Book Group Report for May 2016


Unfortunately due to family illness I was unable to attend this gathering. However I am told that there was a good turn out of readers and they talked enthusiastically about the books that they had read.  Thank you to Vicki for compiling the list for me.


Special by Georgia Blain.

This is one for teenagers. A Futuristic tale about dystopian society

Dreaming the enemy by David Metzenthen.

Based on experiences in the Vietnam War. The main character has been conscripted but often dreams about what happened to the enemy. He tries to reestablish his life after effects  of war. Good for discussion in school.

Alice Jones:  the impossible clue by Sarah Rubin

Strong female character who uses her maths skills to solve mysteries.

The stars at Oktober bend by Glenda Millard

YA novel about a 15 year old girl, Alice who has acquired brain injury. She can't speak well but she writes beautiful poetry.

Raymie Nightingale  by Kate DiCamillo

Set in 1975 in a small American town, Raymie's life has taken a turn for the worse when her father leaves her mother for the dental hygienist. Raymie decides that she will enter the Little Miss Central America contest to get her father back. To do this Raymie takes baton twirling lessons and there she meets Beverly and Louisiana. Each girl has their own problems and secrets and the three girls spend their summer helping one another through the trials of loss. Some very funny scenes and beautiful writing. Year 5 up.



Hour of the bees by Lindsay Eagar

American. A young girl is on holiday at her grandfather’s house. The family are trying to pack up grandfather as he needs to go into a nursing home. They spend the very hot summer in a difficult situation but Carol learns a great deal about herself.

Within the story the grandfather tells the story of his young life in his village, which has a special tree that looks after everyone in village.

The lost Sapphire by Belinda Murrell

Set in Melbourne. The main character spends a holiday with Father. Grandfather inherited an old house. The girl investigates the house and finds out more about the house and the time when it was built. Time slip back to the era of the house is used.

Sister Heart by Sally Morgan

This is a sensitive story written in verse about a young girl taken from her family and moved south into a children's home.  Although written about the stolen generation, it could easily be written about any child forced from their home, such as refugees.

This book is on the Notables list for 2016.

Star of Deltora -Shadows of the Master by Emily Rodda

Start of a new series. Britta has always wanted to be a trader but her family has been sent into hiding thanks to her father's actions. Britta however gets the chance to become an apprentice on the trading ship belonging to the powerful Roslyn fleet but she must prove her wealth in difficult circumstances. Fans of Emily Rodda will enjoy this although it does read as the very first in a very long series, as it only introduces the reader to the characters with limited plot development.



Gary by Leila Rudge

The story of a pigeon who cannot fly. He falls into a basket and gets taken away from home. He uses his book of maps and travel tips to get back.

Great illustrations and a bit like Peggy by Anna Walker


The grumpy Lighthouse keeper by Terrizita Corpus

All the sea animals come to shelter with the lighthouse keeper.

Lovely use of language.


Where do teachers go at night by Harriet Cumming

A humorous picture book about what teachers do out of school


There is a tribe of kids by Lane Smith.

Beautifully illustrated book about collective nouns.


Box by Min Flyte

A very cute lift the flap book about all the things you can do with a box.



The weird and wonderful world of Words by Charles Hope.

An appealing and well presented book about words and how we use language.

Includes information longest words, origin of words, sign language, spoonerisms and the phonetic alphabet. Not too much information on each page so would appeal to younger readers and teachers who love talking about words with their students.



The dust that falls from dreams by Louis de Bernieres

Family saga for First World War until Second World War starts

Great characters including the maid. Downton Abbey style. Edwardian times

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift

A novella about a maid and her romantic associations and how that influenced her life as a writer. Shifts between past and present. Relationships between up and downstairs.

Between a wolf and a dog by Georgia Blain

(French phrase for the time between day and night)

This is about a woman who is diagnosed with a brain tumour. She keeps this a secret from her family. Deals with family relationships, particularly with daughters. Well written with positive outcomes.

Gotham by Nick Earls

Adult writing. The first in a series of five novellas.

About an Australian author who travels to United States to interview a rock star. As he travels around with the rock star he contemplates his own life.

The Gun Room by Georgina Harding

Photographer has taken a photograph of a Vietnam soldier that becomes well known around the world. Both the photographer and the soldier are unsettled in their lives and meet in Japan. Beautifully written and sensitive portrayal of the effects of war.

The bucket list to mend a broken heart by Anna Bell (adult fiction)

A light read. When Abi gets her belongings after a break up with her boyfriend she finds a bucket list she thinks belongs to her boyfriend. She tries to win him back by completing the list.

A year of Marvellous ways by Sarah Winman

A special book set in Cornwall.

The Perfumer's Secret by Fiona McIntosh

An historical look at two famous families who create perfumes in France.

The last Dance by Fiona McIntosh

Stella is a strong intelligent young woman who is left looking after her younger siblings when her parents die. With little money for the family, she supplements her day job with work at a dance Hall. There she meets a mysterious but attractive man who encourages to find work as a governess. When Stella arrives at the grand residence where she will be employed she finds that the mystery man is the father of the two girls she will look after. Unfortunately emotions run high in the household and life becomes difficult for Stella as she falls in love with her employer.  Life is further complicated by the rise of Hitler and the need to obtain information about Germany and its plans for the future. Stella is swept into the world of espionage.

A good holiday read although some characters were very unlikable.


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