Book Haul – January 2021

Hey book nerds!

Welcome to It’s Not 2020 Anymore, formerly known as January. I hope you are safe and well.

I’m changing things up a bit this year. Last year I did Book Haul posts weekly but these will now be coming out at the end of each month.

I moved this month so there hasn’t been as much time for reading and moving costs have meant there hasn’t been as much money for books. Hopefully things will begin to settle down soon so I’ll be able to binge read again.

I started a Baby-Sitters Club binge last month (I’ve been planning on reading the entire series for years now) and am hoping to keep chipping away at the bazillion books in the series throughout the year.

Bookish Highlight: Theodora Hendrix and the Monstrous League of Monsters. I borrowed this from the library because I loved the cover. It was an unexpected gem. The main character is a lot of fun, there’s a haunted mansion, monsters and a mystery. And it’s the first in a series so I’ll get to hang out with my favourite characters and explore the mansion again.

End of December Reads:

January Reads


Book Mail

“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines – a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem …


‘Welcome, one and all, to the Robofight Games!’

Last week Ethan was just a teenage kid, lying in hospital with a brain tumour. That was last week.

Now, Ethan has the super-human power to hack any computer system with his mind, and he and Dr Penny are on the run from a corrupt government, and on the hunt for Gemini, the android healer-turned-deadly assassin.

The Robofight Games might be the perfect cover for their mission. Or they might find themselves in even more trouble …

Robot vs robot.
Human vs human.
Country vs country.
Who will cheat, and who will WIN?


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

The Women’s Murder Club returns for another thrilling crime investigation. Will their skills be enough to take down a brutal madman?

A brutal madman sprays bullets into a crowd of children leaving a San Francisco church. Miraculously – or was it intentionally? – only one person dies. Then an elderly black woman is hung. Police homicide inspector Lindsay Boxer senses a connection and together with medical examiner Claire, assistant D. A. Jill, and Chronicle reporter Cindy, finds a link that sends a chill through the entire nation. This killer’s motives are unspeakable.


In this debut issue of Weird Whispers we bring you a loose theme of origins. Paul Jessup gives us the first installment in his regular “Surveying the Weird” column, choosing to kick off with a focus on the weird side of winter in “Snow Weirds the World.”


Filled with a colourful and unforgettable cast of literary figures, The House at the End of Hope Street is a charming, whimsical novel of hope and feminine wisdom.

Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she’s never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in. 

She soon discovers that this is no ordinary house. Past residents have included Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Parker, who, after receiving the assistance they needed, hung around to help newcomers – literally, in talking portraits on the wall. As she escapes into this new world, Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds – and maybe even save her life. 


Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.

Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells – like true love – can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realises she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.


Jude is the owner of a rather special antiques shop in Cambridge. She finds all of the joy in her life matching people with the special something that they are missing, a talisman that will help bring them just what their heart most desires. Although Jude’s life is certainly not overflowing with the love she would wish for … when she ‘inherits’ a niece that she never knew existed, doubling her meagre family overnight, life is set to get a lot less empty and a lot more interesting.

Viola is on a quest for perfection and the top job of Head Chef at one of Cambridge’s most prestigious restaurants to the exclusion of all else. When her path continues to cross that of widower and food historian Mathieu, she starts to see that there’s a lot to life beyond the kitchen that she’s been missing out on.


In a forgotten nook of Cambridge a little shop stands where thousands of sheets of beautiful paper and hundreds of exquisite pens wait for the next person who, with Clara Cohen’s help, will express the love, despair and desire they feel to correspondents alive, estranged or dead. Clara knows better than most the power a letter can have to turn a person’s life around, so when she discovers a cache of wartime love letters, she follows them on the start of on a profound journey of her own.


Amandine Bisset has always had the power to feel the emotions of those around her. It’s a secret she can share only with her friends – all professors, all witches – when they gather for meetings on the college rooftops. Although lately she senses the ties among her colleagues beginning to unravel. If only she had her student Noa’s power to hear the innermost thoughts of others, she might know how to patch things up.

Mathematics professor Kat is struggling with unrequited love, but refuses to cast spells to win anyone’s heart. Her sister, Cosima, is not above using such magic, sprinkling pastries in her bakery with equal parts sugar and enchantment. But when Cosima sets her sights on the love of Kat’s life, she sets off a chain of events that turns each of the witches’ worlds upside down …


In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago.

As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home – wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks – she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie’s descendants, three generations of “Breckenridge women,” each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.


Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil – the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realised existed … until now.


Worshippers stream out of an Midwestern synagogue after sabbath services, unaware that only a hundred yards away, an expert marksman and  avowed racist, antisemite and member of the Ku Klux Klan, patiently awaits, his hunting rifle at the ready. 

 The October 8, 1977 shooting was a forerunner to the tragedies and divisiveness that plague us today. John Douglas, the FBI’s pioneering, first full-time criminal profiler, hunted the shooter – a white supremacist named Joseph Paul Franklin, whose Nazi-inspired beliefs propelled a three-year reign of terror across the United States, targeting African Americans, Jews, and interracial couples. In addition, Franklin bombed the home of Jewish leader Morris Amitay, shot and paralyzed Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, and seriously wounded civil rights leader Vernon Jordan. The fugitive supported his murderous spree robbing banks in five states, from Georgia to Ohio.

 Douglas and his writing partner Mark Olshaker return to this disturbing case that reached the highest levels of the Bureau, which was fearful Franklin would become a presidential assassin x and haunted him for years to come as the threat of copycat domestic terrorist killers increasingly became a reality. Detailing the dogged pursuit of Franklin that employed profiling, psychology and meticulous detective work, Douglas and Olshaker relate how the case was a make-or-break test for the still-experimental behavioural science unit and revealed a new type of, determined, mission-driven serial killer whose only motivation was hate.

A riveting, cautionary tale rooted in history that continues to echo today, The Killer’s Shadow is a terrifying and essential exploration of the criminal personality  in the vile grip of extremism and what happens when rage-filled speech evolves into deadly action and hatred of the “other” is allowed full reign.


This compassionate and insightful guide will demystify mental health issues and help anyone concerned about themselves or loved ones.

Leading psychiatrist Dr Mark Cross, from the acclaimed ABC TV series ‘Changing Minds’, feels strongly that everyone should have easy access to information they can trust about common mental health problems, whether for themselves or to help family or friends. The result is this empowering guide which aims to cut through the myths and taboos about mental health and offer clear, practical help. It covers a wide range of common issues, from bipolar, anxiety, personality and eating disorders, to depression, post-traumatic stress and schizophrenia, and includes how to get help, what treatments are available and how to live successfully with a mental illness. Most importantly, it shows how carers and families can help a loved one through what can be a very challenging time. Since almost half of all Australians will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lifetime, this book is for everyone.


Leon Weissmann is an introverted loner with no control over his life. His only joy is the menagerie of insects, spiders, and scorpions he tends to in his garage.

When he acquires an illegally poached rainforest spider, he unknowingly contracts a rare strain of fungus that enables him to control people, to make them do anything he wants.

As his power grows, Leon begins to abuse it until there are bodies in his wake and a coterie of brainwashed disciples under his influence. But soon Leon suspects that the thing growing inside his head may be the one with the power … It wants to come out. To reproduce. It wants to control everyone.


A collection of three powerfully disturbing novellas by multiple award-winning author, Stephen Graham Jones. 

There are lines that probably shouldn’t be crossed, doors that should stay shut, thoughts that shouldn’t be considered. In these three novellas by Stephen Graham Jones, the dead talk, ancient evil opens its eyes, and that guy across the parking lot, he’s watching you, and has been for a while now. 

Lock the door, tell yourself it’s nothing, turn the radio up. It won’t matter. You’re already three miles past where you meant to stop. 


For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob – a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life – hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world … and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.

There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.


Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro follows the young protagonists Hunter Glenn and Elly Ann through an adventure ripe with adversity, paranormal monsters, secret societies, and most haunting of all, a life without their parents. Both siblings suffer emotional struggle from the sudden loss of their parents, as well as their physical journey into a new and strange “home”; an ancient and creepy mansion known only as the Belmonte Estate. The children slowly unravel the secrets of their parents’ true identities, the origin of the strange mansion and their inheritance into an ancient secret society of monster hunters.


NetGalley

From the New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Radium Girls comes another dark and dramatic but ultimately uplifting tale of a forgotten woman whose inspirational journey sparked lasting change for women’s rights and exposed injustices that still resonate today.

1860: As the clash between the states rolls slowly to a boil, Elizabeth Packard, housewife and mother of six, is facing her own battle. The enemy sits across the table and sleeps in the next room. Her husband of twenty-one years is plotting against her because he feels increasingly threatened – by Elizabeth’s intellect, independence, and unwillingness to stifle her own thoughts. So Theophilus makes a plan to put his wife back in her place. One summer morning, he has her committed to an insane asylum.

The horrific conditions inside the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, are overseen by Dr. Andrew McFarland, a man who will prove to be even more dangerous to Elizabeth than her traitorous husband. But most disturbing is that Elizabeth is not the only sane woman confined to the institution. There are many rational women on her ward who tell the same story: they’ve been committed not because they need medical treatment, but to keep them in line – conveniently labeled “crazy” so their voices are ignored.

No one is willing to fight for their freedom and, disenfranchised both by gender and the stigma of their supposed madness, they cannot possibly fight for themselves. But Elizabeth is about to discover that the merit of losing everything is that you then have nothing to lose …

Bestselling author Kate Moore brings her sparkling narrative voice to The Woman They Could Not Silence, an unputdownable story of the forgotten woman who courageously fought for her own freedom – and in so doing freed millions more. Elizabeth’s refusal to be silenced and her ceaseless quest for justice not only challenged the medical science of the day, and led to a giant leap forward in human rights, it also showcased the most salutary lesson: sometimes, the greatest heroes we have are those inside ourselves.


Grey’s Anatomy meets One L in this psychiatrist’s charming and poignant memoir about his residency at Harvard.

Adam Stern was a student at a state medical school before being selected to train as a psychiatry resident at one of the most prestigious programs in the country. His new and initially intimidating classmates were high achievers from the Ivy League and other elite universities around the nation. Faculty raved about the group as though the residency program had won the lottery, nicknaming them “The Golden Class,” but would Stern ever prove that he belonged?

In his memoir, Stern pulls back the curtain on the intense and emotionally challenging lessons he and his fellow doctors learned while studying the human condition, and ultimately, the value of connection. The narrative focuses on these residents, their growth as doctors, and the life choices they make as they try to survive their grueling four-year residency. Rich with drama, insight, and emotion, Stern shares engrossing stories of life on the psychiatric wards, as well as the group’s experiences as they grapple with impostor syndrome and learn about love and loss. Most importantly, as they study how to help distressed patients in search of a better life, they discover the meaning of failure and the preciousness of success. Stern’s growth as a doctor, and as a man, have readers rooting for him and his patients, and ultimately find their own hearts fuller for having taken this journey with him.


Aidan disappeared for six days. Six agonising days of searches and police and questions and constant vigils. Then, just as suddenly as he vanished, Aidan reappears. Where has he been? The story he tells is simply … impossible. But it’s the story Aidan is sticking to.

His brother, Lucas, wants to believe him. But Lucas is aware of what other people, including their parents, are saying: that Aidan is making it all up to disguise the fact that he ran away.

When the kids in school hear Aidan’s story, they taunt him. But still Aidan clings to his story. And as he becomes more of an outcast, Lucas becomes more and more concerned. Being on Aidan’s side would mean believing in the impossible. But how can you believe in the impossible when everything and everybody is telling you not to?


A fizzingly funny, heartfelt middle-grade novel about a resourceful girl, her impractical mother and a kidnapping mystery.

Calla’s mum has never been normal. She’s been known to go out in a lab coat and slippers and often forgets to perform basic tasks because she’s been thinking about ducks. When a job offer arrives to study her beloved birds in the Amazon rainforest, Calla knows her mum has to go. Nervously, she agrees to go to boarding school.

She quickly learns that trouble is afoot in this odd convent school. A mean new headmistress is imposing horrible rules and making everyone eat Brussels sprout cake, and the students are itching to revolt. As Calla makes new friends and gets drawn into their rebellious plot, she keeps waiting for her mum to call. She will, won’t she?

Exuberantly funny and brimming with heart, How to Be Brave is a riotous celebration of the power of resourceful girls, stories and the right biscuit at the right time.


Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city filled with magic.

Ever since Anna can remember, her aunt has warned her of the dangers of magic. She has taught her to fear how it twists and knots and turns into something dark and deadly.

It was, after all, magic that killed her parents and left her in her aunt’s care. It’s why she has been protected from the magical world and, in one year’s time, what little magic she has will be bound. She will join her aunt alongside the other Binders who believe magic is a sin not to be used, but denied. Only one more year and she will be free of the curse of magic, her aunt’s teachings and the disappointment of the little she is capable of.

Nothing – and no one – could change her mind before then. Could it?


Determined to be the world’s greatest detective, Zaiba is always on the lookout for a crime to solve!

When a new family moves to the village, Zaiba is intrigued to hear about the strange happenings in their home. Things go missing, objects are smashed and unfriendly messages are painted on the walls. There have always been rumours that the house is haunted, but is a ghost really causing all this trouble? Zaiba and her team are convinced that the culprit is very much alive – and won’t stop until they get what they want …

The third book in a fun, fresh and exciting new detective series, for readers not quite ready for Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine, High Rise Mystery and Nancy Drew.


Marjorie Glatt’s life hasn’t been the same ever since she discovered a group of ghosts hiding in her family’s laundromat. Wendell, who died young and now must wander Earth as a ghost with nothing more than a sheet for a body, soon became one of Marjorie’s only friends. But when Marjorie finally gets accepted by the popular kids at school, she begins to worry that if anyone learns about her secret ghost friends, she’ll be labeled as a freak who sees dead people. With Marjorie’s insistence on keeping Wendell’s ghost identity a secret from her new friends, Wendell begins to feel even more invisible than he already is.

Eliza Duncan feels invisible too. She’s an avid photographer, and her zealous interest in finding and photographing ghosts gets her labeled as “different” by all the other kids in school. Constantly feeling on the outside, Eliza begins to feel like a ghost herself. Marjorie must soon come to terms with the price she pays to be accepted by the popular kids. Is it worth losing her friend, Wendell? Is she partially to blame for the bullying Eliza endures?

Delicates tells a powerful story about what it means to fit in, and those left on the outside. It shows what it’s like to feel invisible, and the importance of feeling seen. Above all, it is a story of asking for help when all seems dark, and bringing help and light to those who need it most. 


Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid. 

Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter. 

One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it. 

A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s