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

Monday, 27 March 2017

Review: Clearing the Pack

Clearing the Pack is book four of the sport-centred, The Legend Series. We see main characters Mitchell, Jack and Bubba set to do play for the title of Legend of Football. Luci against Mia battle it out for Legend of Netball. The pace is again fast, and the action furious.

The secret in the library, left hanging without resolve in book three, continues to mystify. Lots of tasty mystery morsels are again positioned through the chapters to keep the reader’s guessing.

Review: Olivia's Voice

Mike Lucas opens our minds, hearts and senses to what it's like to be deaf without his character ever saying a word.

Instead, we see the world through Olivia's eyes, feel textures through her skin and experience her efforts to connect. We learn how Olivia reads her friends' messages so she can be part of the group. We also feel what it's like to be on the outside of jokes.

It doesn't bother Olivia. She sees beauty everywhere and pushes through those moments where she could feel cut off.

Review: Everyone Loves Bacon

'Everyone loves Bacon. Including Bacon.'

'Egg loved Bacon.
Waffle loved Bacon.
Pancake loved Bacon.'

And with all the attention and unwavering devotion he receives, as his stardom and fame grows, it all begins to go to Bacon's head.

Bacon doesn't care about the feelings of the other breakfast meats. He doesn't care that his old friends miss him, in fact he pretends that he doesn't even know some of his friends - cause who needs friends when you have fans?

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Junior Review: I Can Be Ian Healy

I Can Be Ian Healy is just one of eight in this inspiring series. Featuring facts, activities and interviews this book is an awesome read for younger kids. 

Each book features a different star cricket player and an interview with them, giving you an insight into the journey they have been through to achieve their dreams. In the back of this book you’ll discover cricket related activities, everything you need to know about Ian Healy and a short story about cricket. 

Review: The Lost Kitten

This gorgeous picture book is illustrated by one of Japan’s leading illustrators, Komako Sakai. The pictures are exquisite works of art that will keep you coming back to take in every amazing detail.

It tells the story of a little girl, Hina, who finds a tiny kitten on her doorstep. She and her mother bring it inside, clean it up and make it comfortable. But then, the kitten goes missing…

Sakai’s images really are front and centre of this touching little story. She manages to capture the essence of little Hina, her innocence, her curiosity and her fear. Every gesture and expression is perfect and beautiful.

History Is All You Left Me

History is All You Left Me is an honest and raw account about first love and loss. Griffin's first love, Theo, has died in an accident and Griffin is bereft.

The last person he expects will help him through the haze is Theo's boyfriend Jackson and has Griffin and everyone around him confused. Added to that, Griffin's OCD is becoming worse.

Told in alternating times before, during and after Griffin's relationship with Theo, the emotion and honesty portrayed by Griffin is breathtaking.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Review: The Recorded Poems of Och Aye the G'nu

It’s a joy when a new and unique book comes across my desk, and The Recorded Poems of Och Aye the G’nu was just that; a delight to read and listen to.

With a bonus CD, The Recorded Poems of Och Aye the G’nu is a collection of rhythmically rhyming, zany and entertaining short stories written by Jimmy Barnes and collaborated with bestselling children’s group - The Wiggles.

Review: Down The Line

Tennis is the third challenge in The Legend Series. Will Mitchell Grady add the tennis trophy to his list of achievements? He has competition in Bryce Flavel, brainy but with a small body. Can Bryce prove that size doesn’t matter? Then there’s Mitchell’s best friend, Jack. All are working hard to win against incorrigible bully Travis Fisk.

Travis gets away with everything because his father, the local butcher, sponsors all the school sports with his barbeques. This puts father and son above the law in a significant way. It adds sharp corners to the happenings as the why, seeps through the story.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Review: Lucy's Book

Lucy from Lucy's Book is pretty much me as a kid. I loved going to the library with my family to select the next lot of books to devour.

I pretty much spent all my spare time as a kid and a teen (and alright, now as an adult) with my head stuck firmly in a book, and I actually recall my father telling me that I 'read too much' (obviously he is a ridiculous man, as there really is no such thing!).

Right from the stunningly beautiful book-lined library shelves on the front cover, through to the gorgeous books raining down on the end papers, and all the divinely detailed and busy illustrations in between, Lucy's Book has set my librarian heart aflutter, sent a tingle up my book nerd spine, and immediately transported me 20 years back, deep into childhood nostalgia territory.

Review: Zeroes

Although Zeroes gives you six teenagers with supernatural ability and a series of high action scenes involving baddies and life or death decisions, this is not a classic super hero tale.

Each chapter focusses on a different teenager with odd powers and, as the story builds, the twisted web that draws them together strengthens, as does the story's pace.

Ethan, known as Scam, has a voice inside him he can't control, one that says whatever it needs to get what he wants, even if it means alienating everyone Ethan cares about. Crash can literally melt every powered unit in her vicinity. Flicker is blind but sees through the eyes of those around her. Bellwether can twist the thoughts of people in a crowd to his own way of thinking. My favourite is Anon whose strength is his ability not to be noticed but his power is so strong, even his family can't remember him.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Young Adult Fiction - March New Releases

Here's some exciting Young Adult Fiction new releases for March (and a couple from the very end of Feb). We're still making our way through some and have read others (see review links). Hope you enjoy them too! Happy reading.

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781471146183.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Walker Books, $17.99, 9781406372151. See our review.

Frogkisser by Garth Nix, Allen & Unwin, $19.99, 9781760293512.

The Song Rising, The Bone Season Series Book 3 by Samantha Shannon, Bloomsbury Publishing, $24.99, 9781408879726.

Mr Romanov's Garden in the Sky, by Robert Newton, Penguin Books, $17.99, 9780143309307. see our review.

The Things We Promise by JC Burke, Allen & Unwin, $19.99, 9781760290405. See our review.

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan, Bloomsbury Publishing, $17.99, 9781408878866. See our review.

Meet the Illustrator: Kym Langfield

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less
Fun, playful, whimsical, magical, colourful, imaginative, sweet, funny.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Watercolour paints, brushes (a range of sizes but especially sizes 4, 8 and my teeny-tiny Winsor & Newton brush), mechanical pencil, eraser, fineliners (size 0.1 - grey, black and brown), Prismacolour pencils, good quality watercolour paper, photographs and children's books for inspiration - oh and most definitely, chai tea!

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Watercolour. I love how versatile and surprising it is. I enjoy adding salt, extra splashes of colour and water and using the wet-on-wet technique. I gasp and giggle as the paint works it's own magic, it's wonderful fun!

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Freya Blackwood, Anna Walker and Janet & Allan Ahlberg