25 April, 2011

Library Loot

Library Loot is co-hosted by Claire at The Captive Reader and Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.  This week it's hosted by Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.   so pop over and see who else is participating.

It's a big loot this time, so get ready!

Non Books

Doctor Who Season 2, Discs 3&4 - was actually quite lucky to get this. We have two copies of this at work, both we tagged as lost, which means they are so overdue, we assume the borrower has lost them. A quick call to both clients at least saw one copy returned!

My Sister's Keeper - I have been avoiding this. I read the book and knew they had changed the ending - I hate it when they do that! Figured if I didn't pay for it, I could manage. Yep, they changed the end, but I still bawled! Good to know that Jodi Piccoult mother's annoy me just as much in a movie as they do in the books!

The Big Bang Theory Season 1 - So many friends have raved about this series I had to see if the hype was justified. I've watch the first few episodes and yep, it's funny.

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency - loved these books. Will be interested to see what the series is like.


The Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) has released the 2011 short list. I want to read the short listed older readers book before the winner is announced on Friday 19 August. So I've grabbed or reserved them all. The first four are ones that were on the shelf at work.

Graffiti Moon - Cath Crowley - short listed for the CBCA older readers book, 2011.

About A Girl - Joanne Horniman - - short listed for the CBCA older readers book, 2011.

The Midnight Zoo - Sonya Hartnett - short listed for the CBCA older readers book, 2011.

 The Piper's Son - Melinda Marchetta - - short listed for the CBCA older readers book, 2011.


The Taste of Apple - James Laidler -  a novel in verse. This also contains a CD which is a complete e book with music and spoken word tracks. I'm really looking forward to listening to this.

How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier - I went looking for this and the following book, Magic or Madness after reading Justine Larbalestier's Liar.

Magic or Madness - Justine Larbalestier

An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro -  My continuing hunt for an Ishiguro novel I like as much as Never Let Me Go

If I Stay - Gayle Forman -  I've read several reviews of this, but it was Carly's over at Writing From the Tub that caught my eye the first time.

My War: Killing Time in Iraq - Colby Buzzell - I can't remember where I read a review of this, but it was enough to request the library buy it. They did!

The Union Quilters - Jennifer Chiaverini - The latest in the Elm Creek Quilt series. You can read my review here.

It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had A Baby, A Breakdown and A Much Need Margarita - Heather B Armstrong. - A book by one of my favorite bloggers ever! Heather writes the highly popular dooce.com. Don't click on the link if you offend easily. Do click on it if you like a really good laugh! I have learnt not to read dooce while drinking anything! You can read my review of the book here.

A Pressure Cooker Saved My Life - Juanita Phillips. - Juanita Phillips is a well known Australian journalist who tried to have it all, but ended up having a breakdown instead. This is her book to help you avoid the same thing. You can read my review here.

So as you can see, there will be a lot of YA reading going on around here!

Library loot since I last posted: 17                        Year to date -Fiction - 34
                                                                                                     Non Fiction - 14
                                                                                                     Non Book - 24
                                                                                                     Total - 62

24 April, 2011

The Complete Peanuts: 1955 - 1956

Title: The Compete Peanuts 1955 - 1956
Author: Charles Schulz
Genre: Comic
Series: Peanuts
Audience: Everyone!
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: Volume 3 in this series takes us through 1955 and 1956. This time saw Linus's first spoken words, Charlie Brown's first baseball humiliation and Snoopy's first impressions.

What I thought: Want a laugh? Go find a Peanuts book. Amongst the belly laughs is some great social and emotional commentary on the world as a whole and the life of a kid. Can you get any better than this?

Recommended for: those who love Snoopy and the gang!

The Union Quilters

Title: The Union Quilters
Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Genre: Fiction
Series: Elm Creek Quilts
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: Civil War has come to the United States. As the men of Waterford prepare to join up, the women do what they can to support them. Among their activities is making things to send to their men at the front, raising money to build the union hall and supporting each other as tragic news filters through. Who will survive, who will fall and what will be left at the end?

What I thought: This is the 16th book in the Elm Creek Quilts series. I've been waiting on this since October 2010 and was lucky enough to be the first person to get this from our library. While I enjoyed the book, it's definitely not one of my favourites in the series. There is a lot of focus on the Civil War and it's battles which while interesting, are not something I find myself too interested in. Previous books that focused on the early quilters in Elm Creek have been leading to this point and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here. Not surprisingly, given this has just come out, there is no news on further books in the series. I'm sure there will be though, and I look forward to reading them.

Recommended for: those who are interested in Civil War history, quilting or have read the rest of the series.

20 April, 2011

Lockie Leonard: Human Torpedo

Author: Tim Winton
Genre: Fiction
Audience:Young Adult
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: Lockie Leonard has moved schools and fallen in love. A surfing fiend, the object of his affections, Vicki Streeton is smart, pretty and rich. Lockie is the son of a cop, has the worlds most understanding mother and a little brother who still wets the bed. Combine all of this and you have a wonderful coming of age story.

What I thought: This is the first of Winton's young adult books. For me, it's the first look at his slightly less serious side. Winton has a rare ability in being able to maintain his beautiful, flowing, magic style of writing, while making it accessible for a younger audience. He was able to portray Lockie's pain and confusion as he tried to keep everything in his life on an even keel, fit in and experience his first love. I'm really looking forward to more of Winton's YA stuff.

Recommended for: those who want to introduce the magic of Winton to the young adults in their lives.

It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, A Breakdown and a Much Needed Margarita

Author: Heather B Armstrong
Genre: Memoir
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: When Heather Armstrong and her husband Jon decided to have a baby, Heather gave up lots of things, including her anti depressants. Through out her pregnancy and the start of Leta’s life, Heather struggled with the emotional roller coast that is post partum depression. In the end she survived and wrote this book.

What I thought: Heather Armstrong is the creator and writer of one of my all time favourite blogs dooce.com. On it she writes about her family and their life and she is funny!! However, don’t read it if you get easily offended by discussions about poop, vomit, dogs that eat their own waste products or anything in that vein.
So it’s kinda obvious why I wanted to read this book and I am really glad to say I wasn’t disappointed. Armstrong’s easy reading funny style translated beautifully into this book. I am very fortunate to say that I have never experience depression in any form, although both my sister and my mum suffer from it so I am not unaware of it’s effects. Armstrong’s matter of fact approach to her disease is refreshing. She makes no apologies, no excuses. She does not feel any shame in being affected by or by having to be treated. She recognises it’s essential for her to take medication so she can be the best mother for her children. And she manages to portray all this and make you laugh!

Recommended for: those who have suffered post partum depression, know someone who has or just wants a book that can make them laugh while teaching them something.

A Pressure Cooker Saved My Life

Title: A Pressure Cooker Saved My Life
Author: Juanita Phillips
Genre: Non Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: Juanita Phillips is a female Australian news reader who had a very public break down one night whilst reading the 7-o-clock news. Run down and exhausted , she was struggling to work full time, run a house and be a parent. Needing to work full time as the main bread winner, she developed several systems to help her get some sanity back in her life.

What I thought: I grew up watching Juantia Phillips and remember the discussion surrounding her breakdown. A Pressure Cooker Saved My Life is a frank account of what lead to the breakdown and more importantly, how to take some of the pressure off. Phillips looks at how we have ended up here in a historical sense. How, with women joining the workforce, some things have changed for us (we have financial freedom, careers, children later, return to work quicker) and some haven't (we still do the majority of the housework, we are still expected to be the primary care givers.). Phillips also gives practical, sensible advice on how to structure things in your house to make life a little easier. For her, the rediscovery of a pressure cooker made a huge difference,
At no point does she pretend it's easy. Even with structures in place, life is hectic and out of control sometimes. And not all of her solutions will suit everyone. What she has done though, is let us know it's ok if the house isn't spotless. It's fine if the children aren't spotless. If what you are doing works for your family, then it's fine. And my favourite line in the book:

listen to the scientists, who tell us that red wine is good for the heart, and that parents obsessed by cleanliness are weakening their children's immune system...The clear scientific message is: skip the kids' baths for a few nights and pour yourself a big glass of red instead. It works for me!
So, I'm off to pour a red!

Recommended for: those who are looking for some ideas on how to streamline their life.
100+ Challenge, A-Z Challenge,

Low Red Moon

Title: Low Red Moon
Author: Ivy Devlin
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: All Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents were murdered is something silver and fast moving. Now as she tries to cope with their violent deaths, she is left with a grandmother she hardly knows and a lot of unanswered questions. Ben, a new boy at school, seems to understand Amy a lot more than others, but he holds his own dark secret. She she trust him as much as she wants to?

What I thought: Another teen werewolf book! I read this after a review said it was comparable to Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I must admit I like authors who don't feel the need to "follow the rules" with their paranormal fiction. In both this and Mercy Falls for example, the moon is not the reason for the moon. I did enjoy this book, but I'm not sure I liked it as much as Mercy Falls. The ending felt a bit rushed and forced. I also found the way the word moon was always in red to be annoying. It screamed gimmick in a book that really didn't need it.

Recommended for: those who like their paranormal fiction with a bit of substance.

100+ Challenge, A-Z Challenge, For the Love of YA challenge,

19 April, 2011

Making Laws for Clouds

Title: Making Laws for Clouds
Author: Nick Earls
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: Kane is 18 and just trying to make his way in life. His family is not traditional and Kane is working hard to support his mum and younger brother. And Tannika, well she has potential to make it a brilliant summer, but life is never that easy. Can it still be the best summer of Kane's life?

What I thought: I enjoyed this. Earls is so good at taking everyday characters and lettng you see what makes them special. In so many ways Kane is a normal 18 year old , but his family makes it hard for him to be totally normal. A mother who drinks and often seems to struggle to cope, and a younger brother who can be cared of his own shadow means Kane has to be the one whose responsible - and he does it brilliantly. His relationship with Tannika isn't smooth sailing, but it's not tortured and overdrawn. All in all, another quality Earls work.

Recommended for: those who like a bit of angst in their YA, but not have it dripping with it!
100+ Challenge, A-Z Challenge, For the Love of YA challenge, Aussie YA Challenge

Oakleaf Bearers

Title: Oakleaf Bearers
Author: John Flanagan
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Series: Ranger's Apprentice
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: Having escaped the Skardians, Will and Evelyn face a new threat when Evelyn is taken by a mysterious horseman. Rejoining Will, Halt and Horace set off to rescue her, but the question is what are the Temujai doing  in Skandia? And will the Skandian's accept Halt's offer of help to try and stop the invaders.

What I thought: Seriously this series just keeps getting better! Flanagan again writes an exceptional young adult fantasy book that keeps the reader engaged and interested. Will's character continues to develop and grow and while the ending is not totally happy, it is believable and does not buy into the "happy ever after" myth so many young adult  (and lets face it, adult fantasy fiction) fantasy novels do.

Recommended for: those who enjoy good quality fantasy.!
100+ Challenge, A-Z Challenge, For the Love of YA challenge, Aussie YA Challenge

16 April, 2011

I Do Not Come to you by Chance

Title:I Do Not Come to you by Chance
Author: Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: Kingsley has followed his parents path and got a university education. However, getting a job is not as easy as it seems! As the eldest son, when tragedy befalls the family, it is up to him to help provide. He turns to his Uncle Boniface, also known as Cash Daddy. Cash Daddy, it is rumoured, has made his money through 419's - Nigerian email scams. Can Kingsley survive a trip into this world and maintain the respect of not only himself, but his family.

What I thought: I thoroughly enjoyed this book! This is Nwaubami's first novel and she does a brilliant job. The justifications used by Cash Daddy to ripped off "stupid westerners" is interesting. More interesting is that people still fall for the crap. I was also amazed at how far along they could get people to go before they realised it was a scam.
What I found sad though, was the obvious poverty of some who were educated, but for one reason or another, found themselves unable to work or get work in their area. As much as people run down welfare systems that support those who are sick or out of work, I think the alternative is way worse.
Given that, I do acknowledge that this is a work of fiction, and various aspects of life in Nigeria may have been exaggerated. I still want to know who falls for these things though!

Recommended for: those who just enjoy a good read.

100+ Challenge,

05 April, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What are you reading Monday  is hosted by Shelia over at Book Journey. Head over and check out what others are reading!

Eeek! It was February when I last did a Monday reading post! I went through a bit of a blogging slump, although I still have been reading. Ready for a catch up??

What I finished since I last posted

Foster - Claire Keegan  
The Hero of Ages - Brandon Sanderson 
The Night Bookmobile - Audrey Niffenegger 
Ascension - Steven Galloway 
Magyk - Angie Sage 
The Icebound Land - John Flanagan 
The Scold's Bridle - Minette Walters 
Liar - Justine Larbalestier 

See, told you I'd still been reading!

What am I reading now? 

I Do Not Come to You By Chance - Adaobi Tricia Nmaubani 

Nigerian Kingsley is having trouble finding an engineering job after completing his degree. He needs money to help support his family and marry the girl of his dreams. Desperate, he turns to his uncle Boniface who is rumoured to have been very successful due to email scams. Can he earn the money without compromising his values? 

The Group - Mary McCarthy 

This is my current car audio book. Considered rather risqué in it's day (first published 1954), it follows eight Vassar girls determined to lead lives different from their  "stuffy" parents.

What's next?
As usual I have a vast backlog of library books. I've currently arranged them in order of due dates and am endeavouring to get through them!

So what are you reading this week? Leave me a link, I'd love to know!

03 April, 2011

The Night Bookmobile

Title:The Night Bookmobile
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Genre: Graphic Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: On a walk after an argument with her boyfriend late one night, Alexandra comes across the bookmobile. Inside is every book she has ever read - a total history of her reading. Through out the years, she finds the bookmobile, but never when she is looking for it. It does however, influence her whole life and she finds she becomes more isolated and alone with only her books for company. What she would really love is to work for the bookmobile, but how can she make her dream come true?

What I thought: I ordered this through the library after I read a review of it by Shelia over at Book Journey. I'm not a great fan of graphic novels, but had been looking for one to fit into my TwentyEleven Challenge, …With a Twist. (read a sub-genre you don't read a lot of.) category. As it is, I'm not sure it's long enough to count.
I quite enjoyed the book. I must admit that like Sheila, I wondered what my own bookmobile would look like and imagine I could spend several happy hours there exploring and revisiting my reading history. But the book has a deeper message. The ending jolted me.  Like Alexandra, I can become absorbed completely by a book to the exclusion of all else in my life. I can see how you could become so obsessed with reading, the rest of the world wouldn't matter. As Sheila said in her review

 As much as we as book lovers enjoy dropping ourselves into a great read, it is also important to do life….. be with people, be active, and live…. not only through books … but also through life itself. We need to make our own stories. (Sheila - Book Journey)
Recommended for: those who are looking for a quick, easy introduction to graphic novels and like something that makes them question their own habits.

100+ Challenge, A-Z Challenge, TwentyEleven Challenge,

02 April, 2011

Hero of Ages

Title:The Hero of Ages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Series: Mistborn
Audience: Adult
Format: Kindle

Synopsis: Tricked into releasing the force known as Ruin, Vin and Elend face the end of the world. Ruin works towards ending the world as Vin and Elend battle to just survive and find a way to stop him. But he is every where and controlling a lot more than they thought. Have the finally picked the battle they can't win?

What I thought: What a brilliant end to the Mistborn series! It take a truly exceptional fantasy book to get me to read one these days and this is by far one of the best I have ever read. Hero of Ages is long. 724 pages to be exact, but you don't realise it. The characters are flawed, but unlike many hero characters in fantasy books, they aren't whiny. I cannot remember the amount of times I have yelled at a character to just get over it, accept they are the one to save the world and just do it! Vin, Elend and the rest of the crew have their doubts and dark moments, but they accept they are the best chance the world has. The ending was perfect! Loved it! Lose ends tied up, but not in a rushed knot, but a pretty bow, that made sense and allowed me to close the book (or turn it off since it was on the kindle!) with a sigh of satisfaction and a smile on my face.

Recommended for: those who are looking for good quality fantasy fiction!

100+ Challenge, A-Z Challenge, TwentyEleven Challenge, E-Book Challenge


Title: Foster
Author: Claire Keegan
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: A young girl is taken by her father to stay with relatives on a farm in rural Ireland. He leaves without saying goodbye and she does not know when or if she will go back. However, in this foster family, she finds love and acceptance. There is a secret however, and when she discovers it, she realises how fragile life can be.

What I thought: At only 88 pages, Foster is a novella, rather than a book. It is also part of the reason I chose it - to fit in with my TwentyEleven Challenge

I'm glad I did as I really enjoyed most of this book. The story is simple and uncomplicated. The writing is beautiful, flowing and places you right in the setting. It took me just over an hour to read and I'm glad I had the time to give to it as I couldn't put it down. Half way through I thought "I'd like to read this again, possibly straight away" and I had all intention of doing so. But then it ended and I was left feeling cheated and confused. And the worse bit is, I can't say too much without giving it away! In the end, the girl calls out something, and I'm not clear who it was addressed to, and no matter how many times I re read it, I can't work it out! So while I enjoyed the book immensely, the ending has left me feeling like I still haven't uncovered the true events of the story.

Recommended for: those who are looking for a quick read, but who might understand the ending more than me!

Challenges:  100+ Challenge, A-Z Challenge, TwentyEleven Challenge