'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

12 Curly Questions with JC Burke

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I’ve had the same best friend since I was three years old.

2. What is your nickname?
Josh, Jazz, JJ, Juice.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Losing my mind.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words. 
Saying a lot, in as few words as possible.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Sensitive, observant, honest, unpretentious, succinct.

Review: The Prehistoric Times

The Prehistoric Times is straight from the Natural History Museum in London, to readers around the world.

Designed to look like a cross between a newspaper and a magazine, A4 in size, and produced in black, white, and red.

With headlines, feature stories and plenty of images, The Prehistoric Times includes dinosaur trivia, quizzes, drawing activities, and a variety of puzzles.

Dinosaurs are profiled throughout, with a 'Prehistoric Profile' on each page. The dinosaurs are each described in terms of their size, noticeable features, most interesting facts, and peacefulness (zilch, low, pretty high, and so on).

Monday, 29 May 2017

Review: Ballad for a Mad Girl

Vikki Wakefield is a master at capturing YA plus suspense, plus teens, in country Australian towns.

Just like her other novels, she once again effortlessly portrays the culture and issues affecting not only the teen protagonist and their peers but the spirit of everyone and the town around them.

In Ballad for a Mad Girl, Wakefield does it again, this time raising the bar with a riveting, beautifully told ghost story that draws you in until the very last page.

Seventeen-year-old Grace Foley has always been a prankster. Daring, funny, bold and audacious, she revels in overstepping the line and getting a laugh, no matter what the consequences. Grace isn't afraid of anything, according to her best friend Kenzie.

Review: Pete With No Pants

Delightfully obscure, Rowboat Watkins has created yet another fantastically hilarious oddity of a picture book, that most parents of a pants-reluctant three year old will completely relate to.

Pete is trying to understand who and what he is. He is grey. He is not wearing pants. He must be a boulder! But being a boulder turns out to be quite boring so Pete changes his mind. He is grey. He is NUTS about acorns. He is not wearing pants. He must be a squirrel!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Review: Love, Ghosts and Nose Hair

Steven Herrick is a master poet.

He drills to the core of story in a few short words, then with surgical skill, he cuts to the heart with gentle humour.

Jack and his older sister, Desiree, sit on the roof of an old shack in the golf course when they need to. It's where they try to make sense of their Mum dying too young, their Dad unable to find up and their own struggles.

Desiree is Jack's closest confidante but she's not the greatest when it comes to advice about girlfriends or boyfriends. Or sex. Then there's Annabel, the girl of Jack's dreams.

Like so many of Steven Herrick's stories, Love, Ghosts and Nose Hair crosses emotional and physical boundaries. It's a story of heart-breaking grief, recovery and everything that happens in between and it will leave you satisfied.

Winner! Raymie Nightingale

Congratulations to:

Joseph Spanolo of NSW

You have won two copies of the book, Raymie Nightingale, one for you and one to share with your bestie!

Thank you to all who entered.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Review: Footloose

Footloose is a book that you immediately have to open if you loved the movie ‘Footloose’ and the song from 1984 or the rebooted movie from 2011.

So how do the words suit a children’s book? Kenny Loggins has written new words/lyrics to suit the story’s setting, a zoo.

Review: There's a Moose on the Loose

Oh, no! There’s a moose on the loose! Can you spot him running across the pages?

Can you spot the troop of characters chasing him through the city?

There’s a Moose on the Loose is a fun and interactive picture book written by Lucy Feather and illustrated by Stephan Lomp. 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Review: Harvey the Hero

Harvey the Hero is a sweet book without the oft-annoying didactic overtones that come with this sort of story.

I admit, when I first started reading the book I expected the conclusion to be the cliched "He was a hero after all..." sort we've all come across.

Happily, I was proven wrong. Harvey could best be described as a hapless hero perhaps.

Review: Rose Campion and the Curse of the Doomstone

Rose Campion, sharp-minded and observant, is back to try and save Campion’s Palace of Varieties and Wonders from financial ruin. The sequel to Rose Campion and the Stolen Secret sees Rose using her detective skills to solve mysteries and weed out pretenders. 

She leads a cast of amazing and complex characters that hide secrets. The whole story is swathed in mystery, and propelled by a chain of extraordinary adventures, including murders to solve. Fast-paced and tension filled, you can’t put this down.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Review: There's Broccoli in My Ice Cream!

Do you have a fussy-eater in your house? Many children go through a phase of not wanting to eat fruit and vegetables. 

The family in Emily Mackenzie’s new book There’s Broccoli in my Ice Cream! are in a similar situation. This funny, read aloud story is sure to delight both children and parents.

Review: John Ronald's Dragons

When I heard there was a picture book about JRR Tolkien, I just had to have it!

Tolkien was the master of fantasy. He brought Middle-earth to life in the imaginations of generations of children and adults alike, taking us on a journey to Mordor and introducing us to hobbits, elves, dwarves and wizards.

But who was he? What was he like as a child? How did he create these amazing worlds which encompassed us, enveloped us and transported us to another realm?