She Inspires Book Review to Inspire
Practical and Entertaining Books to Inspire You

Practical and Entertaining Books to Inspire You

She Inspires Book review There's nothing better than curling up with a cup of tea and a good book, especially in cooler weather.

Books are a great way to escape but also a fantastic way to educate, inspire and above all, amuse you. With the sheer number of books available today, it's often difficult to find the right now so we've done the hard work for you and created this list of the best new books to while away a cold afternoon.

Books to Inspire You

From home improvement to great new fiction and even something for the kids - we guarantee that everyone will find something to interest them.

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

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

Novels to Inspire

The Bookshop that Floated Away

Sarah Henshaw, RRP $19.99

The story of an extraordinary bookshop... and everything its owner did to keep it afloat.

In early 2009 a strange sort of business plan landed on the desk of a pinstriped bank manager. It had pictures of rats and moles in rowing boats and archaic quotes about Cleopatra's barge. It asked for a 30,000 loan to buy a black-and-cream narrowboat and a small hoard of books. The manager said no. Nevertheless The Book Barge opened six months later and enjoyed the happy patronage of local readers, a growing number of eccentrics and the odd moorhen. Business wasn't always easy, so one May morning owner Sarah Henshaw set off for six months chugging the length and breadth of the country.

Books were bartered for food, accommodation, bathroom facilities and cake. During the journey, the barge suffered a flooded engine, went out to sea, got banned from Bristol and, on several occasions, floated away altogether. This account follows the ebbs and flows of Sarah's journey as she sought to make her vision of a floating bookshop a reality.

About the Author

Sarah Henshaw is the proud owner of the Book Barge, the UK's only canal-based bookshop, which is currently still in business somewhere on the water in rural Staffordshire, close to Stoke-on-Trent.

Dancing on Knives

Kate Forsyth, RRP $32.99

A haunting story of a damaged family, dangerous secrets and the sea

At twenty, Sara is tormented by an inexplicable terror so profound she has been unable to leave her home in five years. Like the mermaid in the fairy tale her grandmother once told her, Sara feels that she is Dancing on Knives, unable to speak.

Then one stormy night, her father - the famous artist Augusto Sanchez - does not come home. His body is found dangling from a cliff face. Astonishingly, he is still alive.

The mystery of his fall can only be solved by the revelation of long-held family secrets and by Sara's realisation that strength can be found in the most unlikely places.

At once a suspenseful murder mystery and a lyrical love story, Dancing on Knives resonates with the entrancing - and dangerous - music and stories of the sea.

About the Author

Kate Forsyth is the internationally bestselling author of more than twenty books, including The Witches of Eileanan and Rhiannon's Ride series for adults, and The Puzzle Ring, The Gypsy Crown, and The Starthorn Tree for children.

She has won or been nominated for numerous awards. Her books have been published in 13 different countries, including Japan, Poland, Spain and Turkey, and Kate is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology. Her recent novels include Bitter Greens a retelling of Rapunzel and The Wild Girl, the story of how the Grimm brothers collected their folk tales.

A Morbid Habit

Annie Hauxwell, RRP $29.99

Christmas is looming, and investigator Catherine Berlin is out of a job. Broke, and with a drug habit that's only just under control, she quickly agrees when an old friend offers her work. It's a simple investigation with a generous fee, looking into the dealings of a small-time entrepreneur. The only catch? It's in Russia.

But when Berlin arrives in Moscow, things are not so straightforward. Shadowy figures stalk her through the frozen streets. She's kicked out of her hotel, her all-important medication confiscated by police.

Strung out and alone, Berlin turns to her interpreter, an eccentric Brit named Charlie. But Charlie's past is as murky as Berlin's own, and when the subject of the investigation disappears, Berlin realises Charlie may be part of the web. The only way out is to hunt down the truth, even if it kills her.

About the Author

Annie Hauxwell was born in London and emigrated with her family to Australia when she was a teenager. She abandoned the law to work as an investigator for a private firm, and after working as a screenwriter she turned her hand to novels. She now lives in Castlemaine, Victoria, and travels to London frequently.

What Came Before

Anna George, RRP $29.99

My name is David James Forrester. I'm a solicitor. Tonight, at 6.10, I killed my wife. This is my statement.'

In Melbourne's inner west, David sits in his car, dictaphone in hand. He's sick to his stomach but determined to record his version of events. His wife Elle hovers over her own lifeless body as it lies in the laundry of the house they shared. David thinks back on their relationship – intimate, passionate, intense – and what led to this terrible night.

From her eerie vantage point, Elle traces the sweep of their shared past too. Before David, she'd enjoyed a contented life – as a successful filmmaker, a much-loved aunt and friend. But in the course of two years, she was captivated and then undone by him. Not once in those turbulent times did she imagine that her alluring, complex husband was capable of this.

Dark, atmospheric and gripping, What Came Before is a stunning literary thriller about the risks you take when you fall in love.

About the Author

Initially trained as a lawyer, Anna has worked in the legal world as well as the film and television industries.

She studied Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT, and has written feature film scripts. She is currently working on her second novel, which is set on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and two children.

The Secrets in Silence

Nicole Trope, RRP $29.99

A stunning novel about secrets and silence - and how sooner or later the truth must be spoken. Hard-hitting, gripping and unputdownable.

There was so much anger brewing in the child that sometimes Alicia feared for all of them. And now she had gone and done this terrible thing. This terrible, terrible thing.

Tara has lost her voice. She knows there was pain and fear but she cannot remember anything else. Now she can only answer the questions with silence.

Minnie has buried her voice for years, losing herself in silence and isolation, keeping her secrets safe and her broken heart concealed.

Liam finds refuge in silence; it is a place to go to when he cannot get the words out.

Kate cannot speak for herself just yet.

People are only separated from each other by moments, by fate and coincidence.

One teenage mistake, one shocking choice and one terrible night will lead to courage found, voices raised and the truth finally spoken.

A gripping, moving novel from Australia's queen of white-knuckle suspense and searing family drama.

About the Author

Nicole Trope is a former high school teacher with a Masters Degree in Children's Literature. In 2005 she was one of the winners of the Varuna Awards for Manuscript Development. In 2009 her young adult novel titled I Ran Away First was shortlisted for the Text Publishing Prize.

The Secrets in Silence is Nicole's third novel. Her previous titles include The Boy Under the Table (A&U 2012) and Three Hours Late (A&U 2013).

The House on Carnaval Street

Deborah Rodriguez, RRP $29.99

From Kabul to a home by the Mexican sea ... A life-affirming, sea-change memoir by the author of the international bestseller The Little Coffee Shop Of Kabul.

‘I hadn't been planning on making Mexico my new home, but the little house on the sea was all that I had left…'

When her family faces kidnap threats after the publication of her first book, Deborah Rodriguez is forced to flee Kabul, leaving behind her friends, her possessions, the beauty school she helped found and her two beloved businesses: a beauty salon and a coffee shop.

But life proves no easier ‘back home'. After a year living on top of a mountain in the Napa Valley and teetering on the edge of sanity, Deborah makes a decision. One way or another she's going to get the old Deb back.

So, at the age of forty-nine, she packs her life and her cat Polly into her Mini Cooper and heads south to a pretty seaside town in Mexico. Home is now an unassuming little house on Carnaval Street.

There she struggles to learn Spanish, works out with strippers and spends her Sunday nights watching clowns. And maybe – just maybe - the magic of Mexico will finally give her what she's always dreamed of: a life on her own terms . . .

About the Author

Deborah Rodriguez is a hairdresser, motivational speaker and author of the bestselling memoir The Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil. She spent five years teaching and later directing the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan.

Rodriguez also owned the Oasis Salon and the Cabul Coffee House, and is the founder of the nonprofit organization Oasis Rescue, which aims to teach women in post-conflict and disaster-stricken areas the art of hairdressing.

She currently lives in Mexico.

About the Home

How to Grow Your Own Fruit and Veg

Alan Buckingham, RRP $39.99
It's easy to grow your own fruit and vegetables, whatever your level of expertise or size of garden. Grow Your Own Fruit & Veg offers you foolproof, step-by-step advice and all the practical know-how you'll need to raise your own great-tasting crops.

About the Author

Alan Buckingham is a freelance writer. He has over twenty years' experience in illustrated publishing, both as an editor and as an author, and has worked on countless informational books, interactive CD-ROMs, and websites.

In recent years he has written chiefly about gardening and photography, his two main interests.

Alan is a long-time plot-holder on the prestigious Royal Paddocks Allotments near Hampton Court Palace, south-west London (UK). Every summer he proves himself incapable of heeding his own advice and consequently grows far more fruit and vegetables than he and his family could ever hope to eat.

Should he ever be given the opportunity to have his time again, he would happily swap a career in publishing for one as a head gardener.

Property Investing Made Simple

Andrew Crossley, RRP $48.99

Plan! Strategize! Build Real Wealth! Be proactive in your quest to live the life you dream of. Holding three Masters' Degrees and a qualified Financial Planner, Mortgage Planner, Mortgage Broker, Estate Agent and Property Advisor, Andrew Crossley of the Australian Property Advisory Group has launched his powerful blueprint for Property Investment success.

Learn how to understand what you're really buying, and dodge the traps of spruikers and their dreaded up-sell techniques. Understand property, contract and loans types, savings that can be made on taxation, and how to avoid the pitfalls of rental property investment before you make the purchase.

Get to know the rationale behind out-performing suburbs and many different strategies, and wonder why nobody ever explained to you there's advice out there that ethically represents the buyer and not the seller. "Becoming wealthy is a process," Andrew says. "You need to follow proven strategies. It is recommended that you seek the right advice before moving forward with your next purchase."

Property Investing Made Simple is all about lowering risk when it comes to property investment, arming yourself with the information you need to take away your fears, and reduce the impact investing can have on your lifestyle. There's also a BONUS tip included and FREE access to interviews with industry experts.

Pretty Funny Tea Cosies

Loani Prior, RRP $29.99

Loani Prior, tea cosy knitter extraordinaire, is back with more of her fabulously outrageous creations. Pretty Funny Tea Cosies contains 25 knitted cosies and pretty things, with the focus on the pretty: flowers, leaves, fruit, loopy stitches and beautifully knitted and woven fabric.

Including basic stitches, techniques and patterns, Pretty Funny Tea Cosies is a must-have for knitters and crafters and anyone who has ever wanted to have a Tibetan Tea Warrior tea cosy.

About the Author

Loani Prior, author of Wild Tea Cosies Really Wild Tea Cosies, and How Tea Cosies Changed The World lives on Queensland's Sunshine Coast where her woolly obsessions border on becoming a disorder.

The Queen of the Tea Cosies exhibits her knitted objets d'art in galleries, blogs with the global community of knitters, gives Wild Knitting workshops and judges the odd tea cosy competition.

Brainfood

Everyone Can Write – A Guide to Get You Started

Howard Gelman, RRP $19.99

Everyone Can Write is an easy-to-understand, practical, "how to write" book that is accessible to everyone from a business executive wanting to polish his reports to a retiree wanting to chronicle her family history. It solves the problems that beginning writers struggle with by giving them an easy-to-follow and simple set of rules that allows them to write rapidly and clearly.

The book outlines the three forms of non-fiction writing: report, narrative and essay. Each one is dissected and a set of rules applied to each structure. The rules are easily put into practice and vary for each structure. For example, in report writing, two easy-to-apply rules are: 25 words to a sentence and three or four sentences in a paragraph.

The author has also developed a foolproof method of structuring your writing, so that you make effective use of your time. It's based on the easy-to-remember three-step formula: Pre-write, Free-write, Re-write. Pre-write refers to researching the necessary information.

Free-write refers to getting the information onto the computer screen. Re-write refers to the essential task of editing the writing into clear readable text. This technique allows writers to become the editors of their own writing, thereby dramatically improve its quality.

About the Author

Howard Gelman is an associate lecturer in the Faculty of Arts at Macquarie University, where he teaches business and media communication. He worked in broadcasting, producing programs in Britain, the USA and Australia where he was commissioning editor for the ABC.

As a consultant to Australian publishing companies, he project edited many non-fiction trade and business books. He has also developed writing workshops for businesses in Sydney, London, New York and Chicago.

Howard was inspired to write this book as he truly believes that "everyone can write", yet found there was a lack of easy-to-understand, practical, "how to write" books on the market that would be accessible to everyone from a business executive wanting to polish his reports to a retiree wanting to chronicle her family history. Everyone Can Write fills that gap.

Numbers are Forever

Liz Strachan, RRP $24.99

This book is only about numbers - that is, whole numbers and nothing but the whole numbers, which start from 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 ...and go on forever. 

Here you can meet perfect numbers, happy numbers, lucky, untouchable, weird, narcissistic, evil and deficient numbers, not to mention nice Friedmans and multi-legged repunits, as well as primes and their cousins, the sexy primes.

It is also full of fascinating facts and curios, prime number conjectures, the sieve of Eratosthenes, the Fibonacci series, and much more besides. 

This is an accessible, clearly explained approach which will appeal to recreational maths enthusiasts, puzzle solvers, and mathematicians of all ages.

True Stories

#GirlBoss

Sophia Amoruso, RRP $29.99


The first thing Sophia Amoruso sold online wasn't fashion - it was a stolen book. She spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and dumpster diving. 

By twenty-two, she had resigned herself to employment, but was still broke, directionless, and working a mediocre day job she'd taken for the health insurance.


It was there that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay. Eight years later, she is the founder, CEO, and creative director of Nasty Gal, a $100 million plus online fashion retailer with more than 350 employees.

#GIRLBOSS is for outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success. It includes Sophia's story, and is filled with brazen wake-up calls, cunning and frank observations, and behind-the-scenes stories from Nasty Gal's meteoric rise.

About the Author

Sophia Amoruso turned her hobby selling vintage clothing on eBay into Nasty Gal, one of the fastest growing companies in America. Her rise has been covered by major media like The New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Inc., and The Wall Street Journal, and she has a devoted following on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Voices From D-Day: Eyewitness accounts from the Battles of Normandy

Jon E. Lewis, RRP $19.99

The extraordinary and compelling story of the 6th of June, 1944, and the Battle for Normandy is told here through first-hand testimonies from civilians and soldiers on both sides.

It features classic accounts by soldiers such as Rommel and Bradley, together with frontline reports by some of the world's finest authors and war correspondents, including Ernest Hemingway and Alan Melville.

Highlights of this unique collection include the break-out from Omaha beach as told by the GI who led it, a French housewife's story of what it was like to wake up to the invasion, German soldiers' accounts of finding themselves facing the biggest seaborne invasion in history, a view from the command post by a member of Eisenhower's staff, combat reports, diaries and letters of British veterans of all forces and services, and accounts of the follow-up battle for Normandy, one of the bloodiest struggles of the war.



Living Legends: True tales of extraordinary old-timers

Sandy Thorne, RRP $29.99
Meet fourteen remarkable Australian (and one Kiwi!) jacks and jills of all trades with a wealth of experiences from the good old days to modern times. Hailing from all walks of life, they share their memories with renowned yarn spinner Sandy Thorne in a collection of stories full of wisdom and wit.

There's Danny, the champion jockey who refuses to ever truly hang up the saddle; 'Dusty', the WW II rear gunner who survived thirty raids over Germany; and Dot, the seemingly dainty 97-year-old who was once a bullocky's offsider.

Then there's Bob, who's been a truckie, fighter, croc-wrestler and lotto winner; Doris, the once hard-toiling dairy farmer who's as chirpy as a willy-wagtail; and Roy, the Vietnam vet turned world-class waterskier. Between them, the characters in this book have survived the Depression, seen world wars come and go and witnessed monumental changes in everyday life.

There's comedy and courage in their adventures, as well as tales of triumph over adversity.

Through their stories, Sandy finds the elements that make up the classic Australian character: a no-nonsense, never-give-up approach that means these people are still firing on all cylinders in their eighties and nineties, and truly embody what it means to be a living legend.

About the Author

Sandy Thorne is the author of Bonzer and Old-Timers: Magnificent Stories from Mighty Australians.

It Will Get Better

Stella Gibney, RRP $29.99

The inspirational true story of one woman's courage to overcome abuse, loss and heartache to create a better life 

Stella Gibney grew up in 1960s New Zealand. She was the fifth child in a family of six. But unlike her brothers and sisters, Stella suffered a number of abusive incidents during her formative years.

But Stella was determined not to let years of horrific abusive situations and domestic violence determine her life. She found solace in writing her thoughts down in a series of journals. Through writing she began to understand her feelings and how to gain control of her life.

Over the course of 16 journals, Stella relived every moment of her life and managed to deal with the memories and move on with her life in a positive way. Now Stella has completely turned her life around and become the happy, confident person she had always wanted to be.

Today Stella has a happy healthy life with her two loving sons. This is her inspiring story of reclaiming her life and creating a happy home for herself and her two boys.

About the Author

Stella Gibney was born in New Zealand in 1960, the fifth child in a family of six. She moved to Australia in 1989 and now lives on Sydney's Northern Beaches where she lives happily with her two sons and works in the hospitality industry.

Something for the Kids

365 More Simple Science Experiments V. 2

Richard Churchill, Louis V. Loesching, Muriel Mandell, RRP $14.99

Volume Two in Black Dog's best-selling Simple Science Experiments collection, 365 More Simple Science Experiments with Everyday Materials has a fresh new look at a great new price.

With 365 More Simple Science Experiments, kids ages 9 through 12 get a year's worth of fun and educational hands-on experiments while gaining knowledge of the fundamentals of science-including concepts such as gravity, electricity, magnification, magnetism, oxidation, and more-that will last a lifetime.

The hundreds of experiments are divided into 32 chapters, the first seven of which focus on experiments that demonstrate basic principles of physics using materials in the natural world. In the next eight chapters kids learn about science using common foods, discovering the answers to such questions as "Why do we cry when peeling an onion?" and "Is a raw carrot healthier than a cooked one?"

The next seven chapters tackle concepts having to do with time and space, and the following seven explain some puzzling ideas about nature. The final chapters explore the science of outer space.

Most of the experiments are easy enough for kids to execute on their own, though a few may require the aid of a parent or partner. Kids will learn how to make vinegar, milk a potato, catch sound, stick a pin in a balloon without popping it, and make 1 + 1 not equal 2.

This book is perfect for kids who like to explore the natural world or are looking for something fun and inexpensive to create for a science fair.

Loyal Creatures

Morris Gleitzman, RRP $19.99

Like many of his mates from the bush, Frank Ballantyne is keen to join the grand adventure and do his bit. Specially as a chest full of medals might impress the currently unimpressed parents of his childhood sweetheart. So Frank ups his age and volunteers with his horse Daisy ... and his dad.

In the deserts of Egypt and Palestine he experiences all the adventure he ever wanted, and a few things he wasn't expecting. Heartbreak, love and the chance to make the most important choice of his life.

From Gallipoli to the famous charge at Beersheba, through to the end of the war and its unforgettable aftermath, Frank's story grows out of some key moments in Australia's history.

They were loyal creatures, the men and horses of the Australian Light Horse, but war doesn't always pay heed to loyalty. This is the powerful story of a young man's journey towards his own kind of bravery.

About the Author

Morris Gleitzman grew up in England and came to Australia when he was sixteen. After university he worked for ten years as a screenwriter. Then he had a wonderful experience. He wrote a novel for young people. Now, after 34 books, he's one of Australia's most popular children's authors.

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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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