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Posts tagged ‘Life’

Figgy in the World


By: Tamsin Janu

Figgy is a determined young girl who has two very big problems. The first is her name, there is no one else in the whole country that has Figgy for a name, unfortunately that is a problem she can do nothing about. The second problem and the worst one is that her Grandmother is very sick and needs special medicine. Figgy thinks there might be something she can do about that. In America they have the medicine that will help her Grandma, so she sets out to get herself and her goat to America. She doesn’t really know how to go about it but that isn’t going to stop her. It turns out getting to America isn’t so easy and many things happen along the way.

Figgy is a wonderful, determined and loyal girl. She sets her mind to something and goes about trying to do it the best way she can. Life though is something that happens whilst you are doing things and for Figgy it becomes the most incredible adventure filled with loss and gain. Nana comes into her life and fills it in a way Figgy hadn’t expected, he opens his life to her and his actions tug at her loyalty strings. Figgy’s bravery speaks to those who come in contact with her and you cannot help but champion her along her way. A wonderful read set in a world of poverty and lack that many will have limited understanding of, this though gives the chance to open dialogue about things that really matter, or you can just read and be swept up into Figgy’s world.


Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 1st June 2014

Key Words: Life, Adventure, Friendship, Family, Hardship, Ghana

ISBN: 9781742990453



I’d just like to say a little sorry, I haven’t reviewed for quite a while not because I’ve stopped reading or because there isn’t anything for me to review but simply because I have been flat out busy. Work is part of it, writing (book 2 of a 3 book series) is another part, but also November for me is a very busy month  due to a SupaNova tour and a geeky girl has got to get her geek on (though I realise we have now fallen into December – and that is busy too).

Actually I do have something book related to add, I had the pleasure of meeting Isobelle Carmody on this tour and I know plenty of fans also got that chance, with of course the opportunity to get her latest release The Red Queen signed. So on that note, understand I haven’t forgotten you, life simply sometimes gets busy and other priorities take top spot. I’ll get some good ones in for you before this weekend is done though, I promise.

The Fault In Our Stars – Movie Trailer

Holy crap even this damn trailer made me cry. I am soooooooo looking forward to this film.

Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort look like they’ve done an amazing job with a couple of the most amazing characters I’ve ever read.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me

By: Jess Rothenberg

Brie is 15 when she dies, literally of a broken heart. For Brie though this is not the end. After her funeral she winds up in a strange version of an afterlife. It seems she isn’t quite ready to move on. There she meets Patrick, a guy who reminds her of a Top Gun era ‘Maverick’. Patrick helps Brie understand a few things about the afterlife and he shows her how to get back to see how her friends and family are doing. Things aren’t how she expected, there are problems at home and she has revenge on her heart for Jacob, the boy she believes is responsible for her state of being dead. She is sure Jacob was seeing someone else and when she thinks she knows who that person is she feels doubly betrayed. Things are not what Brie believes, in her old life or her afterlife. When it all comes it’s climax will it be possible for Brie to put things right for the living and figure out what Patrick means to her in the afterlife?

A funny and touching story. Brie seems like any other teen; boyfriend, best friends, extra curricular activities, then tragedy strikes. She is a likeable character whose arc takes her through the five stages of grief, the bulk of the book is cleverly broken into sections dealing with each of these. At times she is a little frustrating and her choices illicit a sigh, but you go with them because they are totally understandable. Fortunately she is not left alone to deal with the afterlife. Patrick is a character full of cheeky charm, even while he keeps his own secret carefully guarded.

This is a well balanced book as it deals with some much more serious issues under the surface of death and revenge. These ideas of consequences, perspective and the deftly and lightly touched upon topic of sexuality, are woven into an entertaining, funny and touching read. If you are looking for something a little different with touches of revenge and romance, then definitely give this a look.

Publisher: Puffin Books

Published: 02 February 2012

Format: Paperback 400 pages

Categories: Life, Death, Revenge, Romance

ISBN 13: 9780141334479

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

The Fault In Our Stars

I received a copy of this from the publisher.By: John Green

Hazel Grace Lancaster is 16 and has terminal cancer. To be sure she has received a cancer miracle that has prolonged her life but not taken away the cancer’s terminal nature. She hasn’t been to normal school in three years and her mother insists she gets some outside interaction by going to a Cancer Support Group It is at group one day that she meets Augustus Waters slips into her life. Gus is a friend of the only person she really gets along with at group, Isaac. Augustus intrigues her, like Hazel intrigues him. Hazel is drawn to his intelligence, humour and his good looks don’t hurt. They share with each other their favourite books and things go on from there.

Augustus makes it possible for Hazel to meet the author she most admires and together they share a wonderful romance from America to Holland and back again. The life of a cancer kid is filled with cancer perks and hard truths that both Hazel and Augustus are very aware of.

This book has been one of the most awaited YA books I’ve seen in my time as a specialist bookseller. John Green, without question, has a certain appeal, but now is not the time to talk about his social media prowess, now is for the book.

The story of Hazel and Augustus is one of tragic wonder. As individuals they are amazing and complex characters, whose reading history leaves mine for dust (that is to say their reading is a little more highbrow than mine was at that age). They are smart, articulate and fun, with no false expectations but still hopes, for their futures. They experience glorious moments of joy in amongst those of bleakness and never stop being themselves.

The Fault In Our Stars is a funny, powerful and heartbreaking work on those grand topics of life, love and death. You laugh along with, whilst feeling the frustration of, these incredible characters Green has put before us. Augustus and Hazel are the sort of characters who stay with you for a while after putting the book down, they are fun, sad and irreverent.

Other people can probably wax more lyrically than me about the wonders and depths of this book so I will keep my thoughts simple: it is a masterful piece of writing with characters and story deftly woven to draw you in and pull you along. I did lol and I did cry and it mattered not to me who noticed.

Highly recommended.

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Published: 11 January 2012

Format: Paperback 336 pages

Categories: Fiction, Friendship, Romance, Illness, Death

ISBN 13: 9780143567592

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat

By: Anna Branford

Illustrated: Sarah Davis

Violet Mackerel is the sort of girl who likes to help. She really likes to help small things, it is a new theory she is working on. She wants to help her sister with her science project but her sister doesn’t want her help, she says Violet is too young.

So Violet decides to work on her new theory and help a tiny ladybird she has named Small Gloria. Sometimes though helping isn’t easy. When things don’t work the way she wanted Violet gets help from her sister and learns all about natural habitats. With all this going on she manages to help her sister with her project and help something small.

Violet Mackerel is, quite simply, a charming character. She is wonderfully spirited, thinks of others and is inquisitive. It is always nice to see a character willing to learn, particularly in books for this age, it is behaviour that isn’t necessarily modeled all that often. This story is, well to use the word again, charming. The family dynamic is modern, broken and real, this makes it easier for readers to relate.

I think these books are great and love sharing them with my girls. It is always a pleasure to find a writer or a story I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

Publisher: Walker Books Australia

Published: 01 November 2011

Format: Hardback 112 pages

Categories: Family, Science

ISBN 13: 9781921529191

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

The Future of Us – Book Trailer

What if you could see what your life would be like 15 years in the future? Is that something you’d really want, or would it suck?

Well this is the premise of the new book The Future of Us by New York Times bestselling author of TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY Jay Asher & award-winning author Carolyn Mackler.

View the trailer for a little taste.

Book Club November 2011 – Amy & Roger

Book : Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

By: Morgan Matson

Genre: Fiction, Real Life


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.

My Initial Thoughts

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.

Did I Like It

Yes. I don’t read a lot of general fiction, I have found people often read genre or general and I am more a genre type. In fact I think I always have been, so it may be a case of genre nurture. That said I like discovering new authors and stories that interest me.

This story is one I think quite a few people can identify with. I know I can. I was quite a bit older when I did my version of a road trip, for me it was overseas travel. Though with Australia being so big it would be very possible to do a road trip, the main difference is that we have so much open space.

I think one of the core topics in this book is identity, discovering something that is at the heart of you. For Amy it was getting to say and do some of the things she didn’t think she could, and overcoming her fear. For Roger it was facing a certain person and accepting the truth of what they were like. Both characters had to learn to let go of the past and be willing to face the future and find the good in it. This is a lesson we all need to remember at times.

So if anyone has read this book let me know what you thought about it.

Little Cat and the Big Red Bus

By: Jane Godwin and Anna Walker

Little Cat catches the bus home from school everyday with her big sister. It is always the same, the bus goes and stops and eventually her sister tells her it’s time to get off. Cat is the smallest person on the bus so doesn’t get to sit in the special seat up front or with the big kids her sister sits with. Then one day her sister is sick and Little Cat has to catch the bus on her own.

A charming little slice of life story. Cat’s story is simply told, yet full of detail and easily relatable. The illustrations are simple and inspire whimsy, it manages to take you back to a simpler time.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 31 May 2010

Format: Paperback 32 pages

Categories: General

ISBN 13: 9780143504122 

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

Shine On Daizy Star

By: Cathy Cassidy

It’s a new school year and there’s a new teacher taking her class. All Daizy Star wants is to do that thing, whatever it is, that will make her the ‘Star of the Week’. Things though aren’t really going Daizy’s way. Her friends are getting interested in boys and her Dad has announced that he’s quit his job so he can build a boat and sail around the world with his family. This turns her world upside down, she can’t swim and she can’t even tell her best friends about it. Soon things become a mess of secrets and lies. What is she going to do? And will she ever come up with something good enough to make her ‘Star of the Week’?

This is a lighthearted look at life in the year six. I laughed and cringed with Daizy and thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 04 June 2009

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: General

ISBN 13: 9780141325194

Purchase here

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