Posts Tagged ‘Karen Brooks’

So, I’ve done it again. Agreed to be a Clayton’s judge for Qld in the 2012 CBCA Book of the Year Awards.

I’ve gorged on books: eighty-odd were entered in the Older Readers category this year.  The REAL CBCA Shortlist and Notables will be announced nationally on 3 April.

My Clayton’s Notable Books for Older Readers for 2012 is being announced right here, right now (Shortlist to follow… well, shortly).

Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel by Michael Gerard Bauer

Hilarious third and final book in the Ishmael series where our cast of lovable larrikins finish Year 12 at St Daniels. A must for every kid’s library.

Votive (Curse of the Bond Rider #2) by Karen Brooks

Compulsively readable second installment in Karen Brooks’s fantasy trilogy. The gentle candlemaker Tallow has been suborned by the corrupt Maleovellis and transformed into courtesan and assassin Tarlo. The machiavellian intrigues of this beautifully realised world will have you on tenderhooks for the final installment. Bring on Illumination!

Silvermay by James Moloney

The first in James Moloney’s brlliant new fantasy series where a young village girl battles the Wyrdborn, a race of corrupt wizards, to save a baby prophesied to lay waste to the world.

The Dead I Know by Scot Gardner

Gritty yet sensitive tale of a troubled boy apprenticed to a kindly undertaker. A celebration of life in the face of death.

All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield

A difficult-to-put-down, warm and gritty novel about a girl from a rough neighbourhood who is desperate to escape her small-time crim roots. The engaging storyline and characters, fluid narrative and evocative writing make for a fantastic debut novel.

A Pocketful of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson

Deliciously fun geek-girl detective story set in a museum with bonus gross-out natural history trivia wrapped up in a treasury of mystery genre references. Something to nurture your inner nerd. Highly recommended.

The Extinction Gambit (The Extraordinaires, #1) by Michael Pryor

Entertaining romp through a richly re-imagined 1908 London, where magic flourishes, an enclave of Neanderthals survives in hiding, and a wolfish young man and a beautiful albino are all that stand between a trio of Immortal magicians and their plans for world domination. Wry and witty, for those who love their steam punk.

Being Here by Barry Jonsberg

Beautifully told story about the power of imagination. An unlikely friendship develops when an elderly woman relates the grim story of her childhood to a teenage girl for a school assignment. Keep tissues handy for the ending when the ghosts of the past come to claim their own.

Black Painted Fingernails by Steven Herrick

Life and happiness can turn on the toss of a coin. A lovely, affirming story by a writer who keeps coming up with the goods. If you liked Herrick’s last YA novel “Slice”, you’ll love this.

Crow Country by Kate Constable

A time-slip novel exploring black/white relations over three generations in rural Victoria. Deftly weaves Aboriginal spirituality into a magical realist framework. Highly recommended as a class novel for early high school.

The Golden Day by Ursula Dubosarsky

Exquisitely written story about the mysterious disappearance of a teacher from a 1960s girls’ school in Sydney. Haunting and lyrical, with shades of Picnic at Hanging Rock.

The Coming of the Whirlpool by Andrew McGahan

All the hallmarks of a swash-buckling classic from Miles Franklin award-winning author Andrew McGahan. The first instalment in the Ship Kings series brims with adventure, heroism and secrets.

When We Were Two by Robert Newton

Beautiful, funny and deeply moving story set at the start of World War One about runaway brothers marching towards their future. Deftly deals with the best and worst that men can teach boys as they conquer mountains, prejudice and the pain of their shared past.

The Shadow Girl by John Larkin

Thoughtful and edgy story about teenage homelessness. Recommended for upper secondary due to mature themes.

Only Ever Always by Penni Russon

Claire’s world is commonplace and familiar; Clara’s, post-apocalyptic and dangerous. A music box provides the key to their worlds colliding in a shared dreamscape. Fascinating and adventurous in its writing, “Only Ever Always” is for those who love reading to be both challenging and mesmerising.

Shift by Em Bailey

Is the new girl at school a parasite or something far worse? Is she imitating other girls or cannibalizing their lives? A genre-busting, riveting gallop of a read that examines toxic friendship through a more sinister lens.

Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2) by Melina Marchetta

In this mesmerising sequel to Finnikin of the Rock, loyalties are tested and dark bonds of kinship revealed as Lumatere strikes back at the heart of its enemy. Richly imagined, powerful story telling, with characters that will steal your heart.

Pig Boy by J.C. Burke

A confronting and compelling read that confounds expectations. An unlikeable outsider teams up with a Bosnian pig shooter so that he can learn to shoot. But the Wake in Fright elements mask author JC Brennan’s real and more subtle intentions. Impressive story telling.

A Straight Line To My Heart by Bill Condon

“Gungee is an ancient word meaning: this place is a hole.” Join Tiff from Gungee Creek in her funny, poignant and heartfelt tussles with life, death, first love, first job. From one of Australia’s finest writers for young people.

Eona (Eon, #2) by Alison Goodman

Stunning conclusion to the Dragoneye fantasy duology that started with Eon (also published as The Two Pearls of Wisdom). Eastern fantasy with spirit. Highly recommended.

Dangerously Placed by Nansi Kunze

Alex’s dream work experience placement becomes a nightmare when a co-worker is murdered and Alex becomes the prime suspect. A virtual reality thriller for high schoolers.

Just a Girl by Jane Caro

Atmospheric first person account of the young Elizabeth I on the eve of her coronation. A compelling fictionalisation and fascinating glimpse into the life of a great queen when she was just a girl.

Whisper by Chrissie Keighery

A fascinating story of a teenager who becomes profoundly deaf after contracting meningitis. Her attempts to reconcile her hearing and non-hearing worlds make for riveting reading.

Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan

Lanagan’s latest short story collection is beautifully written, mesmerisingly strange, yet oddly familiar. She tilts the world on its axis, we lose our balance and topple into the bizarre. An original and unique voice in Australian literature.

If, like me, you plan to end the year skidding in sideways with a book in each hand, then read on for this year’s hot Xmas pressie ideas for family and friends…

For the Teen Miss, it would be hard to go past Shift by Em BaileyA genre-busting, riveting gallop of a read that examines toxic friendship through a more sinister lens. For me, this is the Young Adult psychological thriller of the year, with a doozy of a cover that booksellers tell me is walking off the shelves.

For tastes that run more to funny and poignant, first job, first love, then get Bill Condon’s A Straight Line to My Heart. All Aussie humour and heart, with cracker dialogue and characters you can’t bear to say goodbye to when the last page is turned.

For the young fella in the house, you can’t go wrong with The Coming of the Whirlpool: Ship Kings 1This new series has all the hallmarks of a swash-buckling classic from Miles Franklin award-winning author Andrew McGahan.  Brimming with adventure, heroism and secrets. A must-buy for boys 12+ this Christmas.

Michael Gerard Bauer’s Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel is a corker of a read for anyone aged 12 and over. In this hilarious third and final novel in the Ishmael series, our cast of lovable larrikins finishes Year 12 at St Daniels. The colourful rejacketed full set will make a terrific addition to any kid’s library.

For the knee-highs, Katherine Battersby’s adorable picture book Squish Rabbit is a winner with a squishy cover as sweet as the gelati palette used in its collaged pages. I have a very special three year old in mind for this one…

Lovers of fantasy are spoilt for choice with wonderful offerings from award-winning authors Melina Marchetta, Karen Brooks, Alison Goodman and James Moloney.

Froi of the Exiles is the riveting sequel to Finnikin of the Rock  and once again proves that Melina Marchetta is gifted with the grace of writing characters who steal your heart. Powerful story telling coupled with a nuanced understanding of human nature creates a richly imagined tale peopled with unforgettable characters. Froi of the Exiles is compulsive reading that will leave you clamouring for the final book in the series.

In Karen Brooks’ Votive, the second in her Curse of the Bond Riders trilogy, the gentle candlemaker Tallow has been suborned by the corrupt Maleovellis and transformed into courtesan and assassin Tarlo. The machiavellian intrigues of this beautifully realised world will have you on tenderhooks for the final installment. Bring on Illumination!

Alison Goodman’s Eona is a stunning conclusion to the Dragoneye fantasy duology that started with Eon (also published as The Two Pearls of Wisdom).

And finally, James Moloney’s new fantasy Silvermay is guaranteed to please his myriad fans with Wyrdborn and common folk fighting over a child destined to destroy the world.

PS I’ve just realised this list is top-heavy with speculative fiction and kids, so next time I’ll post some recommendations for Nana and other significant adults in your lives. ;)

So tell me, what books are on your must-buy list this Christmas?

Many thanks to the lovely Lynn Priestley of Zenquill for passing on The Versatile Blogger Award to me. And thanks to all who find the time to drop by. I’m being good for once and trying to follow…

The Rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award:

2. Share seven things about yourself:

3. Pass this award along to bloggers you have discovered who you think are fantastic for whatever reason:

4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award:

Seven Things About Me:

1. I am disgusting: I let the dog sleep on my husband’s side of the bed when he’s not there.

2. I am secretive: I try to keep this lapse in standards from my husband.

3. I am competitive: my step-daughter says I am the most embarrassing mother in the world, even more embarrassing than her mum, and this has become a source of some pride for me.

4. I am grateful: I have had two novels published and hope to leverage this into a career that will see me into my dotage.

5. I scare easily: My kids boo me for fun.

6. I have regrets: I once threw a bucket of coke over the lady in front of me during a scary scene at the movies.

7. I am shameless: When she turned round to complain, I shushed her and pointed to the screen, just to let her know that some people were trying to watch a movie you know…

Favourite blogs (in no particular order)

The lovely Lynn has already nominated some of my favourites, so I’ll just add a few more of my own that are well worth a visit.

Kate Constable’s Blog

Julia Lawrinson’s Writing in the Margins

Karen Brooks’s Blog

Anthony Eaton’s Musings from an Outer-Spiral-Arm

My Missing Life

Hexebart’s Well

Angela Slatter’s blog

thesimplestgame

Have Chicken, Will Fly.

and of course, Lynn Priestley’s Zenquill.

One of the fringe benefits of being a published author is that one occasionally gets an invite out.

I’ve dusted off my frock for the Gold Coast Literati on 28 and 29 May, and am starting to salivate over the smorgasbord of authorial delights on offer.

First up is the Friday night literary feast – ”a unique chance for an intimate conversation with the Literati -  some of Australia’s most talented and successful authors.’  A three course meal, hot and cold running authors at each table, and Sirromet wines – what’s not to love?

The next day is jam-packed with free author encounters at  the Robina Community Centre. I’ll be there with Belinda Jeffrey talking about our paths to publication in Getting started and breaking through.

The day features a star-studded program that includes international, award-winning, best-selling and critically acclaimed authors including Michael Robotham, Garry Disher, Steven Amsterdam, Marion Halligan, Karen Brooks, John Danalis, Alice Pung, Shane Maloney, Richard Newsome, Matthew Condon, Katherine Howell – I could go on, but there are so many more, you might be better off clicking here for the full program.

Bouquets to Gold Coast Libraries for running the event. Click here for book coasters, a series of light-hearted interviews with many of the featured writers.

For those whose tastes run to the literary, the crime novel to die for this Christmas is Peter Temple’s Truth. The fictional underbelly of the Victorian police, dry as the crackle of eucalypt leaves in the moment before the fireball hits.

A stripped-down, elegant and elliptical story of hard men and violence on both sides of the law, where Truth is a lovely little grey who “won at her second start, won three from twelve, always game, never gave up. She sickened and died in hours, buckled and lay, her sweet eyes forgave them their stupid inability to save her.” This writer, this book, my favourite for 2009.

Fantasy lovers aged from twelve to eleventy-seven will bask in the gorgeous glow of Karen Brooks’ Tallow: “In a world of  darkness, there is one who will bring light.”

In a canel-laced city, a stolen child, the heir to extraordinary powers, is hidden and abused in the candle-maker’s quarter until her emerging powers betray her to those who would use her in their machiavellian games.  Karen Brooks cannot deliver the next in this trilogy fast enough for me.

As a reward for surviving girl schoolyard politics for another year, pamper your teenage miss with the latest Luxe novel by Anna Godbersen. Set in 1899 Manhatten, this is Gossip Girl  in crinolines, replete with bounders and cads,  and sumptuous with scandal and setting.

Then rocket her back into the 21st century with Justine Larbalestier’s Liar … what happens when a compulsive liar decides to tell the truth… or does she? You decide. Guaranteed to keep you up all night reading. And awake the next. Wondering….

Lure teenage boys away from the X-box with Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Post-apocolyptic vision of a world where reality television is an annual kill-or-be-killed event.

My pre-teens will want the latest Emily Rodda, The Battle for Rondo, so I’m not going to fight it. I don’t even want to referee. They’ve read the first two and going by their previous attempts to read the same book at the same time, it could get ugly.

Perhaps I can separate them with a peace offering: Bigands MC, the latest in Robert Muchamore’s Cherub series for the boy-child; and for my girl-child who is about to graduate from primary school, Glenda Millard’s A small free kiss in the dark.

Finally, my non-fiction recommendation for those Dads who stubbornly prefer real life to the inventive pleasures of the novel : Australians by master story teller Thomas Keneally. The first of a three-volume history of Australia with people always centre-stage.

Which books are on your Christmas list this year?