1. Vicious Circle by Wilbur Smith
Booktopia synopsis: When Hector Cross’s new life is overturned, he immediately recognizes the ruthless hand of an enemy he has faced many times before: a terrorist group has re-emerged – like a deadly scorpion from beneath its rock. Determined to fight back, Hector draws together a team of his most loyal friends from his former life in Cross Bow Security, a company originally contracted to protect his beloved wife, Hazel Bannock, and her company, the Bannock Oil Corp. They travel to the remotest Middle East, to hunt down those who pursue him and his loved ones.
Review: Fans of Smith and thrill-seekers alike will not be disappointed by exciting action scenes and memorable characters.
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2. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Booktopia synopsis: King says he wanted to know what happened to Danny Torrance, the boy at the heart of The Shining, after his terrible experience in the Overlook Hotel. The instantly riveting Doctor Sleep picks up the story of the now middle-aged Dan, working at a hospice in rural New Hampshire, and the very special twelve-year old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
Review: An epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.
3. Never Go Back by Lee Child
Booktopia Synopsis: The new Jack Reacher adventure for 2013, After an epic and interrupted journey all the way from the snows of South Dakota, Jack Reacher has finally made it to Virginia. His destination: a sturdy stone building a short bus ride from Washington D.C., the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. It was the closest thing to a home he ever had. Why? He wants to meet the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner. He liked her voice on the phone. But the officer sitting behind Reacher’s old desk isn’t a woman. Why is Susan Turner not there?
Review: A page-turner from start to finish, the latest in the Jack Reacher series does not disappoint with elaborate fight scenes and thrilling mystery.
4. Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough
Booktopia Synopsis: This is the story of two sets of twins, Edda and Grace, Tufts and Kitty, who struggle against all the restraints, prohibitions, laws and prejudices of 1920s Australia. Only the submissive yet steely Grace burns for marriage; the sleekly sophisticated Edda burns to be a doctor, the down-to-earth but courageous Tufts burns never to marry, and the too-beautiful, internally scarred Kitty burns for a love free from male ownership.
Review: Bittersweet is utterly engaging. In the Latimer sisters, McCullough has created four very unique, complex and loveable characters that the reader delights in following through the pleasures and pitfalls of their lives during the 1920s.
5. Lover at Last by J.R. Ward
Booktopia synopsis: A novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Lover at Last brings together characters Blay and Qhuinn. Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions, but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn learns the true meaning of courage, and two hearts meant to be together finally become one.
Review: Racy and addictive, the series is a combination of Twilight-like fantasy and Fifty Shades of Grey level raunchiness.
6. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
Booktopia synopsis: Ninety-one year old Ira Levinson is in trouble. Struggling to stay conscious after a car crash, an image of his beloved, and long-dead, wife Ruth appears. Urging him to hang on, she lovingly recounts the joys and sorrows of their life together. A few miles away, college student Sophia Danko’s life is about to change. Recovering from a break-up, she meets the young, rugged Luke and is thrown into a world far removed from her privileged school life. Two couples, separated by years and experience, whose lives are about to converge in the most unexpected – and shocking – of ways.
Review: Another epic love story from the man behind The Notebook – prepare yourself for a roller coaster ride of emotion.
7. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
Booktopia synopsis: August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.
Review:This savagely beautiful novel about the many forms of love and death will pull you in instantly.
8. Murder and Meldelssohn by Kerry Greenwood
Booktopia synopsis: An orchestral conductor has been found dead and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson needs the delightfully incisive and sophisticated Miss Phryne Fisher’s assistance to enter a world in which he is at sea. Hugh Tregennis, not much liked by anyone, has been murdered in a most flamboyant mode by a killer with a point to prove. But how many killers is Phryne really stalking?
Review: The 20th adventure from the Phryne Fisher mystery series is a vastly entertaining tale of murder, spies, mathematics and music.
9. Confessions of a Wild Child by Jackie Collins
Booktopia synopsis: Lucky Santangelo is a powerful and charismatic woman. But how did she become the woman she is today? Many people have asked, and in Confessions of a Wild Child we discover the teenage Lucky, and follow her on her trip to discover boys, love and how she fought her father, the infamous Gino Santangelo, to forge her own individual and strong road to success.
Review: A perfect beach read full of scandal and intrigue.
10. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Booktopia synopsis: Alma Whittaker is born into a perfect Philadelphia winter. Her father, Henry Whittaker, is a bold and charismatic botanical explorer whose vast fortune belies his lowly beginnings. An independent girl with a thirst for knowledge, it is not long before Alma comes into her own within the world of botany. But as Alma’s careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she comes to love draws her in the opposite direction.
Review: A big, sweeping novel that covers an eventful century, sweeps across the globe from London to Peru and features extraordinary and unforgettable characters.