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Machine Wars

machine-warsBy: Michael Pryor

Bram was late home from music practice, these things happen but this time something is very wrong when he gets home. This is a moment he has been training for. For some reason a paranoid, super intelligence is out to get him. His mum always said she hoped this would never happen but she made sure he was prepared if it did. Thing is Bram really wasn’t expecting it to be today. The plan calls for Bram to scatter and hide. It sounds so simple but with so much technology around that the intelligence is able to tap into to use to hunt for him, that is no easy task. Bram isn’t alone in this, somehow his best friend gets dragged into his disaster. Also there is one piece of technology left that is on his side, a Roboduck called Bob. This unlikely group have to survive, if they can do that they will be instrumental in saving the world.

A fun roller coaster of a read. The pace of it does not stop. Bram is a bit of a loner, all his moving about has made it difficult for him to make friends. Stella gets through his defences by being herself. She refuses to let herself be boxed into one group, instead she goes out of her way to be friends with everyone. This is beneficial in this situation because she has learnt some neat little bits of information along the way. Bob is such a wonderful addition to the story. He is part comic relief, part necessary associate and a reminder of another robot with self esteem issues from another series of books.

The world Pryor has created seems not too distant from our own in many ways, just with an abundance of technology that we don’t live with.I enjoy the way Pryor has blended together the familiar and the not so familiar to create a place that is very easy to visualise. you can almost hear the machines, (though it’s entirely possible that that is my over active imagination). I also like the way the characters work together, how Stella is an equal partner in their survival. The story touches on some interesting ethical issues around the topic of artificial intelligence, but the ethics don’t bog it down.

Another wonderful read from one of my favourite authors. For ages 10+

Recommended.

Publisher: Random House Australia Children’s Books

Published: 01 October 2014

Format: Paperback 288 pages

Categories: Artificial Intelligence, Action

ISBN 13: 9780857982766

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of the page.

 

Rock Mutant

boy-vs-beast-rock-mutantMac Park

Boy vs Beast bk9

Kai Maters is a Border Guard, it is his goal to become a Border Captain then a Border Master. The rules seem to have changed in Beastium, the beasts have changed. It is no longer a simple case of one weapon to defeat the elemental creatures. The beasts have mutated. Kai’s first of these new challenges is a Rock Mutant, is he going to be able to find the right combination of weapons to defeat this thing?

A fun read, and fine addition to the series. It is an action, adventure story, where Kai has to use the right tool for the job. It is a written version of a game, that’s how it feels. In this case that is a good thing for it makes for a good, short read for beginning readers.

Publisher: LemonFizz Media

Published: 01 March 2014

Format: Paperback 64 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Games

ISBN 13: 9781921931680

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page.

Cave of Wonders

cave-of-wondersMatthew J Kirby

Infinity Ring bk 5

Bagdad has become a centre of learning in the Dark Ages. As well as merchants and explorers from all over the city houses many scholars. It is here that Sera, Dak and Riq find themselves for their next fix. They determine that they have to find a way to save the great library that is there from destruction. This is no small task as what is coming toward the city is one of the most ferocious and successful armies ever, the Mongols. Convincing the Khan is one thing, they still have to get around the SQ and they have no idea who they are, or who might be on their side.

This is a turning point for Sera who finally shares her big secret, so it is a weight she is no longer carrying alone. Riq still has his own demons to face and with it looking like they will be returning to their own time shortly he has no clue what is going to happen to him, but he continues to hold this close. This is a fun addition because for all the success of the Mongols they are not often used in a children’s book setting and this is an interesting look at that army and what was the prosperous city of Bagdad. I enjoyed the tone of this one and continue to look forward to what the next instalment brings.

Publisher: Scholastic US

Published: 05 September 2013

Format: Hardback 192 pages

Categories: General Adventure Science Fiction Historical

ISBN 13: 9780545387002

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page

 

melody-jackson-s-christmas-spell

By: Vivian French

 

Stargirl Academy bk 7

 

Melody and Jackson are still hoping to get their final star and graduate from Stargirl Academy, but with the other girls already having got their stars the best friends are wondering if they will get their chance. They are so glad when they get their chance and they know just what they want to do. Instead of playing it safe and helping people they know, they decide to help a complete stranger. Things aren’t quite what they first appeared to be though, and the girls learn something along the way.

 

This is a story about teamwork and seeing bigger pictures. The girls judge something by a brief snippet that they see and what they uncover is a bit different to what they thought it was. This helps them to understand that things aren’t always what they are like on the surface. A cute Christmas story with a nice Christmas message (or one that suits for any time of the year really).

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd

Published: 03 October 2013

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Science Fiction Fantasy School Stories

ISBN 13: 9781406349382

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

 

I received my copy from the publisher.figaro-and-rumba-and-the-crocodile-cafeBy: Anna Feinberg & Stephen Michael King

Part of the Figaro & Rumba series

Figaro and Rumba are strange best friends, Figaro is a dog who likes to run and Rumba is a cat for whom song and dance are part of his life. Figaro wants to catch the fast train to the beach but when a friend of theirs goes missing, plans change. When they finally get to the beach they meet a charming crocodile with a musical waistcoat and conga drums. Rumba doesn’t think anything could be wrong but Figaro is sure the crocodile is up to something.

Figaro and Rumba may be unexpected friends but they work well together, different in temperament but still happy to spend time in each other’s company. They like to do things together. This story is made up of a number of different incidents that could each be their own little tale, which makes this an easy book to share with beginning readers, or for someone starting on chapter books. King’s illustrations are appealing water colours that seem light and friendly. The package is just one hard to walk past,

Highly Recommended.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin Children’s Books

Published: 14 August 2014

Format: Paperback 96 pages

Categories: Animal Stories, Friendships,

ISBN 13: 9781743314883

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page

9781742836706By: Knife & Packer

Part of the Freak Street series

When you live on Freak Street the Pirateson’s are pretty much an average family. Sure their house is a boat, and they have a pet piranha. Patty Pirateson is more interested in skateboarding than doing pirate things and their dad is certain he will be the one to find a long-lost treasure map leading to the Golden Underpants. They didn’t expect to come across Captain Cuddle or get stranded on an island with a volcano about to blow them up. Sometimes though solutions come from the strangest of places. And the Golden Underpants might be something other than what is expected.

A silly story perfect for someone looking for something fun. The story is quirky and entertaining, the illustrations bold and colourful. Each chapter is quite short making it a good choice for young or reluctant readers.

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 February 2014

Format: Paperback 96 pages

Categories: Pirates, Humour

ISBN 13: 9781742836706

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page

now-look-what-you-ve-doneBy: Stephan Pastis

Timmy Failure bk 2

Timmy Failure believes himself to be the greatest detective ever and he is going to solve the biggest problem of the missing globe. There are many things he has to contend with along the way : a very lazy partner, a best friend with an abnormal interest in learning an arch nemesis who cannot be named and a strange letter sending person who is threatening him and goes by the name of MM. Also there is his somewhat loopy aunt, who he is living with at the moment. Life just isn’t easy when you are a great detective.

This series is very funny, and more than a little silly. Timmy is in turns entertaining and frustrating. The style of the book is perfect for those readers who maybe don’t want to pick up the bigger books, the text is amply broken by simple illustrations used to show Timmy’s point. The mysteries themselves aren’t that challenging but the fun is in watching Timmy arrogantly bumble his way through.

If you have a reader who loves Wimpy Kid or Big Nate then give this series a look.

Publisher: Walker Books

Published: 25th February 2014

Format: Hardcover

Category: Humour

ISBN: 9781406356342

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

 

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