I’m writing this blog a little early, as I’ll be on holiday somewhere warm (although apparently still wetter than usual for this time of year, sigh) when this blog is due out. I hope that by the time you read this you have settled into Term 3 and the weather gods are smiling a little more kindly on you.
In this month’s blog we have the next instalments in two series by beloved Australian authors, and a YA novel which deals with some big issues on both an individual and global scale.
Mim and the Anxious Artist is the third instalment in Katrina Nannestad’s The Travelling Bookshop series. This time the Cohen family find themselves in Paris, and it quickly becomes apparent that they’re there to help Pierre, who paints amazing portraits, but then can not bare to give them up! They also meet Madame Lachapelle, who is feeling a little lonely in her big house, and encourages Mim, Nat and Zeddy to have as much fun as possible with her glamourous possessions. Eventually the bookshop weaves its unexpected magic, the right books find their way into the right hands and a solution is found to all their problems that nobody would have expected!
In Ming and Flo Fight for the Future, we met Ming, who is convinced that women did more to change the world than her teacher, and the history books, give them credit for. Herstory hears her rage and send Ming back in time to learn about how women have changed the world. However, Ming doesn’t heed all of the rules that Herstory has given her, and at the end of the book, Ming and her brother are sent back in time again. Ming and Marie Spy for Freedom begins where that books ended, with Ming finding herself and Tuan in a basement, which she soon realises is on fire. Thankfully, Ming and Tuan meet Marie, who helps them find help, although when Ming realises they’re in Belgium during WWI, she realises just how much danger they’re in. However, she also gets to see first hand just how girls are changing the world when she’s invited to join Marie’s network of spies. Will she risk it all, and help to change the course of a war on which the world she knows depends?
After the synagogue Amina and her family attend is burnt down in an arson attack, she becomes obsessed with learning the lessons of history and suffers from horrific nightmares. In an attempt to give her a chance to reset away from constant reminders of the attack, her parents apply for a scholarship so she can attend the once prestigious Gardner Academy. However, at Gardner Amina finds people who share her concerns about the future; that climate change, the state of American democracy or a nuclear catastrophe could bring about the end of the world as they know it. Amina feels like she’s found her people, particularly when they decide it’s time to start preparing for the end of the world (whatever that might look like). But friendships, student council and social media are also part of the time they’re spending together, and sometimes the problems around these things seem more important that an imminent apocalypse, and Amina isn’t sure what she should prioritise. How to Pack for the End of the World looks at the world that teenagers face today, one where they’re as likely to be marching for climate action as they are to be taking selfies.
Read of the Month – A Spoonful of Murder
It’s not often I review a recent book release for this blog – while access to new titles is a definite upside of working in publishing, my focus is usually on children’s books rather than adult ones – when I read the blurb for A Spoonful of Murder, I couldn’t resist diving right in! If you’re a fan of cosy crime (think The Thursday Murder Club, Miss Marple and Death in Paradise), then this book should find its way onto your bedside table.
Liz, Thelma and Pat are all retired teachers from the same school. One Thursday morning, over their regular coffee catch-up at the local nursery, they run into another old colleague, Topsy. All three are shocked at how much she has changed thanks to the ravages of dementia. Even more shockingly, Topsy reveals to Thelma that someone wants her dead. The three friends are determined to help Topsy, but rather soon after their encounter at the nursery, Topsy is found dead.
While everyone seems determined to explain Topsy’s death as an accident, the official version of events doesn’t gel with what Liz, Thelma and Pat remember of Topsy, even as she was shortly before her death. Somehow, without quite intending to, they find themselves chasing up the lose ends and inconsistencies that everyone else is content to overlook.
A Spoonful of Murder was a fun read; a great way to wind down each evening before going to sleep. If you’re after a book that’s entertaining and keeps you engaged, without being too challenging, this is the perfect book.