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Archive for May, 2012

Skating Sensation

By:Rachel Renee Russell

Dork Diaries Series

Nikki Maxwell finds out her crush, Brandon, volunteers at an animal shelter. This doesn’t surprise her one bit because he is such a nice guy as well as being so cute. Then he tells her the shelter is going to have to close. Nikki thinks this is terrible and comes up with a plan to win the ice skating competition and use the money to keep the shelter open. There is just one problem, it turns out that Nikki can’t actually skate, in fact she can barely move on the ice without falling over. Her BFF’s Zoey and Chloe are great and Nikki is afraid she is letting the team down and she doesn’t want the animals to lose out because of her. On top of all that her sister Brianna is causing all sorts of trouble and MacKenzie is being a total pain. Will Nikki be able to save the shelter and help Brandon?

The Dork Diaries, like the Wimpy Kid series, are a lot of fun. Nikki is an entertaining character with a totally embarrassing family. Brandon is a cool guy to have a crush on, cute but smart, there can never be enough of those guys. MacKenzie is the requisite popular girl and has one heck of a nasty streak which causes Nikki huge problems but she always overcomes. Nikki also has wonderful friends who support her and like her in all her dorkiness. This series has more relationship stuff than Wimpy Kid and I think that’s were the difference betweens boys and girls really starts to show however it needs to be said that there is nothing inappropriate in these books. Nikki is a character I like spending time with, though Brianna could really do with a better understanding of the word no.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books

Published: 07 June 2012

Format: Paperback 368 pages

Categories: School, Friendship, Humour

ISBN 13: 9780857071194

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

The Pirates Next Door

By: Jonny Duddle

Matilda lives in Dull-on-Sea and she really would like to have a friend her age. Then the pirate family, the Jolley-Rogers move in next door. Matlida thinks they are fascinating and befriends Jim Lad. The rest of the town aren’t so welcoming of the pirates and their strange ways. The townsfolk complain and grumble until the time has come for the pirates to move on. What have the pirates done that leaves the whole town singing a different tune? Matilda though misses her friend and is glad they can at least write letters to each other.

A totally fun tale about pirates and a very boring little down. The rhyming text tells it’s story at a brisk pace. The tone is fun and the illustrations capture the tone wonderfully. There is plenty of text to keep the 4-5 year old interested.

Publisher: Koala Book Company

Published: 01 April 2012

Format: Paperback 32 pages

Categories: Pirates, Friendship

ISBN 13: 9781742760483

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

Stormdancer – Cover Reveal

This looks so totally awesome, Japanese steampunk. I am so looking forward to this. It is due for release in September.

The Day Louis Got Eaten

By: John Fardell

Louis and his big sister Sarah, are out in the woods one day when things take a turn for the worse. Lois gets eaten by a Gulper. Now this may have been terrible but Sarah knows if she acts fast she can rescue Louis. So she sets off in hot pursuit. Along the way though she comes across other bizarre and hungry creatures.

This is a strange, yet funny adventure about the lengths one sister will go to to rescue her brother. The illustrations are slightly comical, with muted colouring. The text is simple, most pages having only a few lines of text, this makes it quite suitable for younger listeners.

Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd

Published: 02 February 2012

Format: Paperback 32 pages

Categories: Monsters, Family

ISBN 13: 9781849393874

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

Soul Seekers Book Trailer – Noel

I enjoyed the first book and am looking forward to the second.


I received this copy as an ARC from the publisher.By: Brigid Kemmerer

Book 1 Elementals

Becca Chandler leaves a self defense class only to discover someone getting beaten up in the carpark. She decides to step in without realising just how much this one good deed will change her life. Chris Merrick is no ordinary guy, his reaction to the water she gives him after rescuing him is only the tip of the iceberg. Chris has three older brothers, their parents are dead and the boys are marked for death. All four of them are powerful elementals, each having one element they are particularly attuned to – water, air, fire and earth. This can be incredibly dangerous, especially now when it appears that deals which have held for years are shattering, with violent consequences.

Things though haven’t been simple for Becca for a while, and she is finally getting used to the gossip. Into her increasingly complicated life comes Hunter, a strange new kid who has an appealing and mysterious way about him. He helps Becca when she needs it most. As things get more dangerous Becca realises she doesn’t know who she can trust. Then there is her secret.

Becca is a little different from many heroines as she is the one who steps up to do the rescuing, though in the interest of full disclosure she does get rescued at some point as well. She is a fighter (not in any trained sense of the word, just by nature), who has had some nasty things happen to her but she doesn’t let that beat her. She may get knocked down but she gets back up and for that simple fact I would read more about her.

The brothers are interesting, they all have very different personalities but under all the brotherly dysfunction is a strong bond of loyalty that they need to survive.

At first glimpse you may be inclined to dismiss yet another love triangle story but don’t. The characters are interesting, the romance is barely a sub-plot, and it seems more about the confusion of possible relationships than the angst of being in one or torn between two guys. The overarching story of the elementals is quite entertaining. I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would and am looking forward to reading the sequels. If you are looking for something with proactive females and some interesting paranormal abilities then give this a go. With the reveal at the end it is going to be interesting to see where this story goes.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Published: 01 May 2012

Format: Paperback 368 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic

ISBN 13: 9781743310663

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

Vlog Brothers on Facebook

Just because I love these guys, and yes it is relevant because John Green writes YA books that are great.

The Bump

By: Mij Kelly

Illustrated By: Nicholas Allan

Before you were born things were different and changing with your mummy. She sometimes ate silly things and started to look different. Through all these changes she loved you.

This is a pregnancy picture book with a bit of a twist, the baby in this book is the child the story is being told to. it is not a story about a new baby so much as a story of love. It is simple and the fun illustrations match the joy of the story as we are taken on the journey from first discovery or pregnancy to birth and beyond. It is a tale of a mother’s love for her child.

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

Published: 01 March 2012

Format: Paperback 32 pages

Categories: Baby, Family

ISBN 13: 9780340989500

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

Diary of a Soccer Star

By: Shamini Flint

Marcus Atkinson is 9 and doesn’t want to play soccer. He also isn’t interested in keeping a diary. His dad though is big on writing down goals and getting involved, which is how Marcus finds himself semi-infamous for scoring an own goal with his butt. He hopes this will mean he can stop playing soccer. No such luck. It is a good thing he is good at maths – why can’t his dad just let him do that? Also it is a good thing others on the soccer team can really play the game.

If you have a 7-9 year old who is interested in sport then these books might appeal. Stylistically they are like the Wimpy Kid books. Marcus is no doubt an athletic underdog and in this the humour is found. There were a couple of things that I wasn’t keen on in this book; firstly if he is so good at math how is it he is so terrible at spelling (haf for have), and after a while the misunderstanding of soccer references seems to get a little tired. However there aren’t many sports books for kids that age so if you are looking for one then give these a look.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Published: 01 January 2012

Format: Paperback 96 pages

Categories: Humour, Sports Stories

ISBN 13: 9781742378251

Purchase: use booktopia link on the side of the page

The Secret of the Swords

By: Frances Watts

Illustrations By: Gregory Rogers

Being a kitchen girl at Flamant Castle is not where Tommy really wants to be. Tommy dreams of becoming a knight and often watches the training sessions when she should be working. When she stands up to a bully and is made Keeper of the Blades she is so excited and starts to hope that maybe her dreams can come true. Then disaster strikes, Lord Walters most valuable sword goes missing and Tommy needs to find it so she doesn’t get sent back to the kitchens.

Way cool. Sorry but that needed to be said. I love characters like Tommy who have big dreams outside the norm, stand up to those who pick on the more helpless and are open enough to accept the unusual in their lives. Tommy is all that.

This story is sure to entertain. The text is funny and appealing. Tommy is in the midst of an interesting cast that includes Lil the talking cat and ghosts that inhabit the swords she is to look after. Rogers’ illustrations bring a quirky visualisation to the story. If you are looking for something for a 7-9 year old girl who isn’t into fairies or way girly things, something with an independent and strong character, then definitely pick this up. Likewise if you want to encourage boys to read books with girl characters, and lets face even these days not enough do, then this is probably a great place to start. Can’t wait to see more of this series.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Published: 01 April 2012

Format: Paperback 96 pages

Categories: Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9781742377285

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

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