9 New Books From Authors We Love
Natasha Boyd, from Book Bonding has been a strong support, and writer of Cazinc Blog. Natasha has hit the jackpot this month with 9 brilliant books from authors we love.
Just in time to stock up for Christmas and for a few relaxing days by the pool. Thanks so much Natasha, and please remember to always support your local Independent Bookstore.
1. Force Of Nature
Jane Harper, author of The Dry
Jane Harper had a killer of a year in 2016 when she released The Dry and won a stack of awards. Thankfully, her fans have not had long to wait to again delve into the world of federal financial agent Aaron Falk with Force of Nature. This time, Falk is called from his home base in Melbourne to the case of a missing woman, Alice Russell, in the Girralang ranges - a day's drive north. Falk and his new partner Carmen Cooper go to investigate because Alice was a whistleblower source in a massive fraud case for them so they suspect foul play may be afoot. They learn about the business colleagues of Ms. Russell who were on a team building retreat with her at the time she went missing. This starts to signal red flags, and the case takes an unexpected turn as they realize Alice had argued with two of the women, as well as having a past connection to another, not to mention the hassles being experienced by her daughter, Margot, back home.
Whereas The Dry made you feel the heat, drought, and desperation of Falk's hometown, Force of Nature is equally brilliant at depicting the isolation, ruggedness, and danger of the bush. The multiple viewpoints add layers and intrigue to the story as we follow Falk and Cooper in real time, then have regular day by day account flashbacks from each of the women over the five days of the business retreat, which cleverly reveal unknown aspects to us the reader, but not to the law enforcement teams. Harper's excellent eye for detail keeps you immersed in the story and turning the pages every so quickly. The emerging side characters reveal themselves inappropriate and connected ways, while the missing woman herself isn't viewed as some innocent martyr but a single mother with flaws and list of people who might want her out of the picture. The sense of ominous threats from nature and 'man' tighten its coil as you read on until the satisfying climax.
2. The Choke
Sofie Laguna, author of The Eye of the Sheep -Miles Franklin winner 2015
My number 1 book so far this year! I am totally in love with The Choke by Sofie Laguna, the new one from the author of Miles Franklin-winning, The Eye of the Sheep. It crackles with tension, brims with childhood innocence and is chock full of whipper crack moments of male power, violence and something ominous in the wings. Laguna's sublime writing took me wholly on the journey of motherless 10yo Justine and her harsh yet beautiful life in the early 1970s. She lives with her caring, but ineffectual PTSD effected alcoholic Pop. He has an obsession with chickens, occasionally visited by her dangerous, elusive father, suffering nightmares about the loss of her mother, grappling with two half-brothers, Steve and Kirk and trying to figure out why her lesbian auntie doesn't visit more often. She struggles in school with dyslexia and a victim of child neglect that pushes her to the fringe of female friendships she so desperately craves - but from this negative rises a new friendship with Michael, an intelligent boy outcast because of his disability. The scenes between these two were so incredibly moving and evocatively charming and amongst my favorite depictions in the book - utterly beautiful and heartbreaking. And all the while as Justine tries to navigate the world around her, puberty hits, and her ache for female guidance or connection with anyone caring grows stronger and puts her in the most precarious of situations. The twist of Part 2 made me cry out in despair, and it only got darker hereon. But amongst the brutality and violence there lay hope. The ending caused me to ponder the life of Justine in a way that stayed with me for a long while, and I often think about since. It is such an addictive fab read which I strongly recommend.
(Caz here. I agree Natasha. Brilliant Book, which I couldn't put down).
Chris Womersley author of The Low Road won the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction.
His second novel, Bereft, won the Australian Book Industry Award for Literary Fiction and the Indie Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, The Age fiction prize, and the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal
City of Crows by Chris Womersley was a welcome change from some of my contemporary set reads this year and is a change of direction for this Aussie author whose previous novel Bereft was a big favorite in-store and with customers.
We are hurtled back to France 1673 where Charlotte's husband Michel has just succumbed to the plague, leaving her with a young son and limited options. After her son Nicholas is kidnapped by bandits keen on selling him as a slave or worse in Paris - Charlotte risks everything to get him back. The result is visiting a witch in a forest and taking over an important book of spells / dark arts without her having much understanding of the power of what she has undertaken. Parallel to this story is prisoner Adam Coeuret who is granted freedom and on his journey to Paris to find treasure under a new alias Lesage. His path soon crosses Charlotte's in a mutual case of mistaken identity, and they are adopted by a traveling band of performing gypsies on the road to Paris. I loved Womersley's flip narration structure, evocative descriptions, a creation of misunderstandings, and the honest brutal of the world of Paris of the 17th century with its dashes of folklore and dark magic. Charlotte's maternal anguish juxtaposed beautifully with Lesage's crafty mechanization. Perfect for fans of Hannah Kent's Good People or Brooks' Year of Wonders.
Sarah Winman author of When God Was A Rabbit
I am a huge believer that big books are not always the best. Sometimes sharp, clear writing can pack a punch in half the length - and that's the case with Sarah Winman's latest novel, Tinman. Having read and loved her two previous books When God Was a Rabbit and A Year of Marvellous Ways, I knew I was in for a literary treat. But also true to form - this new one was starkly different from her other two - proving that Winman can lend her imaginative mind to a variety of styles and story occupations. Here in about 200 pages, we meet Ellis in his mid-40s, drinking lots and working night shift as a coping mechanism for his grief at the loss of his wife Annie 5 years before. But soon we realize this pain runs deeper as he also misses his close childhood friend Michael whose vibrancy and daring ignites the lives of those around him - but will also cast darker shadows later as more is revealed.
Winman's gentle weaving prose reveals snapshots of Ellis' younger years. The troubles with his father, the arrival, and friendship of Michael, his passion for drawing, his mother Dora's love of art - especially a precious art copy of Sunflowers by Vincent VanGogh and the tragedy of his mother's death and how it steered his life in a different direction. We hear a range of characters through (un-punctuated) dialogue come in and out of his life - colleagues at work, next door neighbors like student Jamie, Mr. Khan or Mabel from his past and indeed his father and stepmother Carol from the present. Each tale works like ephemeral vignettes yet all collide together to illuminate how Ellis got to where he is now, how he tackles his present and what he might do in future. I read this novel in just two days and loved how it unfolded beautifully, and absorbed me into this trio's heartfelt tale of love, friendship, and regret. It was the perfect book for my mood that weekend, cozied up in bed, dogs on my lap and feet, a cup of tea nearby and the sun streaming through the trees outside the window. Bliss.
5. First Person
Richard Flanagan - author of Narrow Road to Deep North Man Booker Winner 2014
Warning: A VERY DIFFERENT TO NOVEL ABOVE
Synopsis - What is the truth? In this blistering story of a ghostwriter haunted by his demonic subject, the Man Booker Prize winner turns to lies, crime, and literature with devastating effect A young and penniless writer, Kif Kehlmann, is rung in the middle of the night by the notorious con man and corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl. About to go to trial for defrauding the banks of $700 million, Heidl proposes a deal- $10,000 for Kehlmann to ghostwrite his memoir in six weeks. But as the writing gets underway, Kehlmann begins to fear that he is being corrupted by Heidl. As the deadline draws closer, he becomes ever more unsure if he is ghostwriting a memoir, or if Heidl is rewriting him-his life, his future. Everything that was certain grows uncertain as he begins to wonder- who is Seigfried Heidl-and who is Kif Kehlmann? By turns compelling, comic, and chilling, First Person is a haunting journey into the heart of our age.
6. The Life To Come
Michelle De Krester author of Miles Franklin Award winner for Questions of Travel 2013
'I so much admire Michelle de Kretser's formidable technique - her characters feel alive, and she can create a sweeping narrative which encompasses years, and yet still retain the sharp, almost hallucinatory detail.' Hilary Mantel'Michelle de Kretser knows how to construct a gripping story. She writes quickly and lightly of beautiful and terrible things. A master storyteller.' A.S. ByattSet in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka, The Life to Come is a mesmerizing novel about the stories we tell and don't tell ourselves as individuals, as societies, and as nations. It feels at once firmly classic and exhilaratingly contemporary. Pippa is a writer who longs for success. Celeste tries to convince herself that her feelings for her married lover are reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of his childhood in Sri Lanka but blots out the memory of a tragedy from that time. Driven by riveting stories and unforgettable characters, here is a dazzling meditation on intimacy, loneliness and our flawed perception of other people. Profoundly moving as well as wickedly funny, The Life to Come reveals how the shadows cast by both the past and the future can transform, distort and undo the present. This extraordinary novel by Miles Franklin-winning author Michelle de Kretser will strike to your soul, 'one of those rare writers whose work balances substance with style. Her writing is very witty, but it also goes deep, informed at every point by a benign and far-reaching intelligence.' Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald, 'a dazzlingly accomplished author who commands all the strokes.' Her repertoire stretches from a hallucinatory sense of place to a mastery of suspense, sophisticated verbal artistry and a formidable skill in navigating those twisty paths where history and psychology entwine.' Boyd Tonkin, Independent.
7. The Last Hours
Minette Walters author of crime books such as The Ice House and Acid Row
Reviewed by Book Bonding reviewer, Marion.
Be Warned: VERY DIFFERENT TO HER CRIME BOOKS
What a joy to read Minette Walters new book, The Last Hours. She brings her writing skills, her exploration of human interaction and her love of intrigue and suspense together with the research and knowledge of the time of the Black Death. This new historical novel starts with the background of the grim beginnings of the plague but moves to an unfolding of hope and opportunity. It could be viewed as relentlessly depressing, but the twists and turns of the story are revealed to keep interest and intrigue to the last page. The story unfolds carefully over time set in a manor house where education is the key to a more successful life. The church’s authority is eroded, the manor house run by an educated woman, Lady Anne, who has had the foresight to teach serfs to read and write. The book reminds us of the lack of knowledge and the isolation in which people lived in the 14th Century and the radical ideas of the times that could be made with some knowledge and forethought. Using all her skills as a writer of crime analysis, I can confidently say Walters' new direction in fiction is just as compelling, and how fantastic that it makes the 14th-century story relevant to today's experiences.
8. Deeper Than The Sea
Nelika McDonald author of The Vale Girl 2013
Reviewed by Book Bonding reviewer Cathie.
I enjoyed Deeper than the Sea by Nelika McDonald, and it wasn't until I had finished it and read the blurb about the author that I realized I'd read and loved an earlier book of hers too back in 2013; The Vale Girl. Deeper than the Sea explores the issue of what makes a mother. Is it the woman who gave birth? Is it the woman who raised the child? Where can the line be drawn or can you even draw a line? Maybe there are many ways to be a mother. McDonald writes so well about small families (mother and daughter) and small towns. 16-year-old Beth is a well written and realistic teenage character, so I think this book would appeal to girls from around that age as well as adult women (for whom it is probably intended).
Eliza Henry Jones author of In The quiet 2015 which I loved
Synopsis: The much anticipated new novel - about how a family, and a rural community, recover from a terrible bushfire - from a beautiful young Australian writer, Eliza Henry Jones. A year ago, a devastating bushfire ripped Annie's world apart - killing her grandmother, traumatizing her young daughter and leaving her mother's home in the mountains half destroyed. Annie fled back to the city, but the mountain continues to haunt her. Now, drawn by a call for help from her uncle, she's going back to the place she loves most in the world, to try to heal herself, her marriage, her daughter, and her mother. A heart-wrenching, tender and lovely novel about loss, grief, and regeneration, Ache is not only a story of how we can be broken, but how we can put ourselves back together.
Image Credits: Goodreads
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen.
The man who never reads lives only one.”
Here's to you living a thousand lives, and keep enjoying the gifts books bring to you. Please leave comments below if you have read any of these books, and please share with other book lovers.