All posts by S.W. Lothian

Make a Wish Org

Make-A-Wish ® – Thank you

In contrast to my usual tendency for privacy, I’ve decided that this is a post that I needed to make, to spread the word about a great organisation.

This is just a quick post to pass on our sincere gratitude and thanks to the Make-A-Wish ® Foundation. We received a call a few days ago and they are going to grant my daughter a wish. This is just the boost that she needed to her confidence and will help her deal with the impact that children’s cancer has had on her. There will need to be some serious wish-thinking in the coming weeks as she ponders some ideas on what her wish could be.

It’s so brilliant that organisations such as Make-A-Wish ® exist and I think that it’s just as important for families like us to show our gratitude back to them. I’ve included a few links below for anyone who would like to learn more about the Make-A-Wish ® Foundation.

Make a Wish Australia Make a Wish America Make a Wish UK

TIME SQUARE | UFO – What really happened at Roswell in 1947?

I’m thrilled to announce that the first draft of TIME SQUARE | UFO has been completed and it has now moved into the review-edit-review-edit-review-edit-edit-edit-edit phase. This is the second book in my great new TIME SQUARE series and it follows team ELMR who have been given their first rescue mission for Operation Slingshot. Eva, Lewis, Max and Razer find themselves smack bang in the middle of one of the most mysterious incidents of the 20th century.  Take a look at their Mission Brief below.

Mission Brief - ELMR-01 c


Amazingly, I’ve been able to track down a fairly recent news bulletin which deals with the speculation about the actual Roswell incident. You may like to click below to see it for yourself, but please keep in mind that TIME SQUARE | UFO is the real story of what happened at Roswell in 1947.


TIME SQUARE | UFO is another action-packed-thrill-filled-funny-adventure packed with a cool collection of wacky and lovable characters. If all goes to plan, the aim is for a September 2014 release.


If you’d like to be the first to know about its release then all you need to do is register for my Newsflash by clicking here.


Advance Review Copies (ARC) of
TIME SQUARE | UFO

For any bloggers/reviewers/teachers/librarians who would like to register their interest for an Advance Review Copy (ARC) for review ahead of the release, please complete the form below. I’ll contact you once I have a firm release date in mind (hoping for mid-Sept).

My aim is to provide reviewers with around 4 weeks to read the book and prepare a fair and honest review. I would be grateful if a review could be posted by ARC recipients on your Blog/ Goodreads/ Amazon/ B&N/ Book Depository etc to coincide with the book’s release.

I’d like to thank everyone who registers (in advance), as without the support of the reading and blogging community, authors such as myself would be swamped in invisibility.


Any advertisements that appear below from time to time
are not endorsed by me :)

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Book Review | The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner 2) | James Dashner

 


The Scorch TrialsTHE SCORCH TRIALS
(Maze Runner 2)
by James Dashner ★★★★★

The Scorch Trials picks up where The Maze Runner left off. The Gladers have escaped the Maze, but now they face an even more treacherous challenge on the open roads of a devastated planet.
And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Can Thomas survive in such a violent world?   [Goodreads]


My Review

Newsflash … This is the best book I’ve read this year … End of Newsflash.

I was a big fan of the first book (The Maze Runner) and I loved this one even more. It’s one of those series that you read and totally immerse yourself in, but there’s a constant doubt in the back of your mind as to whether you (or the characters) are being tricked and misled. Nothing is as it seems … Or is it? … I love that uncertainty.

Fresh from their escape from the Maze, the Gladers find themselves at the whim of WICKED once again. Were they ever free of them? (Read it to find out) In this book, snippets of information are slowly revealed, teasing us  with clues about the bigger picture. Who is WICKED? Who is Thomas? Where did the Gladers come from? Why are they there? Did another team survive the maze? Every clue brings more questions, so if you like to be kept on your toes from one page to the next, then you’ll love the mystery in this one.

Thomas is still the main guy, and just when he starts to relax because everything is going well, his mysterious mind link with Theresa from book 1 is suddenly broken. That’s when things start to go a little haywire and turn dangerous. Thomas is completely disheartened when he discovers that Theresa has vanished without a trace. He fears the worst. What’s happened to her? Is she still alive? And the fact that she’s been replaced by a new guy called, Aris, who can also talk to Thomas with his mind, is another great twist.

The Gladers are forced to embark on a new and even more treacherous journey known as the Scorch Trials. I won’t tell you why they have to go, or what they get if they succeed – you’ll need to read it yourself. The Scorch Trials lead them through impossibly long and dark underground tunnels, across scorching desert, and into the dangerous streets of a city in ruins. Every turn brings more danger, whether it be from deadly mechanical beasts, extremes of Mother Nature or zombie-like-diseased-human-leftovers that chase them without an ounce of mercy. There is such a constant barrage of deadly challenges in this book, that it’s not just a question of ’Who will make it to the end?’ It’s a question of ’Will they make it to the end?’

I’m literally busting to see what the next book in the series brings. If it’s as good as this one I’ll be a very happy lad. On a side note, I’m also really looking forward to seeing The Maze Runner movie (Book 1), which is due for cinema release in September 2014. I’m crossing my fingers that The Scorch Trials movie won’t be too long a wait after that. I’m sure it’ll be brilliant (fingers crossed).
FYI – As with The Maze Runner, this one definitely sits in the Young Adult bucket, not Middle Grade.

In a nutshellThis book is a full-on action packed thrill ride from cover to cover. It’s got new friends, old friends, new foes, old foes, betrayal, doubt, pain, hope, hopelessness. I could go on, but I think you get the message … it’s got heaps crammed into it. Highly recommended.

Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.

Check out my reviews of other James Dashner books:


Here is The Maze Runner movie trailer.
It’s due for release in September 2014.

 For more exciting news related to the movie jump over to Mundie Kids 

If you want to take a peek at extra details and learn about the cast, click here and jump over to IMDB.


Want to know more?
 Click below to check out James Dashner’s great website.
James Dashner

While you’re here, please check out my edge-of-your-seat time-travel adventure series’  by clicking the pic below.4 books

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Book Review | Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire | J.K. Rowling

HP 4HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★
Kindle edition

It’s the summer holidays and soon Harry Potter will be starting his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry is counting the days: there are new spells to be learnt, more Quidditch to be played, and Hogwarts castle to continue exploring. But Harry needs to be careful – there are unexpected dangers lurking …

JK Rowling continues to surprise and delight with the power of her rich, demanding and action-packed storytelling. [Goodreads]


My Review

 An action packed story that’s full of great moments.

This was another great trip down memory lane. I love re-reading HP books. Harry has endured another challenging period in the Dursley household with fresh memories of Sirius from book 3 crisp in his mind. At last he had someone (besides Dumbledore) to watch over him, even if it was from a distance.

HP 4 starts with a great celebration. It’s Quiddich World Cup time and there’s a bucket load of excitement that goes with it. It’s a rare opportunity for magic folk to gather and bask in the spectacle of a major event. As with any great spectacle, there are some who see it as an opportunity to cause havoc. An evil prank by a pack of Death Eaters and the appearance of the Dark Mark demonstrate how easily things can switch from the highs of the sports field to the lows of dark magic. It’s a huge wake up call to many, but others still remain in denial of the impending return of Voldemort.

Soon after the cup, another school year begins, which promises to be full of drama and excitement. Existing bonds have grown stronger and foes have grown ’foeier’, but there is big news on the way. Dumbledore announces that Hogwarts will host the legendary Triwizard Cup, which has been dormant in the magic world for many years (due to unfortunate deaths and injuries in the past). The cup would be a good hearted battle of endurance and smarts between the three great schools of the wizarding world.

That’s where J.K. throws a spanner in the works. Instead of the expected three competitors, a fourth is thrust into the game. Harry. And he must accept his role and compete to win, whilst fighting against multiple opponents that lay within and outwith the challenges of the cup. The Triwizard Cup is a battle for Harry on so many levels. Only one competitor can win and claim victory. The plot is full of great twists that both surprise and delight.

The influx of visitors to Hogwarts brings with it a whole wave of new characters that weave into the lives of our favourite wizards. Hagrid for one shows a new side to his personality as he falls for one of the visitors. Hermione is also a little besotted by one of Harry’s opponents, as she blossoms into her teens and dazzles at the ball. There’s also the subtle beginnings of an underlying (and unacknowledged) chemistry with Ron.

This book is another wonderful tale by J.K. that builds on the previous books and sets up well for the ones that follow. She builds the threat of looming chaos and Dumbledore is worried. It’s a turning point in the series where the Ministry is starting to lose all sense of logic by denying that Voldemort’s strength is growing. There’s a lesson to be learned – don’t ignore the squeaky wheel, it’ll fall off one day and you’ll be in deep trouble.

In a nutshellEach time I re-read these books I love them more. The Goblet of Fire is an action packed story that’s full of great moments. The various paths and plots within the story converge into a wonderful and exciting climax.


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


Checkout my other Harry Potter reviews:



 


While you’re here, please check out my edge-of-your-seat time-travel adventure series’  by clicking the pic below.

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Exciting New Invention for Kids of All Ages

I’m uber-pleased to announce that I’ve finally flicked the switch on my newest invention, the paperback edition of TIME SQUARE | THE SHIFT. It’s now available for purchase at some excellent retailers.

I’m guessing that there are a bazillion readers out there who would love the smell and feel of a book printed on real paper, with a really shiny and colourful cover. If that sounds like you, then this is the perfect invention for you.

It’s got everything … it’s shiny, it’s colourful, it weighs something and it smells like a book. I’ve even designed it so that it can stand upright on a bookshelf. Also, at no extra cost, my design also converts your existing non-ebooks so that they can lean against my book on the bookshelf. It’s a marvellous way to store and look after your books.

Here’s a picture of the design. Note its sleek and colourful lines and pointy corners. They give it a sturdy and attractive look and feel.

 TS1 - paperbackbackwardTS1 - paperbackbookstanding

Here’s the view from different angles. Great aren’t they?

TS1 - thickpaperbacklaying  TS1 - stackedpaperbackTS1 - paperbacklaying

I bet you want one. Go on, be honest with yourself. So here’s how to get your hands on my new invention. Click on the links below and you’ll be transported to a wonderful place that will accept your order and post it to you. Without you even needing to get up from your seat. That’s an awesome idea as well (not my own invention though).


Click your preferred link below to grab yourself a piece of history.

a.com_logo_RGB a.co.uk_logo_RGB

button-barnes-and-noble

HAPPY READING


PSSST … If you’re a Teacher or Librarian, then I’ve got a special offer just for you. Click here and learn about how you can trial my books before you make your decision to buy.

Book Review | Double Vision | F.T. Bradley


Double Vision 1
CLICK ABOVE TO FIND OUT MORE

DOUBLE VISION (Double Vision 1)
By F.T. Bradley    ★★★★★
Paperback edition

Fans of 39 Clues and Artemis Fowl will enjoy the fun, fresh thrill ride through this humorous, action-packed adventure from debut author F. T. Bradley.

In the trilogy opener, twelve-year-old Lincoln Baker finds himself in a world of trouble! First, Linc’s seemingly harmless prank on a school field trip ends in expulsion and a lawsuit. Then two mysterious figures from a secret government agency called Pandora show up at Linc’s house with a proposition for him.

Turns out Linc looks exactly like one of Pandora’s top kid agents, Benjamin Green, who vanished while on a critical spy mission in Paris. If Linc agrees to take his place, they’ll get him back in school and make that costly lawsuit disappear.

But the mission is a lot more complicated than it seems. A highly valuable copy of the Mona Lisa has gone missing and now Linc must make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Too bad Linc isn’t a black belt math genius who can run a four-minute mile like his double, Ben, because he’ll need those skills to make it out alive. . . . [Goodreads]


My Review

A nice mix of action and adventure.

Ever since I first saw this book I’ve wanted to read it. So, I waited for ages for the ebook to be available for me here in Australia. No such luck. I finally put an end to the waiting and ordered a paperback copy from the Book Depository in the UK (It was a great deal with free postage). And I have to say that I’m very glad that I decided to  grab a copy, because I loved this book.

Linc is a normal kid, who has a talent for causing mayhem without even trying. One day, his mayhem has some pretty serious repercussions on his family and it looks like everything is taking a dive because of him. Then, everything changes. His uncanny resemblance to a high performing kid spy becomes his ticket to an amazing adventure, and hopefully a solution to the problems he’s brought upon his folks.

Without giving away too much of the plot, Linc embarks on a top secret mission to recover a priceless piece of art that could fall into the wrong hands. Far from the quiet streets of his hometown, he finds himself on a thrilling adventure through Paris solving hidden clues with his new friend, Francoise.

In a way, this book reminded me of a Da Vinci Code for kids, without the murders and dark themes. Just an urgent mission to solve the clues before it was too late. This is one of the most enjoyable books that I’ve read this year. Great job. I’m looking forward to books 2 and 3.

In a nutshellThe plot is great. It has a nice mix of action, adventure and a likeable cast. Twists, turns and the suspicion of double agents had me changing my mind along the way as the mystery unfolded.

Highly recommended.

Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


     Want to know more about F.T. Bradley and her books?
Click below to check out more information.

FT BradleyDouble Vision 1Double Vision 2Double Vision 3


 

While you’re here, please check out my edge-of-your-seat time-travel adventure series’  by clicking the pic below.

4 books


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Book Review | Fizz and Peppers at the Bottom of the World | M.G. King


Fizz and Peppers
Click the book to see more of M.G.’s books

FIZZ AND PEPPERS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD
By M.G. King    ★★★★★

NOMINATED FOR 2013 CYBIL AWARDS!

Everyone knows that sunlight turns trolls to stone. What most people don’t realize is that a single bubble of soda fizz wakes those violent, bickering creatures back up! Just ask Colin Colbeck.

When Colin drops through a mysterious hole under his brother’s bed, he discovers a band of smoothie drinking trolls who tell him his grandmother has been kidnapped. It’s up to Colin to journey into the deep to save her.

Followed by his ex-best friend and a reckless little brother, Colin and his companions discover a troll war about to cause a catastrophic earthquake. Scandanavian mythology meets suburbia in this perilous tale. [Goodreads]


My Review

This book has been lingering in my to read pile for quite a while and I finally took the plunge to read it. It was totally surprising to find such a rich adventure lingering beneath such an unassuming cover. It gave no indication as to the type of story or the scale of the setting within. M.G. King has created an amazing world full of great characters that could quite possibly really be underneath our noses.

Colin is the main character of the story, who finds himself in a desperate search for his missing Grand. She’s wandered off one night and gone missing. Much to his surprise, he discovers that she’s been kidnapped … by Trolls! This is where it gets complicated for young Colin. Soon enough his younger brother, Sid, goes missing too. The trouble is, who’d believe his story that Trolls live under the house and have a penchant for kidnapping. Would you?

So the adventure moves underground to an amazing place. We soon find that there’s a heap of drama going on in the world of Trolls, which will have a terrible impact on everyone above ground. There’s plenty of action, captures, escapes, and surprises lingering in this story.

In a stroke of genius, Sid had decided to bring along his spy book for reference purposes, in case they were in a jam. It came in very handy and littered the story with comical tips that often had me chuckling as I read. Another character that we meet is Pepper, she’s the mean and grumpy girl from next door, and she was my least favourite character. You’ll need to read it for yourself to see how she deals with the huge chip she has on her shoulder.

In addition to these ones, I seem to have come across lots of Trolls lately, reading Troll Mountain by Matthew Reilly, and watching The Hobbit on DVD. I’m wondering if they really do exist! I really enjoyed this book. It had an action packed climax and a clever twist right at the end.

In a nutshell

Fizz and Peppers is a great read that as I mentioned before, was a pleasant and action filled surprise.

There’s a lot more to this one than the cover suggests.


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


     Want to know more about M.G. King and her books?
Click below to check out more information.

MG King


While you’re here, please check out my edge-of-your-seat time-travel adventure series’  by clicking the pic below.

4 books


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Blog Tour & Review | Mammoth Trouble (Noah Zarc 1) | D.Robert Pease

Noah Zarc Blog Tour Button FINAL

About the Book

Noah Zarc Mammoth Trouble by D. Robert Pease

Title: Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble
(Book #1)
Author: D. Robert Pease
Publication Date: July 22, 2013
Publisher: Evolved Publishing (2nd Edition)
Number of pages: 214
Recommended age: 9+

Summary: Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth’s animals from extinction. Life couldn’t be better. But the twelve-year-old time traveler learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is kidnapped and taken to Mars; his dad is stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying Earth… for the second time.

Amazon | iTunes | Barnes and Noble | Kobo
Amazon (Audiobook) | iTunes (AudioBook) | Audible

My Review

This is a story of extremes. It’s an old tale retold, with a mixture of futuristic space travellers and a sprinkling of cave dwellers and extinct animals.  A futuristic family has been tasked with collecting all the creatures from history, ready for repopulation on earth. The ARC is their mode of transportation,  and it sounds absolutely mind-blowing. I can’t imagine how long it would take to build something so huge, let alone the ongoing maintenance.

Their journey takes some of them waaaaaaaay back into the past where they meet up with a group of peaceful and friendly cave dwellers. Based on my normal assumptions about cave dwellers, I expected that they would be less civilized and quite untrusting of mysterious people from the sky. But in this story that stereotype is thrown out the window. They welcomed them with open cave. It was great to see the Noah’s new caver friend, Adina’s story unfold, and for her strengths to be an important factor in the final outcome. It just goes to show that there must’ve been some clever cavers. It’ll be interesting to see how well she adjusts to her new life in later books.

One thing that amazed me was how well the translator worked. The ease of communication between two groups of people from the extreme opposite ends of civilization was practically seamless. This was the only part of the story that I thought was a stretch, but I found the rest of it quite well thought out, believable and possible. It’s quite clear as well that there is an underlying environmental message in the story, with extremely opposite views from different characters. Each side felt that they were on the right side, but Haon (the baddie) was blinded by his opinions and wasn’t approaching it in the most appropriate way.

I think that the author has succeeded in weaving together plenty of different plot levels into a well thought out story. I haven’t mentioned it, but there is also an overarching power that is having a huge impact on everyone’s life. It was also great that a kid with his own physical challenges took centre stage as the main protagonist and overcame them. Let’s hope the technology that helped Noah really does become a reality in he future.

In a nutshell

This book was choc-full of action. I really enjoyed the story and it kept my interest from the first page.

Great climax too.

 


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


 The Buzz About the Noah Zarc Books

Book 1: “Pease’s strength as a storyteller lies in his ability to connect multiple time periods imaginatively, as well as Noah’s excited, fast-paced narration.” ~ Publishers Weekly

Book 1: “If I had read this book at age 10, I think it would have made me love SF just as much as reading Asimov did. If you like the non-stop action and humor of Rick Riordan’s Olympians books, I think you’ll also like Noah Zarc.” ~ Sher A. Hart, book blogger and author

Book 2: “This is another great mind-bender. The wild time jump details are fabulously thought out and cause some unexpected results.” ~ Michelle Isenhoff, Children’s Author

Book 2: “A well-written, adventurous read for young readers and even adults, Noah Zarc blasts through space and into your imagination.” ~ TKristufek, Amazon Reviewer

Book 3: “I was completely captured by the characters, the action and the issues and questions: set in fantasy but integrating concepts and engaging readers with a fun tale that teaches as it entertains.” ~ Gaele, Amazon Reviewer


 About the Author: D. Robert Pease

D. Robert PeaseD. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn’t been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike.

Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer’s Sirens. It’s not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters he brings to life.

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Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble
Blog Tour Schedule (2014)

May 13
Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch & Review)
Desperate Homeschoolers (Review)

May 14
Cherry Mischievous (Review)
Sunshine, Bubbles & Books (Review)

May 15
My Devotional Thoughts (Review)
Mel’s Shelves (Review)
Palace of Twelve Pillars (Review)

May 16
The Reading Room (Review)
Kay LaLone, I Love Books (Review)

May 17
Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock (Review)
Book Reviews & Giveaways (Review)

May 18
Stitch Says (Review)
Lakshmi Gosyne (Review)

May 19
Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys (Review)
Pragmatic Mom (Review)

May 20
The World of ContestPatti (Review)
Alwaysjoart (Review)

May 21
A Leisure Moment (Review)
Not Your Ordinary Psychic Mom (Review)

May 22
swlothian | author (Review)
Purple Monster Coupons (Review)
SoCal City Kids (Review)

May 23
BeachBoundBooks (Review)
Unschooling Momma (Review)

May 24
Jemima Pett, Author (Review)
We Are The DinoFamily (Review)

May 25
Bookworm for Kids (Review)
Musing With Crayolakim (Review)

May 26
Heart of a Philanthropist (Review)
Nanna Three and Counting (Review)
Oh My Bookness (Review)


* $25 Blog Tour Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)
Contest ends: June 11, 11:59 pm, 2014
Open: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter button or widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, D. Robert Pease and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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While you’re here, please check out my edge-of-your-seat time-travel adventure series’  by clicking the pic below.

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More than a book review | Bully for Them | by Fiona Scott-Norman


Bully for ThemBULLY FOR THEM
(Outstanding Australians on Hard Lessons Learned at School)

by Fiona Scott-Norman

One of the most difficult things about being bullied is the feeling that nobody else knows what it’s like. Twenty-two of Australia’s most talented and successful people know exactly what it’s like. In candid and entertaining interviews, leading lights from across Australian life recount how they were bullied and shunned at school just for being different. Not only did they survive the ordeal but their experiences helped shape them into the remarkable individuals they are today.

Contributors include: Missy Higgins (musician), Hazem El Masri (NRL), Christos Tsiolkas (writer), Tiffiny Hall (TV), Alice Pung (writer), Sam Bramham (paralympian), Stella Young (disability advocate), Eddie Perfect (actor), Megan Washington (musician), Brendan Cowell (actor), Marieke Hardy (writer), Adam Goodes (AFL), Adam Boland (TV), Bindi Cole (artist), Charlie Pickering (TV), Kate Miller-Heidke (musician), Tim Ferguson (comedian), Penny Wong (politician), Benjamin Law (writer), Judith Lucy (comedian), Paul Capsis (musician), and Wendy Harmer (TV). - Goodreads 


My Review

Bully for Them is a book filled with heartfelt words from a wide variety of famous Australians. Each of them recounts their experiences at school, many of them experiencing the brunt of bullying. Personally, I have no time or tolerance for bullies. This is a direct result of my own experiences. Even to this day, when I encounter people who’s manner or actions remind me of certain people from my school days, I can’t help but judge them – the wall goes up. I know it’s not fair, but my gut instincts are more often right than wrong. They need to prove themselves to me, to earn my respect and trust.

The experiences that are discussed by the contributors in the book are often very frank, and sometimes quite confronting. I mention this as I wouldn’t recommend this as a read for kids. It’s better suited to adults to see how school time experiences can shape an individual. This knowledge may help parents to spot troubled times for their kids along the way, so they can offer some help, and be there for them.

As a parent, one of the things that I fear most is that my kids would become victims of bullying. I dare say that I’ve brought them up to respect others and I’m extremely confident that they would never participate in bullying others.

Regular readers of this blog will know of my 9 year old daughter’s recent battle with cancer. One of the most worrying things for me when she returned to school a couple of months ago was whether her lack of hair and wearing a bandana would attract bullying or teasing.  Interestingly enough, the only confronting comments we’ve encountered (overheard) have been from a small number of teens and adults in public places. It’s extremely hard to ignore, and resist the temptation to set them straight – we don’t want to draw more attention. Thankfully, she has been welcomed back to school with open arms by her friends and teachers, and she has approached it bravely and gracefully, like the true champion she is. We’re so proud of her, and I’m proud of her friends for looking after her as well.

The common thread within the book is that the contributors have all taken strength from their past and turned it into something positive. They’ve grown and blossomed in their chosen field and are even thankful for the tough times, and acknowledged that they were the very things that built their character and made them what they are today.  I know that most readers of this blog are not from Australia, you’re mainly USA, Canada and UK, so you may not have heard of the famous Aussies in this book. The main thing is their stories. It shows that if you are determined enough, you can overcome the bullies and shine in the world.

Two standouts in the book for me were Kate Miller-Heidke (musician) and Tiffiny Hall (TV, author), both famous Australians that I’ve respected and admired for a number of years. As I read their stories I tweeted about it and was uber-thrilled to get the following replies.

Kate Miller-Heidke 1

Tiffiny Hall 1

Tiffiny Hall is a beautiful and passionate person. My kids both think she’s awesome, they’re both definitely fans of the white ninja. She is also an accomplished author and is actively involved in anti-bully initiatives. Kate Miller-Heidke is one of those rare, quirky and immensely talented musicians that come into play from time to time. I’ve been a fan for the long run. One of her songs, Caught in the Crowd, is one of my all time favourites. It’s about bullying. I thought it was the perfect bonus to add to the end of this review.

It’s also interesting to know that if you search Kate Miller-Heidke on YouTube you’ll get a load of videos of this song done by school kids as part of an anti-bullying initiative. It’s worth watching a few.

In a nutshellThis started out as a simple book review, but I think it uncovered how much this book impacted me. I’m so glad to have seen it mentioned on The Project (an Aussie TV show), at which time I immediately went online and bought it. I think this is a wonderful book.


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure. 


While you’re here, please check out my edge-of-your-seat time-travel adventure series’  by clicking the pic below.4 books

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Book Review | Troll Mountain (1,2,3) | Matthew Reilly


I’ve been a Matthew Reilly fan for a number of years. Yes, his plots are over the top. Yes, the characters find themselves in impossible situations but always find a way out. Yes he’s an Aussie like me. They are all reasons that I read and enjoy his books. I love the action, the ingenuity, the never give up attitude, and the grand scale of the settings (and I think that MR’s diagrams are cool too).

For my normal followers, now is the time to warn those who haven’t heard of or read MR’s books, his books are normally written for adult readers. However, MR does state in an interview at the end of Troll Mountain, which has been released as three novellas/episodes, is targeted to a family audience. There is some violence, so it’s up to you to decide if it’s suitable for Middle Grade readers or not.

I’ve decided to write these review comments as I complete each book. I wanted to capture my thoughts on each episode before I was backed up or disproved in the next episode/s. So, you’ll either see how way off I was along the way … or be amazed at how perceptive I was ahead of the final climax (see, I’m even assuming there’s an awesome climax as I write this).


A dauntless young hero. An army of brutal monsters. An impossible quest.
Journey to the mountain …

IN THESE, THE THREE SERIALIZED EPISODES, MATTHEW REILLY TAKES YOU ON HIS WILDEST RIDE YET: A HEADLONG QUEST TO THE DARK HEART OF THE KINGDOM OF THE TROLLS. – Goodreads


Troll Mountain 1TROLL MOUNTAIN
(EPISODE I)

by Matthew Reilly

In an isolated valley, a small tribe of humans is dying from a terrible illness. There are rumors, however, that the trolls of Troll Mountain, the valley’s fearsome overlords, have found a cure for the illness: a fabulous elixir.

When his sister is struck down by the disease and his tribal leaders refuse to help him, an intrepid youth named Raf decides to defy his tribe and do the unthinkable: he will journey alone to Troll Mountain and steal the elixir from the dreaded trolls.

But to get to Troll Mountain, Raf will have to pass through dangerous swamps and haunting forests filled with wolves, hobgoblins and, worst of all, the ever-present danger of rogue trolls …

The journey to the mountain has begun.  - Goodreads


My thoughts – Episode I

This is a complete surprise from Matthew Reilly. The storyline and writing style is totally different from any other MR writing that I’ve read (that’s most of his books). The language used is quite simple, almost childlike, but that gives the book the very feeling that I’m being told a true story by some wise old man.

I may be on the wrong track, but I see the story has a much deeper meaning. My guess is that it’s really making a statement on how the real world works. It’s entertaining and the plot moves along at a brisk pace, so I’m jumping straight into Episode II.


Troll Mountain 2TROLL MOUNTAIN
(EPISODE II)
by Matthew Reilly

The only unguarded entrance to Troll Mountain is the abandoned kingdom of the hobgoblins. With no other route available to them, Raf and his newfound friends, Ko and Dum, enter the dark, dank world of the hobgoblins.

But is it truly abandoned?  - Goodreads


My thoughts – Episode II

And so … we have a cliff-hanger at the end of Episode II.

This second part of Troll Mountain sees the return of trademark Matthew Reilly maps and traps, which I love to refer to as I read through the story. They’re a handy feature indeed.

I’m still convinced that the whole story is a reflection of modern society. Manipulative powers at the top and everyone fighting their own struggles below. On to Episode III.


Troll Mountain 3TROLL MOUNTAIN
(EPISODE III)

by Matthew Reilly

Raf’s mission to Troll Mountain is in ruins.

Having penetrated the mountain, only to be caught in the act of stealing the fabled elixir, Raf must now face the trolls’ champion in a fight to the death.

As the trolls gather to watch the fight, Raf watches them closely. If he can somehow survive this fight, his mission may not be over.

The final battle for Troll Mountain is about to begin.  – Goodreads


My thoughts – Episode III

Well, the action cranks up a notch in this one. Up to normal Matthew Reilly levels. I did enjoy reading this story, so much so, that I read all three in a relatively short time (for me).

As for the climax that I was hoping for …. you’ll need to read the books to find out. And, in case you’re wondering if my earlier ideas(in my thoughts for Episodes I and II) about the underlying inspiration and message were correct, I’d rather not reveal too much plot or detail in my review, as I’m not one for spoilers.

I suggest you read the interview with Matthew Reilly at the end if Episode III and you’ll see that his comments will either back-up or trash my thoughts.


In a nutshellAs a loyal and long term Matthew Reilly fan, I was bound to like these books. Although they were quite different to MR’s other books the story kept me enthralled and glued to them until finished. They may not be for everybody, but then again, no books are. Great job MR.


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


Here is  a little something extra that has been set up for Troll Mountain fans – Matthew tells us about Trollpedia.


Want to know more?
Click below to check out more information about
Matthew Reilly.

Matthew Reilly


While you’re here, please check out my edge-of-your-seat time-travel adventure series’  by clicking the pic below.

4 books



Kids Movie Trailer Banner

Kids Movie Trailer | The Simpsons | Lego Spectacular | 2014

Hiya, This is just a quick post to let you know that I’ve added a new kid’s movie trailer to my KIDS MOVIE TRAILERS page.

THE SIMPSONS LEGO SPECTACULAR (2014)

OK …. so this one isn’t technically a movie trailer, but I thought it was a fun one to share with you all. It’s a special edition of The Simpsons that has been created.

If you liked that, then click the MOVIE TRAILERS link at the top of this page or click on the MOVIES category in the right hand margin to see all of the other new and favourite trailer links I’ve posted.


While you’re here, please check out my edge-of-your-seat adventure series by clicking the pic below.

3 books

Quest blog header 2

Check out my Extreme Makeover…

Well, as I warned a number of days ago, I have decided to give the Quest series of books an Extreme Makeover. Hopefully the new covers are more kid friendly and a better fit to the book’s readers.

Please check out the newbies below (click them for a closer look).
Personally, I love them and think they feel bright and fresh. I even think that I may have successfully channelled that movie poster inspiration that I mentioned in my recent post.

CLICK FOR A CLOSER LOOK  Q2 paperbackbookstanding 2014  Q3 paperbackbookstanding 2014

It’ll take a little time for the new designs to filter through to all retailers, but hopefully not too long. You may also see some old and new covers around my sites until I’ve swept through and changed them to the new ones. I’d love to hear what you think of the new covers (be kind :) ).

Also, today I’ve launched a separate site for the Quest series
which can be accessed from the main menu by clicking
THE QUEST SERIES.
Or, just click here to jump over for a peek, and please
follow the new site while you’re there.

 

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Book Review | Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles 1) | by Suzanne Collins


 Gregor the Overlander - Cover 3GREGOR THE OVERLANDER
 (UNDERLAND CHRONICLES 1)
by Suzanne Collins    ★★★★

This irresistible first novel tells the story of a quiet boy who embarks on a dangerous quest in order to fulfill his destiny — and find his father — in a strange world beneath New York City.

When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor’s arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it — until he realizes it’s the only way to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever. (Goodreads).


My Review

Plenty of twists and surprises (and creepy critters)

I’d heard about this series many times and it had been bobbing away in my to-read list for a while. I finally decided to take the plunge and read the first book, Gregor the Overlander. That was a few months ago and I’ve finally found the time to post a review.

This story is a journey of an unwitting, and mainly unwilling hero, Gregor. He’s a quiet boy who finds himself in the middle of a huge challenge in a dark and troubled world.

Gregor somehow manages to tumble down a mysterious hole (the laundry grate) and finds himself in a strange and mysterious place known as Underland, which happens to be below his home city. And, to make matters a little more tricky, his 2 year-old sister, Boots, is with him. Underland is a place that’s full of giant rats, hefty spiders, sizable cockroaches and humans known as Underlanders. It’s not your ideal place to spend time, but it’s one where Gregor finds a link to the mysterious and unsolved disappearance of his father a couple of years before.

Upon arrival, he is met by Underlings who insist that Gregor is the promised one. The one who is destined to save them from a life of misery should the fragile peace be broken. Gregor isn’t so keen on his newfound importance and is torn throughout the tale. He wants nothing more than to find his father, but he’s also in denial of his new warrior status, as foretold in the Underland prophecy. Ultimately he just wants to go home, so he soon realises that perhaps all three things (dad, home, help) can be achieved and he reluctantly agrees to help his hosts. There’s plenty of twists and surprises for him along how way, which provided plenty of tension and excitement to keep my interest until the end.

If there was one thing that I wasn’t keen on, it was Boots, Gregor’s two year old sibling. I wasn’t sure what value the character added to the story, or even why she was included. I felt that she just vaguely lingered in the background and popped up every so often when there was a lull in the story. It may have been a little more interesting if the author had explored the impact that traveling with such a youngster would have on Gregor in more detail. I’ve read other reviews where Boots was a favorite character, so I guess it’s really just a personal observation, rather than a fault or flaw in the plot. But that aside, I did enjoy the book. I’ll be sure to read the subsequent books in the series, so I can follow Gregor’s journey to the end.

In a nutshellGregor the Overlander was an entertaining read, which has hooked me for the rest of the series.

It’s a great debut novel from an author who has gone on to become hugely successful.


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


I thought it may be fun to see some of the different
book covers that are around for this one.

 Gregor the Overlander - Cover 2   Gregor the Overlander - Cover 3  Gregor the Overlander - Cover 1

Gregor the Overlander - Cover 4  Gregor the Overlander - Cover 5   Gregor the Overlander - Cover 6


Want to know more?
Click below to check out more information about
The Underland Chronicles series.

Gregor



Noah Zarc Book Blast – Win $25

Today I’m showing my support for up and coming Middle Grade author D. Robert Pease, by participating in a Book Blast and Giveaway for his popular Noah Zarc series. There’s plenty of info and links for his books below for you, as well as the chance to win a $25 Amazon/Paypal prize. Best of luck everyone.

 About the Noah Zarc Books

Book 1

Noah Zarc Mammoth Trouble by D. Robert PeaseNoah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble (Book #1)

Author: D. Robert Pease
Publication Date: July 22, 2013
Publisher: Evolved Publishing (2nd Edition) Number of pages: 214
Recommended age: 9+

 

Summary: Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth’s animals from extinction. Life couldn’t be better. But the twelve-year-old time traveler learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is kidnapped and taken to Mars; his dad is stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying Earth… for the second time.

Amazon | iTunes | Barnes and Noble | Kobo
Amazon (Audiobook) | iTunes (AudioBook) | Audible

 


 Book 2

Noah Zarc - Cataclysm by D. Robert PeaseNoah Zarc: Cataclysm (Book #2)

Author: D. Robert Pease
Publication Date: July 22, 2013
Publisher: Evolved Publishing (2nd Edition)
Number of pages: 234
Recommended age: 9+

 

Summary: Noah becomes embroiled in a mission that could cause the greatest cataclysm in the history of the solar system. Will his name, Noah Zarc, be forever linked to the most devastating crime in humanity’s existence, all because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Amazon | iTunes | Barnes and Noble | Kobo
Amazon (Audiobook) | iTunes (AudioBook) | Audible

 


 Book 3

Noah Zarc - Declaration by D. Robert PeaseNoah Zarc: Declaration (Book #3)

Author: D. Robert Pease
Publication Date: November 1, 2013
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Number of pages: 226
Recommended age: 9+

 

Summary: As battles rage across the solar system, Noah must work to join together a rag-tag bunch of miners, farmers, and scientists who would rather just live in peace. With only a time-traveling ship full of animals and a general from the history books, the Zarc family has to stand against the full might of the Poligarchy. Will the truth about what really happened a thousand years in the past be enough to stop total war, or will Noah and his friends need to find another way to bring down a dictator?

Amazon | iTunes | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

 


 Special Omnibus Edition

Noah Zarc - Omnibus by D. Robert PeaseNoah Zarc: Omnibus (Special Edition)

Author: D. Robert Pease
Publication Date: November 2, 2013
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Number of pages: 630
Recommended age: 9+

 

Summary: FEATURES ALL 3 BOOKS IN 1 SPECIAL EDITION & INCLUDES 22 PENCIL ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR

In a future where Earth has been wiped clean of all life, and humanity has moved on to other worlds, twelve-year-old Noah Zarc and his family have embarked on a quest, in a time-traveling spaceship called the ARC, to retrieve two of every animal and repopulate a dead world.

Amazon | iTunes | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

 


 The Buzz About the Noah Zarc Books

Book 1: “Pease’s strength as a storyteller lies in his ability to connect multiple time periods imaginatively, as well as Noah’s excited, fast-paced narration.”
~ Publishers Weekly

Book 1: “If I had read this book at age 10, I think it would have made me love SF just as much as reading Asimov did. If you like the non-stop action and humor of Rick Riordan’s Olympians books, I think you’ll also like Noah Zarc.”
~ Sher A. Hart, book blogger and author

Book 2: “This is another great mind-bender. The wild time jump details are fabulously thought out and cause some unexpected results.” ~ Michelle Isenhoff, Children’s Author

Book 2: “A well-written, adventurous read for young readers and even adults, Noah Zarc blasts through space and into your imagination.”
~ TKristufek, Amazon Reviewer

Book 3: “I was completely captured by the characters, the action and the issues and questions: set in fantasy but integrating concepts and engaging readers with a fun tale that teaches as it entertains.”
~ Gaele, Amazon Reviewer


 About the Author: D. Robert Pease

D. Robert PeaseD. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn’t been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike.

Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer’s Sirens. It’s not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters he brings to life.

Website | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook |
Goodreads | Google+

 


 * $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: May 20, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter button below.

ENTER-NOW

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, D. Robert Pease and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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