CBCA BILBY Awards – display and voting

BILBY Awards – Display and Student Voting

Each year, the Queensland branch of the CBCA runs the BILBY Awards, where students can nominate and then vote for their favourite book of the year. It is a fantastic opportunity for students to see what other readers in their local area are enjoying, as well as voicing their reading preferences.

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Book Review: Lucy’s Book

Lucy’s Book – Natalie Jane Prior, Cheryl Orsini (ill.) – Lothian – Published 28 February 2017

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Synopsis

LUCY’S BOOK captures that special connection between a child and their favourite book, as well as celebrating the way sharing stories can bring people together.

Lucy’s mum takes her to the library every Saturday. Lucy loves to read, but there is one special book that she borrows over and over again. The book is shared between friends, dropped in the ocean, flown to China and even made into a banana sandwich. But what will happen when everyone’s favourite book goes missing?

My thoughts

Lucy’s Book is a charming and delightful story that perfectly captures that magic moment when a book and a person first meet and change each other forever.

When the librarian hands Lucy a book and says “I think you’ll enjoy this one,” she couldn’t predict what would happen next. It becomes Lucy’s book. Her favourite. The book she wants to reread a hundred times. Lucy borrows it many times, shares it with her friends, takes it on holidays, and then discovers it has been removed from the library shelves. Desperate, Lucy begins a search to find her book.

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Book Review: The Long Game

the-long-game

The Long Game – Jennifer Lynn Barnes – The Fixer #2 – Bloomsbury Children’s – Published 7 June 2016

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Synopsis

The Kendricks help make the problems of the Washington elite disappear…but some secrets won’t stay buried.

For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington, D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate’s campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.

Meanwhile, Tess’s guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can—and cannot—be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she’s about to discover firsthand that power always comes with a price.

My thoughts

Wow. I think this book almost killed me. I’m not sure how I survived the tension, the heartbreak. I think Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ mind must be a very scary place most of the time – absolutely brilliant, but scary.

Wow. Again. I really can’t think of a better way to describe my reaction to this book. Seriously. Wow. Wow. Arhhhhmmbahmsihuggtybi

Deep breath.

Tess is back at school. Life is back to normal, sort of, after she helped uncover a conspiracy within the government, was kidnapped and had her world turned upside down when she learned who her parents really are. She’s back at school and doing what she does best. Fixing things. But when a friend calls in a favour and asks Tess to help her win the school president elections, Tess starts to uncover a very serious chain of events that are linked to the real president’s mid-term elections. Things get deadly, fast.

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Book Review: Can’t Help Falling

Can't Help Falling

Can’t Help Falling – Kara Isaac – Howard Books – Published 11 October 2016

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Synopsis

A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England.

Emelia Mason has spent her career finding the dirt on the rich and famous. But deep down past this fearless tabloid-reporter façade, there’s a nerdy Narnia-obsessed girl who still can’t resist climbing into wardrobes to check for the magical land on the other side. When a story she writes produces tragic results, she flees to Oxford, England—home to C.S. Lewis—to try and make amends for the damage she has caused.

Peter Carlisle was on his way to become one of Great Britain’s best rowers—until he injured his shoulder and lost his chance at glory. He’s determined to fight his way back to the top even if it means risking permanent disability to do so. It’s the only way he can find his way past failing the one person who never stopped believing in his Olympic dream.

When Peter and Emelia cross paths on her first night in Oxford, the attraction is instant and they find common ground in their shared love of Narnia. But can the lessons from a fantasyland be enough to hold them together when secrets of the real world threaten to tear them apart? Cobblestone streets, an aristocratic estate, and an antique shop with curious a wardrobe bring the world of Narnia to life in Kara Isaac’s inspiring and romantic story about second chances.

My thoughts

A truly magical story. From the cover and the title to the summary and the fact that I absolutely adored Close To You, I just knew that I was going to love Can’t Help Falling. And I was right, because this book is fantastic.

Emelia longs for a second chance. She has moved to England, left her old life behind and intends to make restitution for her past. But she doesn’t expect it to be so hard and when hiding in an antique wardrobe she happens to meet Peter Carlisle. As they continue to meet, they cannot deny their attraction, but the secrets of Emelia’s past may prevent a future between them.

This book might start with a teacup, an antique shop and a wardrobe, but there is so much more to this story. Can’t Help Falling has a magical quality, much like pushing through the coats at the back of the wardrobe and finding yourself in a magical wood. There are a number of Narnia quotes and references in this book, as to be expected, but even someone who has only seen the movies or has a faint idea of Narnia will understand and love this book. And, of course, the avid Narnia-obsessed reader will adore the way this story is steeped in all things Narnia. Then there is the romance. Beautiful, complicated, meant-to-be, irresistible, sparks-flying romance. It weaves through all the other details to bring together this story of family, second chances, friendship and the rough and tragic sides of life. 

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Book Review: Clear To Lift

Clear To Lift

Clear To Lift – Anne A. Wilson – Forge Books – Published 12 July 2016

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Synopsis

Navy helicopter pilot Lt. Alison Malone has been assigned to a search and rescue team based at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, near the rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada, and far from her former elite H-60 squadron. A rule follower by nature, Alison is exasperated and outraged every time she flies with her mission commander, “Boomer” Marks, for whom military procedures are merely a suggestion. Alison is desperate to be transferred out of the boonies, where careers stagnate, and back to her life and fiancé in San Diego.

Alison’s defenses start to slip when she meets mountain guide Will Cavanaugh during a particularly dicey mission. Will introduces her to a wild, beautiful world of adventure that she has never known before. Stranded on a mountain during a sudden dangerous blizzard, Alison questions every truth she thought she knew about herself. When Will braves the storm to save her life, she must confront the fact that she has been living a lie. But is it too late to change course?

My thoughts

Set amongst the beautiful Sierra Nevada landscape, Clear To Lift is a compelling story of adventure, love, family and self-discovery. The tension, both romantic and life-and-death-danger, leaps off the page, drawing you into this epic story. It is unforgettable, addictive and just so much fun! With vibrant characters, a strong and relatable heroine, blizzards, storms, unexploded bombs, a gorgeous Labrador search and rescue dog, doughnuts and a very ruggedly handsome mountain guide, this book has everything I needed to make it unputdownable. I loved it.

I’ve got to say I was a little worried that Clear To Lift wouldn’t live up to the very high expectations that reading Hover, Anne A. Wilson’s first book, created. I shouldn’t have worried. Clear To Lift met all those expectations and more. I was biting my nails after the danger-laden first chapter and couldn’t wipe the grin off my face after the second. I love the world that Wilson creates. The team banter and comradery, the tension during a mission, and the times they let off steam is all so real you feel like you are strapped into the H-1 helicopter right along with the crew.    Continue reading

Book Review: Walk The Edge

Walk The Edge

Walk the Edge – Katie McGarry – Thunder Road #2 – Harlequin Teen – Published 29 March 2016

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Synopsis

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.

My thoughts

As always there are never enough words to describe the supreme brilliance of Katie McGarry’s writing, and Walk The Edge lives up to every one of my expectations. I could wax poetic about the loveable, complicated characters. Or maybe swoon about the romance that is so captivating and potent it had my heart trying to leave home. Or would you rather hear about the way you are dragged into the story, a participant in every low and high the characters experience, so much so that I read the majority of this book even when I had a pounding headache and through squinted eyes, all so I didn’t have to put it down. And if that’s not enough to convince you to read this book, and if you’re not swayed by mysteries and thrills that wind you in knots, then all I can say is this is a story of choosing your family, learning to find that place you belong, standing up for what’s right, being brave and falling in love. There are kisses so electric my hair stood on end, heartbreak and second chances.     Continue reading

Book Review: You’re The One That I Want

You're The One That I Want

You’re The One That I Want – Susan May Warren – Christiansen Family # 6 – Tyndale – Published 1 February 2016

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Synopsis

Owen Christiansen has been in a downward spiral since an injury ended his NHL career. But a job on an Alaskan crabbing boat offers a fresh start . . . maybe even a shot at romance with Elise “Scotty” McFlynn, the captain’s daughter.

Used to being one of the guys, to never relying on anyone, Scotty doesn’t believe in happily ever after―especially with someone like Owen. Her instinct is confirmed when Casper Christiansen arrives to drag his prodigal brother home, bringing with him a truckload of family drama―and even worse, the news that Casper is wanted for questioning in connection to a crime back in Minnesota.

But Owen is more than the sum of his mistakes, a truth both he and Scotty discover when she escorts both brothers to Deep Haven as part of her new job on the Anchorage police force. Thrust into an unfamiliar world of family, faith, and fresh starts, Scotty begins to see potential for a happy ending . . . if she’s brave enough to embrace it.

My thoughts

This is a long review because I can’t contain my love for this book. I was giddy to start reading this book and wasn’t let down by a single page. I loved every minute of it. Romance, action, family drama of the best kind, returning to Deep Haven and the Christiansen clan, humour and a toe-curling whirlwind kind of joy that comes from beautiful writing and a touching and heartfelt story. I’m not sure how to adequately express my absolute love for this book, these characters and this whole series, but you get that I loved it, right?

This is Owen’s story. The last in the Christiansen series, the last of the Christiansen siblings. I have been waiting for Owen’s story with much anticipation and the bittersweet mix that comes with continuing the Christiansens’ story and the conclusion of the series.  Continue reading

Book Review: Night Study

9781760371784

Night Study – Maria V. Synder – Soulfinders #2, Study #5 – Harlequin Teen/Mira – Published 25 January 2016

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Synopsis

Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana’s life has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.

Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he’s quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he’s been keeping secrets from Valek…secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander’s mysterious plans, they realise it’s far more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

My thoughts

Epic, heart-stopping and so much fun, this next instalment in the Study series is just as awesome as all the other Study books, and yet the romance, tension and plots just keep building.

Night Study picks up exactly where Shadow Study left off with Yelena revealing her big news to Valek. Yelana still does not have her magic and the danger in both Ixia and Sitia is mounting. It is up to Valek, Yelana and their friends to uncover the extent of what threatens their futures.

Rejoining Valek and Yelana is like slipping under a cozy, familiar blanket. But there is nothing relaxing about this book. Tense moments follow action scenes, broken up by sweet moments between our favourite heartmates and playful banter between Janco and anyone who dares to engage him.   Continue reading

Book Review: All In

All In

All In – Jennifer Lynn Barnes – The Naturals #3 – Disney-Hyperion – Published 3 November 2015

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Synopsis

Three casinos. Three bodies. Three days.

After a string of brutal murders in Las Vegas, Cassie Hobbes and the Naturals are called in to investigate. But even with the team’s unique profiling talents, these murders seem baffling: unlike many serial killers, this one uses different methods every time. All of the victims were killed in public, yet the killer does not show up on any tape. And each victim has a string of numbers tattooed on their wrist. Hidden in the numbers is a code—and the closer the Naturals come to unraveling the mystery, the more perilous the case becomes.

Meanwhile, Cassie is dealing with an equally dangerous and much more painful mystery. For the first time in years, there’s been a break in her mother’s case. As personal issues and tensions between the team mount, Cassie and the Naturals will be faced with impossible odds—and impossible choices.

My thoughts

Awesome. Breathtaking. Amazing. Wow. This book. There are no words. I’ve loved the previous two books in the series but this one just totally blew them both away. It’s clever and fun and chilling. And there’s going to be a fourth book (at least there better be!!!!!!!!).

I love returning to the Naturals. I love the characters, from troubled but irresistible Dean, snarky and always about to cause some mayhem Lia, Michael who wears a mask and play acts to hide his hurt, and Sloane who statistic babbles and yet so very clearly reveals her desire to be needed, wanted. And of course Cassie. Cassie, who is always trying to look out for her fellow Naturals and cope with the reopening of her mother’s case, all while trying her best to solve this latest crime.
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Book Review: Losers Take All

Losers Take All

Losers Take All – David Klass – Farrar, Straus and Giroux – Published 20 October 2015

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Synopsis

At Jack Logan’s sports-crazy New Jersey high school, the new rule is that all kids must play on a team. So Jack and a ragtag group of anti-athletic friends decide to get even. They are going to start a rebel JV soccer team whose mission is to avoid victory at any cost, setting out to secretly undermine the jock culture of the school. But as the team’s losing formula becomes increasingly successful at attracting fans and attention, Jack and his teammates are winning in ways they never expected—and don’t know how to handle.

My thoughts

Losers Take All is absolutely hilarious. If you love sport or hate it (or even sit somewhere in between) you will love this book. This is for all the people who sit and watch while others take the “glory” of the big win. Or maybe it’s for those who have been burnt by sport, seen the darker side of competition. Whatever their story, readers will love this fun-for-all, take-no-prisoners tale of friendship, family, high school and sport. I dare you to read it and not break into side-splitting laughter.

Jack’s school is known for its dominance in sport, particularly football. But things go a bit far when a new school rule is introduced: all students must join a sports team. Jack and his friends, along with a band of althetically challenged misfits, create a c-grade, co-ed soccer team. Their goal is not to win but simply be true to themselves, and maybe survive this school term without major injury. But no one is more surprised than the team when their style becomes an internet sensation and sparks a mini revolution against sport-based violence and bullying.

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