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Posts tagged ‘History’

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club


By: Alison Goodman

Lady Helen Series Bk 1

The year is 1812 and Lady Helen Wrexhall is preparing for her debut, such an important and changing event in the life of young women in Regency London. Helen’s debut is tainted by the demise of her parents, by her mother’s apparent treason and subsequent death. Despite being told to keep as much distance between herself and her past there is something going on that Helen finds she just cannot let go of. Then there is Lord Carlston, who is reentering society after some scandal of his own. He is a man of many secrets, some of them directly related to Helen, her past and possible future. Helen is supposed to be a lady but a lady doesn’t get herself involved in a hidden world of missing servants and demonic conspiracies, surely.

Goodman has woven a tale that transports us into Regency London with all it’s intricacies and foibles. Helen is a young woman on the cusp of rest of her life, how is that a thing when you aren’t sure who you are? That is the crux of Helen’s dilemma, the known and expected verses the unknown but possibilities. Goodman’s attention to detail transports the reader to the drawing rooms, ballrooms, and habits of the wealthy as well as plunging you into the dank, crudeness of the lower classes.

A thoroughly entertaining read that delves into dark fantasy in the midst of structured culture.

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: 14th December 2015

Key Words: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Demons, Regency

ISBN: 978732296094

Behind Enemy Lines

By: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Infinity Ring Bk 6
Our trio have found themselves in the ravages of World War Two, they can tip the scales in the favour of the Allies. In order to do so they have to split up. The plan they have is a big risk, they can’t be there to watch each other’s back. Tilda is also there doing everything in her power to disrupt their work. She seems to pop up everywhere, she is still after the ring. The choices Dak, Sera and Riq are having to make are getting weightier.
This remains an interesting way to introduce kids to history, it is full of action and in this case espionage. It is nice that the big decisions and difficult tasks are split between the three of them, they really share the weight and in a subtle way this is a good lesson for our kids to learn. There are without question many events in history that can provide fodder for this kind of story but I’m not sure how long they can keep this formula up without providing some kind of resolution.
Publisher: Scholastic US
Published: 1st February 2014
Format: Hardback 186 pages
Categories: Adventure, History
ISBN 13: 9780545387019
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Cave of Wonders

cave-of-wondersMatthew J Kirby

Infinity Ring bk 5

Bagdad has become a centre of learning in the Dark Ages. As well as merchants and explorers from all over the city houses many scholars. It is here that Sera, Dak and Riq find themselves for their next fix. They determine that they have to find a way to save the great library that is there from destruction. This is no small task as what is coming toward the city is one of the most ferocious and successful armies ever, the Mongols. Convincing the Khan is one thing, they still have to get around the SQ and they have no idea who they are, or who might be on their side.

This is a turning point for Sera who finally shares her big secret, so it is a weight she is no longer carrying alone. Riq still has his own demons to face and with it looking like they will be returning to their own time shortly he has no clue what is going to happen to him, but he continues to hold this close. This is a fun addition because for all the success of the Mongols they are not often used in a children’s book setting and this is an interesting look at that army and what was the prosperous city of Bagdad. I enjoyed the tone of this one and continue to look forward to what the next instalment brings.

Publisher: Scholastic US

Published: 05 September 2013

Format: Hardback 192 pages

Categories: General Adventure Science Fiction Historical

ISBN 13: 9780545387002

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

Curse of the Ancients

the-curse-of-the-ancientsBy: Matt De La Pena

Infinity Ring bk 4

Sera, Dak and Riq find themselves back with the ancient Maya people. The Maya’s are a people who seem to know a great deal about the future but that doesn’t prevent them from being involved in one of the breaks that the kids have to fix. The only problem is they aren’t sure exactly what it is they have to do. To make things even more complicated Dak gets injured and Sera can’t tell any of them what it was she saw in the future. Riq finds friendship and possibly something more with Mayan girl Kisa. Sometimes fixing one thing leads you to another discovery and they find out how much they influenced one person’s life, and how it rippled out from there.

An interesting instalment. After the last story and how it affected Riq it was interesting to see his character arc through this. Sera is struggling with what she saw and it is influencing her choices, especially as this story has to do with her past. The way the Mayan civilisation has been woven into this story is very interesting. It is nice to see an ancient civilisation fleshed out, de la Pena has done a great job of this, bringing the people and their lives to life in a way they comes very visually off the page. Probably my favourite book in the series so far.

Publisher: Scholastic US

Published: 06 June 2013

Format: Hardback 192 pages

Categories: Science Fiction, History

ISBN 13: 9780545386999

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

Claws of the Crocodile

I received this from the publisher.


By: Bear Grylls

Mission Survival series bk 5

Beck Granger has been in some tight situations all over the world, on this trip to Australia he has promised his Uncle that he will stay out of trouble. Then somebody lures him away from his uncle with information about the accident that killed his parents. Or at least that is what he thinks he will be getting, rather he finds himself swept up into corporate espionage. He sets out to find an Aboriginal Elder in the outback, who holds information Beck’s parents gave him. To track this man down and survive in the harsh environment Beck will need to use all the skills available to him.

An interesting story that has family, friendship, action and mystery. Beck is a mini Bear, imparting plenty of knowledge about surviving in extreme circumstances, throughout. The other thing this story has that is often missing is a respect for Australia’s natural heritage and those who lived here before Europeans colonised the country. Beck is adventurous, respectful, brave and resourceful, these books are entertaining and maybe a little bit of something educational will be imparted in the process of reading.

Publisher: Red Fox

Published: 01 August 2013

Format: Paperback 272 pages

Categories: Adventure, Action, Environment

ISBN 13: 9781849418423

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

The Trap Door

I got my copy from the publisher.the-trap-door

Infinity Ring series bk 3

By: Lisa McMann

Finally Dak, Sera and Riq are back in the United States, only the year is 1850 and the continent is divided on the issue of slavery. These are bleak times but the Underground Railway brings a touch of hope as it helps runaway slaves make their way to freedom. Things aren’t as they should be though as the SQ are taking control of the railway and sending every slave back to captivity. This is a tricky time for them all to work their way through, Riq in particular, he knows about his ancestors from this time and their escape from slavery but now he finds himself in the midst of it, every action he takes might change his future. When the life of a small boy  is in his hands Riq will risk everything to see this boy to safety.

This is a fascinating story. Like the 39 Clues books, these are written by different authors and set in very different locations, only in this instance there are also different times. Where Clues takes famous people and puts them into the story this series takes famous events and twists them. In this case slavery. This story is very much Riq’s story as he is the one who goes through the biggest change, this is his story, his family’s past. It is good, I think for Riq to be the focus and hopefully some of what he goes through can get readers thinking about the implications of slavery. You have to have a good grasp on history to pick up some of the changes and I don’t now how much younger readers will get of that. Still it is filled with action and exciting scenarios to keep any reader interested. It might be possible to set projects around the events in our history that these are based on (however it is coming up holiday season in the southern hemisphere and I’m pretty sure no one will appreciate me giving parents etc ideas for holiday study).

An intriguing concept and good read.

Publisher: Scholastic US

Published: 02 May 2013

Format: Hardback 192 pages

Categories: Adventure, History

ISBN 13: 9780545386982

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Verity Sparks, Lost and Found

I received my copy from the publisher

9781921977886By: Susan Green

Verity Sparks is in Melbourne with the father she found and some very good friends, the problem is Verity has lost her gift. The tingle in her fingers has gone and she can no longer find things. This is fine with her father who is determined she will become a proper lady. Verity however isn’t all that interested in pursuing that goal. Despite her reluctance she ends up at Hightop House, an exclusive boarding school. Once there though she finds a couple of mysteries to occupy her mind. Then there is the case of the missing Ecclethorpe heiress. Finally there is a lead she can follow, with her new governess to accompany her Verity starts out on an investigation that becomes more dangerous the closer they get to finding an answer. Will Verity’s gift return to help her before it is too late.

A totally wonderful mystery story with an intriguing and fascinating character at it’s core. Verity is a great character, she is wilful and clever. She isn’t cowed by bullies and has a generous spirit. Verity is the sort of character who draws you into the story and the mysteries along the way add interest to her journey. It is an historic setting with some of the elements very much of that time, whist other aspects are timeless, (for example dealing with bullies in a school environment). There is something open and appealing about this story and I must say I want to read more about Verity’s adventures.


Publisher: Walker Books Australia

Published: 01 May 2013

Format: Paperback

Categories: Historical, Mystery

ISBN 13: 9781921977886

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

Lina at the Games

I received my copy from the publisher9780143307020By: Sally Rippin

Part of the Our Australian Girls Series

Lina is excited, the best thing about living in Melbourne in 1956 is the Olympic Games and they are finally here. Lina is fit to burst about her school paper and the chance to actually go to some of the Games. She misses her friend Mary, and wonders how she will ever get the paper finished with Sarah. Other things are going on too, as Lina comes to understand how much some people don’t like those from different backgrounds. In the midst of all this she strikes up a friendship with a boy who shows her a different way of looking at things. His idea will change things in a way she never thought someone of their age could.

Lina is an appealing girl with with goals and very real problems both at school and within her family. Rippin has placed her wonderful characters in the midst of a very real recreation of Melbourne in the late 50’s. The things Lina experiences seem so real, the excitement of that time almost tangible. This series is great for readers after something real and historical.


Publisher: Puffin

Published: 26 June 2013

Format: Paperback 132 pages

Categories: History, Australian

ISBN 13: 9780143307020

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

The Dinosaur Feather

I received this book from the publisher.9781742750927

By: Jack Wells

Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter bk 4

Robert and Riley are back at Australia Zoo, they are helping with filming some footage of cassowaries. Whilst doing this Robert tells RIley he believes many dinosaurs had feathers. Riley thinks there is no way this is possible, until that magic bone of Robert’s transports them back in time once more. This time they end up in prehistoric Asia where the two boys find out more then they thought possible about oviraptors and yutyrannus huali.

This book continues the fast pace set in the first three. There is plenty of adventure still to be had as well as loads of things to learn about both dinosaurs and animals that are still alive. Robert’s passion for animals and dinosaurs is infectious, if you know someone with even a passing interest in this topic gives these books a shot, it may just be what you need to get someone reading.

Publisher: Random House Australia Children’s Books

Published: 01 March 2013

Format: Paperback 96 pages

Categories: Adventure, Dinosaurs

ISBN 13: 9781742750927

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Armoured Defence

This book was sent to me by the publisher


By: Jack Well

Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter bk 3

Robert is on a holiday with his best mate Riley. They are visiting Riley’s Uncle Nate in the Canadian Badlands. For Robert this is an awesome place for a holiday because it’s a place where loads of dinosaur fossils have been found. Robert is thrilled when he gets pulled back in time once more and to make it even better this time Riley has come back with him. Riley doesn’t have Robert’s fascination for dinosaurs though but even he has to admit they are pretty cool when you come face to face with them, not to mention more than a touch scary.

I think this series is going strong. Robert has an infectious nature and the fact he is an actual person probably adds some appeal. Riley is a great counter to Robert, he’s into dirt bike racing and other not so geeky things. The boys have fun and that fun helps keep the action moving. Worth looking at especially if you want something about dinosaurs as these books contain plenty of facts.

Publisher: Random House Australia Children’s Books

Published: 01 March 2013

Format: Paperback 96 pages

Categories: Adventure, Dinosaurs

ISBN 13: 9781742750910

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page


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