Books in Print

independent Australian bookselling since 1988

14 Nov 2014

Review | I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson
Sept 2014 (US) | Dial | $29.95 hb

We completely and utterly adore this book! I’ll Give You the Sun is the story of twins, Noah and Jude. At thirteen they share everything - hopes, dreams, fears and even artistic ambitions, but by the time they are sixteen they are barely speaking to each other. I’ll Give You the Sun is the tale of how their connection is broken and, ultimately, beautifully, healed.

Noah tells of the twins' early years, Jude of those that come later, but each has only half the story right. It’s a well-documented fact that twins can often share magical bonds – in this case, that magic extends beyond, in the form of exceptional artistic talents. Woven throughout are the threads of several deeply moving love stories, each one complex, heartfelt and very real. It is in the unfolding and merging of the twins' stories that the magic really happens; it's a meditation on art, life, family, grief and how even the most broken of people can fix one another.

Reading this incredible young adult novel is like discovering a wonderful secret or being given the best present you can imagine. Each and every sentence feels profound, finds its way - soaringly - into your chest. It’s like riding an amazing emotional rollercoaster, one you'll never want to end!

Gushing though our review is, it's almost impossible to explain how gorgeous I'll Give You the Sun is until you immerse yourself in Nelson's carefully crafted characters - beautifully written, at times even electric. With a unique, evocative language all of its own and full of passion, joy, sorrow and intrigue, this book is so good that we are going out on a limb and declaring it our favourite young adult book of the year. A book to literally take your breath away.

Highly (very!) recommended for readers 15+

31 Oct 2014

Chapter Sample | Diary of a Wimpy Kid 09: Long Haul

Long-awaited ninth Wimpy Kid book | Available from Wednesday 5th November | $14.99pb / $17.99hb

BiP eNews

Timmy Failure 3: We Meet Again
Stephan Pastis
Oct 2014 |Walker Books | $17.95hb

From the New York Times best-selling creator of Timmy Failure comes a third adventure about the comically overconfident sleuth.

His name is Failure. Timmy Failure. And his detective agency is on the verge of global domination. Global riches. Global fame. And yet the gods keep throwing him curveballs: for starters, academic probation. The coveted Miracle Report is the key to everything, including a good grade. It’s dirty business. It’s best you know nothing. But one thing is for sure: Timmy Failure will be triumphant again! 

Recommended for 3+

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings
Jo Witek
Oct 2014 | Abrams | $19.99hb

We are often asked about books to help parents (and grandparents) explain emotions to their children. Some tend to be very simple, others much more complex, but what we like about this beautifully illustrated picture book is the way in which it lyrically explains what an emotion feels like, physically, inside. For example: "When I get really angry, my heart feels like it's going to explode! Don't come near me! My heart is yelling, hot and loud. This is when my heart is mad." Toddlers will be empowered by this new vocabulary and able to practice articulating and identifying their own emotions. On the cover and the right side of each spread, a die-cut heart decreases in size, creating a multi-coloured heart the depth of the entire book.

3 Oct 2014

Signed Copies available at $49.95 while stock lasts

The Menzies Era
by John Howard

Oct 2014 | HarperCollins | $59.99hb      *$49.95

We have a limited quantity of signed copies of Hohn Howard’s new book available at the BiP price of $49.95

BiP eNews - Young Readers

Recommended for 8+

Awful Auntie
by David Walliams
Oct 2014 | HarperCollins | $19.99pb

Awful Auntie is a page-turning, rollicking romp of a read, sparkling with Walliams' most eccentric characters yet and full of humour and heart. From larger-than-life, tiddlywinks-obsessed Awful Aunt Alberta to her pet owl, Wagner – this is an adventure with a difference. Aunt Alberta is on a mission to cheat the young Lady Stella Saxby out of her inheritance – Saxby Hall. But with mischievous and irrepressible Soot, the cockney ghost of a chimney sweep, alongside her, Stella is determined to fight back… And sometimes a special friend, however different, is all you need to win through. 

BiP staff review by Cathy

Boy 21
Matthew Quick
Aug 2014 | Hachette | $16.99pb

Finley’s had a tough life. He lives in a bad neighbourhood where gangs rule the streets. He doesn’t say much at all  because he knows that talking can be dangerous. His mother was tragically killed when he was a young boy and his Dad and Pop have never really recovered from their loss. Two things keep Finley going - basketball and his girlfriend Erin. They both have huge talent and an all-consuming passion for the game and hope that basketball could be their ticket to a better life. When Finley’s coach asks him to look after a boy, Russ, whose parents were murdered, he reluctantly agrees. Russ is one of the most promising high school basketballers in the country but after his parents were killed, he changed his name to Boy 21, claimed he  was from outer space and refused to play basketball at all. Finley soon realises that his role of encouraging Russ to play again will most likely be at the expense of his own position in the team. Against all odds, a friendship develops between the two boys but while Russ seems to be getting his life together, Finley’s world is shattered when he is faced with losing the two things he loves most. There is so much to love about Boy 21. It is a clever, well written and, at times, heart wrenching story and is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying young adult novels that I’ve read this year. Very highly recommended for readers 14+.

The Princess in Black
by Shannon and Dean Hale & LeUyen Pham
Oct 2014 | Walker Books | $19.95hb

Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret – she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! Can the princess sneak away, transform into her alter ego, and defeat the monster before the nosy duchess discovers her secret? From the award-winning writing team of Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham, here is the first in a humorous and action-packed chapter book series for young readers who like their princesses not only prim and perfect, but also dressed in black.

BiP eNews - New Fiction

BiP staff review by Leonie

The Alexandria Connection
by Adrian d’Hage
Oct 2014 | Michael Joseph | $29.99pb    * Available 22nd OCT

The eminently-qualified author Adrian d’HagĂ© has written a thrilling tale of politics, history and modern terrorism. Archaeologist Aleta Weizman and CIA agent Curtis O’Connor are on the trail of a long-lost papyrus which holds the promise of clues to the source of a new form of energy. Meanwhile, a clandestine group known as Pharos is meeting in Alexandria to bring chaos to international financial markets with a series of spectacular terrorist attacks on the world's fossil-fuel supplies. In Cairo, amid the anarchy of Tahrir Square, thieves break into the famed Museum of Antiquities and steal a priceless artefact: the mask of Tutankhamun. Is the audacious theft linked to the Pharos group? Fast-paced and well-researched, The Alexandria Connection will keep you enthralled from beginning to end. It would make a great Christmas present.

BiP staff review by Leonie

The Long Way Home
by Louise Penny
Sept 2014 | Sphere | $29.99pb

In the previous novel How the Light Gets In, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache was badly injured, both physically and mentally. Both Gamache and his junior officer, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, were attacked by corrupt officers in the Quebec police force. The new novel finds Armand and his wife settled into semi-retirement in the little village of Three Pines, where the tranquillity of life in the peaceful village is helping the healing process. Although Armand is on sick leave when a friend asks him to help to find her missing husband, he and Jean-Guy cannot refuse. They are drawn into the sometimes murky world of the Quebec art scene as they try to track down the missing man. One special treat in Louise Penny’s ‘Gamache’ novels is the way she portrays the Quebec countryside. Even if you have not read Louise Penny’s books before I am sure that you will enjoy this one.

BiP staff review by Christine

Hello from the Gillespies
by Monica McInerney
Oct 2014 | Michael Joseph | $29.99pb

The Gillespie family is like a lot of families – outwardly happy and loving, with well-adjusted children all doing well within their chosen fields. Or are they? For all of her married life Angela has sent a Christmas letter far and wide titled Hello from the Gillespies. Normally cheery and full of good news, this year the words will not flow. There are disquieting issues everywhere she looks: her husband Nick seems distracted and their relationship is strained; her thirty-two-year old twin daughters have both self-destructed in their careers; her daughter Lindy cannot find her niche and is drowning in debt, and her change-of-life young son has just run away from boarding school. Try as she might, Angela just cannot pretend any more... Hello from the Gillespies is an enjoyable light read which Monica McInerney does so well. It is perfect for those times when you just want to relax.

5 Sep 2014

BiP eNews: New Non-Fiction and Fiction

BiP staff review by Christine

Anzac Girls
by Peter Rees
July 2014 | Allen & Unwin | $29.99pb

I like Peter Rees. He eschews the big historical narrative and focuses on the people who actually carry out War's bidding. His previous book, Lancaster Boys, told the story of Australians in Bomber Command from the perspectives of the terribly young, frightened boys who did the heavy lifting in the RAAF of WW2. In Anzac Girls it is the turn of the very young girls, trained nurses all, who picked up the pieces during WW1 at Gallipoli and on the Western Front in France. Liberally supplied with photos and diary entries Anzac Girls is a necessary adjunct to the ABC TV series of the same name.

BiP staff review by Christine

by Robert Sackville-West
May 2014 | Bloomsbury | $39.99hb

This is one for those who are fascinated by the English aristocracy, the English Country House and the odd bit of salacious history. I am one of these and always read anything I can find on the Sackville-West dynasty. If you are like me, then, you will be both depressed and enlightened by this tale of illegitimacy, scandal and the unfair nature of inheritance, which is the title of Sackville-West's previous book on this intriguing family.

Inheritance: The Story of Knole and the Sackvilles is available to order in pb at $23.99

BiP staff review by Christine

by David Nicholls
Oct 2014 | Hachette | $29.99pb

I haven't read Nicholl's hugely successful One Day but now it's definitely on my to-read list. Us is a very intricate work as it traces Douglas Petersen's journey on a European holiday with his increasingly estranged wife and disaffected teenage son: a ‘Grand Tour’ if you will. I really warmed to Douglas as he narrates his way through the minefield that families sometimes become. In the words of the author: 'If One Day was about friendship and first love, Us is about what comes next.' I can thoroughly recommend it: clever, engaging fiction.

BiP staff review by Christine

Half the World in Winter
by Maggie Joel
Oct 2014 | Allen & Unwin | $29.99pb

London 1880: in the smart terrace house at 19 Cardigan Mews the family is in mourning for nine-year-old Sofia, who died in an horrific drawing-room fire six months earlier. Sofia's father is Lucas Jarmyn, wealthy part-owner of one of the largest railways in Britain. A train accident in a provincial town on the railway Lucas owns claims the life of nine-year-old Alice Brinklow and, amid the public outcry, Alice's father, Thomas, journeys to London demanding justice. As he arrives in the Capital on a frozen January morning his fate, and that of the entire Jarmyn family, will hinge on such strange things as an ill-fated visit to a spiritualist, an errant chicken bone and a single vote cast at a board room meeting. Maggie Joel weaves an engrossing tale of grief and the changing times of Victorian Britain. I enjoyed it very much.

24 Jul 2014

BiP eNews: New release adult fiction

BiP staff review by Sue

England and Other Stories
By Graham Swift
July 2014 | Simon & Schuster | $35.00hb

OK all you Graham Swift fans! You may have missed this unassuming hardback at the bottom of the fiction section but, seriously, this is classic Swift. He has returned to his first love, short stories. What makes this such a standout collection for me is that it doesn’t read like one person telling different stories, it reads like different people each telling their own story. I didn’t read the book from cover to cover but chose randomly and this probably enhanced the effect. It also means that I will return to them again and again, since it is not about what happens in each story but how it happens. This collection will stand the test of time.

BiP staff review by Leonie

Deeper Water
by Jessie Cole
Aug 2014 | HarperCollins | $29.99pb    *BiP price $24.95

Innocent and unworldly, Mema is still living at home with her mother on a remote, lush hinterland property. It is a small, confined, simple sort of life, and Mema is content with it. One day, during a heavy downpour, Mema saves a stranger from a raging creek. She takes him into her family home, where, marooned by rising floods, he has to stay until the waters recede. His sudden presence is unsettling - for Mema, her mother and her wild friend Anja - but slowly he opens the door to a new world of beckoning possibilities that threaten to sweep Mema into the deep.  'She takes us to a place of the strangest innocence and lovingness ...And she takes us to a physical place that's quite her own, and when you go to her country - the lush but uneasy country inland from Byron Bay - you recognise at once that she's the voice of it, the country speaks in her voice, though the captivating wise gentleness of that voice belongs only to Jessie.' (Peter Bishop). A novel of grace and beauty from a young Australian writer.

BiP staff review by Christine

by Inga Simpson
Aug 2014 | Hachette | $27.95pb

Nest, the second novel by Inga Simpson, is a gem. Centred on Jen, a retired school teacher and artist who has returned to her childhood home, Simpson’s story meanders gently through Jen’s past and present. Threaded throughout are the lives of those around her and the whole narrative is overlaid by the stunning birdlife which has become Jen’s passion. This keen observation and enthusiasm for birds and their innate freedom shines through so beautifully that I can’t help wondering whether there is an autobiographical note in there somewhere. Nest is a gentle lyrical ode to the life-forces that shape us, the nature of freedom and the sheer brilliance of birds. I liked it very much. More please Ms. Simpson.

Recommended by Chris

Half  World
by Scott O’Connor
June 2014 | Scribe | $32.99pb

In the 1950s, the CIA began a clandestine operation known as ‘Project Mkultra’, in which unwitting American and Canadian citizens were subjected to insidious drug and mind-control experiments. In the two decades of the program, countless lives and families were destroyed. Haunted by these events, novelist Scott O'Connor has crafted a literary thriller that vividly imagines the devastating emotional legacy of such a program. Henry March, an unassuming CIA analyst forced to spearhead Mkultra's San Francisco branch, finds himself bridging an untenable divide between his devotion to his family and the brutality of his daily task.

Torn between duty and conscience, Henry's own identity begins to fray, until he reaches the ultimate breaking point. Amid the wreckage, he disappears without a trace. Twenty years later, as the country struggles under the weight of the Vietnam War, another troubled young agent, Dickie Ashby, will risk everything to find Henry. Dickie must piece together the staggering aftermath of these crimes before it is too late. These themes have great moral resonance and relevance today, as notions of privacy and political paranoia play out across all media and national boundaries. Scott O'Connor’s literary thriller examines questions of duty, conscience, patriotism and secrecy.

BiP staff review by Karen

Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?
by Dave Eggers
June 2014 | Hamish Hamilton | $29.99pb

Thomas is a confused man, out of step with others and with his standing in the world. Lately his headaches are becoming worse and the questions are starting to pile up. This is a man who needs answers. Kev is an astronaut. He is tied to a steel post in a decommissioned military building. His captor, Thomas, apologizes and explains that he has no intention of hurting Kev, that he only wants to have a conversation and then he will release him.

This book opens straight to a dialogue between these two characters. Do they know each other? The answers that Thomas receives are not always the expected ones, but they are thought-provoking and challenging to Thomas and to the reader. It also becomes apparent that Kev is not the only captive and that there are threads which tie all of them together. The discussions contained within this story address legitimate real world problems of government, society and the absurdities of living a meaningful life. Thomas is outraged at the injustices he perceives and hankers for direction: ‘Don’t we deserve grand human projects that give us meaning?’. A fascinating and enlightening read, highly recommended for book clubs.

Children's Books: New releases for older readers

Recommended for 12+
Counting by 7s
by Holly Goldberg Sloan
July 2014 | Scholastic | $14.99pb

Willow Chance is twelve-years-old and quite the genius. She has an amazing knowledge of and ability to diagnose medical conditions and an incredible talent for planting and growing things. Her parents adopted her as a baby and they love and accept her many idiosyncrasies like counting by 7s when she is stressed or refusing to go to school because no one understands her. When her parents are killed in a car accident, Willow is alone with no-one to look after her. She is taken in by a Vietnamese girl and her family (so she quickly teaches herself Vietnamese!) but it is only temporary until a 'suitable' place becomes available for her. Willow deals with her grief and the uncertainty of her new life with help from her new friends and a very quirky school counsellor who seemingly needs her help as much as she needs his. The lives of everyone are changed for the better through their connection with Willow. This is a beautiful story about different kinds of families, about the need for connection and dealing with loss and change. It will make you laugh at times and maybe shed a tear or two as well.

Highly recommended for fans of Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Recommended for 9+
by Amanda Braxton-Smith
Aug 2014 | Black Dog Books | $14.95pb

Maddy Frank has always lived in the same house in Fitzroy. She belongs to a close community where everyone knows everyone and she has known her best friends as long as she can remember, so she is not happy when her parents tell her that they are moving to Plenty. Maddy feels that everything she loves has been taken away from her by her parents and she punishes them accordingly with anger and silence. At her new school she is befriended by Grace, a Sudanese refugee, whose family suffered much hardship to get to Australia and who loves and is grateful to be living in Plenty. Maddy is also reunited with her grandmother, who she has never really known, and discovers that she and her grandfather were also refugees who fled from the war in Greece to come to Australia. Plenty is a heart-warming story that explores themes of acceptance, friendship, coming of age and refugees.  

18 Jul 2014

New Fiction Chapter Sample

The Miniaturist
by Jessie Burton
July 2014 | Picador | $29.99    *BiP price $24.95

10 Jul 2014

BiP eNews: Crime fiction reviews

BiP staff review by Leonie
Murder in the Telephone Exchange
by June Wright
Dec 2013 | Dark Passage | $24.95pb

This is a great discovery by Dark Passage Publishing. First published in 1948, Murder in the Telephone Exchange was a big hit, even out-selling a new Agatha Christie novel. Maggie Byrnes is a telephonist at the Melbourne telephone exchange and is depicted as bright and a bit of a rebel. When an unpopular member of staff is found murdered, Maggie decides to conduct her own investigation, much against the advice of the police. She finds herself in deep trouble. This book is witty and well paced. It shows a different Melbourne in post war Australia. What a pity that June's novels were lost to readers for so many years. I'll certainly be trying to track down some of her books.

BiP staff review by Leonie

Cop Town
by Karin Slaughter
July 2014 | Century | $32.99pb

Atlanta in the mid 1970's was a tough place. Even tougher, was the police force, rife with corruption and misogyny. Kate Murphy, a young Vietnam War widow, has the first day of the job from hell. Even Maggie Lawson, whose uncle and brother are well respected members of the force, is treated with contempt. When the girls become partners, they begin to conduct their own investigation into the killing of several cops, despite being warned not to do so. When Maggie's brother disappears, she and Kate find themselves searching in the dark side of town and in great danger. If you like a fast paced, gritty crime novel, this is for you.

BiP staff review by Leonie

The Silkworm
by Robert Galbraith
June 2014 | Hachette | $32.99pb    *BiP Price $27.95

The much anticipated sequel to The Cuckoo's Calling has arrived. Cormoran Strike is back with his assistant Robin. Strike is hired by the wife of a notorious novelist to find her husband. Owen Quine has delivered a vicious poison pen manuscript to his publisher. When he is found by Strike, brutally murdered, the search is on to find whom, of many suspects, is the killer.

The Silkworm is just as intriguing as The Cuckoo's Calling - I'm enjoying it very much.

>>>Read the first two chapers

Children's Books: New adventures for favourite characters

Recommended for 3+
Mr Chicken Lands on London
by Leigh Hobbs
July 2014 | Allen & Unwin | $24.99hb

Mr Chicken - one of Melbourne-based illustrator Leigh Hobbs' most eccentric and beloved creations - can't wait another minute, so he finishes his breakfast, collects his camera and flies to London. He wants to see everything, hang out with The Queen, catch a show...join Mr Chicken and let him show you his favourite city in all the world through the pages of this brand new picture book.

Recommended for 6+
Flat Stanley's Epic Canadian Adventure
by Jeff Brown & Sara Pennypacker
July 2014 | Egmont | $9.95pb

Stanley Lambchop, AKA Flat Stanley, is named thus because a large notice board fell on him leaving him only 1cm thick! Despite being very flat, Stanley is a hero and in this new book in the series, he and his family are in Canada for some skiing and winter fun. But when Stanley and his new friend Nick go snowboarding - with Stanley as the snowboard, of course - they take a midair tumble just as the wind picks up...and find themselves floating in an amazing Canadian cross-country journey that may just be Stanley's wildest adventure yet. 

There are other books in this now-classic series and, while stocks last, we have some fun wrist-snap bookmarks with any purchase in the Flat Stanley series.

Recommended for 10+

World of Skulduggery Pleasant: Armageddon Outta Here
by Derek Landy
July 2014 | HarperCollins | $19.95pb

Hot off the press, this collection of stories, including an exclusive, sneak peek chapter from the final instalment (yet to come) will not disappoint fans of the ghoulish Skulduggery books. One amazing new novella and three gripping new stories feature in this collection.

27 Jun 2014

BiP eNews: New and forthcoming adult fiction

In Light of What We Know
by Zia Haider Rahman
June 2014 | Picador | $29.99pb

This is a bold, epic debut novel set during the war and financial crisis that defined the beginning of our century. An investment banker approaching forty, his career collapsing and marriage unravelling, receives a surprise visitor at his West London townhouse. Confronting the dishevelled figure of a South Asian male carrying a backpack, the banker recognizes a long-lost college friend. 

Zia Haider Rahman takes the reader on a journey ranging over Kabul, London, New York, Islamabad, Oxford, Princeton, and Sylhet, and dealing with love, philosophy, identity, finance, mathematics, cognitive science, literature, and war. Its framework is an age-old story: the friendship of two men and the betrayal of one by the other. Set against the breaking of nations and beneath the clouds of economic recession, the novel chronicles the lives of people carrying unshakeable legacies of class, culture, and faith as they struggle to tame their futures and as one man attempts to climb clear of his unfavourable beginnings. 

Lost and Found
by Brooke Davis
July 2014 | Hachette | $26.99pb

At seven years old, Millie Bird realises that everything is dying around her. She wasn't to know that after she had recorded twenty-seven assorted creatures in her Book of Dead Things her dad would be a 'dead thing', too. Her struggling mother leaves Millie in a local department store and never returns. 

Agatha Pantha is eighty-two and has not left her house since her husband died seven years ago. She sits behind her front window, hidden by the curtains and ivy, and shouts at passers-by, roaring her anger at complete strangers. Until the day Agatha spies a young girl across the street. Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven when his son kisses him on the cheek before leaving him at the nursing home. He once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife's skin. Now he types his words out into the air as he speaks. As he watches his son depart, Karl has a moment of clarity. He escapes the home and takes off in search of something different. Three lost people needing to be found, Millie, Agatha and Karl are about to break the rules and discover what living is all about. A series of events binds the three together on a road trip that takes them from the south coast of WA to Kalgoorlie and along the Nullarbor to the edge of the continent. Millie wants to find her mum. Karl wants to find out how to be a man. And Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was. They will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself experience sadness just might be the key to life. Highly recommended.

The Lie
by Hesh Kestin
July 2014 | Scribe | $27.99pb

Dahlia Barr does not suffer fools—or her own government, with which she is normally at odds. Shrewd, brash, and as tough as she is beautiful, the controversial Israeli attorney specializes in defending Palestinians accused of terrorism. She is also a devoted mother, a soon-to-be-divorced wife, and the lover of an American television correspondent. To Dahlia’s astonishment, the Israeli security establishment one day approaches her with a tantalizing proposition: Join us, and become the beleaguered nation’s arbiter on when to use the harshest of interrogation methods—what some would call torture. Dahlia is intrigued. She has no intention of permitting torture. Can she change the system from within? Then, as she settles into her new job, her son Ari, a twenty-year-old lieutenant in the Israel Defence Forces, is kidnapped by Hezbollah and whisked over the border to Lebanon. The one man who may hold the key to Ari’s rescue is locked in a cell in police headquarters. Edward Al-Masri—professor, activist, media gadfly—is an Arab who has a long and complicated history with Dahlia. And he’s not talking. Yet. The Lie is a nail-biting thriller, pulsing with insight into the inner workings of Israel’s security apparatus. It is a story of human beings whose lives turn out to share more in common than they—and the reader—could ever have imagined. 

Close Call
by Stella Rimington
July 2014 | Bloomsbury | $29.99pb

In 2012, in a Middle Eastern souk, CIA agent Miles Brookhaven was attacked. At the time he was infiltrating rebel groups in the area. No one was certain if his cover had been blown or if the act was just an arbitrary attack on Westerners. Months later, the incident remains a mystery. Liz Carlyle and her Counter Terrorism unit in MI5 are assigned the task of watching the international under-the-counter arms trade. With the Arabic region in such a volatile state, the British Intelligence forces have become increasing concerned that extremist Al-Qaeda jihadis are building their power base ready to launch another attack. As the pressure mounts, Liz and her team must intercept illegal weapons before they get into the wrong hands. When MI5 learns that the source of the arms deals is located in Western Europe, Liz finds herself on a manhunt that leads her to Paris and Berlin and into her own long-forgotten past. A past buried so deep that she thought it would never resurface....

Children's Books: Young readers and activity books

Recommended for 8+

Dork Diaries 7: TV Star
by Rachel Renee Russell
June 2014 | Simon & Schuster | $16.99pb

Nikki Maxwell, Queen of the Dorks, is back in the seventh book of the blockbuster Dork Diaries series. Spotted at their school talent show, Nikki and her friends are about to have their five minutes of fame as a reality TV crew follow them on the road to stardom. But now that cameras are everywhere Nikki and her friends go, can life lived in the spotlight ever be the same? Or will it be another Dork Disaster? Full of Nikki's doodles and diary entries, TV Star is ideal for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates and Jacqueline Wilson.

Recommended for 7+

Secret Agent Derek 'Danger' Dale 1: The Case of Animals Behaving Really, REALLY Badly
by Michael Gerard Bauer
July 2014 | Scholastic | $12.99pb

It's the biggest case Secret Agents R Definitely NOT Us has ever seen. Wild animals are turning to a life of crime and it's all the work of evil Doctor Evil Mac Evilness. Can Secret Agent Derek 'Danger' Dale outwit a criminal mastermind, escape the clutches of the four most deadly creatures on the planet and save the world's biggest diamond? Another funny, irreverent novel from the author of Eric Vale, Epic Fail.

Recommended for 5+

Cool Creations in 35 Pieces
by Sean Kenny
May 2014 | Henry Holt | $16.99pb

What can you build with just 35 LEGO bricks? LEGO artist Sean Kenney reuses the same, minimal set of LEGO bricks to create 75 models including vehicles, spaceships, robots and many other cool things. Whenever we put a LEGO book in the window, kids (and parents) go nuts, and this clever book is sure to spark the imaginations of all ages and encourage creative children to think outside the box. Great school holiday fun.

Recommended for 8+

Air Power: Rocket Science Made Simple
by Pat Murphy
May 2014 | Klutz | $24.99

Another great Klutz book for the holidays. In Air Power children can have rocket-propelled fun with 4 easy-to-assemble balloon-powered racers. Every part to make the racers work is included in the pack and everything is explained with clear building instructions and understandable scientific explanations. Perfect for budding engineers, the balloon-powered racers in Air Power bring science to life.

Recommended for 6+

The Marvellous Book of Magical Mermaids
by Eva Steele-Saccio
July 2014 | Klutz | $25.99

Magical Mermaids comes with 6 paper doll mermaids (and 3 seahorse friends, too) to decorate with over 200 fantastic punch-out fashions and sparkly tail-fins, and a variety of stand-up backgrounds to set the scene.

26 Jun 2014

Miles Franklin Literary Award Chapter Sample

Evie Wyld runs Review, a small independent bookshop London. Her first novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 she was listed as one of the Culture Show’s Best New British Novelists. She was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.


All the Birds, Singing
July 2013 | Vintage | $32.99pb    *BiP price $27.99

Who or what is watching Jake Whyte from the woods?

Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It’s just her, her untamed companion, Dog, and a flock of sheep. Which is how she wanted it to be. But something is coming for the sheep – every few nights it picks one off, leaves it in rags.

It could be anything. There are foxes in the woods, a strange boy and a strange man, rumours of an obscure, formidable beast. And there is Jake’s unknown past, perhaps breaking into the present, a story hidden thousands of miles away and years ago, in a landscape of different colour and sound, a story held in the scars that stripe her back.

Set between Australia and a remote English island, All the Birds, Singing is the story of one how one woman’s present comes from a terrible past. It is the second novel from the award-winning author of After the Fire, A Still Small Voice.

3 Jun 2014

BiP eNews: New and forthcoming titles

BiP staff review by Sue
The Boy in the Book: One man's adventure in search of a lost childhood
by Nathan Penlington
June 2014 | Hachette | $29.99pb

Nathan Penlington is a performance artist whose show (based on this book) won a Fringe First award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013. Being aware of this before starting the book, I pictured myself as an audience member rather than a reader and this influenced my reading of the story. It is infused with a raw honesty that reflects the intimacy of a one-man show. I found the story compelling for several reasons. Penlington is an engaging storyteller, as he takes us back to his illness-plagued childhood and the joy of escape provided by the Choose Your Own Adventure stories. His passion for the books prompts his adult self to buy a collection from eBay in the hope of recapturing their simple pleasures. Instead, he is drawn into a quest to find the previous owner of the books, who has left tantalising clues to a similarly fraught childhood. There ensues a thought-provoking examination of how childhood shapes our adult selves. There are many awkward moments, but this is also a light-hearted and often amusing trip down memory lane.

BiP staff review by Sue
A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman
July 2014 | Hachette | $29.99pb

Fredrick Backman is a Swedish blogger whose online writings about Ove elicited a call for more from his fans – hence this debut novel. To me it reads like a blog, in that it is episodic and consists of very short, easy-to-read chapters. Each one has a heading which reminds us that this is Ove’s story and gives the reader a clue about what is to follow. Ove holds strong opinions about most aspects of life, including a belief that every grown man should be capable of reversing a trailer. His views have earned him a reputation for being a bit of a grouch. The charm of the story lies in the gradual erosion of Ove’s defences by a hapless bunch of characters masquerading as his neighbours. A Man Called Ove is an entertaining read and I am sure life has presented all of us with a litany of experiences to expand Backman’s blog or even create a down-under version – A Man called Alf?

BiP staff review by Sue
We Are Called to Rise
by Laura McBride
June 2014 | Simon & Schuster | $29.99pb

This is the debut novel for Laura McBride, who lives and works in Las Vegas. Given that her story is set in Tinseltown, you could be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that it involves casinos, gambling and fast money. In fact, it is anything but, and the only chips that are worth counting are the ones that are down! Her story runs parallel to ‘The Strip’ and interweaves the lives of four main characters: an Albanian boy, a US soldier, a middle-aged housewife and a social worker. All these characters are tied to the tragic death of the boy’s mother – an actual event that sparked the novel. The fact that each character has such a strong voice is a testament to her ability as a writer to engage us in the drama. We are Called to Rise is well worth reading and a good option for book clubs.

Children's Books / YA

BiP staff review by Lucinda
Recommended for 15+
We Were Liars
by Emily Lockhart
July/Aug 2014 | Allen & Unwin | $19.95pb

In order to explain how engaging and suspenseful We Were Liars is, I have to remain fairly vague in my description, not because there's little to say about the plot or Lockhart's clever writing, but because there is a twist so unexpected that I want it to take your breath away as it did mine. Born into a life of wealth and privilege, the beautiful children of the Sinclair family spend idyllic summers on their grandfather's private island, just off the coast of Martha's Vineyard in the United States. Cadence, the eldest Sinclair grandchild, starts her 15th summer holiday memorably enough: having successfully navigated her mother and father's recent divorce, she manages to fall head-over-heels in love. The summer that unfolds is clouded in mystery, though. Why can't Cadence remember how she came to be found, almost dead, in the cold ocean? Why does she have to spend her 16th summer away from her beloved family island, away from her cousins? Why do the emails, full of woes and wonderings, that she sends them - the Liars, as they call themselves - go unanswered? Exquisite writing, beautifully imagined characters and insightful comments on 'having it all', We Were Liars has a thrilling ending that will send you right back to the opening pages, wondering how on earth you missed the clues.

BiP staff review by Lucinda
Recommended for 12+

Loyal Creatures
by Morris Gleitzman
June 2014 | Viking | $19.99pb

With the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI this year, we expect a slew of books on the subject and this lovely, spare novel by the award-winning Morris Gleitzman is one of the best. Inspired by Michael Morpurgo's international bestseller War Horse, and based on historical record, Loyal Creatures is the deeply moving story of war horse Daisy and her 15-year-old owner Will, sent from the Australian outback to the gruelling Middle Eastern campaign of the WWI. Their skill in finding water is vital to their regiment in the desert, but their devotion to each other is what keeps them alive in an overwhelmingly hostile environment. Is their unwavering loyalty enough to determine their destiny?

20 May 2014

BiP eNews: New picture books

A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna
Mar 2014 | Tate Gallery | $29.95hb
Recommended for 4+
A lion, bored by his rural life in the savannah, seeks excitement and opportunity in the city of light. On arrival in Paris the lion is disappointed to find that despite his size, people barely pay attention to him, not even when he lets out a ferocious roar on the busy Metro. Taking in the sights and sounds of Paris, this beautifully illustrated story successfully conveys the experience of being a stranger in a new city and the process of understanding our own identity. Paris looks gorgeous in this special, award-winning French book, but it is the lion who really steals the show. Highly recommended for lovers of Paris, old and young.

Recommended for 3+

Mungo Monkey Has A Birthday Party 
by Lydia Monk
May 2014 | Egmont | $16.95pb

Mungo is pretty excited about his upcoming birthday party, and all of his friends are invited. There will be dressing up, games to play and even a sleepover. Bright illustrations and loads of fun with clever, sturdy flaps to lift, this is one of our favourite new paperback picture books.

Recommended for 3+

The Princess and the Presents
by Caryl Hart & Sarah Warburton
May 2014 | Nosy Crow | $19.99hb 

Princess Ruby is incredibly spoilt. Her upcoming birthday list is extremely long and she demands that all of wishes be met. Her father, the King, rushes off to buy everything but even a selfish princess can have too many presents. A comic cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for, with charming illustrations that set the mood perfectly. This book is great fun!

Recommended for 3+

Presto Change-o! A Book of Animal Magic 
by Edouard Manceau
May 2014 | Twirl Books | $24.95hb

We adore this clever book! In large format and made of sturdy cardboard, with just a couple of deceptively simple twists and turns, you can magically transform a clock into an owl, a lion into a flower and more. Great for little (or bigger!) fingers to explore.

Recommended for 3+

The Ultimate Book of Vehicles
by Anne-Sophie Bauman & Didier Balicevic
May 2014 | Twirl Books | $29.95hb

Not a single mode of transport is ignored in this amazing and all encompassing book - more than 60 moveable parts will make this a huge hit with those boys, and we know there are a lot of them, who are obsessed with trucks and cars.