Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rosie Little's Cautionary Tales for Girls by Danielle Wood

Rosie Little's Cautionary Tales for Girls
Danielle Wood
2006, Allen & Unwin, Crow's Nest

A loosely bound collection of short stories dealing with love and loss, growing up and learning life's lessons. 

I loved this book!  It is humorous and often made me smile.  And the words!  The words were beautiful.  Poignant.  Absorbing.  I am sad that it ended.

Link to journal at bookcrossing

Monday, November 26, 2012

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Al Capone Does My Shirts
Gennifer Choldenko
2004, Puffin, New York

This children's book is set on the prison island, Alcatraz, in 1935.  The protagonist, a twelve year old boy named Moose, has recently moved there with his parents (his father works as an electrician and prison guard) and his sister Natalie who has autism.  The story centers around trying to get Natalie into a special school to help with her condition (autism had not been defined in the 1930s).

I picked this up knowing nothing about the story, I just found the title to be intriguing.  It was a very enjoyable read - I like reading about characters with autism and asperges.  The historical aspects really make this book extra special, and it seems as if the author has done a fair bit of research for it (judging by the author's notes at the end).

Link to journal at bookcrossing

Monday, November 19, 2012

Philip Hawley Jr.
2006, 2007, Harper, New York

Part medical-thriller, part boys-own-adventure, Stigma is the story of Dr. Luke McKenna, a pediatric physician and ex-Navy Seal who is thrust into an intrigue of a strange illness in the remote parts of Guatemala and links to his past.

The author is very good at painting a picture with words, and it was easy to get lost in the descriptions. I thought it could have done with a little more medical and a little less boys-own, but that's just probably my own tastes coming through. It's just that the illness he comes up with is terrifying and intriguing, I would have liked to have seen more of a focus on that. Still, it was a satisfying read.

Link to journal at bookcrossing

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Parkland by Victor Kelleher

Victor Kelleher
1994, Puffin, Ringwood

Cassie, Ralph and Boxer are best friends who live in Parkland, a zoo-like enclosure for humans and other apes. After some type of cataclysmic event in the past, humans and apes are now bred in captivity and live out their lives inside Parkland.

This was a little slow to start, but once I got into the story, I really enjoyed it. I like how the characters were flawed, even the heroes of the story - it made the book more three-dimensional.

Link to journal at bookcrossing

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Perchance to Dream: Star Trek: The Next Generation by Howard Weinstein

Perchance to Dream: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Howard Weinstein
1991, Pocket Books, New York

Data, Troi and Wesley are on their way back from a surveying mission when their shuttle is captured by another ship and then disappears in a cloud of colourful energy.

This was an ok story but a little lack-luster.  I liked the idea of the energy creatures and could see this as an actual episode of Trek, albeit a forgettable one.

Link to journal at bookcrossing

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Destiny Makers by George Turner

The Destiny Makers
George Turner
1993, Avon, New York

Set in the future when Earth is over-populated by humans, The Destiny Makers takes a socio-political view at what could be done to solve the over-population issue.

This book made me uncomfortable a number of times - the racism (which is an essential part of the story) is so casual and so seemingly logical that it's just tough to read.  I found it to be very realistic and enjoyed the thought games played out.  It's also great to read some dystopia set in Australia. :)

Link to journal at bookcrossing

Monday, August 6, 2012

Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh: Volume One by Greg Cox

Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh: Volume One
Greg Cox
2001, Pocket Books, New York

 This novel looks at the begins of the Eugenics Wars including the background of Khan Noonien Singh.  It also has a plot about Captain Kirk visiting a planet of genetically engineered human settlers who desire to join the Federation.

A little slow to begin with, but once I got into it, it was amazing.  I really enjoyed that the author put historical facts in it (the sub plot - which is the main portion of the book - takes place between the 1970s and the 1980s), and the book is also full of science-fiction references.  Only problem is, it didn't end!  I need Volume Two!

Link to journal at bookcrossing

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins
2010, Scholastic, London

The final in The Hunger Games trilogy.  Katniss continues the rebellion, working for District 13 in their quest to overthrow the Capitol.

This was an awesome final book.  I love the moral questions Katniss has, it's genuinely thought-provoking - this is a mature book for teenagers.  The ending was sad though. :(

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins
2009, Scholastic, London

The second of The Hunger Games trilogy sees Katniss Everdeen entering a second Hunger Games as the Capitol forces previous winners back into the game.

This book is just as heart-breaking as the first.  I enjoy the increasing tension of Panem and the start of the rebellion.  And that clock-work arena is terrifying!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Various Pets Alive and Dead by Marina Lewycka

Various Pets Alive and Dead
Marina Lewycka
2012, Kindle e-book

Serge is working in stocks in London making lots of money but has to hide his occupation from his ex-commune hippy parents.  This story goes back to those commune days and the present day insanity of his life, and those of his sisters and parents.

The characters in this book are all delightfully insane.  I loved reading about the 1960s commune and how they live in the present day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Quarantine by Greg Egan

Greg Egan
1992, HarperCollins, New York

One night, all the stars in sky go out.  On investigation, it is discovered that a 'bubble' has been placed around the solar system, encasing the Earth with its sun and planetary neighbours.  I can't go into too much more without giving away the plot!

This was amazing - as Egan always is.  Quantum mechanics and neural biology are the main themes.  I LOVED his ideas on eigenstates and the interconnectedness of other worlds. :)  I read this book slowly because it was so good and I wanted to make it last.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
2008, Scholastic, London

Set in the near future, The Hunger Games is a sort of reality TV show devised as a punishment for the rebellion of 13 districts in the nation of Panem. One boy and one girl from each district are put into an arena from which there will be only one survivor.

I had seen the movie recently, so decided to pick up the book. I found the movie had a good premise but was mediocre - the book however, was excellent. It is written in first person, present tense, which normally I don't like, but the author has pulled it off really well.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Garden of the Purple Dragon by Carole Wilkinson

Garden of the Purple Dragon
Carole Wilkinson
2005, Black Dog Books, Fitzroy

This is the second book in the series. Ping is a young imperial dragon keeper who has charge of a baby dragon named Kai. They fight off evil and have adventures.

Aside from a couple of continuity errors, this was excellent! The characters are so well written and the scenery evocative. It was a little slow to start (recapping what had happened in the first book), however, once it got going, I found it hard to put down.

Link to journal at bookcrossing

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange
Anthony Burgess
1962, Penguin, Kindle Edition

Alex is a young delinquent in charge of a gang who beat people up, steal, rape and generally terrorise the populace. When he kills an old lady, he is caught and sent to jail where he is subject to cruel punishment.

This is a little hard to read because of the made-up slang language it is written in, however, it doesn't take long to get used to it and it definitely adds to the story. I thought the story itself was a little lacking in depth, but I can appreciate it for what it is trying to say.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

The Star of Kazan
Eva Ibbotson
2004, MacMillan, London

Annika was abandoned as a baby in a little church in Austria and taken home by servants of a great house in Vienna. Shortly after an old lady leaves Annika a trunk full of fake jewels in her will, Annika's mother - a noble woman - returns to take her home.

This is an interesting children's book. I don't think I've ever read a children's book so full of the history of pre-WWI Europe. It was fascinating to real of the old noble families and the social structures. The story was predictable, but it is only meant for children.

Link to journal at bookcrossing

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Children's Writer by Gary Crew

The Children's Writer
Gary Crew
2009, HarperCollins, Sydney

Charlie, aspiring writer and uni student is living with his partner Lootie, when a favourite childhood author comes into their lives and changes things between them.

I totally bought into the voice of the narrator from the start which often doesn't happen when you know the author, but Charlie is written really, really well. I've so enjoyed being with these people over the last few days, even though the story is not exactly a positive one. Also, I should have seen the end coming, but did not. lol

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
Allison Hoover Bartlett
2009, Kindle Edition

True story of a man who wanted to gain a rare book collection, but didn't have the money. So he took the next logical step - he stole them.

This book just makes me want to collect rare books! I could smell them! I found Gilkey's reasons for stealing to seem really quite immoral and yet make total sense - as a bibliophile.