal sentencing. - Jess
3.5 stars

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule:

Ann Rule's 'The Stranger Beside Me' tells the chilling tale of serial killer Ted Bundy. Rule herself, a former police officer and suicide hotline worker (where she met Bundy), recounts the events of Bundy's rampage, and her personal connection to him. “You just can't see the mask of a killer if they're right beside you.” Rule's first hand account of her friendship with one of the most prolific serial killers, her realisation of who he really was and even copies of letters Bundy had sent her from jail makes her tale a terrifying and eye opening recount of the events between 1975 to 1978. - Stella

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

Crackling with humour and personality, Pride & Prejudice is often considered one of the best novels ever written - and fair enough too! Sporting a straightforward (yet ever influential) narrative injected with a relatable protagonist, the supporting characters and situations that Elizabeth Bennett finds herself in provide just enough ridiculousness to elevate Pride & Prejudice well above the countless soap-opera-romances that have tried to ape it. Austen’s writing has survived the test of time and will continue to do so in this hilarious and classic novel. - Mitchell

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Space-tacular Reads!

"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of Team Belconnen. Their mission: to explore strange new worlds; to read about new life and new civilisations; to boldly imagine where no man has gone before."

Descender by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen:

Following an attack by Planet sized robots called harvesters, a young boy wakes to find he is that most of the galaxy has been wiped out.
He is Tim-21, a young boy robot companion, believed to be created by Dr Jin Quon, believed to hold the secret to the Harvester technology, become most wanted in a galaxy that has banned robots. After being saved from bounty hunters by a construction bot named Driller, Tim-21, his dog Bandit, and Driller set off with Captain Telsa and her crew on an adventure through the galaxy to try and save humanity, and robot kind.
Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen - which is reason enough to own this.
Perfect for people who loved Saga, Star Wars, and I, Robot. -Laurence (Store Manager)

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly:

"That's one small step for man... one giant leap for mankind"
A single line that echoes through history forever. We know that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins got to the Moon with a lot of help from incredibly intelligent and talented people.

Historians can be extremely selective and continue the narrative of women in the 1900's as housewives and secretaries; never being seen as the contributors to society. This book exposes all the hard work that a group of women, known as human calculators due to their brilliant mathematical skill, did behind the scenes. Without them, there would not have been a mission to the moon.

Although reading about marginalised people, especially of black women, in an era of segregation can be truly enraging, this book showed the determination of four incredibly smart and talented women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden. They worked with grace and dignity, despite what the challenges and adversity they faced. Their co-workers eventually came to respect their contributions, and one of the best parts is reading about John Glenn, an astronaut and engineer, wanted Katherine Johnson to personally check the numbers for trajectories of a mission, because he didn't trust the IMB computers.

These were amazing and inspiring women, and this is an amazing read for everyone, however, I'd especially recommend this to women interested in STEM fields. -Karina

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples:

For fans of fantasy space operas! Who am I kidding? Its for everyone. There's the star-crossed love, dashing adventurers, animal sidekicks, and even a bit of royalty.
Saga is a story about a family trying to stay together. Marko and Alana are from two warring races that have been fighting so long nobody knows why they started. They have a child then fall in love (in that order) the child is considered an abomination by both their peoples and they have to flee to avoid being hunted down. While on the run they meet a bounty hunter with a lie detector cat, a ghost who becomes their babysitter, and a prince with amnesia (which may or may not be their fault).

This fantastical story deals with themes of morality, sexuality, race, and wartime conflicts and fallouts. It has great world building and character development where right or wrong really depends on where you're standing. It is honest about life. The gruesome images of childbirth, living on the run, and casualties of war are never romanticised. All of this is wrapped up with some nicely times jokes that reminds us that life is bad but at least its funny sometimes. -Rina

The Expanse Series by James S A Corey:

The Expanse by James S.A. Corey is a series of high-flying, deep space adventure with a grounded and human heart. It follows the crew of the Rocinante as they are thrust into one plot after another and have to save the Solar System.

Although set hundreds of years in the future, the author tackles many social issues throughout the current six novels. There are plenty of explosions and ship-to-ship combat, but racism underlies many of the decisions and conflicts. The main characters of each novel are from different planets and backgrounds, and their interactions are often tense as they come to terms with the difference and put them aside. Because of these themes and the exceptional characterisation, The Expanse ends up being realistic, relatable and, above all else, extremely enjoyable. -Mitchell

Deep Space by Govert Schilling:

Deep Space is a wonderful book for any space geek. A coffee table book with amazing photo's and easy to understand terms. Perfect for the hardcore scientist or someone who just looks at the stars and wonders. Get lost in how expansive and amazing our universe is while learning greats facts to baffle friends with. A great book for igniting your imagination and reliving your dreams of being an astronaut. The universe is beautiful and mystifying , shown wonderfully by this book. -Cai

Gravity by Tess Gerritsen:

If you’ve heard of the television series Rizzoli and Isles, then you’ve heard of Tess Gerritsen, even if you didn’t know it. But before the famous crime fighters got their own show, indeed, before Gerritsen had even wrote the first book to kick off the series, she was working in a different, but equally suspenseful, genre; medical thriller.
Being a medical physician herself, Gerritsen is able to describe the behaviour of the body in a way that is both accurate and disturbing. Her books, Gravity included, are not for the faint of heart.

Gravity is the culmination of a life’s work in medicine and two years of consultation with NASA. While the International Space Station might not seem like the typical location for a medical thriller, the unfamiliar surrounds and isolation make what follows all the more terrifying.
On board the ISS is a culture of harmless single-celled organisms from the deep ocean that have been widely studied here on Earth, but were taken to the ISS to be studied under the effects of microgravity. But the cells are contaminated, and someone on Earth knows why.

When the contaminated cells are exposed to the microgravity of space, something inside starts to grow. A simple error sees this unknown organism escape into the ISS with deadly and grotesque consequences. Room by room of the ISS has to be shut and quarantined, until our heroine, medical doctor and astronaut Emma Watson, is the only one left alive. Abandoned by NASA, who can’t risk such a violently destructive organism to get to Earth, the only escape shuttle destroyed, and the infection starting to course through her body with devastating effects, Watson is running against the clock and her own failing body to prove that this organism can be controlled and defeated. Her only hope is her soon-to-be ex-husband Jack McCallum, a medical doctor and once-astronaut, who is willing to go to any lengths to find the truth and save his wife. -Natalie

The Universe in Your Hand by Christophe Galfard:

The Universe In Your Hand by Christophe Galfard is a brilliantly written description of modern physics directed at individuals who have no prior knowledge of science. Galfard covers a wonderfully wide array of topics and, through his infectious sense of humour and the books easy-to-follow conversational style, makes learning about scientific topics enjoyable, as opposed to dry and dull. It's informative content is mind-bending, fascinating, entertaining and comprehensive. The Universe In Your Hand is a terrific aid for readers to help them visualise the complex ideas of modern physics and allows them to walk away with a deeper knowledge of our universe. -Paris

Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown:

Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown, tells the tale of Darth Vader trying to put his two children, Luke and Leia to sleep by reading a book of how all the other creatures in the Star Wars realm go to sleep. The story is told with lyrical rhymes, and simple language, highlighting its childlike nature. Bright and intricate drawings are featured on every page, these being a certain humour to the book, making it even more entertaining. I guarantee this book will be enjoyed by all Star Wars fans of all ages. -Stella

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Every week a new store reviews their latest reads!
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Spotlight on QBD Belconnen 2016

 

Is the book better than the movie? Our team at Belconnen investigate!

 

9780755322824 Stardust by Neil Gaiman:

Stardust is a modern day fairy tale. It’s about a young man, from the unremarkable town of Wall, who seeks his heart's desire. A tale tells of seeking a fallen star to grant this. And so Tristan embarks on his quest to win over the young woman whom he desires. The book is sublime and written in such a way that makes you fall in love the storytelling, the characters and all the twists and turns. It has witches and castles and knights. A love more true than that of your first love; sorrow so deep you feel as though it has happened to you.
After reading this you'll want more.
The book isn’t necessarily better than the movie, as the movie explores different elements and adds more to the fairy tale that is Stardust. Both are well worth your time, and will evoke a strong emotional response. - Laurence (Store Manager)

9780747545187Princess Bride by William Goldman:

This book has: Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautiful ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.
This story is about "twue wuv". It's also a daring adventure, with giants and swordsmen, a classic fairytale. It begins with a grandfather reading the story of the Princess Bride to his sick grandson. To the grandson's dismay, it's a kissing book. But it's so much more than all of these things, making it so much more.
William Goldman crafts all the characters so lovingly, you being to feel so much for the characters. The story within a story is an added bonus to everything that Goldman writes.

Not buying this book? Inconceivable!

 

Why the book is better than the movie: Although it's hard to compare- I truly adore the movie. Cary Elwes plays The Man in Black perfectly. But the book is so much better because you get more of the story. William Goldman also includes entertaining antedotes the whole way through, which add more to the story. There story of Westley and Buttercup also continues further than the movie. It's definitely worth the read, especially if you love the movie. - Karina (Store 2IC)

9780141037509Perfume by Patrick Süskind:

Set in 18th century France, Perfume is about an orphan with an exceptional sense of smell allowing him to perform unnatural feats like identifying people through doors or navigating in pitch black via smell. Grenouille (our main character) sets off to learn about preserving scents after the smell of the girl from his first murder faded away. The story then follows his journey around France to learn the art of perfuming which leads to him creating a perfume that makes everyone fall in adoration and awe. After the realisation that he has no smell himself Grenouille goes through a self-realisation of sorts and the book comes to a poetic ending leaving you with a feeling of bemusement despite the rather dark and gory happenings.
Süskind portrays Grenouille with an utter lack of conventional morals or the concept of human agency. To Grenouille humans are just producers of scents and it is written brilliantly so the reader is in Grenouille’s head that you have a double take at your morals which is something that didn’t quite translate in the film. The movie did a good job albeit with some visual liberties but there’s so much more detail you can discover from the novel - Rina

9780340960196Dune by Frank Herbert:

Frank Herbert’s Dune is the highest selling science fiction novel of all time – and for good reason. With an epic story, complex characters and world building to rival Tolkien, Dune effortlessly keeps its place as one of the greatest stories ever told.
In a distant future where all computers have been banned, humanity relies on a substance known as the Spice to inform their decisions. When consumed, the Spice can give its user a small glimpse at possible futures and is thus used for war strategizing, space flight navigation and other activities that we would use a computer for today. The Spice, however, can only be produced on the desert planet of Arrakis, otherwise known as Dune. When the Emperor unexpectedly takes control of Arrakis from the vile Harkonnens and gifts it to the noble Atreides, Paul Atreides uncovers a sinister plot that could change the fate of the universe.
The story takes unexpected twists and while there aren’t many big, explosive moments, there are many great character moments that deepen the world. These characters are what sets Dune apart from the other novels in the overcrowded sci fi genre. Each character is given a clear goal and is relatable in one way or another. The character that benefits the most from Herbert’s exceptional characterisation is Paul Atreides, the protagonist of the story. At the beginning of the novel, Paul is fifteen years old and still wrestling with the responsibilities of being an heir. As the story progresses, Herbert reveals Paul’s true meaning and how he reacts to this is what makes him so relatable. He makes mistake after mistake, desperately trying to get his foot in the door of adulthood and be respected by those around him. This is something that is seen all the time in modern storytelling but Dune came before all those. When reading Dune it is easy to see the themes that have been the inspiration for other sagas such as Star Wars and The Matrix. But where the desert planets in Star Wars and the future in The Matrix are presented as dull, depressing things, Herbert gives the dunes of Arrakis and the people and beasts that inhabit them a strange kind of beauty that entraps the reader. And it is this beauty that is missing from all the stories that Dune has inspired. - Mitchell

9781743318959My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult:

This a a heartbreak tale of family at its best and worst. Anna's choice to seek medical emancipation from her family in order to stop donating to her elder sister Kate is just the start of the family's journey. You go with them as a brother's silent suffering, a mother's fear and a father's sense of hopelessness overwhelms you from the pages. A bond between sisters stronger than anything else ties this book together until its heartbreaking end.
A great and tear jerking read, for anyone that loves things that are deeper than they seem.
Why the book is better than the movie: Have you seen that picture where they cut a dvd shape from a book? This movie suffers from this incredibly badly. so many of the completely side stories that gave the book it's depth are dropped. I'm not going to even talk about the ending... when the author doesn't like the movie. You've done something wrong, badly wrong. - Cai

9781447276364Room by Emma Donoghue:

To five year old Jack, the world is huge, even though he’s only seen 10 by 10 feet of it. He knows what’s real - Ma, plant, skylight - and what’s not - trees, dogs; they’re only real on TV planets out in space. But when Ma reaches her breaking point and plots a means to escape, Jack is forced to see that the world is much bigger than he ever imagined. Told through Jack’s eyes, Room touches the heart in unexpected ways and with a childlike innocence unable to be fully captured by the screen. - Natalie

9780732289003Paper Towns by John Green:

John Green’s novel Paper Towns is both stimulating and relatable young adult readers. If Green’s famous writing style wasn’t enough, the story itself makes it easy to recommend to others as I struggled to put the book down. The novel Paper Towns was far better than the film remake, as the film lacked substance and detail that made the book so entertaining. The novel allowed for a much more enjoyable experience and is therefore much better than the film. - Paris

9781407130224Northern Lights by Philip Pullman:

"The book was better".
Four words that are said far too often for my liking. I so hoped that the Northern Lights book by Phillip Pullman, would prove the exception to the rule, and that the movie (renamed The Golden Compass for reasons unexplained) would be brilliant. I was disappointed. The original book is breathtaking in the complexity and elaborateness of its plot and characters. The movie was a grossly watered down and simplified version, that did not in any way do justice to the masterpiece that is Phillip Pullman's trilogy.
Some of the most critical scenes have been left out, and while this occurs in all book to movie adaptations, the scale on which its done in the GC, simply means that a huge part of Pullman's original plot is lost. My main problem, however is in the portrayal of the protagonist Lyra. Her passionate emotions and loyalty displayed in the book made her one of my favourite literary characters, and the movie version simply cannot compare. The heartbreaking thing is, as a result of the poor quality of the first movie, we'll never get a second instalment in this incredible trilogy and we will have to content ourselves with the other two books. But that's fine. They were better anyway. - Stella

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Spotlight on QBD Belconnen

Graphic novels have leapt out of the shadows and into our spotlight this week! Our Belconnen Team have put together a great selection - perfect for first-time graphic novel readers and old hands alike.

9781401235420Batman: Court of Owls written by Scott Snyder and art by Greg Capullo:
"Beware The Court of Owls, that watches all the time, ruling Gotham from a shadow perch, behind granite and lime. They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed, speak not a whispered word of them or they'll send The Talon for your head."
All fairy tales start with some degree of reality. For Gotham City, the strange isn't out of the ordinary. Following a ritualistic murder, The Dark Knight is lead down a strange path to discover that these nursery rhymes are based on the true pillars of Gotham. The seedy behind the scenes of Gotham's leading families. Dark, strange and deeply compelling. It's a detective novel in a superhero setting. Whether you are new to Batman and graphic novels or if you are seasoned comics reader and looking to start on Batman, this is a great point to jump on board. - Laurence (Store Manager)

Batman Adventures: Mad Love written by Paul Dini, art by Bruce Timm:
This is one of my all-time favourite graphic novels. It features Harley Quinn, The Joker and an assortment of Batman Villains. Included is the fantastic origin story of Harley Quinn, written by Paul Dini, with amazing art work by Bruce Timm. They had worked incredibly hard on Batman the Animated Series, and created Harley Quinn. Their love for her shows in the first comic- Mad Love, in which they pose the question "How far will you go to make someone love you?"
The other stories in the collection are a must-read. You see another side of Two-Face in Two of a Kind, with an unexpected twist as Harvey Dent strives for a normal life without the shadow of his former self. There is also a great holiday story featuring Barbara Gordon, Detectives Renee Montoya and Harvey Bullock (Why are there so many Harveys in Gotham?) and Clayface.
To quote Mark Hamill (who voices The Joker in Batman the Animated Series), it is "bold, lusty, gleefully demented". - Karina (2IC)

9781607066019Saga Volume 1 written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples: An intergalactic Romeo and Juliet-esque love story with a dash of nudity and gore. Not for the faint hearted, this comic tells the story of two soldiers from opposing sides of a never ending galactic war, who fall in love and must fight against the galaxy to ensure the safety of their newborn daughter. Often hilarious and at times heartbreaking, readers will be on the edge of their seats as the story plays out in beautifully illustrated and detailed full colour drawings. Told from the perspective of their daughter, we are able to glimpse snippets of the family’s adventures (and misadventures) as they grow and struggle to stay alive. If horned and winged creatures, armless spider ladies, bounty hunters and TV headed people are your thing, then Saga is sure to keep you entertained regardless of your species!
Will the star-crossed lovers succeed? Will their daughter live to see her next birthday? Start the saga and find out. Recommended for 18+  - Jessica

Attack on Titan written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama: Attack on Titan follows the story of a boy called Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman, and their friend Armin Arlert. After the outermost wall of their city is breached by the titans, human-like 15-60 metre tall skinless creatures. After his mother was killed during the attack, Eren vows for revenge against the titans. Attack on Titan was captivating, well written and kept me hooked the whole time, the artwork flows with the plot. The fact that this book is written the opposite way to your average novel didn’t change my love for the book; the main characters were relatable with deep personalities. The style of Attack on Titan was new to me and the story was fascinating, Eren’s ongoing journey of his revenge against the Titans thrills me to keep reading more. - Stella

9781607065630Fatale: Death Chases Me written by Ed Brubaker, art by Sean Phillips: In the first of six volumes, Death Chases Me, we meet Nicolas who, until he meets Josephine, is living a normal life. She is the mysterious woman who, from the first moment, makes Nicolas act like a high school kid all over again. When Nicolas stumbles upon an unpublished manuscript of his late godfather, Dominic Raines, he must unravel the secrets it holds. From plane and car chases to supernatural beings, volume one sets to tone for what continues to be an exciting series. The artwork, done by the amazing Sean Phillips, provides the perfect visual story to Ed Brubaker’s narration. This story is an entertaining mixture of mystery noir, supernatural and adventure worked into a plot that leaves you wanting volume two immediately. - Jess

Avengers: The Origin written by Joe Casey, art by Phil Noto: As the name suggests this bad boy is a good place to start if, like me you haven't really delved into the world world of comic books just yet. We see some recognizable faces though. classic Loki is there doing some low-key mischief making from his imprisonment on the Isle of Silence. Thor is also here for the party so is Ironman. Although his suit is in stark contrast to the one we see in the films. Antman and The Wasp are also on board to try and neutralize the hulk as he goes off on a rampage, classic Bruce Banner (his secret is he's always angry). Earth's heroes come to the rescue as a haphazard second choice to the Fantastic Four. Bummer but they can Avenge that, hey! There is also a healthy serving of sass to keep you going through the long nights. - Georgia

9781582406725The Walking Dead written by Robert Kirkman, art by Tony Moore: Rick is a small town sheriff trying to bring law and order to a world of chaos. Having woken from a coma (more dazed and confused than Jimmy Page) Rick discovers that the outbreak of a deadly virus has given a whole new meaning to the term 'fast food'.
Don't be put off by the title if you aren't as excited for blood as Kirkman's zombies. The black and white art provided by Tony Moore shifts the focus away from brainless gore and onto character development. Kirkman uses this bleak post-apocalypse scenario to examine the human condition, questioning how far any of us would go for survival. The slim 114 page novel is surprisingly meaty and the characters are impressively fleshed out.
Don't get me wrong there are plenty of blood and guts in the Walking Dead (Kirkman really puts the graphic into Graphic Novel) there's just so much else to sink your teeth into. - Lachlan

New York Four written by Brian Wood, art by Ryan Kelly:  The New York Four is a fantastic, engaging and humorous story. I enjoyed this graphic novel a lot! It had a good concept, realistic characters and amazing artwork. It's a good graphic novel to try out if you don't usually read them. It was super easy and fun to read and was totally captivating. Would definitely recommend this! - Paris

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