The best books we read in February

by |March 2, 2018

February Favourites

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

This month there’s something for everyone, with our staff reading across a variety of genres. From YA to non-fiction, fantasy to kids’ books, the Booktopia staff have some great recommendations for you!

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 February.

Tanaya’s Pick

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste NgEverything I Never Told You
by Celeste Ng

Why Tanaya loved it: I read Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere late last year and instantly fell in love with her beautiful, poignant writing and her deeply flawed but realistic characters. After finishing Everything I Never Told You I can easily say that Celeste Ng is a new favourite author of mine. Everything I Never Told You is a deeply moving and highly character driven novel that had me enthralled from the very first page. A definite must-read!

Synopsis: Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee; a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue – in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the centre of every party. But Lydia is under pressures that have nothing… Learn More.

Bron’s Pick

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Audio Book by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter Series: Audio Book 3
by J.K. Rowling

Why Bron loved it: It’s been years since I read these books and instead of rereading them, I decided to listen to the audio books narrated by Stephen Fry, aka the best decision EVER. On my long trips to and from work, I now find a smile plastered onto my face as I’m yelling at the radio ‘GO HARRY! CATCH THE SNITCH!’. It’s a fantastic series for those who haven’t read or seen it (do those people even exist?) and I can’t recommend it enough for anyone wanting fun, warming, but sometimes heartbreaking stories.

Synopsis: New, repackaged audio editions of the classic and internationally bestselling, multi-award-winning series, read by Stephen Fry.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is completely unabridged across 10 CDs with a total running time of 12 hours and 5 minutes featuring irresistible new jackets by Jonny Duddle to bring Harry Potter to the next generation of readers… Learn More.

Ben’s Pick

Conversations with Friends by Sally RooneyConversations with Friends
by Sally Rooney

Why Ben loved it: Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends is a novel I’ve turned over in my mind again and again after reading. The characters are flawed, selfish and entirely familiar, I both detest them and am fully made aware of their humanity and vulnerabilities at once. It’s the work of an author of great compassion and literary prowess.

Synopsis: A sharply intelligent novel about friendship, lust, jealousy, and the unexpected complications of adulthood in the 21st century.

Frances is a cool-headed and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend and comrade-in-arms is the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, Frances and Bobbi catch the eye of Melissa, a well-known photographer, and as the girls are then… Learn More.

John’s Pick

Howards End Audio Book by E. M. ForsterHowards End Audio Book
by E. M. Forster 

Why John loved it: I first read Howards End when I was eighteen. I told everyone I could it was the best novel I had ever read. I was in love with a book like I had never been in love with a book before. Did I understand it? I don’t think I did, not fully, but I enjoyed it and knew it was brilliant. I have since reread it every five years or so. I measure my intellectual inadequacies against it. I still don’t understand it as I should. But I adore it. Recently I have been listening to the audio version as I face the Sydney traffic. And I highly recommend the audio as well. But I do suggest reading the book yourself. At least the first time.

Synopsis: Howards End is the story of the Schlegel sisters and their struggle to come to terms with social class and their German heritage in Edwardian England. Their lives are intertwined with those of the wealthy Wilcox family and their country house, Howards End, as well as the lower-middle-class Basts… Learn More.

Olivia’s Pick

Margaret the First by Danielle DuttonMargaret the First
by Danielle Dutton

Why Olivia loved it: If I were to ask any historical figure to dinner Margaret Cavendish would probably be first on my list, thanks to this exquisite little gem of a book. In Margaret the First, Danielle Dutton has beautifully imagined the life of this visionary writer who scandalised 17th century English society by publishing volumes of her own poetry and philosophy. Filled with prose that is as lush and exciting as Margaret herself, this book enraptured me right from the start.

Synopsis: “I am as Ambitious as ever any of my Sex was, is, or can be; though I cannot be Henry the Fifth, or Charles the Second, yet I endeavour to be Margaret the First.”

When Margaret Cavendish addressed the Royal Society, Samuel Pepys recorded that her dress was “so antic and her deportment so unordinary, that I do not like her at all”. And indeed, here vividly reimagined by Danielle Dutton… Learn More.

Cass’ Pick

Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah KnightGet Your Sh*t Together
by Sarah Knight

Why Cass loved it: One of my friends recommended this one, and I took a gamble on the audio, since I actually wasn’t into The Lifechanging Magic of Not Giving a F*ck. Knight keeps it pretty simple, boiling getting sh*t done to three basic steps, with some focused pointers along the way. Whichever chipmunk you are (I’m an Alvin/Simon mix), Knight has tips on how to achieve your goals and get to where you want to be.

Synopsis: Bestselling anti-guru, Sarah Knight, reveals how to stop whining and start winning!

Sarah Knight’s first book, internationally bestselling The Life-changing Magic Of Not Giving A F**k may have transformed your life. Now it’s time to take one further step along the road to mental declutterment; to stop whining and to start winning. In short, it’s time to Get Your Sh*t Together!

As someone who quit her job in corporate America… Learn More.

Sarah’s Pick 

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffObsidio
The Illuminae Files: Book 3
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Why Sarah loved it: Obsidio is the final book in the Illuminae trilogy and oh my gosh, what a spectacular finale!!!! I love this series so much, it’s such a wild, crazy-amazing thrill ride of awesomeness. Every book is packed full of witty banter, lovable characters, a riveting plot that moves along at breakneck speed and so much raw emotion that it’s not unusual to find yourself laughing at the beginning of a chapter and then crying by the end. I did so much laugh/crying during Obsidio and can’t wait to read it all over again!

Synopsis: Kady, Ezra, Hanna and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza – but who knows what they’ll find seven months after… Learn More.

Nick’s Pick

The Lean Startup by Eric RiesThe Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
by Eric Ries

Why Nick loved it: This is a great book if you need motivation to create a more agile work flow when working with teams. The learnings can be easily adapted to a variety of businesses, not just start-ups.

Synopsis: Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500… Learn More.

Tracey’s Pick

The Book of Life by Deborah HarknessThe Book of Life
All Souls Trilogy: Book 3
by Deborah Harkness

Why Tracey loved it: This is a series I just love and have read (and listened to) many times. It is a story of witches, wizards and daemons, but is unlike any others in its genre. The author is an academic and that comes through in the rich tapestry of fact and fiction that is interwoven throughout the books. Utterly compelling and seductive, this is a fantasy series unlike any other.

Synopsis: Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in the stunning climax to their epic tale, following A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night.

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it… Learn More.

Rob’s Pick

The Everlasting Sunday by Robert LukinsThe Everlasting Sunday
by Robert Lukins

Why Rob loved it: Robert Lukins is a debut Australian writer who has arrived fully-formed and, with a skill already well-honed, he has captived me. The Everlasting Sunday tells of the young lads at Manor House, an institution for boys that have been “found by trouble”. Caught by a ferocious winter snap, they are housebound and isolated, their personalities bumping and aligning as they cling to their secrets and rivalries in the crumbling mansion. Lukins tells this story in exquisite, almost-Victorian prose, framing a powerful story of hope and hurt with intense imagery and wonderful dialogue.

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… Learn More.

Arthur’s Pick

Fire and Fury by Michael WolffFire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
by Michael Wolff

Why Arthur loved it: This book is a thorough collection of the biggest Trump headlines and gives us a disturbing behind the scenes look at the people who work (or worked – most have since been fired or resigned) closely with the most controversial political figure of modern times. This is a riveting and informative book and it became apparent after the first chapter why this is the most buzzed about book of the year so far!

Synopsis: The first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous – and absolutely mesmerising. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself.

In this explosive book, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office…  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


  • March 2, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    How could you possibly have overlooked Katherine Kovacic’s book The Portrait of Molly Dean?! In my opinion, this will be one of the most significant and absorbing books of the year! Perhaps we are reviewing for very different markets……

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