Tag Archives: #aussieauthors

Blog Tour: Footprints on the Moon by Lorraine Marwood

Footprints on the Moon by Lorraine Marwood

Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Publication Date: 2 February 2021
Australian RRP: $16.99

Humans are about to leave footprints on the moon, but what sort of mark can one girl make here on earth?

It’s 1969 and life is changing fast. Sharnie Burley is starting high school and finding it tough to make new friends. As the world waits to see if humans will land on the moon, the Vietnam War rages overseas. While her little cousin, Lewis, makes pretend moon boots, young men are being called up to fight, sometimes without having any choice in the matter. Sometimes without ever coming home.

Dad thinks serving your country in a war is honourable, but when Sharnie’s older sister, Cas, meets a returned soldier and starts getting involved in anti-war protests, a rift in their family begins to show. Sharnie would usually turn to her grandma for support, but lately Gran’s been forgetting things.

Can she find her own way in this brave new world?

Buy at:  booktopia  |  Dymocks  | A&R  | QBD

My Blurb (5/5 stars)

How can we look up

and touch the moon,

when we don’t know how

to look across to our neighbours

to listen and take note

of their opinions?

I had no idea that this book was in verse until I crack open to the first page. And I’m always surprised by just how much an author can get across with so little words. Well, if you’ve been reading my review, you know I cry a lot – that’s usually an indication of how much a book got to me. Did I cry in this one? Gosh, yes, I found it hard to hold my tears at bay for the last 20 pages. Oh, um, my 11 yo also predicted that I’d cry lol

Footprints on the Moon is set in 1969, in an Australian town. Sharnie Burley is finding that life is changing and moving in an unknown direction. As she struggles to find her own direction for life, she turns to her grandmother for advice. And later on, she finds wisdom in her sister and a friend. Meanwhile, the world at large did not stop. Apollo 11 is on its way to the moon and the Vietnam War is dividing friends & families.

A beautiful coming-of-age story where we not only see the protagonist finding her feet but also her unique voice. The author was woven world’s events quite seamlessly into the lives of these characters and while they are not a direct participants, that did not stop them from leaving their own marks in the world. A great discussion starter to get the young ones involved in current affairs and/or how to voice ones opinions.

Thanks to University of Queensland Press for copy of book in exchange of honest review. And thanks, AusYABloggers for organising the tour.

Find all the other stops by following the Tour Schedule 

About the author

Lorraine Marwood was born and raised in rural Victoria and has lived for most of her married life on a dairy farm with her husband and their six children. Lorraine is an award-winning poet who has been widely published in literary magazines across Australia, as well as magazines in the UK, USA, New Zealand and Canada. She has also published several children’s novels and collections of poetry.

 

Find Lorraine on: goodreads  |  website  | facebook  |  twitter  | instagram

Blog Tour: Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Publication Date: 2 February 2021
Australian RRP: $24.99

A gifted student, Nia longs to attend high school so she can follow her dream and become a writer. She has notebooks filled with stories she’s created about the mythological Dewi Kadita, Princess of the Southern Sea. But her family has barely enough money for food, let alone an education, so Nia’s days are spent running their food cart and raising her younger brother.

Following a miraculous escape from a bus accident, Nia is gifted with good-luck magic. Or at least that’s what everyone’s saying. Soon their family business is booming and there might even be enough money to return to school. But how long can her good luck last?

When a secret promise threatens everything she’s hoped for, Nia must find a way to break the mould and write her own future.

Buy at:  booktopia  |  Dymocks  | A&R  | QBD

My Blurb (4/5 stars)

A beautiful eye-catching cover but the thing that the book called to me about is its setting. It is set in Jakarta (capital of Indonesia) which was where I was born. I also spent my first 15 years there so I am mostly excited in being able to reminisce about my childhood and maybe also to be able to share with my own children, what it was like.

I am embarrassed to admit that I’m not familiar with this particular mythology of Dewi Kadita. It is possible though that I’ve just forgotten a lot of the stories as I have spent more years living in Australia than Indonesia. However, the way these stories are told in the book sound just like they would be told except, of course, in a different language.

Nia is certainly a strong character and she grew to be even stronger, at the end. Her experiences are not to be envied but luckily, she has her own guardian angels. She is definitely a character I can empathise with, even when her naivety nearly brings her to ruins. Her passion for writing and education, her love for her brother, and her diligence are admirable and truly aspiring.

Not all her friends are like Nia, of course. In fact, all her best friend wanted is to buy a new mobile phone and that’s what she’s saving for. She may sound rather shallow from this one sentence but do not underestimate her resourcefulness! Nia’s father is a drunkard and basically useless but there is another older male character for which I’m still scratching my head over as I just don’t understand the different pictures portrayed of him. I’d really like him to be better developed.

My childhood is not at all like Nia’s, the protagonist of this novel, as I’ve been so very blessed in life but I have seen with my own eyes those slums she lives in. I’ve worn the red & white uniform her brother wears to school. I’ve bought & eaten my share of fried bananas and martabak (I’ve introduced my boys to this last delicious dessert and now they’d fight me for the last piece!). To me, this novel is a trip through memory lanes and such a wonderful journey as I read this all in a single sitting. I loved it but unfortunately, due to the serious note of this novel, I’ve not been able to get the boys interested. Maybe another time…

Girl of the Southern Sea is a delightful coming-of-age story of a young girl chasing after her dreams. It is a novel which helps you see a little bit of how the other half of the world live and one that encourages all to never never give up.

Thanks to University of Queensland Press for copy of book in exchange of honest review. And thanks, AusYABloggers for organising the tour.

Find all the other stops by following the Tour Schedule 

About the author

Michelle Kadarusman is an Australian-Indonesian children’s author. She grew up in Melbourne and has lived many years throughout Indonesia, and in Canada. Her novels have been nominated for various awards, including the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Awards and the Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children’s Literature. They have also earned numerous honours, including USBBY Outstanding International Book, two Junior Library Guild Selections, and a nomination for the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch Fiction Award.

Find Michelle on: goodreads  |  facebook  |  twitter  | instagram

Blog Tour: Indigo Owl by Charline Archbold

 

Indigo Owl by Charlie Archbold

Publisher: Wakefield Press
Publication Date: 1 September 2020
Australian RRP: $24.99

After Earth was destroyed by climate change and overpopulation, private corporations colonised new planets. On one such planet, Galbraith,the fertility of its citizens is tightly controlled. But at what cost?

When Scarlet Bergen leaves her childhood home to be trained at the Arcadia Institute, harnessing her psychic Solitaire talents, it feels like the beginning of her future. But on the Institute steps, her father whispers a life-changing secret about the past. Her mother, a geneticist who disappeared when Scarlet was ten, had enemies …

Scarlet vows to discover the truth about her mother – and is joined in her mission by fellow cadets with their own family secrets and special talents: tech-savvy Rumi, a tenacious truth-hunter, and Dylan, the aloof classmate who can literally read her mind.

Together, they’ll uncover a planet-wide conspiracy … and discover that there’s little the Galbraith Executives won’t do to get what they want.

Buy at:  booktopia  |  dymocks  | A&R  | Wakefield Press

My Blurb (4/5 stars)

Somehow, I have gotten into the habit of not reading the book blurb / description / synopsis before I started reading. I would have read it some time before I decided to get my hands on the book so at one point in time, I wanted to read it, so I’d just jumped in. Therefore, most times I’ve no idea what I got myself in for. And such is the case with Indigo Owl because I didn’t realise that it was set in a different planet and for a while, I was really confused! So that’s the first thing you should know… This book is set on a completely different and very very cold planet called Galbraith.

There are 3 perspectives but Scarlet’s the primary one while Rumi’s & Dylan’s felt like they revolve around her. I guess this is really Scarlet’s story but we do need Rumi’s & Dylan’s help to know what’s happening around Scarlet. This makes me feel that Scarlet is very focused on the one thing (her mother) and so quite blind in her peripheral vision. She could be likeable but I actually prefer Rumi with all her “unbalanced” angle. I must admit though that at the end, they both improved so much! Scarlet could be a good friend but again, I don’t feel that friendship any particularly well with anyone. And I also find the romance a little bit lacklustre.

Indigo Owl was a very easy read with a truly fascinating setting with a sort of low key creepy vibe in the way of The Handmaid’s Tale. With a fast pace and an engaging mystery, it is a captivating read.

Thanks to Wakefield Press for copy of book in exchange of honest review. And thanks, AusYABloggers for organising the tour.

Find all the other stops by following the Tour Schedule 

About the author

Charlie has worked as a primary years educator for many years. She has a Master of Education Degree in Studies of Asia and has spent time teaching in the UK, Australia, and Indonesia. In addition to teaching she has a passion for creative writing. Her new young adult novel is Indigo Owl.

Charlie’s debut young adult novel, Mallee Boys, was the recipient of the 2016 Adelaide Literary Festival Unpublished Manuscript Award and was a 2018 Children’s Book Council of Australia Honour book. Her middle grade manuscript, Red Bottomed Boat, was shortlisted for the 2020 Text Prize.

Find Charlie on: goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  | instagram

Blog Tour: The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks

 

The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks

Publisher: Hachette Australia
Publication Date: 28 April 2019
Australian RRP: $17.99

I was eleven when everything started and twelve by the end. But that’s another way maps lie, because it felt like the distance travelled was a whole lot further than that. 

 Sorrento, Victoria – 1999 

Fred’s family is a mess. Fred’s mother died when she was six and she’s been raised by her Pop and adoptive father, Luca, ever since. But now Pop is at the Rye Rehabilitation Centre recovering from a fall; Luca’s girlfriend, Anika, has moved in; and Fred’s just found out that Anika and Luca are having a baby of their own. More and more it feels like a land-grab for family and Fred is the one being left off the map.

But even as the world feels like it’s spinning out of control, a crisis from the other side of it comes crashing in. When 400 Kosovar-Albanian refugees arrive in the middle of the night to be housed at one of Australia’s ‘safe havens’ on an isolated headland not far from Sorrento, their fate becomes intertwined with the lives of Fred and her family, as she navigates one extraordinary year that will change them all.

Buy at:  booktopia  |  dymocks  | QBD  | Hachette Australia

My Blurb (5/5 stars)

11 year old Winifred Owen-Ricci felt her world shifting once again. There was that big one when her mother died but this year, her 11th year, she felt her world to lose its smoothness and little bumps and lumps are emerging. Just as she has to adjust herself to her father’s new partner and her son moving in, a group of Kosovar-Albanian refugees were brought in to a ‘safe haven’ not far from her town. As her life touches those of the refugees’ so begin some little ripples of change but what can an 11 year old girl do to help?

The Year the Maps Changed was such an easy and engaging book to read. I was quickly drawn into Winnie’s (aka Fred’s or Freddo’s) world and fell in love… with her parents. It is heartwarming to see a good parental models in MG fiction though not to say that they are perfect but they try and mostly, they do good. The novel primarily is about a child’s life in a small town as she struggles to fit in into her new blended family.

The novel also dealt with a contemporary issues of refugees. And while it refers specifically to the Kosovar-Albanian ones who came to Australia in 1999, the same issue and concern still exist today in regard to refugees. Even as Winnie is confused about her spot in the family, she and her friends are also curious about the refugees and the reason for the war. Her sympathy engaged, she dared to put out a helping hand.

I got my 10 year old boy to read this too but unfortunately, it failed to engage him. He does not think himself as a reader and when he does read, he prefers books with the typical boy humour (a very narrow preference). He thinks it is boring because it’s just about everyday life where nothing really happens. He has been very fortunate in having grown up in a rather traditional family structure, I think, that he lacks the appreciation how much a struggle ‘everyday life’ could be when your family structure & dynamics change. From my perspective (I grew up with older half siblings), this novel has dealt with this issue sensitively and provided a lovely broad perspective of just how it could all work.

Life, as we all know, is never a smooth ride. Just as you think to switch the cruise control on, there’s a turn or a bump coming up and you’ll have to navigate manually. In The Year the Maps Changed, Winnie’s world (aka map) was changing and expanding with additional turns, cracks, and bumps. Changes come in all forms and many different directions; from her life’s centre (her family) to her friends to worldwide concerns. She is learning to negotiate life inside out, growing and expanding herself to adjust to her new world. Beautifully set by Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, The Year the Maps Changed is a new & gorgeous landmark in all readers’ landscapes or it should be!

Thanks to Date a Book, Hachette Australia, & Hachette New Zealand for copy of book in exchange of honest review. And thanks, AusYABloggers for organising the tour.

Find all the other stops by following the Tour Schedule 

About the author

Danielle Binks is a Melbourne-based writer, reviewer, agent, book blogger and Youth Literature Advocate. In 2017, she edited and contributed to Begin, End, Begin, an anthology of new Australian young adult writing inspired by the #LoveOzYA movement, which won the ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children (Ages 13+) and was shortlisted in the 2018 Gold Inky Awards. The Year the Maps Changed is Danielle’s debut middle-grade novel coming out with Hachette Australia in 2020.

Find Danielle on: goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  | instagram

Review: The Soldier’s Curse

the soldiers curseThe Soldier’s Curse by Meg Keneally and Tom Keneally
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy courtesy of publisher

Truthfully, it was the cover which first attracted my attention. It’s just so lusciously green! Mystery novels are one of my first book loves so I thought this definitely fit the bill. Also, it being a series set in Colonial Australia, finally! There have been quite a few Aussie crime / mystery series but none in this particular setting (none that I know of, anyway).

The most fascinating factor of this novel, for me, is the setting. The time period and the location as Port Macquarie is a family holiday destination for us so it was interesting looking at it from a summery friendly beaches to an uncivilised harsh environment. The harshness wasn’t just from the natural environment but also the regime employed in keeping the convicts in line. It’s amazing that anybody survive, really! Unfortunately (or rather fortunately for him), as our main character distinguished himself by being literary, he was not part of any work gangs so we are spared from reading much of the suffering.

Most of the characters are also easily likeable especially the main ones. And as the tale is told from Hugh Monsarrat’s perspective, we learnt a lot of his background so it was very easy to empathise with him although at times you do feel like shaking him up a little. Whilst these flashbacks to the past are necessary, they are in effect slowed the pace of the book. And despite the fact that this series is based on Monsarrat, I feel there were too much information on Hugh and barely anything on other characters especially Mrs Mulrooney whom I’m really curious about. I especially enjoyed the cloth-flicking-head habit that Mrs. Mulrooney appear to be getting into nearing the end of the novel and I’m looking forward to more of that.

It is with a heavy heart that I find the mystery factor of the book quite disappointing. I’m not the best at guessing but I don’t think I do too badly at guessing the villain in mystery novels. But there were too many clues that made it all too obvious even if you’re not a professional sleuth. Starting from the covers to the main suspect being a very pointedly red herring… then, when it’s taken awhile for Monsarrat to churn these clues in his little grey cells, it gets somewhat frustrating.

I would recommend that you approach this novel as an historical fiction as it was still a very enjoyable read for me from this perspective. It’s very clear that the authors have done their research though as authors do, have taken certain liberties to suit the plotlines (which they are very open about in the Author’s Note). The view of colonial Australia and the witty exchanges between characters were what made this novel pleasing to me.

Thanks to Vintage / Random House for paperback copy in exchange of honest review

View all my reviews