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Posts tagged ‘Historical’

Watch Your Tail

I received my copy from the publisher.9780545447751Geronimo Stilton

Cavemice Series bk 2

The day isn’t going well, not when everyone in Old Mouse City has a terrible stomachache. The local shaman doesn’t seem to be able to help much and the Club Brothers are making a lot of money of this epidemic. Geronimo is chosen to find the cure because he is one of the few mice who isn’t suffering. Geronimo isn’t too enthusiastic about this as it requires going on a dangerous journey to a mysterious cave. Geronimo will do a lot for a pretty mouse though and the Shaman has a very pretty daughter, not that Geronimo would ever say anything because he is simply too shy.

A fun prehistoric adventure wrapped in a mystery. Geronimo would have preferred to go on this one alone, if he really has to go that is, but unfortunately his cousin Trap joins him, which means things get a little more interesting. This spin off series is fun, with perhaps less fact moments than the other ones but when dealing with dinosaurs and a lifestyle very different to our own, it is good to encourage children to imagine. The story, as always is entertaining and the bright coloured illustrations and contoured words make the series continually appealing for those only just beginning their booky journey.

Great for beginning readers.

Publisher: Scholastic UA

Published: 01 June 2013

Format: Paperback 128 pages

Categories: Historical, Adventure

ISBN 13: 9780545447751

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of the page

Meet Rose

9780143305361By Sherryl Clark

Part of the Our Australian Girl Series

It is the turn of the century and Rose lives in a big house in Melbourne. Rose is a little different to other girls, she doesn’t want to get all dressed up and wear corsets and do needlepoint, Rose wants to explore, learn, go on adventures and play cricket. Her mother will not agree to any of that though and Rose is feeling very out of her element. She cannot bring herself to be the girl her mother expects her to be. Then Rose’s favourite young aunt comes to stay, bringing as much joy to Rose as she brings pain to Rose’s mother. Rose finds a kindred spirit in her Aunt Alice and she begins to wonder if there will ever be a chance that she can do all the things she dreams of doing.

Rose is a real tomboy, she has great strength of spirit. She knows what her mother wants and she just can’t bring herself to be it, though she does try because she doesn’t like feeling like a total disappointment. This is a wonderful story set in a time of great change, not only technologically but also for women and their place in society. There are themes of not just finding yourself but also the Suffragette movement, a great topic to explore further if you want. This series as always has great stories, with worlds that are full of life, and colour. A wonderful read and I really want to know how Rose’s story continues.

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 31 January 2011

Format: Paperback 132 pages

Categories: Historical, Australian Themes

ISBN 13: 9780143305361

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.

School Days for Ruby

I received my copy from the publisher


By: Penny Matthews

Our Australian Girls series

Ruby is adjusting to a big change. She has come from a wealthy place in the city and now finds herself living with relatives in the country. It is a big adjustment for her. She no longer can have all the things she wants, there just isn’t the money for it. The other thing is her Dad is not around. She is told he is off looking for work. She tries to do the best she can. When a really poor family move into the area and the children start at the school Ruby finds she has some choices to make. She needs to find out if she has the strength to stand up to the horrible Doris Spinks. Just when it looks as though it is as bad as it can be Ruby finds out the truth that her family have been keeping from her.

This is a really interesting take on a very difficult time in Australian (and world history). Ruby’s story is indicative of how many lives were effected by the economic depression. Throughout this adjustment of rich to poor, Ruby finds positive things to hold onto. She brings a light with her and her strength rubs off on those around her. The environment Matthews has created has depth and brings a realness of the moment to the story. If you are looking for something historical, based in truth then this, in fact any book in this series is a good choice. There are many girls and times to choose from and each girl has a story arc of four books. A good way to encourage continual reading.


Publisher: Puffin

Published: 26 June 2013

Format: Paperback 136 pages

Categories: History, Australian Themes

ISBN 13: 9780143307440

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.

Meet Lina

I received my copy  as an ARC from the publisher.
9780143307006By: Sally Rippin

Part of the Our Australian Girl series

Lina lives in Melbourne, she goes to a fancy school on a scholarship and dreams of being a writer someday. Her strict Italian parents have a very different idea for her future. Lina spends her time torn between two worlds. To fit in at school she must keep her home life secret. Not even her best friend knows the truth about where she comes from. How long can Lina keep lying to keep all her secrets?

Lina is a great character, passionate and torn. She wants to do right by her parents but has her own dreams that she is desperate to follow. Lina’s story is about finding a place to belong, a place for her to be accepted and honest about who she is. This is merely the first part of Lina’s story and I look forward to seeing how she changes and grows, how she is able to come to terms with the two lives she lives. The wonderful thing about this series is it’s distinctly Australian flavour and it’s great historical backdrop.

Highly recommended.

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 30 January 2013

Format: Paperback 132 pages

Categories: Historical

ISBN 13: 9780143307006

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page

Meet Ruby

I received my copy as an ARC from the publisher.
By : Penny Matthews

Part of the Our Australian Girl Series

Ruby Quinlan lives in a big house in Adelaide, she goes to a private girls school, has a house keeper and fox terrier. She has just turned 12 and got a camera for her birthday. Then little things start to happen that she doesn’t understand. There is the boy who sleeps one night in their garage, the man who will do anything just to get a little bit of money and the arguments between her parents. Then one of her friends doesn’t came back to school after the holidays. The world around Ruby is changing and her familiar, comfortable life falls apart.

This is one of the Our Australian Girl series and these are wonderful books. They are easy to read, and their distinctly Australian edge makes them rather unique in the middle grade fiction category. Ruby is an easily relatable character. She is young, enthusiastic and a little unaware of what is going on around her. When things change she is going to have to change with them and it is going to be interesting to see how her character develops throughout these four books. One of the great things about this book is it gives the reader a wonderful insight into living in Australia at the start of the Great Depression.


Publisher: Puffin

Published: 30 January 2013

Format: Paperback 132 pages

Categories: Historical

ISBN 13: 9780143307426

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page

The Devil’s Fire

I got my copy from the publisher.By: Stuart Daly

The Witch Hunter Chronicles Book 3

Jakob is one of the Hexenjager, an elite organisation of witch hunters. They are in the process of breaking into a jail in Rotterdam when things take a turn they didn’t expect and Jakob and his compatriots Armand, von Frankenthal and Francesca find themselves on a boat to England. There they are drafted to help fight the Sons of Cain and prevent a terrible prophecy from being fulfilled. The Sons of Cain have stolen The Codex Gigas also known as the Devil’s Bible and plan to use it to summon the Price of Darkness. Jakob and his friends will team up with the Angeli Mortis and British royalty to battle some of the most evil beings any of them have ever faced. Their lives and the fate of the country relies on their success, it will be a challenge for the best of them.

A ride through fantasy and history. Jakob is a likable central character, he is brave and trained but young and it shows in his actions and that makes him interesting. It is nice to see characters with flaws. He is the perfect centre to Armand, charismatic team leader and lethal fighter, determined Francesca and loyal von Frankenthal.

There are loyalties and tensions between the groups trying to work together and that makes the situation more believable and readable. Daly says he was inspired by the works of Dumas and you can see it in his tone and style. If you like a swashbuckling read with more than a dash of the supernatural then definitely give this a look. Sweeping from Rotterdam to London it is dark, gritty and engaging. I will say though some of it felt a little awkward but it wasn’t anything I could really put my finger on and ultimately didn’t stop me enjoying the story.

Publisher: Random House Australia

Published: 02 July 2012

Format: Paperback 432 pages

Categories: Historical, Fantasy, Witches,

ISBN 13: 9781742754802

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of page


By: HM Castor

Hal is a young royal, raised in a troubled house under siege by usurpers and foreigners. As he grows he becomes a gifted warrior, who whilst not born to be king, believes that fate has chosen him to lead his people. Hal is plagued by his family’s violent past which colours the way he deals with friends, peers and women. As he rises to power his method of rule turns vicious, coming to include tools such as murder, rapacious cruelty and the selfish creation of his own religion. Hal becomes known as Henry the Eighth.

This is an interesting take on the life and times of such an infamous royal. If you like history and are looking for an historical fiction then this may be worth a look. Hal was not a nice guy and though he is reputed as being a very charismatic man it somehow didn’t come across to me. Historically the story is rather abbreviated, understandably so for the target audience but still it felt a little dry to me. Then again real or fiction I struggle to enjoy stories if I find nothing likable about the characters. One for fans of historical fiction.

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 08 November 2011

Format: Paperback 396 pages

Categories: Historical

ISBN 13: 9780143567288

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

House of Silk (Yes I know it’s not a kids book but I read Sherlock as a teenager)

By : Anthony Horowitz

November 1890 and London is in the midst of a merciless winter. Dr Watson has come to visit Holmes. During this visit a gentleman comes pleading for Holmes’ help. Intrigued by the tale he tells, a story that spans continents, Holmes and Watson find themselves drawn into a case that becomes increasingly puzzling and sinister. As they push deeper into the case they come across the phrase ‘The House of Silk’. This foe proves to be the most deadly Holmes has ever encountered and he is warned to back off. He cannot.

What started as one case splits into two and Holmes ends up somewhere neither of them ever expected. Events spiral out of control as Holmes and Watson attempt to take to lid off a conspiracy that weaves it’s way through society from the dregs to the top.

Now before you say anything I know this is not technically a YA book, I would like to add that I read Holmes when I was that age and enjoyed them, what a kid reads doesn’t always nicely fit into a kids category. The other thing to add here that Horowitz has written for many crime shows but is also the author of Alex Rider a popular kids series. It’s safe to say then that this book intrigued me on a couple of levels. As a fan of the character I wasn’t sure I wanted to pick it up in case it sucked. It didn’t.

From the moment I started reading I felt as if I was about to embark on a typical Holmes and Watson adventure. I will say here though that the crime has a far more modern feel to it, high level conspiracy and such but this is dealt with handily in the preface. For all the modern touches Horowitz has somehow managed to stay true to the feel and spirit of the Conan Doyle books.

Holmes’ mind is sharp, always holding something close to his chest, Watson as dogged as ever. There is a cameo from Moriarty and a some words with Mycroft. If you like crime and Holmes particularly then this is well worth a look. I will say however that the crime itself [spoiler! – it involves minors] puts this book into a category that means it would be best if the reader were at the older end of the YA spectrum.

Publisher: Orion

Published: 01 November 2011

Format: Paperback 304 pages

Categories: Crime Historical Crime

ISBN 13: 9781409133834

Purchase: here or use link on side of page to Booktopia

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