Monday, 31 July 2017

Sun and moon sisters by Khoa Le

Sun and moon sisters is a beautiful illustrated picture book that tells the story about two sisters, Sun and Moon. These sisters run the sky but are jealous of the other’s ability and power. Until they decided to switch roles and problems started to appear! When Sun decided to shine all night, everyone is exhausted as they could not get any sleep. Plants started to die due to the heat, so everyone wanted Moon to come back. However, when Moon decided to appear throughout the day, everything was cold and dark, so everyone wanted Sun to come back.
From this experience, they learnt the lesson about the importance of harmony and that they are both equally important. After jealousy dims their affections, sisters learn to let love shine in this original tale that is redolent of folklore.
Sun and moon sisters is a sweet morality tale of cosmic misadventures and sibling rivalry.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Wattle Creek by Fiona McCallum

Damien McAllister is a young farmer spending long, hard days on a farm he has no affection for. He is alone and lonely carrying on the family tradition and wondering why.
Damien hadn’t been himself for a while and had no one to talk to, but learned a long time ago to keep his problems to himself. Eventually he knew it was time to get some help.
Damien thought the doctor would just give him some tablets, but he was told to make an appointment to see a psychologist.
Jacqueline Havelock, a young psychologist has moved to Wattle Creek for twelve months - she has her own reasons for wanting to be away from it all in the country.
Jacqueline wants to help the community but soon realises that practicing in a small town can be challenging. Nothing is private and convincing patients like Damien to visit her without the whole town knowing is difficult. She develops a close friendship with the elderly widow Ethel who lives across the road. Ethel is willing to extend friendship and support to both Jacqueline and Damien as their relationship develops.
I did enjoy the story. Wattle Creek was a sweet book about two very different people and how they rely on each other in a small country town.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Twig by Aura Parker

It’s Heidi the stick insect’s first day at bug school and like all stick insects she’s very good at blending in. So good that nobody notices her all day! A gentle little story about finding your voice and belonging, told through the diversity of bugs found at Bug School. Twig is a beautiful picture book, suitable for pre-school aged children (although older bug-loving children will enjoy it too).

There are a couple of great double page spreads of all the busy bugs in the school playing and learning, as well as the end pages where readers are encouraged to spot particular species. Bug-loving children will really enjoy spotting the different types of insects and talking about their antics, a great way to encourage those pre-reading skills.

Twig is on the 2017 Children’s Book Council of Australia notables list for Early Childhood. Check out the CBCA website for more great titles.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Revenant (DVD)

The Revenant is inspired by true events; it is an epic adventure of a man’s survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit.
Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by two members of his own hunting team. Glass then begins his journey through the wilderness. He performs self-surgery and goes through particularly hard times to try and get back to civilisation.
It's a revenge story more than anything. What it also highlights is human determination and the will to live. The things that happen to this man are truly horrific and sometimes difficult to watch. DiCaprio's performance is great, he deserved the Oscar and the supporting cast is great as well despite their small time on screen, they all deserve recognition for their performances. As far as performances and picture making goes, The Revenant is flawless.

At the end of the film, we are left not even knowing whether Glass, after demanding revenge on the man who killed his son, lives or dies himself.
It is a great film has the power to carry the unbelievable.
You don’t just watch The Revenant you experience it. You walk out of it exhausted, impressed with the overall quality of the filmmaking. It is such an enjoyable film, I encourage everyone to watch it.

Editor's note : If you are interested to read the book version of The Revenant that inspired the movie we have copies available.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Aquaman Rebirth (YA Comic)

With his strong finish to the New 52 series , Dan Abnett takes the reins once again to lead the Aquaman
line into the new Rebirth era. Affectionately known for his work with publishers 2000AD and Marvel, taking on titles such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Ghostbusters and even Doctor Who, Abnett has been given a chance to elaborate on his take on Aquaman in a solid run that delves into the core of Aquaman themes of kingship, trust and identity, and makes headway into changing perceptions of a character (and the underwater world in which he lives) that has been more often than not undervalued and misunderstood in the scope of DC Comics universe.

Abnett carries forward the previous New 52 question of whether Aquaman
, on his own, and as a somewhat ‘illegitimate’ heir to a throne, can unite two worlds (the surface and Atlantis) and avoid all-out war. This series explores the surface world’s distrust of the Atlanteans, and the uphill battle faced by Aquaman and his closest allies to bring about constructive dialogue between the surface and Atlantis in the face of perpetual threats from various rogue elements attempting to undermine this delicate mission. Aquaman is essentially caught between two worlds, literally! – being half human and half Atlantean – he struggles to maintain cohesion between his heritages, not only within his respective camps, but within himself as well. The series does a brilliant job of capturing the essence of what it is to struggle with conflict, and is at its most captivating when it pits Aquaman’s sense of responsibility and duty up against his morality and his heart.

Abnett’s contributions to Aquaman has been to help bring the character up many notches in the DC universe social ladder and push past the common misconception that he is simply a character that talks to sea creatures. While only being one of many of his abilities, Abnett also explores Aquaman’s relationship to the other superheroes in the DC, sowing seeds of distrust and suspicion over the worthiness of Aquaman to be a member of the famous and powerful Justice League - which ultimately sees him use his super strength to brawl with none other than Superman himself! The series is worth it just to see Aquaman hold his own against such a powerful adversary.

Friday, 14 July 2017

New forthcoming fiction for July

Get your Winter reading list sorted with these forthcoming titles from authors such as Robin Cook, Val McDermid, Christine Feehan and Danielle Steel

Liar in the Library Simon Brett
Seeing Red Sandra Brown
Urban enemies Jim Butcher
Successor's promiseTrudi Canavan
Seagull Ann Cleaves
He John Connolly
Charlatans Robin Cook
Romanov Ransom Clive Cussler
Dark legecy Christine Feehan

Column of fire Ken Follett
Y is for yesterday Sue Grafton
Habit of murder Susanna Gregory
Saboteur Andrew Gross
Did you see Melody? Sophie Hannah
Rose in winter Sarah Harrison
State secrets Quintin Jardine
The Break Marian Keyes
Legecy of spies John Le Carre
Christmas cakes and mistletoe nights Carole Matthews
Insidious intent Val McDermid

Red haired woman Orhan Pamuk
Glass houses Louise Penny
Secrets in death J. D. Robb
House of unexpected sisters Alexander McCall Smith
Less than a treason Dana Stabenow
Right time Danielle Steel

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds. Want ideas for what to read next? Ask our friendly staff for a recommendation.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Night school (or the 100 million dollar deal) by Lee Child

Firstly I must let you know that a library patron and I were talking about this book prior to my reading it, as we are both avid readers of Lee Child. This made me more interested to find out if their comments and conclusions about the book were correct. However, this conversation could also have influenced how I read and reviewed this title.
I found the title of this book Night School misleading. Most reviewers use lines like ‘Reacher is still in the army. In the morning they give him a medal, and in the afternoon they send him back to school’ to describe the story line. However the story is all about a secret $100 million deal, not about going to night school. Was this Night School rouse really necessary to hide that fact Reacher is going undercover on a secret mission? I’m not convinced. For me I would have preferred a title like "Secret Deal" or "$100 million deal"! What do you think ? I would like to hear your comments after reading this title.
Once Jack and the other operatives start their investigations, the plot slowly starts to emerge, and I may be too critical here, but I felt the pace of the investigation was slow and full of uncertainties and procrastinations, which for Jack Reacher books is unusual. Also the violence Reacher is capable of in other stories seemed to have a purpose whether for the forcing information or self-survival, in this story I did not get that impression.
Also a particular chapter which is based in Hamburg near the middle of the book, was way too graphic in its details and of a distasteful nature to me that I skipped the rest of the chapter.

Negative comments aside, as a story it is still be worth reading. The characters and scenery are believable and well written, and the plot with all the twists and turns will keep you guessing.
For me Night School is not up to Lee Child's usual brilliant standards, but you will need to read it and make up your own mind. Please let us know your thoughts via the comments section below.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Insecure : the complete first season (DVD)

Insecure is an incredible series by HBO - a story of middle working class, thirty-something Afro-Americans in Los Angeles attempting to put their lives in pespective.
Issa is a creative young woman who nonetheless finds herself creeping toward stagnation in her journey. She works for a non-profitable youth outreach organization (We Got Y'All) and she doesn’t like it. She lives with her friend, a smart figure, and her unemployed boyfriend who lucks motivation; and she is starting to feel nervous about her life. She also shows a bit of jealousy towards her best friend Pearl (Yvonne Orji) who is successful in her law career, but Pearl struggles in her personal life with her inability to hold onto a man or be a good keeper.
Insecure will entertain you; it portrays a specific view of young black women in the urban cities working hard to achieve their dreams. Insecure is funny and a perfect movie to watch particularly as the cold winter Melbourne weather looms on our door steps - who wouldn’t want to stay warm on the couch! It's a great series and will connect with a wide diverse audience.
John P.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Coming up roses : the story of growing a business - Cath Kidston with Sue Chidler

“Flicking through a magazine one day, I saw a photo of a bathroom that was so simple and uncluttered. I loved the old rose wallpaper on the side of the bath, the glossy paint on the big armoire. It summed up all the ideas I’d had about using English heritage designs and giving them a twist. It was my eureka moment !

When Cath Kidston had her eureka moment on what her business was going to be about, a whole story unfolded revealing more ideas and opportunities for her business as well as teachings on how to run it and how to get back on track.
Cath is an entrepreneur who has been able to establish her business, Cath Kidston LTD, all over the UK and the world. Coming up roses : the story of growing a business tells the story of how she went from having one employee to becoming an internationally known brand. It reveals all the ups and downs she experienced with her business in the early days and the hard work she put in to make decisions and create this international brand.

I recommend Coming up roses as it has a very different design to your usual business book. While reading a great deal of useful information on how to grow a business, you also feel like you are in one of Cath’s cosy little shops browsing through beautiful modern vintage items and patterns.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Small things by Mel Tregonning

A 2017 CBCA picture book notable, Small things is a thought provoking look at mental illness through a young person’s eyes. It is a moving story with a tragic background. The illustrator Mel Tregonning struggled with depression and passed away before the book was finished. In loving memory, her family published the near complete book with Shaun Tan (fellow Aussie artist/writer) illustrating the final pages.

Small things explores a personal topic purely though incredible fine graphic drawings – there is no text. The emotive illustrations are intricate with characters expressions spine-tingling ‘real like’. This is a sophisticated read despite the ‘cartoon’ imagery as a young reader needs to interpret narrative through body language in pictures. This is a good exercise in imagination, body vocabulary, social sensitivity, and of course a thematic discussion of serious issues such as anxiety and depression.

Small things is not a feel good story nor does it have a conclusive ending, however the reader can deduce that reaching out when you feel isolated is the first step in fixing problems – you are not alone.
I would recommend this book for age group 10+.