OMG. I have just finished reading one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, full of heart and feeling, strength and healing.
The gorgeous ‘Roses Are Blue’ is by the fabulous Sally Murphy, and illustrated by Gabriel Evans, so it’s West Aussie through and through.
It’s written in verse, adding to the poignancy of everything that MC Amber relates. Amber is filled with so many emotions kids (anyone) (me included) can relate to – wanting to fit in, fearing being different, wishing for the impossible and not liking herself much sometimes for wishing that. Amber is a lovely narrator, the story is beautiful. Continue reading
If you, like me, have a voracious young reader who loves learning, then you probably also love it when you find a series you can trust to entertain your child and feed their love of knowledge. Educational books don’t need to be non-fiction, sometimes when the facts are hidden by the fun children learn even more!
Here are three of my favourite Junior Fiction series for making those synapses spark…
- The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno and Alberta
- Juliet Nearly a Vet
- Sage Cookson Continue reading
If you’re looking for spooky and surprising and generous and sweet, then I solemnly swear you should pick up ‘Yellow’ by Megan Jacobson.
Because it’s all of these things.
Dead dude on the end of a phone. Suspense and suspects and twists. And a seriously awesome friendship. A girl who learns how to be happy. And CBCA Shortlisted too, judging by the sticker on my library edition 🙂
I think the book works so well because of how much is happening in it, everything intertwined. (Beware the occasional weeny eeny spoiler as you read on…) I work on the belief that every book needs a central idea that is DROP-DEAD GREAT.
And then, like, three more FAB ideas added to it in order to make it IMMENSELY AWESOME.
Publishable. Continue reading
I’ve been writing and editing these last few months, but now I’ve freed up some time to cover some of the awesome reads I’ve enjoyed recently.
Let’s start with ‘A Semi-definitive List of Worst Nightmares’ by Krystal Sutherland, which has such a fab cover and takes out my personal award for one of the best titles EVER, as well as picking up a CBCA Notables sticker.
This is clever writing, FUNNY writing – I absolutely devour books with humour! I love laughing to myself in the middle of the night. I love finishing a book and feeling empowered and happy and like I want to read the whole thing again.
My last library visit I had an aim – grab three CBCA Notables YA books.
And then read them. (Of course.)
At home, I mean. Not the library. (Of course.)
Not only did I manage that with flying colours, I also managed to find a Scribblers Fest feather in one! Not the gold… but still… I felt like I’d just opened a Wonka bar and found a golden ticket!
Here is my quick take on the three books. Beware spoilers, people…
Suspense. What went wrong? How did they get there? Will they survive?
I loved the structure of this book, very cleverly interweaving now and then to ensure we only discover what we need to, when we need to. And then, when we think we know what the bad thing is that she saw, that’s when the real bad thing that she doesn’t want to remember comes out.
I really loved the Australian setting. The heat, the fire, then the rain. Some readers, unfamiliar with an Aussie summer, might think Hayes went over the top with the changeable weather. But I could smell the heat and feel the brooding clouds of a summer thunderstorm. Super.
What’s more awesome than your kid not wanting to go to sleep because they’re reading a great book?
Having them wake up the next morning and keep reading! And almost be late for school because they love the book so much! And then talk about it all the way to school!
‘Olivia’s Secret Scribbles: My New Best Friend’ by Meredith Costain and Danielle McDonald is the first “big kid” book my daughter read by herself, cover to cover. In less than 24 hours, too.
That’s not reading, people, that’s devouring.
So, what was so inviting in this book?
- Easy to read font with lots of enticing illustrations
- A couple of mysteries to solve
- Some hidden lessons
I didn’t hear the characteristic rattle of the loose roof iron above the kitchen, heralding a change in the wind. Hot easterly turning to a south-westerly that on a normal day would promise a drop in temperature. My brain didn’t register the growing smell of smoke, creeping up like an intruder.
The shrill clamour of the smoke alarm finally halted my study halfway through working out the molar weight of an unknown substance in question 34a. Fear buzzed as chemistry fled my brain. I made it halfway to silence the alarm before the power went out, plunging me into a dark that was simply too dark for the time of day it was. Continue reading
This was an unexpectedly extra-super-dooperly beautiful book. ‘The Stars at Oktober Bend‘ by Glenda Millard had been recommended to me, so I was prepared to thoroughly enjoy reading it.
I was even prepared to cry. Quite a lot.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the depth, the intensity of the characters, and the extent to which this book covers new and interesting perspectives.
I read the blurb and expected a love story with extras. It’s way more than that. The back calls it:
A beautiful, heartfelt novel about transcending past troubles and learning to live with trust and hope.
And it absolutely is. Like the ocean is water, or chocolate is yum.
3 things that were super-dooper
- Diverse backgrounds and issues
- Great use of POV
- Poetry you really do want to leave around the place so people read it.
The Embassy Row series seemed to be popping out at me from everywhere, and I was intrigued. So when Book 1 showed up at my library, I grabbed it.
‘All Fall Down’ by Ally Carter was an unexpected surprise for me. I had very little idea what the series was about, and what I did know had me thinking it was going to be something a bit Selection-y (perhaps because of the cover of Book 3). It’s not.
It’s got more grit and less glamour, with an ace setting and many twists and turns that will have you wishing you’d trailed string behind you in those dark underground tunnels so you could crawl out to safety.
And check out the cover. I love the fractured font above the soft image.
It is a bridging YA text, you could be confident giving it to middle-grade readers who are looking for something more, as well as more seasoned YA readers. The book combines adventure and mystery with the gaining, and losing, of friendships. As well as some harder issues around mental illness and grief.
So, what worked?
- The inspired setting
- The plot twists
- The supporting cast
I’m always on the look out for cute chapter books to read with my daughter, especially a series. I mean, what’s the one thing better than finding a fun book?
Finding out it’s only the first of many!
‘Ivy + Bean’ by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, just calls out to be read and enjoyed. Look at the cover! So cute! And the size is nice and wee, making it supremely approachable for kids starting out on chapter books.
I really enjoyed this story of two girls, who know they aren’t going to be friends until the day they each realise the other is more fun than they’d thought. As a mum it made me giggle to see how the more their mums told them to play with each other, the more they didn’t want to. Continue reading