Huge thanks to Beachside Bookshop for these books. Just when I was nearing the bottom of my pile along came another eight delicious books to explore.
Jackie French, Night Ride into Danger
Due for publication 5th May, 2021
First impression - I am excited to read another book of Australian historical fiction because I really appreciate the way Jackie French completes extensive research and then she creates stories with such authentic settings. My favourite book (ever) by Jackie French is not from this genre - it is Tajore Arkle published in 1999.
Harper Collins publisher blurb: Six mysterious passengers and seven dark secrets. Who can be trusted? It's a dark and dangerous journey for the Cobb and Co night mail coach, but when his coach-driver father is injured, young Jem Donovan must take the reins. Surely a boy like Jem can't handle a team of four horses and guide the coach on a rough bush track through fog and untold dangers? But there are six passengers on the coach tonight, each with a secret. And if Jem can't get them all to their destination by morning, the seventh secret could be deadly ...
Emily Rodda, Eliza Vanda's Button Box
Due for publication 5th May, 2021
First impression - I wonder if this new book might be a little The Shop at Hoopers Bend or perhaps more like His Name was Walter. I do enjoy the writing of Emily Rodda especially her easy chapter books such as Bob the Builder and the Elves and Green Fingers. I do like the cover of this new book (which for me is an important consideration).
Harper Collins publisher blurb: Buttons three, attend to me! Take me where I want to be! No one saw Eliza Vanda arrive in Tidgy Bay that rainy winter afternoon. The sign advertising 'Cabins for Rent' was almost hidden by a pile of builder's rubble, but Eliza Vanda didn't seem at all put out by the mess. 'This is a nice little pocket,' she said. 'It should suit us very well.' Life hasn't been much fun for Milly Dynes lately. There seem to be problems everywhere she looks. She's always loved her home in Tidgy Bay, but at the moment she wishes she was somewhere -anywhere - else. Then Eliza Vanda turns up-and magic comes with her ... A sparkling new fantasy adventure from multi-award-winning author Emily Rodda.
Tazin Merchant, The Hatmakers
Published January 2021
Blurb from Penguin: Cordelia comes from a long line of magical milliners, who weave alchemy and enchantment into every hat. In Cordelia's world, Making - crafting items such as hats, cloaks, watches, boots and gloves from magical ingredients - is a rare and ancient skill, and only a few special Maker families remain. When Cordelia's father Prospero and his ship, the Jolly Bonnet, are lost at sea during a mission to collect hat ingredients, Cordelia is determined to find him. But Uncle Tiberius and Aunt Ariadne have no time to help the littlest Hatmaker, for an ancient rivalry between the Maker families is threatening to surface. Worse, someone seems to be using Maker magic to start a war. It's up to Cordelia to find out who, and why . . .
Anna Woltz, Talking to Alaska
Originally published in 2018. Paperback edition due in May 2021.
First impression - A dog story - I'm hooked already and who can resist that dog's face on the cover?
Publisher blurb: "A powerful story of two unlikely friends brought together by the love of a dog. It only takes one day at their new school for Parker and Sven to become mortal enemies. Parker's had a terrible summer and just wants to be invisible, while Sven is desperate to make an impression and be known as anything other than "that boy with epilepsy." When Parker discovers her beloved dog Alaska – who she had to give away last year – now belongs to Sven, she's determined to steal Alaska back. Of course, that's easier said than done...
Ella Risbridger, The Secret Detectives
First impression: I like the cover and the idea the story is connected in some way with The Secret Garden.
Publisher blurb: When Isobel Petty is orphaned, she finds herself being taken away from her home in India and sent to live with a distant uncle in England. On board the S.S. Marianna, she witnesses a shocking act – somebody being thrown overboard in the middle in the night. But when the ship’s captain insists that nobody is missing, Isobel and her two new reluctant friends must solve two mysteries – the identities of both the murderer and the victim – before they reach England and the culprit has the chance to escape. Inspired by The Secret Garden and the golden age of crime writing, The Secret Detectives is perfect for fans of Robin Stevens and Katherine Rundell.
Shirley Marr, A glasshouse of stars.
First impression - Such a pretty cover. Shirley Marr is a first-generation Chinese-Australian living in Perth.
Publisher blurb: Meixing Lim and her family have arrived at the New House in the New Land, inherited from First Uncle who died tragically and unexpectedly while picking oranges in the backyard. Everything is vast and unknown to Meixing and not in a good way, including the house she has dubbed Big Scary. She is embarrassed by the second-hand shoes given to her by the kind neighbours, has trouble understanding the language at school, and with fitting in and making new friends. Her solace is a glasshouse in the garden that inexplicably holds the sun and the moon and all the secrets of her memory and imagination. Her fragile universe is rocked when tragedy strikes and Ma Ma refuses to face the world outside. Meixing finds herself trapped within the shrinking walls of Big Scary. Her parents said this would be a better life for them all, but it feels like the worst and most heart-breaking experience of Meixing's entire existence. Surviving will take all the resilience and inner belief of this brave girl to turn their world around.
Two more just for fun:
Books I purchased which were already on my pile:
Leslie Connor, All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook
First impression - I have read other books by Leslie Connor (The truth as told to Mason Buttle and Waiting for Normal) and this book was recommended as perfect to read after The Warden's Daughter by Jerry Spinelli (see below).
Publisher blurb: Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth—and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home. When Perry moves to the “outside” world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from . . . but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means.
Rebecca Lim, Tiger Daughter
Publisher blurb: Wen Zhou is the daughter and only child of Chinese immigrants whose move to the lucky country has proven to be not so lucky. Wen and her friend, Henry Xiao - whose mum and dad are also struggling immigrants - both dream of escape from their unhappy circumstances, and form a plan to sit an entrance exam to a selective high school far from home. But when tragedy strikes, it will take all of Wen's resilience and resourcefulness to get herself and Henry through the storm that follows.
Dee White, Beyond Belief
This book is a 2021 CBCA Notable title for Younger Readers. I have read just over 100 pages. The threat of discovery of this Jewish child hiding in the mosque feels like scenes from Parvana which is a book that continues to haunt me many years after reading. At this point the writing is so powerful it's leaving me desperately anxious for Ruben and his safety. I expect I will finish reading this book tonight.
Lamont Standing Orders blurb: Inspired by the true story of Muslims who saved the lives of Jewish children in the Second World War. In 1942, in the Grand Mosque in Paris, 11-year-old Ruben is hiding from the Nazis. Already thousands of Jewish children have disappeared, and Ruben’s parents are desperately trying to find his sister. Ruben must learn how to pass himself off as a Muslim, while he waits for the infamous Fox to help him get to Spain to be reunited with his family. One hint of Ruben's true identity and he'll be killed. So will the people trying to save him. But when the mosque is raided and the Fox doesn't come, Ruben is forced to flee. Finding himself in the south of France, he discovers that he must adjust to a new reality, and to the startling revelation of the Fox's true identity.
Recently completed waiting to appear in this blog: