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QBD Eastland’s Reading Recommendations- Just For YOU!

Our friendly Eastland team are always ready with a reading suggestion -  from everyday quick reads to sagas that stay with you! 

Check out their most recent favourites:

9781786480286The Girl Before by JP Delaney:

Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train, The Girl Before is a thriller for the modern age. Exploring themes of loss, violence, and obsession, Delaney enthralls the reader with her split narrative set in the ultra minimalist One Folgate Street. This is a house that is designed to test your limits and make you strive for perfection, but as the heroines of the story soon discover, this is easier said than done. The Girl Before is a great read for anyone looking for a gripping suspense to draw them and keep them on the edge of their set the whole time. - Sean

9780099540663Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy:

Anna Karenina is about SO MANY THINGS. At first it seems like a novel about love and relationships, but it quickly becomes a novel about religion, faith, class, societal norms, politics, finance, agriculture, psychology, children, marriage and fidelity. No matter what you like to read about I can say with absolute certainty that Anna Karenina has it in spades.

There are many facets to this story, but for me, the stand-out theme was the mistaking of lust for love. Kitty becomes unhappy because Vronsky ditches her for Anna. Anna is unhappy after ditching Karenina for Vronsky. Levin is unhappy because Kitty chose Vronsky over him. Dolly is unhappy because Oblonsky chooses every other woman over her. Almost all of these couplings, but none more so than Anna and Vronsky get their beginnings either in arranged marriage or infidelity a.k.a lust.
Anna so quickly ditches her husband and child for a relationship born of lust that she winds up living in sin and utter unhappiness. That was the overarching story to me, politics and agriculture aside, I think that Tolstoy wrote about love. I feel like he was trying to express his views on infidelity and arranged marriages.

People often worry about books like this being dry and dense. I'm not going to tell you that this one is any different, because its not. But, the dry parts are simply that, parts. The book as a whole is vastly interesting and it is only on maybe four occasions where I was bored of what I was reading. All of those instances were related to characters political leanings and intentions and to agriculture and finance. Things that would bore most people I'm sure.

I loved this book and count it amongst my great achievements that I managed to finish it. If you want to try Russian literature but are not sure where to start, I would definitely start here. - Sam

9781406372151The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas:

Angie Thomas hits an absolute winner in her first piece of YA fiction. Our young narrator/protagonist, Starr, is an inquisitive, thoughtful black girl. Her life is in dichotomy, half spent in Garden Heights, home to crack dealers, drive by shootings and unfortunately, Starr. The other half is spent at Starr's swanky private school on the other side of town. At home she has to pretend to be 'more black' than she feels, and at school, much less. Starr manages to establish some form of equilibrium she is content with, until 'it' happens.

Thomas' characters are wonderfully complex, and meticulously crafted; every point is purposeful, every scene pivotal. This brand new author has produced something important and special, I have no reservations in recommending The Hate U Give. This book will teach you real meaning, as first shared by Tupac, of living a THUG LIFE. I wait in bated breath to read Thomas again in the very near future. - Josh

9781743531600Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven:

It was 2 years ago when I first read Bad Romeo, and its one I'll always go back and re-read.
I love everything about this story. It is full of surprise and passion and is very difficult for me to put down, whether I'm reading it for the first time or the fifth!
Its rare for me to like a female lead character, but the way Rayven portrays her heroine Cassie, just made me relate to her on another level. But Ethan Holt will top any book crush you have and put them to shame.
This book got me hooked on romance, I would definitely recommend anything by Leisa Rayven. - Nicole

9781742612003Hell Island by Matthew Reilly:

Picking this novella up at 11pm on a weeknight wasn't the best decision I have made recently. I finished it in just over an hour, and struggled to comprehend the full on action that I had just endured. The very few Matthew Reilly books I have read have always left me speechless and in need of a cup of tea and quiet corner to calm down in. Hell Island was no exception. Reilly's fast paced action, and cliff hanger at the end of every chapter keeps the pages turning. His comfortable style of writing is easy and entertaining, and always manages to make me feel like I am part of the story too.

Admittedly I have not read any of the other Scarecrow books, and this book wasn't confusing or difficult to understand. Even if you haven't read the Scarecrow series, you'll have no issues picking this book up and enjoying it, references to past characters and plots will only trigger you to consider buying the rest of them. I highly recommend Reilly's books in general, including Hell Island, and I wish you the best of luck to tear your eyes away from the next chapter. - Darci

9781460753118If Blood Should Stain The Wattle (Matilda Saga #6) by Jackie French:

This YA Jackie French series is very good! It tracks a young girl, Matilda, and her family & friends thru the years from 1894 to the turbulent early 1970's.
The backdrop to each individual story is an era of interesting Australian history, and each title is a poem or song that we should all recognise.
If Blood Should Stain The Wattle was a fascinating read for me. It covers the years 1971- 1975, a time of massive political upheaval and social change in Australia. As a 1972 baby myself, I learnt & understood more about this era from the book than I ever have before! I knew Gough Whitlam's Government had been instrumental in introducing much change to Australian society but I hadn't really thought about what that was.

Jackie's female characters are very strong individuals, who are frequently at the forefront of changes sweeping across Australia. Jed is the main character here again, and it was great to see how her life has settled after events in Ghost By The Billabong but she still has plenty of challenges confronting her! All of our other favourites are back too, and for me, it was fascinating to see the changes in Scarlett, from young girl to blossoming teen.
Over all this, watches Matilda, our fine matriarch and undisputed Queen of Gibbers Creek, She rules her community & family with a velvet glove! But Matilda is growing old & weary; will the election of a Labor Government be her last great hurrah?

This book could be read independently but I would highly recommend starting at the beginning with A Waltz For Matilda and working forwards- there are lots of characters with their own stories and our attachment to them all will grow this way. Originally, this was going to be the end of the series but I'm very excited to hear that Jackie French has just finished writing Book 8! These have been written as a YA series but as an adult, they don't feel particularly young. In fact, there are some very mature concepts involved across this series- in particular, Book 4 - To Love A Sunburnt Country - is a very confronting read. - Susan

9780141364223Girl Online on Tour by Zoe Sugg:

The second book in the Girl Online series follows Penny's life as she endeavours to adapt to a life in the spotlight alongside Noah. Through a series of misfortunes and a growing gap between the pair Penny grapples with the choice between holding onto the boy she loves or the comfort of her lifestyle back home. The novel keeps you wanting more as you turn each new page hoping for once again another happy ending for the pair. Zoella produces as novel for many readers interested in young adult romances. - Ruby

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Spotlight on QBD Eastland 2016

 

Today our QBD Spotlight shines on eclectic reading in Melbourne's East!

 

9781743540145The Silent Inheritance by Joy Dettman:

I've been a Joy Dettman fan since the release of her first novel, Mallawindy. She has a way of writing that gives you enough clues to start off but then she continues to drop little snippets, as the story unfolds, to expand on her characters lives.

The Silent Inheritance does not disappoint! I particularly enjoyed this one because of its primary setting around the Melbourne suburbs of Blackburn/ Forest Hill/Vermont, my backyard. It's always fun to identify the streets, buildings & businesses that are personally know to me. I thought I had the killer figured out on page 266 but Dettman does like to leave you guessing until the end...

So now I've finished and yet again waiting for her next offering. As much as I love her works, she frustrates me no end with her conclusions- I usually hold the book with both hands, shake it, and cry out! - Susan (Store Manager)

Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling:

This is an astounding literary achievement from Rowling who has created a book that is, in my mind, one of enduring significance and understated beauty. I fell in love with the Britishness of this novel and have never come across another book that weaves together a plot and characters so incredibly well. This book is PERFECTLY written.

I can't even begin to explain properly the intricate web that Rowling has woven with this book, the only accurate explanation would be that although it is slow paced and at times, it is well worth the time and as a reader, I am extremely fulfilled for having read it.

This is not only an exploration of small town life, but a study of humanity in general and Rowling covers every aspect of it, from the upper echelons of society; it's well-to-do aristocratic heirs, those who want to be like them but end up annoying everyone, those who would do anything to have another life, those who just don't see what's in front of them but is plain to everyone else, all the way through to those who just can't seem to sort out their lives.

I cannot say enough how surprised I was at my enjoyment of this book especially considering that bad wrap it gets for not being Harry Potter. It is well worth the effort it takes to read it, but anyone who loves all things Britain, who loves stories of reality and human nature and books of extremely high quality will enjoy this book. - Sam

9780749955229Dark Lover by J.R Ward:

Recommended to me by a work colleague, it was my first real go at reading Paranormal. (If you don’t count reading twilight at age 12-which I don't.)
Not knowing what to expect with this series of vampires, as I didn’t want another Twilight, I was soon to be absolutely hooked with the characters that Ward has introduced and I still to this day can't seem to want to stop reading them. Ward has put her own twist on the vampire legend and I LOVE! I mean really, what's not to love about a world with hot, muscular vampire warriors defending their race against the enemy?

The first in the series starts out as vampire Warriors known as the Black Dagger Brotherhood, lead by their king Wrath who is asked to to protect a half breed female while she goes through her transition. While Beth being a woman with eyes, finds it hard to resist Wrath's charm. - Nicole

This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff:

After this memoir originally being on my book list for year 12, I have found myself re-reading and enjoying the twisted sense of humour, deeper meaning and irony enveloped in its pages. Wolff's recollection of his younger years are amusing and exciting to read, as it offers an adult bias on the child he was.
Tobias struggles with his popularity in younger years and his acceptance of just being “uncool”, he shows a lot of personal growth as he ages, becoming ultimately a very educated, intelligent man.

He learns from his single mother, who regards his happiness with the highest of effort. It follows post-war America and the want for the 'American Dream' as well as when it all goes badly.
The memoir is ultimately, one of my least expected high school loves. I am generally a paranormal, young adult, fantasy reader and classic to my teenage regard for the book list for school, my initial procrastination soon turned into an addiction with many hours spent enjoying this memoir. - Darci

9780141019017Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner:

I read this book for the first time when I was 15, many re-reads have followed since. This book is the reason I am studying economics today.

Having only read fiction prior, never before had I experienced such a thrilling analysis of society's dark corners, the unnoticed idiosyncrasies pervading the world we inhabit everyday. Levitt and Dubner, both trained economists, bring the thinking, methodology and analysis of their field into a plane outside of traditional economics, posing questions such as: What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?

This playful use of economic thinking is what lead to my fascination in the field, treating behavioural economics as a tool of exploration, expanding its reaches, and doing it all with a bright humorous curiosity. I owe these authors my passion for a career I'm itching to begin. - Josh

The Stand by Stephen King:

A story that truly lives up to the definition of an epic. After a deadly plague wipes out 99% of the world's population, survivors across a ruined America must come together to salvage the future. But they're not the only ones. Evil stirs in the west, and the Dark Man is coming.

King is a literary master, and at over a thousand pages long there isn't a dull moment. Often regarded as one of his best works, The Stand is a tale of good, evil, and the American way. It explores what it means to be human and shows the moral struggles that we face in life. I'd highly recommend this book, or anything by Stephen King really, to those of you wanting to be excited, to be put on the edge of your seat, and to be a little scared. But beware if do begin this journey, for if you ever hear the sound of boot heels clicking along behind you, you'll be headed for the hills in no time. - Sean

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Spotlight on QBD Eastland

Our beautifully smiling (and well-read!) team at Eastland QBD have stolen the spotlight this week with their fabulous reviews!

9781921758263KINGLAKE -350 by Adrian Hyland:
This is a book that I think all Australians should read. It chronicles the day of Australia's worst ever bushfire disaster- Black Saturday, 7th February 2009.
It's a narrative woven around the actual Victorian Police dispatch calls between Sgt. Roger Wood, the only cop on duty in Kinglake that day, and VicPol communications. Much more is covered than the catastrophic fire; it's about the people, the communities, the science of fire, and how much of a bitch Mother Nature can be!
I read this in one setting when first released and it has since been passed through my family, including many CFA volunteers, and we all agree it is a very powerful book.
For city born Aussies, this should be an eye-opener; for their rural cousins, this is the facts of life.
But everyone should realise that in emergencies, the CFA and Victoria Police are rightfully our heroes. - Susan (Store Manager)

9781741142365Corinna Chapman 01: Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood:
Hello favourite new series!!! I am so happily surprised that I loved this book!
Corinna Chapman is such an awesome protagonist. I don't think I've ever read a voice like hers. She is at once fiercely independent, passionate and strong; yet she can also be vulnerable, sympathetic and absolutely freaking hilarious.
The baker turned reluctant investigator is a happily fat woman just letting life happen after a messy but amicable divorce when a junky overdoses on her hot air grate. Then a whole world of trouble erupts around her.
She meets a mysterious stranger, who may be entirely gorgeous, employs an apprentice, is accused of being a scarlet woman and the whore of Babylon and she simply takes it all in stride until the neat Agatha Christie ending.
There are of course, soup vans, witches, earth children, vampires, goths, missing molestation victims, blackmail, riding crops, sex on tape and staunch police officers in between. Let your imagination do with that what it will... Or just read the book, because it's awesome and you'll love it.
I guarantee laughs, sympathy, cringing and fluffy love type feelings. All the good things. Contemporary semi-erotic mystery is probably the best way to classify this, I loved it!- Sam (Assistant Manager)

9781595141743Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead:
When I first found these books, I borrowed them off my friend and she had to nag me for months to give them back. I bought the whole set one Christmas and they sit together on my bookshelf. I always return to these books and the more times I read them the better they get! Mead has invented the best set of characters that all have personalities that you could relate to, they sucked me in and while reading I had the feeling of being part of the gang. The books follow Rose as she falls in love, saves her friends countless times and learns that life's answers aren't always black and white. The well constructed plot lines that follow Rose and her friends are unpredictable and keep you gripped for more. - Darci

9780733609558Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom:
Although the book has been given somewhat mixed reviews over the years, I'm of the opinion that it's fabulous.
We read about Morrie (College Professor) a man slowly dying from Lou Gehrigs Disease, who is being interviewed (on Tuesdays) by his former college student Mitch Albom.
Morrie gives Mitch insight & advice about how we need to take a good look at ourselves & the world around us by being grateful for the things we already have in our lives. He explains how daily woes (family, financial, career, health etc.) can often get us down and he tries to remind us not to let the days just slip by, by being jealous or bitter towards others in our life and to focus more on appreciating the things/people we do have & to make each day count.
Although this is ultimately a sad & at times tearful memoir, I loved Morrie's wisdom and simple attitude, reminding us that it's not about “keeping up with the Jones's” and just how easy it can be to be “happy” in life. - Tracey

9781743568019Temptation by K. M. Golland:
Alexis Summers is happily married and a mother of two gorgeous children. She's been a stay-at-home mum for nine years now, but it's time for a change.
Starting a new job with a prestigious hotel, she's excited about her new career. Her boss, the hotel's owner Bryce Clark, is rich, gorgeous, funny, single and, as Alexis quickly learns, a genuinely nice guy looking for his one true love.
He is also a man who always gets what he wants. And what he wants is Alexis.
Temptation is one of the most true to life books I've ever read. I really appreciated the setting because it is set in the place I know best, my hometown Melbourne and it really does show what living in Melbourne is all about.
A great holiday read, I took this book with me on a cruise and finished it in 2 days and was desperate for the next book, I was so engrossed in the story I needed to know what happened next! And do you know how hard it is to find a good Australian book in America? Not your typical romance novel, the plot doesn't just centre around the love affair, it moves through all the little things in life just as well as the steamy forbidden love things! - Nicole

9781849834131The Lost Kings by Bruno Hare:
From the moment a notorious criminal collapses dead in Cyril King's cosy watch shop with a key to finding a lost treasure halfway around the world; Cyril finds himself selling his collection of rare timepieces in order to travel halfway across the globe to the far reaches of the British Empire. As he travels north through the technicolour world of India towards his prize he comes across many characters as different and as unpredictable as the country around him. One of these characters is Sir Paul Linley-Small, a real life adventurer, a full time rogue and occasional cut-throat. They soon develop a fast friendship, that will have its limits tested. As well as Cyril's own recollection of the events in his journals, the story is brilliantly entwined with Sir Paul Linley-Small's account of one of his later adventures. The Lost Kings combines everything you could want in an adventure, the kind you don't really come across anymore especially with the unique writing two entwined stories. An excellent read for lovers of Indiana Jones and alien worlds a little closer to home. - Braydon

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