January Staff Favourites

by |February 9, 2018

January Staff Favourites

Welcome to our January favourites – the best books we read in January 2018.

One of the best things about working at Booktopia is getting to be surrounded by books. Not only do we get access to stacks of new releases, we’re also never short on recommendations of what to read next. Many of our staff are avid readers and passionate book lovers who enjoy discussing books as much as they do reading them.  And whilst there are so many fantastic new releases each month, sometimes there are so many beloved older titles just waiting to be discovered by us all.

In our monthly favourites blog posts, we’ll share with you the best books we’ve read in the month, whether they be new releases or backlist titles. Here are the books we’ve loved in January.

Tanaya’s Pick

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia.Eliza and Her Monsters
by Francesca Zappia

Why Tanaya loved it: This book is everything I love in a YA contemporary novel. The characters are realistic and relatable; the romance is sweet and well developed; and the writing is simply stunning. This book also includes some drawings throughout and they were such a fun addition to the story. A definite must-read for YA contemporary fans.

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds meets Nimona in this novel about art, fandom, and finding the courage to be yourself. Features illustrations by the author throughout. Perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, this is the second novel by the acclaimed author of Made You Up… Learn More.

Sarah’s Pick

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills.This Adventure Ends
by Emma Mills

Why Sarah loved it: This Adventure Ends is such a perfectly delightful read which not only captured my heart but also introduced me to Emma Mills, one of my new favourite Contemporary YA authors. Full of playful humour, raw emotion, offbeat charm and lovable characters, this is the perfect book for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Dessen.

Synopsis: Sloane isn’t expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida – especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that’s exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera’s twin brother and the most serious person Sloane’s ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins’ late mother goes…  Learn More.

Bron’s Pick

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick RothfussThe Wise Man’s Fear
The Kingkiller Chronicles: Book 2
by Patrick Rothfuss

Why Bron loved it: Rothfuss has a way of sucking you into his incredibly rich world. He makes you feel as if you’re walking alongside Kvothe as he calls down lightening to destroy his enemies, beds a mythological ‘fairy’ (#awkward), and plays his beloved lute. His university antics fondly remind me of Harry Potter running around Hogwarts (which is high praise), yet Kvothe makes waaaaaay more mistakes – which is all the more entertaining!

Synopsis: Sequel to the extraordinary The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear is the second instalment of this superb fantasy trilogy from Patrick Rothfuss. This is the most exciting fantasy series since George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and a must-read for all fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones… Learn More.

John’s Pick

The Everlasting Sunday by Robert LukinsThe Everlasting Sunday
by Robert Lukins

Why John loved it: The Everlasting Sunday is a beautifully written, subtle novel, dealing with loss, forgiveness, love, redemption and the complexity of our natures. It will reward readers who loved, as I did, The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop and The Good People by Hannah Kent.

Read John’s full review of The Everlasting Sunday.

Synopsis: During the freezing English winter of 1962, seventeen-year-old Radford is sent to Goodwin Manor, a home for boys who have been ‘found by trouble’. Drawn immediately to the charismatic West, Radford soon discovers that each one of them has something to hide.

Life at the Manor offers a refuge of sorts, but unexpected arrivals threaten the world the boys have built. Will their friendship be enough when trouble finds… Learn More.

Ben’s Pick

The Only Story by Julian Barnes.The Only Story
by Julian Barnes 

Why Ben loved it: This is book is a masterpiece. Reading it has changed my world.

Read Ben’s full review of The Only Story here.

Synopsis: Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question.

First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesn’t know anything about that at nineteen. At nineteen, he’s proud of the fact his relationship flies in the face of social convention.

As he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen.

Tender and profound, The Only Story is an achingly beautiful novel by one of fiction’s greatest mappers of the human heart. Learn More.

 Emma’s Pick

Try Hard by Em Rusciano.Try Hard: Tales From the Life of a Needy Overachiever
by Em Rusciano

Why Emma loved it: I knew of Rusciano from her days in Australian Idol. She was on my radar during her radio days (updates popping up on my Facebook feed) but it was the description of this book – the real life issues of postnatal depression, anxiety, very high highs and extreme lows as she navigated adult life – that made me want to read it. Every word sounds like it is Rusciano telling the story. It’s all in her voice with laugh out loud moments and her stories of being drawn into performing and creative pursuits time and time again. This book resonates with me. It’s been a great (and sassy) read about life, love, music, depression and a reminder to always try your hardest to be true to yourself.

Synopsis: Now with extra sass – three fabulous new chapters – the bestselling laugh-out-loud memoir of one of Australia’s most adored performers on stage and radio… Learn More.

Cass’ Pick

Living Beautifully by Pema Chodron.Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change
by Pema Chodron

Why Cass loved it: Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron gently introduces readers to the Three Vows of Buddhism. This one is on my bedside table, and considering I took four attempts to start Chapter 2 (focused on being present) last night, this feels like a timely read. Whilst I haven’t finished the book yet, I can already tell it is going to be a favourite!

Synopsis: Is it possible to live well when the very ground we stand on is shaky? Yes, says everyone’s favorite Buddhist nun, it’s even possible to live beautifully, compassionately, and happily on shaky ground—and the secret is: the ground is always shaky. Pema shows how using a traditional Buddhist practice called the Three Vows or Three Commitments, offering us a way to relax into profound sanity in the midst of whatever non-sanity is happening around us. Just making these simple aspirations can change the way… Learn More.

Tracey’s Pick

The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman.The Lost Plot
The Invisible Library Series: Book 4
by Genevieve Cogman

Why Tracey loved it: The Lost Plot is the fourth book in Genevieve Gogman’s Invisible Library series – a series that I am utterly addicted to. The books tell the story of Irene, a librarian who works for The Invisible Library, a secretive library that sits outside of normal space-time. Irene, along with her apprentice, a dragon named Kai, embark on adventures into different parallel worlds, collecting books, creating chaos and fighting foes. With a cast of characters including fae, dragons, mechanical animals, vampires, werewolves and a detective reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes, this series is so jam packed full of mystery and mayhem and is so much fun to read.

Synopsis: The fourth title in Genevieve Cogman’s witty and wonderful The Invisible Library series, The Lost Plot is an action-packed literary adventure… Learn More.

Jess’ Pick

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder.Poison Study
Study Series: Book 1
by Maria V. Snyder

Why Jessica loved it: Poison Study is one of those books that creates a world so magical that you can’t help falling into it for hours at a time. The twists and turns surprise and delight, leaving you wanting so much more. If you want to convince a friend that YA is the genre to read, then look no further than Maria V. Synder and her Study series – they won’t be disappointed!

Synopsis: Choose: A quick death or slow poison…

On the eve of her execution for murder, Yelena Zaltana is offered an incredible reprieve – on the condition that she becomes the food taster for the military leader of Ixia, Commander Ambrose.

Avoiding poison is the least of her troubles…  Learn More.

Lara’s Pick

Sapiens by Yuval Noah HarariSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
by Yuval Noah Harari

Why Lara loved it: Sapiens is an eye-opening read that divulges some of the secrets of human history in an accessible and concise way. It is both educational and informative as well as fascinating from open to close.

Synopsis: Yuval Harari’s international bestseller is a thrilling account of humankind’s extraordinary history – from insignificant apes to rulers of the world

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia… Learn More.

Alex’s Pick

Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn.Running with the Kenyans
by Adharanand Finn

Why Alex loved it: English journalist and runner Adharanand Finn is already a good runner but now as a family man perhaps his best days are behind him. He wants to have one last shot to see what he is capable of so moves with his family to live and train in the hotbed of distance running in Iten, Kenya. Finn tells an engaging story of his journey, and runners will certainly find something of interest in his investigations.

Synopsis: An epic personal quest to discover the remarkable secrets of the world’s greatest runners.

After years of watching Kenyan athletes win the world’s biggest races, from the Olympics to big city marathons, Runner’s World contributor Adharanand Finn set out to discover just what it was that made them so fast – and to see if he could keep up… Learn More.

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About the Contributor

Tanaya has been a lover of books for as long as she can remember. Now, her book collection is a little out of control, mostly consisting of YA fiction and pretty hardcovers. When she’s not reading, she spends a lot of her time taking photos of books for her bookstagram account, @prettypagesblog. She also has a love of Disneyland, bullet journaling and cats.

Follow Tanaya: Twitter


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