The Book Brief: The Very Best New Release Books in July

Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief.

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Fiction Books

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Set during the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Scout has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood. An instant classic.

The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop

What is home? What is our idea of homesickness? This a novel that takes us from England to Australia to India. It is not just about the places but the people in them and the expectations on them about the idea of home. Charlotte loves the cold of England, her husband, raised in India wants some warmth. They decide to emigrate to Australia with their young children. Charlotte is a character that will lead you on a journey towards her idea of home. The fascinating part of the novel is that all the time the characters are at home they are looking out. A really satisfying novel that will keep you reading and thinking. Chris

The Dust That Falls From Dreams by Louis de Berniéres

Set in the golden years of King Edward VII’s reign, Rosie McCosh and her three sisters are growing up in an idyllic and eccentric household in Kent, with their ‘pals’ the Pitt boys on one side of the fence and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood innocence and adventure are destined to be followed by the apocalypse that will overwhelm their world as they come to adulthood. How do they cope and what happens after the war? De Berniere puts us right there in the middle of all that devastation and change. Chris

The Song Collector by Natasha Solomons

Another great read from the author of Mr Rosenblum’s List. Love and music and like Mr Rosenblum another great character in Harry. The novel has a feel of Downton Abbey about it, a time of transition and learning to live in a new world. Humour threads it’s way through this compassionate story of families, especially the handling of the talented young musician! Chris

A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman

Two people meet, one an old woman who is waiting for something that she cannot quite explain and the other a young man home from the war broken and waiting to regain his life. He delivers a letter to a man in Cornwall from his dead son and meets Marvellous. Just like When God Was A Rabbit Winman has written another magical, quirky novel. Chris

Motherland by Jo McMillan

Midlands, England in the 1970’s and Jess is helping her mother sell communism to the working class of Tamworth. Jess is twelve years old. Her mother is a delight, a woman who has ideals, a sense of humour and just loves people. She wants them to be happy and above all peaceful. After a few visits to  East Germany she begins to feel a little crushed by all the rules. I laughed out loud a few times at the almost Monty Python humour. If you like your fiction about real events with humour you will love this. Chris

I Saw A Man by Owen Sheers

Three people, three stories all connected by loss and guilt. Owen Sheers builds the tension between these three people like a good thriller. Michael, the writer walks into what he thinks is the empty house of a neighbour. Daniel is an American pilot responsible for ordering drone attacks in various parts of the world. He has written to Michael about his guilt. Josh, a banker and his wife Samanatha and their two children are caught in the middle. So very very good.  Chris

Crime Fiction Books

The Cartel by Don Winslow

Ten years ago Don Winslow wrote the thriller of the decade. The Power of the Dog was an epic thriller that detailed America’s thirty year war on drugs on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Ten years later he has done it again. Winslow blows The Power of the Dog away detailing the next ten years of the so-called “war” on drugs taking everything that was groundbreaking, epic and mind-blowing to a whole new level. A thriller that is impossible to put down and impossible to forget. Jon

Stealing People by Robert Wilson

Charlie Boxer returns in one of Robert Wilson’s best novels to date.There are so many fantastic elements to this story. Big business, politics, war and how they are each inseparable from the other.  Robert Wilson brings all his talent as a supreme thriller writer to bear in the tightly-plotted, fast paced, addictive page-turner. Jon

Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville

Stuart Neville takes his writing up another notch in his latest thought-provoking and tragic crime novel. This isn’t a crime novel where a mystery needs to be solved or a vicious killer is stalking victims, although you are kept guessing at different times. This is a crime novel about what happens afterwards, after a crime has been committed and punishment has been handed out and served. It is about what happens to those who were involved and how they deal with the consequences. Jon

The English Spy by Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva delivers another stunning thriller in his latest action-packed tale of high stakes international intrigue featuring the inimitable Gabriel Allon, the world’s favourite art restorer, assassin and spy. Daniel Silva returns with another powerhouse of a novel – one that showcases his outstanding skill and brilliant imagination.

The Dying Season by Martin Walker

The Dordogne town of St Denis may be picturesque and sleepy, but it has more than its fair share of mysteries, as Bruno, chef de police, knows all too well. But when Bruno is invited to the 90th birthday of a powerful local patriarch – a war hero with high-level political connections in France, Russia and Israel – he encounters a family with more secrets than even he had imagined. When one of the other guests is found dead the next morning and the family try to cover it up, Bruno knows it’s his duty to prevent the victim from becoming just another skeleton in their closet.

Childrens’ Picture Books

Grandad’s Islind by Benji Davies

Benji Davies, author of Storm Whale has quickly become one of our favourite illustrators and authors. In this new book she tackles with great subtlety and care the subject of death and a small boys struggle to come to terms with the loss of grandfather. Ian

The Night World by Mordecai Gerstein

Everyone in the house is asleep, but a little boy sneaks out into the garden to discover the world of the night is alive with movement and adventure. As the moon wains and the sun rises he gets to experience the joy of a new day. This book is worth buying for the wonderful artwork alone! Ian

Books for First Readers

Izzy Folau: Chance of a Lifetime by Israel Folau

Fans of David Warner’s The Kaboom Kid will love Chance of a Lifetime, which unites two young boys from very different backgrounds when they’re offered the chance to be coached by Australian Rugby star Izzy Folau. As much a story of friendship as it is about rugby! Simon

The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

This is Aaron’s first foray into chapter books and he has done it with the wit and humour that we have come to expect from the author of Pig the Pug. The Bad Guys have an image problem they look like BAD guys, they even smell like BAD guys but that is all about to change.  They Bad Guys are planning to break out 200 dogs form the maximum security pound. Can they pull it off? Can they really become the Good Guys ? Ian

Books for Young Readers

The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer

The Bailey twins are back in there eagerly awaited third adventure. Alex is still training to become the next Fairygodmother and Conner is off on a mission in Europe. But there is a creeping evil that threatens the Land of Stories that will bring Alex and Conner back together to face their biggest challenge yet. Jan

Soon by Morris Gleitzman

Soon continues the incredibly moving story of Felix, a Jewish boy still struggling to survive in the wake of the liberation of Poland after the end of World War Two.

Books for Young Adults

Risk by Fleur Ferris

Taylor and Sierra are best friends who both fall for the same gorgeous guy they have met on the internet. Sierra goes to meet Jacob whilst her friends cover for her. But Sierra doesn’t turn up when expected and Taylor and the rest of their friends are thrown into a scary, dark world they know nothing about. Can Sierra be found in time? I couldn’t stop reading this, scary and confronting. Jan

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Minnow has been with the cult since she was five years old. They have taken everything from her but when she rebels they take away her hands. When the Prophet is killed and the camp set on fire the FBI know she is aware of what happened. A truly amazing debut novel. Jan


The Book Brief: The Very Best New Release Books in July

Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief


Fiction Books

The Lie by Kestin Hesh

A complex political thriller full of suspense, set within the Israel security organisation. A rescue operation that will have you on the edge of your seats. So many lies, so many rationalisations for twisting the truth. But in the end what wins: love of country or family? Terror seems to have a certain equality. Chris

Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball

I was so engrossed in this book it wasn’t until finishing it that I truly digested what I had read. In many ways this is a modern parable about the moral fallacies we place on our systems of justice, but the skill and subtlety in which Jesse Ball tells the story gives it not just power but also emotional resonance. And by doing so Jesse Ball gets to the absolute core of what a crime story is and what it should mean when we read one. Jon

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

A Swedish crime book with a difference. Martha wants to rob a bank to escape her care home. Her team, the League of Pensioners want to get caught because they feel conditions are better in prison than where they are now. Very reminiscent of the wonderful One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. Of course everything does not go to plan, a delightful and immensely entertaining novel which should be read with a glass of cloudberry wine. Chris

Close Call by Stella Rimington

Liz Carlyle and her Counter Terrorism unit in MI5 have been charged with the task of watching the international under-the-counter arms trade. With the Arabic region in such a volatile state, the British Intelligence forces have become increasing concerned that extremist Al-Qaeda jihads are building their power base ready to launch another attack. As the pressure mounts, Liz and her team must intercept illegal weapons before they get into the wrong hands.

The Extraordinary Journey of The Fakir Who Got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe by Romain Puertolas

An absolutely hilarious romp, like a farce but instead of walking in and out of rooms the main character does the same with wardrobes. A fakir is on a journey to pick up a bed of nails from IKEA but ends up on a tour to many countries. However it wasn’t until I had finished that I realised the more serious side of the story as the Fakir meets many people seeking a better life but instead were shunted from country to country. Extremely entertaining but with an edge. Chris

Upstairs at the Party by Linda Grant

A story about an experimental university in the North of England which wanted to educate thinkers to prevent totalitarianism and future wars. Oh but they were just young people thinking about sex and parties. The experiment goes wrong with some awful consequences. A wonderful read about post war Britain that nobody would recognise now! No mobiles no internet. How did they communicate and it really wasn’t that long ago! Chris

Non-Fiction Books

Ten Conversations You Must Have With Your Son by Dr Tim Hawkes

Every parent of a teenage boy knows there are certain conversations they must have with their son. But too often they put them off – or don’t have them at all – because they simply don’t know where to start. Internationally recognised in the field of raising and educating boys, Dr Tim Hawkes provides practical, accessible and invaluable about how to get these discussions started.

City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death and the Search for Truth in Tehran by Ramita Navai

Reading this book reminded me of Stasiland and Behind the Beautiful Forevers, both wonderful examples of narrative non-fiction where the idea is conveyed to the reader in the style of personal stories. We get an understanding of modern Iran through the stories of young people living under repressive regimes. Reads like fiction, in fact at times I thought I was reading a really riveting crime novel! Chris

Asia’s Cauldron by Robert D. Kaplan

For anyone interested in our region you will find this a very interesting read. Kaplan has been named one of the top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. He looks at the shift of power from Europe to Asia, particularly the South China Sea. He looks at the booming cities and the slums from Vietnam, to Malaysia, Singapore to the Philippines and of course China.  One of the questions that intrigued me was the contention that the conflicts of the future in this area will be driven by power and economics rather than humanitarian or ideological ideas. Intensely readable. Chris

Last Days of the Bus Club by Chris Stewart

In this latest, typically hilarious dispatch from El Valero we find Chris, now a local literary celebrity, using his fame to help his old sheep-shearing partner find work on a raucous road trip; cooking a TV lunch for visiting British chef, Rick Stein; discovering the pitfalls of Spanish public speaking; and, most movingly, visiting famine-stricken Niger for Oxfam.

Australian History in 7 Questions by John Hirst

From the author of The Shortest History of Europe, acclaimed historian John Hirst, comes this fresh and stimulating approach to understanding Australia’s past and present. Hirst asks and answers questions that get to the heart of Australia’s history. Engaging and enjoyable, and written for the novice and the expert alike, Australian History in Seven Questions explains how we became the nation we are today.

Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant by Owen Beddall

Everyone wants to be a flight attendant, or at least they want to know about the cushy lifestyle they lead – flying to exotic destinations, swanning about in five-star hotels, daytime lazing around the pool and night-time tabletop dancing with Bollywood stars. At last the lid is lifted. Come on board a real airline with a real flight attendant and find out what really goes on.

Pink Sari Revolution by Amana Fontanella-Khan

This is the story of Sampat Pal and the Pink Gang’s fight against injustice and oppression in India. Amana Fontanella-Khan delivers a riveting, inspiring portrait of women grabbing fate with their own hands – and winning back their lives.

Childrens’ Picture Books

Mr Chicken Lands on London by Leigh Hobbs

Mr Chicken is excited! He can’t wait to get on the plane  and go to London. Join Mr Chicken as he takes a unique look at the sights of London. A great new picture  book from one our favourite authors. Ian

Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey

You may be surprised to hear that Pig is a pug not a pig, and he is the greediest pug in the world. MINE is his favourite word and he won’t share his toys with anyone. One day that all changes. Has Pig learned his lesson? Have a read and find out! Danica

Books for First Readers

Do You Dare? Fighting Bones by Sophie Laguna

Danny and Duncan are two young convict brothers, who are in jail in Tasmania in 1836. As if life is not tough enough, a new boy arrives who is a terrible bully. Is escape their only option? Will they dare? A great action series full of history for boys. Ian & Danica

Nancy Clancy: Secret of the Silver Key by Jane O’Connor

The ever popular super sleuth Nancy Clancy returns in her fourth adventure. Nancy finds an old desk at a garage sale that leads her and Bree into another mystery that proves to much harder to solve than they expected. Ian

Books for Young Readers

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

If you loved ‘Wonder’ and ‘Out of My Mind’, then you have to read this book! Willow is a character unlike any other and she will capture your heart and not let go! We could not put it down! Danica & Jan

Friday Barnes: Girl Detective by R.A. Spratt

Friday Barnes – girl detective, 11 years old. When Friday solves a bank robbery she decides to put herself through boarding school with the reward money. What surprises her is that Highcrest Academy has a high crime problem. While trying to solve these mysteries Friday also has to deal with Ian, the most gorgeous boy in school, who hates her and loves nasty pranks. What is the point of high school? Jan

Books for Young Adults

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Set in Germany during the rise of Hitlers power, seventeen year old Gretchen Muller starts to question why Uncle Dolf (Hitler) has become her protector, father figure and taken her family under his wing. Desperate for answers and why her father took a bullet for Hitler, Gretchen embarks on a mission to uncover the truth. A mother who is very timid, a brother who can be cruel, and a forbidden love this book is an excellent historical fiction novel for young adults. Jan

Spark by Rachael Craw

One day she’s an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer. The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death. Jan

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