Our Autumn Reading Picks
Book Gift Ideas

Book Gift Ideas

Good reading guide for Australian book loversDo you think books enrich your life? Think books make great gifts? Then you're at the right place.

We have a great list of inspiring books to make you smile.

For Independant bookstore lovers and who enjoy saving on postage and ordering through bookstores, Check out this list of bookshops and find one close to you. 

For the tech savvy that prefer to shop online we've linked the books to independent bookshops and publishers to make it easy for you.

Novels to Escape With


The Tea Chest

By: Josephine Moon RRP $22.99

A beautifully engaging novel set in the world of a boutique teashop. With rose petals, cinnamon bark and orange peel scenting the air, three women come together from very different backgrounds and learn to trust themselves, and each other, on their way forward. For readers who love the books of Liane Moriarty, Cathy Kelly and Monica McInerney.

Kate Fullerton, talented tea designer and now co-owner of The Tea Chest, could never have imagined that she'd be flying from Brisbane to London, risking her young family's future, to save the business she loves from the woman who wants to shut it down.

Meanwhile, Leila Morton has just lost her job; and if Elizabeth Clancy had known today was the day she would appear on the nightly news, she might at least have put on some clothes. Both need to move on.

When Kate's, Leila's and Elizabeth's paths cross, they throw themselves into realising Kate's vision of the newest and most delectable tea shop in London, The Tea Chest. But with the very real possibility that The Tea Chest may fail, the three women are forced to decide what's important to each of them.

An enchanting, witty novel about the unexpected situations life throws at us, and how love and friendship help us through. Written with heart and infused with the seductive scents of bergamot, Indian spices, lemon, rose and caramel, it's a world you won't want to leave.

About the Author

Josephine Moon writes about strong, creative women making their mark on the world. She describes her stories as 'books like brownies': indulgent, comforting, a treat for the senses, but filling, and with chunky nuts to chew on.

Josephine lives with her witty and funny husband and their son, who is without doubt the most amazing, intelligent and gorgeous creature to ever walk the earth, and their extraordinarily large and diverse animal family on acreage on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. They are currently renovating a house for profit to maintain Josephine's passion for horses and imported fine chocolate.

The One Plus One

By: Jojo Moyes RRP $29.99

Suppose your life sucks. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your stepson is being bullied and your daughter has a once in a lifetime opportunity . . . that you can't afford to pay for.

So imagine you found and kept some money that didn't belong to you, knowing it would pay for your daughter's happiness.

But how do you cope with the shame? Especially when the man you've lied to decides to help you out in your hour of need . . .

Jess is in hell - Ed has saved her family - but is their happiness worth a lifetime's soul-searching?

About the Author

Jojo Moyes was raised in London. She writes for the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Red and Woman & Home.

She's married to Charles Arthur, technology editor of The Guardian. They live with their three children on a farm in Essex, England.

The Lucky One
A Story of Courage, Hope and Bright Pink Lipstick

By: Krystal Barter RRP $29.99

The inspiring story of how a young woman defied a family cancer curse to save herself and offer the gift of hope to thousands of other women.

'I feel lucky I was born with cancer in my DNA. Crazy as it sounds, I consider myself lucky that, when I was just twenty-two years old, I discovered I had a ninety per cent chance of developing breast cancer: the same, insidious disease that had attacked my Mum, and my Nan before her and my Great-Grandma before her.'

Krystal Barter is an extraordinary young woman: a fighter, a survivor, a wife, a mother and a crusader. She was born with the breast cancer gene, a hereditary curse that has run through generation after generation in her family, claiming at least twenty of her close relatives. But unlike them, Krystal was able to take the BRCA1 gene test, and found out the devastating news that she too was carrying the rogue gene. She had the courage to face her greatest fear, knowing that she could control and change her destiny - and even more courageously, she did.

At the age of 25, with her husband and two children beside her, she decided to have a double mastectomy - on national television, no less, so she could inspire others in similar circumstances to do the same.

Realising there was nowhere she could find support, Krystal started a unique charity and fund-raising platform called Pink Hope from her hospital bed. Pink Hope is a safe haven and resource for families facing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Krystal is dedicated to helping women be informed and supported so they will feel less alone at a crucial time of their lives.

From a troubled - and troublesome! - teenager struggling to come to terms with her mother's illness and the family curse, to a young wife and mother faced with a terrible choice, to a never-say-die woman who has inspired tens of thousands of others, The Lucky One is a story of love, courage and transformation that will move all who read it. You will never forget Krystal Barter and the legacy she is building for her family and the world.

About the Author

In 2009 while recovering from her double mastectomy, Krystal Barter founded the charity, Pink Hope, a community dedicated to inspiring, supporting and informing women at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

An experienced and passionate speaker, Krystal has featured on 60 Minutes, Today Show, Madison, In Style, Harpers Bazaar, A Current Affair, The Morning Show, Sun Herald, Cleo, Cosmo and SBS Insight, to name a few! In 2012 she was a finalist for the Young Australian of the Year and NSW Woman of the Year, 2012 Finalist for In-style Audi Women of Style Awards, 2012 Madison Inspirational Woman, 2011 Harpers Bazaar Woman of Influence and 2010 Warringah Young Citizen of the Year. The Lucky One is Krystal's first book.

Safe Harbour

By: Helene Young RRP $29.99

When Darcy Fletcher drags a handsome sailor from a stricken yacht, she finds herself drawn into his mysterious world. Having saved his life, can she now rescue him from his dark past? Or will that endanger all she holds most dear?

Noah, keeper of the peace and guardian of the Banskia Cove secrets, can't tell Darcy the real reason this man has washed up on their shores. If she understood the links between him and her own dysfunctional family, he'd lose her love for good.

As they take refuge in an old whaling station, only one thing is certain – by morning, no one will be the same again. Lies will surface. Hearts will break, and not all will find safe harbour.

A heart-stopping novel of high drama and desire by Australia's award-winning master of romantic suspense.

About the Author

Helene Young lives in Trinity Beach, on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef in North Queensland. Her work as a senior captain with a major regional airline takes her all over the east coast of Australia.

She is as passionate about aviation as she is about writing. I ve been flying for twenty-two years, which gives me an office with the most spectacular views in Australia and I never get tired of looking down at the wonderful landscape. Shattered Sky is her second novel.

Never Say Goodbye

By: Susan Lewis RRP $32.99

A compelling and deeply moving novel of friendship, family and the power of love, from the Sunday Times top ten bestseller.

How would you cope with the threat of losing someone you love?

Josie Clark is a loving wife and mother. She and her husband Jeff don't have much and it's often difficult to make ends meet. But Josie will do anything to protect her family and keep them safe.

Bel Monkton is a successful property developer, living in a beautiful house by the sea. She seems to have everything going for her, but she's lonely. And she's let the shadows from her past cloud her future.

Josie's life couldn't be more different to Bel's. But three years ago, tragedy tore Bel's life in two. Now it's happening to Josie.

And faced with uncertainty and heartbreak, they come to treasure their growing friendship.

About the Author

Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of thirty-one novels.

She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol. Having resided in France for many years she now lives in Gloucestershire.

Mountain Ash

By: Margareta Osborn RRP $32.99

From bestselling author Margareta Osborn comes another scintillating rural romance with a devastating love triangle twist.

After years of struggling as a single mother, Jodie Ashton has given up on love and passion. What she craves now is security for herself and her beloved daughter Milly. And marriage to widower Alex McGregor, the owner of the prosperous Glenevelyn cattle station in East Gippsland, will certainly offer that. If only he wasn't so much older and so controlling.

Needing space to decide her future, Jodie reluctantly agrees to a girls-only weekend at the Riverton rodeo …

Meanwhile, cowboy Nate McGregor vows off women, after his latest one-night stand costs him his job in the Northern Territory. Perhaps it's time to head back to his family home, Glenevelyn, to check out for himself the ‘gold-digger' his father seems determined to marry.

But first, on his way through Riverton, he plans to stop off at a rodeo.

Two lives are about to collide in one passionate moment - with devastating results...

About the Author

Margareta Osborn is a fifth-generation farmer who has lived and worked on the land all her life. She also writes about it in the Gippsland Country Life magazine.

Home is the beautiful Macalister Valley of East Gippsland where, with her husband and three children, she spends many hours in the mountains in which her novels are set. She is also the author of two bestselling novels, Bella's Run and Hope's Road, and the no.1 bestselling ebook A Bush Christmas.

Making Soapies in Kabul


Hot Days, Crazy Nights and Dangerous Liaisons in a War Zone

By: Trudi-Ann Tierney RRP $29.99

The hugely funny and nail-bitingly dramatic account of how a talented Australian TV executive found herself working on Afghanistan's best-loved soap.

On an impulse, Trudi-Ann Tierney, Sydney producer and former actress, goes to Kabul to manage a bar. She quickly falls into the local TV industry, where she becomes responsible for producing a highly popular soapie.

Trudi's staff are hugely inexperienced. They include Habib, the Pashto poet who wants to insert allegorical scenes involving fighting ants into the scripts; Rashid, the Dari manager, who spends all day surreptitiously watching uncensored Hindi music videos; and the Pakistani actresses who cross the border to Jalalabad ('Jallywood') to perform roles that no Afghan actresses can take on without bringing shame to their families.

Trudi lives among the expat community - the media, the burnt-out army types now working as security contractors, the 'Do-Gooders', the diplomats - in dubious guest houses like The Dirty Diana. This is 'Ka-bubble', where the reckless encounters with each other, with alcohol and of course with recreational drugs are as dangerous as the city's streets.

Here are crazy people living crazy lives, and locals trying to survive as best they can against the backdrop of war.

Read Caroline Baum's Review

Aussie women are a pretty gutsy lot, the kind you want in a crisis. There's nothing they won't tackle and take in their stride. Trudi Ann Tierney is the perfect example of that combo of practicality, humour and toughness that is so typical of the national temperament. So when her job minding a bar in Kabul while the owners take some much needed R and R morphs into producing television drama for Afghan viewers, no worries. She's on it.

Her staff are inexperienced and her actors can't read, which makes learning their lines awkward. Oh, and she's also delivering subtle public messages about bomb-making courtesy of her shadowy masters... It does help that she can drink like a fish and appears to thrive in a climate of stress and near farcical absurdity, prepared to risk her life on hair-raising drives through mine-infested, avalanche-prone country.

She tells it like it is, bringing life in Ka-bubble, as it is known to the diplomats, do-gooders and security contractors who fly in and out to get their fix of adrenalin to the page with raw candour.

About the Author

Trudi-Ann Tierney is a Sydney-based writer and producer for television who spent three and a half years as the head of drama for a broadcaster in Afghanistan. Her production company is currently developing a drama serial for Papua New Guinea. This is her first book.

The Wardrobe Girl

By: Jennifer Smart RRP $32.99

The Wardrobe Girl is a delightfully witty novel full of romance and family dramas, plus an irresistible behind-the-scenes peek at life on a soap.

‘It's just string bikinis, thongs and boardies on Pretty Beach Rescue. You could do it drunk and standing on your head.'

After the humiliating end of her last relationship, this is just what TV costume designer, Tess Appleby, needs to hear. Sure, a wardrobe assistant on a soap is a step down from her gig at the BBC, but all Tess wants is an easy life . . .

Unfortunately she's barely arrived on set before she's warding off the attentions of the show's heartthrob, Sean Tyler – and, as a consequence, the hostility of its other star, Bree Brenner.

And if the pressures and politics of working on a TV drama aren't enough, she's living with her high-maintenance mother, an ageing celebrity, and her infuriating sister Emma, an aspiring actress.

Still, Tess is certain she can deal with everything they throw at her – until Jake Freeman, her ex-fiancé, the man she last saw eight years ago as he walked away and broke her heart, is named the show's new director…

About the Author

Jennifer Smart has worked for many years in film and television, including five years on the Australian drama Home and Away as a Director's Assistant and then scriptwriter. She lives in Sydney.

A Pleasure and a Calling

By: Phil Hogan RRP $24.99

You won't remember Mr Heming. He showed you round your comfortable home, suggested a sustainable financial package, negotiated a price with the owner and called you with the good news. The less good news is that, all these years later, he still has the key. That's absurd, you laugh. Of all the many hundreds of houses he has sold, why would he still have the key to mine?

The answer to that is, he has the keys to them all. William Heming's every pleasure is in his leafy community. He loves and knows every inch of it, feels nurtured by it, and would defend it - perhaps not with his life but if it came to it, with yours...

About the Author

Phil Hogan was born in a small, sooty Yorkshire town, and now lives in a small, leafy Hertfordshire town. 

He is married with four children and has been a journalist and columnist on The Observer for over 20 years. He is also the author of three previous novels and a book of collected columns about family life.

Balancing Act

By: Joanna Trollope RRP $32.99

The new novel from this ever-popular, bestselling author

Susie Moran is a success . She has founded and run her own highly profitable company , and now her three daughters are all involved in the business. Rooted in the traditions of the Stoke-on-Trent potteries, and producing charming, useable objects of distinctive design, Susie is justly proud of her family and her achievement – and has no intention of letting it change.

But what of the men in the family? Susie's husband, a musician and artist, has always seemed happy to take a back seat. One of her sons-in-law has few ambitions outside the home. Another daughter, though, has brought her husband into the company - and they want to change things, much to Susie's distress.

And then, into the mix arrives Susie's father, an ageing hippy who abandoned Susie as a baby. Now he's alone, and wants to build bridges , although Susie's daughters are outraged at the idea. Can the needs of a family business override the needs of the family itself? In wanting to preserve her business, will Susie lose something much more precious?

About the Author

Joanna Trollope is the author of seventeen highly acclaimed bestselling novels. She has also written a study of women in the British Empire, Britannia's Daughters, as well as a number of historical novels.

Born in Gloucestershire, she now lives in London. She was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Surrender to Temptation

By: Lauren Jameson RRP $17.99

In this stunning romance two strangers play a dangerous game in the quest for incredible pleasure. But winning comes at a cost . . .

After walking in on her boyfriend with another woman, Devon Reid decides to seek solace in the small Californian town she's often visited on vacation. Instead, she finds herself consumed by a mysterious man who sets her ablaze with one simple look.

Devon has always been the good girl, but Zach's touch turns her into something primal, especially when he persuades her to give up control to him. But while Zach can make Devon burn, he seduces her one moment and turns her away the next.

When Devon starts her new job at Phyrefly Aviation, she learns that Zach is actually the founder and CEO of the massive corporation. And while Devon knows she should keep things with between them strictly professional, his overwhelming magnetism makes it impossible to stay away . . .

About the Author

Lauren Jameson is a writer of wild erotic romance, a yoga newbie, knitting aficionado and animal lover who lives in the shadows of the great Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada.

She's older than she looks – really – and younger than she feels – most of the time – and she loves to explore the journeys that take women through life in her stories. Make sure to check out her work as Lauren Hawkeye, where her stories include erotic historical, steamy paranormal, and hot contemporary.

Getting the Brain Going


HRC


State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton

By: Jonathan Allen, Amie Parnes RRP $34.99

A riveting biography which combines deep reporting and West Wing-esque storytelling to reveal the strategising, machinations and last minute decision-making that have accompanied one of the greatest political comebacks in history.

The story of Hillary's phoenix-like rise is at the heart of HRC, a thrilling political biography that journeys deep into the heart of 'Hillaryland' to discover a brilliant strategist at work. Masterfully unfolded by two White House correspondents, HRC offers a rare look inside the merciless Clinton political machine. Drawing on over two hundred top-access interviews with Hillary's intimates, colleagues, supporters, and enemies, it portrays a seasoned operator who negotiates political and diplomatic worlds with equal savvy.

Loathed by the Obama team in the wake of the primary, Hillary worked to become his greatest ally, their fates intertwined in the work of re-establishing America on the world stage after the disastrous Bush years.

HRC puts readers in the room with Hillary during the most intense and pivotal moments of this era, as she mulls over the president-elect's offer to join the administration, pulls the strings to build a coalition for his war against Libya, and scrambles to deal with the fallout of the terrible events in Benghazi - all while keeping one eye focused on 2016.

About the Author

Jonathan Allen is the White House bureau chief for Politico. An award-winning reporter, he has also written extensively about Congress and national politics, and he appears frequently as a political analyst on national television news programs. He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Stephanie, and their children, Asher and Emma.

Amie Parnes is the White House correspondent for The Hill newspaper in Washington D.C., where she covers the Obama administration. A ten-year veteran of political journalism, she traveled with the Clinton, Obama, and McCain campaigns while covering the 2008 presidential race for Politico. She appears frequently on MSNBC and has also been featured on CNN, Fox News, and other networks.

Scaling Up Excellence

By Robert I. Sutton, Hayagreeva Rao RRP $34.95

Scaling Up Excellence is the key to creating a great organisation. It's how a small enterprise expands without losing focus. It's how a brilliant new idea or plan developed by the few goes on to be adopted by the many. And, in hard times and tough situations, it's how pockets of smart new thinking overcome cultures of indifference or negativity. An organisation that doesn't know how to scale up what is best within it won't achieve long-term success.

Bestselling author Robert Sutton and his Stanford colleague Huggy Rao have devoted nearly a decade to uncovering what it takes to create and spread outstanding performance, and in Scaling Up Excellence they share the fruits of their research.

Drawing on case studies that range from Silicon Valley enterprises to non-profit organisations, they provide crucial insights into corporate cultures, both good and bad, and offer a road map for establishing and stimulating excellence. In the process, they show how to use ‘premortems' when making big decisions about change. They reveal why seven is so often the magic number when it comes to team size.

They examine successful and unsuccesful quests for improvement – in hospitals, schools and elsewhere. And they discuss when a single corporate mindset is best (‘Catholicism') and when local variation is preferable (‘Buddhism').

Scaling Up Excellence is the first management book devoted to what is – or should be – a core priority for every organisation. As such it is destined to become the standard bearer.

About the Authors

Robert I. Sutton is Professor of Management Science and Engineering in the Stanford Engineering School.He is co-founder of the Center for Work, Technology and Organization, which he co-directed from 1996 to 2006.Sutton is also co-founder of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program and the new Hasso Planter Institute of Design, a multi-disciplinary program at Stanford that teaches and spreads "design thinking."He is an IDEO Fellow, member of the Institute for the Future's Board Trustees, and a Professor of Organizational Behavior, by courtesy, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Hayagreeva Rao is the Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and the Morgan Stanley Director for the Center for Leadership Development and Research at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.

Rao is a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Science, the Sociological Research Association and the Academy of Management. He was the editor of the Administrative Science Quarterly, the most prestigious peer reviewed organizational theory journal. He also has served as Consulting Editor for American Journal of Sociology, Senior Editor of Organizational Science, and Guest Editor of Academy of Management Review. He will be on the editorial board of American Sociological Review.

30-Second Brain

By: Anil Seth RRP $19.99

The 50 most mindblowing ideas in neuroscience, each explained in half a minute.

The bestselling 30-Second... series takes a revolutionary approach to learning about those subjects you feel you really should understand. Each title dissects a popular topic into its 50 most significant ideas, explaining each one using only 300 words and a picture. The brain is the hot science topic of the moment. 

As imaging technology, genetics, chemistry, and computing reveal our brains in ever more technicolour detail, neuroscientists are gaining new insights into how our minds work. 

Dr John Williams of the Wellcome Trust said in 2012: 'We're on the cusp of major breakthroughs in our understanding of the brain'

So, what can an MRI scan tell us? What does happen when our brain goes wrong? And are we all at the mercy of our brain chemistry? 30-Second Brain is the fastest way to fill your mind with the science of what's happening inside your head.

About the Author

Editor Anil Seth is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience and founding co-director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex. He has published more than 100 scientific papers and book chapters, has lectured and written widely on neuroscience for a general audience, and his research has been covered in a wide range of media including The Guardian and New Scientist.

Iconic Australian Houses 50/60/70

By: Karen McCartney RRP $49.99

Fifteen significant examples of modernist homes of the 50s, 60s and 70s, each of which combine outstanding architectural principles with authentic interior decor.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, the work of Lloyd Wright, Gropius and Mies Van Der Rohe strongly influenced a generation of young Australian architects, who adopted modernist principles in their work. 

In Iconic Australian Houses: Three Decades of Domestic Architecture, Karen McCartney presents 15 significant examples of homes from this period, each designed by a different architect, that combine outstanding architectural principles and authentic interior decor.

A detailed introduction places the period in social, historical and architectural context, before each of the selected homes is individually reviewed in an informed and engaging style.

In each example the relationship between the architect and owner is discussed, as is the linking of the building to its site, materials and architectural detailing. 

The author has interviewed many architects and owners for their personal insights. Each study includes a feature on the interior decoration and a discussion of designers and manufacturers of iconic furniture, fittings and fabrics.

Iconic Australian Houses features stunning photography, both panoramic and detailed, throughout. The homes from these three decades form a significant part of Australian architectural history and this book is a timely reminder of the need to preserve them as cultural artefacts.

About the Author

Karen McCartney has a wealth of experience in the areas of art, design and style, spanning 20 years and several continents. After gaining an honours degree in the History of Art and English from University College, London, Karen's first job was on British magazine Art Monthly.

She has written for, among other titles, British Elle Decoration and The Financial Times. In Australia, Karen edited Marie Claire Lifestyle before becoming founding editor of interiors magazine Inside Out. Karen is also the editor of Emporium and lives in Sydney.

The Snowden Files
The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man

By: Luke Harding RRP $29.99

Investigative journalism at its best, The Snowden Files tells the story of the individuals behind the biggest leak in history and the forces that tried to stop them.

It began with a tantalising, anonymous email: "I am a senior member of the intelligence community..." No name, no job title, no further details. What followed was the most spectacular intelligence breach in history: leaking highly sensitive secrets from the heart of US power.

The Snowden Files is about how a 29-year-old contractor working for the top secret National Security Agency became the world's most wanted man. 

It is about the journalists who stumbled into the story of their lives and published against the odds.

Moving between Hong Kong and Hawaii, London to New York, the NSA and GCHQ, awardwinning Guardian journalist Luke Harding spins a high-octane account of secrets and defiance, integrity and intrigue.

Branded a traitor and hailed a hero, infuriating some and inspiring others, Snowden took extraordinary risks to reveal what he knew. It shocked the world and sparked global debate . This is the story they didn't want you to hear.

About the Author

Luke Harding is an award-winning foreign correspondent with the Guardian. He has reported from Delhi, Berlin and Moscow and has also covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

He is the author of MafiaState and co-author of WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy (2011) and The Liar: The Fall of Jonathan Aitken (1997), nominated for the Orwell Prize. He has also written for the magazine Granta. 

He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife, the freelance journalist Phoebe Taplin, and their two children.

Share

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With everything from escapist novels, to delicious food books, biographies, lots for the kids and even some brain food books. So dive in a make your Christmas pick!
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About the Books

About the Books

Just as with any magazine's regular book reviews, many of the books featured in our book reviews are provided to us from a range of publishers while others have come from my personal library.

I try to choose books I think you, my reader, will enjoy but as the She Inspires reader has her own tastes and times for reading, I try to include a range of topics that you'll want to read or find that perfect book gift idea - what better present is there than a book?

If there are types of books that you'd love to see more of in our reviews then please let me know because I do find it a tad challenging sometimes making sure I am picking out books outside of my own favourite categories! Who would have thought?

So what happens with the books after we've reviewed them? If we're running an event they'll go in the goodie bags, otherwise some are given to the smaller country libraries on my regional trips, some to kids reading programs while others are passed around with friends and families - what matters is the sharing of them.

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