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It's almost the end of 2018 and by gosh have we had a big list of the amazing books all year round! So now that we have time to enjoy reading books in the sun, we're going to look back on this fantastic year of books for some holiday reading inspiration! Here are the Hearties recommendations for holiday reads!

Browse the collection here.


WITH LOVE FROM: JEMMA, PUBLICIST

The Songs Of UsThe Songs of Us by Emma Cooper                                                                               
If Melody hadn't slipped and banged her head, she wouldn't be left with a condition that makes her sing when she's nervous. If Dev hadn't taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn't have happened. He wouldn't have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life's heart. If they hadn't seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be 'Us'.
It is impossible for me to write down how much I adored this book. It is a heartbreaking page-turner that will make you laugh out loud and sob uncontrollably. A tragically beautiful story of love and loss, family and hope - it will break your heart but put it back together again. This is one of the most charming books I’ve read in a long time.


WITH LOVE FROM: JEMMA, PUBLICIST

Happiness for HumansHappiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin

Do you believe in soulmates? Aiden does. So when his colleague, Jen, is dumped unceremoniously by her dreadful boyfriend, Aiden decides to take matters into his own hands. But Aiden isn't exactly human. In fact, he's a very complicated artificial intelligence.

This book has everything: quirky characters, an endearing romance and a terrifying twist that will leave you shocked to your core. It is a rom-com for the digital age and utterly surprised me in all the best ways possible.


WITH LOVE FROM: JEMMA, PUBLICIST

The CactusThe Cactus by Sarah Haywood

Susan Green doesn't like surprises - she likes to be in control. But at 45 and unexpectedly pregnant her perfect life starts to unravel, and real life in all its messiness shows her that it's never too late to bloom.

If you throw dry humour, a prickly heroine and an ending that leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, it’s the perfect book for me. If the same book is an incredible mixture of The Rosie Project and Bridget Jones’s Diary - say no more! This book is a breath of fresh air with real heart and a powerful emotional punch.


WITH LOVE FROM: SACHA, MARKETING MANAGER NZ

A Year at Hotel Gondola by Nicky Pellegrino

Hotel GondolaKat has never wanted to live a small, everyday sort of life. She's an adventurer, a food writer who travels the world visiting far-flung places and eating unusual fare. In A Year at Hotel Gondola, she embarks on her biggest adventure yet - a relationship. At the beginning of the book, she has fallen in love with an Italian man and is moving to live with him in Venice where she will help him run his small guesthouse, Hotel Gondola. As we accompany Kat on her year-long adventure, Pellegrino describes in luscious detail the food she eats, the recipes she collects, the people she meets, and at the same time as Kat we discover that even though she is a building a life with him, maybe she doesn’t know Massimo all that well at all.

In case you couldn’t already tell, A Year At Hotel Gondola captivated me from the very first page. I was immediately transported to Venice and was cooking alongside Kat, not to mention shopping in Coco's store, eating at Dante's Osteria and painting with Ruth. Nicky Pellegrino shows again that she really knows how to write an A-class novel. There’s no better place to discover this amazing story than over the beach this summer!


WITH LOVE FROM: SACHA, MARKETING MANAGER NZ

Photos of YouPhotos of You by Tammy Robinson

Best served with tissues. Photos of You follows the story of Ava Green, who, on her twenty-eighth birthday, is told it will be her last. The cancer she fought three years ago is back, and this time it's going to beat her. But Ava doesn’t let cancer define her last, precious months. It doesn’t matter that she doesn't have much money, or time . . . she has her
friends and family rallying around to help deliver her dying wish.

At its core, Photos of You, is a story about love.  The love between a couple, the love between friends, the love between a daughter and her parents and the love that people can show to strangers in their community. Heartfelt, heart-warming and genuine, Tammy Robinson has an amazing ability to be both witty and moving at the same time.  I won’t give any spoilers but I will say that in places I was laughing out loud, while in others I was praying for a miracle. With Photos of You, Robinson has crafted a story where you will find yourself working through the five stages of grief as if Ava was your own friend.



WITH LOVE FROM: STACEY, PUBLISHING ASSISTANT

Single Ladies of JacarandaThe Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell

Peggy Smart and Angie Valentine, best frenemies for over half their lives, are as sharply funny as this novel is heartfelt. From doctor’s appointments and water aerobics to planning a fashion show, navigating family frustrations and wooing her neighbour Brian, Peggy’s life at 79 is as full of colour and conundrum as it ever was. The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village a life-affirming, truly joyous story of friendship and forgiveness (and Basil the dog!). Music underscores every chapter, and Joanna Nell’s writing is pitch-perfect too, making this one of the easiest and most entertaining reads of my 2018.


WITH LOVE FROM: STACEY, PUBLISHING ASSISTANT

Before I Let you GoBefore I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

Gut-wrenching and taut, Before I Let You Go is a stark and emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. When you’re telling an addiction story, there are so many ways it can go wrong, but Kelly Rimmer handles Lexie’s heartbreaking reflections with compassion and honesty. Similarly, Annie’s frustrations with her sister, and the sudden undertaking of caring for a newborn, feel raw and authentic in a way that makes you truly empathise with both women. I found this book very difficult to put down, even in the tougher chapters. I do want to mention – without spoiling any part of the book – that there are some intense scenes that deal with drug addiction, various characters’ mental health, and physical violence. If any of these are a trigger for you, please read with caution.


WITH LOVE FROM: STACEY, PUBLISHING ASSISTANT

Look Alive Twenty FiveLook Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich

Confession: I read the first three books of the Stephanie Plum series on one three-day holiday when I was 18, and became so obsessed that I read the next seven by the end of the month. Stephanie Plum is a total goddess and one of my favourite fictional heroines, whose sass and general awkwardness I could totally relate to back then (the hot guys fighting over me not so much, but living vicariously through Stephanie’s escapades was more than enough on that score). I can definitely still relate to the awkwardness now too… at book twenty-bloody-five!! Look Alive is yet another fun romp from Janet Evanovich, who’s still at the top of her sexy, sassy, bounty hunter writing game. The aforementioned tug-of-war between Morelli and Ranger still lights a fire under my skin, the criminals are just as dodgy, and Grandma Mazur is as delightfully wicked as ever. You might think that after 25 novels there’s simply nothing left for Stephanie Plum to do. But you’d be wrong! I devoured this in mere days.


WITH LOVE FROM: VICTORIA, PRODUCT EXECUTIVE

Th Year That Changed EverythingThe Year That Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly

Ginger, Sam, and Callie are three women who don’t know each other and live in different places but have one thing in common. They are each celebrating milestone birthdays that will mark the beginning of a sequence of life changing events.

Ginger’s best friend has planned her wedding on Ginger’s 30th birthday. This means Ginger is forced to wear a hideously ill-fitting dress as she struggles with her self-confidence.

Sam is about to go into labor on her 40th birthday when she realises she has no clue about how to be a good mother. Her own mother wasn’t a good example, so how will she succeed on her own?

Callie’s husband decides to throw her a big 50th birthday party, despite Callie’s own objections. It appears showing off is more important to him that his wife’s birthday wishes. During the party Callie gets a visit from someone who will change the way she thought about her past.

Three women at different stages of their lives are all being forced out of their comfort zone, biting the bullet and coping with the things that life throws at them. This brilliant book is a celebration of female resilience and friendship.


WITH LOVE FROM: VICTORIA, PRODUCT EXECUTIVE

Promising Young WomenPromising Young Women by Caroline O' Donohughe

Our company is teeming with women under thirty, and men approaching or over fifty. That is how the food chain works. Dozens of attractive young women do the grunt work for a handful of men, and the women get filtered out by motherhood. It’s the corporate version of natural selection.

Don’t be fooled, this isn’t your average ‘conventional-young-woman-starts-an-affair-with-older-married-boss’ story, Caroline O’Donoghue is too clever a writer to retell that sad old narrative. Instead we are met with a regular young woman who is far from feeling safe and secure but who has ambitions for herself. With the allure of a promotion, comes the allure of a forbidden romance with her manager. When her manager begins trying to mould her into the young women he thinks she ought to be, it becomes glaringly obvious he is simply exploiting his position of power. Red flag after red flag are raised when she realizes that this relationship drains her, physically and mentally.

What begins as a kind of Bridget Jones for the 21st century ends up being something far darker and far more relatable. It combines gaslighting and desire, inequality and friendship, with an effortless writing style that will hook you in whether you intend to or not. Expect to laugh, or cry, or both.


WITH LOVE FROM: LOUISE, CAMPAIGN MANAGER


Love & RuinLove & Ruin by Paula McLain

I love a story about a woman who flies into the face of danger, and it’s even better when the woman was as real as they come! This story of the indomitable Martha Gellhorn and her husband, Ernest Hemingway, is told with so much feeling and realism it both caused my heart to break and inspired me to work on how I could become more empowered in my own life.


WITH LOVE FROM: LOUISE, CAMPAIGN MANAGER

The Secrets At Ocean's EdgeThe Secrets At Ocean's Edge by Kali Napier

Set in the Great Depression in Western Australia, Ernie and Lily Hass and their daughter, Girlie, abandon their failing farm to restart their life in the coastal town of Dongarra. As they try to build a guesthouse and integrate into their new community, Lily’s brother, Tommy, who suffers PTSD from his service in WWI comes to stay. As the story unravels from the each of the family member’s points of view, devastating secrets are revealed.

Not only does the story really beautifully unravel the inner lives of each person in this family unit, but it possesses such beautiful description and detailed atmospheric quality of the time – touching on the moving experiences of people experiencing The Depression, social hierarchy, misunderstood PTSD and racial prejudice. This was such a powerful read in terms of family dynamics and secrets as well as giving me such a vivid insight into life at this time in Australian history. Highly recommend if you haven’t had the pleasure already!


 WITH LOVE FROM: ALANA, PUBLICIST

The Paris SeamstressThe Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester


From 1940’s Paris to New York in 2015, Natasha weaves a masterpiece of storytelling in this enthralling tale of Parisian seamstress Estella who works to make a name for herself in the fashion industry of New York after fleeing from the war. Flash-forward to her Australian curator granddaughter Fabienne who travels to the Met Gala for an exhibition of her grandmother’s work and secrets of Estella’s past begin to unravel.

Mesmerizing and engrossing, this book is completely unputdownable and a must-read for historical fiction lovers.  



 



 

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