Review: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

by - October 21st, 2016


Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter is a completely magical and bizarre retelling of Russian folklore. Seriously, it was just about the weirdest thing ever. But in a good way! Just toss out your black-and-white-logical-brain because when it comes to fairy tales you need to be prepared for the weird and wacky. Especially for Russian folklore! We have […]

Review – Captain Sneer the Buccaneer

by - October 18th, 2016


Captain Sneer the Buccaneer, Penny Morrison (author), Gabriel Evans (illus.), Walker Books, September 2016. Ahoy Me Hearties! Here lies a highly amusing nautical skit that is destined to take the world by storm. A rollicking clash of rhythm, sharpness and irony that will tie you in knots. Captain Sneer the Buccaneer by Penny Morrison and Gabriel […]

Double Dipping – Friendships lost – picture book reviews

by - October 17th, 2016

Recently, the world lost one of the Children’s Literary Industry’s most recognised and iconic author illustrators, Narelle Oliver. Among many of the literary legacies she left us (you can read about her marvellous achievements and books in Joy Lawn’s post, here), she was a woman who encouraged and maintained sincere relationships with everyone she met, […]

Review: The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

by - October 17th, 2016


After reading Will Kostakis’ book The First Third and being a gargantuan fan, I knew I had to try his latest novel, The Sidekicks. And it was brilliant! (Although I confess to loving The First Third more.) This is mostly because the format in The Sidekicks threw me off a bit, but if I’d known […]

Black YA

by - October 16th, 2016


Three YA novels delve into the dark side: In Black by Fleur Ferris (Penguin Randomhouse Australia), new student Aiden invites protagonist, Black, to the Year 12 formal. She thinks it’s a set-up because no one would invite her to the formal. Of course we are then hooked and want to discover why. Black is attractive. […]

Review – Who is Fitzy Fox?

by - October 14th, 2016


Who is Fitzy Fox?, Amelia Trompf (author), Jennifer Bruce (illus.), Little Steps Publishing, September 2016. Sweetly wrapped up in red and white this little treasure arrived at my door, keenly searching for a place to belong. Upon entering the world of this furry friend, I soon realised just how important his mission was to solve […]

The 2016 Qld Literary Awards Children’s Shortlist and Winner

by - October 13th, 2016


Awards such as the Griffith University Children’s Book Award, which recognises excellent books for the young, is a great place to find books to share and enjoy with children. A run-down on this year’s shortlisted books and winner follows: Suri’s Wall by Lucy Estela, illustrator: Matt Ottley (Penguin/Viking)  Suri, the protagonist of the picture book Suri’s Wall, […]

Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

by - October 13th, 2016


Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley is one of the most beautiful books I’ve had the pleasure of devouring at dawn. Actually I devoured it at midday but, please, let’s not get caught up on the details. The fact is: this is an amazingly gorgeous book of romance and writing and bookshops and I can’t […]

The Natural History of Narelle Oliver

by - October 12th, 2016


Narelle Oliver is a creator, a world-wind who shared life and our wonderful natural world in incomparable ways. Her picture books of narrative non-fiction are informed and exquisitely constructed, often using her signature hand-coloured linocuts. I had to catch my breath when I recently opened our copy of The Hunt  (adapted for the international market as Twilight […]

Review: Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth by Paul Ham

by - October 11th, 2016


Paul Ham reaffirms his status as one of the best current Australian historians writing today, taking his astute eye to the devastating battle of Passchendaele. This is not a history book solely about Australia’s involvement in the Flanders campaign of 1917. This is an all-encompassing look at the events and the situation that led to […]

Superb Sequels – Picture Book Reviews

by - October 10th, 2016


We certainly got a buzz upon discovering the latest sequels to a few of our favourite picture books. Still highly capable of capturing our hearts and imaginations, just like their predecessors, these titles don’t disappoint. From forming new friendships to rekindling old ones, from commencing inspiring adventures to revisiting good old-fashioned traditions, preschoolers and early […]

Doodles and Drafts – Mark Carthew

by - October 10th, 2016

Mark Carthew

Quiet achievers are those I admire most. Mark Carthew is one of those quiet achievers, except when he’s strumming out a tune on his guitar and reading one of his crazy verse orientated picture books aloud. With more projects on the draft table than you can wobble a pencil at, I thought it was high […]

Tim Winton, the Boy Behind the Curtain

by - October 10th, 2016


It has been an enlightening experience to read these essays about Tim Winton’s life in The Boy Behind the Curtain (Penguin, Hamish Hamilton). They fill some of the gaps in and between his books, as well as enhancing the books themselves and perhaps even allow us to vicariously experience some of Winton’s own life and […]

The Tales of Jahani

by - October 10th, 2016

Leopard Princess

Rosanne Hawke is writing The Tales of Jahani, beginning with  Daughter of Nomads & continuing with The Leopard Princess (UQP). Reading Daughter of Nomads feels like being inside a rich nomad tent surrounded by colours, textures and the scent of spices. Could you tell us about the setting? The setting is based on where we lived when we were […]

YA Books About Superheroes

by - October 8th, 2016


If there’s one topic that never gets old, it’s certainly superheroes. Everyone loves a good superpower book, with good vs evil and a good dash of explosions. Marvel and DC movies are always smash (har har, pun intended) hits in the cinemas and comics have been popular for decades. But what about novels about superheroes? […]

Review – Sugar and Spice Collection

by - October 5th, 2016

Sugar and Spice

Fairies and ponies, ballerinas and bows; all things nice, may not be what all little girls are made of but this omnibus picture book collection, Sugar and Spice, fresh out of the uber productive creative forge  of EK Books is sure to delight even the fussiest of feminie tastes. Designed with little girls in mind, […]

Review – Little Lunch: Triple Snack Pack

by - October 4th, 2016


Little Lunch: Triple Snack Pack, Danny Katz (author), Mitch Vane (illus.), Black Dog Books, August 2016. Since watching the popular ABC television series recently my Grade 1’er is obsessed with Little Lunch. And what a delight she received when the episodes arrived in book form on our doorstep! From the exuberant newspaper columnist, Danny Katz, […]

Review: Tell The Truth, Shame The Devil by Melina Marchetta

by - October 3rd, 2016


I have to confess to some reticence in picking this book up. I hadn’t read Melina Marchetta in years (since Saving Francesca in fact) and even though Looking For Alibrandi was one of the best books I had to read at school I had some reluctance picking up her first novel for adults. But after […]

Review: Louis Theroux Live

by - October 3rd, 2016

Louis Theroux

The breathless anticipation with which I awaited Louis Theroux’s first-time-in-Australia gig was rivalled only by the Ira Glass equivalent. Both are lions in the televisual and radio storytelling domains, and both have in recent years come to Australia to speak about their trades. Glass, of course, is famous for the game-changing podcasts This American Life […]

Review: Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

by - October 2nd, 2016


Being an avid bookworm myself (I know, I know, obvious statement) I’m always attracted to books about words. And Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan hugely features words, scrolls, writing, and libraries! I mean, what is not to love here?! Plus it’s a YA epic fantasy with exquisite world building and a cover that is […]

Review: So Say the Fallen by Stuart Neville

by - October 1st, 2016


Stuart Neville is a crime writer at the absolute top of his game at the moment and is doing things in the crime genre few others would attempt. After bursting onto the scene with The Twelve, an IRA hitman thriller with a supernatural edge, Neville has challenged himself and the crime genre with each subsequent book. […]

Review: The Good People by Hannah Kent

by - September 30th, 2016

9781743534908 (3)

Few debuts have garnered as many accolades as Burial Rites, so if “second novel syndrome” is a real thing, it must apply doubly for Australian author Hannah Kent. Thankfully we’ve not had to wait long for Kent’s second novel — no decade-long interlude á la Donna Tartt — and it’s every bit as immersive as […]

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! […]