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Read on for thoughts about books and reading and teaching and life. But mostly books.

The TBR tour: May new arrivals

The TBR tour: May new arrivals

I tend to wait until I'm ready to review books before sharing them here on the blog, but yesterday was such a red letter mail day -- four packages! -- that I thought it would be fun to introduce you to the new acquisitions that I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing (and, in the case of one title, setting free on public transport) soon.

The excellent Kate at Text Publishing sent me three gorgeous books. Songbird, by Ingrid Laguna, is a middle grade novel about an Iraqi girl, Jamila, who is trying to find her feet in a new school in a new country. It looks bound to break my heart in the best of ways and I'd love to incorporate it into our Newbery Project reading plan. Devil's Ballast, by Meg Caddy, is YA historical fiction based on the pirating life of -- glory -- Anne Bonny! If that wasn't enough, it also has a cover design to die for. Songbird and Devil's Ballast were both published last week, so find them on the new release shelves of your favourite bookstore.

The package from Text also included the gorgeous A Winter's Promise, the first book in Christelle Dabos's Mirror Visitor series. This is a French YA fantasy series (with mirror travel!) which has been recommended for fans of Philip Pullman, Cornelia Funke, and JK Rowling -- grand company indeed. A Winter's Promise was published in October last year, while the sequel, The Missing of Clairdelune, comes out next week.

The lovely Jean at UQP covered everything in the parcel she sent, even including some tissues to help with the tears I'm bound to shed while reading these upcoming middle grade fiction releases. Sick Bay by Nova Weetman (whose books The Secrets We Keep and Everything Is Changed I love with a fiery burning love) promises to be a story of friendship and bravery in that sometimes scary season before high school begins. Sensitive, by Allayne L Webster, is a story of pain, reinvention, and identity as 13-year-old Samantha sets out to create a new identity that's not defined by chronic pain and allergies. Sick Bay and Sensitive both come out at the beginning of June, so check your favourite store or library for them soon.

From Harlequin Australia's Mira imprint, I also received two upcoming releases by Australian authors, due out next week. Mandy Magro's latest, Secrets of Silvergum, looks to be a rural romance with a touch of the thriller, while JH Fletcher's White Sands of Summer is historical fiction which spans decades and perspectives. I don't normally gravitate towards romance fiction, but these ones have Australia written all over them, and I'm into that.

Finally, the people at Penguin, in cahoots with the excellent ladies of Books on the Rail, sent a whole box full of Meg Bignell's debut, The Sparkle Pages, which I'll be sending out on public transport for commuters to find. It's shiny and pretty (with gold edges!) and, based on my quick skim, definitely one just for grown ups!

So I guess that's my to-be-read pile, sorted. You know I’ll keep you posted as I read.

In the read-up to Sydney Writers' Festival: the best of Australian non fiction

In the read-up to Sydney Writers' Festival: the best of Australian non fiction