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


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

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Fiction Books

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

I have already read this book twice! An English Gentleman who has never worked a day in his life is exiled to a remote area of Canada to clear land and grow wheat. Why was he exiled? He leaves behind a wife and a daughter. He works hard and eventually is successful. He marries and has a great friendship with a local brother and sister. Why does he leave? We meet him in an asylum. Why is he there?  So many questions so many answers. Perfect! Chris

Blood On Snow by Jo Nesbo

Olav is a hitman for one of Oslo’s major kingpins. But he dreams of getting out of the life, and finding someone to settle down with. He thinks he’s found her. The only problem? She’s his next target. And she’s also his boss’s wife. Blood on Snow is a short, sharp and brutal piece of noir fiction, and unlike anything else Nesbo has written. Simon

A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell

This novel is the shared confessional of three sisters who have decided to kill themselves at the end of the 20th century, honouring the dark legacy that has haunted their extraordinary family for decades.  This is a magnificent tale of fate and partly a memoir of sisters unified by a singular burden, and above all a profound commentary on the events of the 20th century. Darkly funny and very good. Chris

The Lovers of Amherst by William Nicholson

A famous line of Emily Dickinson sums up this novel about her life. I’ve None to tell me to but thee. Who is the person she is telling everything to?  What was the truth about Emily Dickinson and her brother and his lover? A young woman is researching dairies and letters in the hope of writing a movie script. Her own life especially relationships mirror the Dickinson family. Love sex and secrets. William Nicholson brings all these together in a book that has to be made into a movie. Chris

The Defence by Steve Cavanagh

Steve Cavanagh’s debut novel, The Defence, mixes the tough guy dynamic of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher with the smarts of John Grisham’s legal dramas. Think Die Hard in a New York courthouse; a rocket-fast thriller layered with potential for a long-running series starring the con-man-turned-lawyer-turned-drunk Eddie Flynn. Simon

Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon

Berlin 1949, a city grappling with the future, a city grappling with the past. The past makes creates informers as people try to cover up what they did during the war. The future with the English, Russians and Germans create spies. A writer returns to Germany from living in America where he is not welcome during the McCarthy era. His ideals are shattered very quickly as soon as he arrives he wants to leave. Brecht too makes an appearance with his play Mother Courage. Spies and more spies. Wonderful. Chris

Falling In Love by Donna Leon

Many years after Brunetti cleared her name, opera superstar Flavia Petrelli has returned to the illustrious La Fenice to sing the lead in Tosca. When an anonymous admirer inundates her with bouquets of yellow roses – on stage, in her dressing room and even inside her locked apartment – it becomes clear that this fan has become a potentially dangerous stalker. Distraught, Flavia turns to an old friend for help.

Non-Fiction Books

Through The Wall by Anna Bligh

An uplifting memoir of resilience and strength from ex-Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh. Writing with her trademark honesty, warmth and humour about the challenges that public and private life have thrown her, Anna reflects candidly – as a wife, mother, daughter, friend and political leader – on the lessons of leadership, resilience, community and family.

Mothers & Others

In this collection of fiction and non-fiction stories, Australia’s best women writers reflect on motherhood. Their stories tackle everything from the decision not to have children to the so-called battle between working and stay-at-home mums. From infertility and IVF, to step-parenting and adoption, to miscarriage and breastfeeding, child meltdowns and marriage breakdowns, the stories explore and celebrate the full gamut of the motherhood experience, and give a much needed voice to those who won’t ever be called ‘Mum’.

One Life by Kate Grenville

I have never read a biography so tender and so honest. One Life is an act of great imaginative sympathy, a daughter’s intimate account of the patterns in her mother’s life.  What a difficult thing to do. Nance was born  in 1912 and died in 2002. She lived through tremendous change and unheaval. It is a deeply moving homage by one of Australia’s finest writers. Read and be moved about one life lived the best way she could. Chris

Impressive by Kirstie Clements

How do you get your dream job? How do you shine once you have landed it? How do you ask for a pay rise? And, equally importantly, what do you wear to achieve all three? You may only have one shot at getting your stylish foot in the door of the so-called glamour industries. Impressive’s secrets will arm you for success.

The River Cottage Australia Cookbook by Paul West

Featuring recipes from the first three series of River Cottage Australia, this is the cookbook that will reveal the delicious dishes which Paul West has been creating on the farm. The book is divided into seven chapters and includes more than 120 recipes such as pumpkin scones, roasted octopus salad, baked salmon, spiced aubergine salad, pig on a spit, borlotti bean broth, raw courgette salad and warm curb cake with honey rhubarb.

Design with Colour and Style by Shaynna Blaze

Interior design expert Shaynna Blaze is passionate about helping people uncover their own personal interior style. In this book, she explores the intriguing, enticing elements of colour and style and explains how you can use them to transform your home. Using beautiful photographs and practical examples, Shaynna shows how colour affects a space and the mood of those living in it.

Childrens’ Picture Books

How Many Legs? by Kes Gray

How many legs would there be if a squid rode on a buffalo to visit for tea? Then add more four legged, two legged, and eight legged animals to join in the fun. Have you lost count? A fun, hilarious counting book that all the famly will enjoy. Jan 

Teacup by Rebecca Young

This is a beautiful picture book that is both a feast forthe eyes and the soul. A boy must find a new home, and with him across a wild sea journey he takes a bottle , a book anad a blanket….anad a tea cup full of earth from his old playfround. Beautiful and inspiring. Ian

Books for First Readers

Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson

This is a charming gentle first reader from Sweden. Squirrel is all in a panic, her nuts have been stolen and she turns to Detective Gordon, the Chief of Police of the forrest. It’s best not to mention that he is the only policeman and  he spends  most of his day eating cakes . A wonderful book about friendship and learning that thieves will get their comeuppance. Ian

The Terrible Two by Jory John & Mac Barnett

Miles is starting a new school. At his old school he was THE pranskter master but he is about to meet his match at Yawnee Valley.  Made up of short chapters, wickedly funny cartoon and interesting vocabulary this is the perfect bridge from first chapter books to more serious reading. Ian

Books for Young Readers

The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Oscar and Meg are best friends living next door to each other in Ireland.  When Meg’s family move to New Zealand, Paloma’s family move into their house. Paloma is controlling and sly and believes that “the only way to get ahead in life is to annihilate your rivals”. Oscar and Paloma seem to become friends but when Oscar goes missing it is only Meg and his brother Stevie who believe he is alive. Jan

Fizzlebert Stump and the Girl Who Lifted Quite Heavy Things by A.F. Harrold

Fizzlebert Stump,Fizz to his friends is a boy who loves being in the circus. He has just one (or So he thinks) major problem . He is the boy who puts his head in the lions mouth and his lion has done a bunk…. and the Circuses of Circuses is just around the corner and he need a new act fast !He has a brilliant idea but will it work ? Of course it doesn’t. Laugh out loud funny. Ian

Books for Young Adults

I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Emily believes in destiny especially when her and Sam’s eyes meet across the church and there is an immediate connection. Sam and his little brother Riddle have spent their lives moving around with their unstable father. When Emily and Sam finally meet both Sam and Riddle enjoy the protection and fun that comes from being a family. However, when tragedy strikes they are not sure where they belong. Another gripping story from the author of Counting by 7’s. Jan

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

What an unexpected delight! I was dubious about the possibility of another soulless apocalyptic story. We All Looked Up is certainly not that. It has plenty of depth, and is infused with a wonderful cast. Brilliant! Simon