Ten book Tuesday...books to read over the Easter break.

Tiddas by Anita Heiss
A story about what it means to be a friend …
Five women, best friends for decades, meet once a month to talk about books … and life, love and the jagged bits in between. Dissecting each other’s lives seems the most natural thing in the world – and honesty, no matter how brutal, is something they treasure. Best friends tell each other everything, don’t they? But each woman harbours a complex secret and one weekend, without warning, everything comes unstuck.
Izzy, soon to be the first Black woman with her own television show, has to make a decision that will change everything.
Veronica, recently divorced and dedicated to raising the best sons in the world, has forgotten who she is.
Xanthe, desperate for a baby, can think of nothing else, even at the expense of her marriage. 

The wardrobe girl by Jennifer Smart
After the humiliating end of her last relationship, this is just what TV costume designer, Tess Appleby, needs to hear. Sure, a wardrobe assistant on a soap is a step down from her gig at the BBC, but all Tess wants is an easy life . . .
Unfortunately she's barely arrived on set before she's warding off the attentions of the show's heartthrob, Sean Tyler – and, as a consequence, the hostility of its other star, Bree Brenner.
And if the pressures and politics of working on a TV drama aren't enough, she's living with her high-maintenance mother, an ageing celebrity, and her infuriating sister Emma, an aspiring actress. 
Still, Tess is certain she can deal with everything they throw at her – until Jake Freeman, her ex-fiancé, the man she last saw eight years ago as he walked away and broke her heart, is named the show's new director… 

Fatal Impact by Kathryn Fox
When a girl's dead body is found in a toy box, forensic physician and pathologist Anya Crichton joins the police hunt in her home state of Tasmania for the child's missing mother and sister.
Staying with her increasingly erratic mother, Dr Jocelyn Reynolds, Anya fears the long shadow of her sister Miriam's disappearance has finally driven her mother past the brink of sanity. But Anya soon discovers that Jocelyn is keeping a deadly secret.
When tests conclude a virulent strain of food poisoning was responsible for the child's death, the outbreak begins to spread. Anya pairs up with Internal Affairs detective Oliver Parke to unravel the sinister connections between the fatal epidemic, a covered-up study, the shady deals of a multinational corporation and the alleged murder of a local scientist. Anya has strayed into a high-stakes game so dangerous the players will kill to keep it quiet. With time running short, Anya must uncover the truth before she is silenced - permanently.

Snapper by Brian Kimberling
Nathan Lochmueller studies birds, earning just enough money to live on. He drives a glitter-festooned truck, the Gypsy Moth, and he is in love with Lola, a woman so free-spirited and mysterious she can break a man’s heart with a sigh or a shrug. Around them swirls a remarkable cast of characters: the proprietor of Fast Eddie’s Burgers & Beer, the genius behind “Thong Thursdays”; Uncle Dart, a Texan who brings his swagger to Indiana with profound and nearly devastating results; a snapping turtle with a taste for thumbs; a German shepherd who howls backup vocals; and the very charismatic state of Indiana itself. And at the center of it all is Nathan, creeping through the forest to observe the birds he loves and coming to terms with the accidental turns his life has taken.

The comfort of lies by Randy Susan Meyers
Five years ago . . . 
Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. When she became pregnant, Nathan disappeared, and she gave up their baby for adoption. 
Caroline reluctantly adopted a baby to please her husband. Now she’s ques¬tioning whether she’s cut out for the role of wife and mother. 
Juliette considered her life ideal: solid marriage, two beautiful sons, and a thriving business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again, and she trusted him. 

Why can't I be like you by Allie Larkin
At one time or another, everyone has wished they could be someone else. Exploring this universal longing, Allie Larkin follows up the success of her debut novel, Stay, with a moving portrait of friendship and identity.
When Jenny Shaw hears someone shout “Jessie!” across a hotel lobby, she impulsively answers. All her life, Jenny has toed the line, but something propels her to seize the opportunity to become Jessie Morgan, a woman to whom she bears an uncanny resemblance. Lonely in her own life, Jenny is embraced by Jessie’s warm circle of friends—and finds unexpected romance. But when she delves into Jessie’s past, Jenny discovers a secret that spurs her to take another leap into the unknown.


We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. “I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: that I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she tells us. “It’s never going to be the first thing I share with someone. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion, I’d scarcely known a moment alone. She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister.”
Rosemary was not yet six when Fern was removed. Over the years, she’s managed to block a lot of memories. She’s smart, vulnerable, innocent, and culpable. With some guile, she guides us through the darkness, penetrating secrets and unearthing memories, leading us deeper into the mystery she has dangled before us from the start. Stripping off the protective masks that have hidden truths too painful to acknowledge, in the end, “Rosemary” truly is for remembrance.

Coal creek by Alex Miller
Bobby Blue is caught between loyalty to his only friend, Ben Tobin, and his boss, Daniel Collins, the new constable at Mount Hay. 'Ben was not a big man but he was strong and quick as a snake. He had his own breed of pony that was just like him, stocky and reliable on their feet.' Bobby understands the people and the ways of Mount Hay; Collins studies the country as an archaeologist might, bringing his coastal values to the hinterland. Bobby says, 'I do not think Daniel would have understood Ben in a million years.' Increasingly bewildered and goaded to action by his wife, Constable Collins takes up his shotgun and his Webley pistol to deal with Ben. Bobby's love for Collins' wilful young daughter Irie is exposed, leading to tragic consequences for them all.

Man made boy by Jon Skovron
Sixteen-year-old Boy’s never left home.  When you’re the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride, it’s tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob.  And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it’s important they maintain a low profile.Boy’s only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code.  When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can’t escape his demons—both literal and figurative—until he faces his family once more.
 
A tale for the time being by Ruth Ozeki
In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine.
Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.






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Ten book Tuesday: If you liked Divergent by Veronica Roth...try one of these ten books!

Ten book Tuesday. Divergent has just arrived cinemas in Australia. Have you read the book? Are you looking for more books like it? Try one of these...
Blood Red Road by Moira Young: In a distant future, eighteen-year-old Lugh is kidnapped, and while his twin sister Saba and nine-year-old Emmi are trailing him across bleak Sandsea they are captured, too, and taken to brutal Hopetown, where Saba is forced to be a cage fighter until new friends help plan an escape.




Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: Exiled from her safe home in the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria finds herself in the outer wastelands known as the Death Shop. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent energy storms will. There she meets a savage, an Outsider named Perry - wild, dangerous - who is her only chance of survival. But Perry needs Aria, too, and they are forced into an unlikely alliance that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.




The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness: Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony's true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World.




Article 5 by Kristen Simmons: Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different. Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings - the only boy Ember has ever loved.

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe: When sixteen-year-old Kaelyn lets her best friend leave for school without saying goodbye, she never dreams that she might not see him again. But then a strange virus begins to sweep through her small island community, infecting young and old alike. As the dead pile up, the government quarantines the island: no one can leave, and no one can come back. Those still healthy must fight for the island's dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest. Poignant and dizzying, The Way We Fall is the heart-wrenching story of one girl's bravery and unbeatable spirit as she challenges not just her fears, but her sense of what makes life worth living.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: Ostracized or incarcerated her whole life, seventeen-year-old Juliette is freed on the condition that she use her horrific abilities in support of The Reestablishment, a post-apocalyptic dictatorship, but Adam, the only person ever to show her affection, offers hope of a better future.




Reboot by Amy Tintera:  '5 years ago, I died. 178 minutes later, I woke up.' In this post-apocalyptic thriller a deadly virus mutation sees teenagers raised from the dead and trained to be vicious soldiers until Wren, the deadliest Reboot, joins forces with Callum, the most innocent, to try to overthrow the organisation that has corrupted their world.




The Program by Suzanne Young: When suicide becomes a worldwide epidemic, the only known cure is The Program, a treatment in which painful memories are erased, a fate worse than death to seventeen-year-old Sloane who knows that The Program will steal memories of her dead brother and boyfriend. 





Breathe by Sarah Crossan: The world is dead. The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen - rich air. Alina has been stealing for a long time. She is a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she is never been caught before. If she's careful, it will be easy. If she is careful. Quinn should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it is also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her. Bea wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl. And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien:  In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside. Following in her mother's footsteps Gaia has become a midwife, delivering babies in the world outside the wall and handing a quota over to be "advanced" into the privileged society of the Enclave. Gaia has always believed this is her duty, until the night her mother and father are arrested by the very people they so loyally serve.


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Ten book Tuesday... cities and the urban experience


Read ten tales about cities and the urban experience. Choose from factual, fiction and fantasy books...


The city and the city by China Mieville. Inspector Tyador Borlú must travel to Ul Qoma to search for answers in the murder of a woman found in the city of Besźel. "When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Bes el, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to conspiracies far stranger, and more deadly, than anything he could have imagined. Soon his work puts him and those he cares for in danger. Borlu must travel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own, across a border like no other. With shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984 The City & The City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

Leviathan: the unauthorised biography of Sydney by John Birmingham. An electrifying, epic history of the city of Sydney as you have never seen her before. 'To peer deeply into this ghost city, the one lying beneath the surface, is to understand that Sydney has a soul and that it is a very dark place indeed.' Beneath the shining harbour, amid the towers of global greed and deep inside the bad-drugs madness of the suburban wastelands, lies Sydney's shadow history. Terrifying tsunamis, corpse-robbing morgue staff, killer cops, neo-Nazis, power junkies and bumbling SWOS teams electrify this epic tale of a city with a cold vacuum for a moral core. Birmingham drills beneath the cover story of a successful multicultural metropolis and melts the boundaries between past and present to reveal a ghost city beneath the surface of concrete and glass.  This is available as an ebook.

Winters tale by Mark Heprin. New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights, its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake - orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl, who is dying. Peter Lake, a simple, uneducated man, because of a love that, at first he does not fully understand, is driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle, in a city ever alight with its own energy and beseiged by unprecedented winters, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.

Communion Town by Sam Thompson. The Man Booker longlisted novel is explores how each of us conjures up our own city. Every city is made of stories: stories that meet and diverge, stories of the commonplace and the strange, of love and crime, of ghosts and monsters. The iridescent, Man Booker longlisted Communion Town is reminiscent of David Mitchell's Ghostwritten and Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, it is the story of a place that never looks the same way twice: a place imagined anew by each citizen who walks through the changing streets among voices half-heard, signs half-glimpsed and desires half-acknowledged. This is the story of a city.




The city by Dean Koontz. There are millions of stories in the city—some magical, some tragic, others terror-filled or triumphant. Jonah Kirk’s story is all of those things as he draws readers into his life in the city as a young boy, introducing his indomitable grandfather, also a “piano man”; his single mother, a struggling singer; and the heroes, villains, and everyday saints and sinners who make up the fabric of the metropolis in which they live—and who will change the course of Jonah’s life forever. Welcome to The City, a place of evergreen dreams where enchantment and malice entwine, where courage and honor are found in the most unexpected corners and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart. on order, request a copy now.

The devil in the white city by Erik Larson. Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that 'The Devil in the White City' is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.





NW by Zadie Smith. This is the story of a city. The north-west corner of a city. Here you'll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between. Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds. And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, cause a disruption in the whole system. Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell's door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation.




Paris by Edward Rutherfurd.  Presents a multigenerational saga detailing the history of Paris, from its founding under the Romans to the hotbed of cultural activity during the 1920s and 1930s.









Down and out in Paris and London by George Orwell. Written when Orwell was a struggling writer in his twenties this book documents his 'first contact with poverty': sleeping in bug-infested hostels, working as a dishwasher in Paris surviving on scraps and cigarette butts, living alongside tramps.








Tales of the city by Armistead Maupin. This is the first in a series of novels.
For more than three decades, Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City has blazed its own trail through popular culture - from a groundbreaking newspaper serial to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. San Francisco, 1976. A naive young secretary, fresh out of Cleveland, tumbles headlong into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, cut throat debutantes and Jockey Shorts dance contests. The saga that ensues is manic, romantic, tawdry, touching and outrageous.


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Readwatchplay Twitterchat for April is #Urbanread.

April 2014

street graffiti - flickr image from ioBeto
street graffiti – flickr image from ioBeto

#urbanread

April is the month for #urbanread – books, films and games set in any environment ranging from a densely populated city, towns (even small towns)  to small villages. They may be set in any time period including the Victorian era or the distant future.  The city itself may become a character, such as in books about urban places.
 Consider reading author Ian Rankin or watch the My Place series by Nadia Wheatley to explore this.  You may like to read urban fantasy, featuring magic and strange creatures,  a great example is American Gods by Neil Gaiman,  and don't forget Cassandra Clare.
This is the month to go local. Read something set in your local area-your place, where you recognise the landmarks, cafes, sights, maybe even the vibe of the town re-created in the setting of the books. Plan some urban travels to compliment your #urbanread.  If you want some factual information about your environment, start your research in the local studies section of your local library. Incidentally, this  is also a good place to find something to read by a local author.  You may like to read further afield, for example, about slums, such as described in Slum Dog Millionaire. You  might enjoy reading about  buildings, urban planning or architecture.
Sustainability in our environment is another  hot topic. In both fact and fiction there’s lots to read, watch and learn about. Choose something to read from the selection of Goodreads Sustainability book lists. Watch a movie, anything from Happy Feet or  Wall- E to documentaries such as An inconvenient truth.
What about crime, including true crime?  Crime stories can be set in any environment, usually urban. Read about underworld figures.  Underbelly, Ripper Street, and Sherlock all present great watching for #urbanread.
While street art adorns the urban landscape, graffiti often poses the question – art or vandalism? You decide – try exploring  the issue by reading  some books celebrating the art of graffiti. You may enjoy some Graffiti in fiction.
Street literature is another upcoming genre to try.
Sometimes stories are based on an urban legend – why not scare yourself silly reading horror stories? Read something by these masters of horror – Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allan Poe, Graham Masterton, H.P Lovecraft – they will leave you reading with the lights on. Many of these have also inspired film adaptations. Which is spookier, the book or the movie?
While you are reading, playing or watching your #urbanread, you might like to tweet about it using #urbanread #rwpchat so that other people can have a conversation with you about your #urbanread.  You can add to the discussion on Pinterest too. You might like to post your photographs to Instagram or Flickr and use #urbanread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.
 There will be a twitter discussion on 29 April starting at 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.   9.00pm New Zealand  Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time.  Note : this is a staggered start to the discussion.
Use the tags #urbanread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of urbanread, so others can join in the conversation too.

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To read or not to read...a Literary spy thriller

A literary spy thriller set in World War II,   this  novel streamlined and tautly paced novel is fascinating blend of fact and fiction.









To read or not to read... that is the question! Read the opening paragraphs of this novel and you decide.


She was sitting in the fuselage, trussed like a piece of baggage, battered by noise. Half an hour earlier they manhandled her up  through the door because she was too encumbered with her parachute to climb the ladder unassisted; now she was just there, with the sound drumming in her ears, the inadequate light and the hard metal and packages all around her.
If only she could sleep, like Benoit. He's sitting opposite, his eyes closed and his head rocking with the movement of the machine. Like a passenger on a train. It's one of the most infuriating things about him, his ability to sleep  whenever and wherever he pleases.
The dispatcher-young, gauche, prominent Adam's apple and slicked hair-stumbles towards her though the racket. He seems a kind of Charon, accompanying the souls of the dead towards Hades. Her father would love that thought. His classical allusions. 'Illusions' she always called them. The airman grins ghoulishly at her and bends to open the hatch in the floor, releasing night and cold into the fuselage like water rushing in from a sprung leak. Looking down she can see the huddled buildings of a town sliding beneath, smudged with cloud and lit by the moon, a mysterious seabed over which their craft floats. Benoit opens one eye to see what's going on, gives her a quick smile and returns to his sleep.
'CAEN!' the dispatcher shouts above the noise. He begins to bundle packets of paper out into the blackness, like a manic delivery boy throwing newspapers to his customers in the darkness of the winter morning. The bundles crack open as they drop into the void. He thrusts one of the leaflets towards her so that she can read the news.

To  keep reading this book, request it from the Library.


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Fair Deal for Shire Libraries

Sutherland Shire Mayor Steve Simpson is asking local library users to join a statewide call to stop the ongoing reduction in funding from successive NSW State Governments and protect the future of public libraries.

“Libraries are often the most well-used and valued public facilities in the community but the ability of council to maintain service levels at our eight libraries may be at risk due to deteriorating State funding,” the Mayor said.

You can help by signing a petition, which will be presented to the Honourable Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, at any of our Shire libraries or at council’s Customer Service Centre in Eton Street, Sutherland.

The facts:

  • Library funding was once split 50:50 State and Local Government.
  • The State Government currently puts in only 7 cents out of every dollar and local councils now have to fund 93% of the cost of providing public libraries. The State Government contribution to libraries is the lowest of all states in Australia."
  • In the run up to the last state election, the current State Government said they would increase ongoing funding for public libraries. They have not.
  • Successive NSW State Governments of all political persuasions have put in less and less in real terms every year and we are now at crisis point.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.nswpla.org.au or talk to your local library staff.





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6th Annual Australian Romance Readers Association Awards

The winners of the 2013 Australian Romance Readers Awards were announced last weekend at the Australian Romance Readers Association’s annual Awards Dinner.

The nominations are open to all romance novels published in 2013, but this year, the member-voted awards proved loyal to local talent, with all but one winner from Australia. 









Winners of the ARRA 6th Annual Awards


Favourite Cover
Half Moon Bay by Helene Young

Favourite Paranormal Romance
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

Favourite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance
Allegiance Sworn by Kylie Griffin

Favourite Short Category Romance
 The One that Got Away by Kelly Hunter

Favourite Historical Romance
Untamed by Anna Cowan

Favourite Romantic Suspense
Half Moon Bay by Helene Young

Favourite Continuing Romance Series
Sons of Sin series by Anna Campbell
Book 1- Seven nights in a rogue's bed.

Favourite Contemporary Romance
Holding Out for a Hero by Amy Andrews

Favourite Erotic Romance
Skin by Kylie Scott

Favourite Australian Romance Author for 2013
 Kylie Scott

Sexiest Hero
Daniel Montgomery in Outback Dreams by Rachael Johns

Favourite New Romance Author 2013
Anna Cowan

Congratulations to all the winners.

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