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Team Miranda’s Reading Reccommendations

Team Miranda are known for their great taste in books!
Check out all their fabulous recent reads:

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman:

Gaiman’s account of Nordic myth in this stunning volume is both wondrous and haunting. Instead of the vast fantasyland we have come to expect, we are introduced to the frosty halls of Asgard, and to the far more flawed, and therefore, far more interesting players within. What permeates Norse Mythology is an inevitable sense of loss. Gaiman grieves the lost stories of Nordic myth, a lamentation that becomes interlaced with the eventual doom of Ragnarok. The storytelling is addictive, bitter and bright. I never wanted it to end.-Rachel (Store Manager).

A Head Full Of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay:

Winner of the Bram Stoker Award 2015 – Is an intriguing tale of possession, religious zealotry, reality TV, and some very strange family dynamics.The story revolves around the Barrett family; 14 year old Marjory is "sick". She admits to her 8 year old sister, Merry, that she "hears voices", but is that all there is to it? So much of this story is expertly woven to enable the reader to interpret each event as they will, without giving away any definite answers. The book also deftly comments on reality TV culture and the growing global erosion of privacy and personal boundaries.Tremblay will keep you guessing right to the very end with this one. -Sami

The Girl Before by J P Delaney:

If you love minimalist design, you'll wish you could live at One Folgate Street. The house at the center of this novel is a model of modern minimalist perfection, but the architect's rules for living there would be impossible for a regular person. However these are sacrifices Emma and Jane are willing to make to start afresh and live in their dream home. But the house is not without tragedy. Who is responsible for the death of the architect's wife and child? And who is watching? A gloriously suspenseful read that will keep you guessing until the very end. -Jessica

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey:

A radical, terrifying experience that will blow your mind! Unfortunately for the residents of Nurse Ratched's asylum, this is a reality they know all too well. Forced to take unreliable doses of medication everyday and reduced to a monotonous existence, there isn't much cause for hope. Enter McMurphy- a free-willed, jack of all trades that isn't taking Nurse Ratched's administration lying down. What ensues is a fascinating, and at times alarming, power struggle that shows how intricate the mind really is. An investigation into the freedoms and power of individuals, Kesey delivers a stand-out novel that will keep you up at night turning the pages in a mad-ish fever. -Ellie

Wicked by Gregory Maguire:

This is a bold revisiting of the world first introduced to audiences in The Wizard of Oz, but the similarities between the stories ends with the familiar characters. Wicked is far grittier and grown-up than Dorothy's quick adventures into Oz. Lose yourself in this murky and imperfect world, inhabited by the iconic characters Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch), amongst others. Although set in a fantasy world Maguire isn't afraid to tackle the real issues of inequality and corrupt governments, with the material still feeling relevant two decades later. Find out the origin of the ruby slippers and how the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow came to be. An action-packed read with unforgettable characters. -Meagan

Memorial by Gary Crew & Shaun Tan:

A touching portrayal of the hardship when soldiers return from war, Shaun Tan once again wowed with a stunningly emotional picture book 'Memorial'. It follows the story of a young boy as he explores the older generations and their experiences of WW1, WW2 and the Vietnam War. At this time of year where we remember those who fought for our country, 'Memorial' is an excellent way to introduce children to the reality of war rather than the glorified narrative which is usually presented. Not only is it an educational experience, but the illustrations are intense and beautiful. 'Memorial' is a must read for all ages; Lest We Forget. -Tori

The Girls by Emma Cline:

Emma Cline's spellbinding debut is both brilliantly written and engaging. Set on the cusp of the 1970's, this harrowing story makes overtures to the infamy of a Manson-like figure while exploring the obsessive quest of young women to belong; at whatever the cost. The story is centred around the protagonist Evie looking back on this tumultuous time in her life, where the lure of teenage rebellion and entering a community so far removed from her own, gradually transforms into a maelstrom of secrets and dangerous escapades. Who can she truly trust and rely on? At what point does she cross the line? Cline's meandering prose and provocative gaze into the lives of her characters makes this a book that I was immediately hooked on - it is a breathtaking and shattering coming-of-age. -Eugenia

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Spotlight on QBD Miranda 2016

 

Want a great read? Our team at Miranda have some great suggestions!

 

The Troop by Nick Cutter:

9781472206244The Troop is the first horror novel from Nick Cutter, a psuedonym for critically acclaimed novelist Craig Davidson (Rust & Bone, The Fighter). It's a simple set-up: a group of boy scouts and their guide head out to an island for their annual three day camping trip. Things begin to take a turn for the worst when an an emaciated and extremely sick stranger stumbles into camp. The group soon discover the island has been quarantined and they realise there is something with them on the island that is not about to let them go without a fight.
Taking his cues from old school horror novels of the 1980's, Cutter writes visceral and unsettling body horror. To say too much would give away the thrill of discovering this horror gem for the first time. Though there are some sequences in this novel that will be forever etched into your brain, the most disturbing part of Cutter's story is the psychological element. Thrown into extraordinary circumstances, the boys start to turn against one another, and a member of the group seizes the opportunity to use the harrowing situation as his own personal petrie dish. The results are disturbing to say the least. Recommended for any horror fan, The Troop also draws parallels to William Golding's Lord of the Flies and early Stephen King. If skin-crawling horror isn't your thing, give Cutter's second novel The Deep a try. Set in a scientific research facility 8km under the surface of the ocean, it is as terrifying as The Troop with more of a focus on the psychological elements - and one of the most claustrophobic literary experiences I can recall.
If I haven't convinced you, this quote from the king of horror himself will: "The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn't put it down...Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies, it's a perfect gift for a winter night".  - Glenn (Store Manager)

Feed by M. T. Anderson:

Feed is one of the most fascinating YA dystopian novels I have ever read. It is disturbing, uncomfortable and utterly heart shattering. In the best way possible. And you should definitely read it. The book is based in the United States, where the majority of the characters are inundated with the feednet, accessed by a device implanted in the brain. The feed allows the characters to shop online (monitored by corporations), speak to each other telepathically, and share memories. School has become trademarked, language has completely disintegrated, and bodies are deteriorating from environmental pollution caused by the dominant corporations.
The story begins with Titus and his friends going on a casual trip to the moon, which, naturally, is a total bore. While off- planet, he meets Violet, a girl who is disenchanted by the feed. Back on Earth, she encourages Titus to resist the feed by contradicting their consumer profiles—with disastrous consequences. Anderson weaves a masterful satire, hailing the feed as a gross act of consumption that encourages apathy, while deflecting from a decaying language and world. In contrast, the aural nature of the descriptive passages are mesmerising—a result, no doubt, of the verbal world becoming obsolete. Feed is a novel that encourages a harrowing introspection of one’s responsibility in the possibility of this imagined world. - Rachel

9781471115486Extraordinary Means by Robin Schneider:

Extraordinary Means is one of those contemporary YA’s that make you fall in love while simultaneously breaking your heart. Built on the premise of the fictitious Total-Drug Resistant Tuberculous we meet the main character Lane. Lane is sent to Latham house in what he believes is a death sentence to less the burden of his parents. That is, of course, until he meets Sadie. An old camp mate who has been at Latham so long she doesn’t dream of home. Along with her band of rebellious misfits, Sadie shows Lane the importance of living each moment to its fullest without hesitant.
Schneider expertly forms these loveable yet equally complex characters and relationships that you can’t help but fall for. The alternative view points only enhance this effect as you form a greater attachment to the characters and their budding relationships. While dealing with a heavy subject matter (that is in no way romanticised), the book has elements of light and humour which make Lane and Sadie real in a way that is unique to find in books. You are with them each step of the way, through the brilliant highs and the tragic lows.
Ultimately, this book is a must read for any fans of John Green or Sarah Dessen. Littered with pop-culture references and issues that people who have experience teenage ages will love and understand. It’s beautiful cover, beautiful characters and beautiful writing and make it truly extraordinary. - Tori

Room by Emma Donoghue:

Never before have I read a book from the perspective of a five year old boy. I was completely hooked on little Jack and his remarkable way of looking at the world and everyday objects in it. His brutal honesty and fascinating imagination make him, in my humble opinion, one of the most inspiring literary characters ever created.
Room, written by Emma Donoghue, takes its readers to a frightening place: an enclosed space known only as “Room” and simultaneously comforts them by the inclusion of the bond between Jack and his ‘Ma’, who attempt to live a normal life despite the horrifying circumstances of their home.
When quick thinking and determination become the catalysts for rebirth into society, Jack and Ma struggle to understand and experience the world around them, often using their preconceived beliefs as arguments for the way life should be. Jack cannot grasp the implications of his actions or the perceptions of others and requires guidance through interacting with the “real” world.
Donoghue teaches her readers to not take the world for granted and highlights the importance of imagination and drive when faced with the impossible. She also hints at the explicitness of parenting and how repetition and the familiar sometimes have to be sacrificed in order to experience change and beneficial happiness.
I have never experienced reading a book the way I did with Room, and I don’t think I ever will again. I read it in two days and it left an immediate impression upon me for days after I was finished. There isn’t any doubt why this book was shortlisted for both Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize, and I definitely don’t doubt how much you’ll enjoy reading it.
Looking to experience something real but out of this world? Then Room is for you. - Ellie

9780733634857Breathing Under Water by Sophie Hardcastle:

Sophie Hardcastle’s debut YA contemporary novel is both beautifully written and compelling. It’s definitely one of my top picks for the year!
“I stroke up to the line-up, weak with jelly limbs, sit up on my board and wipe matted hair from my skin. My feet dangle from my board, swaying with the gentle currents. Tonight a crescent moon rests on dark water.”
The story begins centred on Grace and Ben, twins who love to surf; though Grace seems to be obscured by her brother’s success. Their relationship is a complex one, and Hardcastle has captured their personalities and the different characters in their family so well. But this is a story which has so many more dimensions to it. There’s a depth of insight into how people are affected by grief, and friendships are tested when the unthinkable happens. When reading it, you can’t help but be inextricably drawn into the lives of the Walker family and those around them. There is a warmth to this narrative, which flows with an emotional tide leading to a heartfelt end. In all, I’d definitely recommend Breathing Under Water, especially for fans of One by Sarah Crossan and I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. - Eugenia

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes:

If you're looking for a book to lose yourself in, this is it! This epic thriller follows the adventures of the alias-shifting narrator, a former intelligence agent with a haunted past. He thinks he has retired, but the world of international affairs requires his wealth of knowledge. With this book you get two thrillers for the price of one with the narrator chasing a ruthless killer and a malicious scientist. The mysterious and clever scientist has his sights set on global destruction.
If you're thinking this is sounding a little far-fetched, fear not because Hayes handles his subject with sophistication and a flair for subtly building tension. It's difficult to believe this is his debut novel, he is already a master of the craft. He gives just enough details of his characters to keep you interested without giving away all of the mystery. He creates a rich tapestry of intrigue that keeps you engrossed and on the edge of your seat until the very end.
This massive book is worth taking on, it is so well-researched and well-written, staying with me months after I finished reading it. It is sublime, a thriller to rule over all others. - Meagan

9780099560432Ready Player One by Ernest Cline:

This is by far one of the greatest Sci-Fi novels I have ever read. It is set in a dystopian future where famine, poverty and disease has striken the earth. We meet a teenager named Wade Watts who spends the majority of his life growing up in a fully immersive MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online). However, the games developer and creator has just died and left his billions to the first person to find all the easter eggs that he has placed in the world of OASIS. Littered with pop-culture, gaming and 1980's references throughout, this is a nostalgic and addictive read.
With Steven Spielberg currently working on the film adaptation, there's no better time to throw yourself into this unique world. - Sami

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Spotlight on QBD Miranda

Say hello to our "new kids on the block"- the team at QBD Miranda! Today they give us a peek at what they've been reading... and their beautiful smiling faces!

Storm Front by Jim Butcher
This is the first book in the Dresden Files series. Harry Dresden is a detective who free-lances for the Chicago P.D. He's also a wizard with attitude, and that's what makes this urban fantasy series so wonderfully addictive. To be honest, the first book is average com-pared to the rest of the books in the series. It's a solid start, but it just continues to ramp up from here. Each book contains a stand-alone story, but there's also some long-running arcs to sink your teeth into. There are vampires, faeries, demons, spirits, werewolves and more. If you love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then this is for you. There are already 15 books in the series, with more to come. Give it a try – you won't regret it! - Glenn (Store Manager)

9780062357694A Thousand Pieces Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
The first instalment of the Firebird Trilogy follows the journey of Marguerite Caine as she, with the help of the Firebird device created by her physicist parents, travels through multiple different dimensions to track down her father's assistant and murderer, Paul Markov. She finds herself facing different versions of reality, and begins losing her initial goal as she discovers that Paul may not be as guilty as she once thought.
If you want to read a book that is an absolute page-turner from start to finish, then I cannot recommend A Thousand Pieces of You enough! The plot and characters of this story are so gripping, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series. - Holly (Store 2IC)

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
Thrilling, intense and gripping. If these are the fundamental things you look for when trying to choose your new book then please look no further. Chuck Palahniuk's 'Survivor' is a non-stop roller-coaster ride of a novel. We meet the protagonist for the first time on a aeroplane that he has hijacked and is ready to plummet towards the ground with no passengers on board. But first he wants to tell us his story of death-cults and violence, all things he has first hand experience of. Good holiday reading! 4 stars out of 5 with this one. - Sami

rsz_9781743519943Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden
The start of an incredible heart-thumping, sweat inducing series by John Marsden, Tomorrow When the War Began will compel you to reflect on what you would do if war was to suddenly emerge in your home town. Ellie Linton, a headstrong pro-active teenager from the rural town of Wirrawee decides to go camping with six of her school friends. When they return, their lives are forever altered, forcing them to make decisions no one should ever have to make and question the worth of not just their own lives, but the lives of their enemies. A catalyst for moral interrogation, the novel delves into the importance of courage as a friend against the foe that is fear.
Oh, and the main character is named after me, so how bad can it be?
If you’re an adrenaline junkie who is looking for a series to immerse yourself in, try it today. - Ellie

Spark by Rachel Craw
Set in the present day with a science-fiction twist, Spark is definitely one of my top YA reads to date. Evie is a ‘Shield’, who needs to protect her ‘Spark’ Kitty from the ‘Stray’ who is threatening her friend's life. Added to the mix is Affinity, the secret agency who is responsible for the Optimal gene which causes these anomalies, and you get a book that is electrifyingly addictive. Sounds like a lot to take in? It is – but the worldbuilding and smaller details are what make the plot plausible, and that’s something essential to any scifi novel. I really enjoyed seeing Evie develop as a character, testing out her new skills and always looking out for the best interests of her friend. She turned out to be a strong protagonist, who didn't let her budding romance with Jamie get in the way of the task at hand. That being said, they are genetically perfect for each other – so you can’t argue with the science! (let’s just say he’s perfect book boyfriend material). At the end of a day, you know a book is good when you can’t turn the pages fast enough and the twists send you into mind-blown territory; Spark definitely delivered on that.
As a debut author, Rachael Craw has blitzed the YA stage with this phenomenal novel. It’ll definitely leave you wanting more, and thankfully the sequel Stray , released this year, is just as action packed! - Eugenia

9781406357981Chaos Walking Trilogy by by Patrick Ness
From PAGE ONE I knew this series would kill me and boy oh boy I'm surprised I haven't had my funeral yet! This is the kind of series that you keep thinking about weeks, months even YEARS after you have finished it. There are NO 2D characters here people! You'll feel everything they feel from loss, hatred, unbelievable pain, love and fear.
Patrick Ness paints with words so well that you can see the dog wag his tail, feel the pain that Todd felt when he was forced to leave home without a real explanation, want to hurt Mayor Prentiss so bad it hurts and feel the confusion when Todd finds Viola for the first time (the first girl he's ever seen before after the female population was killed off!). You're with them throughout the whole trilogy as they run for their lives from Prentisstown in The Knife of Never Letting Go (you'll feel as tired and emotionally drained as they do), you'll feel their desperation as they get seperated and try to find each other in The Ask and The Answer (it's so frustrating that they're always so close to seeing each other!) and finally you'll be as determined to fight, protect each other and end a decade long war like Todd and Viola in Monsters of Men (you almost don't want to finish it because then HOW WILL YOU GO ON?!).
This series is a journey, a rollercoaster that keeps twisting and turning and just when you think all that is over BAM! Think again! Pick it up and you won't be disappointed however, have a box of tissues handy and call everyone you know to reassure them you're okay and that you're going to be MIA for a while because you're about to go on the best adventure of your life! - Ashlea

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Fantasy reader or not, you will enjoy this book. Now, I could wax on about the technical aspects of The Name of the Wind: the poetic prose, the meta-fictional structure that would have postmodernists rejoicing, or the aspects of performativity and self-reflexivity that tell you, again and again, that you cannot completely trust what this character is narrating. And yet, Rothfuss weaves something so delicate, so clever and just so heart wrenchingly beautiful that you have no qualms about suspending judgment and immersing yourself. Go ahead; bathe in the pool of Rothfuss genius.
Still not convinced? There are two story lines, that of present day Kote, apathetic barkeep extraordinaire, relating his life as the enigmatic Kvothe- fiery haired wizard of renown. In true bildungsroman style, it follows his tragic youth into his (mostly) triumphant adolescence. This plot device mixed with very well placed arrogance of the central character and a primary magic system that stems from contradiction and you have my favourite fantasy book to date. - Rachel

9780552562799Bartimaeus: The Amulet Of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
Harry Potter meets Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy! A fast-paced magival journey through 19th century London following an unlikely pair of the in a story of magical intrigue, murder and rebellion! The sarcastic footnotes will crack you up and make you want to keep coming back for more. Lucky for you, there are two more books in the series. - Rob

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Every week our Spotlight visits a new store.
Keep an eye out for your local QBD team!