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A list of titles most recently added to the Scheme. View the full catalogue or login to add a title to your booklist.

 

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2018
Pages : 295
The hope of a better life, that's what Irishman Albert Black was seeking when he stepped on New Zealand shores, not the prospect of the gallows after a casual altercation at an Auckland milk bar. It's 1955 and unfortunately for young 'Paddy', New Zealand has the moral bit between its teeth, and the death penalty still on its books.

Compelling and convincing, this is both a compassionate recounting of a young man's short life and the thoughtful examination of a dark episode in New Zealand history.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Utterly compelling and emotionally convincing."

"The descriptions are so vivid, I was there, not just reading it."

"I was absorbed by this book (enjoyed does not seem the appropriate term)."

"It's a time in New Zealand's history that is not that well-known and so this book became a good history lesson."

"I think most people would find this a great read - thank you, Fiona Kidman!"

"The book invites the reader to examine our very recent past and to look carefully at whether we have progressed from these attitudes."

"I found no negatives in this story, just a deep sadness that this happened within my own lifetime."

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Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, 2021 Titles

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2109
Pages : 288
Tom has had enough. Rather than hand over the farm to the bank, he'd prefer to burn it to the ground. Unfortunately, he dies in the resulting blaze and now his family - Dawn and the twins, Jenny and Jack - want to take him back to Melbourne where he was born. But a horse + cart + coffin = a slow, slow journey from rural Victoria to the Big Smoke. Along the way there will be plenty of time to draw attention to the plight of farmers, plenty of time for trouble to find them too, dogging the progress of their eclectic procession.

Told from Jack's fresh perspective, this is an entertaining and thought-provoking read that highlights the tough realities of Australian rural life and affirms the power of community standing together.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I can see why it won the Banjo prize - it's an unusual tale and will be a great book to discuss."

"Each of the main characters attract sympathy as well as being interesting."

"A very topical book with the current environmental disasters experienced in Australia."

"An entertaining and thought-provoking read on several levels: the plight of the farmers, the willingness of many folk to join in at personal and career cost, and coping with grief."

"I really enjoyed the description of the Australian community and the Australian voice was clearly recognisable with words like 'cop' and 'yeah'."

"The story is written with humour and Australian wit against the background of the tragedy in the farming community."

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Categories: Fiction, Community, Contemporary, Family Saga, Grief/loss, Humour, Young narrator, Australia, 2021 Titles

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2019
Pages : 310
When firefighter Cassie Hanwell reluctantly moves from Texas to Massachusetts, she knows that it is not going to be plain sailing. She has always successfully managed the challenges of working in a male-dominated field, but the men at her new fire station are not kindly disposed to her appointment. But the die is cast and Cassie will not be backing down, even when she has to compete with a golden-boy rookie for the one permanent position available.

From its laugh out loud moments and nail-biting dramas to its blood pressure threatening sexism, this story with love at its heart also offers an insightful examination of some of the challenges women face and reinforces the importance of being true to oneself.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A witty and astute portrayal of love and forgiveness which made me laugh and cry."

"A delightful romance which generates many themes for discussion. While it's written with a light hand, some of these underlying themes are serious."

"Plenty of laugh out loud moments. It was a hard book to put down!"

"Appealing characters and an entertaining insight into a career I knew little about."

"I think younger women's groups will love this book."

"A lovely story that covers a number of issues, including the need to forgive and move on and women working in male environments. I enjoyed it very much."

"The only negative was Cassie being super-smart at everything."

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Categories: Fiction, Community, Contemporary, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Humour, Love story, Medical/Health, Morals/Ethics, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, Uplifting, America, 2021 Titles

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2019
Pages : 450
It is hard to refuse a deathbed wish and Bilal Hasham isn't the first to struggle with complying. His mother's request will put Bilal on a collision course with his friends, family and his neighbours in the south coast village of Babbel's End. Honouring Sakeen's last wish - to build a mosque in the village - will really set the cat among the pigeons, exposing the fault lines of racism and intolerance that sit beneath the surface of this quintessentially English community.

Both entertaining and provocative, this multifaceted story of faith and identity thoughtfully reveals the changing face of Britain while holding up a mirror to one's own prejudices.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Conversations written here credibly reflect antagonisms, doubts, resistance etc but do so with an overall effect of warmth and humanity, rather than hate."

"Several characters are sufficiently well-described to engage the reader in their individual stores, maintaining interest till the end."

"I loved this book - I could imagine the village, the people and their feelings and behaviours so easily."

"The characterisation is wonderful - perceptive and thoughtful."

"There are some very moving passages and sad moments, but also a great deal of irony and humour."

"Sympathetic insight into the discomfort that must be felt by all immigrants when they try to fit into the culture of a new country."

"It is a dry look at tolerance/intolerance, quite comical in places."

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Categories: Fiction, Community, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Grief/loss, Humour, Relationships, Religion, Uplifting, England, 2021 Titles

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2019
Pages : 340
The Elincourt family and Heatherbrae House, a beautiful mansion in the Scottish Highlands, have not lived up to expectations for Rowan Cain and her four predecessors. The live-in nanny job with Bill, Sandra and their daughters should be as amazing as it initially appears, but that is before reality sinks in: Rowan is under constant surveillance, the children are less-than-angelic, the parents are AWOL more often than not, and the 'smart' house isn't so smart after all.

Writing to a prospective lawyer from her prison cell, Rowan recounts her experiences with the family that led to her being accused of a murder she claims she didn't commit.

With a nod to the Henry James classic, The Turn of the Screw, this is a hard-to-put-down haunted house thriller, delightfully atmospheric and bristling with menace.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Wow, this was a cracker of a yarn. I love a good mystery."

"Clues to the eventual outcome were liberally scattered through the story and led the reader form page to page. It was almost impossible to put it down."

"This book is suspenseful and has a surprising twist at the end."

"It's a light read - but this is not necessarily a negative."

"There's a gradual building of suspense and it keeps you turning the pages."

"Right from the first pages you know a child dies, but you don't know which one. This really adds to the suspense of the book."

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Categories: Fiction, Community, Grief/loss, Humour, Love story, Mystery, Relationships, Suspense/Thriller, Uplifting, Scotland, England, 2021 Titles

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2019
Pages : 258
Young Robert Appleyard wants more from life than to end up with his father in a Durham coalmine, and with World War II now over, surely he can expect more? And just like that, with a swag on his back he heads off ... winding up on the North Yorkshire coast in the company of the delightfully eccentric Dulcie Piper. It is in their nascent friendship that Robert's horizons expand and Dulcie is able to reconcile with her past.

This is an inspirational story of intergenerational friendship distinguished by its lyrical descriptions of the natural world, its wit and wisdom and its appreciation of the life changing power of arts and culture.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Inspirational – the originality, the poetic language, amazing imagery, and the detailed description of the English Countryside. Beautiful."

"A beautifully written book – I think groups will love it."

"The writing in this book is poetic and atmospheric."

"The writer has a remarkable way with words and you just want to be there."

"It is full of wisdom and knowledge and the reader grows and learns along with Robert."

"A great book, but it was hard to get into. You have to persevere, but it's well worth it."

"I was hooked as soon as I read the first few sentences - how I identified with her!"

"The language in this book is amazing."

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Categories: Fiction, Community, Grief/loss, Inspirational, Love story, Relationships, England, 2021 Titles

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2019
Pages : 335
The retired New York professor and the street wise eleven-year-old make for an odd pair. Foisted on him at the eleventh hour by an insistent social worker, Noah Salvaggio reluctantly accepts his great-nephew Michael as a travelling companion on a much-anticipated trip to Nice. For it is here on the Cote d'Azur that Noah's mother had weathered the storms of Nazi occupation, but with some disconcerting photos casting confusion on her experiences.

Both a mystery and a family drama, this is an intriguing story of intergenerational reckoning and a glimpse at the French Riviera's wartime past.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I think the author really delivered with this book."

"The characters are likeable and funny, and the story has both intrigue and humour."

"I laughed out loud at various times, it was a most enjoyable read."

"I read this book in a day. It was an easy read, intriguing, and 'feel good' without being sickly."

"A book I think many would enjoy. Easy read, funny and satisfying."

"The book is well-written and has likeable characters. I also enjoyed the historical detail."

"The book quickly grabs your attention and takes you on a gentle and interesting journey."

"Great description of tech-savvy Michael and an old-fashioned gentleman."

"It's possible the book could be too slow for some who like lots of action."

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Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Humour, Relationships, Uplifting, France, America, 2021 Titles

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2019
Pages : 355
Meet sixteen-year-old Maddy and her mother Eve. Life is challenging for this mother/daughter duo as Maddy suffers from leukaemia. It's all here - the highs and lows, the hope and despair as well as the usual angst and joie de vivre of a teenager's life. But Maddy is not cowering in her bed - there's climate change to be sorted, a first love to be relished and the quest to find the father she has never met.

Narrated by both Maddy and Eve, and moving between rural Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and London, this is a tender and uplifting story embracing the entanglements of love, loss and parenthood, and delivering an emotionally satisfying read.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I think this book would have side appeal, from Young Adult up to Adults, and also women and men."

"The sexual content in this book is handled sensitively."

"The aspects dealing with the cancer are sensitively handled, so not too hard for the squeamish."

"The story, told with alternating characters, is well-written. A very good debut novel."

"The entries by Maddy's mother brings this book to a different level - it's different to all those other books about such subjects."

"The role of the birth father compared to the stepfather adds a good twist to this story."

"This is a good story and it's not sentimental at all."

"The method of storytelling through the eyes of both Maddy and her mother gives the reader an extra insight."

"I appreciated the author not going into morbid detail over Maddy's illness. We were told enough for us to realise the seriousness without playing on our sympathy."

"The renewal of the relationship seemed a bit Mills & Boonish, but that was a brief impression and didn't last."

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Categories: Fiction, Community, Cross-over, Grief/loss, Humour, Medical/Health, Relationships, America, 2021 Titles

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2019
Pages : 294
Eleven-year-old Allegra has her work cut out for her keeping the adults in her life happy. There are her two grandmothers; flamboyant and free-spirited Joy and the stern and practical Matilde. And then there's Rick, her surfer dad. For as much as they all love Allegra, they can't abide each other, and she is forced to navigate the tricky dynamics stemming from a family history she is yet to discover.

Set in a 1970s Australia that thoughtfully reflects the feminism of the era, this is an engaging coming-of-age story narrated by the endearing Allegra.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Very amusing despite the sadness underlying the story."

"I enjoyed it very much - it made me think of how we have different faces that we present to different people."

"Very good character portrayal, although perhaps Joy was a bit over-the-top."

"An excellent account of a troubled child in a troubled family."

"An easy to read book, and it's not 'fluffy' at all. I appreciated its originality."

"I thought all the characters were very interesting and the male character was presented as sympathetically as all the females."

"The presentation of the social issues, inevitably puzzling to a child, was an integral part of the story and it was done well."

"The mystery of what had led to the difficult relationships was sustained well throughout the story."

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Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Feminism, Grief/loss, Humour, Relationships, Uplifting, Australia, 2021 Titles

Genre : Fiction
Year : 2016
Pages : 278
Fulfilling a promise to his wife Lydia, film composer Arky Levin makes his way to New York's Museum of Modern Art and Marina Abramovic's iconic performance work: one table, two chairs and the mingled gaze of the artist and participating members of the public over a seventy-five day period.

A surprising catalyst for Arky's examination of his life, the exhibition is at the heart of this original and clever story and reimagining of the actual 2010 event. It provides a fascinating backdrop to pondering profound ideas of art and life.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I thought this book was brilliant. The writing style flows beautifully."

It's highly original, well-written and will provoke lots of conversation."

"I so enjoyed this very original story."

"A clever plot using a real 'happening' as the basis of a very original novel."

"It has the pacing of a thriller with little bits of information to keep the reader engrossed."

"As the 75 days pass, the reader becomes anxious for Marina."

"I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book as I am not really into art."

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Categories: Fiction, Arts, The, Contemporary, Faction, Psychology, America, 2021 Titles

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