Monday, 30 November 2015

Hot summer reads

Choosing your summer read requires a quick mood check: Do you want something light and inspirational or serious and engaging?

Casey Stoner: Pushing the Limits | Casey Stoner

PUSHING THE LIMITS is a distinctive and amazing account of self-sacrifice and determination to a goal against the odds. This is an inspiring and motivational story of a young Australian, Casey Stoner who is two-time World MotoGP champion.

Casey Stoner's story is an unbelievable journey in both life and racing. One thing I have observed in this book is that Stoner doesn’t like to give up easily. Even though he has had so many tough times, setbacks, injuries, pain,frustration and disappointments along the way, the determination was there. And that is the kind of sign you will only see in a great winner. When talent meets talent, I think it is determination and the mental approach that counts.

Passionately, he tells of his highs and lows in his life; winning two MotoGP championships, the sacrifices his family made so he could race, his battle with illness, rider’s hierarchy etc. He tells about his wife Adriana and their first baby Allessandra Stoner. Also explaining about Mr. Macro Simoncelli who was killed in a crash at the Malaysian MotoGP in 2011.

Anyone who reads this book will walk away inspired. His passion is contagious and that's an excellent thing. An excellent and a must read for everyone.

Laurinda | Alice Pung

LAURINDA by Alice Pung, is an interesting, not always enjoyable novel. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely recommend it, and I guarantee you will want to get to the end to see what happens. It’s just that Alice Pung is such a talented word wizard. Her vivid description of bullying and the effects it has on teenagers is, at times, difficult to handle. That being said, it’s an important read, especially for teenagers and ESPECIALLY for anyone involved in bullying – as perpetrator or victim.

Lucy Lam is our working-class heroine, coming from a Chinese-Vietnamese family that works hard to put her through school. When she receives a scholarship to an exclusive private girls school (the titular Laurinda), she finds herself mixing with a vastly different socioeconomic class, one that comes with privilege, wealth, and quite a lot of judgment. Through Lucy’s eyes we see the volatile dynamics of the school environment play out – students ruling over students and students ruling over teachers. Vile acts of bullying go largely unpunished when the girls involved are the daughters of powerful ex-pupils with large amounts of money. Lucy has to decide what is best for her – should she keep her head down and try to survive the school year? Or should she respond to the injustice, and in doing so, learn more about herself and what she is capable of?

Looking for Alibrandi meets Mean Girls; Laurinda represents an important experience in the Australian narrative. Fans of Australian young adult stories will appreciate this rich novel and anyone who has ever been to high school will no doubt recognize the risks and pitfalls of that environment. I look forward to Alice Pung’s next novel with great anticipation!

Friday Brown | Vikki Wakefield

Wakefield writes with a grit and passion that makes the ugliest parts of life somehow beautiful in print. Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run - running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who'd like her to stay. She's lost, alone and afraid. Silence, a street kid, finds Friday and she joins him in a gang led by beautiful, charismatic Arden. When Silence is involved in a crime, the gang escapes to a ghost town in the outback. In Murungal Creek, the town of never leaving, Friday must face the ghosts of her past. She will learn that sometimes you have to stay to finish what you started - and often, before you can find out who you are, you have to become someone you were never meant to be.

FRIDAY BROWN makes the reader nostalgic for a life they’ve never lived, and Friday and the people in her life will stay in your head long after the last page. Vikki Wakefield is definitely a writer to watch.

The Intern | Gabrielle Tozer

THE INTERN is simply wonderful and Josie is one of the most practical and fascinating characters I’ve ever read. Josie is a hardworking and intelligent young girl, she is bit shy and have a lack of life experience. Her dream is to become a world renowned newspaper journalist; she has worked hard in school and university to reach her dreams. She was allocated an internship to a Fashion Magazine Sash, which was very unexpected.

Struggling through her first days at Sash, she makes the best out of an odd situation. Making friends and enemies, she strives to achieve the best grade and she won the best intern award $5k. She did spend this money for her fashion hungry teenage sister and her mother who is still trying to get over their father walking out on them.

Josie was caring, hilarious, down to earth and so easily relatable. She was quite responsible despite always finding herself in embarrassing situations. She built a good relationship with Steph, Tim and James who were very supportive and welcoming.

I would recommend The Intern for those who look for fun, light and humorous read.

Fangirl | Rainbow Rowell

FANGIRL is a fairly straightforward story. It’s very real, fresh and exciting and fun story. Cath and her twin sister Wren are starting their college life. Since they were kids both are big fan of Simon Snow series. For Cath, being a fan is her life and she is really good at it. Each of them finds their own way. They make friends, boyfriends and work hard. Cath is a shy and introvert girl and she spend most of her time writing fan fiction for a book series about a boy magician named Simon Snow and she has thousands of passionate followers who read her award winning fan fiction on a daily basis on the internet.

Wren distances herself from Cath, professes to have outgrown fan fiction and Simon Snow, and goes out drinking and dancing with her roommate almost every night. Meanwhile, Cath is more interested in her Fiction-Writing Class. The professor is very impressed with her writing, plus Cath finds a writing partner and friend Nick, who she meets with weekly for writing sessions. However, Cath suffers an emotional and academic setback when the professor gives Cath for writing a fan fiction story for a class assignment, as she considers this to be plagiarism.

Cath becomes very stressed and reaches a point of giving up on school, on Wren, and on the complicated relationships she has forged at school with Reagan, Nick, Levi, and her Fiction-Writing professor. However, she decides to continue and starts to learn to deal with her various problems.

Can Cath make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the construction of meaning in practice.


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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Prime Minister’s Literary Awards - Shortlist

On Monday the 23rd of October, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball announced the shortlist for the 2015 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. The awards recognise exceptional literary achievement by Australian writers in fiction, non-fiction, young adult fiction, children’s fiction, poetry and Australian history. The winner of each category will receive $80,000 in prize money and all the shortlisted writers will receive $5,000.

Here are the shortlisted titles for Adult, Young Adult and Junior fiction:

Amnesia | Peter Carey
In Certain Circles | Elizabeth Harrower
Golden Boys | Sonya Hartnett
The Golden Age | Joan London
To Name Those Lost | Rohan Wilson

Young Adult:
Are You Seeing Me? | Darren Groth
The Astrologer’s Daughter | Rebecca Lim
Tigers on the Beach | Doug MacLeod
The Minnow | Diana Sweeney
The Protected | Claire Zorn

Two Wolves | Tristan Bancks
My Two Blankets | Irene Kobald
My Dad is a Bear | Nicola Connelly
One Minute’s Silence | David Metzenthen
Withering-by-Sea | Judith Rossell

Visit the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards website to see the full list of shortlisted titles.


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Dead Tracks by Tim Weaver

If you love a good mystery with a handsome but lost hero, an evil madman and lots of twists and turns, The Dead tracks is for you.

Troubled ex-journalist and missing persons investigator, David Raker is hired by the parents of missing seventeen year old, Megan Carver. Meagan is an unlikely runaway, no boyfriend and a happy straight A student but she’s been missing for six months and the police say they have no further leads. In fact, the police seem to be hiding something and David’s getting in their way.

Despite being falsely implicated in Megan’s disappearance, the investigation leads Raker to a place with a horrifying history of brutal serial murder and missing girls known as the Dead Tracks. Could the long dead serial murderer have come back from the grave? How many girls are actually missing? Will Raker find Megan in time or is she already dead?

This is heart racing mystery at its best.


You can borrow this title in fiction, large print or audiobook format. Just click on the cover image to place your hold.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swenson is a bakery owner and amateur sleuth from Lake Eden, Minnesota. In this story she, along with her many sisters, mother and friends, solve a murder mystery involving the Cinnamon Roll Six, a jazz band lead by a legendary artist Buddy Neiman. There are two deaths in this story, one happening on a snow covered highway and the other in the local hospital.

The story unfolds in a most delightful and charming manner along with a good mixture of humour, describing the death scenes with graphic but not overly morbid clarity. Joanne creates wonderful settings for the many scenes and adventures that happen in this tale. The story intertwines the dramas within Hannah's personal life mixed in with the solving of the two deaths.

A bonus for reading this book is that it contains many references to bakery delicacies' served at her shop, along with the actual recipe and cooking instruction, a must read for the sweet toothed reader.

This is a tastefully good mystery read and I would highly recommend it to anyone. The Cinnamon roll murder is book 15 of the Hannah Swenson series.


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Thursday, 19 November 2015

What’s not to love? (or the top 10 most popular romance novels for November)

Ah, the romance novel. It has the strange distinction of being the most popular but least respected genre of the literary world. I myself love a good romance novel. Sure, the plot generally remains the same but there are a lot of popular renowned fiction authors (who shall remain nameless) who consistently churn out book after formulaic book. I promise you, once you delve into the world of the romance novel you’ll never look back.

Need more convincing? Here are three reasons you should pick up a romance novel:
• a well written romance can pull you into the story and fire up your imagination
• there are so many different genres within the romance genre itself (they’re not all about vampires and werewolves you know)
• and most importantly; there is always, always a happy ending (who doesn’t love that?).

Here’s a list of the most popular romance novels read by our borrowers in November. The list is in reverse order with number 1 being the most loved title.

10. Earth Bound | Christine Feehan
9. The professional | Kresley Cole
8. Dangerous joy | Jo Beverley
7. A shocking delight | Jo Beverley
6. Wolf with benefits | Shelley Laureston
5. With this kiss | Janet Dailey
4. There all along | Lauren Dane
3. Stormy persuasion | Johanna Lindsey
2. Dark Skye | Kresley Cole
1. The hero | Robyn Carr

This list is a perfect example of the many sub genres offered up by romance authors. Included here are contemporary, erotic, historical, regency and paranormal romances.

Go on, reserve a copy. You know you want to!


Monday, 16 November 2015

Unusual Uses for Olive Oil By Alexander McCall Smith

When I first saw this book sitting on the display shelf at Dandenong Library I had no idea what to expect. But as I started to turn the pages I realised that it was quite mad. Yes, it was crazily entertaining in a madcap kind of way. It’s a curious and comical book written in colourful language and filled with many light hearted and funny anecdotes.

First of all there is the central character, the pompous Professor Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, a Philologist who works at an institute in Germany. His equally strange colleagues include the professor’s arch rival, Detlev Amadeus Unterholzer along with Herr Huber, a babbling librarian. The constant ramblings of the librarian whenever he is addressed could only make me smile.

Then there is a time in the tale, when Professor von Igelfeld, being an eligible single man, is invited to a friend’s house to be introduced to a certain lady of high standing, with the view to a possible courtship. It is only after he arrives for the intimate dinner party that the foolhardy professor discovers that moths have got to his suit and that there are gaping holes in the back of his jacket and trousers. The reader will certainly begin to giggle at Professor Igefeld’s blundering attempts to conceal his dilemma during the evening.

As he stumbles on through further mishaps and as the witty innuendos unravel, you will no doubt continue to chuckle. And surely you will end up laughing uproariously in some of the more absurd moments!

The story is presented by Alexander McCall Smith in his inimitable style but is written quite differently to his more famous series, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency for which he is better known. Whilst a little slow at the start, it soon draws you in and captivates the reader with the ridiculous scenarios that the various eccentric characters find themselves caught up in.

If you enjoy this book you would probably like others in this series by McCall Smith, such as Portuguese Irregular Verbs which also stars Professor von Igelfeld.

Unusual Uses for Olive Oil is such an insane and riotous work, I laughed ‘til I cried.


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Friday, 13 November 2015

New fiction titles for November

Looking for something new to sink your teeth into? Check out these new and upcoming fiction releases for November.

Heart and home Lyn Andrews
Sage’s eyes Virginia Andrews
Desperate measures Jo Bannister
House of dreams Fanny Blake
House of the rising sun James Lee Burke
St. Tropez lonely hearts club Joan Collins
That empty feeling Peter Corris
Promise Robert Crais
Wild cat Christine Feehan
Painted smile Frances Fyfield
Warheart Terry Goodkind
Chelsea strangler Susanna Gregory
Visitors book Sophie Hannah
Bitter season Tami Hoag
After she’s gone Lisa Jackson
Ashley Bell Dean Koontz
Secret sisters Jayne Ann Krentz
Lady’s command Stephanie Laurens
In the dark cold ground Stuart MacBride
Chocolate lovers’ wedding Carole Matthews
Coffin Road Peter May
Revelation code Andy McDermott
Rain dogs Adrian McKinty
On the bone Barbara Nadel
Little red chairs Edna O’Brien
Fairbairn fortunes Una-Mary Parker
Private Paris James Patterson
Constable on trial Nicholas Rhea
Friends of the dusk Phil Rickman
Chasing destiny Nora Roberts
Deathlist Chris Ryan
Precious gifts Danielle Steel
Sun in her eyes Paige Toon

Simply click on your chosen title/s to place your hold

Happy reading!


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Must read Australian YA novels

Read on to find out more of the newest and hottest books for teens that are causing a racket among Young Adult novel fans from all over Australia.
#LoveOzYA is a grassroots social media campaign to promote Australian YA novels.

If you loved…
The Hunger Games try Sky so heavy
The Fault In Our Stars try Zac & Mia
Mortal Instruments try Mercy

Sky so heavy | Claire Zorn
The Sky so heavy is Zorn’s take on a post-apocalyptic world, and the struggles faced by those who seek to survive the initial madness that comes from society’s collapse. Fin, the average teenager, gradually evolves from high school bully to a leader and survivor, one who wrestles with the dilemma of how far an individual can go in the quest for survival and the protection of those they love while retaining their humanity.

Zac & Mia | A.J. Betts
Zac and Mia is an unpretentious novel exploring the effects of cancer in the lives of two young people. Written with subtlety and a gentleness of spirit that lingers with the reader long after the final page.

Mercy | Rebecca Lim
On the surface, Mercy appears to be another paranormal romance for young adults. Further exploration yields a more complex narrative, exploring themes of compassion, free will and identity. Mercy is another being, perhaps angel, who moves from human to human, taking over their lives for a time. In her present life, she develops a friendship with Ryan, joining him in his search for his twin sister, who went missing two years ago. The first instalment to the series, Mercy will appeal to both the paranormal reader, and those interested in something suspenseful


Monday, 9 November 2015

New eBooks and eAudio available now on BorrowBox

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms | George R. R. Martin - eBook
Before Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne there was Dunk and Egg. A young, naïve but courageous hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall towers above his rivals—in stature if not experience. Tagging along with him is his diminutive squire, a boy called Egg—whose true identity must be hidden from all he and Dunk encounter: for in reality he is Aegon Targaryen, and one day he will be king. Improbable heroes though they be, great destinies lay ahead for Dunk and Egg; as do powerful foes, royal intrigue, and outrageous exploits.

The Lake House | Kate Morton - eAudio & eBook
A missing child… An abandoned house… An unsolved mystery…
June 1933, and the Edevane family’s country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party. Alice Edevane, sixteen years old and a budding writer, is especially excited. Not only has she worked out the perfect twist for her novel, she’s also fallen helplessly in love with someone she shouldn’t have. But by the time midnight strikes and fireworks light up the night skies, the Edevane family will have suffered a loss so great that they leave Loeanneth forever. Seventy years later, after a particularly troubling case, Sadie Sparrow is sent on an enforced break from her job with the Metropolitan Police.

The Mountain Shadow | Gregory David Roberts - eBook
The end of the eighties was the beginning of everything. The Berlin wall fell on a ruined empire, and the Taliban took Afghanistan. Lin, on the run after escaping from prison in Australia, working as a passport forger for a Bombay mafia gang, finds himself standing on a tattered corner of a bloody carpet that would soon cover most of the world. But he can’t leave the Island City: not without Karla.
Two years after the events in Shantaram, Bombay is a different world, playing by different rules. Lin’s search for love and faith leads him through secret and violent intrigues to the dangerous truth.

The Crossing | Michael Connelly - eBook
Six months ago, Harry Bosch left the LAPD before they could fire him, and then hired his half-brother, the maverick Defence Attorney Mickey Haller to sue the department for forcing him out. Although it wasn’t the way he wanted to go, Bosch has to admit that being out of the game has its benefits.

Island Home | Tim Winton - eAudio
For over thirty years, Winton has written novels in which the natural world is as much a living presence as any character. What is true
of his work is also true of his life: from boyhood, his relationship with the world around him – rockpools, seacaves, scrub and swamp – was as vital as any other connection. Winton has felt the place seep into him, with its rhythms, its dangers, its strange sustenance, and learned to see landscape as a living process.

Grandpa’s Great Escape | David Walliams - eBook
Jack’s Grandpa… Wears his slippers to the supermarket, serves up Spam à la Custard for dinner and often doesn’t remember Jack’s name. But he can still take to the skies in a speeding Spitfire and save the day… An exquisite portrait of the bond between
a small boy and his beloved Grandpa – this book takes readers on an incredible journey with Spitfires over London and Great Escapes through the city in a high octane adventure full of comedy and heart.

These BorrowBox titles can be downloaded directly to your mobile device through BorrowBox iTunes & Android App. To download your free App just visit the Apple App Store or Google Play Store via this link. If you require help or more information, please speak with our friendly library staff at Dandenong or Springvale Library.


Friday, 6 November 2015

A Sequel to The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s nest!! – Wow!

Who read and enjoyed the Millenium series by Stieg Larsson and wondered if there would ever be another sequel?? Well now there is. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz.

Well worth getting hold of this. Although it is not Larsson, Lagercrantz manages to light the fire. Once again we meet Mikael Blomkvist and his renewed connection with Lisbeth Salander . Just when Blomkvist and Millenium are seeking a much need boost a violent conspiracy relating to artificial intelligence is unleashed by Swedish scientist, Professor Balder.

Read the whole novel in a couple of days and couldn’t put it down. A long time since I have found a book that held my attention to the detriment of all else!

Please have a read and tell us if you have also enjoyed this read.


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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Smouldering in Cornwall - Poldark Series One DVD

This eagerly anticipated new BBC costume drama is based on the historical novels by Winston Graham (there are 12 in total). The series has been much hyped due to its brooding male lead, Irish actor Aidan Turner and so popular that season two is already in production.

The first series opens in 1783 with Ross Poldark’s return to Cornwall from the American Revolutionary War; he is war wounded and finds his circumstances changed. Poldark’s father died in his absence, leaving his land and mine derelict and even his servants have taken over the master’s bedroom. In another blow, Poldark reunites with his Uncle’s family to discover that his cousin is newly engaged to his sweetheart, Elizabeth. Could things get any worse?

Instead of packing up his bags and running away to London, Poldark is determined to start again and rebuild his mine up from scratch. He finds loyal supporters among the local community and his father’s old employees. Along the way he takes in Demelza, a young girl who has fallen on hard times and her beloved dog. Eleanor Tomlinson plays Demelza with exactly the right mixture of feistiness and warmth. While the series focuses on Poldark and his family, the mines and struggles of its workers are always in the background. As well as the Poldark’s tense relations with the self made Warleggans.

One of the other standouts alongside its superb acting is the beauty of the Cornish countryside. The only drawback is the long wait until April for the next season.


Click on the DVD cover to place your hold