What’s your inspirational word for 2019?

To be honest, I’m about as good at keeping New Year’s resolutions as I am at going into Kmart and only buying one thing, which is to say I am CRAP at it. But choosing a word or two as my theme for the year? That I can do!

I’ve seen this idea around a lot of awesome places, most notably in Jen Storer’s writing group on Facebook, The Duck Pond, and the Australian Writers’ Centre blog. Of course I got the ‘bird is the word’ song stuck in my head first (you are welcome for the earworm). But then I decided on two words for the year: Continue reading “What’s your inspirational word for 2019?”

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My top 20 books of 2018

Originally this was going to be a top 10 but I read way too many awesome books this year and didn’t want to have a knockout round a la The Voice. Some books were published prior to 2018, but they were new to me this year (mainly because my book buying habit can’t be tamed, so I end up stockpiling novels to swim through a la Scrooge McDuck and his money vault).

Favourite children’s books I read in 2018

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The A-Z highlights of why you should read ‘Lenny’s Book of Everything’ by Karen Foxlee

Volumes A to H

Author appreciation – This is the first book I’ve read by Aussie author Karen Foxlee and I’m equal parts kicking myself for not being aware of her brilliance sooner, but also quite excited to realise that along with Lenny’s Book of Everything, Karen has published four other novels. (Dear Santa, I know what I want for Christmas…)

Lenny 01

Beautiful story – Lenny’s brother, Davey, has a rare form of gigantism. At age seven he’s already the size of an adult and his growth shows no signs of stopping. Lenny loves her younger brother, but it’s sometimes hard to grapple with the emotional gravity of their lives.

One thing Lenny and Davey look forward to arriving each week is the latest intriguing instalment of Burrell’s Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia, which allows them to become experts on topics such as beetles and eagles, and dream about the places they can visit one day. But the window for adventure becomes smaller as Davey becomes bigger and his health deteriorates, much to his family’s distress.

Family dynamics – Even though Lenny knows Davey is going through a lot, she still has her realistic moments where she gets utterly fed up with him (and vice versa).

Continue reading “The A-Z highlights of why you should read ‘Lenny’s Book of Everything’ by Karen Foxlee”

3 reasons why ‘The Elephant’ by Peter Carnavas is such a beautiful book

There were definitely tears shed when I read this story, but they weren’t just tears of sadness. They were tears of hope, nostalgia and understanding. And don’t even get me started on the wonderful kapow! to the heart the second-last chapter provided (#NoSpoilers). But above all, ‘The Elephant‘ is a great insight into how a young girl deals with issues of depression and grief that have impacted her family.

The Elephant 01

Olive’s dad has been feeling sad for so long that she has begun to imagine his sorrow is in the shape of an elephant. The big, foreboding creature lumbers behind her father and shows no sign of moving on. One day Olive decides she needs to get rid of her dad’s elephant and enlists the help of her Grandad and her best friend, Arthur. But igniting happiness in her dad again and chasing away the elephant may be harder than Olive thought.

From the premise it’s clear that Olive has a special connection with her father, but the story that captured my heart just as much was the connection between Olive and her Grandad.

Continue reading “3 reasons why ‘The Elephant’ by Peter Carnavas is such a beautiful book”

The Writing Alphabet – D

Dun, dun, dunnnnnnn! And now for the Top 10 writing-related words that begin with D.

01. DARLINGS (KILL YOUR)
No, this isn’t a vicious murder plot whispered into Peter Pan’s ear by Tinker Bell. It’s where you agonise about deleting things from your manuscript that you love (but then go on to save everything in a file titled ‘USE THIS SOMEWHERE ELSE MAYBE???’).

02. DEADLINE
No, this isn’t a vicious murder plot where the movie A Chorus Line becomes a horror film. It’s something to sweat over when you tell yourself you love having a time limit to work towards and then panic-write up until the due date.

03. DEDICATION
No, this isn’t a vicious… Okay, that’s enough dedication to that joke. But this can also be a nice note where you dedicate your book to someone special, or you just give your readers some really solid inspiration:

Letter D 01

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3 reasons why you should read Adam Cece’s MG novel ‘The Extremely Weird Thing That Happened in Huggabie Falls’

I mean, that book title alone is a pretty good reason to have a read – unless you’re already neighbours with The Addams Family and you’re like, ‘Nope, got enough weirdness for my lifetime, thanks.’ It also won the Text Prize in 2017, which is pretty cool. But let me set the scene for you…

Huggabie 01

School friends Kipp Kindle, Cymphany Chan and Tobias Treachery live in Huggabie Falls, the weirdest town on Earth. There you can find witches, vampire bats, trolls and a house built onto a roller coaster, but all of these weird things pale in comparison to the extremely weird thing that’s happening in town. The kids don’t know what it is yet, but they’re determined to find out.

What’s really fun about this book is that the narrator has such a big presence throughout.

Continue reading “3 reasons why you should read Adam Cece’s MG novel ‘The Extremely Weird Thing That Happened in Huggabie Falls’”

My 3 favourite things about Mat Larkin’s MG novel ‘The Orchard Underground’

Do you ever finish reading a book and get the urge to hold it aloft, presenting it to the world Lion King style for everyone to enjoy because you loved it that much? Well that was me with Mat Larkin‘s quirky and engaging middle grade novel The Orchard Underground.

Orchard 01

Pri Kohli has lived in Dunn’s Orchard all his life, he’s even ‘the face’ of the town. But when newcomer Attica Stone arrives on the scene and starts asking questions – mainly ‘Why is there a distinct lack of orchards in a place called Dunn’s Orchard?’ – Pri realises his town holds more mysteries than he thought, and thus a reluctant detective was born.

Firstly, this book is incredibly funny. I legitimately snorted out loud like an over-excited seal more than once (#glamour).

Continue reading “My 3 favourite things about Mat Larkin’s MG novel ‘The Orchard Underground’”