She Inspires Book Review for Book Lovers
Make time for yourself with a good book. We've got something for everyone in this bumper book review issue.

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

Indulge in time out for yourself with a good novel...

Solly's Way

By Ron Thomas

RRP: 29.99

It is the 1890s and the prosperous years are gone. Drought and depression are biting hard across the outback. The falling price of wool triggers violent confrontation between the pastoralists and the shearers union.

Banks across Australia begin to close their doors as property values plummet.
Thomas Landerville is a small landholder caught between a crippling mortgage and a parched property that can no longer support his flock. His wife Isabelle is a resourceful woman of the outback but like her husband, she is wondering how they can survive. Alone at home, through the heat haze in the distance Isabelle sees an old swagman pushing a loaded wheelbarrow towards her and anticipates that he will ask for a meal and a cup of tea. But she loads the shotgun and leans it behind the door "just in case". Little does she know of the many ways this old swagman will change her life and that of her family.

Ron's ability to narrate a great Australian historical saga is evident with his quality research and accessible characters.

The wealth of knowledge and experience that Ron brings to the house is inspiring. I often "drink from the cup".

About the Author

Ron Thomas is a man with a passion for all things Australian and the events and people that changed the country from a penal colony into today’s diverse culture. Much of his writing is of ordinary Australians faced with the real challenges of this wide brown land.

He retired from the position he had held for more than 20 years as Managing Director of Anitech, a highly successful Australian computer equipment and maintenance company, to give himself more time to write end engage in various other activities.

Though he is still a Director of the company, much of his time is spent researching suitable subjects for present and future stories.

Ron is a keen and regular participant in various sports including cycling, tennis, golf, surfing and swimming. He is particularly proud of his cycling medals won at the 2011 Adelaide Masters Games. His many and varied other interests include music and snorkelling in and around Manly and he paints landscapes for relaxation. He has written the lyrics for the musical Ballaarat, based on the events at the Eureka Stockade and two books of poetry.

But above all his greatest interest is his family, His wife Margaret, three daughters and two granddaughters keep him on his toes!

Ron resides in Fairlight, in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney which he describes as God’s country, and spends time whenever he can at the family holiday house at Narrawallee on the beautiful south coast of NSW.

The Automobile Club of Egypt

By: Alaa Al Aswany

RRP: $32.99

A rollicking, exuberant and powerfully moving story of a family swept up by social unrest in post-World War II Cairo.

Once a respected landowner, Abd el-Aziz Gaafar fell into penury and moved his family to Cairo, where he was forced into menial work at the Automobile Club - a of refuge of colonial luxury for its European members.

There, Alku, the lifelong Nubian retainer of Egypt's corrupt and dissolute king, lords it over the staff, a squabbling but tight-knit group, who live in perpetual fear, as they are thrashed for their mistakes, their wages dependent on Alku's whims.

When, one day, Abd el-Aziz stands up for himself, he is neaten. Soon afterward, he dies, as much from shame as from his injuries. Leaving his widow and four children further impoverished.

The family's loss propels them down different paths but they remain tightly connected to the Automobile Club.

It is at the Club, too that dangerous politics find the favor and patronage of the king's seditious cousin, and unlikely revolutionary plotter-cum-bon vivant. Soon, both servants and masters will be subsumed by the brewing social upheaval.

And the Egyptians of the Automobile Club will face a stark choice: to live safely, but without dignity, or to fight for their rights and risk everything.

Full of absorbing incident, and marvelously drawn characters, The Automobile Club of Egypt gives us Egypt on the brink of changes that resonate to this day.

is an irresistible confirmation of Al Aswany's reputation as one of the world's most beguiling storytellers and insightful interpreters of the human spirit.

Rembrandt's Mirror

By: Kim Devereux

RRP: $27.99

A stunningly imagined debut novel about the turbulent world of the master painter Rembrandt and the three women who shaped his life, seen through the eyes of his last great love and muse - a lowly housemaid.

Hendrickje, a girl from a strict Calvinist family leaves her provincial home to find work as a housemaid. She enters Rembrandt's flourishing workshop five years after the death of the great artist's wife, an event that continues to haunt him.

It is a house full of secrets and desires, and Hendrickje soon witnesses a sexual encounter between Rembrandt and Geertje, his implacable housekeeper.

She is shocked to the core by their intense carnality and yet, slowly, she is drawn to Rembrandt by the freshness with which he perceives the world and the special freedom he seems to possess.

Rembrandt is a man of dark corners, strange passions and a ruthlessness born from his need to put his art first. An involvement with him could be her ruin or her liberty.

Rembrandt's Mirror explores the three women of Rembrandt's life, and the towering passions of the artist, seen through the eyes of his last, great love, Hendrickje.

About the Author

Kim Devereux is an award-winning short-film director and producer of documentaries. Kim holds an MA in History of Art and English Literature from the University of Edinburgh and an MA from Bath Spa in Creative Writing.

The First Bad Man

By: Miranda July

RRP: $19.99

A stunning, soon-to-be cult novel from the bestselling and award-winning Miranda July.

The Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller

'The First Bad Man brings together all of July's talents - it's a book that must be read, a book that must be purchased - in duplicate - one for you, one for a friend. Don't think you can loan this book - you'll never get it back' A.M Homes, author of This Book Will Save Your Life and May We Be Forgiven

The first novel by the filmmaker, artist and bestselling author Miranda July confirms her as a spectacularly original, iconic, and important voice today, and a writer for all time. The First Bad Man is dazzling and unforgettable.

About the Author

Miranda July is a filmmaker, artist and writer. Her collection of short stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You, won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and has been published in twenty-three countries.

Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Harper's and The New Yorker; It Chooses You was her first book of non-fiction. She wrote, directed and starred in The Future and Me and You and Everyone We Know - winner of the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Special Jury Prize at Sundance.

July's participatory art includes the website Learning to Love You More (with artist Harrell Fletcher), Eleven Heavy Things (a sculpture garden created for the 2009 Venice Biennale), New Society (a performance), and Somebody (a messaging app.) Raised in Berkeley, California, July lives in Los Angeles.

The Landing

By: Susan Johnson

RRP: $29.99

Jonathan Lott, recently divorced, is about to find how much love really matters in a funny, delightful and poignant novel that lays out the human condition - looking for love in all of its many forms with secrets, polite lies, desperation, compromise and joy.

Jonathan Lott is confused. His wife has left him for a woman and he doesn't like living alone. Is it true that an about-to-be-divorced man in possession of a good fortune is in need of a new wife? Would Penny Collins do, divorced herself, school teacher and frustrated artist? What about beautiful Anna, blown in from who knows where, trailing broken marriages behind her? There's a lot happening at The Landing, where Jonathan has his beach house, and he's about to find out how much love matters.

Read Caroline Baum's Review

Susan Johnson's stunning new novel, written with her trademark wit and insight, brilliantly observes what it is to be human and to love: the betrayals, the long and the short alliances, the disappointments and the joys. The Landing celebrates all of it with verve and style.

Always perceptive and passionate, Susan Johnson has written openly about some of her life’s more confronting moments in both fiction and memoir. Now she tries her hand at something more light-hearted in a comedy of manners set in a small community on the Gold Coast. Her characters are recognisable types - the divorced man who simply did not see it coming, the European sophisticate who things she’s better than everyone else and is having trouble fitting in, the local busybody gossip - you will probably have met people like these.

Johnson’s dialogue reminded me of playwright David Williamson’s: he was the master of seemingly throwaway cocktail party small talk remarks that betrayed more of a person than they intended. An admirer of British writers like Jane Austen and Barbara Pym, Johnson attempts the kind of mild satire that is much harder than it looks. By temperament I suspect that her Francophile side is closer to her real nature, Gallic in its heated intensity.

Come to think of it, the French invented the soufflé, and that is what this book is - she’s combined the best of both worlds in this light and airy dish.

The Seed Collectors

By: Scarlett Thomas

RRP: $29.99

The long-awaited new novel from the bestselling author of The End of Mr. Y.

"I have no idea why everyone thinks nature is so benign and glorious and wonderful. All nature is trying to do is kill us as efficiently as possible."

Aunt Oleander is dead. In the Garden of England her extended family gather to remember her, to tell stories and to rekindle old memories. To each of her nearest and dearest Oleander has left a precious seed pod. But along with it comes a family secret that could open the hardest of hearts but also break the closest ties . . .

A complex and fiercely contemporary tale of inheritance, enlightenment, life, death, desire and family trees, The Seed Collectors is the most important novel yet from one of the world's most daring and brilliant writers.

As Henry James said of George Eliot's Middlemarch, The Seed Collectors is a 'treasurehouse of detail' revealing all that it means to be connected, to be part of a society, to be part of the universe and to be human.

About the Author

Scarlett Thomas was born in London in 1972. Her other novels include Bright Young Things, PopCo, The End of Mr.Y which was longlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007, and Our Tragic Universe.

She teaches creative writing at the University of Kent.

Arcadia

By: Iain Pears

RRP: $29.99

An inventive, captivating and richly imagined new novel from bestselling writer Iain Pears. The novel will also be published as an interactive app.

Henry Lytten - a spy turned academic and writer - sits at his desk in Oxford in 1962, dreaming of other worlds.He embarks on the story of Jay, an eleven-year-old boy who has grown up within the embrace of his family in a rural, peaceful world - a kind of Arcadia.

But when a supernatural vision causes Jay to question the rules of his world, he is launched on a life-changing journey.Lytten also imagines a different society, highly regulated and dominated by technology, which is trying to master the science of time travel.Meanwhile - in the real world - one of Lytten's former intelligence colleagues tracks him down for one last assignment.

As he and his characters struggle with questions of free will, love, duty and the power of the imagination, Lytten discovers he is not sure how he wants his stories to end, nor even who is imaginary...

About the Author

Iain Pears was born in Coventry in 1955. Educated at Wadham College, Oxford, he has worked as a journalist, an art historian and a television consultant. He is the author of An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Dream of Scipio and Stone's Fall.

He has also written several highly praised detective novels, a book of art history, and countless articles on artistic, financial and historical subjects.

The Secret Son

By: Jenny Ackland

RRP: $29.99

An Australian historian determined to find the truth, a stolen inheritance, a wishing tree, a long-lost grandmother, and an unlikely sweetheart come together in a dazzlingly original, audacious and exhilarating novel about love, honour and belonging, and what it means to be a good person.

I know that two men are coming up the mountain, at this moment, including the boy from far away. I wonder what my grandson's face will look like...This is a boy in the skin of a man. I know he is innocent; it's his family soul which is guilty.

An old woman sits waiting in a village that clings to a Turkish mountainside, where the women weave rugs, make tea and keep blood secrets that span generations. Berna can see what others cannot, so her secrets are deeper and darker than most. It is time for her to tell her story, even though the man for whom her words are meant won't hear them. It is time for the truth to be told.

Nearly a hundred years before, her father James had come to the village on the back of a donkey, gravely ill, rescued from the abandoned trenches of Gallipoli by a Turkish boy whose life he had earlier spared. James made his life there, never returning to Australia and never realising that his father was indeed the near-mythical bushranger that the gossips had hinted at when he'd been a boy growing up in Beechworth.

Now, as Berna waits, a young man from Melbourne approaches to visit his parents' village, against the vehement opposition of his cursed, tight-lipped grandfather. What is the astonishing story behind the dark deeds that connect the two men, unknown to each other and living almost a century apart?

The Secret Son is a remarkable debut, a dazzlingly original, audacious and exhilarating novel. At once joyous and haunting, and a moving meditation on love, honour and belonging, it is a story about the strength of women and what it means to be a good man.

What is the astonishing story behind the dark deeds that connect the two men, unknown to each other and living almost a century apart?..The Secret Son is a remarkable debut, a dazzlingly original, audacious and exhilarating novel. At once joyous and haunting, and a moving meditation on love, honour and belonging, it is a story about the strength of women and what it means to be a good man...

About the Author

Jenny Ackland was born in Melbourne and has a background in primary teaching. She has worked in too many offices but only one themed restaurant; sold textbooks in a university bookshop; taught special education and English as a Foreign Language in Australia and overseas; and worked as a proofreader on magazines and freelance editor on technical publications. Now, she teaches sexuality and relationships education in primary and secondary schools. She's been blogging since 2005, and her short fiction has been listed in prestigious literary prizes and awards, such as the Bridport and Fish Prizes, as well as published in various literary magazines, including Visible Ink, The Big Issue, Kill Your Darlings and the Sleepers Almanac. Her first novel manuscript was listed in the HarperCollins Varuna Awards for Manuscript Development (withdrawn).

She has travelled widely, and has spent several years living in Turkey and Japan, but now lives in Melbourne with her husband and their three teenaged children. The Secret Son is her debut novel.

Vanishing Acts

By: Jodi Picoult

RRP: $22.99

Picoult's richly layered and suspenseful novel explores the power of love and memory . . . what happens when the past we have been running from catches up to us.

'The compelling story weaves characters and plot so richly that it's impossible to take sides in the questions of what was justified and what wasn't.' - Woman's Day

'A polished and riveting read.' - Australian Women's Weekly

Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father Andrew, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiance, and her own Search and Rescue bloodhound which she uses to find missing persons. But as she plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can't recall. What are these memories and what do they mean? In shock and confusion, Delia must search out the truth among these newly discovered recollections even when they threaten to devastate her life, and the lives of those she loves most.

With consummate skill and sensitivity, Jodi Picoult examines what happens when the past we have been running from catches up to us, and questions who we trust to tell us the story of our lives before we are capable of remembering it ourselves. Vanishing Acts is an impressive exploration of the very nature and power of memory.

About the Author

Jodi Picoult, who has fifteen novels and three children to her credit, was born and raised on Long Island. She received a doctorate in creative writing from Princeton and a master's degree in education from Harvard.

Off the Page

By: Jodi Picoult, Samantha Van Leer

RRP: $24.99

From internationally bestselling authors Jodi Picoult and her daughter and co-writer, Samantha van Leer, comes Off the Page, a classic fairy tale with a uniquely modern twist filled with humour, adventure and magical relationships.

Meet Oliver, a prince literally taken from the pages of a fairy tale and transported into the real world. Meet Delilah, the girl who wished Oliver into being. It's a miracle that seems perfect at first - but there are complications.

To exist in Delilah's world, Oliver must take the place of a regular boy. Enter Edgar, who agrees to play Oliver's role in the pages of Delilah's favourite book. But just when it seems that the plan will work, everything gets turned upside down.

In this multilayered universe, the line between what is on the page and what is possible is blurred, but all must be resolved for the characters to live happily ever after.

Off the Page is a tender and appealing romantic novel filled with humour, adventure and magical relationships.

A Better Man

By: Leah McLaren

RRP: $29.99

What if the only way to end your marriage was to be the perfect husband?

Maya wants Nick to be less of a workaholic, to come home earlier, to spend some time with his children.

Nick wants a divorce.

With his mind made up, Nick is determined to leave quickly and with dignity, but it comes as an unpleasant shock to realise how much it will cost him to walk away. As a stay-at- home mum, Maya is entitled to everything.

Nick is resolute, so when an unlikely solution presents itself he gives it everything he's got. If Nick becomes a better husband and father, if he encourages his wife to rediscover herself, the more self-sufficient Maya will become: and the cheaper Nick's pay-out.

But as Nick pretends to be a better man he becomes one. He remembers his connection with Maya, their ability to be a couple and not just parents who share a house. Everything seems to be back on track. Until Maya finds out exactly what Nick has been planning.

About the Author

Leah McLaren is a Globe and Mail columnist and Europe correspondent for Maclean's. In 2013, she won a gold National Magazine Award in the arts feature category for her work in Toronto Life magazine.

Her first novel, The Continuity Girl, published by HarperCollins Canada and Warner US, was a national bestseller, spending nine weeks on the Globe and Mail bestseller list.

She was born in rural Ontario, grew up in a small town and now splits her time between Toronto and London, where she shares a home with her husband and son.

The Assassins

By: Gayle Lynds

RRP: $24.99

Six top international assassins are locked in a battle to the death. Only one will be left standing.

Recently retired from US military intelligence, Judd Ryder is walking home one evening when he sees a man wearing his clothes step out of his house.

Moments later, the man is killed in a hit-and-run. Was the stranger the intended victim, or was it Judd himself?

Searching the man, Judd finds a phone with only one number dialled - to CIA trainee Eva Blake, Judd's former girlfriend.

What Judd and Eva don't know is that they've unwittingly been trapped in a battle to the death against six professional assassins, and only one will be left standing..

About the Author

G.H. Lynds is a New York Times bestselling and award-winning author. She worked as a reporter and editor for a top-secret US Government think tank before becoming a full- time novelist. She also co-founded International Thriller Writers with David Morrell. She lives in Southern California.

The World Without Us

By: Mireille Juchau

RRP: $29.99

From the award-winning author of Machines for Feeling and Burning In comes a mystery, a love story and an elegy for a denatured landscape

Told from the perspective of six, interconnected characters, The World Without Us is a tale of love in all its forms, a mystery and an elegy for a denatured landscape. It is about the ways we become lost to ourselves, and the transformative joys of being found.

After a fire destroys her family's commune home, Evangeline is forced to start afresh in the north coast rainforest town with her child, and partner, Stefan Muller.

Years later, while tending the bees on their farm, Stefan discovers a car wreck, and not far off, human remains. While the locals speculate on who has gone missing from the transient hinterland town, Stefan's daughters Tess and Meg, have a more urgent mystery. Where does their mother go each day, pushing an empty pram and returning wet, muddy and disheveled?

Jim Parker, a Sydney teacher escaping his own troubles arrives in their clannish community. One morning he stumbles upon Evangeline, naked by a river with a hammer and some rope. Their charged encounter propels Evangeline's past into the present and sparks a change in all their lives.

Meanwhile ten year old Tess, mute since the loss of her youngest sister, attempts to escape. Will getting lost help her discover where she belongs?

As the rainy season descends, and each of the family are separated by flood, they realise nothing is what it seems.

About the Author

Mireille is a hugely talented, up and coming Australian novelist and The World Without Us is her third novel.

Her first, Machines for Feeling was shortlisted for the 1999 Vogel/Australian Literary Award and the second, Burning In, was published by Giramondo Publishing in 2007. It was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award 2008, Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2008, the Age Book of the Year Award 2008 and the Nita B. Kibble Award 2008.

For the Kids

The Visions of Ichabod X

By Gary Crew

RRP: $26.99

Who is Ichabod X? Is it true that he can see visions of the future fate of our endangered planet Earth?
Gary Crew (author of the award winning The Watertower) and artistic genius Paul O’Sullivan invite the reader to explore—and possibly discover—the meaning behind the haunting, futuristic visions of Ichabod X.

About the Author

Dr Gary Crew is Associate Professor, Creative Writing, and Program Leader of Creative Writing at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Gary has lectured and run Creative Writing workshops throughout Australia, the UK, the USA, Asia and the Pacific.

He has won the Australian Children’s Book of the Year award four times, twice for his novels, twice for his illustrated books. He is one of Australia’s most awarded authors for children and young adult literature.

Paul's thoughts..I thought I might tell you something of the inspiration for the illustrations in Ichabod X. Both Luella and I are old movie tragics. I have long been fascinated with early cinema, particularly the silent film era. When I was composing the illustrations I had in mind two ground breaking movies of the silent age.

Pioneer French cinematographer George Melies genius work ' A trip to the moon' created in 1902 ...The worlds first sci fi movie. And of course towards the end of that era 'Metropolis' by Fritz Lang 1927. It must be obvious how the image of the boy in the machine on the books end papers correlates with the robot being turned into a woman in the metropolis laboratories.

The Oceans Around Australia

By Chelsea Boulding and Illustrated by Julie Sydenham

RRP: $16.99

This charming variation on the much-loved classic story about the house that Jack built is sure to delight young and old. It begins with the plankton that floats in the oceans around Australia. Along comes a fish that eats the plankton, but it in turn is chased by a dolphin, and so the story continues.

Children will love following the words and pictures that tell this twisty tale, and the repetition will encourage them join in the telling. Along the way, they’ll see how everything and everyone is connected in this world.

About the Author

I first met Chelsea when she was in Kindergarten class at St Francis of Assisi Primary School in Calwell ACT. I was employed by the Ronald Mc Learning Program which provides weekly tutors for a year for children who have missed out on schooling though illness or hospitalisation.

Chelsea and her twin sister Ebony had just started school and were in the same class as my little granddaughter Katie so it was a very happy choice for me.

Chelsea was born with Cerebral Palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. She is a lovely child, now 12 years old and growing into a lovely young lady. She and Ebony are the youngest in a wonderfully supportive family with four older siblings.

Chelsea is so interested in learning with ideas and opinions of her own and we have great discussions together. She keeps me busy going to the library to find books to support her latest interest whatever that might be. Could be anything! She also loves horse riding at the Pegasus riding school for the disabled, especially the feeling of independence it gives her.

After her first year of tutoring I continued in the role and it soon became apparent that she had a terrific imagination with such a passion for interesting stories. Chelsea’s physical restrictions give her plenty of time to observe people. As a result she has a deep understanding of how people think and feel, well beyond her years. She uses these ideas and observations to create wonderful stories. We can’t wait to get them down on paper and then to discuss them and weave them into a story. I must emphasise that it is Chelsea who is always in charge and who directs the story line.
Chelsea’s ideas and imagination flow faster than she can manage to keep up with using writing tools. So I decided to scribe for her so that we could get all of her ideas and thoughts on paper as quickly as possible. At home I type these stories so that we can read and re-read them to edit them together. Chelsea decided that it would be a good idea to familiarise herself with published children’s stories to give her ideas on suitable formats for little kids. Out of this she had more great ideas and plenty of unexpected humour. Last year she wrote her first chapter book – we both had a great sense of triumph about this. With the assistance of Christine our schools resource teacher, she began to read some of her stories to Kindergarten children.

Chelsea dreamt of becoming an author and publishing her stories for other children to read. If the Kinders at St Francis liked them so much why wouldn’t other children? But it was just a dream. Working together with Lisa and Linda, another teacher and a parent we were able to contact the right people and now this dream has become a reality.

You can’t imagine how wonderful it is for Chelsea to be set free through the use of her imagination and the publication of this book.

About the Artist

After completing her B.Ed (Visual Arts) in Sydney Jules spent the next 9 years teaching HSC Art, Business and Legal Studies.
At the turn of the millennia Jules decided to follow her creative instincts, and the family relocated to the South Coast of NSW where she established her own art studio and supply store. Teaching classes, producing her own unique art and selling supplies have kept her busy ever since.

Jules took on the volunteer role of Coordinator of the Escape ARTfest in 2005. This annual celebration of everything art in the Southern Shoalhaven has grown rapidly under Jules’ leadership and her passion for art and culture is unwavering.

As a mother, artist, business owner, teacher and hard working community volunteer, Jules admits that life is a bit hectic at times, “I constantly struggle with the delicate balance between doing the things I love and the things I must.”

“Life can be chaos, but thus far in my life I have been privileged enough to be able to make a living doing the very things that I’m compelled to do… making art, teaching art and working with creative people.”

Always on the look out for new adventures, illustrating her daughter’s first story has taken Jules in an exciting new direction. “After the first book was complete I was keen to explore this new ‘medium’ and quickly accepted a second chance to illustrate; it’s been an amazing journey and I’m keen to continue with it.”

Nancy

By Damian de Montemas

RRP: $45.00

Nancy is a clever girl who loves to ride her bike as fast as she can go. But there is one problem, Nancy can never stay awake! Will she wake and avoid a certain disaster or will she soar and fly where no girl has ever flown before...at least not on their bike.

Damian de Montemas is a well-known and award winning Australian actor who has appeared in numerous Australian Television productions. He continues to work in Theatre, Television and Film. He has a lifetime love of books and reading, sparked and fostered by the countless stories and endless books he was told and read and given as a child by his Mum and Dad.

About the Author

I cant remember the first book I read but I’m pretty sure it must have been something by Enid Blyton, “The Magic Faraway Tree” maybe, which has to be one of the greatest children’s books ever written. Mum kept me in a constant supply of Enid Blyton books and Dad would read me the short stories and poems of Henry Lawson, “The Loaded Dog” is still one of my favourite stories. The books of Dr Seuss, ‘The Digging-°©-Est Dog’ by Al Perkins, the beautiful imagination of Roald Dahl, all appealed to me so much. Books written for children but slightly, or not so slightly left of centre books that are engaging for adults and children alike.

I kind of feel sorry for young kids these days that read most of their books on a computer screen. Missing the smell of a new book, the sound of pages turning, the feel of a book in their hands. Reading a great story is way more memorable when it’s a tactile experience. That being said….. aren’t E-°©-books just wonderful hahaha!!

I love writing short stories. I never actually set out to make them rhyming but they always seem to end up that way, sometimes I think it makes it easier, sometimes not. I guess it’s a result of all the books I’ve read over my life. Having my short stories illustrated by my good friend and ridiculously talented artist, Patricia Ward is a dream come true, and having them published by an independent publishing house in Mollymook/Ulladulla seems right too. I’ve lived pretty much all over Australia, but the one constant has been Mollymook, it is in many ways our spiritual home. I’ve been coming here for Christmas holidays for as long as I can remember. Certainly back when the creek ran the length of North Mollymook beach anyway, before it was diverted, thus ruining one of the most beautiful beaches in the world….but I digress.

I’ve always written with children in mind, I guess because as a child myself I loved the worlds that books drew me, seemingly effortlessly, into. Now I’m a father myself I write very much with my own children in mind. What would I like to read to them? What would they like to be read!? Hopefully children everywhere like reading my stories or like hearing my stories read to them, the illustrations are certainly beautiful, hopefully the words are too.

Ink and Bone
Novels of the Great Library : Book 1

By: Rachel Caine

RRP: $16.99

Magical spells and riots abound in this epic new YA series from the bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series.

Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time. In 48 AD, a fire set by the troops of Julius Caesar destroyed much of the Great Library of Alexandria.

It was the first of several disasters that resulted in the destruction of the accumulated knowledge of the ancient world. But what if the fire had been stopped? What would the Library have become? Fast forward: the Great Library is now a separate country, protected by its own standing army. It has grown into a vast power, with unquestioned and unrivalled supremacy.

Jess Brightwell, seventeen and very smart, with a gift for mechanical engineering, has been sent into the Great Library as a spy for his criminal family. Magical spells and riots abound in this epic new YA series.

About the Author

Rachel Caine is a fictional character herself . a pen name of writer Roxanne Conrad. Since 2003, Rachel has written in the adult Urban Fantasy genre (the Weather Warden, Outcast Season, Revivalist and Red Letter Days series) as well as in Young Adult fiction (the Morganville Vampires series and the Prince of Shadows). She is the author of more than forty novels and many short stories, and is regular featured in anthology collections.

Rachel has been a professional musician in several orchestras, run payroll for one of the largest cheerleading organizations in North America, worked as a graphic designer and web designer, and finished up her tour of the corporate world as Director of Corporate Communications for a large international company.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

By: Jesse Andrews

RRP: 19.99

Jesse Andrew's hilarious, outrageous and truthful look at friendship, high school - and death. Now an award-winning movie.

This is the funniest book you’ll ever read about death.

It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl.

This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.

A funny little novel about friendship, identity and acute myelogenous leukemia.

About the Author

Jesse Andrews is a writer, musician, and former German youth hostel receptionist. He is a graduate of Harvard University and lives in Brooklyn, New York, which is almost as good as Pittsburgh.

This is his first novel, which he turned into a screenplay with Dan Fogelman for Indian Paintbrush.

Wolf Boy

By Peter Sykes

RRP: $14.99

Alta sees a small jacket sticking out of the snow. He rides his small horse over to the jacket and reaches down to pull it out. To his surprise it's not a jacket but a small wolf cub.

Follow Wolf Boy on his adventures through the amazing Mongolian landscape during the harsh summer and cold winter.

About the Author

Born on a farm near Goulburn, Peter went to boarding school in Sydney as a boy. This probably encouraged his broad view of life.

After school he returned to work on the land as a jackaroo, wool presser and general rural contractor before becoming a bricklayer and builder. While loving building he has found a natural progression into photography and then books.

Not knowing where this compulsion comes from, he sometimes feels it is God playing a practical joke.

Now travelling broadly to take photographs, which have been exhibited, Peter is relishing the pull of new horizons. Photographing the landscape and environment with people in it showing how their culture has developed largely because of the environment they live in continues draw him in.

“I don't like people saying we have destroyed the world and being negative as this makes people feel that it is too late to do anything about it. I like to show how beautiful and diverse the world is and encourage people to join together to look after our planet”

KidGlovz

By: Julie Hunt, Dale Newman (Illustrator)

RRP: 24.99

An extraordinary graphic fable about a boy who inherits a dangerous musical gift, from a multi-award-winning author.

KidGlovz is a musical genius.

His gift is so precious that he's kept under lock and key. But when a young thief helps him escape, Kid must embark on a perilous journey through which he will discover the terrifying nature of his talent. A spellbinding graphic fable about friendship and freedom.

About the Author

Julie Hunt lives on a farm in southern Tasmania and is fascinated by landscapes and the stories they inspire. This interest has taken her from the rugged west coast of Ireland to the ice caves of Romania.

Julie loves poetry, storytelling and traditional folktales, and her own stories combine otherworldly elements with down-to-earth humour. Julie's novel Song for a Scarlet Runner was the winner of Readings inaugural Children's Book Prize and was shortlisted for the CBCA Awards and the Prime Minister's Literary Award in 2014.

Her other books include a series about a plucky cowgirl called Little Else (illustrated by Beth Norling) and the CBCA Picture Book of the Year, The Coat (illustrated by Ron Brooks).

For artist Dale Newman, the imagery of KidGlovz was so strangely familiar that drawing it into being was a dream job for her. Dale has been engaged in creative life for over thirty years, as a newspaper artist, a printmaker, a musician and songwriter, a youth arts worker and a freelance illustrator. KidGlovz is her very first-ever epic graphic novel.

Dale lives on the NSW coast with her partner and son, who kindly agreed to model for the book. Her artwork also appears on the cover of Julie's award-winning novel Song for a Scarlet Runner.

Tashi and the Big Scoop

By: Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg

RRP: $9.99

Tashi and Jack want to start a newspaper but Tiki Pu always seems to get the scoop in this all-new novelisation of an original episode from the popular animated series 'Tashi', screening on ABC3, based on Anna and Barbara Fienberg's classic character.

Jack and Tashi want to create a newspaper, but Tiki Pu always seems to have the scoop. However, when giants and ogres get involved, the news gets too big for the village bellringer.

Giants, ghosts, witches, bandits, demons, dragons . Tashi, Jack and Lotus Blossom are ready for anything!

An exciting Tashi adventure based on the popular animated series, brought to the screen by acclaimed animation studio Flying Bark Productions.

About the Author

When Anna Fienberg was little, her mother, Barbara, read lots of stories to her. At bedtime they would travel to secret places in the world, through books. The Tashi stories began when Barbara was telling Anna how she used to tell whoppers when she was a child. Creative fibs. Tall stories. And kids would crowd around her, dying to hear the latest tale.

Together they talked about a character like Barbara - someone who told fantastic stories - and over many cups of tea they cooked up Tashi...As well as having his own series, Tashi appears in two splendid picture books, illustrated by Kim Gamble: There Once Was a Boy Called Tashi and Once Tashi Met a Dragon...

Tashi and the Magic Carpet

By: Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg

RRP: $9.99

Tashi and Jack get a surprise when they are given an old carpet that really does have magical powers in this original Tashi story from the popular animated series 'Tashi', screening on ABC3, based on Anna and Barbara Fienberg's classic character.

Tashi and Jack are looking for a gift for Can Du's birthday, but when Second Uncle gives them a magic carpet they get much more than they bargained for. Will they be able to get the birthday boy back to his party . and save their village from destruction?

Giants, ghosts, witches, bandits, demons, dragons . Tashi, Jack and Lotus Blossom are ready for anything!

An exciting Tashi adventure based on the popular animated series, brought to the screen by acclaimed animation studio Flying Bark Productions.

About the Author

When Anna Fienberg was little, her mother, Barbara, read lots of stories to her. At bedtime they would travel to secret places in the world, through books. The Tashi stories began when Barbara was telling Anna how she used to tell whoppers when she was a child. Creative fibs. Tall stories. And kids would crowd around her, dying to hear the latest tale.

Together they talked about a character like Barbara - someone who told fantastic stories - and over many cups of tea they cooked up Tashi...As well as having his own series, Tashi appears in two splendid picture books, illustrated by Kim Gamble: There Once Was a Boy Called Tashi and Once Tashi Met a Dragon...

The Truth About Peacock Blue

By: Rosanne Hawke

RRP: $15.99

A powerful story about one girl's fight for justice in Pakistan.

Everything changes for Aster the night her brother dies. Suddenly she's the only hope of the family, and instead of an early marriage to a boy from her small village in Pakistan, her parents decide to send her to the government high school in her brother's place.

Aster is excited about this unexpected opportunity for a career, but, as a Christian, she is unprepared her for the difficulties of attending a Muslim school: her fellow students are far from welcoming and one of her teachers takes an instant dislike to her.

One day, she is accused of intentionally making a spelling mistake to insult the holy prophet. Her teacher is incensed and accuses her of blasphemy. A violent crowd forms outside the school and Aster is taken to jail to be tried at a later date.

A young social justice lawyer takes up her case, and Aster's Australian cousin, Maryam, starts an online campaign to free Aster. But will it be enough to save her?

About the Author

Rosanne Hawke lives in rural South Australia. Many of her books been shortlisted or notable in Australian awards; Taj and the Great Camel Trek won the 2012 Adelaide Festival Award for Children's Literature and The Messenger Bird won the 2013 Cornish Holyer an Gof Award for YA literature.

For ten years Rosanne was an aid worker and teacher in Pakistan and the Middle East. She is a Carclew, Asialink, Varuna, and May Gibbs Fellow, and a Bard of Cornwall. In her books she explores culture, history, social issues and relationships. She also teaches Creative Writing at Tabor Adelaide. The Truth about Peacock Blue is her twenty-fourth book.

This Broken Wondrous World

By: Jon Skovron

RRP: $19.99

Boy will do anything to save this broken, wondrous world from the war that threatens to split it in two -- but is it worth saving? A fantastical and original novel with heart and brains by the highly-acclaimed author of Man Made Boy.

"My fellow monsters," said Moreau. "No longer will we hide in the shadows, cringing, cowardly, hiding our true potential. You see, the humans do not view us as people. We must force them to expand their view of personhood to include us. By any means necessary."

A year ago, Boy, the son of Frankenstein's monster, had never even met a human. Now he's living with his human 'family', the descendants of Dr Frankenstein, in Switzerland. That is, until the maniacal genius Dr Moreau, long ago banished to a remote island for his crimes against humanity, asks for his aid.

Moreau wants Boy to join his army of animal/human hybrid creatures and help him overthrow human society. Boy must choose: side with the twisted doctor and save his fellow monsters, or try to defend the humans who run the planet?

Boy will do anything to save this broken, wondrous world from the war that threatens to split it in two. But how much will he have to give up? And is the world worth saving?

About the Author

Jon Skovron writes books for teens and the troubled at heart. After attempting to be a rock star in high school, then studying acting at a university conservatory program, he returned to his first love, writing. He currently lives with his two sons outside Washington, DC.

Remarkably Rexy

By: Craig Smith

RRP; $24.99

Rexy is king of the block.until another cat takes his place. A delightful picture book, with hilariously energetic illustrations of cats!

Everybody loves Rex. He is the most dazzling cat on Serengeti Street.

The schoolkids who pass by are always impressed by his moves.until one day, an interloper threatens to take all the attention away.

About the Author

Craig Smith is one of Australia's most prolific, best-known and well-loved children's book illustrators, with over 380 books published. He has collaborated with many of Australia's best-loved authors, such as Paul Jennings and Doug MacLeod, and has illustrated books for Allen + Unwin including The Big Ball of String, The Boy Who Built the Boat, Heather Fell in the Water, Where Are You, Banana? and I Was Only Nineteen...

Craig's work over the last 30 years has been acknowledged in the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year awards, as well as in children's choice awards around Australia.

In 2011, Craig was awarded the biennial Euphemia Tanner Award, which recognised his distinguished services to children's literature and his encouragement of the joy of reading in children...Remarkably Rexy is the first book Craig has both written and illustrated himself.

The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard and Other Dramatic Tales

By: Gregory Rogers

RRP: $29.99

The complete set of award-winning wordless classics by a master of visual storytelling.

What happens when a boy bursts through the curtain of a deserted theatre and onto the world's most famous stage? Midsummer magic - and a chase through the streets of Shakespeare's London. And that's just the start of it.

Join the Boy and the Bear in three dramatic and captivating adventures:

The Boy the Bear the Baron the Bard, Midsummer Knight, The Hero of Little Street

About the Author

Gregory Rogers studied fine art at the Queensland College of Art and worked as a graphic designer for many years before taking up freelance illustration. He was the first Australian to be awarded the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal. Book 1 in the BOY BEAR Series, The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard, was first published in Australia in 2004.

It has been published in the UK, France, the Netherlands and the USA, and was short-listed for many local and international awards including the CBCA Awards, Younger Readers and was selected as one of the Ten Best Illustrated Picture Books by the New York Times in 2004.

Book 2 in the series, Midsummer Knight, was a Magpies pick of 2006 and a CBCA Notable Book in 2007, and the final book, The Hero of Little Street, was the winner of the 2010 Children.s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award. Greg is much missed.

Axel Scheffler's Flip Flap Jungle

By: Axel Scheffler

RRP: $15.99

Little readers will adore flipping Axel Scheffler's animals again and again to see what crazy creatures they can create - and to find out what strange noises they make too!

What do you get if you cross an monkey with a armodillo? Why, that would be a Monkadillo! And a Leopard with a Frog? That would be a Leopog, of course! With its sturdy, split pages and spiral binding, 121 possible combinations, silly names and animal noises to make you giggle, this hilarious rhyming flip-flap book in a fun format is perfect for pre-schoolers.

Little readers will adore flipping Axel Scheffler's animals again and again to see what crazy creatures they can create - and to find out what strange noises they make too! A very silly but absolutely compelling book that will charm the whole family.

About the Author

Axel was born in Hamburg, Germany. At school he was good at art, but didn't think of a career in illustration until he won a cuddly purple cow in a drawing competition.

He moved to England in 1982 to learn English and study illustration at the Bath Academy of Art and then set up home in London.

Axel illustrated a number of books for various publishers, and in 1993 Kate suggested him as the illustrator for Julia Donaldson's first picture book text, A Squash and A Squeeze. This was the start of a hugely successful partnership. Axel lives in London with his partner and their daughter.

The Cuddly Koala
Zoe's Rescue Zoo Series : Book8

By: Amelia Cobb, Sophy Williams (Illustrator)

RRP: $9.99

A purr-fect series for 5-7 year olds, about a girl called Zoe who works at a rescue zoo. Not only does she have a wonderful talent for this, she also has a fantastic secret - she can actually talk to the animals!

When Great-Uncle Horace brings back lost and homeless animals from his travels around the globe, it falls to Zoe and her mum, the zoo vet, to settle them into their new home. Zoe's good at this, because she can understand what they say and talk to them, too. But that's a secret. A new baby koala has arrived at the zoo, and he's very clumsy. Zoe is a bit worried he's going to hurt himself. So she comes up with a very cuddly way to keep him safe - a koala sling!

About the Author

Amelia Cobb is sadly not a real person, although there is a real author behind the Zoe's Rescue Zoo stories. If Amelia did exist, we like to think that she'd live by the sea with her two goldfish, Flip and Flop, and write her stories at a small desk by the window, listening to the radio and wearing a brightly coloured scarf at all times.

Sophy Williams is an award-winning illustrator with twenty-five years experience illustrating children's books.

While still studying, she twice won prizes in the Readers Digest Young Illustrator's competition and was runner up for the Mother Goose Award for her first picture book.She lives by the Kennet and Avon canal in Bradford on Avon with her husband, author/illustrator MP Robertson, their two lanky teenage sons and a mischievous grey cat called Hamish.

Don't Look Now
4 Book Gift Box

By: Paul Jennings, Andrew Weldon

RRP: $29.99

Ricky is an ordinary boy who has a dream. And a secret. Ricky can fly. Truly. But there's a hitch. He can only fly sometimes. And no one will believe him. Which is a pain. Because he wants to be FAMOUS.

This gift box contains all four bestselling books about Ricky, presented in words and pictures by master storytellers Paul Jennings and Andrew Weldon. They'll have you laughing out loud at Ricky's quest for fame, on and off the ground.

Inspiration

Set the light bulbs off with these inspiring books...

Doujon's Heart

By: Greg Callaghan, Ian Cuthbertson

RRP: 29.99

The extraordinary story of how the gift of a heart gave meaning to a senseless tragedy and inspired a lifelong friendship between two families.

When 20-year-old Australian Doujon Zammit was bashed by bouncers on a Greek island in July 2008, his tragic story made headlines in both Australia and Greece. Doujon had sustained terrible head injuries and would not recover. His grief-stricken parents, Oliver and Rosemarie, honoured Doujon's previous wish to be an organ donor, and Oliver became famous overnight in Australia and in Greece when he announced that Doujon's organs would be donated to Greek recipients.

The day Doujon received his fatal injuries was also the day 31-year-old Greek-Australian journalist Kosta Gribilas was given a death sentence in a hospital in Athens. Critically ill with virus-induced heart failure, he was told he had only two weeks to live. Without an urgent transplant, Kosta knew he would soon die. He'd followed Doujon's story on TV, and even as he watched Oliver's emotional announcement, Kosta hadn't thought he might be saved - the doctors didn't want to give him false hope. On 2 August, after an emotional farewell to partner Poppy and his family and friends, Kosta drifted asleep for what he thought was going to be the last time. A day later he woke up with Doujon's heart beating in his chest and the life he'd longed for now ahead of him.

Because of the public nature of Doujon's fatal attack, Kosta met Rosemarie and Oliver when they visited Athens. It was to be the beginning of an extraordinary, heartwarming friendship that would sustain both families through the dark days to come - a roller-coaster course of events neither family could have possibly predicted. Through all this, Kosta is constantly reminded of Doujon's remarkable gift: 'How can I ever forget Doujon, when every heartbeat reminds me how blessed I am?'

A beautiful, inspiring story about two families united by tragedy and how a selfless and courageous gift of love keeps on giving to this day.

About the Author

Greg Callaghan is a journalist who has written feature and news stories for most of the major newspapers and magazines in Australia. He is the author of Bondi Badlands and co-author of Men Inside Out with Ian Cuthbertson. In seventeen years at News Limited he was a reporter, features editor and deputy editor of The Weekend Australian Magazine, and was an early adopter of video to enhance the art of features presentation.

Greg is currently deputy editor of Good Weekend, published every Saturday in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Greg also contributes long-form features to the magazine.

Ian Cuthbertson has had three overlapping careers. He was as a psychiatric nurse from 1975 until 1995, initially in large psychiatric institutions and later in senior roles at community centres in Bondi and Cremorne. He began his journalism career in 1980, writing freelance pieces for music magazines and women's titles. Ian worked full time at The Australian from 2001 until 2013, writing on technology and arts, and for five years served as the paper's television editor. He is also a musician who started performing in folk clubs at the age of fourteen. Ian has since performed in musicals, cabarets, choirs and rock bands. He released the solo album Fathom in 2010.

Zero Night
The Untold Story of the Second World War's Most Daring Great Escape

By: Mark Felton

RRP: $21.99

The thrilling true story of what happened at prison camp Oflag VI-B on 30 August 1942 - 'Zero Night'.

Oflag VI-B, Warburg, Germany: On the night of 30 August 1942 - 'Zero Night' - 40 officers from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa staged the most audacious mass escape of the Second World War.

It was the first 'Great Escape' - but instead of tunnelling, the escapers boldly went over the huge perimeter fences using wooden scaling contraptions. This was the notorious 'Warburg Wire Job', described by fellow prisoner and fighter ace Douglas Bader as 'the most brilliant escape conception of this war'.

Months of meticulous planning and secret training hung in the balance during three minutes of mayhem as prisoners charged the camp's double perimeter fences.

Telling this remarkable story in full for the first time, historian Mark Felton brilliantly evokes the suspense of the escape itself and the adventures of those who eluded the Germans, as well as the courage of the civilians who risked their lives to help them in enemy territory. Fantastically intimate and told with a novelist's eye for drama and detail, this is a rip- roaring adventure story, all the more thrilling for being true.

About the Author

Mark Felton has written over a dozen books on prisoners of war, Japanese war crimes and Nazi war criminals, and writes regularly for magazines such as Military History Monthly and World War II.

He is the author of Today is a Good Day to Fight, an acclaimed history of the American west, and Japan’s Gestapo (named ‘Best Book of 2009’ by The Japan Times). His most recent book is China Station: The British Military in the Middle Kingdom, 1839–1997. Originally from Colchester, Dr Felton has returned to the UK after living for almost a decade in Shanghai, China. He is married with one son.

The Fighter
The Extraordinary True Story of How a Muay Thai Champion Survived Hell on the Frontline in Afghanistan

By: Paul Warren, Jeff Apter (As told to)

RRP: $29.99

The remarkable true story Paul 'Warlord' Warren, the young soldier and former Muay Thai boxing champioin, who lost one of his legs when an IED exploded during a mission in Afghanistan. A story of enormous courage, great determination and deep love.

Paul 'Warlord' Warren was an Australian Muay Thai kick-boxing champion who was used to the physically punishing world of martial arts at its highest level. But nothing could prepare him for the torment he would face in the Australian army. One month after he arrived in Afghanistan as a soldier in the ADF, an IED exploded, tearing off his right leg and instantly killing his mate, Private Ben Ranaudo. It was 18 July 2009 and Ben was the campaign's eleventh fatality.

Private Warren's life was saved by the quick work of his battalion, who got him a helicopter within 16 minutes for surgery. Paul was flown to Germany and then back to Australia, where he received treatment for his injuries in Brisbane. Although he had only known his partner, Dearne, for four months before his deployment, she moved to Brisbane to assist his recovery.

There were many dark times as Paul struggled with the shattering effects of PTSD, and guilt and grief over the death of his mate Benny. At his lowest ebb, Paul thought about taking his own life, as so many other soldiers in similar circumstances continue to do.

Recovery was a slow and at times desperately painful process, but the discipline and toughness he'd learned from his martial arts background and the fierce love of Dearne helped him mend.

The Fighter is a story of courage, determination and love that will move all who read it.

About the Author

A former kick-boxing champion and member of the ADF, Paul Warren now works for Mates4Mates, an organisation dedicated to helping injured soldiers. He and his wife Dearne live in Townsville with their two children.

Betsy and the Emperor
The True Story of Napoleon, a Pretty Girl, a Regency Rake, and an Australian Colonial Misadventure

By: Anne Whitehead

RRP: $32.99

The little known story of how the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte ingratiated himself with an English family on the South Atlantic island of St Helena, and the devastating effect on them for the rest of their lives in England and Australia.

After Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, he was sent into exile on Saint Helena. He became an 'eagle in a cage', reduced from the most powerful figure in Europe to a prisoner on a rock in the South Atlantic. But the fallen emperor was charmed by the pretty teenage daughter of a local merchant, Betsy Balcombe.

Anne Whitehead brings to life Napoleon's last years on Saint Helena, revealing the central role of the Balcombe family. She also lays to rest two centuries of speculation about Betsy's relationship with Napoleon.

After Napoleon's death, Betsy travelled to Australia in 1823 with her father, who was appointed the first Colonial Treasurer of New South Wales. When the family lost their fortune, she returned to London and published a memoir which made her a celebrity.

With her extraordinary connections to royalty and high society, Betsy Balcombe led a life worthy of a Regency romance, but she was always fighting for her independence. This new account reveals Napoleon at his most vulnerable, human and reflective, and a woman caught in some of the most dramatic events of her time.

Caroline Baum's review

Just ahead of Tom Kenneally's new novel on the same subject comes this lively and engrossing account of Napoleon's final years on St Helena by Australian historian Anne Whitehead. She has been intrepid enough to make the journey to that barren isolated rock herself, which is no easy feat, given that it is still without an airport (to the great frustration of its residents).

Imagine how much more isolated the former Emperor of Europe must have felt confined to his rat infested quarters there, with a devoted entourage that squabbled and gossiped to pass away endless hours of boredom. The food was dreadful, there was nothing to do and the company was provincial, petty and limited.

But a young girl called Betsy, the spirited daughter of his initial hosts, caught Napoleon's eye and made his plight slightly more bearable. Why did this teen, whose manners lacked decorum appeal to Napoleon? Was it merely her prettiness or did he find something refreshing in her untamed and fearlessly cheeky behaviour? And what were his motives in befriending her family, the Balcombes?

There is plenty of intrigue here, as well as plans for an escape (to America, to join his brother Joseph).

An enthralling slice of history, told with verve.

About the Author

Anne Whitehead is an author, historian and former TV producer-director with the ABC. She is the author of Bluestocking in Patagonia and her book Paradise Mislaid was winner of the NSW Premier's Award for Australian History.

Neurotribes
The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

By: Steve Silberman, Oliver Sacks (Foreword by)

RRP: $35.00

A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.

What is autism: a devastating developmental disorder, a lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more?and the future of our society depends on our understanding it.

WIRED reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.

Going back to the earliest days of autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path for our society toward a more humane world in which people with learning differences and those who love them have access to the resources they need to live happier, healthier, more secure, and more meaningful lives.

Along the way, he reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, the father of Asperger's syndrome, whose "little professors" were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for fifty years; and casts light on the growing movement of "neurodiversity" activists seeking respect, support, technological innovation, accommodations in the workplace and in education, and the right to self-determination for those with cognitive differences.

Riddledom
101 Riddles and Their Stories

By: David Astle

RRP: $29.99

After his recent hits - Puzzled and Cluetopia - David Astle continues on his brain-bending path into the field of riddles.

Why are ladies like arrows?

When is a bird not a bird?

What do you call a nun with a washing machine on her head?

Welcome to the weird new word adventure from David Astle, plunging into the realm of riddles, chasing down and prising open 101 curious questions from around the planet. A mindtrip across time and place, Riddledom uncovers relics from over 50 cultures, delving into language and deception, sampling Pompeii walls and Dothraki warriors. Readers can unravel each mini-chapter, wrestling with riddles from Wonderland or Zanzibar, Oedipus Rex or Harry Potter. Come meet French acrobats, coffee slaves, lusty maids and many more along the way. Riddledom is your chance to roam Tasmania and Mongolia, Fiji and Peru, seeking riddles on clay tablets and Popsicle sticks.

As David opens Riddledom: 'If you think riddles are solely the stuff of schoolyards and Christmas crackers, you're about to have your head refurbished.'

About the Author

David Astle has written two novels, plus five non-fiction works: Cluetopia, Puzzled, One Down, One Missing, Offbeat Australia and Riddledom. Between books, he drives the world to delight and despair as Friday's crossword setter, DA, appearing in both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Actor Geoffrey Rush, in fact, describes David as 'the Sergeant Pepper of cryptic crosswords - a complete mind fuck'. Which is possibly a compliment. David was the former dictionary bloke on SBS's Letters and Numbers, while his feature stories have tackled luck, lying, drowning and fridge magnets, to name a few topics. His short stories have won several awards, including a trip to Beijing via Dublin as part of the James Joyce Suspended Sentence Prize in 2001...

A Good Place to Hide
How One French Community Saved Thousands of Lives in World War II

By: Peter Grose

RRP: $22.99

They kept their heads down, they kept their mouths shut and they stuck together to offer sanctuary and shelter to over 3500 Jews in their small villages in the isolated upper reaches of the Loire. This is one of the great modern stories of unknown heroism and courage.

Nobody asked questions, nobody demanded money. Villagers lied, covered up, procrastinated and concealed, but most importantly they welcomed.

This is the story of an isolated community in the upper reaches of the Loire Valley that conspired to save the lives of 3500 Jews under the noses of the Germans and the soldiers of Vichy France.

It is the story of a pacifist Protestant pastor who broke laws and defied orders to protect the lives of total strangers. It is the story of an eighteen-year-old Jewish boy from Nice who forged 5000 sets of false identity papers to save other Jews and French Resistance fighters from the Nazi concentration camps. And it is the story of a community of good men and women who offered sanctuary, kindness, solidarity and hospitality to people in desperate need, knowing full well the consequences to themselves.

Powerful and richly told, A Good Place to Hide speaks to the goodness and courage of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

About the Author

Peter Grose is a former journalist, literary agent and publisher. He has published two highly acclaimed books with Allen & Unwin, An Awkward Truth: The bombing of Darwin, February 1942 and A Very Rude Awakening: The night the Japanese midget subs came to Sydney Harbour.

A True Story of the Great Escape
A Young Australian POW in the Most Audacious Breakout of WWII

By: Louise Williams

RRP: $29.99

The first book to tell the story of an Australian POW in the famous Great Escape from Stalag Luft III in World War II, this is a moving account of the far too short life of a talented young man and a family hit hard by the Depression and war.

Shot down in 1942, young Australian fighter pilot John Williams DFC became a POW in the notorious Stalag Luft III camp in Germany.

John had joined the air force shortly before the outbreak of war and, in the larrikin tradition, led his squadron into air combat over the deserts of Libya and Egypt dressed in sandals and shorts.

John and his best mate Rusty Kierath were among the 76 POWs who tunnelled their way out of the supposedly escape-proof camp under the noses of their German guards in what later became the Hollywood blockbuster, The Great Escape. Their families never learned what really happened once the pair made it out into the forest.

John's niece Louise Williams has pieced together his life, from his upbringing in a tight-knit family hit hard by the Depression, to his exploits in the air, and the many missing details of the tragic escape. It is a powerful and intimate story of one of the most dramatic episodes of World War II.

About the Author

Louise Williams is an award-winning writer, journalist and editor, and niece of John Williams. She has recreated John's story from family memories, letters, declassified documents, oral histories and interviews with survivors of the Great Escape.

Kill Your Mortgage & Sort Your Retirement
The Go-to Guide for Getting Ahead

By: Hannah McQueen

RRP; $26.99

Many of us fritter away a lot of our income when we could be putting it to much better use. In this book, Hannah McQueen gives you the skills to create a surplus and then use it wisely.

A mortgage is the biggest expense you'll ever have and Hannah shows you how to pay it off more quickly, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments.

Whether you are just starting out and hoping to buy a house, building up your assets or planning for retirement, this book is for you.

It begins with "First things first" - your money personality, how to budget, whether to rent or buy and how to save for a house or other big ticket item. It moves on to "Kill your mortgage" with Hannah's practical tips on paying off the mortgage as quickly as possible, and how to cut day-to-day costs. "Sort your retirement" will help you ensure you have enough funds for your retirement by creating a cash surplus and investing wisely.

This book is not afraid to tackle the financial elephants in the room and discusses tricky issues that may at first be confronting, but ultimately informative and empowering.

It is a practical go-to guide on confronting your finances and changing your habits for the better.

Red Hot Chilli Grower
The Complete Guide to Planting, Picking and Preserving Chillies

By: Kay Maguire

RRP: $19.99

The perfect guide to the world of grow-your-own chillies.

From 'Hungarian Hot Wax' to 'Red Savina', and 'Scotch Bonnet' to 'Elephant's Trunk', chillies come in dozens of shapes, colours and degrees of spiciness - from sweet and succulent to blow-your-head-off hot.

Red Hot Chilli Grower provides everything you need to grow your own chillies from scratch, with step-by-step instructions for sowing seeds, caring for the plants, harvesting the fruit and troubleshooting common problems. Chilli-lovers will also find plenty of background information, such as a short history of the chilli and a guide to Scoville heat units (the official measurement of spicy heat), as well as tasty tips for enjoying the fruits of your work.

About the Author

Kay Maguire is the author of the award-winning RHS How to Grow Your Own Crops in Pots, which was published by Mitchell Beazley in 2013.

She is a regular contributor to gardening magazines such as BBC Gardeners' World, The Garden and Amateur Gardening, as well as being the video producer for the RHS website.

Kay trained at The Royal Botanic Garden Kew, where she gained the Kew Diploma, and was the Horticultural Editor of BBC Gardener's World for six years. She is now a freelance writer, editor, producer and most importantly, grower.

Growing Old Outrageously
A Memoir of Travel, Food and Friendship

By: Hilary Linstead, Elisabeth Davies

RRP: $22.99

A bestselling memoir of a later-life friendship and what happens when two ladies of a certain age decide to test the maxim 'Leap and the net will appear'!

Two old school friends reconnect unexpectedly after thirty-five years and discover that they both love travelling - and the more exotic and far-flung the location, the better! Not having a clue whether they will get along, the eccentric pair embark on a trial journey to Morocco. That tentative beginning has turned into a series of wonderfully unusual holidays, and Hil and Liz have been circumnavigating the globe ever since.

Among many other destinations, they have taken in Marrakech, Fez and the Atlas Mountains; Patagonia and the Galapagos Islands; Istanbul and Cappadocia. They've been on safari in Namibia, Botswana and the Serengeti, attended music festivals in Naples and Prague, and made a pilgrimage to the western isles of Mull and Iona. Along the way they have encouraged, enraged and entertained each other, while living through countless adventures.

This is a book for thrillseekers and armchair travellers alike, a celebration of friendship and laughter - and an inspiration for anyone who's longed to venture outside their comfort zone and travel to exotic places.

About the Author

Hilary and Liz went to school together in the UK before their lives took very different turns. Hilary Linstead left England for Australia at twenty-one, pursuing a bloke and her dream of becoming an actress.

Hilary discovered that she couldn't make a full-time living as an actress and went into business with a friend first as a casting director, later becoming the first theatrical agent for directors and designers in Australia, representing many distinguished clients like Neil Armfield, Gillian Armstrong, Baz Luhrmann, Louis Nowra and Wendy Harmer. Elizabeth Davies went to Cambridge University, graduated in Economics and became a civil servant and freelance journalist.

Meeting up again much later in life, they discovered their mutual love of travel and embarked on the series of adventures that are the subjects of this book. Both continue to travel to exotic locations and indulge their love of interesting food (there are great recipes in the book), art, theatre and music and rediscovered England and Australia by seeing each country through the other's eyes.

The Best Years of Our Lives

By: Richard Clapton

RRP: $22.99

Welcome to the party that never ends...When he was 16 he inveigled his way into a Sydney hotel to hang out with the Rolling Stones. From that day on, Richard Clapton knew he was going to be a rock star. It's now almost 50 years since that fateful day - years filled with a lifetime of incredible experiences, outrageous good times and a catalogue of iconic and timeless songs.

Through the glory years of rock 'n' roll, in cities as varied as London, Berlin, Sydney, Los Angeles and Paris, Richard forged his own career and built up a significant body of work while living, loving and partying with the biggest names in the Australian and international music world...By his own frank admission, these were years fuelled by prodigious quantities of alcohol and drugs, set against a backdrop of constant recording and touring, of endless partying and wild times. It was to be a rollercoaster ride of euphoric highs and deep, shattering lows.

For 40 years, Richard Clapton has been, above all else, a songwriter - a wry observer of human behaviour and an astute commentator on the Australian condition. His best songs - Deep Water, The Best Years of Our Lives, Goodbye Tiger, Glory Road, Lucky Country, Girls on the Avenue, Trust Somebody and Capricorn Dancer - capture the essence of this country and the meaning of our lives like few others...In this extraordinary memoir, Richard employs his songwriter's keen powers of observation, portraiture and storytelling to tell the best story of all: the remarkable one of his own life. Outrageous, funny, insightful and poignant, this is the rock memoir to beat them all. In celebration of 40 years of fabulous music and iconic songs, welcome to The Best Years of Our Lives.

About the Author

Richard Clapton is a much-loved legend of Australian music, the performer and songwriter of many iconic Australian hit songs: Deep Water, Best Years of Our Lives, Goodbye Tiger, Glory Road, Lucky Country, I am An Island, Trust Somebody, Capricorn Dancer and Girls on the Avenue...

As a producer Richard worked on the second INXS album, Underneath the Colours (1981), which saw the beginning of their rise to fame in the shape of their first two hit singles. He also joined The Party Boys for a period before resuming his solo career...Australian rock music historian, Ian McFarlane described Clapton as "one of the most important Australian songwriters ".

On 12 October 1999, Clapton was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame. In 2014 he will be celebrating 40 years in the music industry...

On Writing

By: Charles Bukowski, Abel Debritto (Editor)

RRP: $32.99

If a man truly desires to write, then he will. Rejection and ridicule will only strengthen him . . . There is no losing in writing, it will make your toes laugh as you sleep, it will make you stride like a tiger, it will fire the eye and put you face to face with death. You will die a fighter, you will be honored in hell. The luck of the word. Go with it, send it.'

Charles Bukowski was one of our most iconoclastic, raw and riveting writers, one whose stories, poems and novels have left an enduring mark on our culture.

On Writing collects Bukowski's reflections and ruminations on the craft he dedicated his life to...

Piercing, unsentimental and often hilarious, On Writing is filled not only with memorable lines but also with the author's trademark toughness, leavened with moments of grace, pathos and intimacy.

In the previously unpublished letters to editors, friends and fellow writers collected here, Bukowski is brutally frank about the drudgery of work and uncompromising when it comes to the absurdities of life and of art.

Doing Good Better
Effective Altruism and a Radical New Way to Make a Difference

By: William MacAskill

RRP: $27.99

A radical reassessment of how we can most effectively help others by a rising star of philosophy and leading social entrepreneur.

Almost all of us want to make a difference. So we volunteer, donate to charity, recycle or try to cut down our carbon emissions. But rarely do we know how much of a difference we're really making.

In a remarkable re-examination of the evidence, Doing Good Better reveals why buying sweatshop-produced goods benefits the poor; why cosmetic surgeons can do more good than charity workers; and why giving to a relief fund is generally not the best way to help after a natural disaster.

By examining the charities you give to, the volunteering you do, the goods you buy and the career you pursue, this fascinating and often surprising guide shows how through simple actions you can improve thousands of lives - including your own.

About the Author

William MacAskill is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford and co-founder of non-profits Giving What We Can and 80,000 Hours, which inspire people to use their time and money as effectively as possible to fight the world's most pressing problems.

Between them they have raised over $12 million for the most cost-effective charities plus a further $380 million in lifetime pledges. He and his organisations have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Today programme, and on Fox News, NPR and TED.

Is This My Beautiful Life?
A Memoir

By: Jessica Rowe

RRP: $29.99

The deeply honest, funny, gut-wrenching and touching memoir from journalist, celebrity, wife, mother, television presenter and author, Jessica Rowe.

The fairytale I had dreamt up saw me still blazing ahead with my career, sharing the cooking and cleaning duties with my husband and having neat, tidy and well- behaved children who had beautifully brushed hair. But that was not my life.

Journalist, celebrity, television presenter, author, ambassador for beyondblue and patron of its work on post-natal depression, Member of the Order of Australia, risk-taker, social commentator, charity worker, public speaker, passionate mother and wife, Jessica Rowe is all of these things, and more. And in this extraordinary memoir, Jessica reveals herself as a woman who thought it would be easy to have it all, to do it all.

But what was supposed to be her beautiful life derailed in the very public collapse of her television career accompanied by astonishingly hurtful public trolling, her long struggle to conceive, her fears and what she believed to be failings as a mother and in her professional life, and the diagnosis of post-natal depression.

Thankfully, with proper medical help, and that of her beloved husband and family, Jessica ultimately rediscovers her 'sparkle'.

Deeply honest, funny, gut-wrenching and touching this book will be treasured by women who don't feel they fit the mould of the perfect woman; women who understand that in life, 'having it all' may develop a different meaning; and women suffering from post-natal depression, who will be encouraged that it's okay to ask for help.

About the Author

Jessica Rowe is a broadcaster and writer who, in a career spanning over twenty years, has worked at all the major Australian commercial television networks. She is currently a presenter on Channel 10's morning show, Studio 10.

Nextinction
Birds in Trouble

By: Ceri Levy, Ralph Steadman

RRP: $69.99

The Boids are back in town ...The follow-up to the award-winning EXTINCT BOIDS, this book features more of the incredible art of cartoonist Ralph Steadman.

This time the focus is not on the birds that are gone, but the ones that there's still time to save.

These are the 192 Critically Endangered birds on the IUCN Red List, species such as the Giant Ibis, the Kakapo, the Sumatran Ground-cuckoo and the iconic Spoon-billed Sandpiper - these, along with a number of classic Steadman creations such as the Unsociable Lapwing, are the NEARLY-EXTINCT BOIDS...Woids are again by author, conservationist and film-maker Ceri Levy.

Together, Ceri and Ralph are THE GONZOVATIONISTS...A proportion of the proceeds from this book goes to BirdLife International, to help them prevent the Nextinction.

Food

Let's start with something a little different...

Prick with a Fork
The World's Worst Waitress Spills the Beans

By: Larissa Dubecki

RRP: $29.99

Kitchen Confidential meets He Died With a Felafel in His Hand in this laugh-out-loud hilarious expose of the restaurant industry.

If a bad attitude could be subject to copyright, my ten years as a waiter would have left me obscenely wealthy. Working the floor, I was the Kerry Packer of passive aggression. Sullen insolence was my personal trademark, diligently honed and perfected over time. For a long list of perceived diner slights - ranging from ordering the tomato sauce separately to the fries, to calling me 'dear' - I could perform a Jekyll and Hyde switch into the most perfunctory, robotic and joyless server the world has ever seen.

If I didn't like a group of people I would endeavour to do my very best to ensure that the only thing left of their night was a cold, dry husk. That I regularly used something I privately referred to as the 'Dead Eyes' should reveal plenty.

Before she was one of Australia's top restaurant critics, Larissa Dubecki was one of its worst waitresses. A loving homage to her ten-year reign of dining-room terror, Prick With a Fork takes you where a diner should never go.

From the crappiest suburban Italian to the hottest place in town, what goes on behind the scenes is rarely less fraught than the seventh circle of hell. Psychopathic chefs, lecherous owners, impossible demands and insufferable customers are just the start of an average shift.

Therapy for former waiters, a revelation to diners, and pure reading pleasure for anyone interested in what really happens out the back of the restaurant, Prick With a Fork is an hilarious and horrific dissection of the restaurant industry, combining the gritty take-no-prisoners attack of Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential with the gross confessions and forensic grunge of John Birmingham's He Died with a Felafel in His Hand.

Dining out will never be the same again.

About the Author

Larissa Dubecki has been a restaurant critic and food writer for the past ten years, including six years as chief critic for The Age newspaper and The Age Good Food Guide. Her work has also appeared in Gourmet Traveller and Guardian Australia, and she currently writes a weekly restaurant column for Time Out.

She has appeared on MasterChef a number of times, and has been a judge on Iron Chef Australia. From 1991 to 2002 she was also a very bad waitress.

Everyday Super Food
Recipes for a healthier happier you

By: Jamie Oliver

RRP: $55.00

Jamie's Everyday Super Food makes eating well exciting, delicious, easy and fun.

No matter how busy you are, you'll find that healthy eating the Jamie way is both straightforward and achievable, making it super easy to choose exactly the kind of meals that suit you.

The book is divided into breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and every tasty meal is nutritionally balanced so that any combination over the day will bring you in under your recommended daily allowance of calories, allowing you to enjoy snacks and drinks on the side.

You can eat Smoothie Pancakes with Berries, Banana, Yoghurt and Nuts for breakfast, Tasty Fish Tacos with Game-Changing Kiwi, Lime and Chilli Salsa for lunch and Griddled Steak and Peppers with Herby-Jewelled Tabbouleh Rice for dinner, and still be healthy!

Whether you dip in and out of it, eat from the book Monday to Friday or use it faithfully every day for a month, it's totally up to you.

In Everyday Super Food, Jamie's done all the hard work for you - all you need to do is choose a delicious recipe, cook it up and, most importantly, enjoy it.

Every meal in this book is a good choice and will bring you a step closer to a healthier, happier you.

Fried Chicken and Friends
The Hartsyard Family Cookbook

By: Gregory Llewellyn, Naomi Hart

RRP: $49.99

GOLDEN BROWN DELICIOUS..

Fried chicken has undergone a renaissance. It's been reinvented for a new generation. It's restaurant-level impressive and a sure-fire way to keep a crowd happy. In fact, it's the duck's nuts...

Fried Chicken and Friends is a collection of down-home American-inspired recipes, including the ultimate buttermilk fried chicken, as well as aperol sours, oyster po' boys, waffles with bacon and maple syrup, and all the other delicious things that go with it...

Pull up a chair with the team behind award-winning restaurant Hartsyard and get stuck in to the high-octane flavours of beef poutine, crab cakes and chargrilled broad beans.

All served with a generous shake of the hot sauce bottle. It's a party on a plate...

About the Author

Husband and wife team Naomi Hart and Gregory Llewelyn are Australian-Americans whose restaurant Hartsyard in Sydney has become a Mecca for lovers of down-home cooking done to perfection.

Gregory has worked under Daniel Boulud, Alain Ducasse and Andrew Carmellini...

Meatballs
The Ultimate Guide

By: Matteo Bruno

RRP: $35.00

Meatballs make the perfect dish for a Monday night supper, a Saturday night dinner party or a Sunday feast. And here are 60 recipes for meatballs like you've never seen them before - Meatballs rustico, devoured with crusty bread to sop up the delectable sauce; Seared beef carpaccio meatballs, best eaten glass of Prosecco in hand; Pork, ginger and lemongrass meatballs; Lobster meatballs. There are recipes for lamb, chicken, fish, prawns, venison and duck.

There are even vegetarian (meat)balls - Corn and quinoa balls; Chickpea and cauliflower balls; Tofu with mushroom balls. Almost as important as the meatballs themselves are what they are served with.

Select from 20 ideas for sotte palle (literally 'underneath the balls'), from Creamy polenta or Roasted fennel to Wasabi slaw, Cheesy bread or Toasted quinoa. Top with one of the 20 sauces such as Aioli, Red wine and onion or Creamy mushroom, then sprinkle with Truffle salt or Crushed pistachios - and tuck in...

About the Author

Matteo Bruno is a film and television producer with several feature films and many hours of broadcast television credits to his name, including Stefano's Cooking Paradiso and Ask the Butcher. He launched Flinders Lane Food & Beverage Company, importing the finest Italian wines and representing some of Australia's most celebrated wine makers.

Naked Cakes
Simply Beautiful Handmade Creations

By: Lyndel Miller

RRP: $49.99

Fondant haters, lazy bakers and time-poor hosts rejoice! These naked cakes are achievable, budget friendly and swoon worthy--and they provide an ideal opportunity to experiment with and display your individual creativity. Beautiful, rustic and organic in form, naked cakes are always tiered, with filling and frosting between layers but never on the outside--thus 'naked'...

Within these pages you will find information on choosing a style of cake; how to make sweet fillings, butters and frostings as well as syrups; recipes for over a dozen base cakes including gluten-free and flourless options; a definitive listing of flavour profiles and combinations; beautiful cake toppers; and over a dozen assembled cakes for different occasions...

Author, stylist and cook, Lyndel Miller, also explains how to decorate your cakes with edible fresh and sugared flowers and fruits.

Beautifully styled inspiration spreads show you how to set the scene for special occasions such as a baby shower, a simple eco wedding, a Mexican- inspired fiesta and a 'Bohemian dessert party' using handmade decorations such as garlands and bunting. All with stunning naked cakes as the centrepiece, of course!

About the Author

Lyndel Miller is a commercial and editorial still life, interiors and food stylist, food styling being her greatest passion.

Raised between a quintessential seventies home and the commercial kitchen of her family's cafe business, she has an all-consuming affection for cooking and entertaining in all its delicate and delicious detail.

Lyndel was coauthor with Skye Craig of Wild Sugar Desserts published in 2012. Naked Cakes is her second book and a total embodiment of her spirit, style and love of beautifying the edible...

Food Plus Beer
Great Food to Eat with Beer

By: Ross Dobson

RRP: $45.00

FOOD + BEER = HAPPINESS.

From prolific cookbook author Ross Dobson (a man who really knows his beer) comes this collection of over 80 relaxed, authentic, international dishes. These flavour-packed recipes have been chosen for their particular suitability for enjoying with a cold one.

Writing in his inimitable expert and wryly entertaining style, Ross begins with a brief history of beer, its place in the culinary world, and its intriguing importance in the society and geography of our civilisation.

Every recipe in the book includes a suggestion for the most perfect malted brew to serve alongside. And scattered throughout are special features on Ross's favourite beers from around the globe.

About the Author

Ross Dobson is a prolific cookbook author with 14 books to his name, including the Murdoch Books publications Chinatown, Three Ways With, Fired Up, Grillhouse, More Fired Up, Fired Up Vegetarian and the compilation King of the Grill.

In his non-writing time he is kept busy as the chef/owner of two western Sydney restaurants, The Union tapas bar and The Vincent Diner.

Kitchen Mojo
120+ Easy Recipes to Sink Your Teeth Into

By: Paul Mercurio

RRP: $39.99

Mouth-watering recipes that encourage you to embrace the cook within!

A call to arms - or more aptly, to stoves - Paul Mercurio's Kitchen Mojo has over 120 accessible, occasion-specific, sure-fire, tried-and- tested, easy, tasty recipes that are fun to cook and share. There are recipes for entertaining a crowd when the footy's on, for when you're home alone and want to treat yourself to a nourishing and delicious meal, for when you want a simple dish to serve, for when you're rustling up something for the kids or for when you want to impress and become the 4-star chef at home...

About the Author

Paul Mercurio is familiar to movie and television audiences from his appearances in Strictly Ballroom, Dancing with the Stars and Mercurio's Menu.

Author of Murdoch Books titles Mercurio's Menu and Cooking with Beer, Paul is not a trained chef but, as he says, 'just a bloke who likes to cook'. He is attracted to the creativity of the kitchen and sharing food with family and friends...


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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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