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Archive for July, 2011

The Game


By: Diana Wynne Jones

Hayley doesn’t really know what she has done wrong only that whatever it was it was bad enough that her grandmother packed her off to live with aunts and cousins she’s never met. It’s so very different there, noisy and chaotic. She begins to feel welcome and cared for in a way she hasn’t previously. Then there is the game – something that takes them into the mythosphere, pursuing quests and going deliberately against the wishes of the mysterious uncle Jolyon. Hayley is about to discover the mythosphere holds the key to her family’s secrets, her past and her future.

This is another fun read from the remarkable imagination of Diana Wynne Jones. It is filled with interesting characters that will either be vaguely familiar, if you have some knowledge of mythology, or an interesting introduction to it. Jones has painted a vivid and wonderful picture that takes us on a fantastical journey with Hayley as she discovers herself and her family. It is a story that draws you in and sweeps you along as you champion Hayley in her efforts. The characters are well described and fit together in a way that seems just right, the good and the not so good all having their place. A thoroughly enjoyable story woven by the delicate touch of a master craftsman. I have yet to pick up one of Jones’ stories that hasn’t pulled me in, in a way that keeps me wanting to turn the pages and only reluctantly put it down unfinished to do what else is required of me during the day.

If you haven’t read one of her books then you certainly should.

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Published: 04 February 2008

Format: Hardback 224 pages

Categories: Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9780007263790

Purchase: here or use logo on side of page to visit Booktopia


Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters Movie

Okay so the first film didn’t do brilliantly at the box office but there is now movement on a sequel with the young cast set to return but the bigger celebs yet to sign on.

While I may not have loved the first film (having shouted at the screen a few times during viewing) I am a big fan of the actual series and hope with the changes, the second will be better. Sometimes movies have the power to breathe more life into the book and if it gets even one more reluctant reader reading, then that’s a good thing.

Go here to read the LA Times announcement.

The Last Viking

By: Norman Jorgensen and James Foley

Josh is very brave, there are only a few things that scare him. His granddad tells him great stories but sometimes they are scary. This time when he stays over his granddad tells him all about the vikings. Josh likes the sound of them and decides he wants to be one. He talks to the viking gods and sets out to do the sort of things vikings do. It turns out that Josh makes a pretty good viking, proving this when he stands up to the bullies, with surprising consequences.

This is a wonderful little story that embraces the imagination, individuality and standing up to the  bullies. Josh is a wonderful character. The story is incredibly charming, and the illustrations wonderfully complement the text.

Recommended for any child with an imagination and the courage to dream.

Publisher: Fremantle Press

Published: 27 June 2011

Format: Hardback 32 pages

Categories: Picture Books, Self-Esteem

ISBN 13: 9781921888106

Purchase: use the link to Booktopia on side of the page

The Sorceress

By: Michael Scott

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, Bk 3

Paris suffered some serious destruction at the hands of Dr John Dee, who released the Nidhogg in a desperate attempt to get rid of Nicolas Flamel, the twins Sophie and Josh and retrieve the last two pages f the Codex. However Josh killed the Nidhogg and was finally awakened, and now the trio are in London searching for the oldest immortal, the King Gilgamesh. Nicolas hopes the King can train the twins in the mastery of water magic. FInding him is only part of the problem though as it turns out the Gilgamesh is quite mad. Added to that, London is Dr John Dee’s home ground and that is an advantage he plans on using every inch of.

The trio aren’t completely helpless. Nicholas still has some contacts and Josh is carrying Clarent, the sister sword to Excalibur, and it is a blade with a power that makes it almost impossible for it to be used without darkness bleeding into the wielder’s soul.

Meanwhile Perenelle is no longer a prisoner, now roaming free on the island of Alcatraz. As long as she can stay that way she is working on a plan to get her off the island and back to Nicholas and the twins. This battle is taking it’s toll and it is nowhere near over.

The pace doesn’t really let up in this the third installment of the Secrets of Nicholas Flamel. Mythical creatures come out of hiding to hunt down Nicholas and the twins so they must keep moving to stay alive and remain a step ahead of Dee. Scott whips us through modern day terrain blending in seemlessly the different mythologies and historical figures. (Seeing Shakespeare in this did bring a smile to my face). It is interesting to note that Scott’s characters are complex: one moment Sophie and Josh appear mature enough to handle what they’ve been thrown into, other times they are teenagers struggling to  adjust to it all. Then there is Nicholas, who you think you should like, but with so many secrets you’re not sure you can. And somehow Perenelle, while trapped, still seems more of a threat.

Where as some books appear to painstakingly create complex layers in an effort to draw you in, Scott seems to let bits of information leak out while flinging you into the action and expecting you to keep turning the pages just to keep up.

Publisher: Random House

Published: 27 April 2010

Format: Paperback 502 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Family, Mythology

ISBN 13: 9780385735308

Purchase: here or use logo on side of page to go to Booktopia


By: Karen Brooks

After losing everything Tallow has entered into an agreement with the Maleovellis, she gets them what they want and they will give her what she wants. In order for this to happen though Tallow must first throw off the disguise she lived in for years and embrace her femininity. She must learn – language, music, current affairs, behaviours, plants, poisons and how to use her natural wiles, for Tallow is to become Tarlo, courtesan and toast of Serenissian society.

She must learn quickly, for all La Serenissima’s beauty, it is a city rules by corrupt aristocrats, where everything has a price and appearances can be deceiving. While a high priced courtesan like Tarlo appears free, only she truly knows the price she is paying as she plays her part.There are the many machinations that Tarlo is aware of or suspects but there are others she is totally unaware of. Queen Zaralina of Farrowfare is desperate to find Tarlo and has several things in play to this end. Then there are the Bond Riders who betrayed her yet still believe they have a secret she will not be able to resist. Tarlo may survive her change from candlemaker to courtesan but will she survive to see what she longs for come to pass.

This is the sequel to Tallow, a book I will admit to struggling to get through, so I did open this with a little trepidation. As it turned out I liked this one quite a bit more. The character of Tallow/Tarlo is one with a great character arc, one of complete opposites and this makes her fascinating. La Serenissima is an incredibly detailed world filled with vivid descriptions of people and places. For all it’s grand scale it is Tarlo’s story that interested me the most, and when we switch to other characters I found it a little frustrating. To be honest though, it would be impossible to tell Tarlo’s story, one that encompasses such a grand scale, without using other perspectives to fill in the necessary information.

Brooks has created an intriguing world in the midst of pivotal events and if you like your fantasy epic in its scale and complex in it’s events then this is a book I am sure you will enjoy sinking your teeth into.

Publisher: Random House Australia

Published: 1 June 2011

Format: Paperback 400 pages

Categories: Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9781864719437

Purchase: use logo on side of page to go to Booktopia

ABIA 2011

The Australian Book Industry Awards have been announced.

The relevant winners for us here are :

International Success of the Year 2011













Penguin Group Australia, for Once, Then and Now

Book of the Year for Younger Children (age range 0 to 8 years) 2011

Noni the Pony, written and illustrated by Alison Lester, published by Allen & Unwin

Book of the Year for Older Children (age range 8 to14 years) 2011

Conspiracy 365, written by Gabrielle Lord, published by Scholastic Australia

Text Prize 2011

The Text Prize 2011 has been awarded to Myke Bartlett, for his adventure novel The Relic, in which mythological creatures invade suburban Perth and threaten the world.

The Text Prize is an award for unpublished Young Adult and Children’s writing and  is run every year, details can be found on Text Publishing‘s website.

Myke was born in Perth and is now based in Melbourne. He first began his writing career online, publishing several highly successful podcasted novels. His prize-winning novel will be published in August 2012.

From his Melbourne home, Bartlett confessed, ‘I actually wrote The Relic specifically for the Text Prize.

‘A poster advertising the prize has been stuck on the wall above my desk for the past 12 months and I really can’t imagine better motivation for a first time novelist. That The Relic has now actually won the competition seems just a little bit incredible.’

Michael Heyward, publisher at Text,  had this to say about The Relic, ‘Set in and around Perth, (it) is a fantasy novel that will make its readers smile but may also scare them under the bed. At its heart is a quest to find the secret that will save the planet. Myke Bartlett has assembled a great cast of characters to tell his adventurous tale. We can’t wait to publish (it).’

A big congratulations to Myke Bartlett.

The Ring of Solomon – Book Trailer

By: Jonathan Stroud

Bartimaeus the Djinni stars in another story, this one is set in Jerusalem, 950 BC, in the court of King Solomon.

CHERUB – More Stuff

Here is a video of Robert Muchamore talking about People’s Republic.

CHERUB – Random Information

I have decided to make today a CHERUB day, I am really looking forward to the new book People’s Republic which is due out on the 4th. So to assist with that I thought I’d post a few links for you to relevant sites.

Let’s start with the Cherub Campus.

Another Cherub site.

Here’s a Henderson Boys site.

And finally Robert Muchamore’s site.

I would also like to add (if you haven’t already heard) that sadly, the live chat that was going to happen on the 4th has been cancelled.


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