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Top 5 Autumn Reads

Now that those long summer days are behind us it’s time to curl up on the couch with a good book. We’ve found 5 of the best new autumn reads, from a murder mystery to Peter Carey’s emotional love story. What are you reading now?

The Hidden Summit, by Robyn Carr. Published by Mira, RRP $29.99.

When Connor Danson unwittingly witnesses a violent crime, he is forced to leave Sacremento and keep a low profile until the trial is over. He arrives in the tiny mountain town of Virgin River with a chip on his shoulder and an ache in his heart.?Leslie Petruso didn’t want to leave her hometown either. But she couldn’t stand another minute of listening to her ex-husband tell everyone that his new wife and impending fatherhood are the best things that ever happened to him. Virgin River may not be home, but it’s a place where she can be anonymous. Neither Connor nor Leslie are remotely interested in starting a relationship…until they meet one another. Even they can’t deny they have a lot in common – broken hearts notwithstanding. And in Virgin River, no one can stay hidden away from life and love for very long…

The Festival By The Sea, by June Loves. Published by Penguin Books Australia, RRP $27.95.

Gina Laurel is ready to move on from her quiet life at Shelly Beach – and she’s got the brilliant job offer to prove it. But when her erstwhile lover – and director of the inaugural Shelly Beach Writers’ Festival – takes a job in the city, Gina finds herself the last-minute fill-in as director of the chaotic seaside festival.

Before she can rejoin the rat race, she must negotiate her way through celebrity-author hissy fits, champagne galas, rogue pirates and giant mice . . . not to mention a love/hate relationship with the former festival director. As the festival looms ever closer, Gina has some big decisions to make. Is she really ready to swap her ocean view for an office desk and the bright lights of the city?

From the author of The Shelly Beach Writers’ Group comes the second hilarious instalment of Gina’s adventures at Shelly Beach, full of wit, warmth and whimsy.

Catch Me, by Lisa Gardner. Published by Headline Fiction, RRP $32.99.

The latest brilliant novel in the D.D. Warren series from Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller Lisa Gardner.
Detective D.D. Warren thought she’d seen it all. Until a lone woman outside D.D.’s latest crime scene shocks her with a remarkable proposition: twenty-seven-year-old Charlene Grant believes she will be murdered in four days. And she’d like Boston’s top detective to handle the investigation. Every year, at 8 p.m. on 21 January, a woman has died. Different states, different police jurisdictions, always the same MO, and all with one link in common: childhood best friends from a small town in New Hampshire. Now only one friend remains, Charlie Grant.

But this friend doesn’t plan on going down without a fight. As D.D. races against the clock to find a lone gunman killing pedophiles in Boston, she must also delve into the murders of Charlie’s friends, seeking the common thread to help unravel what kind of person would track down childhood playmates, only to murder them one by one.

The Long Road Home, by Mary Alice Munroe Published By Mira RRP $29.99.

Her husband’s suicide left Nora MacKenzie alone, and his shady Wall Street dealings left the Manhattan socialite penniless. By a miracle she’s held on to their mountainside farm – and she’ll keep holding on, no matter what. The property is Nora’s one chance to wring some dignity out of the sham she’s been living. The Vermont locals think she’s a city girl on a nature kick, but she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Nora’s serious about learning the farming business… if she can figure out where to begin. Against the locals’ skepticism, she has only one ally: Charles ‘C.W.’ Walker.??C.W. is hardworking, gentle with animals and a patient teacher of the hundreds of chores Nora needs to learn. Slowly she starts to believe she’ll survive in her new life, even flourish. She might even be willing to open her heart again. But she won’t return to a life of lies…and the truth about C.W. may be more than Nora’s fragile heart can bear.

The Chemistry of Tears, by Peter Carey. Published by Penguin Books Australia, RRP $39.95.

An automaton, a secret love story, a man and a woman who can never meet, and the fate of the warming world are all brought to incandescent life in this haunting new novel from one of the most admired writers of our time.? ?When Catherine Gehrig, a museum conservator and clock expert, finds out that her very married lover of thirteen years has dropped dead, she has keep her grief a secret. But with no outlet other than vodka, her sorrow is close to driving the hyper-rational Catherine mad. The only person who knew of their affair–her boss–tries to distract and rescue her by giving her a project that demands all of her attention: the reconstruction of an elaborate nineteenth-century automaton.

In the crates containing its bits and pieces, Catherine discovers a series of notebooks written by Henry Brandling, who, in 1854, commissioned the extraordinary, eerie mechanical creature in an attempt to bring joy to his consumptive little son. Henry’s is a personal account of his adventures in the wilds of Germany, a diary that brings Catherine unexpected comfort, fellow feeling and wonder. But it is the automaton itself, in its beautiful, uncanny imitation of life, that links Henry’s life to Catherine’s, as both are confronted with the miracle and catastrophe of human invention, and the body’s astonishing chemistry of love and feeling.

What are you reading right now?

March 5, 2012

Christmas Gift Guide: Books For Him

From Stephen King’s latest mystery to Billy Connolly’s funniest read yet, we’ve got 10 books that he won’t be able to put down all summer.

Scarecrow and The Army of Thieves, by Matthew Reilly. Macmillan, $44.99.

At an abandoned Soviet base in the Arctic, the battle to save the world has begun…
The Secret Base – It is a top-secret base known only as Dragon Island. A long-forgotten relic of the Cold War, it houses a weapon of terrible destructive force, a weapon that has just been re-activated…?A Renegade Army – When Dragon Island is seized by a brutal terrorist force calling itself the Army of Thieves, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and there are no crack units close enough to get there in time to stop the Army setting off the weapon.?One Small Team – Except, that is, for a small equipment-testing team up in the Arctic led by a Marine captain named Schofield, call-sign SCARECROW. It’s not a strike force; just a handful of Marines and civilians. It’s not equipped to attack a fortified island held by a vicious army. But Scarecrow will lead the team in anyway, because someone has to.

Mawson, by Peter FitzSimons. Random House, $49.95

Sir Douglas Mawson, born in 1882 and knighted in 1914, remains Australia’s greatest Antarctic explorer. On 2 December 1911, his Australasian Antarctic Expedition left Hobart to explore the virgin frozen coastline below Australia, 2000 miles of which had never felt the tread of a human foot. He was on his way to fulfil a national dream he had first conceived three years earlier, while on his first trip to the frozen continent on the Nimrod expedition under the leadership of the charismatic Anglo-Irishman Sir Ernest Shackleton.??Even as Mawson and his men were approaching Antarctica, two other famous Antarctic explorers were already engaged in nothing less than a race to become the first men to reach the South Pole. While Roald Amundsen of Norway, with his small team, was racing with dogs along one route, England’s legendary Scott of the Antarctic, with his far larger team, was relying primarily on ponies and ‘man-hauling’ to get there along another. As Mawson and his men make their home on the windiest place on earth and prepare for their own record-breaking treks, with devastating drama to be their constant companion, the stories of Amundsen and Scott similarly play out.??With his trademark in-depth research, FitzSimons provides a compelling portrait of these great Antarctic explorers. For the first time, he weaves together their legendary feats into one thrilling account, bringing the jaw-dropping events of this bygone era dazzlingly back to life.

The Litigators, by John Grisham. Hodder/Stoddard, $29.99.

Oscar Finley: street cop turned street lawyer.Wally Figg: expert hustler and ambulance-chaser. David Zinc: Harvard Law School graduate. Together, this unlikely trio make up Finley & Figg: specialists in injury claims, quickie divorces and DUIs. None of them has ever faced a jury in federal court. But they are about to take on one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the States.
David gave up his lucrative career at Chicago’s leading law firm for this: the chance to help the little guy stand up to the big corporations. But if Finley & Figg have right on their side, why do his new partners feel the need to carry guns in their briefcases David thought he was used to cut-throat law from his days at Rogan Rothberg, but this is something else. He knows he was right to get out. He just may live to regret his new choice of firm…

Zero Day, by David Baldacci. Macmillan, $29.99.

John Puller is a former war hero and now the best military investigator in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Division. He is a loner with few possessions by preference, but he has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable determination for finding the truth. His father was the most decorated U.S. Marine in history, but now resides in a nursing home far from his battlefield glory. Puller’s older brother, also a military vet, is serving a life sentence in Leavenworth Penitentiary.
Puller is called out to a remote, rural area far from any military outpost to investigate into the brutal murder of a family in their home. The dead husband was in the army and the wife worked for a Pentagon contractor. The local homicide detective, a woman with personal demons of her own, clashes with Puller over the investigation. What neither of them knows is what is waiting for them across the street from the murdered family’s home. Absolutely nothing, and nobody, Puller’s so far seen in this small town, are what they seem. He is truly one man against an overwhelming force.

The Impossible Dead, by Ian Rankin. Orion, $32.99.

Malcolm Fox and his team from Internal Affairs have been sent to Fife to investigate whether fellow cops covered up for a corrupt colleague, Detective Paul Carter. But what should be a simple job is soon complicated by intimations of conspiracy and cover-up – and a brutal murder, a murder committed with a weapon that should not even exist.

Man Lab, by James May. Hodder, $35.00.

James May’s mission to save modern man…Thirty years ago, men were resourceful, practical and dependable, but not anymore. Today we have lost the once familiar skills all men had – the skills to build things, make things and mend things. In Man Lab, James May leads a team of today’s lost male souls on the slight muddy but invigorating path to enlightenment.

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, by Walter Isaacson. Little Brown, $45.00.

From bestselling author Walter Isaacson comes the landmark biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs’ family members, key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.

Billy Connolly’s Route 66, by Billy Connolly. Sphere, $35.00.

Having always dreamed about taking a trip on the legendary Route 66, Billy Connolly is finally heading off on the ride of a lifetime. Travelling all 2,488 miles of this epic road, known as ‘The Main Street of America’, the Big Yin will share the experiences of the countless travellers who have taken the journey before him. The tales he’ll gather on the way, from the skyscrapers of Chicago through the Wild West badlands of Oklahoma and Texas, and on to the beaches of the Pacific coast, will tell the story of modern America. And they might just inspire a few readers to get on their bikes as well.

11.22.63, by Stephen King. Hodder, $34.99.

A riveting, high-stakes political story like Under the Dome, a love story like Bag of Bones, a 1950s community like It, Stephen King’s incredibly ambitious, heart stoppingly dramatic time travel novel, 11/22/63 is a “What if…” story like no one’s ever read before – a one thousand page tour de force. What If you could go back in time and change the course of history? What If the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination?

11/22/63, the date that Kennedy was shot – unless . . .With extraordinary imaginative power, King weaves the social, political and popular culture of his baby-boom American generation into a devastating exercise in escalating suspense.

Devil’s Gate: Numa Files, by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown. Penguin, $39.95.

Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala and the rest of the NUMA® Special Assignments Team are back . . . and they just may have met their match.??A Japanese cargo ship cruises the eastern Atlantic near the Azores – when it bursts into flames.  A gang of pirates speeds to take advantage of the disaster – but their boat explodes.  What on earth is happening?  What does it have to do with the kidnapping of a tip scientist from the streets of Geneva.  With the defection sixty years ago of a mysterious Russian?  With the discovery of an extraordinary underwater graveyard of ships and planes littered across the sea floor???As Austin and Zavala and the rest of team rush to investigate, they find themselves drawn into the extraordinary ambitions of an African dictator, the creation of a weapon of almost mythical power, and an unimaginably audacious plan to extort the world’s major nations. The penalty for refusal?  The destruction of the world’s greatest cities.  Starting with Washington, DC…Filled with the high-stakes suspense and boundless invention that are unique to Cussler, Devils Gate is one of the most thrilling novels yet from the grand master of adventure.

What are you getting the men in your life for Christmas?

December 21, 2011