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Dork Diaries – TV Star

I received my copy from the publisher


By: Rachel Renee Russell

Nikki Maxwell is part of a band that has been offered a recording contract. Despite the problems with meeting up with Trevor Chase, a Hollywood producer Nikki finds herself thrust into stardom when she is offered her very own reality TV show. It turns out though that it isn’t anywhere near as much fun as it sounds, especially with her arch enemy MacKenzie doing everything she can to steal the spotlight and mess up Nikki’s fledgling relationship with Brandon. has Nikki bitten off more than she should have?

A continuation of the trials Nikki Maxwell, self confessed dork, goes through everyday as she tries to hide the truth of who she is from the people she attends school with. Nikki is a bit of a drama queen but it makes for fun reading. The plot follows the same pattern of the other books but that is unlikely to bother younger readers, who will be way more interested in the silly antics and quirky illustrations. Let’s face it what youngster doesn’t dream of fame and fortune and maybe the possibility of staring in a reality tv show.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books

Published: 26 March 2015

Format: Paperback 336 pages

Categories: School Stories, Humour

ISBN 13: 9781471117688

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

Holiday Heartbreak

I received my copy from the publisher.holiday-heartbreakDork Diaries bk 6

By: Rachel Renee Russell

Nikki Maxwell has been crushing on Brandon for like ever and it finally looks like things in that area may be getting interesting. He has finally asked her on an almost date. She could squee!!! all day. Then something strange happens, she starts getting weird texts from Brandon and Nikki thinks maybe he doesn’t like her after all, especially when her attempts to talk to him and find out what is going on always fail. To make matters worse the next school dance is girls choice and she really wants to invite Brandon but she’s worried he might say no. Will she get up the courage to ask him or will she spend the night at home by herself?

Nikki Maxwell is just an average kind of girl. She has to look after her sister, she has BFF’s, an enemy and the cutest guy to crush on. Life for Nikki is full of ups and downs and some times she makes the problems worse, because of this she is easy to identify with. Her best friends provide some balance to Nikki’s life. Brandon is a boy who likes the girl but sometimes just doesn’t get it. A lot like real life really. This series is really fun. A girl version of Wimpy Kid, complete with illustrations, though a little more grown up because, well girls mature a bit faster than boys, we all know that. Definitely worth a look, especially if you have a reluctant reader.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books

Published: 01 June 2013

Format: Paperback 352 pages

Categories: Humour, Fiction, Friendship

ISBN 13: 9780857079381

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

Faves of 2012

Okay it is that time of the year again where anyone and everyone puts together lists of their top picks of the past year. I am going to be no different, I will, however, not be doing a top 10. What I have put here are the ones that really stood out, but truthfully I had many wonderful reading experiences this year just about gone, and I did limit this list to those books published in 2012.

Let me start with the youngest first and believe me there were so many really cool picture books this past year but here are a few that stood out.

The Snorgh and the Sailor : Will Buckingham and Thomas Docherty


The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore : William Joyce


I Love You Little Monster : Andreae Giles and Jess Mikhail


Plant a Kiss : Amy Rosenthal and Peter H Reynolds


What Does Daddy Do? : Rachel Bright


Fiction 4 – 9 years.

Secret of the Swords : Frances Watts and Gregory Rogers


Hey Jack! series : by Sally Rippin


Billie B Brown series by Sally Rippin

9781742971414Fiction 8 – 12

Floors : Patrick Carmen


Summer’s Dream :  Cathy Cassidy


Dork Diaries series : Rachel Renee Russell

9780857071194Young Adult Fiction

Stormdancer : Jay Kristoff


The Fault in Our Stars : John Green


Team Human : Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan




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

Pop Star

An advance copy of this book was sent to me by Simon & Schuster Australia and is available in stores in June 2011

By: Rachel Renee Russell

Dork Diaries bk 3

School has it’s ups and downs but Nikki has found her place even though she still doesn’t have her much sought after iphone. Now the school is holding a talent competition and Nikki is excited about working on an act with her BFF’s Chloe and Zoey, and hopefully impressing Brandon in the process. But Mackenzie wants to win and is prepared to play dirty to do so, there is a reason she is Nikki’s arch-nemeis.

While trying to give her friends a chance to dance with the guys of their dreams and not be found out as the daughter of the school exterminator, Nikki makes a desperate decision that could cost her the scholarship. Now she has to enter the competition and hurt her friends feelings if she stands a chance at staying at school. Mackenzie is there at every turn trying to mess it all up for Nikki. Will Nikki make up with Chloe and Zoey? Will she get to stay at school? And the biggest question of all, can Nikki take on the always horribly popular Mackenzie and win?

The third book in the Dork Diaries and I have to say I still like these characters, maybe even a little more than before. I find the style a joy to read and the illustrations only enhance the story making me smile. The only thing I wish is that Nikki would start to trust her friends a little more. Having said that though, these books remain great fun and while the inner dork in me cringes at some of the situations Nikki finds herself in (both self-imposed and Mackenzie inflicted), my spirits are buoyed by her victories big and small. I really like these books and think tween readers will devour them. They are a quirky telling of the not so easy life of mone of the dorkiest kids in school, something I can certainly relate to. Bring on more Nikki Maxwell stories.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd

Published: 9th June 2011

Format: Paperback 320 pages

Categories: General

ISBN-13: 9780857071187

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

Party Time

By: Rachel Renee Russell

Dork Diaries bk 2

Nikki Maxwell is adjusting to her new school. She has two BFF’s Zoey and Chloe and a major crush on the guy in her biology class – Brandon. The crush has taken a step forward because Brandon has asked her to be his science partner – awesome news. It also looks like he wants to ask her something else but never gets to it, or Nikki does something to mess up the mood.

The next big event in the school social calendar is the Halloween dance. Nikki figures Brandon will never ask her and when her arch-nemesis, Mackenzie, announces that she is going with Brandon Nikki is guttered and agrees to help out at her sister’s ballet party. Then somehow Nikki finds herself chairperson of the Halloween dance, which will take a miracle to get back on track. Now she has to figure out how to keep her commitments, keep her friends happy and maybe just maybe have her dream of going to the party with Brandon come true.

This is the second of the Dork Diaries and I’ve got to say I’m a bit of a fan. The writing style is fun and current. The illustrations are quirky and add a nice dimension to these books. Nikki struggles like any dork does with the mire that is negotiating relationships and not just romantic ones. A funny yet sometimes cringe inducing look at the life of a not so popular girl.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd

Published: 05 August 2010

Format: Paperback 288 pages

Categories: General

ISBN 13: 9781847387424

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

Dork Diaries

By: Rachel Renee Russell

Dork Diaries bk 1

Nikki Maxwell’s dad is an exterminator and through work he got her a scholarship to Westchester Country Day Middle School. Nikki isn’t popular, in fact she is a total dork, but a new school means she might be able to change that. It is a chance to make friends with the Cute, Cool and Popular (CCP) girls. The first hurdle is to convince her mother that she needs a new iphone.

Once school starts it becomes clear that the dork isn’t so easy to get rid of. The girl with the locker next to Nikki, Mackenzie, quickly becomes her arch-nemesis, she is everything Nikki hoped to be. Things aren’t all bad though, as she finds friends in the least likely place, the library. She also has biology class with the very cute Brandon. Then there is the Avant Garde Art Competition, it’s Nikki’s chance to prove she’s good at something, but Mackenzie thinks that prize should be hers. Will Nikki find a way to fit in?

A thoroughly fun read. As a self-confessed dork it bought back some memories and some things just haven’t changed. It very much fits into the tween age category, it’s format and illustrations will bring inevitable comparisons with Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It is a formula that works (less text and fun illustrations) and it is a good way to hook in the more reluctant readers. I have to say I enjoyed my visit through Nikki’s diary.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd

Published: 04 February 2010

Format: Paperback 288 pages

Categories: General

ISBN 13: 9781847387417

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

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