Tuesday, 21 December 2010

More More Fav Reads 2010.

Courtney from our Cranbourne Library (and a regular Quicksand Blogger) has a few favourites.

The Piper’s Son- Melina Marchetta. Thomas Mckee’s life is broken but with friends and family who refuse to let him fall Tom will start putting the pieces of his life back together.

Girl saves Boy- Steph Bowe. Sacha Thomas has a terminal disease while Jewel Valentine has been slowly dying since her brothers death 10 years ago. How can they save each other?

Mercy- Rebecca Lim. Destined to fall…in and out of people’s lives, forever searching for answers, for her destiny and for him…Mercy must seek the truth if she is ever to be free again.

Halo- Alexandra Adornetto. Dark forces are rising! Three Angels are sent to earth to bring peace. But falling in love with a mortal wasn’t part of the plan.

Deb from CCLC HQ recommends 2 old favourites that she listened to this year on audiobook.

The Gathering by Isobelle Carmody YA Read by Peter Hardy. These YA books are proving to be unexpected delights! A gripping tale of teenage friends in a school library attic fighting evil in the town. Perfectly read and an absolute treat.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, read by Peter Coyote. 13 year-old Brian is lost and alone in the Minnesota woods after a light plane crash. The story of his survival is awe-inspiring while listening to the dulcet tones of Coyote is a joy. A simply beautiful novel. The second novel, Brian’s Winter (read by Richard Thomas) starts off with “in the first book, Brian is rescued. But what would’ve happened if he hadn’t?” So this is an alternative ending. FANtastic! And in the final book, Brian’s Return, once again read by Peter Coyote, Brian returns to the woods. This series is lyrical and gentle mixed with adventure and some quite gripping encounters. Coyote does a brilliant job, his native American voice so mellifluous. Beautifully written and highly enjoyable.

Deb, Peter and Cen from HQ all thought the Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman was "pretty good". What a uniquely wonderful story; it is beautifully written with an absorbing storyline. The characters are engaging, carrying the ‘reader’ through a gamut of emotions from spine-tingling fear and anger, to laughter and of course, to tears. It deserves every accolade it has garnered. I feel hard-copy readers may be a little short-changed by missing out on this great audio version, but to not read it at all would be a very *grave* omission.

Laura from Hampton Park Library has been reading the John Flanagan series called Rangers Apprentice. I'm reading book 10 called "The Emperor of Nihon-Ja." I'm enjoying it and although I haven't finished it yet I can't put it down either. I love how the characters relate and interact with each other. The storyline is great and you can't help but be swept away on the adventure the book takes you.

More Fav Reads 2010

Ok so here are some more favourite books read by staff in 2010. Enjoy!

Lisa from Cranbourne Library - My fav YA read for the year would have to be ‘The Ghost’s Child’ by Sonya Harnett. “This is a profoundly sad yet joyful story of life and love and the importance of doing both - living and loving - to the best of your ability.”

Shannon from Cranbourne Library - my favourite grahic novel from this year was "100% Perfect Girl" Author: Wann. It seems to begin with a typical cinderella romance, which I don't normally like, but I was hooked by the surprising plot twists, drama and action that unfolded, and it has beautiful artwork.

Josie at Endeavour Hills Library - The Host by Stephenie Meyer - no vampires, but a great read (especially if you don't read the blurb first). Provokes thoughts about sharing space.

Monique at Narre Warren Library enjoyed Marked by P.C Cast and Kristin Cast. In a similar vein to Twilight, Zoey Redbird is marked and destined to become a powerful vampyre goddess, however some hurdles lie in her way at her new school “House of Night” and Zoey must trust her instincts to keep her and her friends alive.  Excellently read on a Bolinda eAudiobook by Edwina Wren.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Staff Favourites for 2010

Hi Everyone,

I recently asked our Library Staff to name their favourite reads from the Young Adult Collection. Here are some of their fav reads in 2010.

Naomi from our Pakenham Library enjoyed the Gallagher Girls series. Only The Good Spy Young - number 4 in the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter; It's best to read the series in order, but I thought this latest one was the best.

Naomi also recommends The Hunger Games series. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - the lastest book 'Mockingjay' came out this year. The whole series is really good!

Catherine enjoyed Grafitti Moon by Cath Crowley. A long night of expectations and adventures unfolds in this story of teenagers finding their path and a little romance, too.

Casey at Cranbourne Library loved Looking for Alaska by John Green. Definitely the best book i've ever read!

I'll include some more Fav reads of 2010 over the next few posts this week.

Friday, 17 December 2010


Exiled from heaven,
A lost soul seeks her soulmate…

‘There's something very wrong with me. I can't remember who I am or how old I am, or even how I got here. All I know is that when I wake up, I could be any one. It is always this way. There's nothing I can keep with me that will stay. It's made me adaptable. I must always re-establish ties. I must tread carefully or give myself away. I must survive.’

Mercy doesn’t know who she is, what is she or what she’s done to deserve the purgatory of shifting in and out of other people’s lives. All she does know is that she longs to be reunited with Luc, her beloved. But that is not to happen just yet as Mercy wakes up to discover her latest host to be ‘Carmen Zappacosta’, a somewhat shy sorparno singer on her way to Paradise for an inter-school concert. It’s in paradise that Mercy meets Ryan a delinquent boy on a quest to find his twin sister Lauren, who was kidnapped two years. Through gifts she can’t comprehend Mercy sets about to track down Ryan’s sister while also trying to keep Carmen’s life on track.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is just another paranormal romance, because while Lim adds those elements there is so much more to this story than meets the eye. In ‘Mercy’ is Lim focuses more of the mystery of Lauren and Mercy and less on the unattainable lost love of Luc, it’s what separates this novel from other paranormal fiction and makes it an engaging read. ‘Mercy’ is intelligently written, with well rounded characters and a suspenseful, fast paced plot. The mixture of angels, mystery and romance will leave any reader mesmerised and wanting more (of which there will be two more released in 2011)

Courtney :)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

If you enjoyed 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist' by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, you'll love their latest book, 'Dash and Lily's Book of Dares.'
Rachel and David have teamed up again with another dual character novel written from two different perspectives. One chapter per person.
The two main characters in the novel are Dash and Lily. They both live in New York.
Facts about Lily: She loves Christmas. In fact, she tried to set up a neighbourhood Christmas singing group, which unfortunately disbanded after two nights with the members moving on to sing Irish drinking songs at a pub instead.
Facts about Dash: He hates Christmas. He wants to find someone to be 'the piece of paper to his stapler' or, maybe he could be the piece of paper. (You'll have to read the book to understand this).
Lily leaves a notebook on the shelf of a New York bookstore, with a message inside. Dash finds the notebook and takes the bait. He decides to play the game that Lily has set up.
So, without having met, Lily and Dash begin to exchange cryptic notes and challenges.
This is such an enjoyable book. Great Christmas reading!
Reserve your copy now.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Tomorrow When the War Began

Tomorrow When the War Began - movie review

In Tomorrow When the War Began, a group of different high school teenagers set out for 'Hell'. However, when they get back they find their homes and the town deserted. They have been invaded by another country. They band together to fight against the invaders.
Although I had never read the series on which this movie is based, I thought that the movie had a fast pace although there were bits throughout the movie that you just wanted to say "Get on with it!" it kept me interested for most of the 143 minute duration.
One of the main reasons for going to see it is that this is an Aussie action blockbuster featuring an aussie cast and it doesn't disappoint.
There was a bit of humor in the movie to lighten the mood a little. One thing that I found frustrating was the character dialogue, it was really boring and flat.
Overall, a pretty good film that I will definitely buy when it comes out on dvd.

Age: 16

Thursday, 25 November 2010

90 Packets of Instant Noodles

'90 Packets of Instant Noodles' is a gritty teenage novel written by Deb Fitzpatrick.
Joel has little to eat but instant noodles, for 90 days, in a remote shack in Western Australia. This is his punishment and his father's idea of 'family justice' after Joel steps over the line. No phone, no music, no distractions. Meanwhile, his mate, Craggs, who is also his partner in crime, is languishing in a juvenile detention centre. But, as time passes, one of the teenagers begins to change, whilst the other becomes more hardened to a life of crime. At the end of his sentence, Craggs arrives on Joel's doorstep, and all hell breaks loose.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Doctor Who: Series 5 Now Available!!

Writer and producer, Steven Moffat, (co-creator of 'Sherlock' tv series 2010) has taken a hold of the reins with the new Doctor Who series and doesn't disappoint!

Doctor Who: Series 5 sees the introduction of the eleventh doctor, played superbly by Matt Smith (In Bruges, The Shadow in the North, The Ruby in the Smoke), who is joined by Amy Pond, a fiery red-headed Scottish, played by Karen Gillan. This series revolves the elusive crack in the wall that signifies a crack in the universe where "two points in space and time should never have met".

And you don't have to be a long standing fan of Doctor Who to enjoy Series 5 of the latest Doctor Who. Below is the trailer for Series 5. But for David Tennant fans sceptical of the new doctor, I'd strongly recommend giving Smith a go as he certainly proves his worth, particularly at the end of the series which is a spectacular masterpiece that will have you craving for more. Believe me, it is epic!!

This series had me hooked from the very first episode, following the Doctor's cry of "You're scottish! Fry something!" to a young Amy Pond. While the first few minutes begins with the Doctor's new, strange and almost insatiable appetite we also discover the alien crack in the universe in Amy's bedroom wall. It is here that the adventure begins and unfolds into a fantastic sci-fi joyride that keeps you wondering and guessing.

For those of you who have seen it, I'd like to know what you thought about it - without spoiling anything for those yet to see it!

- Rafah

Monday, 22 November 2010

Girl saves Boy

Life is Simple,
It’s just not easy

The first time I met Jewel Valentine, she saved my life!

They say when you save a life that life is yours to protect. Such is the case for Jewel Valentine when, on her first night home afters ten years away, she saves Sacha Thomas from drowning. And there starts the story of how one girl saved a boy’s life and changed both their lives.
Jewel Valentine is an introverted loner, possible ‘head case’, who was exiled from her home at the age of 8 after her brother’s drowning and her father’s explosive departure. Returning only after the death of both her grandparents, Jewel is forced back to the mother who abandoned her and moved on with her life.
Sacha Thomas has a whole world of problems on his plate. His leukaemia is back, after years in remission, his mother is dead and his father has fallen in love with his Art teacher (twist). Life throws Sacha another curve ball in the form of Jewel Valentine who he meets the night she pulls him out the lake. Now that Girl has saved Boy, life is given new meaning to both of them. It’s heartbreaking, funny (lobster liberation takes place) and genuinely moving. More than just a love story Bowe, as a sixteen year old herself, delves into the realities of a typical teenage aussie with extraordinary circumstances. It’s about, life, love, family and just what we should do with it while we have it.
Girl saves Boy is one book not to be left on the shelve.

Courtney :)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Archie Thompson visits Hallam

Casey Cardinia Library Corporation was pleased to host Archie Thompson for a series of talks at Hallam Senior Secondary College on Tuesday 16 November 2010. Archie Thompson, ten-year veteran of the Socceroos and marquee player for the A-League's power club, Melbourne Victory, has just released his inspirational book What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger.

In the afternoon session Archie spoke to 120 enthusiastic students from Hallam Senior Secondary College and Fountain Gate Secondary College. Opening to chants of ARCHIE! ARCHIE! ARCHIE! Archie shared everything from playing Football (Soccer) as a child and the pressure to achieve, the importance of discipline and training, and his battle to overcome a major injury and return to playing after 9 months of rehab. Archie provided a rare insight into the life and career of an elite sportsperson and his journey to the A League . Archie spent time talking to the students, signing copies of his book and having photos taken. Students from Hallam Senior Secondary Colleges Soccer Academy were inspired and encouraged by a great of the game.

In an evening session Archie spoke to families, many clad in Melbourne Victory jersey’s, and answered questions from children and their parents about his career, his family and playing for both local, National and international Clubs. He shared anecdotes of his Victory and Socceroos teammates and his role as a mentor to younger players in the game. Archie gave his time for photos, signings and talking to his fans.

Thanks to Melbourne University Publishers – Victory Books for providing Archie to the Casey Cardinia Library Corporation as part of his Book promotion, and Collins Booksellers who sold books at the event.

Here's some great photos of the night.

Archie with young fans Micah, Jack and Adam

Archie and Martin, a student at Hallam Senior Secondary College’s Soccer Academy

Archie with Library staff

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Archie Thompson

Archie Thompson, ten-year veteran of the Socceroos and marquee player for the A-League's power club, Melbourne Victory, has just released his inspirational book What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Archie shares everything from the importance of discipline and loyalty, how to build confidence, where to find guidance on the road to the top, the love of the game and explains how the drive to become the best is found within.

Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation is proud to host this stellar player in a special event where you can listen to Archie speak, buy his new book and get it personally signed.

This event is FREE but bookings are essential!

Tuesday 16 November 7pm
Hallam Theatre - Hallam Senior College.
Frawley Road, Hallam, Vic 3803

For Bookings go to http://archiethompson.eventbrite.com/

Friday, 5 November 2010


'The Beginner's Guide to Living' is Lia Hill's debut novel. Seventeen year old Will has just lost his mother, and the story begins with Will inspecting her corpse. Then, we move on to the funeral - where he meets great Auntie Joy and Aunty Faith for the first time. He later has a strange dream where the Aunts both stand around a cauldron wearing black tee shirts with 'Joy' and 'Faith' written on them.

Will feels isolated from his father and brother. Exams are looming, too. Then he meets Taryn, who he finds himself attracted to. Will this complicate his life further?

Will discovers of an old camera which belonged to his mother. The camera becomes a means of documenting his experiences and making some sense of his life.

A smart novel about loss, friendship and moving on.


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Arrival

A Picture is worth a thousand words…
The Arrival by Australian artist Shaun Tan is a beautifully illustrated, wordless story that depicts the experience of an immigrant. The story begins with a man leaving his wife and child behind, hoping that his destination promises a better life for them. Carrying just a suitcase and a handful of money, he eventually finds himself in a puzzling city of unfamiliar customs, strange animals, and behind a barrier of unintelligible language. It is here that the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and employment, so he might send for the rest of his family. He is helped along the way by strangers, each with their own stories of struggle and survival.
Each time you see Shaun Tan’s work, the more detail emerges from the illustrations. He has created weird and wonderful cities, amazing creatures, and intricate and beautiful images which literally speak a thousand words...

Rachel @ DOV

Wii @ Hampton Park

The Wii has arrived @ Hampton Park! With a range of games you can have a round of golf or a game of Tennis(see below0 with ‘Wii sports’. Test you twilight knowledge in ‘Twilight-scene it’ or go to the Carnival and play some games (Carnival Games). Otherwise you can go classic and delve into the world of Super Mario Bros with Mario and Lugi. Games can be booked for an hour a day and depending on the game you choose you have up to four players at once (each player must have their own card to book on). So come on in, choose a game and have some fun.

Courtney :)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

HALO: It's Heaven vs Hell

“She had the face of an angel
I saw mirrors in her eyes
We were one and the same, she I
Both bound by potent lies.”

Venus Cove is a place where things are happening…bad things and Bethany, with her ‘brother and sister’, have been sent to stop it. Bethany is an Angel on a mission to restore goodwill to the people of Venus Cove. Bethany’s domain is the high school where she tries her best to fit in and despite her clear naiveté about all things ‘teenage’ she soon makes friends with the vibrant Molly and the perfect school captain Xavier has caught her eye, and vice versa. Before long Bethany is caught up in a chaste relationship with Xavier, to whom she reveals her identity, while also fending off the temptation that is Jake Thorn…possible demon. All the while the bad things continue to wreak havoc on the lives of Venus Cove, with Bethany feeling helpless to stop it. But soon enough heaven and hell will meet and the battle will begin.
Any paranormal romance lovers will delight in this novel. Adornetto has a way with words drawing you into a vividly real world you won’t want to leave. It’s Twilight with Angels. Halo is one to defiantly put on you ‘Must Read’ list.

Courtney :)

Monday, 18 October 2010


'Dare you' is the latest teenage novel by Victorian writer, Sue Lawson.

Khaden, Sas and Ruby have been best friends for years. They are known, sneeringly, as 'The Three Musketeers' by their arch enemy, Lyndal.

But, as they grow older, their feelings for each other begin to alter. Childish pranks and dares bring to the surface resentments and rivalry.

And, close as they are, they all have major secrets which they hide from one another.


Friday, 15 October 2010

Inky Awards 2010

You may not be old enough to vote, but here' s your chance to let your voice be heard, to vote for your favourite book in the 2o10 Inky Awards.

"The Inkys are international awards for teenage literature, voted for online by the readers of insideadog.com.au. There are three awards: the Golden Inky for an Australian book, the Silver Inky for an international book, and the Creative Reading Prize, won by a young person for a creative response to a book they love, in any format they choose." (Inside a dog)

Twenty of the best teen titles this past year have been shortlisted for your consideration. You can vote and be in the running to win a prizepack of all twenty titles and you can be in the running to win an iPad by entering the Inky's Creative Reading Prize 2010.

Your vote could make the difference and you creative responses are sought, so take a few minutes and check out all the details at the 2010 Inky Award website.


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Thirteen days to midnight

“You are indestructible”.

Having a superpower sounds great in theory; but as Jacob Fielding finds out in “Thirteen Days to Midnight” by Patrick Carman, it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

When Jacob walks away, without a scratch, from the car accident that killed his foster father, he just considers himself lucky. At that stage Jacob didn’t realise that the final words his foster father spoke before dying passed the power of invincibility on to him.

After writing those same words onto the cast on the new girls broken arm, Jacob realises that something has changed. He has passed on the power to her. After some experimenting, Jacob and his two friends realise that the power can be easily transferred between Jacob and others; but just because something can be done; does that mean it should be done????

Jacob finds himself torn with guilt, trying to determine who he should save with his power. He can’t save everyone, and each failure just adds to his guilt. But with each transfer of the power, something is changing. If you stop a death from happening; where does that death go? Will it catch up later; and who will it catch up to?


Monday, 11 October 2010

Strange Angels

"Dad? Zombie.
Mum? Long gone.
Me? Well, that’s the scary part."

Dru Anderson is ‘Strange’, she exists in two separate worlds. The first is your very own: Dru gets up, goes to school, comes homes and lives the life most young girls do. Or so it might appear. The second world is what Dru refers to as the ‘Real world’ where the things that go bump in the night really do bump you in the night. For as long as she can remember Dru has hunted these creatures with her father. But now the tables have turned, Dad’s gone and the Real world is coming for her….but don’t worry Dru won’t go down without a fight, Dru’s about to discover the truth about the ‘real world’ and herself.
Strange Angels is a spellbinding fast paced novel that will hook you from beginning to end. Taking a different approach to the vampire/werewolf genre, this time the vampires are Nosferatut, the Werewolf’s are Wulfren and Dreamstealers, Djamphir’s and Svetocha’s are also added to the mix. Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy series) calls it ‘dark, dangerous and sexy! Dru is a new kind of heroine whose story you won’t be able to put down.’ And once you make it to the end of Strange Angels, Betrayals and Jealously follow up the series in spectacular fashion.
The series is a must read.

Courtney :)

Friday, 1 October 2010

What is the real price of beauty?

Scott Westerfeld’s novel Uglies explores this dilemma in a futuristic setting with a disturbing commentary on our current notion of beauty and lifestyle. In a polarized, post-apocalyptic world, Tally Youngblood is about to turn 16 and be transformed from an Ugly, via compulsory cosmetic surgery, into a Pretty. People are conditioned from birth that they are ugly, as such, they long for the operation that will allow them to move across the river into the luxurious mansions in New Pretty Town, where life is one long party and everyone is captivatingly gorgeous.

It's a shock to Tally to then find that her friend Shay doesn't want to be pretty, and doesn't think she's ugly now. Shay runs away to the secretive city know as The Smoke where her friend David awaits, leaving Tally a set of cryptic directions in case she decides to follow. Tally can’t wait to be a Pretty and declines. The government then connects Tally to the Smokies and blackmails her into finding Shay - if she doesn't, she will stay Ugly forever…

Reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the government controls the population and the book shows the protagonist’s struggle with it. I really enjoyed Uglies - there are three more in the series (Pretties, Specials and Extras) plus a movie in production, rumored to be released sometime next year (2011).

Rachel @ Doveton Library

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


'Graffiti Moon' is Cath Crowley's latest teenage novel.

The action centres around Lucy. Lucy is searching for a person she has not yet met but believes is her soul-mate - an anonymous graffiti artist called 'the Shadow.'

However, beside her in real life, is Ed. Lucy and Ed share an unfortunate past where their first date turned to disaster after Ed touched Lucy on the backside, and she, in turn, punched him on the nose.

Unbeknown to Lucy, but known to the reader, Ed is, in fact, the 'Shadow.'

When Lucy suggests an evening searching for Shadow, Ed says to his friend Leo 'We're not spending the night looking for ourselves. It's a complete waste of time.'

'No, it's fun,' says Leo.

Read this enjoyable, often hilarious novel to find out what happens next.


Wednesday, 22 September 2010


Michael Grant and his wife, Katherine Applegate, have been writing for young adults for roughly two decades. Their story ideas have always been consistently clever and original. However, their strongest point by far is the ability to create a diverse range of characters who stay believable no matter how insane and unbelievable the world around them becomes. This allows the reader to easily slip into the shoes of any given character and become more engrossed by the simple question, "what if it was me?"

In the case of Michael Grant's Gone, a mysterious impenetrable barrier surrounds a small coastal town in the US, and anybody over the age of 15 simply vanishes into thin air. A heavy burden of responsibility falls on the oldest kids to try and impose some order over the chaos that follows while they try to understand how this could have happened. Meanwhile, some of the kids are developing weird powers, and a war is brewing between the local kids and the students of a nearby academy for the wealthy and troubled.
Still, the biggest question for Sam Temple is, what will happen to him when his fifteenth birthday arrives?

Described by some as Lord of the Flies meets The X-Men, this book is very difficult to put down as the tension continues to rise and just enough of your questions are answered to keep you guessing and telling yourself, "one more chapter then I go to sleep." Although, who knows? Maybe you'd have a stronger sense of willpower than I do.

Stephen King loved it, I loved it, what more do you want? Go read this!


Wednesday, 8 September 2010


'What now, Tilda B? 'is the latest novel by Australian author, Kathryn Lomer. The setting for this novel is Dover, Tasmania, and we gain a wonderful feel for the beach, the sea, the wind and the sand!
Fifteen year old Tilda is at a crossroads in her life. She is yet to make decisions about her future, and instead spends time wagging school with her surfer boyfriend.
Then, one day, Tilda makes a discovery whilst walking along the beach. A female elephant seal has landed on the shore. Within hours, the seal gives birth.
People descend on the beach and the rural coastal town becomes a site of conflict as environmentalists and more conservative members of the community clash.
Tilda meets a whole new range of people and her eyes are opened to a world beyond her experience.
'What now, Tilda B?' is based on a true event.
Tilda is a likeable teenager and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


'This is Shyness' is the debut novel of Melbourne author, Leanne Hall.
It is a very confident and assured book that I found hard to put down.
'Shyness' is the name of a suburb. But, it is no ordinary suburb - it is in fact a place where the sun does not shine. As such, Shyness has its own rules and peculiarities. Take, for instance, the gangs of kids who roam the street, getting high on sugar and robbing anyone who crosses their path. Or the alluring but slightly dangerous nightclub scene, operating 24 hours a day. Or night.
Thrown into this world are 'Wolfboy' and 'Wildgirl'; teenagers who each have a past they wish to forget.
They spend an eventful night together, going from nightclub to nightclub, confronted by 'kids' and tarsiers (menacing monkeys who attack people), and both deciding the more time they spend together, the more they like each other....


Monday, 23 August 2010

Tomorrow When the War Began

'Tomorrow when the war began' has sold millions of copies and now it is coming to the big screen. That's right after years of waiting Marsden has finally sold the movie rights and we'll get to see one the the best ever Australian novels come to life.
Those involved in the project include Stuart Beatie as the director, Caitlin Stasey of Neighbours fame as Ellie, Lincoln Lewis from Home and Away as Kevin and Phoebie Tonkin from H2O as Fi. I have to say I'm weary of the casting choices but I'm having faith in Marsden who has previously knocked back many offers to protect the intergrity of his work. So cross your fingers the film's due for release September 2nd 2010. Eagerly awaiting... :)


Monday, 9 August 2010

Beneath heaven is hell, beneath hell is FURNACE!

'Furnace' trilogy by Alexander Gordon Smith.
Imagine being framed for your best friends murder? And your punishment is being sent to a maximum security prison for boys known as Furnace.
Alex Saywer was not a good kid but he wasn't a murderer. But he never realised that death would be the least of his worries. Escape would be the only way out, but at what cost?
A gripping, gruesome story where your worst nightmares come to life.
'Lockdown' is the first in the trilogy, followed by 'Solitary' and 'Death Sentence'.
Cheers julie @ pakenham

Monday, 2 August 2010


Let's see...how can I describe Going Bovine by Libba Bray?

I could tell you it is about an underachieving teenager with mad cow disease.

I could tell you that the teenager, named Cameron, goes on an adventurous road trip, accompanied by a dwarf, to try to find 'Dr X' who is perhaps the only one who can cure him. (Minor detail: Dr X also needs to be stopped from destroying the world).

I could tell you that they encounter a garden gnome, a jazz musician and a happiness cult, to name a few, along the way.

But this does not do justice to this inventive and original novel. Cameron's voice is authentic and true. The novel contains universal truths amongst the zany and whacky plot and characters.

It is simply a great book.


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Two sisters. Two books. One release date.

Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell talk about writing and their latest books

Do you think writing is something that can be taught?
Kate: I often talk about what I call the Three Ts of Writing – Talent, Technique and Tenacity. Talent is a gift that you are born with, and manifests itself in a love of books and words and writing. Technique can be taught – and indeed, all writers go on learning their craft all of their lives. Tenacity is the determination to keep on going even when your faith in yourself is shaken to its foundations – and often it is not the most talented writers who end up making a career as a writer, but the ones who keep on trying.
Belinda: It’s the old Nature versus Nurture argument. I used to believe that good writing was a talent you were either born with or not. But I’ve come to realise that there are many skills and strategies you can learn to improve your writing. I’ve also learnt that in addition to talent, writing also requires a great deal of passion, drive and sheer hard work.

Are there any writing reference/how to books you would recommend?
Elements of Style by Strunk & White
Steering the Craft by Ursula le Guin
Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft by Jane Yolen

What is the best piece of advice you could give to young writers?
Kate: Get into a regular writing routine and then stick to it. And be brave! You need courage to write truthfully and powerfully, and you need courage to show your work to the world. Have faith in yourself and keep on dreaming.
Belinda: The best advice I can give an aspiring writer is to write, write, write. Write every day. Keep a notebook with you at all times so you can jot down ideas, descriptions, interesting names and quirky thoughts. Try to make your writing the very best you can – crisp, clear, beautiful. Write what you love. Finally read lots of books, because all fantastic writers were fantastic readers first.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then (when starting out)?
Kate: That I really could make a living as a writer! So many people told me it was impossible and I’ve proved them all wrong.
Belinda: That being a successful author requires so much more than just writing a good book – it also involves marketing, promoting, networking and performing.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block or a shortage of ideas? How do you overcome it?
Kate: I never have a shortage of ideas but then I make sure I keep my well of inspiration full – by reading widely, by listening to people’s stories, by going to the ballet or the theatre or concerts, by being always curious and aware and interested in the world. I sometimes get stuck in a story, not being sure how to move forward, but I have immense faith that the answer will come to me in time, and so I keep working on other aspects of the novel, until inspiration strikes again.
Belinda: Yes – usually when I am tired or distracted – like now after several weeks of festivals, school visits and promotional events. The only cure for me is to get stuck back into the writing, to reconnect with my story and start chipping away at the writing word by word, until it starts to flow again.

Have you always written or is it something that happened over time? When did you know for sure that you wanted to be a writer?
Kate: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I think I was born wanting to write! I wrote stories and poems from the time I first learn to hold a pencil, and have never stopped since.
Belinda: As a child I loved to write, but I also wanted to be a vet like our dad, because I loved healing animals. By the time I was an adult my decision was made for me – I could write, but I couldn’t do maths, physics and chemistry!

Is there one book you read as a child that can be directly linked to your decision to become a writer?
Kate: ‘The Story of My Life’ by Enid Blyton. This book belonged to my mother and I read it when I was a child. It describes Enid Blyton’s life as a writer, with photos of her beautiful old house ‘Green Hedges’. It had the most beautiful big garden with roses and apple trees and swans. I remember reading this book and wishing with all my heart that I could be a writer too, and live in a big old house with a big old garden and lots of animals, and write stories all day long. Belinda: As a child, the book that most fired my imagination was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I loved its enticing mixture of adventure, action and fantasy. Kate and I would dress up in silver chain mail, with swords and bows and arrows, and play Narnia. I was enraptured by the idea that it might be possible to pass through a secret door into a magical world, full of talking animals and adventure.

Kate, you’ve written adult fiction as well as young adult fiction. Which is harder and why?
Kate: I don’t think one is more difficult than the other – they’re just different. Before I begin writing a book I always know who I’m writing for – the story demands its own shape and its own audience, and so I adjust my style accordingly. A lot of it is intuitive, though during the editorial stage I do spend some time thinking about the age group the book is for, and trying to make sure it’s not too simple or too difficult.

What do you love most about writing? What do you like least?
Kate: I love every aspect of writing. I love the early stage, when I read and daydream and wonder and make notes to myself, and let the story unfold in my head. Then I love the actual writing of the story, even though it can be hard sometimes to keep on going. I love the final stage as well, the editing and rewriting and cutting and polishing. The only part if don’t really enjoy is the final proofread because by that time I’ve read every word so many times. However, I know the next step is holding my beautiful book in my hands and I LOVE that!
Belinda: I love the research into so many fascinating topics, I love getting lost in writing a story and how it almost seems to write itself and I love getting feedback from kids who love my books. The part I find difficult is juggling the demands of writing and marketing and having a family of three children, a husband, a house that won’t tidy itself, and lots of demanding pets – all into a day with only 24 hours!

Why do you write fantasy as opposed to other genres?
Kate: I don’t always write fantasy. I’ve written picture books, historical fiction, contemporary fiction and poetry. I do, however, love books that have magic and adventure and mystery in them and so most of my books have these three ingredients.
Belinda: Like Kate, I do write other things including picture books and historical fiction, however I have always loved books that are full of adventure, history and a twist of magic. Fantasy is a true escape from the humdrum reality of work and school, housework and chores. I have always loved fleeing into a world where children are empowered to change their worlds, to fight for good, to overcome evil, to be strong and brave and clever.

Belinda, Kate shared a bit about her writing process in the video link below. Could you tell us a little about your own particular process?
Belinda: Usually something will inspire an idea in my mind like a tiny seed. Over time the idea will sprout and shoot into the start of a story. This could be an evocative setting, something I’ve read or a chance conversation. Once the idea has seized my imagination, I spend three or four months researching background information, thinking, planning, jotting notes and plotting out my rough story. I usually do a synopsis which maps out the overall story, then start writing. The writing itself takes about the same amount of time, followed by another three or four months of editing, polishing and proofreading.

Do you share your work with each other during the writing process?
Kate: No, I don’t show any part of the book to anybody until I have a complete first draft, as perfect as I can make it. Then I show it to my publisher and my editors, but no-one else gets to read it until I have wrought the best book I possibly can – not even my own children!
Belinda: Kate and I tend not to read each other’s manuscripts until they are finished. We do help each other in so many other ways, whether talking through a difficult plot problem that is bothering us, helping to look after each other’s children or giving each other a stern talking-to, when we are doing too much, or getting stressed from juggling the many demands of motherhood, career, family and writing.

At what point in the process of writing your last book do you begin working on your next?
Kate: When I have completed my first draft, I send it to my publisher and they will keep it for quite a long time before sending it back with an editorial report. I usually begin working on my next novel during those months, though often I don’t do much writing – just a lot of daydreaming and reading and researching. Then, once I have finished the rewrite and sent it back to my publisher, I begin on the new novel in earnest. I’ll have to stop to do the final proofread but that doesn’t usually take very long – a few days or a week – and then I immerse myself in the new book again.
Belinda: I find ideas pop up all the time which might form the basis for a good book, so sometime I’m guilty of daydreaming about a new idea while I should be writing my current book. This new idea needs to be jotted down in my notebook, then firmly set aside until I’m ready for it! When I finish a book, I usually need a few weeks to re-organise my life, house and finances before I start on the next project, but I find the ideas in my notebook start to resurface and take over my thoughts.

Have you ever considered writing a book together?
Kate: No, I think we have enough ideas of our own. And our styles are quite different – we’d have to work really hard to keep a consistent voice throughout the book and be constantly reining our own voice back. I’d rather write my own books and then have the pleasure of reading Belinda’s!
Belinda: Kids often ask us that and we joke that we might end up throttling each other!

Could you tell us a little about your most recent books The Wildkin’s Curse and The Ruby Talisman?
Kate: The Wildkin’s Curse is a fantasy adventure for readers aged 12+, set in the same world as my earlier book The Starthorn Tree (though it can be read on its own). It tells the story of two boys and a girl, whose people have been enemies for centuries, setting out on a secret mission to rescue a girl who has the power to enchant with words. She is kept muzzled, locked away in an impossibly tall crystal tower, by a cruel king who seeks to use her powers for his own evil ends. It is filled with danger, excitement, mystery and romance.
Belinda: The Ruby Talisman is an exciting time slip adventure where my modern day heroine, Tilly, falls asleep wearing an old ruby pendant and is magically transported back in time to the glittering and opulent court of Queen Marie-Antoinette and King Louis XVI. Tilly wakes up in Versailles on July 14th, 1789, the day the peasants storm the Bastille, sparking violent uprisings against the aristocrats all over the country. Tilly sets off on a series of terrifying adventures throughout France to help her aristocratic ancestor Amelie-Mathilde escape the dangers and chaos of the French Revolution.

Check out this clip. Kate shares her writing process

Monday, 12 July 2010

Keri Arthur at Narre Warren Library

It's raining authors! Come and see popular author Keri Arthur at Narre Warren Library this Sunday the 18th July at 3pm.

Keri was shortlisted for the 2009 Australian Romance Readers Association awards in the categories of SciFi, Fantasy, and Futuristic Romance; plus Favourite Australian Romance Author. A writer of paranormal romance and urban fantasy, she is best known for her Riley Jenson series. The recently published ninth book in this series, Moon Sworn, will the final. Her other series include Nikki and Michael (4 books), Damask Circle (3), Ripple Creek (2), Spook Squad (3) and Myth and Magic (1).

Contact Narre Warren Library to book.

The following week Robin Bowles will be appearing at Cranbourne Library on 22 July from 7-8.30pm

Robin Bowles

Robin closed her PR consultancy to write her first book, Blind Justice (the alleged suicide of Jennifer Tanner. She has written a true-crime best-seller almost every year since, including definitive books on the Jaidyn Leskie murder, Justice Denied, and the disappearance and alleged murder of British tourist Peter Falconio, Dead Centre; She has also started writing fiction - The Curse of the Golden Yo Yo and The Mystery of the Missing Masterpiece. She is a national convenor of Sisters in Crime Australia.

Contact Cranbourne Library to book.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

A Girl Like Me

There is much to recommend about 'A Girl Like Me,' written by Penny Matthews.

Penny Matthews is an author who grew up in rural South Australia. Her novel is also set in rural South Australia, though more than a hundred years ago, and Penny has a strong grasp of the rural landscape, its people, and social issues of the time.

Life is seen through the eyes of Emmie, a likeable 15 year old who comes from a middle class English family. This is an era where soldiers fought in the Boer War; where black ribbons and wreaths appeared on people's front doors after the death of Queen Victoria, and where there is a distinctive delineation between farmers of English and German origin.

Emmie is growing up and questioning the social attitudes of the time. For instance, why do her brothers get a proper education when Emmie does not? Why is it that a woman's role in life is to run a household and find a husband?

Then Bertha Schippen comes to work for Emmie's family. Emmie, although bewildered by Bertha's sometimes crass and worldly behaviour, can't help liking her and the two become friends.

But there are dark undercurrents in the novel that culminate in a death and Emmie's eyes are opened to a world of love, passion, deceit and domestic abuse.

This is a hard book to put down, and some memorable incidents stayed with me long after I'd finished reading.


Thursday, 1 July 2010

Carnegie Medal 2010

The 2010 Carnegie Medal has been awarded to Neil Gaiman for The Graveyard Book.

For those who don't know the story:

"Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family. . . ."

The Carnegie Medal is the latest in a growing list of awards that Gaiman has won for The Graveyard Book. It has also been awarded the 2009 Hugo Award and the 2009 NewberyMedal, as well as being nominated for a long list of other honours.

If you haven't already caught up with what's happening in the Bod's world, place your free hold now. If you have, please let us know whether you think The Graveyard Book deserves all of its praise.


Monday, 28 June 2010

Alice Pung @ Endeavour Hills Library!

Alice Pung will be speaking at Endeavour Hills Library on Tue 6 July from 7-8pm.

Alice Pung's first novel, Unpolished Gem, won the Australian Book Industry Award's Newcomer of the Year award in 2007 and was shortlisted for many other state and national awards. Her second book, Growing up Asian in Australia, is a collection of edited stories from many well-known Asian-Aussies, including Shaun Tan, Kylie Kwong and Jenny Kee. Alice is a frequent contributor to The Monthly Magazine, The Age and The Australian newspapers. She has stories published in The Good Weekend, Meanjin and The Best Australian Stories.

Contact Endeavour Hills Library to book.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Creative writing workshop

Do you like to write?

Join Kirsty Murray who can help you on the path to finding inspiration for your story and give practical tips on writing.

For students in Years 7 - 12.

FREE! Bookings essential! Phone: 9704 7696

Friday 2 July, 2010
2.00 - 4.00pm (break for afternoon tea)

Narre Warren Library
Overland Drive, Fountain Gate

Kirsty is the author of the Children of the Wind series, and other fiction and non fiction books. Kirsty has been shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature in 2010 for her novel Vulture’s Gate.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Did you enjoy 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist', the superb dual author book written by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn?

Well, David Levithan has done it again - this time around teaming up with award winning USA author, John Green.

'Will Grayson, Will Grayson' tells the story of Tiny Cooper. Unlike his name, Tiny is not tiny at all. He is large, loud and gay. One of his best friends is Will Grayson, who is much more unobtrusive - and not gay.

Tiny comes up with the idea for a musical called 'Tiny Dancer' in which he writes, acts, directs, produces, choreographs, costume-designs, lighting-designs, set designs and attains funding for!

Meanwhile, Will Grayson has inadvertently entered a porn shop and in a bizarre coincedence has met another Will Grayson. Will suspects that his new acquaintance will get along very well with his friend, Tiny. Little does he know that Tiny is also doing some matchmaking of his own - for Will.

And the musical? You'll have to read the book to find out how the musical event transpires.

Recommended contemporary teenage fiction.


Sunday, 20 June 2010

How to Be Cool: The handbook for the ultimate hipster!

Do you know how to deflect a black hole? Prepare dinner on a car engine? Create a speaker monster? Or twirl a drumstuck? No? Well neither do I. But according to How to Be Cool by Frances Reade, knowing these things will help you become cool!

Now I'm quite comfortable in saying that I am not cool. And no, I didn't pick up this book because I was looking for a self-help book on how to be cool despite what some of my friends think. However, this book is seriously cool. It's full of random and awesome things to do and know, all explained with the aid of colourful graphic images, rather than long paragraphs of instructions.

Pick it up, cool or not, this book is an awesome source of crazy ideas and things to know.

- Rafah

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Underneath

I would like to recommend a book called 'The Underneath' by Kathi Appelt to readers. Copies of this book can be found in the junior section of libraries and bookstores, but don't let this put you off. Like many timeless classics you can read this book as a child, a teenager or an adult and still be enthralled.

Kathi is a beautiful writer and storyteller, slowly drawing you in to the story, sometimes moving back and repeating words, taking her time. It is a style that is incredibly powerful and mesmerizing.

Chapters are often short, sometimes only a page or two. But Kathi brings every word and every sentence to life.

The book begins with a small abandoned calico cat walking in an old and forgotten forest. She hears the sound of a dog singing the blues and follows the song. Even though the dog and cat are natural enemies, they team up.

The dog, however, is kept on a chain and his owner is cruel and ruthless.

Meanwhile, an old and vengeful creature has been buried in a jar deep beneath the ground.

'Sssssoooooon' she whispers 'my time will come.'

And there is the Alligator King, a hundred foot master of disguise who has lived in the marsh for centuries.

Even the trees hold their secrets and become almost human in this part-myth, part-magical world.

This book has won a heap of awards, such as National Book Award Finalist (USA), Newbury Honor Book, ALA Notable Book...and so on.

Reserve your copy now!


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