3 Fabulous Books Selected By Book Shop Staff

3 Fabulous Books Selected By Book Shop Staff

It’s no secret how much I love bookshops. They are not only a beautiful place to visit, but bookshops are also a fabulous community of sharing and caring. I support all independent bookshops because they care about books, not the money like many larger chain stores, and the staff provide us with brilliant information on the books.


I will be forever grateful to Natasha from Book Bonding in Gisborne, not only for her passion about books (which she openly shares), but for introducing me to book clubs, that has widened my variety of books to read, and for her constant support of Cazinc Blog.

This month the staff have given us their books of the month, three I hope you enjoy, which includes a YA (the new term for young adults) book.

STAFF BOOK OF THE MONTH - NATASHA - The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

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It's been three years since the previous Kate Morton and returning to her new one was like a warm hug from an old friend you haven't seen in a while. You get comforted by her trademark dual narrative in two time periods, you instantly visualise the well-depicted characters, and go on the journey of secrets and revelations. Elodie Winslow in 2017 is an archivist who is instantly likeable and relatable as the contents of a discarded satchel springs forth many secrets. Interspersed with the mysterious tenant of Birchwood Manor, Birdie Bell, back in 1862 these are slow burn reveals that increase their weight in the story and impact through the time of life, which is another one to enjoy reading, to savour on those days when you want to escape and just read a damn fine story.

STAFF BOOK OF THE MONTH - BRAIDEN - A Ladder To The Sky by John Boyne

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Meet Maurice Swift. He's cunning, narcissistic, manipulative and obsessively ambitious, aware of his physically striking appearance and charismatic charm, which he uses to steal the stories of others and climb the publishing ladder of success. He can string sentences together as his first victim and mentor, celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann, discovered, but Maurice is quite unimaginative and will blacklist and destroy the reputations of others to seek glory until he can no longer climb.

We initially meet Maurice as young hotel staff in West Berlin 1980. Erich, an older man longing for love and self-redemption, becomes infatuated with Maurice and invites him to be his assistant: "...made me long to reveal my secrets in the most self-destructive way imaginable. I wanted to confide in him, to tell him my story." That story, as a second-generation Mischling before the start of WWII who sells out Jews in a spiteful attempt to be with a man he loved, is the subject of Maurice's lauded first book 'Two Germans', but Maurice wants more, and the lives of other writers will become entangled in his sociopathic nature and this Machiavellian narrative of obsession and fame.

What I loved about The Heart's Invisible Furies last year was how intimately John Boyne develops and builds the story of a character, keeping the reader intrigued through his incredible words, prose, and in particular, his dialogue. What makes A Ladder to the Sky unique is that we get a construction of Maurice Swift's character through the perspectives of each person he uses.

This is an exceptional novel, one that I thought was falling into the pretentious author-writing-about-an-author trope, but surprised me beyond belief - Boyne's is much better than Richard Flanagan's and more serious than the recent Pulitzer Prize Winner.

STAFF BOOK OF THE MONTH - JESS - The Survival Game by Nicky Singer (Young Adult)

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This book has a different perspective on the classic Young Adult dystopian world. The world is not how we are used to it: it feels abandoned and desolate. Borders are strict, Identification papers are your one lifeline, and no one is to be trusted. It sets the scene of our potential future with the way our current world is going.

We begin the novel with no idea as to what has happened. We know three things: Mhairi is alone, she has a bullet-less gun, and she’s killed before. We see her attempt to travel to her old hometown in Scotland, and gradually pieces begin to come together. CASTLE has plagued the human population; CASTLE is neither an alien race or a human government system. Instead, it is a locked part of the mind that when unlocked can be led to devastation. As a result of this 14-year-old Mhairi is alone, that is until she meets a mute 5- year-old boy and her rules on being alone seem to go away.

For fans of “The 5th Wave” and John Marsden’s “Tomorrow When The War Began”, comes a new take on the dystopian genre. Mhairi is a strong, independent girl that is realistic in her description; she has faults and fears, character flaws and is impossibly stubborn. But when she meets a naïve little boy, we see a softer side of her and slowly begin to unravel her past and why she behaves the way she does.

A story of survival and the power of the smallest gesture of kindness.


Carolyn Rowland is a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching and A Professional Image Stylist.  Carolyn is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.

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