Archive for November, 2011

Writing Queensland

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

The name ‘Queensland’ conjures up images of tropical beaches and suntanned surf goers, but not so much vibrant, industry-leading writing community. After all, writers tend to be kind of pale, not so sporty, and spend copious hours agonising over blank pages. But there is a strong writing community here that is, through some fantastic leadership, […]


Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

No wonder kids love the Mates Series published by Scholastic. These ‘Great Australian Yarns’ are hilarious. Written for readers aged 8+ these junior novels have hilarious full colour illustrations and easy to read text designed to extend the readers vocabulary. Captain Blunderbolt is the latest great Mate. Written by Carol Martin and Illustrated by Loren […]

The Hunger Games

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Two readers of this very blog introduced me to The Hunger Games, a trilogy by Suzanne Collins that’s set in a post-apocalyptic world where the US has collapsed and folded itself into 12 discreet districts overseen by a Big Brother-like Capitol. I need to thank those two readers. The first book of The Hunger Games, […]

Reviewing Rosie Black

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

In December last year, I read and reviewed Genesis, the first book in The Rosie Black Chronicles (see “The Rosie Black Chronicles”). I found it to be a good read, but lacking a certain spark. I concluded that I would happily read the second book, but that I wouldn’t go out of my way to […]

Interview – Bookish Adventures with Alice-Miranda

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Welcome Alice-Miranda, it’s so lovely to e-meet you! I hear you are just seven and one-quarter years old yet you get up to some mighty adventures. Would you call yourself a brave kid? Good morning Tania, it’s lovely to e-meet you too.  I’m very excited because I’m almost eight now – this year has just […]

King Brown Country gets crowned

Monday, November 28th, 2011

While the ARIAs may have got most of the picture coverage (it’s hard to complete with Kylie’s shining smile and perfect bottom) last night was also a big night for non-fiction reading with Russell Skeldon’s King Brown Country being crowned the year’s best nonfiction book at the 56th Walkley Awards Gala Ceremony in Brisbane. It’s […]

REVIEW: GRANTA 117: Horror by John Freeman

Monday, November 28th, 2011

TITLE:  GRANTA 117: Horror EDITOR: John Freeman PUBLISHER:  Granta (12 Addison Ave.London, W11 4QR, U.K.) (21 November 2011) ISBN: 9781905881369         256pages. Reviewed by Ann Skea ( This is no collection of ghosts, ghouls and gruesome fantasies. Indeed, there is enough real horror in the world for imagination to be unnecessary. So, Granta’s […]

REVIEW: Free Range in the City by Annabel Langbein

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

I’m buggered if I know where November has gone to, but it’s just about over and I can feel the beginnings of a rising panic whenever my thoughts stray to Christmas.  It will have a bit of an extra frisson to it for me this year as my mother will be celebrating a ‘significant’ birthday […]

REVIEW: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

TITLE:  The Sense of an Ending AUTHOR: Julian Barnes PUBLISHER: Random House (1 August 2011) ISBN: 9780224094153    150 pages. Reviewed by Ann Skea ( “some approximate memories, which time has deformed into certainties”, that’s how Barnes’s narrator, Tony Webster, describes this exploration of his past. He begins with schooldays, because, “that’s where it all began”. And […]

Breaking Dawn and We Need To Talk About Kevin (Part 2)

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Part 2 Going from Breaking Dawn to We Need To Talk About Kevin (from here on in referred to as ‘Kevin’) was something I was a little worried about—the two don’t exactly go hand in hand. Moreover, finishing with Kevin, a film that examines the maternal aftermath of a Columbine-style school massacre, was likely to […]

Breaking Dawn and We Need To Talk About Kevin (Part 1)

Friday, November 25th, 2011

As a big reader, it’s rare for me to catch two films in a year much less two in 24 hours. But that’s what I managed last Thursday, sacrificing sleep in order to see two films I’ve long, long been waiting to see: Breaking Dawn and We Need To Talk About Kevin. Both were much-anticipated […]

Paws, Claws and Frilly Drawers

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Talking cats, spoiled brats and a young girl starting at a new school are all the ingredients you need for a hilarious read. And that’s what kids aged 6 + will get with Sarah Horne’s charming book, Paws, Claws and Frilly Drawers. We’ve got Bring Your Pet to School Day on Thursday and I don’t […]

Should Have Finished It In Three

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Inheritance, the fourth book in Christopher Paolini’s trilogy (no, that’s not a typo—I realise trilogies should be three) has reportedly become the fastest-selling book of the year so far, with one selling every 5.5 seconds since its release (in the UK, but presumably around the world too). I have to admit that I’ve contributed to […]

Non-Stop News November: Part II

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Gleebooks’s ebooks site. Google has announced that it will power ebook offerings from national retail chains The Co-op Bookshop (which sells primarily academic and trade books on-campus) and QBD The Bookshop (a clearing house and discount specialist) soon (in addition to those of launch partners Dymocks and Booktopia, whose Google eBooks-fed sites went live three […]

Non-Stop News November: Part I

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

After more than two years of watching their local publishing colleagues get digital, tech giant international competitors eat into their market, and a handful of locals like enter the fray, many of Australia’s top independent booksellers are finally, happily, in a position to provide their customers with ebooks … in time for Christmas, too. […]

The Smell Of Books – Mythbusters’s Edition

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

The “smell of books” is an evocative phrase and a contentious subject. Our ebooks’ (or should that be ubooks’) blog was even originally named for it with the first ever blog post taking on the idea directly. Fans of the paper book (or “dead tree”, as it is less kindly known) rhapsodise lyrical about the […]

The marketing of Lara Morgan

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Equinox, Book Two in The Rosie Black Chronicles is out! And its author, Lara Morgan, is here for a chat about marketing and promotion. But before we get started, I need to tell you that you could WIN a copy of Equinox. Want the details? Click here! And now, it is my great pleasure to […]

Review – Me and My Dad by Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Talented mother and son team Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina reunite in this beautiful picture book, about a young lad and his dad. Dad is not afraid of sharp shells, crazy crabs or tumbling sandcastles, no no. Angry dogs don’t deter him. Neither giant waves. Slimy seaweed? Not a problem. But there is one thing […]

The Naked Boy and the Crocodile

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Recently my 15 year-old son had a life changing experience. He spent 3 days with a group of 20 teens from his school doing voluntary work at a remote aboriginal community. They built a Wiltija to provide shade for the elders. They built 5 park benches and did many other small tasks around the community. […]

Snazzy book launch

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Yesterday evening I attended an extremely snazzy book launch. And I wasn’t even invited! No, no… I didn’t gatecrash. No chance of that, as there were several burly security guards at the venue. My publisher, Paul Collins over at Ford Street Publishing, was invited… and he brought me along. The book being launched was Janet […]

Review – Tin Toys by Bruce Whatley

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

It’s nearly Christmas Eve at the toyshop and every toy is hopeful they will be snaffled for the festive stocking. All the shiny new toys are the most popular, of course . . . they come and go quickly, and never last long enough to make friends of the other toys. At the very back […]

REVIEW: Private Journal of a Passage to Australia by James Bell

Monday, November 21st, 2011

TITLE:  Private Journal of A Voyage to Australia AUTHOR: James Bell. (Introduction and Epilogue by Anthony Laube). PUBLISHER: Allen & Unwin ISBN: 978 1 74237 795 7         202 pages. Buy it here… Reviewed by Ann Skea ( In 1838, when 21-year-old James Bell set sail from England on the long voyage to […]

The quick ebook fix vs library loans

Monday, November 21st, 2011

How good are ebooks for instant gratification? Want to read a book now, right now, rather than heading to a bricks and mortar bookshop or library, or waiting till Christmas on the off chance that someone will buy it for you? Download an ebook. I loved libraries as a child, but in recent years have […]


Friday, November 18th, 2011

Erasmus James and the Grat Siege is the third book in DC Green’s hilarious and action packed series about a boy who has a lot going on inside his head. Thanks to a galactic Zapp machine that his father invented, Erasmus James has the power to travel to the Zapp worlds existing inside his brain. […]

Cumulus adds colour to the ereader scene

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Started your Christmas shopping yet? I’ve been wishing my family all had ereaders so that I could give them Booku vouchers, or that I had enough cash stashed away to buy them a Kobo, Sony Reader, Kindle, iPad or the newest kid on the block, the Cumulus. The Cumulus is a colour tablet based on […]

A second chance for Janie (+ this book)

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

When did you last read a book you knew nothing about by an author you’d never heard of? If you’re anything like me, recommendations, reviews and revisits to favourite authors past play a big role in your reading choices. So when a colleague who reads a book a week told me back in April 2007 […]

Rosie Black is back!

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

In December 2010 I reviewed Genesis, the first book in the Lara Morgan’s YA, dystopian, science fiction, adventure series, The Rosie Black Chronicles. (Check out the review.) Well, Rosie Black is back! The second book, Equinox, is out this month. Lara Morgan is off on a blog tour to promote the new release, and she’ll […]

Review – Wonder Struck by Brian Selznick

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

When I first lifted this groaningly weighty tome, I cringed. Yes, the cover was mesmerising, as was the title – but my goodness me – did I really have three weeks to wade through this brick? No, I did not. Just as I put the book to one side, I noticed the oddly-shaded page ends. […]

STAY WITH ME – by Paul Griffin

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Stay with me by Paul Griffin is one of those books that ‘stays with you’, long after you’ve turned the final page. There’s so much to think about. It’s a story of first love, but so much more. Paul Griffin brings together an unlikely and lovable trio: a gifted student, a high school dropout with […]

Writing Without Reading?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Wanting to write without wanting to read is like wanting to ____ without wanting to ____. That’s the premise this article put forward in discussing the rise of wannabe writers who aren’t avid readers. I know, right? How could you have any desire to write if you don’t like reading? And doesn’t that mean […]

Passive-Aggressive Notes

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

If my memory serves me correctly, I’ve blogged previously about awesome post-it note messages flatmates have left for each other over time—many of which have been passive-aggressive. Recognising their gold, designer Oonagh O’Hagan compiled them into a cute-as-a-button book entitled I Lick My Cheese, which is a reference to one flatmate’s note to another to […]

Mid-month round-up – the larger than life edition

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

This month I have mainly been reading the biographies of people who have become legends in their own lifetime, through talent, accident or sheer bloody-minded willpower. Larger than life – Shatner Rules by William Shatner William Shatner is not a man for false – or indeed any – modesty. In fact, William Shatner isn’t a […]

Succubus Snickers

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

I blame the recent, brain-addling flu I had for my purchase of Succubus Dreams. That and the dearth of simple-carbohydrate books I could devour with Twilight, Harry Potter, Sookie Stackhouse, and Vampire Academy having come to an end with no films/series in reasonable sight. And really, who isn’t fascinated by the word ‘succubus’, which is […]

Review – The Little Refugee by Anh & Suzanne Do

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Anh Do – Vietnamese refugee, comedian, Australian, and all round lovely guy has a powerful tale to tell. His best-selling autobiography – The Happiest Refugee – has won numerous awards, including Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2011 Indie Awards, and tells the tale of his original voyage to Australia aboard a crowded […]

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating (or me Coughing and Sniffling)

Monday, November 14th, 2011

You know you’re sick when you can’t even summon the concentration, energy, or book-holding muscles to read. That’s how I’ve found myself these recent weeks, having made it through winter with not so much as a sniffle only to be mowed down by a heavyweight-hitting November flu, which flattened me so comprehensively I begged my […]

Darth Paper Strikes Back

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Origami + Star Wars = a fun series of kids’ books. Intrigued? Read on… Last year I came across a rather oddly titled book — The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angelberger. The title alone was enough to spark my interest, but the blog posts I read about it convinced me that I […]

Who wants books for Christmas?

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

I always loved getting books for Christmas as a kid (in fact, I once got in trouble for burgling my books out from under the tree to read before the big day) but not every kid instantly embraces the concept of books as gifts. Here is a reaction that you don’t want to get; after […]

YABBA dabba do!

Friday, November 11th, 2011

A post about Fred Flintstone on Literary Clutter? Well… actually… NO! This is a post about YABBA — Young Australian’s Best Book Awards. The 2011 winners were announced this Wednesday at a special awards ceremony held at Trinity Grammar School. I thought I’d tell you about it. YABBA is the Children’s Choice Book Awards in […]


Friday, November 11th, 2011

Unicorn Riders is a new fantasy adventure series written by Aleesah Darlison and illustrated by Jill Brailsford set in the land of Avamay. Avamay is a magical yet dangerous kingdom. The Unicorn Riders protect the people with courage and skill. They ride as one. The Unicorn Riders series launched with four new books, Quinn’s Riddles, […]

Review – Rudie Nudie by Emma Quay

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Oh, there is just something so hysterically funny and freeing about the rudie nudie dash. We did it. Our kids all did it. The freshly washed and powered bare backside of a kidlet is something truly scrumptious as it flashes, peach-cheeked, by – on its way to rambunctiousness. In this latest romp by the talented […]