Archive for October, 2011

Wording Up

Monday, October 31st, 2011

As a Gen Y myself, I never quite understood adults’ alternating bemusement and frustration at our constantly evolving language use. I may have even rolled my eyes once or twice during my awkward teenage years when, in an attempt to show they were down with the lingo and could totally relate to me on my […]

Tempus fugit

Monday, October 31st, 2011

You know what I like about books? They don’t keep reminding you how old you are. Lately it seems that every second article I read is about the anniversary of something that I could swear only happened last week. Empire Magazine online, for example, was kind enough to inform me that it has been ten […]

Review – Sounds Spooky

Monday, October 31st, 2011

What’s that noise in the deep dark night? Something spooky? That’s for sure. Creaking, whispering, something dropping. Could there be a stranger creeping through the house? When three little kids explore a creepy old mansion with torchlight and eyeballs wide with fright, they can never imagine their tentative meanderings may just be as scary – […]

Michael’s Blaze of Glory

Friday, October 28th, 2011

In my last post I told you about my worries in reviewing Michael Pryor’s Blaze of Glory (see “Aubrey Fitzwilliam and the reviewing dilemma”). And now here I am, throwing caution to the wind, putting pen to paper (or, more accurately, finger to keyboard) and reviewing this book. Here goes… Blaze of Glory is the […]


Friday, October 28th, 2011

Seeing as it’s bunny week at Kids’ Book Capers, Tania and I have invited some special guests to hop over and talk about their favourite books. Yesterday the white bunnies talked about their favourites, today it’s the  brown bunnies’ turn. So please put your paws together today to welcome Max McCartney and Cosi White. MAX […]

Win a Jessica Rudd book-pack

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Jessica Rudd is hilarious. I’ve just finished giggling my way through her very clever second novel, Ruby Blues (due out Monday through Text Publishing at $29.95), and have a copy of it, and its predecessor, Campaign Ruby (see review below, $18.14 through here), to give away to one of you. I’ll be posting a […]


Thursday, October 27th, 2011

It’s the Year of the Rabbit so Tania and I thought we’d let the rabbits have their say this week on Kids’ Book Capers. We’ve brought our bunnies, Cosi and Pickachew (who live at the White household) and Mango and Max (who are fluffy McCartneys) along this week to talk about their favourite books. Not […]

Aubrey Fitzwilliam and the reviewing dilemma

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

I’ve just read a book that I absolutely adored and I really want to tell you about it. But I know the author. In fact, he launched my latest book just last month. So what do I do? This is a dilemma that I often face because I am both an author and a reviewer […]


Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

As part of Bunny Week at Kids’ Book Capers we are thrilled to welcome Katherine Battersby, creator of Squish Rabbit, a picture book that’s bound to delight all ages. Clearly, Squish is a character who is very close to his creator’s heart. Squish is such a great character. He could be any young animal or […]

One, Two, Skip A Few…

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

I picked up Val McDermid’s new book by pure chance at the airport bookshop the other day, stumbling across it while I performed a community service: covering up copies of Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap*. The latter’s a book that I’ve made no secret I think it truly awful and that has, much to my chagrin, […]

Huggable Hero – An Interview with Squish Rabbit

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

He’s cute. He’s fluffy. He’s small. But he has some big things to say. On friendship. On feeling lonely. On being brave. Today we welcome the totally squishable Squish Rabbit and his gorgeous author Katherine Battersby – with this exclusive (and v. cute) interview! Hello Squish, hello Katherine – so lovely to e-meet you! Hi, […]

In A State Of Wonder

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Until recently, Ann Patchett was for me one of those authors who name is familiar but whose work I’d never read. She was also one of those authors everyone seemed to assume I knew lots about. She came out to the recent Brisbane Writers Festival (which I missed as I was overseas), and lots of […]

Not waiting for the end of the series

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

In my last post, I wrote about waiting for the end of a series before starting to read the first book (see “Waiting for the end of the series” — go on, read it first. This post will make more sense if you do.). I’m not the first reader ever to have done this, and […]


Friday, October 21st, 2011

I am wholly obsessed with and terrified by spelling bees in equal measure. Obsessed in that I can’t get enough of watching or puzzling over them, turning the etymology, sounds, and letter combinations over and over in my head like David Bowie juggling the crystal ball in Labyrinth. Except with much less mesmerising skill and […]


Friday, October 21st, 2011

VIOLET MACKEREL  thinks she would QUITE LIKE to own the blue china bird at the Saturday markets. This is not just a SILLY WISH. It is instead the start of a VERY IMPORTANT idea. But what she needs is a PLOT. A BRILLIANT plot. I wasn’t surprised to see Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot win an […]

’tis the season to post… already?

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Ah, Boomerang Books. I like the books and love the bloggers (well, obviously) but it may be some time before I forgive them for the subject matter of their last panic-inducting newsletter. As they so helpfully reminded me, in massive type, Christmas is only 9 weeks away! Nine weeks. Wow. Where did the year go? […]

Interview – What Makes a Great Picture Book, with Adam Wallace

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Welcome Adam! So lovely to have you join us on Kids’ Book Capers to talk to us about what makes a great picture book. You’ve been writing some pretty great picture books for a while now. Why did you start writing them? Well I sort of had no choice. I started writing for children, and […]

Waiting for the end of the series

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

I’ve always had this philosophy regarding any series of books — I would never start to read the first book until the final one had been published. That way, I would not have to wait the twelve plus months between books — the twelve plus months during which I would forget vital plot points and […]

State Shortlists released for National Year of Reading

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Be in at the start of Australia’s biggest book group for the National Year of Reading 2012


Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Today I’m pleased to welcome Anna Branford to Kids’ Book Capers. Anna is the author of the highly acclaimed, Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot. This beautiful book, written by Anna and illustrated by Sarah Davis was an Honour Book in this year’s CBCA awards. How did you become a writer? I suppose I’ve always been writing […]

Emerging writers get digital in BrizVegas

Monday, October 17th, 2011

I’m rubbing my eyes today after waking at 3am to get ready for an early flight home from Brisbane, where a crowd of emerging writers spent a festive weekend discussing all things digital. Check out #ewfbris on Twitter and the Emerging Writers Festival’s website for a full run down of the action – I’ll be […]

Review – Grumpy Little King

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Once there was a grumpy little king. He was always grumpy – every day and all day long – because he was tired of being a little ruler in a little nation. He wanted to be a big ruler in a big nation. His advisers knew just what to do. Start a war. If the […]

Come Back Soon

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

The adage that you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone rings incredibly true. But I’m not sure what the apt adage is for knowing and appreciating what you’ve got when you’ve got it and then knowing and appreciating it even more when it’s gone. Whatever it is, it should be applied to Richard […]

Mid-month round up – the war edition.

Friday, October 14th, 2011

It’s the middle of October and my bookself doth overfloweth with far too many excellent recent releases which all seem to tie back into conflict. If you are looking for a non-fiction read this month, here’s are some recommendations; from a war-correspondent looking for work-life-romance balance in Kabul, to a woman who mobilised a nation […]

The book trailer search experiment

Friday, October 14th, 2011

My previous post was about the book trailer for Matthew Reilly’s latest novel, Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves (see “Scarecrow and the book trailer”). I’ve decided to stay on the book trailer theme for one more post and conduct a little bit of an experiment… I went to YouTube and typed in “book trailer”. […]

All I want for Xmas is iPlayer (+ related books!)

Friday, October 14th, 2011

What’s your favourite television show of all time? Mine would be a toss up between Pride & Prejudice and Spooks – both of which are available if you subscribe to the BBC’s iPlayer app, which is now in the AppStore for the iPad (with other platforms to come, I gather) in Australia. Of course, uBookish […]

Just a Girl

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Jane Caro’s amazing Just a Girl captures the fear and confusion, Queen Elizabeth 1 must have felt growing up as a teen in an environment where nobody could be trusted and beheadings were commonplace. Just a Girl is historical fiction that tells a true story with elegance and sensitivity. It’s a novel for young adults […]

Reading your way to a better life

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

I’ve been surprised to find that I prefer to read self-improvement, business and text books in printed rather than ebook form. I like to be able to flick through, browsing here and scanning there, as opposed to the very linear way in which I read fiction or narrative non-fiction such as memoir or biography, which […]

Interview – Josh and Phil of The Undys series

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Kids’ Book Capers is thrilled to welcome two very special guests – Phil and Josh Undy, superstar lead players from Michael Wagner’s junior fiction series The Undys. Welcome Phil and Josh, it’s so lovely to e-meet you! Josh: Thanks, it’s nice to e-meet you too, Tania. Isn’t it Dad? Dad? DAD!? Phil: Oh, sorry, Joshy-boy, […]

Scarecrow and the book trailer

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

The new Matthew Reilly novel Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves gets released today! Have you seen the book trailer, yet? It’s a pulse-pounding, exciting little vid, created by Paul Murphy from BookTease. Paul has created lots of book trailers, including one for Five Greatest Warriors (watch the trailer), also by Matthew Reilly, and the […]

Steve Jobs was Just My Type

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Simon Garfield’s 2010 Profile Books title Just My Type: A book about fonts (which, incidentally, I downloaded from the iTunes store as an app for my iPad) opens with an introduction quoting Steve Jobs. Which is appropriate, really, because Jobs is the father of digital type. The quote is taken from Jobs’s 2005 Stanford speech, […]


Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Phoenix is the debut YA novel of Victorian author, Alison Ashley.  Book one in a paranormal series, the fifth shadow, it’s a truly remarkable story that weaves back and forth between the present and war torn England. Twins, Katie and Ally have left Australia to look after their aging grandfather in England. They’re not at […]

St Jude’s

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

There are plenty of us who dream of making a difference in the world, and starting a school in Africa fits that noble-but-never-going-to-happen cliché. So we us sit up and take note when we hear of someone who’s actually gone out and done it. Gemma Sisia is a country girl from Guyra in New South […]


Monday, October 10th, 2011

2-in-1 books! Remember them? They were a gimmicky way of presenting two stories in the one book, with two front covers. You pick up the book and start reading. You finished the story, close the book and flip it over — and voilà — a new front cover and a new story. Brilliant! I loved […]

Review – Come Down, Cat!

Monday, October 10th, 2011

The cat is on the roof. Nicholas is worried. ‘Come down, Cat!’ he calls. But the cat just says ‘Marl’. How can Nicholas get the cat to come down? He fetches a ladder but the cat is off across the rooftops, way out of reach. It looks like the cat will have to stay on […]

Navigating the next book maze (sci-fi and fantasy edition)

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Regular readers will know about my slightly unnerving love of a good spreadsheet about books but even more thrilling than seeing all that data is seeing that vast amounts of information presented really well. And when that data is a fantastic compilation of recommendations on what to read based on complex choices that you can […]

Not The Book You’re Looking For…

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

I’ve got to admit I didn’t expect to be laughing at myself while reading Penguin 75, but then again, but I guess that’s what you get for doing something by halves (I almost wrote ‘half-assed’, but then told myself this was a family-friendly blog). I’d vaguely heard there was a book about the history of […]

Gamers’ Names

Friday, October 7th, 2011

A few weeks ago the wonderful people at Boomerang Books organised a competition to celebrate the launch of my new book, Gamers’ Challenge (see Book Giveaway!). The competition is over. Winners have been chosen. Prizes have been sent out. And now it’s time for me to comment on it all. In order to enter the […]


Friday, October 7th, 2011

A mysterious apothecary, a magic book, a missing scientist, an impossible plan Just some of the hooks to be found in The Apothecary, Maile Meloy’s first venture into writing for young readers. Maile is the award-winning author of short story collections Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It and Half in Love and […]

Review: The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje

Friday, October 7th, 2011

TITLE: The Cat’s Table AUTHOR:  Michael Ondaatje PUBLISHER: Random House  (2 August 2011) Reviewed by Ann Skea ( Buy The Cat’s Table here… “I try to imagine who the boy on the ship was. Perhaps a sense of self is not even there in his nervous stillness in the narrow bunk, in this green grasshopper […]