Conspiracy 365: January – Gabrielle Lord

On New Year’s Eve, 15-year-old Callum Ormond is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning: “They killed your father. They’ll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days!” Forced into a life on the run, Cal finds himself hunted by ruthless criminals and the police. Somehow he must uncover the truth about his father’s mysterious death and solve the Ormond Singularity, a secret from the past, before the year is up. But who can he turn to when the whole world seems to want him dead? The countdown has begun, 12 books in 12 months.

Visit the Conspiracy 365 website and watch the series trailer.

Dog-eared and well-read

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The Softwire (Virus on Orbis: 1) – PJ Haarsma

Twelve-year-old Johnny Turnbull (JT) is one of 200 parentless children on the spaceship Renaissance headed to the Rings of Orbis. On arrival the children are shocked to learn that they must work as slaves for aliens to repay their passage. When it is discovered that JT is a softwire, a human able to communicate telepathically with computers, he is both feared and wanted by different factions. But then the computer that runs the operations on Orbis 1 starts to malfunction and JT becomes the prime suspect. While fighting to stay alive JT must prove his innocence and solve the mystery of what threatens Orbis, before time runs out. This riveting, fast-paced, sci-fi adventure is the first in a quartet.

Fantasy book critic

No gun for Asmir – Christobel Mattingley

A Muslim family flees Sarajevo during the Bosnian War in the early 1990’s, leaving their father behind. Based on a true story. Read also the sequel ASMIR IN VIENNA

Recommended age: 12+


The ice road – Jaap ter Haar

It is 1942 and the German army has laid siege on Leningrad. No one can get out, no food can get in, and the temperature has long remained below zero. Hunger has gripped the people of Leningrad, and 12-year-old Boris Morenko is terrified that his mother will starve. Weaving a tale of bravery, friendship and survival, this compassionate and uplifting novel documents Boris and his best friend Nadia’s attempt to outwit death in a desperate search for food behind enemy lines.

Books for Keeps

The diary of Laura’s twin – Kathy Kacer

A mysterious diary links modern-day Laura to Sara, a Jewish girl fighting to stay alive in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Three weeks before her Bat Mitzvah, Laura is given a mysterious diary that begins…. My name is Sara Gittler and I am thirteen and a half years old. I have lived here behind barbed wire and high walls for more than a year. ….  Soon Laura is swept up in Sara’s story – the story of a girl just like herself, whose experience and courage can now help Laura to confront prejudice in her own time.

Allen & Unwin

Stitches in time – Julie Ireland

Hoping to find out more about the mother she misses so much, Elise journeys all the way from Australia to Burgundy to visit her dead mother’s sister. Whilst seeking solace in an ancient hospice she blacks out, and wakes in a hospital bed in medieval Burgundy…

Recommended age: 13+

Library Thing

Pharaoh – Jackie French

Prince Narmer’s whole life changes overnight. A devastating accident forces him to give up his right to the throne and sends him journeying across the ancient Middle East with the mysterious Trader, the crippled Nitho and a tamed wildcat called Bast. And as he travels through the desert and visits the great cities of Punt and Sumer, he learns that Thinis is actually a very small place indeed.  Set in a time before the pyramids and based on real historical events, Pharaoh will sweep readers along on a fascinating journey through a part of the world we hear so much about today.

Jackie French