YA: Our Chemical Hearts & Krystal Sutherland

by - September 28th, 2016

Chemical hearts

Krystal Sutherland’s YA debut novel Our Chemical Hearts has just been published by Penguin Random House Australia.  It describes a singular relationship and has an originality and authenticity that young adults will respond to. Thanks for speaking with Boomerang Books, Krystal. My pleasure! Where are you based and how involved are you in the YA […]

Review: Dr. Knox by Peter Spiegelman

by - September 28th, 2016


Peter Spiegelman’s Dr. Knox is an immensely satisfying noir thriller. Though the details of the plot add up to your typical potboiler story of conspiracy and corruption, of the rich and powerful preying on the poor, Spiegelman’s slight (but distinctive) twist on the formula elevates Dr. Knox above its competition. Dr Adam Knox is a […]

YA Books About Musicians

by - September 28th, 2016


Music is one of humanity’s favourite things, so what could be better than books about music?! I am here today to list some amazing YA books that involve characters who play musical instruments. There are plenty of guitar and band themed books out there, but I’ll be zeroing in more on classical instruments. Because I’m a […]

Unforgettable YA tales that stick

by - September 26th, 2016

Black Sunday

Live throws up some questionable situations at times, which, for young people especially can result in unforgettable experiences. I love young adult novels that encapsulate such experiences in stories with unreserved candour and humour. Here are some unforgettable examples. Forgetting Foster by Dianne Touchell Touchell’s ability to reach deep into the grey sticky bits of […]

Review: People Who Eat Darkness

by - September 25th, 2016

People Who Eat Darkness

I normally fast forward through any and all recommendations slash advertorials on podcasts, but on the few occasions I haven’t skipped ahead I’ve heard a number of podcasters recommending English-born, Japan-based journalist Richard Lloyd Parry’s People Who Eat Darkness. The book is a deep dive into a case that gripped people across two countries and […]

Review: Home by Harlan Coben

by - September 24th, 2016


I slipped into hyperbole earlier this year when I reviewed Harlan Coben’s Fool Me Once. Deservedly so, upon reflection. I stand by it.  This isn’t an apology for my extensive praise. Nor is this review what you’re possibly expecting: “but wait, his latest novel, Home, is even better!” No, when juxtaposed, Fool Me Once is certainly the better thriller. It’s got that brilliant final twist, which hasn’t been […]

Deborah Kelly Embaces Life’s Magic

by - September 21st, 2016


Deborah Kelly is the talented author and poet of many vibrant and engaging titles including The Bouncing Ball, Jam for Nana and Dinosaur Disco, and her most recent creation is gaining significant traction with middle-grade readers (and their parents) across the country.  Skydancer’s Escape (Book #1) introduces us to young Ruby Wishfingers’ world and takes us […]

Review: Outrun The Moon by Stacey Lee

by - September 21st, 2016


Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee is totally going onto my list of “most amazing YA historical fiction novels I’ve ever devoured at dawn”. It was just that good! It’s set in 1906 and centres around the San Fransisco earthquake tragedy. That’s a period of history I’d never really read about, so it was super informative […]

Review: Rise the Dark by Michael Koryta

by - September 20th, 2016


Rise the Dark, the second book in the Markus Novak series, is a masterful suspense novel, replete with crackling prose, nail-biting thrills, and a crackerjack pace. Dangling the plausibility of physic possibility, and pushing its characters to their physical and mental limits, Michael Koryta has crafted a thriller that will induce an unprecedented kind of […]

Where do I belong? – Picture books & Place

by - September 19th, 2016

Granny's Place

When penning a narrative or even recording ones past, authors must be aware of a number of aspects that shape a reader’s impression of the story. A sense of place is one such nuance that forms specific reactions and can colour a reader’s entire experience. When fashioned convincingly enough, a sense of place depicts not […]

Review: Just Mercy

by - September 18th, 2016

Just Mercy

There are some books that just keep popping up in your book-awareness periphery. Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption is one prime example. I first heard Stevenson when he was interviewed on a bunch of different podcasts I listen to. And I kept hearing the name of his book and the […]

5 Reasons To Read The First Third By Will Kostakis

by - September 17th, 2016


It recently hit me that I hadn’t read The First Third by Will Kostakis yet and this is a huge tragedy. Why? Because this is a diverse Australian YA contemporary and it came out in 2013, so why did it take me so long to read it?! I’m glad I launched in this year, because it was stupendous. […]

Reviews – Ruby Wishfingers #1 and #2 by Deborah Kelly

by - September 16th, 2016


When I received the opportunity to review this series I was pretty excited, and even more excited to receive an acceptance for an interview by its author, Deborah Kelly! I couldn’t wait to hear if her inspiration stemmed from wonderful childhood memories of wishful longing for powerful magical abilities, like I had. We shall find […]

Review: The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

by - September 15th, 2016


How does Graeme Simsion follow-up his dual smash-hits of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect?  By penning a novel that is just as funny and poignant, but with a tumultuous moral core. Unlike the Rosie novels –  which I always pegged as romantic-comedies, or as ‘dramedy’ to enquiring readers – The Best of Adam Sharp is far […]

Ruins and Rajith Savanadasa

by - September 14th, 2016


In a sold-out session at the weekend’s Brisbane Writers Festival, Rajith Savanadasa spoke to me about his assured debut novel Ruins (Hachette Australia). Amongst other things, I was fascinated to hear that his favourite place is a quiet room in which to read. Ruins gives an arresting insight into Sri Lanka at the end and […]

YA at the BWF16

by - September 14th, 2016


There was a plethora of YA authors at this year’s Brisbane Writers Festival. I enjoyed hearing Meg Rosoff speak about Jonathan Unleashed (Bloomsbury). It’s a memorable story about a youngish man living in New York City with two dogs his brother has asked him to mind. He hates his job in advertising and is being […]

Midge Raymond and My Last Continent

by - September 14th, 2016


One of the most delightful and enthusiastic authors at the Brisbane Writers Festival this year was Oregon-based Midge Raymond. I was fortunate to moderate one of her sessions in front of an informed and interested audience. We spoke mostly about her new novel My Last Continent (Text Publishing) but Midge also told us about her […]

Review: Riders by Veronica Rossi

by - September 14th, 2016


Riders by Veronica Rossi is truly a stupendous read! I was very excited to try this because it has a huge conglomeration of things that I love to read about, including (A) the apocalypse, and (B) Biblical mythology retelling. You know the four horseman of the apocalypse as told about in Revelation? Well here they are! […]

Picture Books with World Dementia Month in Mind

by - September 13th, 2016


September is Dementia Awareness Month, an important initiative providing Australians with further knowledge and understanding of how dementia affects individuals, their families and carers. The theme for this year is ‘You are not alone’; a sentiment that aims to help those impacted to feel supported and empowered even in difficult circumstances. Dedicating their time and […]

Doodles and Drafts – Guest post by Wai Chim – Author of Freedom Swimmer

by - September 12th, 2016

Wai Chim # 2

Today we welcome author, Wai Chim to the draft table. Her motivation to write Freedom Swimmer, stems from the little known history of her father and the need to understand more about the horrific events that took place during the period of China’s Cultural Revolution. Here is her story about his story. Writing my father’s […]

Review – Freedom Swimmer

by - September 12th, 2016

Freedom Swimmer

I often have great difficulty reviewing a book I feel a profound affection for. Freedom Swimmer by Wai Chim may be one of those books. There is an aura of Amy Tan about Chim’s depiction set in Communist China of two boys and their astounding quest to find a better life. If you think this […]

Review: Bee Friendly Garden

by - September 9th, 2016

Bee Friendly Garden

Self-described ‘beevangelist’ and urban beekeeper Doug Purdie espoused the benefits of beekeeping in his first book, Backyard Bees. That book highlighted what people are increasingly cottoning on to: pollinators, on which we rely for as much as 75% of our food supply, are in danger worldwide. His just-released follow-up book, Bee Friendly Garden, concentrates on […]

YA Books With Ships And Sea Settings

by - September 9th, 2016


There comes a time in most everyone’s lives when they have a small desire to be a pirate. Usually it happens when you’re 5 years old. But never mind that. If you never grew out of that desire and ever dreamed of taking to the high seas to sail the ocean blue, then I have a […]

The Latest in the Chook Doolan Series

by - September 8th, 2016


Award-winning author James Roy has successfully developed this series particularly with boys’ literacy development in mind. The Chook Doolan series have been created with a most likeable and relatable character, themes of friendship, family and courage, and plenty of humour and action to captivate its emergent reader audience. With seven or eight short chapters, easy-to-follow […]

Indigenous Literacy Day & The Book that Made Me

by - September 7th, 2016

Book that Made me

Meet Judith Ridge, editor of The Book that Made Me (Walker Books) Where are you based and what is your current professional role? After living most of my adult as an “inner westie”, I moved to the north-west of Sydney 6 years ago. I currently work at Liverpool City Library, in Sydney’s south-west, where my title […]

Picture Books of Persistence and Problem Solving

by - September 5th, 2016


When life throws you curve balls, when your path is not always clear, or when things are not in your control. These are the times that test your tenacity, your resilience and your perseverance. Young children are faced with a multitude of situations and obstacles everyday that require smart decision making and problem solving, and […]

Review: Depraved Heart

by - September 5th, 2016

Depraved Heart

I have lived a long tradition of receiving Patricia Cornwell’s released-just-in-time-for-Christmas books from Santa. Said tradition involves not so patiently enduring Christmas morning activities until it’s an opportune and appropriately not impolite time to steal away to read. So it was, unsurprisingly, to Cornwell’s perennially popular character Kay Scarpetta that I turned when I was […]

Review: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

by - September 2nd, 2016


Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman took me completely by surprise! I was a bit dubious going in because while it looks like a dark hearted pirate book, I’d been warned it was more of a historical romance. That’s true! While this is the infamous Blackbeard’s origin story, it’s about before he turned to the sea. And yet, […]

Striking Out – Picture books that challenge

by - August 30th, 2016


There are times in every small person’s life, when they are faced with taking the plunge, striding into the unknown, and just striking out into that adventure called life. It’s not always easy, sometimes it’s downright wrenching, but who says it can’t be fun. Here are a cluster of recently released picture books that will […]

Review: Nothing Short of Dying by Erik Storey

by - August 30th, 2016


  For the pure pleasure of uncomplicated, nonstop action, no thriller this year has come close to matching Erik Storey’s Nothing Short of Dying, the first in what promises to be an adrenaline-fuelled series starring Clyde Barr. Barr is the latest in a long line of loner heroes with violent pasts that belie their good intentions. Fresh from a stint […]

Review: The Beauty is in the Walking by James Moloney

by - August 30th, 2016


The Beauty is in the Walking by James Moloney is an incredible tale that is part coming-of-age story and part murder-mystery. Except the one in question who is murdered is only a horse. So don’t panic too much. (This book doesn’t tangle very deeply in the dark side.) It is narrated by Jacob who also has […]

Stepping into Oz Children’s Literature on the Global Stage

by - August 27th, 2016


I’ve just been presenting about Australian children’s and YA literature at the international IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) Congress in Auckland, New Zealand. This is the first time the conference has been held so far south, it’s usually a preserve of the northern hemisphere. NZ did an excellent job as host. Australian […]

Review: Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch

by - August 26th, 2016


Herman Koch’s Dear Mr. M has all the trappings of a stylish literary thriller endowed with the author’s trademark black humour and wit. And it comes so close to being something truly resonant; inches away from being one of the year’s must-read books. Alas, its sagging middle undermines a brilliant start, and lessens the impact of its […]

Review: The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jack Serong

by - August 25th, 2016


Jock Serong has written a clever and unique Australian crime novel weaving together the folklore of cricket, both the backyard variety and the international, into a classic piece of noir. The novel is told from the point of view of Darren Keefe, the younger brother of former Australian Cricket captain Wally Keefe. Darren’s life is […]

Review: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

by - August 24th, 2016


Ann Patchett is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite authors. Her new novel takes her talent to a new level totally engrossing you in the lives of two families who themselves get tangled up over the years due to a few choices of fate. The novel opens in 1964 at a seemingly innocuous christening […]

Middle Eastern Inspired YA Fantasy Books

by - August 23rd, 2016


As a rabid devourer of fantasy, I’m always on the look out for exceptionally brilliant books! And I’ve absolutely fallen in love with epic YA fantasy books set in the Middle East, Persia, and India! I can’t get enough of the gorgeous settings, the complex culture, and the mythology. Plus diversity is always a win and […]

Marvellous midgrade reads – Reviewing Aussie Talent

by - August 22nd, 2016

Princess Parsley

Midgrade readers have to fulfil a variety of whims. They should appeal to the increasingly insatiable literary appetites of confident mid-primary aged readers. They must soar with excitement and be able to crack readers up at the mere mention of impending doom for any adults foolhardy enough to wander through the storyline. And they should […]

Everybody Loves Cheeky Animals in Picture Books

by - August 22nd, 2016


What is it about mischievous, strong-minded animals that make them so irresistible? Is it because they are so entertaining, or that we can see ourselves in them, or both? Here are some of the latest picture books that fit the bill in the ‘cheeky-animal’ category. Get your paws on them now! Heath McKenzie whets our […]

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

by - August 18th, 2016


If you’re looking for an epically dark fantasy, with a dash of sass and plenty of stabbing — A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab is absolutely entirely for you. I actually procrastinated reading it for ages, despite 90001 people yelling at me to try it (I have really great friends who recommend books so […]

Curiously Good Books from Around the World

by - August 16th, 2016

Don't Cross

Gecko Press in New Zealand plays a phenomenal role in discovering, and then making accessible, outstanding children’s books from around the world. Their 2016 publications are from countries as diverse as Sweden, Mexico, Japan and Portugal. One of the most impressive books I’ve seen for a long time is Timeline: A Visual History of Our […]