March 29, 2010

The Bear with the Sword

The Bear with the Sword by Davide Cali
illustrated by Gianluca Foli

You've No One To Blame But Yourself!

Once upon a time there was a bear with a sword. No one knows how a bear came to own such a possession but own it he did. The bear was very proud of his sword; it was very sharp and very powerful and bear loved nothing more than to cut things with it.

The bears' sword could cut through anything, and just to prove how strong it was bear began cutting everything he could see, including a whole forest. But eventually bear became hungry and put down his beloved sword in order to find food.

Not long after, in the early morning, bear made a frightening discovery. His strongly built home that could keep out any enemy had failed to keep out water, and as the water flooded in bears' home was destroyed. Upset and very angry, bear set off to discover who was responsible for destroying his home so he could cut them with his sword.

As Bear travels from place to place he meets many different and unhappy creatures who have themselves been affected by troubling events, and somehow all these events are linked to the flood that destroyed bears' home. But who is ultimately responsible? And what will bear do once he finds them?

The Bear with the Sword is a beautifully presented tale that allows young readers to easily grasp the concept of actions having consequences. Through ignorance and lack of respect bear recklessly destroys more than just a few trees when he takes his sword to the forest, but realising his mistake bear is able to take responsibility for his actions. A strong role model for all young children, this is a book every parent should have on their shelves.
On sale: 01 March 2010
Price (AU): $24.99
ISBN: 9780980607048
Recommended age: 3+
In a word: Thoughtlessness, Thoughtfulness
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: to children
Star rating: four out of five

March 28, 2010


STrANgER IN A StRANgE LAnd by Robert Heinlein
(uncut edition)

'Do You Grok 'Grok'?'

This is the story a man of two worlds, the world he was born to and the world be was born on. On first inspection the most remarkable thing about Valentine Michael Smith was his circumstance of birth and subsequent upbringing in a strange land, however it is not until Valentine Michael Smith is brought 'home' that we have to wonder if his is the strange land, or it is ours?

However you looked at it, biologically Valentine Michael Smith was human, even if his beliefs and ways were not. But is genetics alone enough to define man? As he begins to learn about his new 'home' and its people, many social, philosophical and religious question are raised. What is it to be a man, to be human? What is truth? What is God?

As it turns out Valentine Michael Smith may be no more a man than he is a Martian. He is a race of one having to learn to change his ways to conform to human society, or failing that change human society to conform to his ways. A feat that may be more plausible then it sounds, at least for one as unique as the 'Man From Mars'.

STrANgER IN A StRANgE LAnD is a deeply thoughtful and undeniably compelling read; this is not a book to be skimmed through and passed off as mere fantasy alone but a story to be taken in and grokked as best as possible. It is easy to see why they had wanted to ban this book with its themes of sexuality, religion, society and morals. Themes that are as relevant today as they were when this book was first written.
(1961, in case you were wondering.)

Having never read the original, previously released shortened edition, I can not say for sure how much this story has changed being the uncut version, but I can say that if you have never read this book, either version I'm sure, then you are greatly missing out on one of the most cultural, philosophical and religious discussions ever committed to literature.
On sale: 01 August 2007
Price (AU): $24.95
ISBN: 9780340938348
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Grok
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: yes
Star rating: five out of five

March 22, 2010

The Art Of The Disney Princess

The Art Of The Disney Princess
introduction by Glen Keane

We All Have A Favourite Disney Princess!

A Princess is more then just a pretty face, she is as brave as a lion, as clever as a fox, and as pure as snow. A Princess is all heart and loves unconditionally and is loved so in return. Many thousands of little girls around the world have grown up with the wish to become a princess. But being a Princess is not just having a gown, crown and castle, it is every little girl who has ever made a wish and believes in magic.

Disney has been creating Princess since 1937 when the very first Princess, Snow White, was introduced to the world. Since then many other Princess have been imagined and re-imagined by Disney, all with their own story and all as unique as the girl wishing to be them. However different each Princess is the one thing all Disney Princess have in common is the ability to capture our imaginations as well as our hearts.

The Art Of The Disney Princess brings together a number of Disney artists in order to celebrate the magical, virtuous and daring heroine that is the Disney Princess. From the iconic Snow White and Cinderella to the new Princess Tiana, the elusive Tiger Lily and even Maleficent, who manages to make an appearance or two.

All the well know and loved princess are presented within this outstanding collection of beautiful and unique images, and with this book you can be a part of the magic. As every Princesses is unique so too is every piece of artwork captivated within this book. A stunning collection to treasure.
On sale: 01 October 2009
Price (US): $40.00
ISBN: 9781423123712
Recommended age: 9+
In a word: Princess
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: yes
Star rating: five out of five

March 18, 2010

Murder at Mansfield Park

Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd

Mansfield Has A Murderer!

Things are much changed at Mansfield. Though the names are the same the characters are not and none are more changed than Fanny, for she is no longer the romantic heroine she once was, demure, innocent and poor. Fanny is now a young woman of wealth, or else she is about to be.

Mary Crawford too is altered as she now steps into the role of heroine at Mansfield, no longer the selfish, social climber after a rich husband, but instead the intelligent and kind hearted girl who has unfortunately fallen for a man who may or may not feel the same about her. Will love be found at Mansfield Park, or will murder separate a pair of lovers forever?

Murder at Mansfield Park is a tampering of Austen's classic with a new perspective given through the watchful eyes of Mary Crawford. Fans of Austin will recognise a familiar style, however the plot has moved from romance to murder and no one is above suspicion. Its Sherlock Holmes meets Jane Austen in this Regency period who-dun-it.

Jane Austen's Mansfield Park has been twisted into a story that is a bit of a let down when compared to the original. It may be unfair to make such a comparison, but when you tamper with a classic you have to expect to be compared with the original, and unfortunately in this case it doesn't quite stand up.
On sale: 01 April 2010
Price (AU): $29.99
ISBN: 9781742373478
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Murder
Re-read it: possibly
Recommend: possibly
Star rating: two out of five

March 12, 2010

The Wardstone Chronicles - Witches

)Witches by Joseph Delaney

Beware Beautiful Women Wearing Pointy Shoes!

Witches are powerful being of darkness known for spurting curses, performing sacrifices and causing deaths. They are greatly feared and rightly so, for Witches in the world of The Spook's are some of the most dangerous and complicated creatures you will ever find.

Meg Skelton.
John Gregory is a Spook and deals with all manner of creatures of the dark including ghosts, boggarts and witches. Meg Skelton is a damsel in distress rescued by the Spook, John. It was love at first sight. However when John discovers that Meg wears pointy shoes things became complicated. Can two sworn enemies really live together in peace?

Dirty Dora.
Dora Deane might have earned her nick name 'Dirty Dora' from the great globs of spittle she leaves all about her territory, but it may also be a reference to her current condition. For living under rotting leaves with bugs in your hair is not the cleanest of places to live. Dora however has little choice, for she is a dead witch. But just how exactly does one become a dead witch?

Grimalkin's Tale.
Grimalkin is a fearless and determined young witch who is also well skilled as a blacksmith and assassin; in fact she is the witch assassin of the Malkin clan. Only one has ever survived Grimalkin once she has decided to end their life. But as Grimalkin's only true enemy, why is she so determined to kill the one being all other witches worship?

Alice and the Brain Guzzler.
Alice Deane had been an orphan for only three days before Bony Lizzie showed up. Alice didn't want to become a witch; however Lizzie would have her way. Besides for Alice becoming a witch was inevitable, it was in the blood. Alice was now to learn the ways of a witch, but would she live long enough to survive the teachings?

The Banshee Witch.
Tomas Ward is a Spook's apprentice who spent time training under the Spook Bill Arkwright. Tom was taught many new skills, acquired many new bruises and also made powerful new enemies. It was also during this time that a call for help arrived from a manor being haunted by a banshee but there was little a Spook could do, or so they thought. Was there something more then just a benign spirit at play?

These five stories of Witches are a creative blend of mythology and imagination. Delightfully wicked and great to enjoy as a one off, these stories are the perfect way to become acquainted to the series if you haven't already done so. Witches also offers invaluable insights as these are the background stories that enrich the series, a must read for fans.

The SPOOK'S - map
On sale: 01 December 2009
Price (AU): $22.95
ISBN: 9780370329963
Recommended age: 12-16
In a word: Witches
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: yes
Star rating: four out of five

March 8, 2010


Horns by Joe Hill

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Ignatius Perrish had his whole life been in love with the same girl. Merrin Williams was the only girl he had ever kissed. She was the only girl to hold his heart. But she no longer existed in this world. Cruelly taken, she had suffered in death and no one grieved more for her than Ig, and no one was held more responsible for her death than Ig.

A year later on the anniversary of Merrin's death Ig finds himself at the very spot where she was murdered. Buts that's all he remembers of that night for Ig had been drinking, he had been drinking a lot. He doesn't remember anything else from that night, not what he had done, not how he got home, and certainly not how he grew horns.

Waking the next morning to find horns growing out of his head was not the strangest thing to happen to Ig; the strangest thing was that no one else seemed to think it strange. But more disturbing then the horns were the things people were saying to him. All of a sudden people were confessing to Ig their darkest secrets, admitting to him sinful thoughts. Given these new circumstances, can Ig resist the temptation for a little revenge?

Horns is a tragic story of love, truth and murder. Forcing you to you rethink the way you see people, for the devil can not make you do evil, he can only give you the choice. A dark and fearful story that will be the source of more then one sleepless night.
On sale: 05 February 2010
Price (AU): $32.99
ISBN: 9780575079175
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Horns
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: probably
Star rating: four out of five

March 5, 2010

Lips Touch Three Times

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Soul Stealing, Soul Saving, Soul Searching!

Three stories of a kiss that had the power to change lives.
Three stories of souls that learn what it is to love.

Goblin Fruit.
Kizzy is exactly the kind of girl that is easily picked on by pretty girls with gorgeous boyfriends. She is exactly the kind of girl that will never fit in, with her strange family customs and superstitious ways. She is exactly the kind of the girl the goblins crave.

All her life Kizzy has wanted. She has wanted with a passion all that she does not have and would give anything to have it. But would she really give everything? Kizzy has the knowledge that would save her, but will she ignore it risking everything for a single kiss.

Spicy Little Curses Such As These.
Estella was only a young bride when she became a widow. Overcome with grief, Estella had made a decision to travel to Hell, literally, to win back her love who was so cruelly taken from her. However it was too late and she could not save him.

It was the first of many journeys for Estella into Hell, for although she had failed to save the man she loved she had instead been given a purpose. She was to save the souls of the innocent, but somehow she finds herself the deliverer of a murderous curse that will change one girl's fate forever. A curse spurred on by a kiss.

Esme and her mother lived a life straight from the pages of a fairy tale. Esme was taught to dance like a faerie, climb trees like a squirrel, and sit so still that birds would perch on her. But as magical and beautiful as their peaceful life was it would be shattered each night with nightmares hiding very dark secrets.

Like Esme, her mother Mab had a dreamlike childhood that then turned into a nightmare. But some nightmares you can not escape from no matter how far you run. As a lifetime of memories is hidden in the mists the only hope may be a lover's first kiss.

Lips Touch: Three Times and magical things happen; though these are not always good things. A beautifully haunting book of doomed lovers and lost souls. This is a masterful collection of stories that are accompanied by the most gorgeous otherworldly images.
On sale: 01 March 2010
Price (AU): $29.99
ISBN: 9780545055857
Recommended age: 14+
In a word: Kiss/Soul
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: yes
Star rating: five out of five

March 4, 2010

An ABC Of Pirates

An ABC Of Pirates by Caroline Stills
illustrated by Heath McKenzie

Where Going On A Treasure Hunt!

A Pirates life is an exciting life that is full of Adventure, Mutiny and Treasure. It is a messy and unpredictable life on the seas that at any moment can erupt in a sword fight, be responsible for a kidnapping, or see one mutinied on a deserted island.

However things are not always as they seem when you sail with a Pirates, for there is a lot that is strange and unelectable, for example the astronaut on the anchor, the fairy in the netting, and the vacuum cleaner in the bathtub. Or possibly that's only just the start of what you'll find when you sail through these fulfilled pages.

An ABC Of Pirates is a whimsical and funny story full of surprises and hidden treasures. Offering hours of fun in a Where's Wally style hunt for items of the alphabet. A charming book to introduce your little Pirate or Landlubber to the alphabet.
On sale: 01 March 2010
Price (AU): $24.99
ISBN: 9781921272776
Recommended age: 3+
In a word: Pirates
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: to children
Star rating: five out of five