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Archive for April, 2014


I received my copy from the publisher.


By: Ananda Braxton-Smith

Secrets of Carrick bk 3

Mally is different from the rest of her family. Her brothers and sisters are brave, fearless, they will do what ever they want, when ever they want. Nothing holds them back. Mally is just the opposite, she has so many fears, so many secrets. She can’t go near the water and in a place surrounded by water that is pretty limiting. Mally wishes things were different but they’re not. She has her pig though and her best friend Breesh. Breesh understands Mally, together they explore the Spindlestone caves, but even that isn’t what it used to be. Into the picture comes Dolyn Craig, a bully and a sneak, a horrible boy who can’t be trusted and now it looks as though there is something he wants from Mally.

Sometimes before you can move forward you need to acknowledge what has happened before.

Braxton-Smith has created a gritty world for her characters to inhabit. Carrick is salt-encrusted and full of secrets. It’s stories are passed from person to person, some lost or just rarely told. The isolation creates tension. Mally is a fragile character, her fears are combined with her strange ways of coping and often it isn’t quite what you think it is. As Mally deals with her fears some of the secrets of Carrick are also uncovered. Ghostheart is poignant  and eerie, a tale that ebbs and flows like the ocean Mally is so afraid of. If you like your stories stark, lyrical with a sadly, dark undertone then give this a try.

Publisher: Black Dog Books

Published: 01 May 2013

Format: Paperback 288 pages

Categories: fiction, secrets

ISBN 13: 9781742032184

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page


Air Mutant, Storm Mutant and Water Mutant

By: Mac Park


Boy vs Beast bk 10

Things on the border as not stable. The only thing you know for certain when you work there is that you will have to battle monsters. This time Kai, experienced border guard, has to face off against a Flamatoraq, an air, water and fire hybrid that just defeated a Chillmaxatan. These mutant beasts are causing a little trouble for Kai, because the weapons he would normally use against a creature from one world won’t necessarily beat one that is a mix of two.

Publisher: Lemonfizz Media

Published: 01 March 2014

Format: Paperback 64 pages

Categories: Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9781921931697

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page


Boy vs Beast bk 11

Kai faces a Stormasaurix, a wind creature with toxic breath that comes complete with rocks and fire. Kai has weapons that are of a hybrid nature much like the beasts he is now facing. He just has to hope he’s picked the right ones.

Published: 01 March 2014

Format: Paperback 64 pages

ISBN 13: 9781921931703

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page


Boy vs Beast bk 12

The trials of being a border guard continue for Kai, who continues to face mutant creatures with his trusty companion BC. If he keeps going well then one day he will be a Border Master, that is his goal. Today though he has to face a creature that is a combination of water, wind and rock. These battles are getting trickier.

Published: 01 March 2014

Format: Paperback 64 pages

ISBN 13: 9781921931710

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

These books are easy to read, large print, short chapters, and most pages have a small picture to break up the text. The format is fun and continues to carry the feel of a gaming book. For a beginning reader who has a bent for action and monster battles these are a great choice.



I received my copy from the publisher.


By: James Phelan

The Last 13 bk 4

Sam and Xavier are in dire straights. Sam is convinced this is the end – his at the hands of Solaris. Then rescue comes in a very unexpected way. He was sure Alex was dead but now it looks as though he is working with The Enterprise and Sam doesn’t know what to make of that. He can’t stop thought to find out, the next dreamer needs to be located and his search takes him to Paris. The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, over ground and underground, and it seems that there is no longer any way to tell who is on what side and exactly how many factions are involved.

The pace of this story doesn’t relent. The different perspectives are woven together well. The introduction of new characters works to bring them into the team, though it is nice that they don’t all believe immediately. Zara is a nice addition; smart and cautious. Her parents support what she is about to do even though they are affiliated with The Enterprise, and this is just one of the ways the boundaries between the sides is blurred. This uncertainty ups the ante as with the various factions there is no opportunity for the action to stop.

Eve also goes through a bit of a change in this instalment and it will be interesting to see how this is fleshed out or if it will just be ignored. Strangely Sam is probably the least well rounded of all the characters, in many ways he is a function of the action. It is Sam who keeps the story going. I wonder if that is going to be enough to keep him interesting or if he will benefit from a little depth of character writing. None of that takes from the fact that this series is a rip roaring read.

Worth a look if you want short instalments and plenty of action. Age 10+

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 March 2014

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Action, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831879

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

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+


Publisher: Random House Australia Children’s Books

Published: 01 April 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.

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