• Book Review,  Reviews

    The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson

    “One afternoon, when I was eight years old, my class was told to write about what we wanted to be when we grew up. Miss Box went round the class, asking each one of us to stand up and share what we had written. Zachary Olsen wanted to play for the premier league. Lexi Taylor wants to be an Actress. Harry Beaumont planned on being Prime Minister. Simon Allen wanted to be Harry Potter, so badly that the previous term he had scratched a lightening bolt on to his forehead with a pair of craft scissors.  But I didn’t want to be any of these things.”  When rumoured bad boy…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Gary’s Garden – Gary Northfield

    Ever walk through a garden and feel that the insects and the birds are up to something? Now you can find out what in this special collection of comic strips focusing on all the birds, bugs and creepy crawlies who are all up to no good while Gary’s relaxing in his garden. A grumpy caterpillar, a space travelling ladybird and a ninja hedgehog will provide much entertainment for hours to come, and have you laughing like you wouldn’t believe!  *** Again, a collection of fantastic comic strips which have come from The Phoenix, I am so looking into a subscription for my nephew in a few years! Gary’s Garden is…

  • Guest Post

    Guest post: My Epic Train Journey by Kenneth Oppel author of The Boundless

    I love trains, and am always up for an epic journey, so here are five people that I would definitely want with me on the voyage. William Cornelius Van Horne The General Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), Van Horne’s job was to make sure the railway got built, pushing it west to meet up with the tracks being built into the mountains from Vancouver. Van Horne’s energy and drive were legendary. He joined survey teams and hefted a sixty pound pack through the wilds of the Rockies. No detail of the railway was too small for him to overlook. He had many and varied interests and hobbies, a restlessly…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    The Boundless – Kenneth Oppel

    “Three hours before the avalanche hits, William Everett is sitting on an upturned crate, watching for his father.  The town doesn’t even have a name yet. Nailed to a crooked post at the side of the train track is a messy hand-painted sign that says only: Mile 2553. Paint has dribbled down from the bottom of each number and letter. Yesterday when Will and his mother stepped off the train, the conductor shouted, ‘End of the line! Farewell Station!’ But Will wasn’t sure if Farewell was the town’s name or if the fellow was just in a hurry to say ‘Good riddance.’” Its 1887. Three years ago Will’s life changed…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    The Feathered Man – Jeremy De Quidt

    “The window of Kusselmann’s shop was full of teeth. They were laid out in neat rows along polished ebony shelves, and piled into small mounds in blue and white porcelain bowls the size of your hand.  Teeth.  Hundreds of teeth. And that was just the window. If you were to go inside, you would find even more laid out on cloth lined trays along the counter and in glass-fronted cabinets along the walls.” In a German town many years ago a teeth puller is called to a lodging house. Two of its boarders have died and its time to get some money for their teeth. What the lady who owns…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Yellow Cake – Margo Lanagan

    Yellow Cake brings together another ten short stories from this extraordinarily talented writer – each of them fiercely original and quietly heartbreaking. Ranging from fantasy and fairy tale to horror and stark reality, what pervades these stories is the sense of humanity. The people of Lanagan’s worlds face trials, temptations and degradations. They swoon and suffer and even kill for love. In a dangerous world, they seek the solace and strength that comes from family and belonging. These are stories to be savoured slowly and pondered deeply because they cut to the very heart of who we are. *** I was very excited to read this collection of short stories…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    The Waking World (The Future King #1) – Tom Huddleston

    “They called it the Moon of the Wolf. It was rising now, over the crest of the ridge beyond the river, gleaming silver-grey through a fast-closing gap in the clouds. The third new moon after Exmus, the dying days of winter. The most treacherous time of all.” Aran is the second son of a wealthy Law, and his future is mapped out in front of him. The Marauders have raided the cost for years and many, especially those at Hawk’s Cross Aran’s fathers homestead, do not see them as a threat. However now they’re growing bolder and coming further inland. Yet Aran’s father still doesn’t want Aran learning how to…

  • Guest Post

    The Waking World Blog Tour – The films that inspired The Waking World by Tom Huddleston

    In my daily life, when I’m not writing books, I write about film for Time Out magazine. Since early childhood I’ve been obsessed with films, I used to collect sticker books and soundtrack albums and posters, and was always begging my mother to take me to the cinema. So it’s hardly surprising that, when I came to write ‘The Waking World’ I took inspiration as much from movies as from books. Here’s just a few of the films I thought about while I was writing. Excalibur John Boorman’s epic retelling of the King Arthur stories is quite violent and not really meant for children, but it’s without doubt the film…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Shine – Candy Gourlay

    “‘Are you listening, Rosa?’ I stared at Yaya. Her eyebrows were knitted on her yellow forehead and her face was suddenly smaller, her eyes hard and buring like black coals. ‘Listen, listen. This is important.’ The seriousness of her voice and the smallness of her face made me feel suddenly scared. I climbed onto her lap.” There is a place where it rains consistently throughout the year. It rarely stops. Yet in this place when the rain does stop it’s not so much a celebration, no. When the rain stops the locals believe that monsters come, monsters bad enough to claim their children’s lives. The Calm is a symptom of…

  • Book Review,  Reviews,  Uncategorized

    Phoenix – SF Said (Illustrated by Dave McKean)

    “Lucky dreamed of the stars again that night. He loved the stars, and dreamed about them most nights. A million points of silver light, shining in the black.  But this dream was different. This time, the stars were calling him. They were trying to tell him something. They were making a small soft, silvery sound, like the chime of a faraway bell.” There was never anything unusual about Lucky. He lived with his mum on Phoenix and his dad was off fighting in the War Zone. When he wakes up after a powerful dream to find his bed sheet has been reduced to ashes though, things start getting scary. His…