I’m not sure where I found time to get through 16 books this crazy busy month, especially given only two were audiobooks. But when you have a good book on the go, you steal moments to read. So much goodness this month, and this brings to 97 books for the year.
Books for Children
- Swallow’s Dance, by Wendy Orr (Allen & Unwin, 2018). I’m not sure why I hadn’t read Orr’s Bronze age books before, but having read Dragonfly Song in June, I searched out this one, too. I love the way she brings this period alive through strong girl characters overcoming big adversity.
- Everywhere Blue, by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz. Look at the amazing cover of this verse novel. Just stunning. And the book itself is excellent, too. The story of a family fractured by the disappearance of a son, and his sister particularly trying to make sense of everything.
- The Treehouse Joke Book 2, by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton (Pan, 2021). Yes, i really did sit down and read a joke book for children cover to cover and yes I got quite a few laughs. This was sent to me as a review copy and was just the right thing to find in in TBR pile one wet miserable day.
- Mel and Shell, by Julia Lawrinson (Fremantle Press, 2021). Another review copy – this one isn’t out until September and I have been resisting reading it too early, but the cover kept calling to me. Set in the 70s, with ABBA, horses, school camps, WAY79 (if you grew up in WA in the 70s you’ll know what this is) and Lawrinson’s typical deft touch with blending fun and issues including family, friendship and more. Love it!
- Bella and the Voyaging House, by Meg McKinlay (Fremantle Press, 2021). And yes, another review copy. Always a pleasure to read Meg McKinlay’s writing. She is one of Australia’s finest writers for young people. This is a sequel to Bell and the Wandering House, but could also be read as a stand alone. Whimsy, adventure and loveliness. McKinlay also blogged at Aussiereviews this month about where her ideas come from.
- The Twilight Ghost, by Colin Thiele (Puffin, 2004). I picked this one up from a library discard sale a while ago. Part of the now defunct (and much-missed) Aussie Chomps series, and written by one our most loved authors, this ghost story adventure is set in rural Australia.
- When Days Tilt, by Karen Ginnane (Penguin, 2021). Ooooh. I was very excited to get to read this, having waited impatiently for its release. I went to university with the author, and was excited to reconnect with her via twitter and realise she had her first book coming out. Anyway, that’s a bit beside the point because even if I didn’t know Karen, i would have adored this book. A fantasy set in Victorian London and an alternate world, where the city of Donlon is familiar yet very different. It is beautifully crafted, and I’m now eagerly awaiting its sequel.
Books for Young Adults
- Echo in the Memory, by Cameron Nunn (Walker Books, 2021). Another from my review pile. Dual narratives – of a convict boy sent to work as a shepherd on a remote property, and a contemporary teen sent live on he same property with his grandparents after a family tragedy. Not always easy reading – it deals with some heavy topics, including suicide, family breakdown, the treatment of Aboriginal people by early settlers and more – but well done.
Books for Adults
- Her Last Holiday, by C.L. Taylor (Avon, 2021). Was given this by a friend and read it in two evenings. A well woven suspense story with the mystery of a disappearance at a self help retreat.
- Locust Summer, by David Allan-Petale (Fremantle Press, 2021). I enjoyed this one from my review pile – read over two evenings. I always love books set in Western Australia, because they take me places I’ve been. this one is set in the Wheatbelt, so felt very familiar. A story of a family’s final harvest as they prepare to sell up, and face their pasts and their altered future. David Allan-Petale also guest blogged over at Aussiereviews this month.
- The Other Side of Beautiful, by Kim Lock (Harper Collins, 2021). Funny and heartwarming, and at times sad, I really enjoyed this road trip story. When Mercy blain’s house burns down it is not the worst thing happening in her life – and soon she is on the road, in a hastily bought van, travelling across the middle of the continent. I enjoyed this.
- Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray, by Anita Heiss (Simon & Schuster, 2021). My read of the month! This is beautiful, heartbreaking, and important. The story of Wagadhaany, forced to leave her family behind as an unpaid domestic to settler landowners. Her heart is broken by the knowledge she might never return to her country and her family and, while she finds love and friendship, her longing to go home is constant. Such a privilege to read and to grow more understanding of something which is a terrible, unforgiveable, part of Australia’s history – the treatment of our first peoples as slaves, the degradation of their land and so much more.
- Working Class Boy, by Jimmy Barnes (Harper Collins, 2017). . Have always loved Cold Chisel and Jimmy Barnes’ music, but probably wouldn’t have listened to or read this if I listened to this one if it didn’t show up on my Audible account as one of their monthly free downloads. I’m glad I did though – having Jimmy read/recount the story made the listening experience. And the story paints a really vivid picture of his childhood and youth, as well as giving an insight into life in Elizabeth and Adelaide. I suspect I will end up buying the sequel, which deals with his adult life.
What have you been reading?