Friday, 28 October 2011

The Hollow- A love like no other...

Abbey's life used to be simple...before it all
Abbey’s best friend has secrets…
Abbey’s falling for a boy who has secrets…
Secrets are about to turn Abbey’s world upside

Rumour has it Kristen killed herself; jumped off the Sleepy Hollow Bridge into the raging river below. It started out in whispers but now is discussed openly amongst congregations of people. Abbey hates it. Abbey is Kristin’s best friend. They all ask her what she knows, but she knows nothing and it has haunted her ever since. What happened to her best friend is as much a mystery to Abbey as the rest of the town of Sleepy Hollow. When Abbey meets Caspian at Kristen’s memorial she finds comfort in her new friend but what this boy hides from her will send her world spinning out of control. Just when Abbey thought she’d survive the heartache of losing Kristen she discovers the double life Kristen lived before she disappeared, which leaves Abbey to question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. Abbey will fall in love, be heartbroken and experience a whole new side to life she never imagined.

The Hollow is the debut novel for Jessica Verday and an excellent read for anyone wishing to reading a bit of romance, mystery and supernatural all rolled into one fantastic read. Jessica is a compelling storyteller with an easy flowing writing style telling a tale which may turn out to be not what one expects. The Hollow revolves around the relationship between Abbey and Caspian that is captivating but not all consuming. Sub-plots include the mystery of Caspian’s identity (Hint: he’s not a vampire or a werewolf) and the mystery surrounding Kristen’s death. By the end of the Hollow only one question is answered and a thousand more are raised. The story continues in the second instalment The Haunted before coming to an epic and dramatic conclusion in The Hidden. This trilogy is a must read for anyone looking for something a little different in the sci-fi/romance genre.

Courtney :)

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


'Tamar' is one of the best war time novels I have read.

Tamar is a fifteen year old modern day English teenager. She inherits a box that originally belonged to her grandfather and is filled with messages and clues. The box takes her back to a chilling and nightmarish past. A past where her grandparents were resistance fighters in the Netherlands in World War 2. A past where Tamar was not only the name of an English river, but also the code name of a resistance fighter.

We go back in time to 1944. The English are hitting the Nazis with all the aircraft warfare they have. Although an Allied victory appears within its grasp, the concern of the occupied countries is whether Germany will leave the cities and countryside intact, or burn everything in sight as they retreat.

In the dead of night, Tamar and Dart are parachuted into occupied Netherlands. They are part of a team of people who are living as spies. They set about their respective jobs - 'Dart' is a wireless operator and 'Tamar' is to consolidate the Dutch resistance movement. Their chances of survival are not high.

Then, if their lives weren't dangerous and complicated enough, they both fall in love with Marijke, a farm worker where Tamar and Dart live undercover.

This book is an enthralling page turner, with a twist that will send you reeling.


Monday, 17 October 2011

Prisoner of the Inquisition

Prisoner Of The Inquisition by Theresa Breslin was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children or teens and is a great example of historical fiction.

Zarita, only daughter of the town magistrate, lives a life of wealth and privilege. Indulged by her parents, she is free to spend her days as she pleases, enjoying herself in the company of an eligible young nobleman, horse riding, or leisurely studying the arts.

Saulo, son of a family reduced by circumstances to begging, witnesses his father wrongfully arrested and dealt with in the most horrifying way. Hauled off to be a slave at sea and pursued by pirates he encounters the ambitious mariner explorer, Christopher Columbus. Throughout his hardships Saulo is determined to survive - for he has sworn vengeance on the magistrate and his family.

As Zarita's life also undergoes harsh changes the formidable and frightening Inquisition arrives in the area, bringing menacing shadows of suspicion with acts of cruel brutality - and ultimately, amid the intrigues of the court of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand in the splendid Moorish city of Granada, betrayal and revenge...

Check out Jess's great booklist (on the right hand side of this blog) "Living in the Past" for some great suggestions for other historical fiction titles.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Goodbye Harry Potter

Harry Potter:
The story has been told,
The adventure has ended
It’s time to say goodbye
We’re all just Muggles again.

In 1997 I was 11 years old and I picked up a book called Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone. Six more books would follow over a ten year time span as well as eight movies bringing the much loved story of Harry, Hermione and Ron to the big screen. In 2007 the final book was published ending an era and now on November 11 2011 the final movie is set to be released on DVD. What can I say…it’s the end of an era. Harry potter has profoundly impacted the lives of so many and with the final DVD release so close it does feel a bit like the final curtain for Harry Potter. However I have no doubt that the Potter franchise will live on and become the Chronicles of Narnia for our generation. The books and movies are a reflection of great storytelling and in celebration of all things potter here’s a look at a youtube clip from some dedicated fans
Harry Potter: How it should have ended. Enjoy!

LOL, love it:)
So there you have it! The great adventures of the Potter trio has come to an end.
If you missed it at the cinemas or just have to see it again Harry Potter and the deathly hallows part 2 can be placed on hold, but be quick because with everything potter there’s always a great demand

Courtney :)

Monday, 10 October 2011

Books To Help You Study

Whether VCE or university, it's that stressful and sleep-depriving time of year again: exam time. Eek! But here's a collection of books at your local library to help you get ahead (and get some more sleep too!).

The Ultimate Study Skills Handbook - Open University Press

Max Your Marks - Rowena Austin

Pass Your Exams - Andrew Holmes

Improve Your Study Skills - Bernice Walmsley

Exam Skills - Kate Brookes

There's lots more study books available - just check out our online catalogue or ask one of us, your local librarians!

I think one important study tip is to find a particular place and time to study. If you get into the habit of studying at the same time and place each night then getting into "study mode" becomes a lot easier.

Does anyone else have a study tip they think helps?

Best of luck!
Rafah :)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Interview - Ben Chandler

Ben Chandler's first novel, Quillblade: Volume One of the Voyages of the Flying Dragon, was published in 2010, and the sequel, Beast Child, is available now!

What authors/books did you read as a child? When did you first discover your love of books?

I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember, and probably even a bit before that, so I don’t have an actual memory of discovering my love of books. It’s just always been there. I first realised that loving books was something special when I was about 7 or 8, and it only occurred to me then because I noticed that not everyone enjoyed staying inside the library during school lunchtimes to read. I read a lot as a kid, so a list of authors/books would go on for a while, but I do have vivid memories of being terrified by the ‘original’ Brothers Grimm tales (i.e. the scary, non-Disney versions), and of loving Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story (the first Really Big Book I ever read on my own).

When did you first realise you were a writer? What do you hope your readers will take away with them from reading your books?

I’ve probably been a writer almost as long as I’ve been a reader, but it took me a while to realise exactly what I was doing when I was daydreaming (I do this a lot) and scribbling my stories down on paper. It didn’t occur to me that you could actually be a writer until I was about 16. It took another few years of determined scribbling before I felt game enough to call myself a writer. I hope readers enjoy visiting the worlds I create in my books. I want them to want to spend time there, and I mean that literally. I want my readers to imagine themselves into my world, to create themselves as characters within the scope of my worlds, to interact with my characters and imagine how they would handle things if they were the heroes. That’s what I do when I read really great books. I’d love to think that I could inspire that sort of imaginative journey in my readers.

Do you find it difficult to read purely for pleasure? Does everything you read come under your ‘writer’ microscope?

For me, this is a bit of a false dichotomy. Some people see reading and writing as a spectrum, with full critical scrutiny at one end (the ‘writer microscope’ frame of mind) and pure reading pleasure at the other. The idea seems to be that the more you scrutinise a piece of writing, the less you’ll enjoy it. The flip side of this, if you take it to its extreme conclusion, is that you have to switch your brain off in order to enjoy reading! This just isn’t how I read, and I suspect this isn’t really how most people read. My writer microscope actually heightens my appreciation of what I’m reading, so I don’t find it difficult to read for pleasure. If anything, it just provides another level of enjoyment, an ability to peek behind the curtain, as it were.

Do you have to avoid reading certain types of fiction while writing your own? Does what you read while writing have an effect on what you write? In what way?

Yes, no, and sometimes. This is a really hard question for me, as I don’t have a set way of doing things. For some books, I try to read as widely as possible within the genre I’m writing in as I can. Sometimes, it’s the opposite, and I have to read things that are completely different. Rarely, but occasionally, I don’t read at all when I’m writing. It just depends on what I feel I need at the time. What I read definitely impacts what I write, and sometimes I crave that influence, and sometimes I shun it. It’s the old ‘whatever works for you’ thing, but I’ll add ‘at the time’ and ‘given the circumstances’ as well.

Name five authors or books that have influenced or inspired your own writing in some way.

Just five?! That’s a tough one!

David Eddings’ early works for his grasp of genre, his humour, his characters, and his wonderful worlds.

JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
­ – ‘nuf said.

Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story
for all its magic.

Neil Gaiman’s work. All of it, including his graphic novels / comics, for his contribution to contemporary mythology.

Robin Hobb’s work, particularly her assassin books – the greatest first person fantasy series ever written. Ever.

If you were travelling and were told you could only take one book with you, what book would it be and why?

Isn’t that what e-readers are for?! Seriously, though, this is the hardest question you could ask a writer. I guess it would have to be The Lord of the Rings, not because it’s my favourite book ever written (it isn’t), but because I could read and re-read it over and over again, and it always takes me ages to get through (I’ve read it through about a dozen times already, and I could easily read it a dozen more).

What makes a book ‘too good to put down’?

Interesting characters. Magical world. Engaging plot. Sounds simple when you put it like that, doesn’t it? It’s sometimes difficult to find that magic combination of the three, though, and it always comes down to the Big 3 (I’m tempted to throw in a DC Universe Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman analogy here, but I won’t): character, setting, and plot. I might be tempted to add ‘conceit’ to that list in the case of speculative fiction (i.e. the Big Idea underlining a book), but too often spec fic writers rely solely on the Big Idea to the detriment of the Big 3, and no matter how clever or cool the Big Idea is, if any of the other 3 are lacking, I’ll put it down. Really great prose is also a plus, but if it is all just wonderful sentences without the Big 3, again, I’ll put it down (and maybe pick up a book of quotes).

What makes you put down a book without finishing it?

See above. Also, if I’m bored I’ll put a book down. Life is too short and there are too many great books out there for me to waste time reading something I don’t want to read.

Do you have a favourite author? Who is it and what is it about their writing that draws you to them?

I really don’t have a favourite author, as such, because I read widely and enjoy lots of different kinds of literature, I suppose. I could easily list a couple dozen, but then I’d have left out another couple dozen, so I’m not even going to attempt it…

What was your 2010 ‘best read’? What was it that made it number one?

I can’t remember when it was published, but I first read Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert, and Richard Isanove in 2010. It’s a graphic novel that places the superheroes of the Marvel Universe in the Elizabethan court. Think mutant ‘witch’ hunts and the dawning of a new world in a dinosaur-infested North America and you’ll start to get the general idea. A great reimagining of the Marvel Universe with bold characters and beautiful, dynamic illustrations. You couldn’t ask for more from a graphic novel.

What do you think of the non-traditional publishing methods – eBooks etc? Do you think the new technology will encourage more people to read? Do you think there’s a future for print books?

I do think e-readers are encouraging more people to read. I know a number of people who weren’t traditionally ‘readers’ who have now embraced the new technology and are reading more than ever. Personally, I don’t like reading books on an e-reader (I’m a bibliophile), and I don’t see this new technology as the death of the printed book, but I do think it’s going to bring books and reading to more people, and that’s a great thing.

Ben loves heroes, villains, comic books, and video games, and he believes you can learn more from watching cartoons than you can from the news. Like all fantasy writers, Ben has a cat. His cat is named Loki. It’s possible Loki is the reincarnation of the Norse God of Mischief, but Ben hopes this is just a flight of his fancy. In 2010 Ben was awarded the Colin Thiele Creative Writing Scholarship from Carclew Youth Arts Board and in 2011 was awarded a grant by Arts SA to work on a YA urban fantasy novel set in Adelaide.

Find out more about Ben here.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Iron Witch

Freak, that’s what they call Donna Underwood.

Marked by magic

Imprisoned by her heritage
Donna is about to break free and find out who she really is.

Donna Underwood lives the life she was born into, grieving for the father who died for her and the mother who lives in body but not in spirit. Donna is the daughter of the alchemists scarred by her past, she lives with iron tattoo’s on her arms as a constant reminder of just how different she is. They call her a freak and she feels like one, trapped in a life she doesn’t want. Her only salvation is her best friend Navin, but even he doesn’t know the truth about her…yet! One party and a chance meeting with the mysterious Xan is about to change Donnas’ life. Her carefully crafted wall between who she is and who she wants to be is about to crumble and change everything Donna ever thought she knew. Can she save her best friend at the cost of her heritage? And just what is the secret the mysterious Xan holds?

Mahoney presents a beautifully crafted debut novel that blends together the worlds of faerie, alchemy and the real world all into one. The novel starts out slow but Mahoney is just getting the reader familiar with the world of alchemy and faerie and once past the ‘fill in’ portion the novel picks up pace to be both thrilling and enthralling. What I loved most about this novel were the characters, Donna unlike most female protagonists is not sullen or miserable despite her circumstances, Navin is more than just the two dimensional loyal best friend and Xan while mysterious is open and defiantly not brooding. Iron witch reads like a magical fairy tale meets an action adventure story. The first of a series Iron witch is worth the read. [sorry no book trailer for this one :( ]

Courtney :)

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