In collaboration with Hachette Australia for On the Bookcase!


gifts & giveaways on the bookcase agent mystery case




Celebrating the end of the year with a series of gifts and giveaways for our readers. A virtual Christmas party and our way of saying thank you for your love and support over the past 6ish years, as well as a further opportunity to showcase some of our favourite people, products and places in the process.





You could say, I’m ON THE BOOKCASE with our end of year gift guides and giveaways right now. I’ve had an absolute ball casing the extensive publication line-up from Hachette Australia this year. It may have taken fractured ribs and forced bed rest to get me back into reading for pleasure (and reviews) but now that I’ve started again there’s no going back.


Books always make great gifts, no matter what time of year or the occasion. Reading is such an easy and affordable means of escapism and who doesn’t need to escape the daily grind occasionally?! These days I spend a lot of my time online, so when it comes to book reading I prefer to be offline, curled up in a cosy spot, turning actual pages.


With a hectic lifestyle, it takes a certain book to grab my interest and hold it, so I do tend to lean towards hard to put down fiction. My summer reading list is full of surprises though. I’ve scheduled a lot of white space and free time both over the holidays and well into the new year and I’m looking forward to not only expanding my reading horizons but working on a publication myself.





When I first looked at the upcoming publications from Hachette Australia for summer 2017, my wish list was extensive to say the least. There wasn’t much that I didn’t want to sink my teeth into and there’s no doubt, I could certainly complete all my Christmas shopping in the one place given we all love reading in our family. Time wise though, I have my reading limitations and even with scheduling lots of white space and free time for reading, one or two books a week is probably my limit.


Instead of sharing my wish list with you, I’ve compiled a list of fourteen books. A little something for everyone. All would make great gifts and ALL books our up for grabs as part of our On the Bookcase giveaway.





When you can find so many recipes online, I find myself wondering if hard copy recipe books might one day become obsolete. I know personally, I prefer a book, with images for inspiration. A cookbook I can pop on a recipe stand and refer to as I cook (possibly make notes in) without having to bring my laptop and more screen time into the kitchen.


Having said that though, in our latest and hopefully last move for a while (my 24th), I culled a lot of our cookbooks. What remains is steadfast favourites that include a multitude of family favourites like Julie Goodwin’s ESSENTIAL COOKBOOK and now I’m slowly making my way through FEASTS.


In FEASTS, a follow up to the award-winning PERSIANA & no. 1 bestseller SIROCCO, Sabrina Ghayour presents a delicious array of Middle-Eastern dishes from breakfasts to banquets. Everything from simple to the sumptuous with menus and dozens of recipes for celebrations and occasions with family & friends, such as summer feasts, quick-fix feasts and brunch.


Recipes include whipped ricotta toast, savoury pork & fennel baklava, tamarind sticky ribs, roasted cod loins with wild thyme, spiced rhubarb cake with cinnamon cream and shite chocolate, cardamom & macadamia squares.


Being a family of five foodies we’ve developed a bit of a tradition when it comes to welcoming a new cookbook into our kitchen, in that we attempt to case & create every single recipe from back to front. Back is where you’ll usually find dessert and that’s generally how we roll around here. Although FEASTS mixes it up in the order of things. I’m currently loving ‘comfort foods’ and the additional menu ideas at this time of year.





Totally Buf | Giveaway | Agent Mystery Case

I’m not convinced gifting someone a health and fitness book is such a great idea at any time of year, unless they’ve specifically asked for it. It would depend on the recipient and your relationship with them.


I always find that the new year and resolutions aren’t exactly the right time to be setting off on a fitness and/or exercise plan either. In a lot of ways I expect you are setting yourself up for failure but perhaps having a particular plan, in this case a Totally Buf 6 week one, by the way of a motivational and inspiration jammed packed guide, might just be what gets you over the line.


Totally Buf by Libby Babet and the Buf Girls isn’t a book about competition, body image or comparison. It’s about friendship and community, healthy bodies and minds. It’s about inspiring, supporting and celebrating all women. The Buf Girls are on a mission to help women everywhere get healthy and fit and stay that way, through easy and simple steps.


This 6 week plan (one focus habit each week) aims to completely transform your health and wellbeing, with core fitness, nutrition and mindset tips that every woman can implement in their day-to-day lives. With over 100 recipes (vegan and vegetarian options) and easy exercise and nutrition tips, TOTALLY BUF will give you all you need to be a BUF Girl.


I’m not sure the term ‘Buf Girl’ resonates with me but their approach certainly does. Perhaps more of a book you gift yourself if you are looking to get back on track with health and fitness in the new year. I know I am.





There are more than a few quirky books on offer this year with Hachette Australia. Perfect for those hard to buy for family and friends. I’m not entirely sure why but I’m kind of in love with the new Enid Blyton Famous Five editions. We have FIVE GO DOWN UNDER (written by Sophie Hamley) up for grabs. You get to join Julian, George, Dick, Anne and Timmy the dog as they boldly embark on a gap year and tackle the deadly wildlife (& budgie smugglers) in Australia.


‘I haven’t seen a single kangaroo’ Dick said forlornly as they stood on the path that hugged the cliff between Bondi and Tamarama beaches. ‘I was told there would be kangaroos’




Apart from being visually inspiring (read that as you will), this book is an eccentric, fun and motivational guide to the fundamentals of yoga – based on the sensational Kilted Yoga video. Get ready to lose yourself in the wilds of Scotland and reconnect with the natural world in this gorgeous little book that will make you look at yoga in a whole new way – kilt optional!


After recovering from an accident, Finlay Wilson found yoga was the best way to rebuild his strength. Now a qualified yoga instructor himself, he’s decided to bring a modern take to this ancient practice, laying it bare – often quite literally. Feast your eyes on his yoga moves and discover why his Kilted Yoga video became an instant global sensation.





Moving along from KILTED YOGA and rather than downward facing dog, let’s look at UPSIDE-DOWN DOGS. Yes, you read that right. A glorious picture book dedicated to cute little (& not so little) dogs lying upside-down.


Personally, I’m honestly more of a cat person but my friends all have dogs and who am I to persuade them from the dark side. My youngest daughter has specifically asked for a dog for Christmas most years. Apart from when she was 2 and she sat on Santa’s lap and demanded a hair straightener because at that stage in her life she hated her curly wurly hair with a passion. This cute little coffee table book is for her and well any dog loving individual.


From my summer reading wish list, 100 NASTY WOMEN IN HISTORY – featuring 100 fascinating and brilliantly written stories about history’s bravest, baddest but little known ‘nasty’ women from across the world.


Compiled and written by BuzzFeed writer Hannah Jewell, 100 NASTY WOMEN IN HISTORY contains profiles of women from across every century, race and continent, united in the fact that they were all a bit ‘nasty’. From 3rd-century Syrian queen Zenobia to 20th-century Nigerian women’s rights activist Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, these are the women who were bold and powerful, but maybe put people (men’s) backs up by being so. An accessible, intelligent, hilarious (and sometimes sweary) guide to the history-making women whom you probably don’t know – but definitely should.


This is the perfect book for me. I’m wanting to work on my badass over the holidays and basically looking for inspiration. I’m wanting to nurture my sense of self and my sense of humour and bring a lot more of that side of me online. A side of me that more often than not gets lost in translation online as I feel compelled to put the filter on. A filter that probably should be added offline too but I’m a little too real, authentic and set in my ways to be anything other than my self in person.  Take it or leave it a lot like this book, I’m assuming.






It may have been my less than Christmassy mood at the time,  the catchy title and the stylish cover that had me look twice at this book initially but it’s the informative and often visually inspiring content that has me wanting to keep PRICK by Gynelle Leon all for myself.


Succulent bowls and greenery styling are all the rage at the moment and this book is great if you are starting out with succulents or looking for inspiration and you don’t have a particularly green thumb. Personally, I’ve been known to kill a supposedly unkillable fake indoor plant (true story), so I need all the help I can get and this book gives it to you.


Failing in the whole green thumb department, PRICK also looks great on the coffee table or your styling book stack. Funnily enough, one of the top 3 requirements for our new library (formally and formerly known as our formal lounge). Seriously though, I’m tempted to gift myself (or my creative youngest daughter) this book and make a few succulent bowls and other greenery gifts for friends and family this year.





Some of my favourite books for 2017, with Natasha Lester’s HER MOTHER’S SECRET at the top of my list (my review here). All perfect for adding to your summer reading list this holidays and all would make great gifts as well.


I’m loving the size and the familiarity of A QUESTION OF TRUST from Penny Vincenzi and I should point out if you put your hand up and win this particular book, you’ll be getting a review (unproofed) copy. A QUESTION OF TRUST screams summer holiday reading to me and brings back rather fond memories.


I was first introduced to PV when we moved to Perth and staying in temporary $1500 a week accommodation (crazy mining boom times) over Christmas and New Years. Apart from house hunting and exploring our new surroundings, I had a lot of time for reading. The owner of the property didn’t have an intensive library but an interesting one all the same and Penny Vincenzi featured heavily.


Jodi Perry’s NINETEEN LETTERS, Fiona Palmer’s SECRETS BETWEEN FRIENDS  and Natasha Lester’s HER MOTHER’S SECRET, were at the top of my favourites list for 2017 and all worth casing!


Cara Delevingne’s MIRROR MIRROR and Jessica Fellowes’ THE MITFORD MURDERS are straight from my summer reading wish list and as soon as I get a spare minute for reading and relaxing that’s where I’m headed.


There’s also one more book on my list and up for grabs this year as part of our Gifts & Giveaways virtual Christmas party but it forms part of my coffee loving hamper giveaway with Karvan Coffee, coming soon to AMC!




gifts; giveaways; entry; win;


Thanks to Hachette Australia, we have 14 books up for grabs. 13 here and a further book as part of my Coffee Lover Hamper giveaway (coming soon).


To be in the running to win your favourite pick of the book bunch, register your details by clicking on the banner above. Then let me know in the comments below (or via email which book or books you would most like to win and your favourite place to read! Too easy.


  • Game of skill
  • Must register via banner
  • Must comment with book selection/s
  • Must answer question
  • Australian residents only
  • 12 winners (1 book each)
  • Refer to our standard terms and conditions via giveaway registration
  • Winners notified via email
  • Winners have 48 hours to claim prize; otherwise a redraw




I’ll be rolling out the reviews for On the Bookcase in 2018. Any excuse to read more books is a good thing in my books. If you’d like to join our online book club, registrations open soon.


Our end of year Gifts & Giveaways will run over the next two weeks, with more giveaways being added almost daily. The best way to keep up, as our member registrations are currently closed, is to follow our December Aussie Giveaway Club page and/or Facebook group. Not only does the page list all our current giveaways in the one spot but it also includes giveaways from reputable Australian based bloggers and businesses. If you are in the business of winning, it’s a great place to grab a tea or coffee and spend a little time, casing all the competitions, on a daily or weekly basis. With new giveaways being added all the time.


Finally, just a quick reminder for those wanting to order online directly through Hachette Australia, you will need to complete your order before December 11 to get your books in time for Christmas. As our giveaway ends after this date, we are assuming that prizes will be with you early in the New Year!


Mystery Case
Managing Editor at Agent Mystery Case
Follow Raychael aka Mystery Case on her mystery adventures 'casing' people, products and places to bring you her worth casing favourites.
About Mystery Case 462 Articles
Follow Raychael aka Mystery Case on her mystery adventures 'casing' people, products and places to bring you her worth casing favourites.


  1. Thank you for this book lovers giveaway! Id love to win ‘Prick’ Im obsessed with all things succulents and would like to try my hands at making some succulent bowls for home and if they survive for gifts. My favourite place to read is on the couch when my little 6 month old is having her best and longest afternoon nap … the dishes and dinner can wait thats when this Mumma needs some me time 🙂

  2. My summer holiday on the beach, sitting under my sunshade enjoying Fiona Palmer’s, Secrets Between Friends would be the perfect reading escape for me.

  3. So much booky goodness – just for the record, as an avid recipe book collector, I like to think they would never go out of style. Internet recipes are all well and good but there’s something magical about turning the pages of a recipe book, sploshing (that’s totes a word) the pages with sauce and getting pages inadvertently stuck together – or is that just me? I’m hedging my bets with Upside Down Dogs (because so cute!) the recipe book or Five Go Down Under (that looks totes a scream!)

  4. Thanks for all the entries both here and via email. Just a quick reminder that we’ve tightened security for commenting due to ongoing trolls and the majority of your comments won’t appear online unless you’ve been pre approved. Rest assured we have all your comments/entries and appreciate your ongoing support.

  5. 100 NASTY WOMEN IN HISTORY sounds fascinating! Love reading about strong-minded women who have done incredible feats so this book would be awesome!.
    My favourite place to read is at home, resting on my comfortable couch with a wine and a few sneaky chocolates!

  6. I’ve read the reviews of “Secrets Between Friends” and they’re really good reviews. I love moving and touching stories and I know this one will not disappoint.

  7. I’m putting my hand up for all of them. Hoping I might win one. Not much time for reading, as we are hosting this year but I can live in hope. My favourite place to read is in my arm chair in my sunroom with a hot cuppa.

    • Good luck with hosting. One of the more positives sides of moving across the country and away from all extended family is a laid back, small Christmas. Although, I’m sure my girls would love to be part of a big family get together.

  8. Upside down dogs, for my mother. Prick for myself and Famous Five go down under for my librarian friend. Favourite spot to read, is anywhere I can get time to myself. Not easy at this time of year.

  9. Nineteen letters and Secrets Between friends. I can’t wait to read your reviews. I must admit, I tend to avoid reviews due to spoilers and misguided expectations but I like your review style. You don’t give too much away.

  10. So many great books to choose from. I would be happy with any of them. My favourite spot to read is on my commute to work. Boring but true.

  11. Totally Buf sounds a great book to read to start the new year. Sounds like the program is well focussed – celebrating women. I have 2 favourite places to read: on the train commuting to and from work and curled up in bed.

  12. Five go down under or any of the new famous five series. Sounds hilarious and reminds me of my days sneaking a torch to bed to red under the covers. I still like reading in bed.

  13. I think Prick has a few peoples names on it. I love to read in my favourite chair, strategically placed near the window overlooking my private garden.

  14. Gosh where do I start. Kilted Yoga, Upside down dogs, Famous Five, Mirror Mirror, Secrets between friends, Prick, 100 Nasty Women and Buf. No favourite place to read, I just love reading.

  15. What a great list to choose from. Prick, The Mitford Murders, Nineteen Letters, Her Mother’s Secret and Secrets Between Friends. My fav place to read a good book is our lounge room in my old faithful armchair.

  16. Love giving and receiving books as gifts. I would love to win PRICK. I’ve been dabbling with succulent bowls for gifts this year and could use some help.

  17. Love this and love all the books you have selected. I love to read in the garden, we have a swing which is under cover and it’s rather relaxing.

  18. Choices: 1.Prick 2.Her Mother’s Secret 3.Nineteen Letters 4.Mirror Mirror & 5.A Question of Trust

    Favourite place to read: anywhere!

  19. Great selection of books. I love giving books as gifts. I would choose Mirror Mirror. My favourite place to read is like most people in bed.

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