Tell us your favourite book of 2014 and WIN!

97803565025642014 is drawing to a close and what another fantastic year of books and reading it has been. To celebrate we are giving away 8 copies of one of our favourite books of 2014; The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (you can read our review here). All you have to do is tell your favourite book of 2014.

To Win:

1) Like this Post on Facebook, Favourite on Twitter or +1 on Google+

2) Share this Post on Facebook, Retweet or share on Google+

3) Be an active member of Boomerang Books (sign up here and get a $5 credit)

4) Tell us your favourite book of 2014

Entries close 5pm AEST Friday December 19.

This promotion is not sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or Google+

9780356504582And if you’ve already read The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August look out for her new novel, Touch, due out in March 2015.

My Top 5 Reads of 2014

What another outstanding year of great books. My book of the year was a real stand-out but there was a very close second. Sorting out the rest was nearly impossible. My biggest discovery was David Mitchell. I devoured all his books and loved them all and could have include all them in my top 10 but instead I just chose The Bone Clocks which just missed my Top 5.  So here it is my top 5 reads of 2014 (plus 5 more).

97808578642391. Redeployment by Phil Klay

Every story packs an emotional intensity not only rare in short stories but rare in longer fiction too. Imagine the emotional wallop of The Yellow Birds with the frank and brutal insight of Matterhorn distilled into a short story and you get close to the impact each of these stories makes on their own. Put together as a collection and you have something very special that will be read (and should be read) by many long into the future. Read more…

97804340227862. Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

From the subject matter, to the structure, the characters and the language this is an astonishing debut. Smith Henderson manages to combine the raw intensity and emotion of Philipp Meyer with the haunting descriptions and beautiful language of Kevin Powers while delving into the dark shadows of society in a deeply personal and confrontingly honest way like Jenni Fagan. Read more…

 

97800919561343. The Martian by Andy Weir

This was of the funnest books I can remember reading in a long time. Gripping, funny and told in a totally original and authentic voice you can’t help but be hooked in by this part-Apollo 13, part-Castaway survival story. Read more…

 

4. The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

9780356502847The book opens with 10-year-old Melanie. She is sitting in a cell waiting for the Sergeant who is going to strap her to a wheelchair and take her, under guard, to her classroom where she will learn about the world with the other children. Something has happen to the outside world and Melanie and her classmates might be humanity’s only hope. Read more…

 

5. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

9780356502564This book draws immediate comparisons to Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life. But where Life After Life was about a character who kept reliving their life over and over without knowing they were doing so, this is about a character who keeps reliving their life over and over and remembers everything. And this difference changes everything. Read more…

Honourable mentions go to The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (all his books a truly amazing and this really just missed my Top 5), We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (reminded me so much of one of all-time favourite novels Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides), The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (seriously this trilogy is Harry Potter for grown ups), Fives and Twenty-Fives by Michael Pitre (if it wasn’t for Redeployment this would have been Top 5 easily) and Fallout by Sadie Jones (a return to form for one of my favourite writers).

 

The Narrow Road to the Deep North wins the 2014 Man Booker Prize

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9780857980366Richard Flanagan has won the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Richard Flanagan’s affecting and harrowing story of the Burma “Death Railway” and the Australian prisoners of war who were forced to build it has trumped over 150 of the English-speaking world’s best novels to carry off the prize.

The Tasmanian-born author is the fourth Australian to win the coveted prize joining fellow Australians Thomas Kenneally (Schindler’s Ark, 1982), Peter Carey (Oscar & Lucinda, 1988 and The True History of the Kelly Gang, 2001) and D.B.C. Pierre (Vernon God Little, 2003). Flanagan was presented with the £50,000 (A$91,233) award at London’s Guildhall.

9781741666700The Narrow Road to the Deep North is Flanagan’s sixth novel, and explores the experiences of an Australian surgeon in a POW camp on the Thai-Burma railway. It has already won numerous awards, including the Indie Book of the Year Award and the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award. It was also shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

The novel tells the story of Dorrigo Evans, a doctor who falls in love with his uncle’s wife before the war and who survives the ordeal of the railway and Japanese mistreatment to return and be adopted by his country as a hero when he feels anything but. Flanagan’s victory has an added poignancy in that his father, who died on the day the book was finished, was himself a survivor of the railway.

The judges deliberated for some three hours before agreeing on the winner. The judging process, said AC Grayling, Chair of judges, exposes quality because the best books bear re-reading. It was, he said, “a privilege to be on the Man Booker panel in a year with such extraordinary books”.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North bears 9780701189051a dedication to prisoner san byaku san ju go, Flanagan’s father’s Japanese prison number, 335. The author himself now has a number of his own – number one.

Read our blog review here

Buy The Narrow Road To The Deep North in paperback, hardback and on audio here with FREE postage…

Review – Isaac’s Dragon by Kaylene Hobson

received_m_mid_1409371748082_1b95137c0d750e2993_0 From first time author, Kaylene Hobson, who has sweetly dedicated this book to her own sons, is the wonderfully imaginative tale, Isaac’s Dragon. Including gorgeous pictures by Ann-Marie Finn, author / illustrator of books including A Trip to the Moon and Captain Kieron.   

An extraordinary young boy, Isaac, is introduced to us as a dragon fanatic who spends every possible moment dreaming of owning one for himself. He has difficulty concentrating at home and at school. But if only other people would understand why… he’s hatching a plan to find his dragon, of course!  

Every night he visits his pet dragon in his dreams where they are free to fly over the land, but only to be disappointed to wake up and realise his dragon is not there.  

With studious research, skills practise and a brilliant plan, Isaac is a very determined boy and is certain that he will have his dragon by his upcoming birthday. Confronting the unknown and other magical creatures, remembering valuable parental lessons on manners and compliments, and making negotiations with his little brother, Isaac finally has his dreams realised. But the pet dragon he had longed for didn’t exactly live up to all of his expectations.  

Isaac’s Dragon is an endearing book that addresses real life concepts beautifully. Kaylene Hobson’s main purpose successfully manifests in every part of the story, ”… they (the reader) should also feel a connection with the character – and experience happiness, sadness, joy and disappointment along with Isaac.”  Her own voice is evident, too; the one of the loving, caring and compassionate mother.  

Children will relish the power of imagination, and getting lost in Isaac’s mythical world, while they attempt to determine between fantasy and reality. Isaac’s Dragon is a delightfully told, timeless tale of suspense and adventure over eleven chapters. With adorable sketches by talented Ann-Marie Finn throughout, both boys and girls from ages four to ten will enjoy this creative, engaging and insightful story. Looking forward to more excitement in the second installment of Isaac’s Dragon!  

Read about the story behind the story in a fascinating author profile of Kaylene Hobson to follow.  

Title: Isaac’s Dragon
Author: Kaylene Hobson
Illustrator: Ann-Marie Finn
Publisher: Dragon Tales Publishing
ISBN:9780992523909  

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Feathers, Scales, Fur or Skin: Tales of Friendship and Being Yourself

The Lucky Country. That’s Australia. We embrace difference. Celebrate diversity. Stand up for what we believe in. Be ourselves. Show compassion for those in need.  

The following picture books, as chosen for the 2014 Speech Pathology Australia Books of the Year shortlist, all share common themes; diversity, friendship and uniqueness.  

the+short+giraffe The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory, illustrations by Mark Cleary, is a fun, humorous story that highlights the importance of inclusion, especially when one feels like an outcast. Boba the baboon is photographing the tallest animals in the world; the giraffes. But there is a tiny problem, Geri the giraffe is the shortest giraffe ever and is not visible in the camera shot. Instead of excluding Geri, the compassionate, accepting giraffes attempt various creative ways to bring him up to their height, all however leading to disastrous, yet comical circumstances. Finally, it is a tiny caterpillar that points out the most obvious solution; to bend down to Geri’s level, and they capture the perfect photo.  

bea_cover Now, here’s a character who is not embarrassed to be different; it’s Bea, written and illustrated by Christine Sharp. This whimsical story explores diversity of the mind, rather than physical appearance. Whilst the other birds peck at the ground, flock together, build nests, chirrup and hippity hop, Bea is most unusually baking biscuits, disco dancing, travelling the world in a hot air balloon, and bussing through the country. It is until Bea meets her friend, Bernie, then we realise that having ‘unusual’ tastes are not so unusual when they are enjoyed and shared with others. ”A joyful story about being true to yourself and daring to be different.”  

Jonathan Speaking of being ‘daring’, it’s Jonathan!, written by Peter Carnavas and illustrated by Amanda Francey. Engaging rhythm and action in the text, and pictures to reflect the same. Jonathan! is a cute story of a boy who certainly isn’t ‘afraid’ to be his cheeky self, but in a way that he has fun changing his persona with different costumes. As he consistently attempts to scare his family members with frightening voices and ingenious outfits, his efforts prove superfluous. Jonathan unexpectedly meets and befriends a large, teeth-gnashing dinosaur who helps him triumph with his pursuit. That is, until, in a twist of fate, we are surprised by both the dinosaur’s identity and Jonathan’s reaction.  

9780670076765In Starting School by Jane Godwin and illustrations by Anna Walker, we meet more excited children who are keen to have fun and discover new things. Tim, Hannah, Sunita, Joe and Polly are starting their first day of school. In a gentle, informative story we learn about each child and their perspectives on the routines and events that occur as they embark on a huge adventure that is primary school. Throughout the day we observe them organise their belongings, familiarising themselves with their classmates, forming bonds, exploring the school grounds, establishing rules and routines, learning new subjects, and reflecting on the busy day. Godwin makes learning fun with some funny mishaps like spilling juice, fiddling with a girl’s hair and losing a pencil case. Whilst Walker so beautifully ties in all the minute details with her watercolour and collage characters, school related belongings, food, furniture, real life pieces of work, toys and buildings. Starting School is a perfect representation of the importance of accepting others, getting along, individuality, responsibility and resilience.

davy-and-the-ducklingAnother tale of best friends is Margaret Wild‘s Davy & the Duckling, with beautiful illustrations by Julie Vivas. When Davy meets the duckling, they look deep into each other’s eyes. Already smitten, the duckling follows Davy around the farmyard and all the way back home. Davy shows true adoration and cares for the duckling like a baby. We watch as they both grow, and we see not only companionship, but empathy, support, pride and encouragement as Davy achieves special milestones. In a touching moment, an old, achy duck seems to regain some youth when it hears that Davy is to become a father. And it is so sweet to observe a role reversal to complete the story, as the duck now leads baby Molly around the farmyard and all the way back home.  

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