1. Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney
Booktopia synopsis: Jeff Kinney’s 8th book of this hilarious and highly successful series, and Greg Heffley and his friends now have a whole new set of adventures. Greg Heffley’s on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance. Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg’s life destined to be just another hard-luck story?
2. The Tournament by Matthew Reilly
Booktopia synopsis: The year is 1546. Europe lives in fear of the powerful Islamic empire to the East. Under its charismatic Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, it is an empire on the rise. It has defeated Christian fleets. It has conquered Christian cities. Then the Sultan sends out an invitation to every king in Europe: send forth your champion to compete in a tournament unlike any other.
3. The Crossroad by Mark Donaldson
Booktopia synopsis: When Mark Donaldson was awarded the Victoria Cross in 2009, he was the first Australian to receive our highest award for bravery since Keith Payne’s medal in 1969. Mark showed extraordinary courage when he rescued an Afghan interpreter under heavy fire during a bloody ambush in Afghanistan. Something about Mark’s modesty and quiet determination struck a chord with the Australian public, because in 2010 he was voted Young Australian of the Year. From teenage rebellion to the stark realities of combat in the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan, Mark’s book is the frank and compelling story of a man turning his destiny around by sheer determination and strength of mind.
4. Guinness World Records 2014
Booktopia synopsis: Work up a sweat on the world’s largest rideable bicycle. Keep your distance from the deadliest spiders, snakes and scorpions. Celebrate 20 years of “The Simpsons”, the longest-running animated sit-com. Find out which dinosaurs were the largest creatures to walk the Earth. Pump iron with the most macho men and the greatest wonder women.
5. Ponting: at the Close of Play by Ricky Ponting
Booktopia synopsis: Ricky Ponting is one of the greatest Australian cricketers to have worn the baggy green. His autobiography details his journey from his childhood protégé, to the highs and lows of an extraordinary international cricket career, to retirement.
6. The Winter Sea by Di Morrissey
Booktopia synopsis: Escaping an unhappy marriage and an unsatisfactory job, Cassie Holloway moves to the little NSW coastal town of Whitby Point. Here she meets the Aquino family, whose fishing business was founded by their ancestor, Giuseppe, an immigrant Italian, some ninety years before. Life for Cassie on the south coast is sweet as she sets up a successful restaurant and falls in love with Giuseppe’s great grandson Michael. But when the family patriarch dies a devastating family secret is revealed which threatens to destroy her dreams. Cassie’s future happiness now rests with her quest for the truth.
7. Elianne by Judy Nunn
Booktopia synopsis: In 1881 ‘Big Jim’ Durham, an English soldier of fortune and profiteer, ruthlessly creates for Elianne Desmarais, his young French wife, the finest of the great sugar mills of the Southern Queensland cane fields, and names it in her honour. The massive estate becomes a self-sufficient fortress, a cane-consuming monster and home to hundreds of workers, but ‘Elianne’ and its masters, the Durham Family, have dark and distant secrets; secrets that surface in the wildest and most inflammatory of times, the 1960s.
8. Eyrie by Tim Winton
Booktopia synopsis: Divorced and unemployed, he’s lost faith in everything precious to him. Holed up in a grim highrise, cultivating his newfound isolation, Keely looks down at a society from which he’s retired hurt and angry. He’s done fighting the good fight, and well past caring. But even in his seedy flat, ducking the neighbours, he’s not safe from entanglement. All it takes is an awkward encounter in the lobby. A woman from his past, a boy the likes of which he’s never met before. Two strangers leading a life beyond his experience and into whose orbit he falls despite himself.
9. The 39-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
Booktopia synopsis: Andy and Terry’s amazing treehouse has 13 new levels including a chocolate waterfall, a non-erupting active volcano, an opera house, a baby-dinosaur petting zoo, Andy and Terry’s Believe it or Else! museum, a not-very-merry merry-go-round, a boxing elephant called the Trunkinator, an X-Ray room, a disco with light-up dance floor, the world’s scariest roller-coaster and a top secret 39th level that hasn’t even been finished yet! Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!
10. Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas
Booktopia synopsis: His whole life, Danny Kelly’s only wanted one thing: to win Olympic gold. Everything he’s ever done-every thought, every dream, every action-takes him closer to that moment of glory, of vindication, when the world will see him for what he is: the fastest, the strongest and the best. His life has been a preparation for that moment. His parents struggle to send him to the most prestigious private school with the finest swimming program; Danny loathes it there and is bullied and shunned as an outsider, but his coach is the best and knows Danny is, too, better than all those rich boys, those pretenders. Danny’s win-at-all-cost ferocity gradually wins favour with the coolest boys-he’s Barracuda, he’s the psycho, he’s everything they want to be but don’t have the guts to get there. He’s going to show them all.