January 30, 2013

Back to School....

The Summer school holidays are over and it's time for children to go back to school.

For some children they are starting school for the first time. Some children may be very excited about this whilst others may be a little anxious.

Below is a selection of fiction and non-fiction books that you might find useful
to assist in preparing your child, and yourself, for their first day of school and help make their transition as smooth as possible.


The first day of school
/ Toby Forward; illustrated by Carol Thompson

Day / Dandi Daley Mackall; illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

It's your first day at school, Annie Claire / Nancy White Carlstrom; illustrated by Margie Moore

Bella goes to school
/ Ian Whybrow; illustrated by Rosie Reeve

Countdown to kindergarten
/ Alison McGhee; illustrated by Harry Bliss

Jojo's first day jitters
/ Jane O'Connor; illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

Off to kindergarten
/ by Tony Johnston ; illustrated by Melissa Sweet.


Ready, set, go?
/ Kathy Walker.

Ready, set ... go! : off to school : fun learning activities for 4-year-olds
/ Becky Daniel.

Starting school : how to help your child be prepared
/ Sue Berne.

Thriving at school : a practical guide to help your child enjoy the crucial school years
/ Dr John Irvine and John Stewart.

Getting ready to start school: parents and experts share advice and experience
/ Netmums with Hilary Pereira and Hollie Smith

January 29, 2013

Book Review - Flesh and Blood by Mark Peterson

English police procedural with an interesting lead character, DS Minter, a product of a relentless string of foster homes, who retains a fierce commitment to honesty and integrity. He doesn't have the social awareness to fit in and this causes tension in police ranks as they try to contain a drug war in their seaside city of Brighton & maintain front line policing whilst dealing with the internal politics of the force. Occasionally gruesome, as revenge and payback escalates, Peterson has the capacity to provide the shades of grey that bring to life the complexity of the choices that are made in the story. A good solid crime novel.


Assassin by Tara Moss

Some time ago I took one of the early books in this series home on CD read by  the authorTara Moss.  I am not sure whether it was the authors intriguing accent or her absolute ownerships of the words she was speaking but I was hooked and then read each of the books in the series ( starngely hearing the author's voice  in my head as I read them).

Yes I think I might be a little in love with Mak Vanderwall but I think more than that, Mak is who I would really like to be.  Mak is the female equivalent of Jack Reacher - she is tough, intelligent and driven.  I was luckey enough to hear author Lee Child speak about his Jack Reacher books and he agreed with the idea put to him that all men want to be Jack Reacher and all women want to love him, and Mak certainly is the female equivalent.

Assassin is the final book in the series and Moss has taken the opportunity to go into a darker space.  Former model turned forensic psychologist and PI Mak Vanderwall is missing, presumed dead in Paris. By hiring a hit man to kill her, the powerful and corrupt Cavanagh family aimed to silence her for good. But after narrowly escaping death, Mak has taken over her would-be killer′s world.

She is very much alive.
And transformed .

If you are new to  the series and Mak's world try to read the other titles in the series first- each of them is complete and can stand alone but it is great to go on the journey with the characters.  This series has been a real find.



January 22, 2013

Book Review - Care of Wooden Floors by Will Wiles

This book is about friendship and alienation. It is about small daily happenings that spiral into life changing decisions. It is hard to describe without betraying the surprises in the story. It is full of black humour. It is full of simple but evocative language. At one stage, the hero is traversing a post-industrial wasteland in the Eastern European city that is his temporary home. The thoroughfare is impeded by lots of rubbish piled up against buildings and spilling out over the street. The sense of accusatory menace in this episode is brilliantly portrayed by sentences like "An office swivel chair, its fabric and padding ripped off by someone or something, stood in my path like a Dalek rape victim. " This book won't be for everyone but I found it compelling.


January 15, 2013

Book Review - Wattle Creek by Fiona McCullum

In the Australian bush town of Wattle Creek, Damien, a depressed young farmer is trying to manage the family farm after the death of his father from cancer. New to town is Jacinta, a young and attractive psychologist. She helps Damien see what his life could be if he stops trying to be what he thinks other people want him to be. And she copes with the good and bad regarding everyone knowing your business in a small town. A recognisable cast of supporting characters add texture to a pleasant romance with serious undertones.


January 08, 2013

Book Review - Scared Yet by Jaye Ford

Jaye Ford's second novel continues her strong entry into Australian crime/romance fiction. A woman is attacked and then stalked. The tension escalates as the stalker also targets friends and co-workers. Luckily there's handsome, strong Daniel to help her but what does she really know about him? Could he be the stalker? Why is the police detective so wary of him? A satisfying read.


January 07, 2013

Discovering Chicklit!!

What I did on my holidays by Chrissie Manby

Narellan Chicklit F MAN


Although I have always loved great fiction, I had never been really sure what 'Chicklit' actually referred to.  Way back when Narellan Fiction was organised via genre, I decided that reading a title from this section needed to be on my 'to do' list.

Needless to say, years have gone by, but now I'd like to share one of my recent finds.

I had the rare occasion of a weekend away while the juniors of my family attended a triathlon and I took along a good read for the Saturday night.

The cover page of this title called to me from the display shelves - yes I did judge this book by its cover and the thought of a casual stroll along the shore, thongs in hand really appealed.

In Manby's title, a great holiday, planned for months, was on the agenda for Sophie and partner, Callum, who also happens to be her work colleague. Imagine the despair when Sophie finds out, the night before the trip to the airport, that Callum is actually not that into her and will not be going on the trip!!! What unfolds includes many hilarious moments as Sophie attempts to hide in her bedroom for the duration of the trip - the embarrassment of being left to go alone on the trip was just too much.

What I discovered is that chicklit is literature written mainly by women for women. Many titles include storylines based on work, children, motherhood, friendship, dating, dieting and all sorts of life challenges. The role of humour in chicklit was evident in "What I did on my holidays". Many titles are written from a first person viewpoint, making them very realistic. Although a fun read, Manby's title touched on thought provoking, emotional issues making it a fun but also touching read.

Recommended for a quiet moment when you just want to relax and enjoy a light read.


Cold Days coming to the library soon

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

The fans of Jim Butcher's, New York Times bestselling series "The Dresden Files" have waited a long time for the latest instalment.  Butcher has made excellent use of the time and "Cold Days" is well worth the wait.  It is a cracking 515 page adventure that never falters, and you are left wishing the story would never end.  That sense of longing that you feel at the end of a great read grabs you by the throat on the final page.  We can only hope that Butcher magically brings forth the next instalment in less time.

In this urban fantasy, Chicago's only professional wizard, harry Dresden as risen from the dead.  Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness is instrumental in Harry's escape from death.  There is however a price to be paid and Harry finds himself the latest Winter Knight.  Mab wants Harry to assassinate an immortal and all this has to be done at the same time as preventing the mystical forces from bringing about total world annihilation.

Harry must explain his resurrection and his absence of many months before he can gain the invaluable help of his friends.  All of our favourites such as Butters, Karrin and Molly return to again attempt to save the world.  A particularly memorable scene sees Harry on the back of Karrin's Harley Davidson as he wrests control of the hunt from the Erlking.  To see if Harry and his friends successfully save the world borrow "Cold Days" which is coming very soon to the library.  If you haven't read the other 14 books in this series I would highly recommend starting with the first book of the series, "Storm Front".


January 05, 2013

Book Review - The House on Willow Street by Cathy Kelly

Cathy Kelly returns with 4 intertwined female characters, who go through a pivotal year which takes their lives in a new directions. Set in a small Irish village, the family home for some, a refuge for others, the women find love, comfort and understanding from each other and their community. Spend an engaging hour or two escaping the everyday.