Book talk: 5 holiday reads


Jeff and Michael Popple recommend 5 good reads for the holiday period.

1. The Turn of Midnight by Minette Walters

Allen & Unwin, $32.99

Those looking for something special to buy themselves should check out this impressive literary adventure set in the heart of the Black Death. As 1349 approaches, the plague continues to devastate England. Only the small town of Develish remains mostly untouched, quarantined by its mistress. As the people of Develish explore the horrors surrounding them, they come up with an audacious plan to cast off the chains of serfdom for good. This intriguing read makes excellent use of the book’s outstanding historical detail and depth to create a compelling story. A good book for those who want a bit more from their holiday reading.

2. Scent of Fear by Tony Park

Macmillan, $29.99

Tony Park is one of Australia’s best thriller writers and his latest African-based novel is another exciting adventure yarn. Afghanistan veteran Sean Burke and his tracker dog Benny are working in South Africa as part of the country’s war against wildlife poachers. When a bomb nearly kills one of his team, Sean realises that someone has added a deadly new element to the war on poaching. Haunted by his own demons, Sean desperately tries to track the bombmaker down before more of his team are injured or killed. This is a first-rate thriller ideal for beach reading this holiday season.

3. Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Gollancz, $29.99

Another good holiday book, or last-minute Christmas present, is this outstanding young adult novel from one of the biggest names in fantasy fiction. Spencer lives on a planet constantly attacked by the ships of the alien Krell. She dreams of piloting a ship to fight them; however, as the daughter of an infamous deserter, she must prove herself before she can have a chance to fly and see the stars. Featuring a powerful coming-of-age story and graphic descriptions of aerial combat, this book is perfect for readers of all ages and is a great addition to the reading pile.

4. Life on the Leash by Victoria Schade

Allen & Unwin, $29.99

Victoria Schade, one of America’s foremost dog trainers, makes a sparkling entry into romantic comedy with her first novel. Cora Bellamy runs a successful dog training business. She is happily single until she finds herself falling for a sexy new client and discovering that there is also a growing spark between her and one of her male friends, the geeky Eli. Suddenly her love life is more tangled up than a dog walker’s leashes. Light and breezy, with great insights into the minds of dogs and how to look after them, this is a good, fun read.

5. Space Atlas by Tom Jackson and Ana Djordjevic

QED, $24.99

Are your children interested in the stars? Then this fantastic new chronicle of all things space is sure to appeal to them. Containing an amazing, interesting and very understandable summary of the sun, our solar system, the galaxies and our universe as a whole, this book is perfect for those parents who want to inspire their children to reach for the stars these holidays. Covering a substantial number of topics, with a huge variety of facts and information as well as some fantastic visual treats, your kids will be amazed at the universe that surrounds us.

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