December is always the greatest time for book lovers, not only because of the imminent book vouchers under the Xmas tree, but also because the summer holidays finally give us a moment of peace and quiet to work through all those books we’ve been meaning to read.
Here are a few we’ll be reading over the holidays. What about you? What’s at the top of your summer holiday reading list?
The Betrayal by Kate Furnival: The Betrayal is an unforgettably powerful, epic story of love, loss and the long shadow of war, perfect for readers of Santa Montefiore and Victoria Hislop. It is an evocative, richly told story that summons up all the decadence of 1930s Paris – Furnivall at her gripping best.
Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich: Sleuth Stephanie Plum returns in her latest captivating thriller where mutilated corpses litter the streets of New Jersey. Jersey’s favourite bounty hunter is stuck in the middle with more questions than answers. Who is behind the startling epidemic of mutilated corpses? And is the enigmatic Diesel’s sudden appearance a coincidence or the cause of recent deadly events?
Burke and Wills by Peter Fitzsimons: Melbourne, 20 August 1860. In an ambitious quest to be the first Europeans to cross the harsh Australian continent, the Victorian Exploring Expedition sets off, farewelled by 15,000 cheering well-wishers. Almost immediately plagued by disputes and sackings, the expeditioners battled the extremes of the Australian landscape and weather: its deserts, the boggy mangrove swamps of the Gulf, the searing heat and flooding rains. Food ran short and, unable to live off the land, the men nevertheless mostly spurned the offers of help from the local Indigenous people.
Facing the Flame by Jackie French: There have been fires before, but not like this. Heartbreaking and powerful, Facing the Flame is a story of the triumph of courage and community, and a love for the land so deep that not even bushfire can erode it.
Working Class Man by Jimmy Barnes: A spellbinding and searingly honest reflection on success, fame and addiction; this self-penned memoir reveals how Jimmy Barnes used the fuel of childhood trauma to ignite and propel Australia’s greatest rock’n’roll story. But beyond the combustible merry-go-round of fame, drugs and rehab, across the Cold Chisel, solo and soul years – this is a story about how it’s never too late to try and put things right.
In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende: Exploring the timely issues of human rights and the plight of immigrants and refugees, the book recalls Allende’s landmark novel The House of the Spirits in the way it embraces the cause of “humanity, and it does so with passion, humour, and wisdom that transcend politics” (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post). In the Midst of Winter will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
The Greatest Gift by Rachael Johns: Can they find someone who will give them the greatest gift? Or will it come at a greater cost? The poignant, heartwarming story of two women: one who wants nothing else than to be a mum, and one who never wanted to be a mother, from the bestselling, ABIA award-winning author of The Patterson Girls.
Under the Cold Bright Lights by Gary Disher: This is a thumping good thriller by one of Australia’s foremost crime novelists. His assured mastery of language together with driving plots that never skimp on those layers of complexity so important in a thumping good thriller, make reading Disher a treat. And his new stand-alone crime novel, Under the Cold Bright Lights, is exactly that – Disher at his classy best.
Delicious Daily recipes by Phoebe Wood: From nourishing soups, homemade gourmet pizzas and meat-free mains to Zesty Oregano and Lemon Prawns, Caramelised Pork Belly and a decadent Gaytime-inspired cake, there’s plenty here for everyone to enjoy. Food is life. Make it delicious. Every single day.
Year One by Nora Roberts: They call it The Doom – a deadly pandemic that starts on a cold New Year’s Eve in the Scottish countryside. There’s something mysterious about the virus and the way it spreads. As billions fall sick and die, some survivors find themselves invested with strange, unexpected abilities.
Thrill! by Jackie Collins: A celebration edition of Jackie Collins at her most outrageous, unputdownable best – a sexy roller-coaster thrill ride! Lara is a dazzling movie star with the world at her feet, but at thirty-two she has yet to find a man capable of living with such a tempting object of desire…
The Demon Crown by James Rollins: Buried beneath the National Mall lies a terrifying secret, dating back to the founding of the Smithsonian Institution: a cache of bones preserved in amber. The artifact was hidden away by a cabal of scientists led by Alexander Graham Bell to protect humankind. But they dared not destroy it, for the object also holds an astonishing promise for the future: the very secret of life after death.
Past Perfect by Danielle Steel: When Blake is offered a dream job as CEO of a start-up in San Francisco, he accepts it, without consulting his wife, and buys a magnificent, historic mansion as their new home in Pacific Heights. Past and present collide at their elegant mansion, when they meet the large and lively family who lived there a century ago. All long dead but very much alive in spirit—visible to the Gregorys and no one else.
The Red Coast by Di Morrissey: After the upheaval which separated Jacqui Bouchard from her beloved son, she has finally settled in Broome, a magical remote town on the northwest coast of Australia. But when a proposed mining development is unveiled, the town begins to tear itself apart. Rifts run deep, as friends, families and lovers are faced with a battle that could change their lives irrevocably. As everyone takes sides, Jacqui confronts her own dilemma – to stay or leave? Who to trust? . . . Who to love?
Ada by Kaz Cooke: Kaz Cooke has inspired girls and women for years with her runaway bestselling advice books such as Up the Duff, Girl Stuff, Women Stuff, and Kidwrangling. She is also a professional cartoonist and is responsible for all the illustrations in her books. But now, for the first time, Cooke has turned her hand to fiction. The result? Ada, a spellbinding novel about cunning clairvoyants, fierce loyalties, the glamour of stage and the muck of the road.
A Long Way From Home by Peter Carey: This thrilling, high-speed story starts in one way and then takes you someplace else. It is often funny, the more so as the world gets stranger, and always a page-turner, even as you learn a history these characters never knew themselves. Set in the 1950s amid the consequences of the age of empires, this brilliantly vivid and lively novel reminds us how Europeans took possession of a timeless culture – the high purpose they invented and the crimes they committed along the way.
Saga Land by Richard Fidler & Kari Gislason: Together, Richard and Kari travel across Iceland, to the places where the sagas unfolded a thousand years ago. They cross fields, streams and fjords to immerse themselves in the folklore of this fiercely beautiful island. And there is another mission: to resolve a longstanding family mystery – a gift from Kari’s Icelandic father that might connect him to the greatest of the saga authors.
The Tea Gardens by Fiona McIntosh: A heartbreaking story about the pursuit of passion. From England’s seaside town of Brighton to India’s slums of Calcutta and the breathtaking Himalayan mountains, this is a wildly exciting novel of heroism, heartache and healing, by the bestselling author ofThe Chocolate Tin.
And Fire Came Down by Emma Viskic: Deaf since early childhood, Caleb Zelic used to meet life head-on. Now he’s struggling just to get through the day. His best mate is dead, his ex-wife, Kat, is avoiding him, and nightmares haunt his waking hours. But when a young woman is killed after pleading for his help in sign language, Caleb is determined to find out who she was. And the trail leads straight to his hometown, Resurrection Bay.
The Trip of a Lifetime by Monica McInerney: The highly anticipated new blockbuster novel from the beloved author of The Alphabet Sisters and Lola’s Secret, this is a rich and highly entertaining story about family, love, lies and memories, and the true meaning of ‘home’.