Alison Reynolds Guides us Through her Books on Good Deeds

by - February 9th, 2016


Alison Reynolds is the author of over 50 books for children and adults, often incorporating important life skills and values in the most entertaining of ways. Some of her children’s titles include the Ranger in Danger series, The Littlest Bushranger, A Year with Marmalade and A New Friend for Marmalade. Today Alison answers questions about […]

Second Half First by Drusilla Modjeska

by - February 9th, 2016

Second Half First

Drusilla Modjeska’s memoir Second Half First (Random House Australia) reads as excellent literary fiction. I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading fact rather than absorbing fiction. The author moves in exalted literary circles; making friends at university who have gone on to become lecturers, and socialising and travelling with literary friends of the […]

Finding the Love within – Part 2 – Annabel’s Dance

by - February 9th, 2016

Annabel's Dance

I mentioned last week the merits of not judging a book (or a person) by its cover. Today my hypocrisy shows for I’m rather partial to the cover of our Part 2 picture book review about dealing with differences, newly released, Annabel’s Dance, by Diane Jackson Hill and Lois Bury. It’s quirky and sweet, exudes […]

The Time and Place Book Tag

by - February 8th, 2016

Dracula Bram Stoker

There are some books in my collection that I’ll always associate with the particular place or time in which I read them. It might be because I read a book on a memorable holiday or read a book at a significant time in my life, but either way, today I’d like to do the Time […]

Review: The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver

by - February 7th, 2016

Chicken Keeper's Problem Solver

Even a cursory examination of my social media hints at the fact I adopt ex-battery hens. Which means I’m constantly on the lookout for information on how to best care for them. That’s both in terms of providing them with the best quality of life, heading off potential illnesses and issues, and giving them the […]

YA Book List ~ Heists, Spies and Con Artists

by - February 7th, 2016


There is something dramatically wonderful about reading spy or heist books. Possibly because it’s bad to steal (tut, tut, don’t do it) and but the thrill of the chase lures us into wanting the adventure stories anyway. Dashing criminals. Masterminds. Near misses. Oh do I have the list for you. Here are some Young Adult books that […]

Caroline Magerl – A Journey of the Heart Part 2

by - February 4th, 2016


In last week’s part of the interview we delved into the history and imagination of the brilliant Caroline Magerl. Today she generously shares how ‘Hasel and Rose’ (‘Rose and the Wish Thing’) became the magical book that we all adore. With reference back to ‘Hasel and Rose’, this beautiful story of displacement and friendship emerged […]

Best YA Romances For Valentine’s Day

by - February 4th, 2016


Considering it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, I decided it’s entirely appropriate to list some of my favourite Young Adult romances. I’m not the biggest romance fan? But it is a squishy moment of intense happiness when a couple defies the odds and gets together. Wild applause from me!   C O N T E M P O […]

Leaving the Nest – Back to School Picture Books

by - February 2nd, 2016


Reaching a new milestone is one that comes with excitement, pride, aspirations and sometimes, trepidation. We’ve already been through the first year of school experience (with another waiting in the wings), but even so, starting afresh has its own set of rewards and challenges. From learning a whole new routine, to meeting new friends and […]

Iris and the Tiger by Leanne Hall

by - February 1st, 2016

Iris and the Tiger

One of my all-time favourite YA novels is Australian writer Leanne Hall’s This is Shyness. It’s an utterly original story about Wildgirl and Wolfboy who cross the liminal border of Grey Street into Shyness, a gritty suburb of perpetual darkness. It blends surrealism with realism in a most memorable way. Even the title is inspired. […]

Finding the Love within – Part 1 – Elephant Man

by - February 1st, 2016

Elephant Man cover 2

The old proverb ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’ is a mantra often touted but sadly, sometimes forgotten in our instantaneous summarising of a person’s character based on their outward appearance. In spite of our best efforts to ignore the extraordinary and bypass the bizarre, unusual can equate to different which can persuade […]

Review: Youngblood by Matt Gallagher

by - February 1st, 2016

9781501105746 (1)

I have had this book on my radar for a while despite the book not being published until February next year. Matt Gallagher was one of the editors and contributors to an impressive collection of war stories, Fire And Forget, which featured a number of top writers including David Abrams and National Book Award winner […]

Review: Bro by Helen Chebatte

by - January 30th, 2016


I picked up Bro by Helen Chebatte particularly because it promised a) diversity, b) a fight club (!!) and c) an Australian setting. And I love Aussie books, I truly do! And I particularly love ones that acknowledge what a diverse and multi-cultural country we are. And Bro totally rules this. About The Book: What happens […]

Review: Your Heart Is A Muscle The Size Of A Fist by Sunil Yapa

by - January 29th, 2016


This fantastic novel bursts out of the blocks and doesn’t let go until you have finished. Sunil Yapa announces himself not just as a writer to watch but a writer to read right now. This is a powerful story, not just of protest, but finding your place in the world even after you discover what […]

Caroline Magerl – A Journey of the Heart

by - January 28th, 2016


I am so honoured to have had the opportunity to learn more about the talented illustrator and author, Caroline Magerl, and to be able to share her rich and fascinating past, and present, with our readers. We also focus on her latest book, ‘Hasel and Rose’, also known as ‘Rose and the Wish Thing’; a […]

Two True Blue Tales – Australian Picture Book Reviews

by - January 27th, 2016


Two enchanting books in a series written by Aboriginal elder, Aunty Ruth Hegarty and playfully illustrated by Sandi Harrold are about Aussie animals on Aussie adventures. ‘The Creatures of Dryden Gully’ and ‘Pip and Pim’ take their readers on journeys of self exploration and discovery, with the tendency to veer off track slightly as young […]

Review: Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

by - January 26th, 2016


Oh where do I even start to sum up my love for Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil?! The awesomeness of this book is mind-blowing. I’m shouting its praises far and wide and adding it to my “favourite of ever” shelf. It ticks all the boxes: good writing, excellent characters, adorable romance. OH and did I […]

Review – New Year Surprise!

by - January 19th, 2016

New Year Surprise

You’ve finally found a spot for all those new toys. You’ve organised your post-Christmas reading pile. You’ve dutifully noted your New Year’s resolutions. Time to relax. Well, SURPRISE! There’s more. It’s New Year’s all over again; a time to celebrate, rejoice and welcome new beginnings, this time with the flair of Asia. Stunning new picture […]

Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

by - January 18th, 2016


Oh sweet fairy bread and sprinkles…this book was beyond fantastic. The Darkest Part of the Forest is probably my favourite Holly Black book. And I’ve read quite a few!! The Tithe series being my least favourite, but The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and the Curseworker Trilogy coming in a tight second. I think Holly Black is a genius […]

Best Books of 2015

by - January 15th, 2016

Live Here

Okay, maybe a slightly misleading title. But hey, it got your attention, didn’t it! A more accurate title would be “My very late 2015 wrap-up post, including a list of my favourite books from that year”. A bit cumbersome as far as titles go, which is why I went with the punchier, albeit less informative […]

Zombie Books For The Deadly YA Reader

by - January 15th, 2016


There is something decidedly fantastically creeptastic about zombie books. I’m basically the lone zombie enthusiast in my family, but they’re all missing out — and you might be too. Which is why I’ve graciously collected a list of zombie novels you should definitely try. Maybe with the lights on, though. Caution: Brains and dead things ahead. […]

Review: The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien

by - January 15th, 2016


This book is described as Edna O’Brien’s masterpiece on the cover, which is a complete understatement. Set in the small Irish country town of Cloonoila the opening of the novel focuses on a new arrival to the town. A man claiming to be a healer has recently arrived and is causing a stir. The book […]

Review: Love Quinoa

by - January 14th, 2016

Love Quinoa

There’s an internet meme that does the rounds every so often showing Joaquin (pronounced Wah-keen) Phoenix and quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). It says something along the lines of how they’re both tricky to pronounce, but are awesome and also vegan. I thought of that meme as soon as I saw Love Quinoa was available for review. […]

Aussies – We salute! Reads to enjoy around the barbie

by - January 14th, 2016

The Little Book of Australian Big Things

As the mercury level rises and your pool swells with screaming kids, it might be time to reach out for a reason to remember why you love summer, and kids, and Australia! Here is a real mixed swag of reads full of the flavour of Australia Day. Australian’s Let Us Barbecue! I featured this one […]

Review: Carol

by - January 14th, 2016


With Cate Blanchett playing the lead character that gives the film its name, Carol needs no introduction. The film realisation of The Price of Salt (or Carol), it charts the tale of two women who fall in love in 1950s New York. One of the women, Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett), is in the process of […]

Review: The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant

by - January 13th, 2016

9780544570221 (1)

John Vaillant’s debut novel follows in the steps of two exceptional non fiction books. The Tiger still resonates with me. Not only was he able to recreate the events of a series of tiger attacks in south-eastern Russia with suspense and fear permeating off the page but he also weaved together a history of the […]

Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

by - January 10th, 2016

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is definitely one of my new favourite bookish creations. I was mildly nervous because I’d heard it had a very strong Harry Potter influence and I’m loyal to the original Potter stories. But, after an initial Harry Potter-ish bginning…Carry On stood on it’s own so easily as an original and equisitely written […]

Winning Pets – Picture Books of Animals

by - January 8th, 2016


From egotistical and obnoxious, to intelligent and in desperate need of affection (and food), our furry pals have differing needs and talents but we just love them no matter what! The following picture books are bound to surprise and delight your little ones with their humorous, sweet and heart-warming antics that only our beloved animals […]

It’s a Zoo out there! – Animal inspired picture book reviews

by - January 7th, 2016

Piranhas don't eat Bananas

I’ve just returned from a farm-animal infested camping holiday, which wasn’t as reprehensible as the smell of the boar’s pen suggested. In fact, it made me re-realise just how important and beneficial interaction with all critters great and small is. Whether the focus is on an animal for all its prickly, cuddly, bizarre glory or […]

Review: The Danish Girl

by - January 6th, 2016

The Danish Girl

Like many others, I have mixed feelings about The Danish Girl. On the one hand, I am heartened that such an important but overlooked tale is finally being represented thoughtfully on film. On the other, I am troubled by both the cis gender casting and the film’s execution that doesn’t quite fulfil ambition. Lili Elbe […]

Review: The Minnow by Diana Sweeney

by - January 5th, 2016


There is no question about the fact that The Minnow by Diana Sweeney is a GORGEOUS book. For starters, just look at that cover. Behold the intricately designed glory. Ahhh! I admit that’s the first thing that lured me in, closely followed by the facts of A) it’s written by an Australian author, and, B) it has […]

It’s Time to Celebrate!

by - December 30th, 2015


As we approach the end of 2015, we take time to reflect on the year that was – all the joyous, heart-rending, life-changing and memorable moments. And in light of these occasions, we’re all a little stronger, a little smarter and a little wiser, so let’s celebrate! The following few picture books will give you […]

Review: Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

by - December 30th, 2015


Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is basically the definition of endless cuteness, teenage angst, growing up, and finding love. Did I mention cute? THIS BOOK = CUTE. By the end I was basically grinning like a deluded mushroom while I read! I was recommended this book copiously and I can 100% assure it it’s […]

Best YA Novels for 2015 and looking into 2016

by - December 24th, 2015

Green Valentine

Australian YA writing is powerful, fresh and imaginative, creating spaces for thought and wonder. The finest novels from 2015’s field in my view are Meg McKinlay’s A Single Stone, an exquisitely written dystopia about lean girls who tunnel through stone. Younger readers in upper primary school can also read it and I hope that it […]

Review: Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty

by - December 24th, 2015


Sean Duffy returns in the eagerly anticipated fifth book in the Sean Duffy “trilogy”. The year is 1987 and The Troubles are far from abating, especially around Sean Duffy who, with his knack for attracting trouble, is starting to show his weariness for its relentlessness. He still meticulously checks under his car each morning for […]

Christmas Books For The YA Reader

by - December 22nd, 2015


I’m utterly horrible at reading books in the right season (how do I manage to read beachy books in winter and frigid books in summer? Who can know. It just happens) but I do make an effort around Christmas to swallow a few festive reads! Although most come with a sprinkling of snow, thanks to the […]

‘Balm for the Soul’ – Summer holiday Reviews

by - December 21st, 2015

Perfect Illos

Summer school holidays for me are childhood memories of searing hot days in a sun-shrivelled backyard, homegrown apricots cold from the fridge after a swim in the above ground pool, and losing myself for hours on end in stories. What are your perfect summer holiday memories? Chances are your children’s summers are crystallising into something […]

2015 YA Debuts You Should Catch Up On

by - December 20th, 2015


It’s nearly 2016 (sheesh, how did that happen?!?) and, if you’re anything like me, there’s no WAY you’ve read all the 2015 releases that you wanted to. And pretty soon there’ll be an onslaught of NEW books that will demand your attention and your soul and other minor things. But there are several Young Adult […]

PIR – What is it and why should you care?

by - December 18th, 2015

Saving Aussie Books Again

What the? you ask. This doesn’t sound very Christmassy. That’s because it’s not, really. But it is bookish and certainly something you should think about as you ponder over those last minute literary Christmas gifts. There’s a sinister little acronym doing the rounds again, which deserves your attention, PIR. Parallel Importation Restrictions, is not a […]

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

by - December 18th, 2015

Star Wars Blueprints

It’s hard to find a blog’s worth of words to say what I can really say in one sentence: Star Wars: The Force Awakens lives up to the heady hype and breathless anticipation. I mean really, I’m pretty sure today we’ve heard the collective happy exhalation slash fist pumping of Star Wars fans the world […]