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Archive for August, 2011

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour

This book was sent to me by the publisher.

By: Morgan Matson

Amy Curry’s life is not what it once was. The accident tore her family apart first emotionally and now literally. her mother has decided the thing to do is move and has given Amy the task of getting the car across the country. This isn’t something Amy will be doing alone as she hasn’t actually driven since the accident. Amy’s mother has arranged for Roger, the son of a family friend to do the driving.

They are barely on the road before the strict itinerary Amy’s mother outlined, has gone out the window. They both have reasons for wanting the detour. Roger has come off a confusing relationship break-up and Amy is still lost in the wilderness of life after the accident. Their journey takes them to Yosemite, down America’s loneliest road and even to Graceland, along the way Roger finds answers and Amy learns to live again, Sometimes taking a different path is exactly what you need and it really is the journey that matters not just the destination.

This is a wonderful, fun and heartfelt journey. Matson slowly opens the central characters up as the miles pass away. The prose is fluid and is broken up by journey playlists and funny little travel journal entries. The mood is a times tense and at others relaxed, as the characters begin to to grow comfortable with and begin to trust each other.

The road trip is beautifully punctuated by the varied characters Roger and Amy meet up with along the way. Bronwyn was a particular highlight for me. Of course all these characters add poignant moments to the story, some deep and some simply joyful fun.

This is a well balanced story that seems to move along at just the right pace. Matson has captured the feel of a leisurely road trip, there is little frantic about it as you are caught up in the need to just get away and experience new things.


Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books

Published: 07 July 2011

Format: Paperback 352 pages

Categories: Romance, Life, Growing Up

ISBN 13: 9780857072689

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


I received my copy from the publisher.
By: Amy Kathleen Ryan

Waverley and Kieran are young, still teenagers, but having grown up on a space ship they are contemplating marriage. Fertility and the continuation of the species is of primary importance to those on the Empyrean. Then they come in contact with the New Horizon – a ship that had been sent out a year before theirs and one they should never have met up with. Now events are spiraling out of control and the young couple find themselves separated after a violent battle. It soon becomes obvious that both sides are lying to suit their own, less than honest, purposes.

Kieran finds himself struggling to make command decisions he simply isn’t equipped to make, and finds mutiny is a very real threat. Waverley finds herself struggling for survival and to uncover the truth in a strange environment surrounded by people who lie and hurt her. She is determined though to save all the girls from the Empyrean, but is she strong enough to convince others of the hidden truths?

This story twists and turns as these characters are thrust into a fight for their very survival. The central three; Kieran, Waverley and Seth, are complex and there is an uncertain dynamic between them. There are times when you find yourself not necessarily liking them. The relationship between the two boys is very interesting, they are both burdened by what they perceive as their duty; Kieran’s to command and Seth’s not to let a person like the previous captain take control of the ship.

This is a tensely woven drama in which society is shrunk to a microcosm of two space ships. On the Empyrean the story plays out as survival of the inexperienced, manifesting in the form of force. On board the New Horizon, manipulation is the means to an end with little regard to who suffers along the way, all of which is disguised under the costume of religion.

In the end the lines blur as brute force and religion fan into flames more than just the drive for survival.

As it all plays out it becomes obvious that the things Waverley thought were a good idea in the beginning may not be, and this is the start of what could turn out to be a complicated love triangle.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

Published: 01 October 2011

Format: Paperback 320 pages

Categories: Science Fiction

ISBN 13: 9781742610320

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

I’m Here

This book was sent to me by the publisher.

By: Peter Reynolds

This book is beautiful in concept and presentation. It is not a picture book that lends itself to a story synopsis as the boy is alone and the story is about his perceptions of the moment, how he sees things differently to those around him. It does however touch on topics such as isolation, difference and imagination.

The media release states ‘I’m Here is an extraordinary picture book that gives voice to the often silent world of a child struggling to connect with his peers and speaks to the universal need to be loved and heard’. I don’t usually use quotes from press release but in this case I think it explains it best.

This is a stunning book, simple in it’s scope and presentation, both text wise and illustratively. One of the very few books that families living with autism will be able to relate to.

Publisher: Atheneum

Published: 01 September 2011

Format: Hardback 32 pages

Categories: Fiction, School Stories, Disability, Relationships

ISBN 13: 9781416996491

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


This book was sent to me by the publisher.By: Matthew Van Fleet

This book takes us down to the farm to visit all the farm animals. It is the newest installment from the very popular Van Fleet. These books are ideally  suited to really young children as they combine so many elements that keep the youngest of readers interested: thick card pages with flaps to lift; tabs to push and pull; different textures and sections that pop-up. The thing I really like about these books is that unlike so many others of this format they are really sturdy. Only one thing is likely to come off. The tabs are thick and easy to use and the flaps are part of the page not simply stuck on to it. These books stand out and I’m sure children will enjoy the photos, simple text and interactivity found in here in one package.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books

Published: 30 August 2011

Format: Hardback 18 pages

Categories: Animal Stories

ISBN 13: 9780857073181

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


By: Anthony Eaton

Vinnie Santiani’s sister is killed, his home life has changed irrevocably and Vinnie, driven by fear and loneliness heads to the bush. He wants to be alone and believes the isolation can be found camping in the middle of nowhere. Where he ends up though has a history. The forest used to house a prisoner of war camp. Across the years Vinnie’s life comes into contact with Erich Pieters’ – a young German man who left his family to join Hilter’s Wehrmacht and fight in the war.

Vinnie may have been running away but sometimes fate has other things in store for you.

I realise this is a very short synopsis and I’ve left it so deliberately because I don’t want to give too much away. Both young men and both settings have been wonderfully created by Eaton, who weaves the two story lines together so very well. The environment is richly described and it is easy to find yourself swept away into the bushland location during both timelines. With a skilled hand Eaton has given us two young men so very torn by the circumstances they find themselves in. He develops them through their anger into something more, they do not merely gain an acceptance of life but a renewed spirit for it, through adversity they discover there can be healing and hope.

This book is a wonderful read. It drew me in and reached down into me, it is an evocative and stirring tale, very well worth the time it takes to read.

Publisher: University of Queensland Press

Published: 05 April 2004

Format: Paperback 345 pages

Categories: YA Fiction, Courage, Adventure

ISBN 13: 9780702233814

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

More Congratulations for Shaun Tan

No real excuse for being so late with this one but on August 20th the Hugo Award Winners were announced and Shaun Tan was the recipient of the BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST Award.

Another well deserving accolade for a very talented man.



Don’t Call Me Ishmael

By: Michael Gerard Bauer

Ishmael Leseur is convinced he is cursed because of his name. His name embarrasses him on a regular basis and causes him to so often be the focus of year 9 bully, Barry Bagsley. Ishmael’s policy is to try and stay out of Barry’s way as much as possible, but then James Scobie arrives in Ishmael’s class and things will never be the same. Everything about James screams victim, Barry’s eye’s light up and James turns things on their head. As if that wasn’t enough, he pulls Ishmael into the year 9 debating team and Ishmael finds himself embroiled in the worst, most embarrassing and somehow best year of his life. Somewhere along the way he finds friends, courage and there may even be a girl, but probably not because how could she possibly like Ishmael?

This book is laugh out loud funny. It is cheeky, silly, embarrassing and has moments that reminded me of school. Ishmael is a great character, resigned to his lot yet somehow wishing he could change things. He tries to step up but when he does things don’t always got the way he hopes. James is awesome, he has the appearance of a total geek but with a seeming imperviousness to bullies, he has mastered the art of insulting and informing while appearing pleasant and not the least bit like a tattletale.

Then there are the other members of the debating team; Ignatius Prindabel -the fact-o-pedia, Orazio Zorzatto – the class clown and Bill Kingsley – the sci-fi/fantasy obsessed one. They fit so well together, Bauer has created a very real and very fun book. I see Ishmael and his friends being heartily embraced, Ishmael is slightly older than Greg Heffley (Wimpy Kid) and the writing style is for slightly older readers but this is a good place for those who like those books to move up to.

Publisher: Omnibus Books

Published: 01 April 2006

Format: Paperback 288 pages

Categories: School Stories, Bullying, Humour

ISBN 13: 9781862917668

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

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Book Trailer

This is a great book trailer for the upcoming book Daughter of Smoke and Bone from Laini Taylor, it’s release date is September 29th.


By: Lauren Kate

Fallen series bk 3

Luce and Daniel didn’t meet for the first time at Sword and Cross, before this lifetime they had already lived many lives. Daniel always destined to fall in love and see that love torn from him, Luce to fall in love and die young. This time around something is different and Luce is desperate to unlock the curse that torments their love. In order to do this she must revisit her previous lives. She is determined to understand her fate and find it’s key, each incarnation seems to hold a different clue.

As Luce stumbles through time Daniel is chasing her, determined to save her. Just how many deaths can one love endure and why must it be this way? Will Luce’s journey manage to change their future? Or is there something more at stake than just tortured love?

Luce and Daniel are characters whose love and personalities have been developed throughout the previous installments of this series. This book takes you deeper into their relationship and how much it hinges on Daniel’s original choice. This story not only sweeps across time but also continents. Luce enters into many historical moments in her quest. This constant jumping from moment to moment is not going to be for everyone and I found Luce to be a little needy, however it was nice to note that her past selves did not all have the same personality. The different settings were handled deftly and the description makes it easy to slot in to the new location.

This is very much Luce and Daniel’s story, other characters from their present have little involvement in this though a key to Cam’s past is also unveiled and it is nice to see some depth added here. This is a different kind of read and if you are a fan you will probably love this chance to delve into the past love between these two cursed characters.

Publisher: Doubleday Children’s Books

Published: 23 June 2011

Format: Paperback 432 pages

Categories: Paranormal Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9780385618083

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

Lady Knight

By: Tamora Pierce

Protector of the Small series bk 4

Keladry of Mindelan has done it, she survived as a page, a squire and made it through her Ordeal. Now she faces war. Tortall is at war with the Scanrans and her first commission is to oversee the refugee camp. Not a posting she thought to have after all her years of training. Her way of viewing others makes her uniquely suited to this command, even if she is untried. Kel chaffs at the task though because before she sets out for war she has a vision in the Chamber – she was shown the man behind the creation of the horrific battle machines and what he does to animate them. The Chamber told her their paths would cross and it would be up to her to stop him. Kel is torn between her duty to her commander and crown and to the quest she believes will save lives and change the course of the war. (Vague spoiler alert!) Then her command is attacked and she risks everything to do what she knows she has to do.

This is the final book of the Protector of the Small series and as such has a grander scope. Kel faces her own doubts as well as those of others. She struggles between duty and what she believes to be right. She abhors injustice and deals with the challenges her command hands her, in her own unique way. Kel’s way wins people over, she is smart, strong and very determined.

Added to the familiar characters is Tobe, another of Kel’s rescued strays. Tobe is an orphan with a smart mouth and a drive for self preservation, Kel also recognises the horse mage that is hidden under his beaten exterior. Pierce has put together an incredible and varied ensemble cast to surround and support Keladry, they are so well drawn that they appear so clearly in my imagination, part of me wants to follow them through the years. The world of Tortall is well travelled, well developed and this story is narrowly focussed as it sits comfortably in the bigger picture. There are elements of humour in some of the darkest situations adding to the wonderful texture. Tightly written and wonderfully told, Kel comes into her own here as she takes the steps than earn her the title ‘The Protector of the Small’.

Kel is one of my favourite characters of all time and I am so glad there are still stories flowing from the pen of Tamora Pierce.

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Published: 01 August 2003

Format: Paperback 431 pages

Categories: Fantasy Adventure War Courage

ISBN 13: 9780375814716

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

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