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

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

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Fiction Books

Girl at War by Sara Nović

Set in Zagreb, 1991. A city once part of Yugoslavia which is about to become the capital of Croatia as civil war erupts. Ana Jurić is ten years-old and the story is told through her eyes as the collapse of communism soon turns to a confusing and violent war. This is a coming-of-age story which happens far too early. It is about how history defines us and haunts us. It is about trying to make sense of an unexplainable conflict and how in war innocence is so easily lost. In the beautiful tradition of The Tiger’s Wife and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. Jon

The Blue Between SKy and Water by Susan Abulhawa

A novel set in Gaza, a novel which gives us another side of the story. Heartbreaking, passionate, magical, all these words and more create a truly inspiring novel. By the author of Mornings in Jenin which has been an international success.  Chris

The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle

T C Boyle is a favourite author of mine, he uses a large landscape to write about one family. He slowly drip feeds us about violence in America through the damaged son and his friendship with a woman equally unstable. The tension builds and builds until it erupts with no easy ending. Part thriller, part social commetary this is a book that you will love to hate. Chris

Tightrope by Simon Mawer

I love a good spy novel. Marion Sutro, a British spy was captured by the Gestapo in 1943. She was interrogated and ended up in Ravensbruck concentration camp for a while. When she escaped and returned to England she was revered as a heroine of the resistance. She is broken and begins to doubt her role in the war. During her return to health she starts to miss the adventure and intrigue of her previous life. Still the idealist she turns to peace and her answer she thinks is with communism. Simon Mawer reminds me of William Boyd so quite a treat. Chris

Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh

An historical novel set in China and India during the Opuim Wars. A novel which will want you to learn more about that time and the East India Company. Full of characters whose paths cross between Bengal and mainland China. Lots of detail about the times. If you like your historical novels epic and sweeping this will carry you away. Chris

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

Scandals abound in this engaging new work from the author of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. When the inquisitive young Willa Romeyn, beautifully reminiscent of Harper Lee’s Scout, encounters the sophisticated Miss Layla Beck, her litany of questions are answered. Recently arrived in Macedonia, West Virginia, for the Federal Writers Project, Miss Beck is tasked with unearthing the town’s history, but not everyone in Macedonia wants the truth to be heard, including some of Willa’s nearest and dearest. A wonderfully immersive story about secrets and their significance. Sally

Forever Young by Steven Carroll

Set against the tumultuous period of change and uncertainty that was Australia in 1977. Whitlam is about to lose the federal election, and things will never be the same again. The times they are a’changing. Radicals have become conservatives, idealism is giving way to realism, relationships are falling apart. A powerfully moving work.

Non-Fiction Books

Ardennes 1944 by Antony Beevor

On 16 December, 1944, Hitler launched his ‘last gamble’ in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes. He believed he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp, then force the Canadians and the British out of the war. The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in Western Europe. 

Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

South African born Elon Musk is the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. Musk wants to save our planet; he wants to send citizens into space, to form a colony on Mars; he wants to make money while doing these things; and he wants us all to know about it.

The Simple Act of Reading by Debra Adelaide

A collection of essays and memoir pieces on the topic of reading, in particular what it means for writers to be readers and how that has shaped their life. The Simple Act of Reading will support Sydney Story Factory by emphasising the importance of reading in shaping an individual’s future.

Gittins by Ross Gittins

With four decades of printers’ ink in his veins, he dissects the newspaper game, remembers the great editors and journalists who have sharpened our minds and his, and lays down some hard facts about a hard future…Honest, robust and intelligent, Gittins is as insightful and entertaining as the man himself.

My Paris Dream by Kate Betts

Former editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar recalls her time in Paris – falling in love, finding herself, and beign initiated into the world of high fashion. Rife with insider information about restaurants, shopping, travel, and food, Betts’s memoir brings the enchantment of France to life — from the nightclubs of Paris where she learned to dance Le Rock, to the lavender fields of Provence and the forests of le Bretagne — in an unforgettable memoir of coming-of-age…

How The French Won Waterloo (Or Think They Did) by Stephen Clarke

Two centuries after the Battle of Waterloo, the French are still in denial. If Napoleon lost on 18 June 1815 (and that’s a big ‘if’), then whoever rules the universe got it wrong. As soon as the cannons stopped firing, French historians began re-writing history. Stephen Clarke has studied the French version of Waterloo, as told by battle veterans, novelists, historians – right up to today’s politicians, and he has uncovered a story of pain, patriotism and sheer perversion.

Musing from the Inner Duck by Michael Leunig

Michael Leunig’s poignantly hilarious new cartoon collection, ranges from Curly Flat to the global positioning sausage, accompanied by the direction-finding duck. This collection of 138 cartoons tilts towards the whimsical, the wise and the sublimely misaligned; it’s less heavily political than previous collections, although the political system cops a serve here and there.

Childrens’ Picture Books

There’s A Bear On My Chair by Ross Collins

Bear settles into poor Mouse’s chair! Mouse tries all the ideas he can think of to get him to move – the chair is not big enough to share. Mouse gives up and decides to leave but who does Bear find when he gets home. Is there a Mouse in Bear’s house? Such fantastic illustrations with a great story to share. Jan

Line Up, Please! by Tomoko Ohmura

Standing in line can be fun when you are with a giraffe, skunk, pig, monkey and many more animals. A cleverly illustrated picture book written with humour and clues as to where the line is going. Jan

Books for Young Readers

The Milkshake Detectives by Heather Butler

Charlie and Julia are certain that the sleepy village of Peddle-Worth must contain some mysteries for their brand new agency – The Milkshake Detectives – to solve. All they need to do is find them! All they need to do is find them! So when somebody called ‘The Bear’ starts leaving strange clues, they can’t wait to put their spy skills to use. The only problem? Everyone else wants to join in the bear hunt too!

Phyllis Wong and the Waking of the Wizard by Geoffrey McSkimming

We are all very excited about the third instalment of this very popular Australian series. Phyllis is part brilliant magician and part sleuth. This is her hardest mystery to solve yet! Can she uncover the truth about one of magic’s most mysterious figures and at the same time save the world form the ‘Great Whimpering” doom that threatens us all. Read it and find out!

Books for Young Adults

The Traitor by Allen Zadoff

The Boy Nobody trilogy comes to an adrenaline-fueled conclusion in Traitor, which sees the Program’s elite soldier now their number one target. Packed with the series’ trademark action and suspense, this series is perfect for readers who’ve outgrown Alex Rider and CHERUB. Simon

Pieces of Sky by Trinity Doyle

Lucy’s life has turned upside down after the death of her brother. She was state backstroke champion, had  friends, had a life but now all she feels is lost. A great debut novel dealing with isolation, communication, community and love. Jan