She Inspires Book Review for Book Lovers
Something for the book lover, a great collection of books to inspire.

To make life easy for you, we've linked the books to a local online seller and you can always just pop into your local independent book seller and pick up your favourite.

Fabulous Books

Here's our pick of the latest great reads:

Novels to Inspire

Sweet Caress
The Many Lives of Amory Clay

By: William Boyd

RRP: $39.99

Amory's first memory is of her father standing on his head. She has memories of him returning on leave during the First World War. But his absences, both actual and emotional, are what she chiefly remembers.

It is her photographer uncle Greville who supplies the emotional bond she needs, and, when he gives her a camera and some rudimentary lessons in photography, unleashes a passion that will irrevocably shape her future.

A spell at boarding school ends abruptly and Amory begins an apprenticeship with Greville in London, living in his tiny flat in Kensington, earning two pounds a week photographing socialites for the magazine Beau Monde. But Amory is hungry for more and her search for life, love and artistic expression will take her to the demi monde of Berlin of the late 20s, to New York of the 30s, to the Blackshirt riots in London and to France in the Second World War where she becomes one of the first women war photographers. Her desire for experience will lead Amory to further wars, to lovers, husbands and children as she continues to pursue her dreams and battle her demons.

In this enthralling story of a life fully lived, William Boyd has created a sweeping panorama of some of the most defining moments of modern history, told through the camera lens of one unforgettable woman, Amory Clay. It is his greatest achievement to date.

About the Author

William Boyd was born in 1952 in Accra, Ghana and was brought up there and in Nigeria. He is the author of A Good Man in Africa, which won the Whitbread Literary Award for the Best First Novel in 1981 and a Somerset Maugham Award in 1982; On the Yankee Station (1982), a collection of short stories; An Ice-Cream War, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize for 1982 and was short-listed for the Booker Prize; Stars and Bars (1984); The New Confessions (1987); Brazzaville Beach, which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for 1990 and for which William Boyd was awarded the McVitie's Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year; The Blue Afternoon, which won the 1993 Sunday Express Book of the Year Award; The Destiny of Nathalie X, a further collection of short stories, and Any Human Heart. William Boyd is married and lives in London.

Read Caroline Baum's review:

This is the perfect read for a plane flight or a holiday when you can immerse yourself for long uninterrupted chunks of time as you become engrossed in the life of British photographer Amory Clay.

Cool, level-headed and liberated in her desires, Amory is driven by curiosity to explore every situation and relationship. Free of convention, she observes the louche nightlife of nineteen thirties Berlin brothels and clubs through her hidden lens, witnesses a Fascist riot on the streets of London with dramatic personal consequences and conducts a simultaneous love affair with her married magazine editor and a hirsute French novelist.

Amory exerts a powerful fascination on the page thanks to the polished prose of William Boyd: while she is clearly a unique individual, with a distinctive family (including a near death childhood episode involving her father), Boyd makes her a symbol of twentieth century womanhood, emblematic of other, forgotten female photographers by placing her at the scene of events that helped shaped how we see the times. The result is an elegant album of vivid memories.

The Natural Way of Things

By: Charlotte Wood

RRP: $29.99

She hears her own thick voice deep inside her ears when she says, 'I need to know where I am.' The man stands there, tall and narrow, hand still on the doorknob, surprised. He says, almost in sympathy, 'Oh, sweetie. You need to know what you are.'

Two women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of a desert. Strangers to each other, they have no idea where they are or how they came to be there with eight other girls, forced to wear strange uniforms, their heads shaved, guarded by two inept yet vicious armed jailers and a 'nurse'.

The girls all have something in common, but what is it? What crime has brought them here from the city? Who is the mysterious security company responsible for this desolate place with its brutal rules, its total isolation from the contemporary world?

Doing hard labour under a sweltering sun, the prisoners soon learn what links them: in each girl's past is a sexual scandal with a powerful man. They pray for rescue - but when the food starts running out it becomes clear that the jailers have also become the jailed. The girls can only rescue themselves...

The Natural Way of Things is a gripping, starkly imaginative exploration of contemporary misogyny and corporate control, and of what it means to hunt and be hunted. Most of all, it is the story of two friends, their sisterly love and courage...

With extraordinary echoes of The Handmaid's Tale and Lord of the Flies, The Natural Way of Things is a compulsively readable, scarifying and deeply moving contemporary novel. It confirms Charlotte Wood's position as one of our most thoughtful, provocative and fearless truth-tellers, as she unflinchingly reveals us and our world to ourselves...'As a man, to read it is as unsettling as receiving one piece of bad news after another. It is confronting. Yet anyone who reads it, man or woman, is going to be left with a sense that a long-hidden truth has been revealed to them.

Caroline Baum's review

Definitely the book that has generated the most justifiable buzz this year.

This unsettling novel stopped me in my tracks, forcing me to ask myself uncomfortable questions about Australian attitudes to women. No book has haunted me like this one, its grim premise provoking urgent, important, all-too-topical questions. And while that is uncomfortable, it also makes for a bracing, invigorating, read: here is a book that throws down the gauntlet and asks: so, is this who we really are? And if it is, then what are we going to do about it?

Wood's setting is a not-too-far-in-the-future rural dystopia where ten young women find themselves captive, chained together, heads shaved, dressed in restrictive, awkward clothes that itch and bonnets that blinker them. They are the slaves of two lumpen men (one of whom mercifully provides welcome moments of comic relief thanks to his gormless concerns with his own wellbeing), building a road while being served revolting rations. All they have in common is that each one of them has been involved in a sex scandal.

This stark and bleak premise is fertile ground for an exploration of female resilience and male oppression. It's full of threat and menace, and it makes for hard reading at times, except that Wood's prose is armed with the eloquent weaponry of resonant rhythms and beautiful words, no matter how ugly the action gets. Having dropped the realism of her earlier novels like The Children and Animal People, she deploys heightened, often poetic, imagery connected to nature to offer fleeting moments of respite.

This book punches Wood straight to the very top of the list of our boldest, most imaginative writers. I am going to stake my reputation on this one, predicting that it is destined to win one or more of our major literary prizes in a very strong field. If it doesn't, well, dish me up some mushrooms (you'll understand when you've read it).

The Queen, Her Lover and the Most Notorious Spy in History
The intriguing true story of Queen Victoria's secret

By: Roland Perry

RRP: $22.99

The intensely revealing and entertaining account of a great royal secret and hidden love story - an unbuttoned history of Queen Victoria's loves and intrigues.

Long before her successful marriage to Prince Albert, Princess Victoria had an affair with the dashing Scottish 13th Lord Elphinstone. After the liaison was exposed, Elphinstone was banished to India, appointed Governor of Madras, which allowed Victoria's mother to engineer a royal union for her with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg. After five years pining for Elphinstone, Victoria finally gave in and married Albert.

Despite a successful marriage, Victoria never forgot Elphinstone and after a decade in India he returned to her side as Lord-in-Waiting at Court. He only left her to take up the critical role of Governor of Bombay during the Indian Uprising of 1857. Elphinstone died soon after in June 1860 from a fever.

Many attempts were made to bury the memory of Lord Elphinstone, his long-running relationship with the monarch and his grand service for the Empire, but Victoria recorded it in letters to her confidant, her first- born, the Princess Royal: 'Vicky'. The revealing correspondence, like a ticking time-bomb, sat in a German castle attic until 1945 when King George VI, Victoria's great-grandson, sent a courtier, MI5 operative Anthony Blunt, on seven special missions to gather the letters.

About the Author

Roland Perry is one of Australia's best known authors. He has written 28 books, many of them going on to become bestsellers, including Horrie the War Dog Bill the Bastard, Bradman's Invincibles, The Changi Brownlow, The Australian Light Horse and Monash: The Outsider Who Won a War.

The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty

By: Vendela Vida

RRP: $27.99

'Part glamorous travelogue, part slow-burn mystery, this full-bodied tale of a runaway is at once formally inventive and heartbreakingly familiar. (It's also insanely funny.)' - Lena Dunham

In Vendela Vida's taut and mesmerizing novel of ideas, a woman travels to Casablanca, Morocco, on mysterious business. While checking into her hotel, the woman is robbed of her wallet and passport - all of her money and identification. Though the police investigate, the woman senses an undercurrent of complicity between the hotel staff and the authorities - she knows she'll never recover her possessions. Stripped of her identity, she feels burdened by the crime yet strangely liberated by her sudden freedom to be anyone she chooses.

A chance encounter with a movie producer leads to a job posing as a stand-in for a well-known film star. The star reels her in deeper, though, and soon she's inhabiting the actress's skin off set, too - going deeper into the Casablancan night and further from herself. And so continues a strange and breathtaking journey full of unexpected turns, an adventure in which the woman finds herself moving further and further away from the person she once was.

Told with vibrant, lush detail and a wicked sense of humor, The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty is part literary mystery, part psychological thriller - an unforgettable novel that explores free will, power, and a woman's right to choose not her past, perhaps not her present, but certainly her future. This is Vendela Vida's most assured and ambitious novel yet.

About the Author

Vendela Vida is the author of the acclaimed novels And Now You Can Go, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Lovers. She is a founding editor of The Believer magazine, and the editor of The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and children.

The Heart Goes Last

By: Margaret Atwood

RRP: $32.99

Charmaine and Stan are young and in love. Victims of a growing divide between the haves and the have-nots, they struggle to keep their relationship alive in the face of increasing poverty. Now living in their car, they survive on tips from Charmaine's job at filthy dive bar, until the day they see an advertisement for a social experiment offering security, community, and a break from the daily grind of their current existence...

Leaving behind the uncertainty of their former lives, they sign themselves up for the perfectly manicured lawns of Consilience, with its stable jobs and protection from the increasingly unruly and angry population outside its walls. All they have to do in return for this suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month - with a voluntary imprisonment. But what seems at first to be a balancing act worth investing in for the safety of a permanent roof over their heads, soon turns into a nightmare of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire...

Brilliantly conceived and executed, with a pace that will leave you breathless, The Heart Goes Last is a powerful satire of life in the twenty-first century, charged throughout with Margaret Atwood's signature devastating wit, irony and keen perception.

Caroline Baum's review

Canada's literary grande dame, Margaret Atwood, is the high priestess of dystopia. As its ruling authority, she invents plots that are devilish in their scary plausibility and disturbingly accurate in their critique of where today's extremes will lead to if we are not hyper vigilant.

But she is a hugely entertaining and playful Cassandra, peppering her visions of future doom with witheringly sharp satirical dialogue and observation, making the experience of reading this slim but meaty novel doubly uneasy. One minute you are laughing at the pathetic naivety of Charmaine and Stan, a couple seduced into living in Consilience, a gated community to protect themselves from a ravaged society. The next you are wondering what moral decisions you would make under the circumstances they are faced with on the inside.

The scenario she devises to alert us to future danger hinges on the choice between freedom and security, between desires genuinely or artificially gratified. Yes, there is sex with robots.

The Perfumer's Secret

By: Fiona McIntosh

RRP: $32.99

2015 Booktopia Books of the Year - 'Meticulously researched and beautifully written, The Perfumer’s Secret solidifies McIntosh’s place as one of Australia’s most loved storytellers...'

On the eve of the First World War, Fleurette, the only daughter of the wealthy Delacroix perfume dynasty, is being forced to marry a man she loathes, Aimery De Lasset, head of the pre-eminent perfume manufacturer in France.

It is only the cathedral bells tolling the rally to the frontlines on her wedding night that save her from sharing his bed.

When she receives a letter from Aimery's estranged brother warning against their union, Fleurette is left with the burden of a terrible secret. It is one that has the power to shatter the two families and their perfume empires once and for all.

The highly anticipated new blockbuster from the bestselling author of The Lavender Keeper and The Last Dance.

About the Author

Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980.

She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons.

Zeroes
Every Power has a Price

By: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti

RRP: $19.99

Introducing Zeroes - featuring six unique superheroes, one bag of stolen drug money, one bungled bank robbery and a whole heap of trouble. All adding up to one outstanding YA series by three extraordinary writers.

Don't call them heroes. But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart.

Ethan aka Scam has a voice inside him that'll say whatever people want to hear, whether it's true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn't - like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren't exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, aka Bellwether, the group's 'glorious leader.' After Scam's SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals.

At the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases.

Filled with high-stakes action and drama, Zeroes unites three powerhouse authors for the opening instalment of a thrilling new series.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers

By: Max Porter

RRP: $24.99

Once upon a time there was a crow, a fairly famous Crow, who wanted nothing more than to care for a pair of motherless children.

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.

In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird is attracted to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, this little unit of three begin to heal.

In this extraordinary debut - part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief, Max Porter's compassion and bravura style combine to dazzling effect. Full of unexpected humour and profound emotional truth, Grief is the Thing with Feathers marks the arrival of a thrilling new talent.

Caroline Baum's Review

Anyone who has lost a loved one, be it a child, partner, friend or parent, will find more consolation in these pages, without having to endure well-meant cliché advice about 'moving on', than in any self-help book.

A man has lost his wife and is left, bereaved, with two young sons to look after. He is a Ted Hughes scholar, writing an analysis of the laureate's poetry. His grieving but richly literate and playful imagination conjures up a Crow, one of Hughes' most powerfully emblematic presences, and this Crow becomes the family's guardian as it stumbles along in sorrow. It sounds grim, but is anything but - there is humour here, and fairy tale like fantasy, making this one of the most charming, original, uplifting books about loss and its aftermath I have ever come across. As a debut, it is nothing short of sensational.

About the Author

Max Porter works in publishing. He lives in South London with his wife and children. Grief is the Thing with Feathers is his first book.

Something for the Kids

Everton and Will

By Di Morrissey

RRP: $19.99

Everton has his first bike, but riding it is a challenge. However help comes from an unusual source and teaches him more than how to ride!

This second book is beautifully enriched by the images of artist Julie Sydenham.
They will take the reader on Everton’s journey as he masters many life skills.

Everton & Will has a visual element where the reader must find Miss Mouse hidden in the illustrations.

About the Author

Di Morrissey is one of the most successful adult authors Australia has ever produced. Known as “Gigi” to her grandchildren – Sonoma, Everton and Bodhi – Di believes it was the ‘First Stories’ she was read by her mother and then was able to read for herself, that inspired her love of books and writing.

The love and sound of language, a rich imagination, seeing the world in a magical way, a place of your own to escape to, a constant companion, is what Di believes books give us.

So the first stories we hear and read, are the ones that stay with us, enrich us and are the ones we want to share and pass on.

Di was married to an American diplomat, Peter Morrissey, and lived and worked in many countries. Di trained as a journalist and has worked in newspapers, magazines, in radio, theatre, advertising, television and film. Her first novel was published in 1991 and she has now written 23 bestselling books. Her next novel, The Road Back, will be published by Pan Macmillan in November 2014.

Di was born in Wingham, NSW and grew up at Pittwater and the Northern Beaches of Sydney. She has now returned to the Manning Valley of NSW where she lives with her partner, Boris Janjic.

Di is thrilled to be adding another string to her bow with the publication of the stories she’s only ever told her grandchildren.

Exploding Ending Book 1 Painted Dogs and Doom Cakes

By Tim Harris

RRP: $14.99

With generously-sized short stories, Tim Harris throws the reader into a world where it rains lemonade, dentists terrorise children, a whole school is put on detention at once and making a simple chocolate cake is one of life’s more dangerous tasks.
Exploding Endings will have young readers laughing aloud and wondering where each story will lead.


Tim Harris is one of Australia’s most exciting new children’s authors. With 15 years as a primary teacher under his belt, Tim has harnessed his experience of reading children’s literature into creating exciting new books of his own. An engaging and entertaining presenter to boot, he has appeared at numerous schools.

About the Author

Tim Harris is a children’s author based in Sydney, Australia. He loves ordering pizza online, washing up (even though he hated it as a kid) and watching his favourite footy team play. He is married and has two little boys and a baby girl.

Tim’s first series of books, Exploding Endings, will have primary-aged readers both captivated and laughing out loud. Harnessing his wacky sense of humour, the series contains short stories with BIG twists. Tim likes to describe Exploding Endings as, ‘something in a world between Andy Griffiths and Paul Jennings’

Alice in Wonderland Celebrate Colouring Book Classics

By Nikki Wright

RRP: $35.00

CELEBRATING 150 YEARS OF ALICE IN WONDERLAND with CELEBRATE COLOURING BOOK CLASSICS!

What colours would you choose for Alice's dress?

Will your White Rabbit in fact be a rainbow rabbit?

With these beautifully detailed, black and white illustrations by Nikki Wright you can create your own Alice in Wonderland storybook.

This edition will delight readers and colourists of all ages, from adults rediscovering their love for this classic story through to young children encountering it for the very first time.

Celebrate the lasting impact of a finely crafted work of fiction, and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of switching everything off and simply colouring in.

About the Author

Nikki has lived the artist’s life for the past twenty years, making and selling her work, but found that a platform was needed for herself and fellow craftsmen.

With the encouragement of her three daughters, Nikki enrolled in and attained her Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design.“That is when the seed was planted and a whole new world opened up".

With the prospect of having to move away for work Nikki bit the bullet, and Purple Skin Magazine was born. It wasn’t long before her team began to jump on board to produce a resource for creatives, tourists, and anyone else who has that creative juice running through their veins.

Embrace art, love culture, discover South Coast…this is the essence of Purple Skin Magazine.

Leading a small, but talented team of writers, photographers, and designers, Nikki Wright is passionate about promoting and celebrating the unique talents of the many creatives living on the South Coast.

“To contribute to such a creative and vibrant community in this way is an absolute honour. But even more of a privilege, is to have Karin Neate (photographer, graphic designer and creative extraordinaire), and Max Dingle (artist, curator and member of the Shoalhaven Arts Board),
working together to embrace everything that comes under the umbrella of creativity”.

Atlas of Adventures Activity Fun Pack

By: Lucy Letherland

RRP: $19.99

Get busy with this colouring book packed with maps,..global wildlife, cultural activities and exciting adventures..from around the world. Pull out the oversized fold-out poster, and customise it with over 50 stickers.

Get busy with this colouring book packed with maps,..global wildlife, cultural activities and exciting adventures..from around the world.

Travel the world as you colour in every continent and decide whether you'd prefer to stay in a treehouse, igloo or a lighthouse, whether you'd prefer to travel by camel, tuk tuk or hot air balloon and whether you'd prefer to party at the Rio Carnival, go trick or treating or row a Viking longship!

Then, pull out the oversized fold-out poster and customise your world map with over 50 stickers as you..plan your dream trip.

About the Author

Lucy Letherland is an illustrator based in London, UK. She graduated from Manchester School of Art in 2011 with a First Class BA (Hons) in illustration with animation. Lucy.s work is strongly led by humour and narrative, creating a playful, graphic quality. Atlas of Adventures is Lucy's first book for children.

Go Home, Little One

By: Cate James

RRP: $22.99

Join Florence the hedgehog and she sets out on a winter adventure in this beautifully illustrated picture book.

Winter is approaching, and Florence the hedgehog wants to go outside and play in the woods with her squirrel friends before it's time to hibernate.

Florence's mom and the other woodland critters caution Florence and her friends not to go too far into the woods, but they don’t listen. As it starts to get cold, Florence isn’t sure she’s having fun anymore, and when a fox chases them, Florence definitely wants to go back home!

With the help of her friends, she’s able to make it home in time for dinner and her long winter snooze.

About the Author

Cate James is an artist and illustrator from Edinburgh, Scotland. She has a BA in Printmaking and an MD in Illustration, both from Edinburgh College of Art. She works mostly in children's publishing on picture books and illustrated texts.

She is also very proud to be the long-term Illustrator in Residence at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh and the in-house designer for Paper Tiger and Studio One in Edinburgh.

Space Dumplins

By: Craig Thompson

RRP: $27.99

"Like the twisted love child of Jack Kirby and Dr Seuss, Craig Thompson has created a new genre: the Adorable Epic." (Joss Wheldon). From the Eisner award winning, New York Times bestselling author of Habibi and Blankets, comes this year's most exciting adventure. For Violet, family is the most important thing in the whole galaxy.

So when her father goes missing while on a hazardous job, she can't just sit around and do nothing.

Throwing caution to the stars, she sets out with a group of misfit friends on a quest to find him. But space is a big and dangerous place for a young girl, and when she discovers that her dad has been swallowed into the belly of a giant planet - eating whale, the odds looked stacked against them...

Visionary graphic novel creator Craig Thompson brings all of his wit, warmth, and humour to create a brilliantly drawn story for all ages. Set in a distant yet familiar future, Space Dumplins weaves themes of family, friendship, and loyalty into a grand space adventure filled with quirky aliens, awesome space-ships, and sharp commentary on our environmentally challenged world.

Theophilus Grey and the Demon Thief
Theophilus Grey

By: Catherine Jinks

RRP: $19.99

Book one of a two-part intriguing mystery series set in the perilous back alleys of Georgian London. From the multi-award-winning author of A Very Unusual Pursuit.

Twelve-year-old Theophilus Grey - Philo to his friends - heads a team of linkboys who guide Londoners home through the dank eighteenth-century alleys by the light of their torches. In the process, the boys pick up useful information for their master, Garnet Hooke, who runs a spy network from his sickbed.

When thieves and rogues start dropping without a scratch, rumours spread of a dangerous faery demon on the loose, and Philo begins to fear the worst. Then a sudden wave of crime sweeps the neighbourhood, and he can't help but wonder if the two are connected.

With help from his new friend, Mr Paxton, Philo finds himself battling a threat far more sinister than any he's faced before. He will need to use all his cunning to uncover the truth behind the demon thief in time to save his friends.

This gripping tale of spies, spells and secrets plunges the reader into a dark and perilous world where superstition clashes with the Age of Enlightenment.

About the Author

Catherine Jinks was born in Brisbane in 1963 and grew up in Sydney and Papua New Guinea. She studied medieval history at university and her love of reading led her to become a writer.

Her books for children, teenagers and adults have been published to wide acclaim all over the world, and have won numerous awards. Catherine's most recent titles include the multi-award- winning A Very Unusual Pursuit; Book One in the City of Orphans trilogy, the bestselling Evil Genius books, and her paranormal spoofs, The Reformed Vampire Support Group and The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group.

Catherine lives in the Blue Mountains in NSW with her husband, journalist Peter Dockrill, and their daughter Hannah.

Legend or Loser
Freddy Tangles Series

By: Jack Brand, Tom Jellett (Illustrator)

RRP: $9.99

Freddy Tangles is an ordinary boy with more than his fair share of fears, and a whole lot of trouble heading his way in this humorous fiction for fans of Tom Gates and Big Nate.

What would you rather do, tell Sid he smells or tell Principal Brody he smells?

That's easy. I would tell Mr Brody.

No one is scarier than the bully Sid Malone, and now he's coming to get Freddy. Luckily, Freddy's got a plan. Laser beam eyes. If he stares at a white wall for long enough and wants it bad enough, his eyes will start to shoot laser beams. On second thoughts, he might need a back-up plan!

Freddy's friends are in danger too. But what can Freddy do when he's even afraid of his little sister? (Well to be fair, she is totally evil!) He has to find a way to rescue them all from Sid. Only one thing is for sure - it's going to hurt.

About the Author

Jack Brand lives in Sydney's Inner West with his partner, Sarah, and two children. He is currently a high school teacher librarian. Before that he was an English teacher, before that a lawyer, and before that a police officer. There were a few less glamorous occupations as well.

Jack wrote his first novel while living on an island and caring for his two young children. The novel turned out to be terrible, but he can at least say that the kids turned out all right. Freddy Tangles: Legend or Loser is his second novel.

Tom Jellett has illustrated a number of books for children including the junior fiction series Ted Goes Wild by Michael Wagner, the CBC Notable Picture Book Whale in the Bath by Kylie Westaway, and the extraordinarily successful My Dad Thinks He's Funny by Katrina Germein.

Newt's Emerald

By: Garth Nix

RRP: $18.99

A Regency romance with magical elements, featuring an eighteen-year-old heroine and a dashing young hero - and a case of mistaken identity.

After the Newington Emerald is stolen at the height of a conjured storm, eighteen-year-old Lady Truthful Newington goes to London to search for the magical heirloom of her house.

But as no well-bred young lady can hunt the metropolis for a stolen jewel, she has to disguise herself as a man, and is soon caught up in a dangerous adventure where she must risk her life, her reputation...and her heart.

Balancing twin roles as a young lady coming out in her first season and as an intrepid young man up against an evil sorceress isn't easy, but Truthful has to manage it.

Her father's life and even the fate of England may depend upon her recovering the Newington Emerald!

Inspiration

Need a healthy dose of inspiration? Dive in...

Big Magic
Creative Living Beyond Fear

By: Elizabeth Gilbert

RRP: $27.99

From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process - and showing us all just how easy it can be.

By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear.

Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream, or simply to make your everyday life more vivid and rewarding, Big Magic will take you on a journey of exploration filled with wonder and unexpected joys.

Read Caroline Baum's review

THE book to stop all the excuses we make to prevent us attempting to fulfill our creative dreams. And by creativity, she means anything from writing a poem to growing a garden- there is nothing exclusive or elitist about her definition of self-expression and where imagination can lead you. It’s all good.

Gilbert writes as if she were personally leading you by the hand away from fear, negativity and all forms of procrastination. This is Motivational Plus, with all the warmth, humour and energy we’ve come to expect from Gilbert’s multimillion hit TED talks and bestselling books (Eat Pray Love, in case you forgot, and The Signature of All Things).

On a personal mission to demystify the creative process, Gilbert shares the wisdom of decades of personal searching and insight into her own need to tell stories. She is, quite simply, one of the planet’s most natural and gifted communicators (but it’s how to nurture that gift that interests her).

Cynics fail to see the authenticity of her purpose, and the sincere generosity of her intentions. Yes, it may all sound a bit American and Oprah-ish for some, but there are gems of useful, practical advice here, pep talks to help you stay on the path, and confessions about mistakes made and failures overcome (a surprising example involves Clive James painting bicycles.) I’m a rusted on fan, so you won’t hear a word of complaint from me about the medium or the message.

The Cooler King
The True Story of William Ash - Spitfire Pilot, P.O.W and Wwii's Greatest Escaper

By: Patrick Bishop

RRP: $39.99

The Cooler King tells the astonishing story of William Ash, an American flier brought up in Depression-hit Texas, who after being shot down in his Spitfire over France in early 1942 spent the rest of the war defying the Nazis by striving to escape from every prisoner of war camp in which he was incarcerated...

It is a saga full of incident and high drama, climaxing in a break out via a tunnel dug in the latrines of the Oflag XXIB prison camp in Poland - a great untold episode of the Second World War.

Alongside William Ash is a cast of fascinating characters, including Douglas Bader, Roger Bushell, who would go on to lead the Great Escape, and Paddy Barthropp, a dashing Battle of Britain pilot who despite his very different background became Ash's best friend and shared many of his adventures...

By weaving together contemporary documents and interviews with Ash's comrades, Patrick Bishop vividly recreates the multiple escape attempts, while also examining the P.O.W. experience and analysing the passion that drove some prisoners to risk death in repeated bids for freedom.

The Cooler King is at once uplifting and inspirational, and stands as a testament to the durability of decent values and the invincible spirit of liberty.

The Man with the Golden Typewriter
Ian Fleming's James Bond Letters

By: Fergus Fleming (Editor)

RRP: $49.99

The witty and engaging letters of the man who created the world's most famous spy - James Bond

When he has finished writing Casino Royale, the first in the James Bond series, Ian Fleming treated himself to a gold-plated typewriter. It was on this glittering machine that he typed not only his bestselling novels, but also his letters. Though Fleming was not an especially reflective or literary man - he preferred action to analysis - his correspondence is energetic, engaging and direct, and full of wry remarks, succinct comments and insightful observations.

WC Ian Fleming wrote to publishers, fans, critics and friends.

Whether dealing with his editor's concerns about the title of Moonraker or badgering his publisher Jonathan Cape about his quota of free copies (they tossed a coin: Fleming lost), replying to a reader who feared for 007's attention to perfume or and another who worried about Bond's influence on the assassination of JFK, his letters were always charming and often witty.

A few of the letters he received marked the beginning of lengthy exchanges. One day, out of the blue, came a letter from one Geoffrey Boothroyd taking issue with James Bond's choice of sidearm (the Beretta was a 'ladies' gun'), and despite Fleming's perturbation at being caught out, the correspondence that followed developed into a relationship that lasted until Fleming's death. Boothroyd was appointed Bond's fictional armourer and kept the author up to date on a huge variety of weapons that might be useful to Bond.

On another occasion a book dealer advised him rather forcefully about American slang, while one of his most affecting exchanges was with the another great thriller writer, Raymond Chandler - the man who created Philip Marlowe.

About the Author

Fergus Fleming is Ian Fleming's nephew, He is also the author of several other non-fiction books including Barrow's Boys, Killing Dragons and Ninety Degrees North.

Voices from the Front
An Oral History of the Great War

By: Peter Hart

RRP: $49.99

The First World War in the words of the men who fought it, from the author of Gallipoli and The Great War.

Every man who served in the Great War is now deceased, but they have left behind them an enormous collection of oral history, which captures the authentic voices of the front line soldiers.

In Voices from the Front, oral historian Peter Hart brings together accounts from across the conflict, from soldiers, sailors and airmen, from officers and privates alike.

In the course of his research, he talked to men who saw their friends die in front of them, who were seriously wounded themselves, men who refused to fight on principle and those whose indomitable spirit carried them through thick and thin.

Sometimes they were there at crucial turning points in the war - going over the top in the slaughter of the Somme in 1916 or punching through the German lines to victory in 1918 - and sometimes they sweated, toiled and suffered on a forgotten front, thousands of miles from home.

In the vein of The Beauty and the Sorrow, this is the First World War seen through the eyes of the men who experienced it for themselves.

About the Author

Peter Hart is the oral historian at the Imperial War Museum and has written several titles on the First World War. His latest books for Profile are Gallipoli, The Great War and Voices from the Front.

More Letters of Note
Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience : Volume 2

By: Shaun Usher (Compiled by)

RRP: $59.99

The follow-up to the international bestseller and publishing phenomenon Letters of Note.

More Letters of Note is another rich and inspiring collection, which reminds us that much of what matters in our lives finds its way into our letters.

These letters deliver the same mix of the heartfelt, the historically significant, the tragic, the comic and the unexpected. Discover Richard Burton's farewell note to Elizabeth Taylor, Helen Keller's letter to The New York Symphony Orchestra about 'hearing' their concert through her fingers, the final missives from a doomed Japan Airlines flight in 1985, John Cleese claiming that his fan club had been murdered by Michael Palin's and even Albus Dumbledore writing to a reader applying for the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts.

Including letters from:

Jane Austen, Richard Burton, Helen Keller, Alan Turing, Albus Dumbledore, Eleanor Roosevelt, Henry James, Sylvia Plath, John Lennon, Gerald Durrell, Janis Joplin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Hunter S. Thompson, C. G. Jung, Katherine Mansfield, Marge Simpson, John Cleese, Dorothy Parker, Buckminster Fuller, Beatrix Potter, Che Guevara, Evelyn Waugh and many more

About the Author

Shaun Usher is a writer and sole custodian of the popular blogs. He has transformed both blogs into bestselling books, crowd-funded by Unbound and jointly published by Unbound and Canongate. He lives in Wilmslow with his wife Karina and their two sons. He is the author of the bestselling Letters of Note and Lists of Note.

The Gift of Failure
How to Step Back and Let Your Child Succeed

By: Jessica Lahey

RRP: $29.99

All of us want the best for our children. But are we going about it the right way?

In this fascinating and eye-opening book, Jessica Lahey suggests that with all our best intentions to protect our children from tripping up - rushing to school to deliver forgotten lunches or homework, or perhaps even doing that homework in order to ensure they gain top grades - we are in danger of depriving them of the most important lessons of childhood.

As Lahey has discovered, disappointments, rejections and criticism are actually opportunities in disguise.

Again and again, the students from her classes who go on to be the happiest and most successful adults are not the ones for whom everything always seemed to go right; they are the ones who were allowed to suffer the consequences of their mistakes - for failure strengthens grit like nothing else.

Drawing on the latest educational and psychological research, The Gift of Failure gently guides the modern parent towards a love of the ordinary, showing the link between self-sufficiency and self-esteem. This is a book which should transform the way we look at the world, and the children growing up in it.

About the Author

Jessica Lahey is an American teacher and writer. She writes the bi-weekly 'Parent-Teacher Conference' advice column for the New York Times, is a regular contributor to the Atlantic.

The Ancient World
Ideas in Profile

By: Jerry Toner

RRP: $19.99

Ideas in Profile: Small Introductions to Big Topics This introduction to the ancient world, part of the Ideas in Profile series, covers all its different cultures, from the million people crammed into Rome to the Jews and Syrians who refused to be Romanised.

Jerry Toner shows what can be learnt from new approaches to ancient history, from analysing the bones of the dead in Pompeii or assessing the impact of environmental change, and considers how we can discover what it was like to live back then.

He looks at every period, not just classical Athens and Republican Rome, but the Hellenistic kingdoms that followed Alexander and the Christian-dominated later Roman Empire.

Greece and Rome, he argues, must be fitted into the global history of their day: what did Persians think of Greeks and how does the Roman empire stack up to China's?

With vivid examples and animation from award-winning Cognitive at every stage, this is the ideal introduction to the ancient world for general readers and students.

Unfinished Business
Women Men Work Family

By: Anne-Marie Slaughter

RRP: $34.99

A powerful, persuasive, thought-provoking vision for how to finish the long struggle for equality between women and men, work and family

When Anne-Marie Slaughter accepted her dream job as the first female director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department in 2009, she was confident she could juggle the demands of her position in Washington, D.C., with the responsibilities of her family life in suburban New Jersey. Her husband and two young sons encouraged her to pursue the job; she had a tremendously supportive boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and she had been moving up on a high-profile career track since law school. But then life intervened. Parenting needs caused her to make a decision to leave the State Department and return to an academic career that gave her more time for her family.

The reactions to her choice to leave Washington because of her kids led her to question the feminist narrative she grew up with. Her subsequent article for The Atlantic, 'Why Women Still Can't Have It All,' created a firestorm, sparked intense national debate, and became one of the most-read pieces in the magazine's history.

Since that time, Anne-Marie Slaughter has pushed forward, breaking free of her long-standing assumptions about work, life, and family. Though many solutions have been proposed for how women can continue to break the glass ceiling or rise above the 'motherhood penalty,' women at the top and the bottom of the income scale are further and further apart.

Now, in her refreshing and forthright voice, Anne-Marie Slaughter returns with her vision for what true equality between women and men really means, and how we can get there. She uncovers the missing piece of the puzzle, presenting a new focus that can reunite the women's movement and provide a common banner under which both men and women can advance and thrive.

With moving personal stories, individual action plans, and a broad outline for change, Anne-Marie Slaughter reveals a future in which all of us can finally finish the business of equality for women and men, work and family.

About the Author

Anne-Marie Slaughter is the current President and CEO of the New America Foundation. She was formerly the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and Dean of its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She served as Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department from January 2009 until February 2011 under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A foreign policy analyst, academic, and public commentator, she has taught at the University of Chicago and Harvard University, and is a former president of the American Society of International Law.

Australians
Flappers to Vietnam : Volume 3

By: Thomas Keneally

RRP: $35.00

In the third volume of Thomas Keneally's unique history of Australia - where he shines a light on the lives and deeds of our countrymen and women, both known and unknown - he takes up the story at the end of the Great War and explores our development as a nation during the tumultuous 20th century.

As in the two previous volumes of Australians, Thomas Keneally brings history to vivid and pulsating life. He traces the lives and the deeds of Australians known and unknown as the nation emerged from World War I into a decade of profound change through the Great Crash, the rise of Fascism and growth of the Communist Party. He explains how Australia was inexorably drawn into a war that led her forces into combat throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and the Pacific. At home an atmosphere of fear grew with the fall of Singapore and the bombing of Darwin, the Japanese advance and then the arrival of General MacArthur.

The 1950s-depicted by some as an age of full employment, by others as the age of suburban spread and boredom under the serene prime ministership of Robert Menzies-were as complicated as Menzies himself. Most Australians believed there would be nuclear war before the end of the decade. The Korean War and British testing of the atomic bomb in South Australia were seen as preludes. With the defection of the Soviet spy Ivan Petrov, Australians were convinced they were living in the last of days. On the street, the face of Australia was undergoing an Italian, Greek and Slavic-led change. And in even greater upheaval, Asian trade and immigration were coming our way as we advanced towards a war in Vietnam and the firming of the American alliance.

The result of masterly writing and exhaustive research, this volume of Australians brings our more recent history to vibrant and robust life.

About the Author

Thomas Keneally was born in 1935 and, as well as writing many novels, has shown an increasing interest in producing histories. His history of Irish convictism was entitled The Great Shame and was published in all the English language markets. The same was true of his later work, The Commonwealth of Thieves, which looked upon the penal origins of Australia in a way which sought to make the reader feel close to the experience of individual Aboriginals, convicts and officials. His novels include The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, Schindler's Ark, The Daughters of Mars and Shame and the Captives. He has the won the Miles Franklin Award, the Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Book Prize, the Royal Society of Literature Prize, the Scripter Award of the University of Southern California, the Mondello International Prize, the Helmerich Prize. He lives in Sydney with his wife, Judy, and is Number 1 ticket-holder of the Manly-Warringah Rugby League team.


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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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