2 Awesome YA Books

by - May 27th, 2016


This post is about my two favourite books of 2015. They also happen to be two of the most gobsmackingly awesome Young Adult books I have ever read. They are Illuminae (The Illuminaue Files 01) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. Both books have […]

SWF Wrap Up: ‘Going Home’ with Debra Jopson, Beth Yaph and Adam Aitken

by - May 26th, 2016


A comment that this session ‘Going Home: Belonging, Family and Food’ at the SWF was “up there with some of the most stimulating sessions I attended at the festival” summed up the quality of the discussion and the engagement of the audience at this sold-out session with Debra Jopson, Beth Yahp and Adam Aitken. The […]

YA at the SWF: Vikki Wakefield and the Best and Worst Years of our Lives

by - May 25th, 2016

Vikki Wakefield

Last week I spent three days with four top YA writers at the Sydney Writers Festival. We travelled from Roslyn Packer Theatre at the Wharf in the city, to Parramatta Riverside Theatre and our third day was at the Chatswood Concourse. These enormous venues were filled with secondary students from schools in Sydney and further […]

Protectors of Secret Natural Places: Tony Birch and Inga Simpson

by - May 24th, 2016


I was very fortunate to chair a session with Inga Simpson and Tony Birch at the Sydney Writers Festival. They both have had books long or short listed for the prestigious Miles Franklin award. Tony’s Ghost River is currently longlisted. It was also shortlisted for two categories in this year’s NSW Premier’s Awards: the Christina […]

Review: The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

by - May 23rd, 2016


I absolutely loved The Passage. It totally blew me away it is depth of storytelling, its scope, its characterization, its structure. You name it, I loved it. I’ve read the book three times now and loved every bit of it each time. But I have to admit to being slightly disappointed with the second book […]

YA Roadtrip Books

by - May 22nd, 2016


There’s nothing like reading Young Adult books about roadtrips to remind you of good ol’ adventurous times. Or remind you why you don’t take roadtrips? Because everything honestly seems to go wrong and sometimes monsters try to eat your face. So that’s also a downside. In case you want the roadtrip experience, sans squashing yourself in a car […]

Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

by - May 20th, 2016


Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman definitely goes down as my favourite YA Western read of…EVER. Yes, just excuse me while I get a little overexcited. Ahem. I was worried, going into it, because I didn’t love the author’s previous dystopian series. But this?! This was wildly different and entirely spectacular. It also reminded me heavily […]

Review: The Fireman by Joe Hill

by - May 18th, 2016

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We’re huge fans of Joe Hill’s new book The Fireman. With echoes of Justin Cronin’s The Passage, M. R. Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, it’s an epic unlike any we’ve seen this year, and definitely a must-read. Here’s what the team’s had to say: Jon’s Review I am a sucker […]

Far Beyond Our Imagination – Picture Book Reviews

by - May 17th, 2016


Reading is a pleasure that allows for a range of benefits – reinforcing critical literacy skills, fuelling the imagination, inspiring empathy, and for the sheer joy. I chose these picture books with the commonality of the out-of-this-world theme, and I love that each one surprises its readers with elements of humour, compassion, relationships and the […]

Interview with Kelly Doust, author of Precious Things

by - May 17th, 2016

Kelly Doust

Precious Things by Australian author Kelly Doust follows a handmade beaded collar through history to the present, touching on the women who owned it and wore it in the past. Kelly Doust joins us on the blog today. Thanks for joining us Kelly. How did you become interested in vintage clothing? I fell in love with all […]

Australian Story – Stories with a love of Country

by - May 17th, 2016

Mad Magpie (high res)

Wednesday the 25th May marks the 16th National Simultaneous Storytime event. Aimed at promoting the value of reading and enjoying stories inspired and produced by Australians this campaign sits neatly alongside the 2016 CBCA Book Week Theme – Australia! Story Country. Story telling expeditiously fosters an appreciation and understanding of our unique Australian humour, environment, […]

Review: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

by - May 14th, 2016


Firefight by Brandon Sanderson is the second book in the Reckoners trilogy — and even better than the first. Which doesn’t often happen right?! But no sequel-blues here, folks. This book was just an explosion of PURE AWESOME. It was so exciting and fantastic I couldn’t help but flail and get thoroughly emotionally invested. I am […]

Packing it on – Dog titles with a Difference

by - May 10th, 2016

The Dog Ray

I can’t help it, but my shelves seemed littered (pardon the pun) with delightful doggie-inspired titles lately. Just what makes animal tales, namely those featuring cute and courageous canines so attractive for young readers? Is it that dogs and cats are real, free of pretension and judgement and brimming with pure joie de vivre? Is […]

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

by - May 8th, 2016


Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson basically flawed me with its intense, indiluted awesome. Until now I hadn’t read a superhero book that lived up to the films. But this?!? This is everything. If you’re a superhero geek, TRUST ME — you need this book in your life. The plot twists! The adorkable narrator! The guns! […]

Jen Storer’s Glorious Story

by - May 6th, 2016


  Jen Storer; word expert, her books and writing encapsulating the most brilliant use of language to tantalise every sense within its reader. Popular and highly acclaimed chapter books include Jen’s bestselling Truly Tan series, Tensy Farlow, Crystal Bay, the latest awesome series Danny Best, and most recently awarded with a CBCA notable is the adventure […]

Review – Clarrie’s Pig Day Out

by - May 4th, 2016


Clarrie’s Pig Day Out, Jen Storer (author), Sue deGennaro (illus.), ABC Books, March 2016. Jen Storer’s remarkable picture book debut, Clarrie’s Pig Day Out, is a glorious word-fest of hilarity that sends its readers into a sensory-overload frenzy. Its ability to turn absurdity to logic, and back again, is second to none. This story of […]

Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

by - May 3rd, 2016


Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton is a debut YA novel — and wow is it an incredible first book from this author! I anticipated it so very extraordinarily highly that I was slightly nervous going in. Did it live up to my expectations? DEFINITELY YES. It was a glorious conglomeration of Persian fantasy, magic horses, […]

Mother’s Day is Child’s Play – Picture Book Reviews

by - May 3rd, 2016


Mother’s Day – a day to celebrate the efforts of mothers and mother figures in our lives. Affirming one’s love and appreciation is the best way to the deepest part of her heart, and this can be shown in many ways. One special way to create and savour those deliciously tender moments is to share […]

Review – The Pause

by - May 3rd, 2016

The Pause

This book is remarkable. John Larkin cleaves a mighty wedge into our suspension of belief with the consummate precision and delicacy of a brain surgeon. The Pause doesn’t just tell the story of emotionally damaged Declan O’Malley poised to leap in front of a train and end it all; it entertains the reader in a […]

Australian YA: Meet Kylie Fornasier and The Things I Didn’t Say

by - May 2nd, 2016

Things I Didn't Say

Kylie Fornasier’s new YA novel The Things I Didn’t Say has just been published by Penguin Books. It’s about seventeen-year-old Piper who has changed schools at the start of Year Twelve in the hope of a new start, particularly of finding her voice. Thanks for speaking with Boomerang Books, Kylie. Hi! It’s my pleasure to […]

Review: Black Magick Vol. 1 – Awakening by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott

by - May 1st, 2016

Part police procedural, part supernatural thriller, the first volume of Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s Black Magick is a standout on every level — possibly the best work of their careers — and will leave readers eagerly waiting the follow-up. Rowan Black is a detective with the Portsmouth Police Department — and a practicing witch. […]

YA Books About Schizophrenia

by - April 29th, 2016


Lately there’s been a rise of books that deal with important topics: such as mental health. I’m so in favour of this because it a) breaks down stigmas that we might have from not understanding the mental illness, and b) shows us that people are never just “labels” and c) helps us to walk in these characters’ […]

Review: Shtum by Jem Lester

by - April 26th, 2016


Jem Lester’s exceptional debut, Shtum, poignantly depicts the love, anger, guilt and exhaustion felt by the parents of a young boy with severe learning disabilities. The autism afflicting eleven-year-old Jonah isn’t the kind most readers will be familiar with – that is, the kind displayed by Raymond in the movie Rain Man, or Christopher in The Curious Incident […]

Mums are Super! – Small reads, big on Heart

by - April 26th, 2016


Mums come in all shapes and sizes and deserve adulations, which match their boundless love, tireless efforts, and quiet achievements. To fit them all into one day – Mother’s Day – is a mission impossible so shower your mother with gratitude (and great reads) year round! Or, if you are like me and prefer to […]

YA Serious Finales I’m Looking Forward To In 2016

by - April 23rd, 2016


Apparently 2016 is the year of all the YA finales. It’s so exciting! And terrifying, honestly, because while I adore knowing how my favourite series ends….I also get thumped with nerves that it won’t be a satisfactory ending. Series finales need closure and tragedy and triumph. It’s such a hard blend! But I shall be brave […]

Review: Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

by - April 22nd, 2016


Loosely based on Kate DiCamillo’s own childhood,Raymie Nightingale tells the story of ten-year-old Raymie Clarke and her plan to get her father to come back home after he eloped with a dental hygienist. The year: 1975. The place: Florida. Feeling alone and adrift, Raymie is determined to learn how to twirl a baton in order […]

Review: Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

by - April 22nd, 2016

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This is a truly wonderful novel that captures the outbreak of the Second World War in London which will hook you from the opening line:  “War was declared at 11:15 and Mary North signed up at noon”. We follow Mary North, who from the war’s outset, is determined to use this tumultuous time to change […]

Liz Anelli Brings Life to Desert Lake

by - April 22nd, 2016


Liz Anelli is the author and award-winning illustrator of many, many colourful projects including children’s books, magazines, advertisements and educational websites. Her stunning artwork extends to printmaking, graphic design, watercolours, gouache and collage. Howzat!, View From the 32nd Floor and One Photo are a few of the picture books she has illustrated. Today I am […]

The Girl on the Train – Official Teaser Trailer

by - April 21st, 2016


Coming to cinemas in October is the much-anticipated film adaptation of The Girl on the Train: an elegantly written mystery that exposes the ugly truths of its characters, and through them, ourselves. On the one hand its a searing indictment of our propensity to make assumptions based on severely limited information – a mere glimpse, an […]

Marching Forward – Remembering Bravery Reviews

by - April 18th, 2016

Dreaming the Enemy

Remembering, honouring, commiserating, – learning. When recently reading ANZAC titles to my maturing primary schooler, she asked, ‘Are there still wars, going on?’ I had to reply that yes, sadly there were. However, by sharing the past and gradually exposing children to the realities of it, hopefully they become better equipped to care enough to […]

CBCA Notables 2016

by - April 18th, 2016


The CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Notables (or long lists) have been announced today. The short lists will be announced on Friday 20th May at the national conference which is held in Sydney this year. I’ve listed my favourites (of those I’ve read) below:  BOOK OF THE YEAR: EARLY CHILDHOOD I interviewed the delightful […]

Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

by - April 17th, 2016


I’m following up my recent review of The Winner’s Curse, with a review of the sequel: The Winner’s Crime. And trust me, peoples, you are going to need to devour this WHOLE trilogy. Preferably one book after another. But if you’re still dubious and need convincing: I am here.  Again I re-read this book just recently, […]

Review: Patagonia’s Tools for Grassroot’s Activists

by - April 16th, 2016

Tools for Grassroots Activists

Patagonia, the repair-what-we-sold-you adventure clothing retail company synonymous with ethical business—and practically a giant stamp of sustainability approval for anything it puts its name to—runs an invite-only conference every couple of years. For the conference, Patagonia invites heavy hitters in environmental advocacy from whom they can learn. For example, keynote speakers have included Dr Jane […]

Review: Superman, Vol. 1 – Before Truth by Gene Luen Yang & John Romita Jr

by - April 16th, 2016

Before Truth

The Superman titles have undergone a renaissance recently, sparked by the arrival of Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder on ACTION COMICS, and followed by Geoff Johns’ and John Romita Jr.’s brief stint on SUPERMAN. Now Gene Luen Yang steps up to the plate – the acclaimed writer of American Born Chinese – with Before Truth, […]

Review – Rockhopping by Trace Balla

by - April 14th, 2016


Attributed as ‘a class act’ by The Australian. Praised by leading industry professionals. Acclaimed with prestigious awards. Her previous title in the series, Rivertime (review), is the winner of several book prizes, including the Readings Children’s Book Prize, the Wilderness Society’s Environment Award, and shortlisted in the CBCA Awards, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and Speech […]

Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

by - April 14th, 2016


The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is so good that I’ve read it TWICE. (And I’m notorious for not being a rereader because of all the new books clamouring for my attention.) And my star-rating went up on the second read, because I appreciated the writing style and the psychological angle on battle tactics so very […]

Getting Serious about Series # 4 – Ripper Reads for Girls

by - April 12th, 2016

Ruby Wishfingers illo

I don’t usually like to categorise reads into which gender they might appeal to better. I believe every child is individual and will find a story to fit their unique reading tastes no matter how pink the cover or how boyish the hero. To say that boys should be directed to sports orientated titles and […]

Review: Lily and the Octopus by Steve Rowley

by - April 12th, 2016


Both laugh-out-loud funny and weep-into-your-hanky heartbreaking, Lily and the Octopus introduces a spectacular new voice and leaves its mark on the landscape of great fiction. For anyone who has ever loved and lost a pet, anyone who has struggled to find meaning in the face of death and feared its residual solitude, Steven Rowley’s debut […]

Picture Books of the Curious Kind

by - April 11th, 2016


I’m always up for a good imaginative mystery that gets my mind, and heart, racing. It must be that dopamine rush I get when experiencing something novel and exciting, the eager anticipation and engagement, and finding something I can relate to. For kids it would be no different and the following two picture books, not […]

8 Books With Bees on the Cover

by - April 10th, 2016

World Without Us Mireille Juchau

I follow a number of book reviewers on YouTube and one of them recently mentioned their affection for books with bees on the cover. This captured my attention immediately, because I have the same bias for books with keys on the front, so I decided to keep my eyes open for bee-themed book covers and […]