Sunday, October 31, 2010

Book Review: The Fallen 2 by Thomas E Sniegoski

Product Details
Simon Pulse, September 2010
Trade Paperback, 576 pages
ISBN-10: 1442408634
ISBN-13: 9781442408630
Grades: 11 and up
Destined for Heaven or Hell? The saga continues from THE FALLEN 1.

Aaron's senior year has been anything but typical. Half-angel and half-human, he has been charged to reunite the Fallen with Heaven. But the leader of the Dark Powers is determined to destroy Aaron—and all hope of angelic reconciliation.

Struggling to harness the incredible force within him, Aaron trains for the ultimate battle. With the Dark Powers building in strength and numbers, their clash may come sooner than he expects. And everyone who's ever mattered to Aaron is now in grave danger.

Aaron must protect the girl he loves and rescue the only family he's ever known. Because if he can't save them from the Dark Powers, how can he hope to save the Fallen


Angels are the new vampires, or so it seems. The Fallen 2 is the second in a new series about the Nephilim and part of a new trend in YA publishing. I’ve seen a few books on the shelves recently that deal with fallen angels, Nephilim and demons. It’s a nice change from the amount of paranormal romance books with vamps and wolves are the MC’s.

The Angels in this book remind me of the ones from the Supernatural series, flawed and vulnerable, niave, yet extremely powerful. Aaron Corbet and his two companions – his trusty Labrador Retriever, Gabriel and the angel Camael – had just left a little town in Maine where they encountered a creature so ancient, it had a long history of bones to pick with the Divine Creator. Since then they’ve been back on the road, searching for a haven called Aerie, which Camael insists is important to Aaron fulfilling his destiny. Aerie is a place unlike any other on this world… a special place—a secret place, where those who have fallen await their reunion with Heaven.

Great book that I will no doubt read again sometime in the future.

Book Review: Fanged and Fabulous by Michelle Rowan

Paperback - B Format
October 2010
368 pages

'My name is Sarah Dearly, and I've got major problems. Last month, I was turned into a vampire by the world's worst blind date. Then I may have, totally by accident, started a war between the mostly peaceful bloodsuckers and a bunch of sociopathic vamp hunters who have nicknamed me the Slayer of Slayers.''Now I'm being used as bait to draw out the hunters' bad-ass leader, while my gorgeous 600-year-old boyfriend Thierry seems to be blowing me off, and my sizzle-hot, fanged friend Quinn is trying to turn my self-defence lessons into make-out sessions. So you know what? I'm done. I've had it. There comes a time when a vamp has to just suck it up and go after what she wants. And as soon as I figure out what that is, that's exactly what I'll do...'


Michelle Rowen has written novels in the areas of paranormal romance and young adult fantasy. She lives in Southern Ontario.


FANGED AND FABULOUS starts out with Sarah Dearly trying to enjoy a jog, when she's attacked by a vampire slayer. He backs off once he realizes exactly who she is - the Slayer of Slayers (or so he thinks). This starts a whole chain reaction in the vampire community - those that aren't terrified of Sarah want to kill her just to prove they can. Given that Sarah's generally incompetent, this poses a big problem for her. Only having been a vampire for three months, Sarah Dearly is still confused. She loves her boyfriend, Toronto's Master Vampire, Thierry, but she's not sure how he feels about her. And he's pulling back. Things just haven't been the same since Mexico ...

To add to the mayhem, someone's killing vampires, vampire hunters and humans, bodies drained of blood, with puncture marks on their necks. Two bodyguards hired by her 600-year-old vamp boyfriend are following her. Then she finds out the leader of all the vampire slayers, Gideon Chase is hot on her tail, too.

Rowen makes frequent reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and her scenes where bodyguard Janie mentions Sarah going all "Rawrr" complete with vampire claw motions hearken back to BtVS characters doing the same. I think this adds a real sense of pop culture and humour to the books and is done tastefully.

This second book in the series is a good, light hearted read well worth the cover price.

Book Review: Horns by Joe Hill

March 2010
448 pages
Horror & Ghost Stories
Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache...and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache...and a pair of horns growing from his temples.Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all and more - he had the love of Merrin Williams, a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring and unlikely midsummer magic.Then beautiful, vivacious Merrin was gone - raped and murdered, under inexplicable circumstances - with Ig the only suspect. He was never tried for the crime, but in the court of public opinion, Ig was and always would be guilty.Now Ig is possessed with a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look and he means to use it to find the man who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge; it's time the devil had his due.


Joe Hill is a recipient of the Ray Bradbury Fellowship and the winner numerous literary, fantasy and horror awards. His short fiction has appeared in literary, mystery and horror collections and magazines in Britain and America. He lives with his wife and family in New England.

Book Review

I became a fan of Joe Hill (aka Stephen King’s son) after reading Heart Shaped Box and before finding out that Joe Hill was in fact the son of my other favourite author. Hill writes an excellent novel and the stories stand on their own merit, putting to bed any notions that his books have only been published because of who he is related to.

Horns is even better than Heart Shaped Box in the sense that Hill’s writing has become even smoother and more refined with his second novel, (third book if you count the anthology that he first put out in 2008). The book is just so darned easy to read and hard to put down once you open the covers.

Horns opens with the MC waking up with one hell of a hangover and finding an unusual pair of devil horns protruding from his forehead. Nobody else seems to be able to see these at first, but he does notice that people he talks to have a strange desire to speak the truth and act on emotions they normally wouldn’t. Like Heart Shaped Box, Horns is fast paced and full of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your set in anticipation and suspense.

Horns is a great read and I can’t wait for Hill’s next novel.

Book Review: Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl By Donald Sturrock

ISBN: 9780007341184;
ISBN10: 0007341180;
On Sale: 1/10/2010;
Format: Trade paperback;
Pages: 448; $35.00
Book Description

Roald Dahl pushed children′s literature into new and uncharted territory. More than fifteen years after his death, his popularity around the globe continues to grow, and worldwide sales of his books have now topped 100 million.
The man behind the stories, however, remains an enigma. Dahl was a single-minded adventurer, an eternal child, but his public persona was characterised by his blunt opinions on taboo subjects. Described as an anti-Semite, a racist and a misogynist, he felt ignored and undervalued by the literary establishments of London and New York.

To his readers, though, Dahl was always a hero, and since his death his reputation has been transformed. His wild imagination is now celebrated, along with his quirky humour and his linguistic elegance. Figures like Willy Wonka, the BFG and the Grand High Witch are nothing less than immortal literary creations, and in a recent poll he beat J. K. Rowling to win the title of Britain′s favourite author.
In this masterly biography, Donald Sturrock draws on a huge range of source material that has become available since Dahl′s death. The result is revealing, compelling and a pure joy to read.

Publisher’s link


I had a particular interest in this biography as Dahl is a very, very distant relative, one whom I never met. It’s one thing to have the opportunity to read the life story of someone like Roald Dahl, it is another when you know that they are part of the extended family tree. Even before I married into the Dahl family, I was a huge fan of Roald’s stories, and his work as a screenwriter, such as Chitty, Chitty, Bang Bang and You Only Live Twice.

Most of us would have read or seen a movie based on at least one or two of Dahl’s stories, such as James and the Giant Peach, or at least Charley and the Chocolate Factory. It is hard to imagine meeting someone who hasn’t heard of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, but how much do most people know about the man behind the story? This well researched biography details many of the other elements of Dahl’s life, such as helping develop a drainage tech valve to help save his son's life, and subsequently thousands of other lives after his son’s.

The most interesting and by far best part of this biography is the wealth of information that Dahl’s estate made available to the author, making is accurate and based on truth. There is details from personal correspondence, journals and interviews with family members and famous friends—Donald Sturrock draws on a wealth of previously unpublished materials that influenced Dahl’s writing and his life.

Book Review: Tattoos & Tequila To Hell and Back With One Of Rock's Most Notorious Frontmen by Vince Neil, Mike Sagar

Orion Non Fiction
Paperback - C Format
September 2010
336 pages
Biography: Arts & Entertainment

From the lead singer of one of America's most notorious bands.
Motley Crue were formed in Los Angeles in 1981 and have since gone on to become one of America's biggest-selling and notorious heavy metal acts, with nine studio albums and over 80 million album sales. Acquiring huge success by the end of the 80s with their mixture of heavy metal and glam rock, singer Vince Neil's 'glam' look even supposedly inspired the hit Aerosmith song 'Dude (Looks Like A Lady)'. In 1992 Neil left the band to pursue a solo career before returning in 1997. The band went into hiatus in 2000 before reuniting in 2004.In this book, Vince Neil chronicles his personal experiences as singer and frontman for Motley Crue and his time as a participant on reality shows. Motley Crue were a band who always lived up to the typical image of the 'rock and roll' lifestyle and this is captured first-hand by Neil, who writes candidly about the band's struggles with drugs, alcohol and the law.

About the Authors

Vince Neil was born in 1961 and is the singer for American metal band Motley Crue. He has been performing for over 25 years with both Motley Crue and as a soloist. Neil also founded the Skylar Neil Memorial Fund to raise awareness and funding for childhood illnesses. He currently lives in California.


I’ve recently read the Heroin Diaries and The Dirt, yet I just had to read another biography about this legendary band, The Crue. Neil’s autobiography is interesting and tells much of the same outrageous events with sex, drugs and rock and roll as the other two recent biographies about Motley Crue. The main difference is Neil’s book tells of the tragedy surrounding the death of his child, giving him an almost human and sensitive side.

As with many other autobiographies of rock stars, Tattoos contains so many true stories that one couldn’t even begin to make up, no matter how outrageous they seem. It always amazes me that these self confessions don’t end up with the authors in prison for the admission of so many criminal activities. I don’t understand how Neil can talk about all of the drugs etc he took over the years and not be arrested. Mind you, if that was the case, we wouldn’t end up with these crazy books to read.

The main element of this book is how sorry you end up feeling for Neil, even though he’s had everything most people only get to dream about. It’s clear that he’s never learnt anything from his mistakes and sometime even seems somewhat proud of them.

If you’re a Motley Crue, or more so a Vince Neil fan, you will most likely enjoy this book.

Book Review: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Product Details
Simon & Schuster UK, August 2009
Hardcover, 432 pages
ISBN-10: 1847374557
ISBN-13: 9781847374554

The first in a stunning new series, The Cousins War, is set amid the tumult and intrigue of The War of the Roses. Internationally bestselling author Philippa Gregory brings this family drama to colourful life through its women, beginning with the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen

The White Queen tells the story of a common woman who ascends to royalty by virtue of her beauty, a woman who rises to the demands of her position and fights tenaciously for the success of her family, a woman whose two sons become the central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the Princes in the Tower whose fate remains unknown to this day. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores the most famous unsolved mystery, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.

Review by Susie Wilson

York, Lancaster, Lancaster, York. Brother against brother. Cousin against cousin, who will win? The plotting, murder and intrigue and sexual passion have been outlined beautifully in this novel. Elizabeth Woodville’s character has been formed so that everyone woman and mother can understand her joys, pain and love. Phillipa sometimes uses the supernatural too much and it overtakes the plot and history of the story. But this time is has enhanced the story instead of being a distraction.

I say go the crossroad that Elizabeth stood at and start reading this book.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Book Review: Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handeland

ISBN: 9780312641528
Binding: B-Format Paperback
Pub. Date: 01-09-2010
Category:Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Imprint: Griffin
Pages:320 page/s
Stock:New, Available
Price:$22.99 AUD

When speaking of William Shakespeare, legends and rumours abound. But what is fiction? And wherein lies the truth? Some say his impressive body of work is too impressive. No single human being could have written all those plays, that multitude of sonnets. Others insist the reality of the historical plays, the pain of the tragedies, the joy of the comedies, the authenticity of characters are all too much for one man. He'd have to be superhuman to produce such genius.

Well, here's the truth: Will was not only one of the greatest writers in the English language, he was also a necromancer. In exchange for a front row seat to history, Will supplied zombie armies. Sure, he's sorry now. Hey, he's refused to raise a shuffling, shambling corpse for years. And the talent – which comes only to a necromancer who's become a vampire – is extremely rare. So why are there so many zombies strolling around London? Will needs to find out.

He has help from Katherine Dymond, the famed Dark Lady of Sonnets 127-152. Katherine is Will's one and only love, the woman he can only be near in the dark. Together, Katherine and Will struggle against the reanimated corpses, even as they attempt to discover who has raised them, who is controlling them and what the zombies are after.

Author Information

Lori Handeland is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, as well as a two-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America's RITA award. She lives in Southern Wisconsin with two sons, a husband, and a yellow lab named Elwood.


Handeland is known for her more mainstream paranormal romance novels, so this one is quite left field and surpsising for her. It is set in early England where zombie armies were raised to fight against enemies. William Shakespeare was at his finest, both in his writing and his slaying, for Will was no mere mortal. William Shakespeare was a vampire; a vampire who could raise zombies. But that was before he learned to control his Necromancer powers. After seeing the damage an army of the walking dead could do, Will vowed to never again use his powers for the gain of others.

Shakespeare Undead is written in two different points of views, with a chapter in third person from Shakespeare’s perspective and the next will be the mysterious "Dark Lady's" first person encounter.

The setting of sixteenth-century London, and is accurately portrayed with beautiful descriptive narratives of the dress and language. I also caught myself thinking of Shakespeare in Love because of the fictional liberty taken with Shakespeare’s actual life. Obviously with any fictionalization of Shakespeare's life, we're going to see some references to his literary works, but from the stolen balcony scene from "Romeo and Juliet," to Kate masquerading as a boy both to hunt zombies and to act on stage, to the Silvia speech from "Two Gentleman of Verona," it seemed Handeland's best knowledge of Shakespeare came from the movie and not history books. The last few lines of dialogue were brilliant, and I love where she left this story off.

Overall, this was a very entertaining read, and it gave me quite a few chuckles.

Book Review:Dawn of the Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley

H&S Non Fiction
November 2010
160 pages

A brand new dawn of sadistically suicidal bunny deaths! The million-copy-selling phenomenon.

From the author of the cult bestsellers THE BOOK OF BUNNY SUICIDES and RETURN OF THE BUNNY SUICIDES comes another unmissable collection of rabbit-related self destruction...The bunnies are back - and there's only one thing on their minds. In this new collection, follow the continuing adventures of the fluffy little rabbits who just don't want to live any more...


Andy Riley is the author/artist of the BUNNY SUICIDES books, GREAT LIES TO TELL SMALL KIDS, SELFISH PIGS, D.I.Y DENTISTRY, ROASTED, and lots of other stuff. His scriptwriting work includes BLACK BOOKS, THE GREAT OUTDOORS, LITTLE BRITAIN, HYPERDRIVE, ARMSTRONG AND MILLER, SMACK THE PONY, GNOMEO AND JULIET, THE ARMANDO IANNUCCI SHOWS and lots of other stuff.For more information and cartoons, or if you want to talk to him, go to

Dawn of the Bunny Suicides is one of those books that you will either love or absolutely hate, depending upon your sense of humour. I loved it. When I was a teenager I remember a similar series of humours books like Riley’s about cats.
Riley has got some pretty impressive scriptwriting to his name with Black Books, Little Britain and Armstrong and Miller. Given that, you would be able to work out what sort of humour this guy has. Some of the more memorabile cartoons where the ones that depicted bunnies in famous movie scenes, plotting their own demise. An example of this is a bunny sitting on the oxygen tank that Jaws has in its mouth just as Chief Brodie is about to shoot it, or a line of bunnies waiting on the path Indiana Jones runs down at the start of the first movie when the boulder is rolling after him.

I don’t know how Riley came up with the idea of bunnies wanting to kill themselves, but this book is hilarious.

Book Review: Guinness World Records 2011

ISBN: 9781904994572
Binding: Hardback
Pub. Date: 27-09-2010
Category:Encyclopedias and Reference Works
Imprint: Guinness
Stock:New, Reprinting
Price: $49.99 AUD

About The Author

In 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver, the then managing director of the Guinness Brewery, went on a shooting party and became involved in an argument. Which was the fastest game bird in Europe - the golden plover or the grouse? He realized then that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove popular. He was right! Sir Hugh's idea became reality when Norris and Ross McWhirter, who had been running a fact-finding agency in London, were commissioned to compile what became The Guinness Book of Records. The first edition was bound on August 27, 1955, and went to the top of the British bestseller lists by Christmas that year. Since then, Guinness World Records� has become a household name and the global leader in world records. No other enterprise collects, confirms, accredits and presents world record data with the same investment in comprehensiveness and authenticity.

- A new unique design – new decade, new look
- A fun, poster-style look reminiscent of the circus, the old Wild West and letter-pressed WANTED ads!
- Fully updated records and 100% new photos
- Quiz of the year – record-breaking questions are peppered throughout the book. Readers can log their answers online and see how they rate against other readers around the world
- Instant expert – fascinating record-related snippets scattered across the book, allowing readers to become instant records experts
- Records GPS – we go around the world, city by city, revealing fascinating records set along the way
- Glossary – improve your vocabulary by learning the meaning of new and unusual words
- Tables/charts – top ten charts throughout the book that put record achievements into perspective and offer facts fast!


I have always loved flicking through the annual Guinness World Records to see what craziness people got up to over the previous 12 months. It is amazing to see what sort of things people go out of their way to do to end up in this world famous book. I mean, who thinks, I want to see how many straws I can fit in my mouth, or how many spoons I can stick on my face. But to make it worse, there are actually people out there who are so impressed that they make a concerted effort to try and beat that record.

The Midnight Rider is an extremely impressive limousine; basically it is a truck that has its own night club in the trailer.

Check out the website for some pretty amazing video footage of some of the more memorable records that are listed in the book.

The format of this edition is spectacular and looks even better than the previous year’s edition. I love how they continue to make the Guinness World Records look more appealing and interesting each year.

If you know what this book is about already, you won’t be disappointed when you get this year’s copy.

Book Review:Things That Suck by Jason Kaplan

Binding: Paperback
Pub. Date:01-09-2010
Imprint:Andrews McMeel Publishing
Pages:160 page/s
Stock:New, Available
Price:$14.95 AUD

Things That Suck flows with all the unpleasantries that rank high and low on the Kaplan scale of suckage. Lauded by New York Magazine as "surprisingly perceptive," Things That Suck calls attention to examples of suckitude such as: The morning commute; Your driver's license photo; Overly perky people; People who think they're great at British accents; The kid kicking the back of your seat; That kid's parents.

Author Information

Jason Kaplan has had a number of careers, including being a sound designer for TV and film, doing tech support for TiVo users, and running a side business that sells toilet seats online ( He currently works as a screenwriter in Los Angeles, California.


I was expecting a really indepth insight into things that suck when I first read the blurb about Kaplan’s book. It was a bit dissappointing to find that it was just a list of things the author notes as being unpleasant, not nice or not amongst his favourite things in life.

While there is a very comprehensive list of Things That Suck detailed in the 160 pages, not all of them were very humourous. If Kaplan had added some more graphics to the book it would have been absolutely hilarious. There was a “Flip Book” contained in the pages, so if you held it almost closed and flipped through the pages the images acted like a cartoon or animation. This was a random element to the book.

I did appreciate the irony of Kaplan where he had things that sucked after each other, such as getting stuck next to someone with BO, followed by having BO and having painful gas, followed by running out of gas.

You really need to read this in order to appreciate the ongoing jokes and irony. If you were to pick up this book in a shop and flick through it, randomly stopping at pages, you’d probably do what I did first and think what the hell is this? The flow of the list of things that suck make the book entertaining, so don’t give up on the book before you give it a chance.

Book Review; Kisses From Hell By Kristin Cast, Richelle Mead

ISBN: 9780007237340;
ISBN10: 0007237340;
On Sale: 1/09/2010;
Format: Paperback;
Pages: 264;
Price $16.99;

Book Description
What′s hotter than the roster of authors for our fourth Hell collection? Teen vampire romances. KISSES FROM HELL brings it all together with five sexy, sweet, witty and wild short stories featuring teen vampires in this exciting anthology. Richelle Mead offers her many fans the legendary love story of Eric and Rhea Dragomir, parents of Vampire Academy main character Lissa Dragomir. In Kelly Armstrong′s Hunting Kat, reluctant vampire Katiana finds love while escaping from a group bent on her destruction. In Lilith, Francesca Lia Block introduces a sexy, powerful social outcast, who turns out to be more than she seems.
Written by authors who consistently top the New York Times bestseller list (plus one cult favourite in a decidedly more commercial turn), Kisses From Hell offers five stories about the one topic teens can′t get enough of: vampires.
Age 13+
Kisses from hell is the fourth book in the short story collection, featuring five of the hottest names in the paranormal romance genre. There is a story from Richelle Mead, Alyson Noel, Kristin Cast, Kelly Armstrong and Francesca Lia Block.
Richelle Mead’s story, Sunshine, is set in the world Mead has created in the Vampire Academy series. This short piece will be popular with fans of Vampire Academy and provide some background on how Lisa’s parents met and fell in love. As a standalone tale, it could use a bit more drama, but taken as part of the overall series it works well.
Bring Me to Life by Alyson Noël is my favourite of the five stories with a modern day take on the Bram Stoker type Dracula. While this concept is not new, Noel has written a great little story set against a backdrop of an old English manor and a haunting and gloomy environment.

Kristin Cast develops and explores a new subterranean creature in "Above", which was my second favourite in this anthology. I particularly liked the two main characters and the conflict between the two species in this story.

Kelly Armstrong contribution, Hunting Kat, is set in the world created in Darkest Powers. I haven’t read any of her novels before so was unfamiliar with the environment and history here. The story was very entertaining though, with the main character, Kat, who is being hunted by a group known as the Edison Group.

The last story, Lilith, is written by Francesca Lia Block. Lilith is supposed to be a demon or some evil creature from the Bible. I’ve read the Bible numerous times and never come across Adam’s first love, Lilith, so not sure where this lore came from. That being said, this is a great story.

Book Review: Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz

Paperback - B Format
November 2010
288 pages
General Fiction (Children's / YA)

The young, the fabulous and the fanged rule the upper echelons of Manhattan society in book 5 of this fantastically addictive series from bestselling YA author Melissa de la Cruz.

After inheriting the complicated Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler fled to Florence with Jack, risking both of their lives for love. The two of them embark on the mission Schuyler was destined to complete: to find and protect the remaining five gates that guard Earth from Lucifer, Prince of Hell and lord of the Silver Bloods.As the Blue Blood coven weakens yet further, fate leads Schuyler closer to a terrifying crossroads - and a choice that will determine the destiny of all vampires.


Melissa de la Cruz is the author of many best-selling novels, including the Blue Bloods series; the Au Pairs series; the Ashleys series; and Angels on Sunset Boulevard. She is also a frequent contributor to Glamour, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter, and is hard at work on the next book in the Blue Bloods saga. While Melissa is not a Blue Blood, she knows people who are...


Misguided Angle is the fifth novel in the Blue Blood series by de la Cruz, and maintains the style and steam that we’ve all come to know and love. The main character, Mimi, has finally become the regent of the illustrious New York coven of vamps. Before she gets a chance to plot revenge that she so badly wants to, she is pulled into a kidnapping by decree of her position. The mystery of this element of the book is extremely well structured and gives nothing away. You will be wondering who the culprit is through the book, driving you to read faster to see just who would kidnap a teenage blue blood.

Misguided Angel also ramps up the action compared to the previous Blue Blood books. With the loss of Bliss in the Van Alan Legacy you just knew that there was going to be a new character introduced in this book. The series is always told around three main characters, so you knew that de la Cruz was either going to introduce someone new to continue on where Bliss left off or suddenly change the format of the series (which I didn’t think would happen).

There are also little excerpts of Venators back in the 15th century hunting down silver bloods and end up finding humans that are marked with the sign of Lucifer. This sub story gives us bits and pieces of details about what is happening, but leaves enough unsaid to keep the reader wanting more details.

Misguided Angel won’t disappoint fans of the Blue Blood series.

Book Review:The Thief-Taker's Apprentice by Stephen Deas

October 2010
288 pages
Fantasy & Magical Realism

A teenage thief becomes a teenage assassin and must live with the consequences.
Berren has lived in the city all his life. He has made his way as a thief, paying a little of what he earns to the Fagin like master of their band. But there is a twist to this tale of a thief.One day Berren goes to watch an execution of three thieves. He watches as the thief-taker takes his reward and decides to try and steal the prize. He fails. The young thief is taken. But the thief-taker spots something in Berren. And the boy reminds him of someone as well. Berren becomes his apprentice.And is introduced to a world of shadows, deceit and corruption behind the streets he thought he knew.


Stephen Deas is an electrical engineer working in the aerospace and defence industries. His first novel THE ADAMANTINE PALACE has sold in a number of countries - it was sold in the US after a fierce auction and was pre-empted in Gernany.


Stephen Deas departs from his usual style of writing with The Thief Taker’s Apprentice by losing the political intrigue and depth of the structure of the society and heirachy in his debut YA novel. As a writer myself, I find switching between writing for a mature audience and YA audience to be quite refreshing. No doubt, Stephen probably finds the change appealing himself. The only problem that an author finds with doing this is possibly alienating the casual reader who may not be willing to read a book labelled as being for a younger audience.

The Thief Taker’s Apprentice was still very well written and full of action and adventure, albeit, less the more serious elements of Dea’s other Dragon novels. The characters are lacking some of the depth that they had in Adamantine, but the story still flows along smoothly.

Readers will recognise the world in Dea’s new book as that we came to know in his last two books, but on another continent and different culture. The story sees the young apprentice being taken under the wing of an exiled prince and sets the scene for another book or two in the future.

I enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to finding out more about the dynamic duo in the next instalment.

Book Review: The Ragged Man Book Four of The Twilight Reign by Tom Lloyd

Paperback - C Format
October 2010
576 pages

There is a new Saviour in the Land - but the people may come to regret the 'peace' he offers...

Continuing the powerful epic that started with THE STORMCALLER; the Lord Isak is dead, his armies and entire tribe in disarray. It falls to King Emin to continue the war alone, and the Menin are only too happy to meet his challenge.In Byora, Ruhen is developing his 'Saviour' persona. The Harlequins start preaching in his name and many of the pilgrims who flock to him are recruited to be 'Children', disciples who spread Ruhen's message. All over the Land people are starting to see Ruhen as the answer to their troubles.A showdown is coming: battle lines are finally drawn and the atrocities quickly mount. The spectre of the Great War looms, but in this age the Gods cannot and will not come to King Emin's aid. With the peoples of the Land turning against Emin and his few remaining allies, their only chance for survival lies in the hands of a dead man.

About the Author

Tom Lloyd is contracts manager for a major London literary agency. He lives in Oxford.


The Ragged Man is the fourth book in the Twilight Reign series. If you haven’t read the first three books, The Twilight Herald, The Stormcaller and The Grave Thief, then you won’t be familiar with Lloyd’s style of creating several tangents and subplots with the overall them moving towards the final confrontation. Think of Tolkien and the fellowship of the ring, each of the main characters working towards the final objective but travelling along very different paths.

There is a war continuing between the gods and men that looks like it is going to end in the total annihilation of every creature and maybe even gods.

Review:Bring on the Night by Jeri Smith-Ready

Product Details
Pocket, August 2010
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
ISBN-10: 1439163480
ISBN-13: 9781439163481


Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin seems to finally have it all. A steady job at WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll. A loving relationship with the idiosyncratic but eternally hot DJ Shane McAllister. A vampire dog who never needs shots or a pooper-scooper. And after nine years, it looks as if she might actually finish her bachelor's degree!

But fate has other plans for Ciara. First she must fulfill her Faustian bargain with the Control, the paranormal paramilitary agency that does its best to keep vampires in line. Turns out the Control wants her for something other than her (nonexistent) ability to kick undead ass. Her anti-holy blood, perhaps? Ciara's suspicions are confirmed when she's assigned to a special-ops division known as the Immanence Corps, run by the Control's oldest vampire and filled with humans who claim to have special powers. To a confirmed skeptic like Ciara, it sounds like a freak fest. But when a mysterious fatal virus spreads through Sherwood—and corpses begin to rise from their graves—Ciara will not only get a crash course in zombie-killing, but will be forced to put her faith, and her life itself, in the hands of magic


Bring on the Night is the third installment in the WVMP Vampires series and is set with Ciara Griffin training for her new position with the paranormal paramilitary agency, known as the Control. The story is set 3 years after the end of the events of the previous novel. After completing her training she is lumped into the Immanence Corps with an unlikely group of gifted humans and vampires.

Like a good zombie novel, a seemingly common virus breaks out and commences to kill it’s victims within a matter of only hours of contracting the disease. The dead begin to rise and even the vampires are not safe from the horrific events. This book has all the favourite undead creatures that will keep everybody happy.

Jeri Smith-Ready writes characters that are extremely real and her stories are character driven. One of the other traits of Smith-Ready’s novel format it the using a song title as the chapter name. It also relates directly to the events of within that chapter so you kind of get a glimpse of what to expect in the coming pages.

The book runs smoothly and can be read within a day, so expect to be entertained for a week or so while you flick through the pages. That is one of the only downfalls ok Smith-Ready’s books, the quick read that they are.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Review: The Black Lung Captain: Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding

Paperback - C Format
September 2010
448 pages

RETRIBUTION FALLS was fun, fast-paced, action-packed, brilliant stuff - and BLACK LUNG CAPTAIN is even better.

Darian Frey is down on his luck. He can barely keep his squabbling crew fed and his rickety aircraft in the sky. Even the simplest robberies seem to go wrong. It's getting so a man can't make a dishonest living any more.Enter Captain Grist. He's heard about a crashed aircraft laden with the treasures of a lost civilisation and he needs Frey's help to get it. There's only one problem. The craft is lying in the trackless heart of a remote island, populated by giant beasts and subhuman monsters.Dangerous, yes. Suicidal, perhaps. Still, Frey's never let commonsense get in the way of a fortune before. But there's something other than treasure on board that aircraft. Something that a lot of important people would kill for. And it's going to take all of Frey's considerable skill at lying, cheating and stealing if he wants to get his hands on it...

About the Author

Chris Wooding is a bestselling novelist who is both award-winning and critically acclaimed. He is published in 19 languages and has already signed his first Hollywood film deal. He has recorded several music albums and toured with his band in Europe. When not writing adult or YA novels he writes film scripts. He lives in London.


This is the second book in the series with Redemption Falls being the first. You’d be well advised to read Redemption Falls first as this one builds upon and expands the story and characters further. It isn’t a standalone story that you can really appreciate without the background knowledge from the first book.

The story is set in a fantasy world following the continuing adventures of Captain Darian Frey. Black Lung is humorous, dark and nasty at times and always full of action and excitement. I can see some of Johnny Depps Captain Sparrow in Darian Frey, with his wisecracks and wit. His crew, also a bunch of loveable yet despicable reprobates are also carried over from the first book. This story follows Frey and the crew being hired to recover treasure from a crashed ship in a forsaken, monster and sub-human infested jungle. Of course it's not that simple and the end up chasing the booty all over the world being robbed and robbing in turn. There are further insights into all the crew, in particular Jess and the Manes who are explored in much greater detail.

Frey’s ship, the Ketty Jay, is the main setting for the story as it travels about with its motley crew as they seek to find a sphere, finding out in the process that it is potentially very dangerous indeed.

This is a good old-fashioned adventure with some pretty violent scenes that make it unsuitable for a YA audience, who would probably find it a better read than the adult market.

Book Review: Apartment 16 by Adam Neville

Binding: B-Format Paperback
Pub. Date: 01-07-2010
Category: Horror & Ghost Stories
Imprint: Pan
Pages: 368 page/s
Stock: Reprinting, Unavailable
Price: $22.99 AUD

Some doors are better left closed...

In Barrington House, an up market block in London, there is an empty apartment. No one goes in, no one comes out. And it's been that way for 50 years. Until the night watchman hears a disturbance after midnight and investigates. What he experiences is enough to change his life forever.

A young American woman, Apryl, arrives at Barrington House. She's been left an apartment by her mysterious Great Aunt Lillian who died in strange circumstances. Rumors claim Lillian was mad. But her diary suggests she was implicated in a horrific and inexplicable event decades ago.

Determined to learn something of this eccentric woman, Apryl begins to unravel the hidden story of Barrington House. She discovers that a transforming, evil force still inhabits the building. And the doorway to Apartment 16 is a gateway to something altogether more terrifying...

Author Information

Adam Neville has been a lifelong fan of horror. He lives in London and is currently working on his next book.


I had never heard of Adam Neville before receiving the media release for Apartment 16, which sold me completely. The only problem was it was out of stock for review copies until recently, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting my copy to dig into.

This book is a traditional supernatural horror story written in a concise and fast flowing manner. Once you open the covers and delve into this horrific building, you are a hostage until you leave via the back cover. With the amount of profanity, graphic gore and sex around in the media now, it takes a lot to shock, scare or thrill us anymore. Neville has written a master piece here that will compel you to keep the lights on throughout the entire house after you’ve read this book.
The details contained throughout the novel give you an insight into the amount of research Neville must have put into this book to make it read almost like a true story. There are references to actual books etc to egg the reader on to checking out their local library to find these pieces of work to add even more thrills to this story.

Apartment 16 is about Barrington House, an apartment building in London's upmarket Knightsbridge district. Behind its impressive facade it retains the vestiges of the lifestyle of affluence its now mostly elderly residents once enjoyed. Within its walls the aged millionaires stay hidden from the harsh reality of contemporary urban life, shrouded in the elegant ambience of a bygone era.

The main character, Seth, is an aspiring artist who works as a night watchman at Barrington House to support his true passion. If you’ve even done shift work, you would appreciate the eeriness of the late night patrols Seth regularly conducts. Add to this the fact that he thinks he hears strange noises lurking in the darkness and seemingly endless depths of the building. As with most haunted buildings, there is one particular place of great supernatural disturbance, in this case it is Apartment 16, which has remained unoccupied for many years. It is here that he comes into contact with something of the darkness that lies at the heart of Barrington House, an encounter that opens doors for an even greater darkness to enter his life.

Now the stage is set, enter a young American woman, Apryl, who travels to Barrington House to view the inheritance left to her by her eccentric, great aunt Lily, who died in peculiar circumstances. Apryl has no intention of remaining in London; she is fully decided upon selling the property as soon as possible and returning to the US. Then she discovers her great aunt's diaries, and the strange ramblings contained within inspire a curiosity in her. She decides to stay a little longer, and to investigate the life of her great aunt. Like Seth, Apryl begins to open doors of her own, and as with him, the evil that permeates Barrington House and in particular apartment 16, gathers around her too.

I hope that this book is made into a movie in the near future. It has all the elements that would create a brilliant horror flick if directed by the right person.

Book Review; Is That Thing Diesel? By Paul Carter

ISBN: 9781741757026
Australian Pub.: November 2010
Edition: 1
Publisher: ALLEN & UNWIN
Imprint: ALLEN & UNWIN
Subject: Memoirs
Edition Number: 1

The next eagerly awaited, high octane, seat-of-your-pants adventure from the author of the bestselling Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs (she thinks I'm a piano player in a whorehouse) sees (the surely a bit bonkers) Paul Carter circumnavigating Australia on a bio-diesel motorcycle.


At forty years old, a successful writer, husband and father, no longer toiling on offshore drilling rigs, was Paul Carter happily nestled in the cotton wool of suburban life enjoying the fruits of his labour? Was he f**k!

With his manic life left far behind and the perfect opportunity to take it easy stretched before him what else would a middle-aged, bike obsessed, man want?
Yes, that's right, he'd want to be the first guy to ride around Australia on an underpowered experimental motorcycle that runs on used cooking oil, wouldn't he? Preferably without getting hit by a semi-trailer full of bridge parts. Is he out of his mind? Quite possibly.

Embark on a rollickingly, downright dangerous and often unhinged quest that starts on an environmentally friendly motorcycle built on a shoestring budget by students, and ends with a plan to break the motorcycle land speed record for bio fuel.
Carter is back to his old balls-to-the-wall style of writing, prepare to laugh out loud.

About Paul Carter

Paul Carter was born in England in 1969. His father's military career had the family moving all over the world, re-locating every few years. Paul has worked in the oil industry now for fifteen years, re-locating every few years (old habits). Paul has lived, worked, gotten into trouble and been given a serious talking to in England, Scotland, Germany, France, Holland, Norway, Portugal, Tunisia, Australia, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Borneo, Columbia, Vietnam, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Sumatra, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, China, USA and Saudi Arabia. Today he lives in Perth with his wife, baby daughter and two motorbikes. But who knows where he'll be tomorrow ... Paul's first two books are stories from his life on the rigs, Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs, She Thinks I'm a Piano Player in a Whorehouse (A+U, 2005) and This Is Not a Drill (A+U, 2007).

Book Review

Paul Carter has written a couple of hilarious books over the past few years, all based on personal experiences, which make them even more interesting. If you haven’t read Don’t Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs, you’ve really missed a treat. This is another great book written by Paul Carter in the same style of a good Aussie yarn filled with unbelievable events that you know have to be true. Carter has a great companion website where you can view video footage of many of the events you read about in this book,

If you like Ewin McGregor and Charlie Borden’s adventure series, then you would love this book, especially with Carter’s great sense of humour. There’s nothing particularly new about the concept behind this book, enough celebrities have done the motorbike tour around Australia and documented it. What stands out with this book, is Carter’s style of writing and his over the top personality.

Grab yourself a copy of this, and settle in for a good evening of laughs.

Book Review: The Way of Kings The Stormlight Archive By Brandon Sanderson

• Gollancz
• 9780575097353
• $29.99
• Paperback - C Format
• September 2010
• 1008 pages
• Fantasy

The brand new epic fantasy series from international bestseller Brandon Sanderson.
According to mythology, mankind lived in The Tranquiline Halls until the Voidbringers captured heaven, casting out God and men. So men took refuge on Roshar, the world of storms, but the Voidbringers followed, assaulting humanity ten thousand times. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armour and mystical weapons, known as Shardblade and, led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won out.Or so the legend says. Today, the only remnants of those mythical battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war and has been for centuries, since the Radiants turned against mankind, so kings strive to win ever more Shardblades, each wishing to be the one who finally unites mankind under a single throne.


Brandon Sanderson was born in Nebraska in 1975. Since then he has written the Mistborn series, amongst others, become a New York Times bestselling author and been hailed as the natural successor to Robert Jordan, indeed he was appointed by Jordan's estate to complete Jordan's Wheel of Times. He lives in Utah.

Book Review

To start off with let me say that this is one epic book at over 700 pages. The worst thing about this book was that after getting to the end, it was apparent that this was just the beginning of something bigger. Perhaps Brandon Sanderson’s past experience with writing part of the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series has influenced how he approaches a story.

With this massive tome, Brandon has time to develop some well designed characters and introduces us to a great new world through the intricacies of society, the racial undertones, the fashion and everything else that makes a world accessible to a reader. Sanderson’s narrative draws the reader in as does the somewhat recognisable world not that dissimilar from the middle ages of our own world.
There are some other great elements of Sanderson’s world that take a fresh and unique approach to the old tired and tested fantasy theme. For example, the alchemy and magic lore within this book are refreshing and open up wonderful opportunities for further development in the next book, or two, that will follow this one.

Technology plays a role in the setting, as well. The world has scientists devoting themselves to the study of magic, putting it to new uses that have a very steam-punk feel. These people don't view themselves as primitives: they look at their lives in much the same way we do, feeling like they're living at the best of times, where technology has developed far enough to make their lives easier and give them hope for continual new developments in the future.

The book has three main characters; Kaladin, Shallan and Dalinar, and a multitude of lesser characters, who occasionally also have chapters or "interludes" written from their point of view. These breaks from the main story reminded me of how the tv show Lost was presented, where there was the overall theme of the story, but different episodes dealt with a character and their trials and tribulations in particular. This was a brilliant tool in evening out the pace of such a long piece of work.

The main story focuses on Kaladin, a surgeon's son forced to become a bridgeman -- a form of military slavery that involves carrying siege bridges in Alethkar's ongoing war with the Parshendi, who at the very start of the novel assassinate Alethkar's king. Dalinar is the late king's brother (and uncle of the current monarch), who along with nine other High Princes is running the war effort against the mysterious Parshendi. And finally, on the other end of the continent, there's Shallan, a young noble girl who wants to become the apprentice of Jasnah, a princess and famed scholar.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Book Review:Gallipoli A Short History by Michael McKernan

ISBN: 9781742370286
Australian Pub.: October 2010
Edition: 1
Publisher: ALLEN & UNWIN
Imprint: ALLEN & UNWIN
Subject: Battles & campaigns
Edition Number: 1

A concise and very readable account of the whole Gallipoli campaign.


Jack Fothergill worked on Melbourne's trams before he went to war and was killed on Pine Ridge on 25 April 1915. In Gallipoli, Michael McKernan tells Jack's story and that of his family, who never recovered from their grief. He also tells the stories of journalist Charles Bean, Chaplain Bill McKenzie, John Treloar and General Ian Hamilton, capturing the essence of what it was really like for the men who fought on the Gallipoli peninsula during that long campaign.

While saluting the bravery, determination and resourcefulness of the Anzacs, McKernan also tells of the failed leadership in London and on the Peninsula that caused great loss of life. He makes clear that 'the most dramatic moment in Australian history' was known to be unwinnable within fifteen hours of the first Anzacs going ashore.

There are few, if any, new issues to emerge from the story of Anzac, but Gallipoli puts the facts in a new context and brings to the fore the essential moments in the campaign. This intense account gives clarity to the story and is a reminder that loss of life in war is always personal, always tragic an always has consequences.
About Michael McKernan
Dr Michael McKernan has worked in military history since 1981 when he took a senior position at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. First travelling with Anzac veterans to Gallipoli in 1990 he has since taken hundreds of Australians on battlefield tours to Gallipoli. This book brings Michael's dramatic battlefield narrative to a wider readership.

Book Review

There are just some books that every Australian student should read as part of their education to gain a better knowledge of the history of events that shaped Australia. McKernan’s Gallipoli is one of those books. Great detail is portrayed of the campaign that most Aussie’s sort of know about but not in any extensive way. This nonfiction book is well worth a read to gain an understanding of what our Diggers encountered from the moment they landed until the withdrawal after so much senseless loss of our young soldiers.

It is quite detailed in its account of the life of the Anzacs and the defining moments in the campaign, for which, many young Aussie’s didn’t really understand why they were actually fighting for. McKernan writes in a very personal way that helps the reader feel for the soldiers and puts the war in context of recent research into the campaign.

Even if you don’t like war, the armed services or the like, you should give this book a read to educate yourself with great clarity of the horrific events that happened at Gallipoli.

Book Review:Shade By Jeri Smith-Ready

Product Details
Simon & Schuster UK, September 2010
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1847389406
ISBN-13: 9781847389404
Ages: 14 and up
List Price: $16.99

Like everyone born after The Shift, sixteen year-old Aura can see and talk to ghosts. She's always found this mysterious ability pretty annoying, wishing only that she could reverse it and have some peace. But when her boyfriend, Logan, dies unexpectedly, Aura is forced to reconsider her connections to the dead...

Devastated by Logan's sudden death, Aura realises that her ability to see ghosts might actually be a blessing. Surely a violet-hued spirit Logan is better than no Logan at all? But just when Aura is coming to terms with having a ghost as a boyfriend, she starts developing feelings for her new friend Zachary, who is understanding, supportive and, most of all, alive. Each boy holds a piece of her heart - as well as vital cues to the secret of the Shift - and it's time for Aura to choose between loving the living, or embracing the dead...

Book Review

The Shift happened sixteen years ago and since then, everyone born after the shift was able to see and communicate with ghost. But two years ago ghost seem start becoming agitated and some were turning in to shade; much anger and more dangerous spirit. This all was more than just an average nuisance to Aura until the night of Logan’s birthday.

It was Logan, Aura’s boyfriend’s birthday, his brothers and sister decided to have a party at the house because the parents were out on a cruise. This was to be the night, Aura decided to giver herself to Logan for his birthday. They had waited too long; the moment was just never right so she decided tonight would be the night. But fate had other plans. Logan drank way too much and was on the verge of passing out. Aura was very upset that he had ruined their night together and yelled at him.

Logan left saying he was going to take a shower, but really intended on sorting out the problem. It didn't take long for Aura to hear a commotion and find the body of Logan, lifeless on the floor and his brother trying to do CPR to revive him. She then sees Logan's ghost, who is most apologetic about everything. Me, I'd be a bit upset about being dead more than anything else.

In Shade Smith uses lore that see ghosts take the form that they inhabited during their happiest moment on earth, unlike some stories where ghosts are in the state that saw their death, such as decapitated victims etc. So let’s just say there isn’t very many ugly or hideous ghosts in Smith’s book

In any case, there are many creative world-building elements to go along with the pretty unique love triangle of Post-Shifter Aura, Dead Logan and Pre-Shifter Zachary. It’s also a credit to Smith-Ready that she kept me on my toes plot wise – you could never be sure what would happen next. So far no real villains have emerged, but you do get the sense that the government is getting stricter and less tolerant with their policy towards ghosts – mainly because some ghosts can turn into “shades” – giving them a dark power that the living are terrified of.

This book sets the scene for a good series where the lore and legend of Shades will no doubt be explored further until the reader is more comfortable with Smith’s new world of the recently departed.

Book Review: Down Among The Dead Men by Robert Gregory Browne

Binding:A-Format Paperback
Pub. Date:23-07-2010
Category:Thriller & Suspense
Pages:400 page/s
Stock:Order to Order
Price:$19.99 AUD

The Day of the Dead. El Dia de los Muertos. That time of the year when Mexico celebrates its lost loved ones. But two people aren't celebrating. Nick Vargas, a disgraced newspaper reporter, now true crime writer, seeks the truth behind the slaughter of nuns in a house near the Texas border. And Hannah Freeman, a beautiful prosecuting attorney on holiday from Southern California has lost someone very precious to her – her younger sister, Jen, has disappeared without trace in Ensenada, Mexico. The realization that a sinister cult is at work and that they are behind Jen's disappearance leads them to a small town in Mexico full of dark secrets and deadly rituals, and a series of haunted caves, where something or someone lurks. Watching them. Waiting for the right moment to strike.

Author Information

Robert Gregory Browne is the winner of the prestigious AMPAS Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting and has optioned and developed material for numerous production companies. He lives in Ojai, California. Down Among the Dead Men is his fourth novel.

Book Review

Robert Gregory Browne has written a real nail bitter with Down Among the Dead Men, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge of their seat until the end of the ride. The main character, Nick, is a writer (why is it so many books are about writers?) who is attempting to gain some standing in the true-crime community after writing a bogus book and being found out. With his name on the line, he takes a contract to document the murder of some nuns in Mexico. There is a bit of predictability with the story nobody else wanting to take ending up being something extremely voliatile and puts Nick life in danger.

Nick is thrown together by circumstances with a woman, Beth, whose sister goes missing and finds herself stranded in Mexico. The real adventures begins here and continues on until the resolution at the end of the book.

Definitely worth a read.

Book Review: Taylor Lautner by Sarah Parvis

Pub. Date:01-09-2010
Category:Gift Books
Imprint:Andrews McMeel Publishing
Pages:80 page/s
Stock: New, Available
Price: $10.95 AUD

Featuring more than 40 full-colour photographs and a short but comprehensive bio, Taylor Lautner, a celebrity-focused mini biography by Sarah Parvis, provides rich detail chronicling how these stars rose to fame. Everything a fan could want to know about Taylor Lautner – where he grew up, how he broke in to the entertainment industry, what he likes and dislikes – can be found within Taylor Lautner.

Author Information

Whether she's working on books about President Barack Obama, Robert Pattinson, or the 1980s, Sarah Parvis keeps an eye on all things pop culture. An author, editor, and compiler of quotations, Parvis has a knack for picking up little-known trivia concerning names in the news. She lives in New York, New York.


Let me start by saying that this book is only about 4 cm by 4 cm and the pictures would not make up a very large poster if you cut them all out and stuck them on a piece of cardboard. For some, that will be the only disappointing thing about this pocket sized book. I was expecting a full sized book with large glossy photos.

There are some pictures from Taylor’s early movies right up to his current fame from the Twilight series. The earlier pictures won’t do much to satisfy the appetites of the tweens used to drooling of Lautner’s buffed abs as he is pretty much just a child in these ones.

The biggest plus about this book is also its downfall, the size. It is small enough to keep a tome of Taylor in your handbag for a quick fix if you can’t get through the day without seeing Lautner’s six pack.

Book Review: City of Evil The Truth about Adelaide’s strange and violent underbelly by Sean Fewster

Hachette Australia
Paperback - C Format
September 2010
352 pages
True Crime

Drawn from ten years of eyewitness experience as a court reporter, Sean Fewster lifts the lid on the most bizarre and twisted true crime cases in Adelaide's history.
They call Adelaide the city of churches. What they forget is that every church has a graveyard — and every graveyard is full of skeletons. Adelaide, an elegantly designed, civilized city, where the inhabitants are known for their love of the arts, good food and fine wine, is also the place where many of Australia s most bizarre and macabre crimes have taken place. The cases in this book show that Adelaide truly does have another side: from the murder of a transvestite, pro-wrestling truck driver by his two lesbian lodgers (who worked as prostitutes) during an argument over a camera; to the prosecution of an elderly couple by the RSPCA for keeping, in frightful conditions and almost starved to death, a collection of 120 stray dogs and six pigs. This book is more than a collection of some of the most attention-grabbing, shocking and puzzling cases from the past ten years: it also looks at why it might be that so many have happened in this sunny, conservative, unassuming state capital.


Sean Fewster is a well-known journalist in Adelaide — and for the past ten years has been the court reporter for the ADELAIDE ADVERTISER. This is his first book.

Book Review by Scott Wilson

This is one of those books that you will either love or hate, depending on your taste in non-fiction. With the latest Australian fascination with the Underbelly TV series, I can see many viewers grabbing a copy of this non-fiction book to fill the void.

I found this book well written and quite interesting, and at times hard to comprehend how some of the content could actually be fact and not part of a James Patterson novel. Well they say fact is often stranger than fiction, and this is very true for some of the nut bags described in this true crime book.

Fewster has really balanced out the weird and fascinating history of the bizarre and inexplicable acts of some of the stranger residents of Adelaide. There are the tales that will chill you to the bone from the horrific nature of the crime, to ones you almost feel sorry for the perpetrator, such as the old geezer looking after, well sort of, stray dogs.

If you are after a book in the vein of the telly series Underbelly, you will probably be disappointed as it covers a wide range of criminal activity. Well worth the read though if you are interested in the disturbing things some people get up to.

Book Review: Tackling Depression at Work A practical guide for employees and managers by Kerrie Eyers Gordon Parker

ISBN: 9781742373324
Australian Pub.: October 2010
Edition: 1
Publisher: ALLEN & UNWIN
Imprint: ALLEN & UNWIN
Subject: Popular psychology
Edition Number: 1

More than 10 per cent of people in the workforce struggle with either temporary or long term depression. This accessible guide offers practical advice on issues and effective strategies for both managers and employees.


You can't park your depression at home when you go off to work. More than 10 per cent of people in the workforce struggle with depression, from the mild and temporary to the severe and disabling forms. If you have depression, do you soldier on or do you risk telling your manager? If you're a manager, what can you do to support your employee and also ensure the job is done?

Both employees with depression and their managers are looking for the same outcome: return to best possible functioning. Tackling Depression at Work explains the key issues that arise and offers proven strategies. It covers sensitive issues of disclosure and privacy, and shows how organisations can support workers to seek professional help and then to stay well.

With insightful advice from workers who've learned to manage their disorder on the job, Tackling Depression at Work is an invaluable support for any worker with depression, whether it's temporary or an ongoing condition. It is also an invaluable resource for line managers and human resource managers.

'A practical and positive guide for both employees and their employers.' - Gerry Harvey, Chairman, Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd

'Depression in the workplace needs to be better understood, spoken about and dealt with. This book offers refreshing insights for everyone involved.' - Sharan Burrow, former president, ACTU, and General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation

About Kerrie Eyers Gordon Parker

Kerrie Eyers MA (Psych), DipEd, MPH, MAPS is a psychologist, teacher and editor with many years' experience in mental health, based at the Black Dog Institute, Sydney.
Gordon Parker AO, MD, PhD, DSc, FRANZCP, FASSA is Scientia Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales and Executive Director of the Black Dog Institute. He is a renowned researcher with an international profile and over 30 years' experience with mood disorders, and is author of the bestselling Dealing with Depression: A common sense guide to mood disorders.

Together Gordon Parker and Kerrie Eyers are authors of Navigating Teenage Depression, and co-editors of Journeys with the Black Dog and Mastering Bipolar Disorder.

Book Review by Scott Wilson

This book is a must have for anyone either suffering from depression or supervising someone with depression. Even though people talk more about depression openly these days, there is still a stigma attached to having depression and discrimination still occurs to those who suffer from it.

If all HR staff read this book and ensured that managers and supervisors had this basic understanding of common factors relating to depression and how to help an employee get through a day of work, life would be a lot easier for everyone.

I have seen how readily some managers will forget that they are dealing with humans when making decisions about dealing with an employee with depression and it isn’t pretty. Whether it is because of ignorance about depression or lack of empathy, this book deals with many issues that would help a manager understand the real issues to look out for.

I highly recommend this book.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Book Review: Shadow’s Son by Jon Sprunk

Paperback - C Format
October 2010
288 pages

Some fantasy novels are gritty and dark - and some are absolute murder...
Caim makes – or perhaps more accurately, takes – his living on the edge of a blade. Murder is a risky business, but so far he reckons he’s on the right side of it. Or he was…because when a short-notice contract job goes south, Caim finds himself thrust into the middle of a sinister plot in which he seems to be one of the primary marks. Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers and the darkest kinds of sorcery, it’s going to take more than luck if he’s to get through this alive.He may lack scruples, but he’s still got his knives and his instincts to rely on – and a developed sense of revenge, or should that be justice? – to fall back on. But when his path leads him from the hazardous back streets of Othir and into the highest halls of power, will instincts and weapons alone really be enough?


After ten years’ hard work and having published a number of short stories, Jon Sprunk has broken into the world of Serious Publishing with his knock-out debut novel SHADOW’S SON. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife
Shadow’s Son is a great fantasy novel about and assassin and the myriad of adventures and events that form part of their daily routine. The main character, Caim is the assassin and Kit is his beautiful guardian, (only no one else can hear or see Kit). Kit is portrayed like Caim’s guardian angel, which warns Caim about a multitude of dangers and saves his life. Not a bad guardian to have if you choose being an assassin as a profession.

Shadow's Son, like I said before, is a quick read, but with the added bonus of being one of those stories that reveals all the pertinent information as the plot unfolds and at a quick pace. Thus preserving the mysteries that slowly come to light about Caim's past and about his companion Kit, the spirit who only Caim can see and who flitters in and out of his life throughout the book
Against Caim's better judgement; he takes a job as a favour to his one friend in Othir, Mathis. The job was started by Ral, another assassin, who quit the job for another. This job goes awry in so many different angles. Caim finds himself protecting his targets daughter, Josey - a gorgeous young lady.

I was amazed at how this book reads as a whole story, or a stand-alone, with so much happening in this novel to complete the story. There is an end to the main story here, but there seems to be an underlining which you start to learn of Caim and his family history, the Shadows. I liked the use of Shadows as the ability Caim has. I am very curious to learn more about Caim as he learns more of who he is and what he can do.

Book Review: Elves: Once Walked With Gods by James Barclay

Paperback - C Format
October 2010
368 pages

ORCS was an international bestseller. Now acclaimed writer James Barclay tells the story of the Elves.

The elves have fled to Calius, seeking to escape the overwhelming power of the demonic Garonin. A desperate last stand in their own dimension saved the race, at the cost of 100,000 elves lost to the Garonin. The elf who led that fight, Takaar, is blamed for the losses and has gone into hiding.Now the weakened elf race is tearing itself apart in civil war, human mercenaries have arrived in Calius and are ripping the continent apart. Only one elf can unite the elves. And only one elf believes in him. A young warrior named Auum sets out to bring back the shamed hero and save the elven race.James Barclay’s ELVES trilogy will tell the whole story of his immortal elven race and will appeal to all fans of Tolkien and fantasy – this is a uniquely entertaining take on a fantasy staple perfect to bring new readers to Barclay.


James Barclay is in his 40s and lives in Teddington with his wife and daughter. He is a full-time writer. The Raven novels are published in, amongst other countries, Germany, France and Russia.

Book Review by Scott Wilson

I haven’t read any novels by James Barclay before picking up a copy of Elves: Once Walked With Gods before. I’m not sure how much this one ties in with Barclay’s previous books and if there is a running theme that would add some extra meat to this story. After receiving this book I did do a google search to find out a bit more about Barclay and any other books he’s published.

I was quite surprised to see that he’s already got close to twenty books to his name.
We all have some sort of preconceived idea about Elves and what they should be like, many due to the Peter Jackson Lord of The Ring Movies. The Elves in this book are a stark contrast from Peter Jackson’s Elves, being more of an angry and warlike creature than peaceful woodland creatures. The Elves are actually closer by nature to their evil cousins, Orcs, in this book.

The backdrop to the story is vividly described by Barclay as is the social structure and heirachy of the government system the Elves live by. There is the usual theme of a decline in the population and a severe amount of rivalry between clans. Humans are potrayed as the usual cold and callous and betray the Elves. That just starts another conflict for the old elves.

Overall, the book was a good read, it did lack in some parts but does set up another series possibility for Barclay.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: Cold Magic Spiritwalker: book 1 by Kate Elliott

Paperback - C Format
September 2010
528 pages

First volume in a fabulous fantasy advenure with a Victorian-era feel - featuring mages, dragons and two girls who'll decide the fate of their world.

As they approach adulthood, Cat Barahal and her cousin Bee think they understand the society they live in and their place within it. At a select academy they study new airship technologies and the dawning Industrial Revolution, but magical forces still rule. And the cousins are about to discover the full ruthlessness of this rule.Drawn into a labyrinth of politics involving blood and old feuds, Cat is betrayed by her family and forced to marry a powerful Cold Mage. As she is carried away to live a new life, fresh dangers threaten her every move and secrets form a language she cannot read. At least, not yet.But both cousins carry their own hidden gifts and these will shape great changes to come. For in the depths of this treacherous world, the Wild Hunt stirs in darkness and dragons are waking from their sleep.


Kate Elliott lives in Hawaii, USA. In addition to the Crossroads series and the Crown of Stars series, she is co-author of THE GOLDEN KEY.

Previous Books:

Traitors’ Gate, Shadow Gate, Spirit Gate, Crown of Stars, In the Ruins, The Gathering Storm

Book Review by Scott Wilson

Cold Magic the first book by Kate Elliott's that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I have only read a few steam punk novels to date so was quite surprised and entertained by this story. Now that I’ve read this first book I can see myself following the Crown of Stars.

Cold Magic is a steampunk tale with a science-vs.-magic twist, which is a novel concept and worked well to build a unique tale. Catherine Hassi Barahal is the main character. She is a young university student more inclined towards science when she is thrust ceremoniously into the clutches of the cold mages. Cat is of Carthaginian descent - here 2000 years ago Carthage was ruled by queens (called dido's for the famous mythical founder) and Hannibal defeated the Romans at Zama for once, so the two powers fought themselves to a standstill and while the Roman Empire eventually extended over most Europe, North Africa and Spain remained Carthaginian influenced and after the Empire breakup some 1000 years ago, there has been a patchwork of mini-states all over Europe, which now stops at the Baltic ice-sea.

The setting is an ice-age like alt-Earth around the 1800's but with a quite different history, magic houses, but also budding science that the "cold mages" dislike and want suppressed. Recommended for fans of fantasy, steampunk and the YA addict looking to dip a toe in more traditional fantasy waters without sacrificing strong female characters and traditional hints of romance.

Review: The Cabinet of Curiosities by Paul Dowswell

Review by Scott Wilson
ISBN: 9781408800461
Australian Pub.: August 2010
Edition: 1
Subject: Young adult fiction
Edition Number: 1
Suitable for ages: 12-16

A gripping, fantastical adventure set amongst the intrigue and plotting of the Holy Roman Emperor's court in Sixteenth-Century Prague.


When fourteen-year-old Lukas de Boodt is orphaned, his uncle summons him to Prague, a refuge for Europe's greatest alchemists and natural philosophers, offering to take him on as an apprentice. The uncle is court physician to Rudolf II, the reclusive and unstable Emperor. He is also curator of Rudolf's bizarre Cabinet of Curiosites, four halls stuffed with wonders and scientific marvels such as nails from Noah's Ark, phoenix feathers and monstrous freaks of nature, which fascinate Lukas.

As Rudolf retreats further into his fantasy world, the threat of rebellion hangs in the air. Dorantes, a diplomat from Spain, comes with his daughter, Celestina, on a mission from Philip II to persuade Rudolf to give up his heretical ways. But he discovers the court is full of diplomats who have been waiting months or years for an audience with the Emperor. Dorantes notices how some had wormed their way into the Emperor's favour by presenting him with fantastic gifts for his Cabinet, and sets about creating a device that he says will stop time. But it works only in the presence of the Emperor.

Lukas knows the terrible truth behind Dorantes' mission. But sinister forces have plans for Lukas too, and before he can thwart the plot against the Emperor, Lukas must gamble on Celestina's loyalty in order to save his own life.
Praise for Auslander:

'A heart racing thriller about courage, convictions and the construction of identity' - The Bookseller

'Dowswell is one of the best new writers of historical fiction for children ... [Auslander] steps outside the victim culture of novels such as those by Morris Gleitzman and comes close to classics such as The Silver Sword. Admirers of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas should look at this novel as a model of imaginative sympathy' - The Times

'Auslander is a superlative, at times almost agonisingly compelling, piece of historical fiction ... The climactic escape to freedom is pure muck-sweat tension' - The Financial Times

About Paul Dowswell

A former senior editor with Usborne Publishing, Paul Dowswell is now a full-time author. He has written many non-fiction titles, two of which were shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award. Powder Monkey, his first novel, was published to huge critical acclaim as the first title in his exceptional Sam Witchall trilogy. Paul lives in Wolverhampton with his family.

Review by Scott Wilson

The novel has an interesting beginning with Lukas Declercq and Etienne and Lambert brought together by misfortune, or by fate, however you would like to see it. As unlikely travelling companions, they encounter severe hostility on their journey to Prague.

There is enough mystery and intrigue to keep the reader enthralled by the journey that begins planning and slowly turns into an almighty adventure. The story is set in the time of Bohemian Emperor Rudolph the second.

We follow through the traumatic events of Lukas and Etienne, which are extremely well potrayed and at times very disturbing with regular torture and death. This absorbs the reader; placing them on the very edge of tension until the end.
Scattered throughout the story are graphic and comprehensive, historical details that keep the reader interested and compelled to read on to become educated in the history lacing the story.

For lovers of historical fiction, you will find this one worth the read and it does have the possibility of a sequel, so let’s hope.

Review: Ninth Grade Slays: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer

Published: 02/08/2010
Format: Paperback , 288 pages
RRP: $14.95
ISBN-13: 9780143205159
Imprint: Penguin
Publisher: Penguin Aus.

Review By Eve Wilson

If middle school stunk for Vladimir Tod, high school is a real drain. Besides being a punching bag for bullies, he's still stalled with dream-girl Meredith, and he's being tailed by a photographer from the school newspaper. Needless to say, practising his vampire skills hasn't exactly been a priority for Vlad - until now. A monumental trip to Siberia with Uncle Otis is Vlad's crash course in Vampire 101. Training alongside the most gifted vampires is exactly what Vlad needs to sharpen those mind control skills he's been avoiding. And he'd better get it right, because the battle brewing back home with the slayer who's been hunting him could be Vlad's last.

Visit the author online at for blogs, forums, minion bling and more . . .

I'm impressed with this new series about Vladimir Tod. In this book he returns to school, this his first year at Bathory High. I like how the titles of each book make fun of the grade he is in at High School, as a teenage I can understand it completely.

Another year and Vlad encounters many of the same obstacles he did in 8th grade, like the girl he likes but is too shy to talk to, (come on guys you’ve got to come up and talk to us, we’re just as shy to), there’s the two bullies that won't leave him alone; trying to hide the fact he is a vampire from his classmates) but the author does a great job of weaving in even more conflicts and twists and turns in the plot.

Vlad’s character is even stronger and more likeable in the second book in this series and I can’t wait to see what he gets up to in the tenth grade.

Review: Eighth Grade Bites: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod By Heather Brewer

Penguin (2007)
ISBN: 978-0-14-320514-2
Vladimir Tod

Normal eighth-grade student?

Or powerful vampire?

If you thought eighth grade was tough, try it with fangs and a fear of garlic.
Junior high really stinks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret. His mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers and no one to teach him, Vlad struggles daily with blood cravings and enlarged fangs. When a strange substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. And then he realises he's being hunted by a vampire killer, and suddenly hunger, girls and bullies seem not quite such a problem after all.

Reviewed by Eve Wilson

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod books are a great new series that i am going to be following like the Skulduggery series. It only took me a day to read both of the first two books in the series.

The story is about Vladimir Tod, who is a 13-year-old vampire, with a vampire father and human mother who had just died three years earlier.

Tod ends up living with his mother’s best friend, “Aunt” Nelly. His Aunt is a nurse and she keeps him supplied with blood from the hospital With his best friend Henry by his side, Vlad navigates bullies at school, a crush on a nice girl, and growing up, none of which are easy. But then his favourite teacher disappears, and the strange substitute who takes his place starts to make Vlad feel very uneasy.

Fans of Darren Shan, would also probably enjoy this new series as it is written in a similar style, but not as gory, so younger readers will be able to read it to.
Great new series.

Review: The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by CW Gortner

H&S Fiction
Paperback - C Format
July 2010
416 pages
Historical Fiction

Passion, adultery and betrayal in the court of one of history's most-maligned queens.
I was ten years old when I discovered I might be a witch…The sixteenth century: the era of queens. Catherine de Medici is an impressionable, mystical girl. She is orphaned and taken hostage by her enemies, and manipulated by her advisors; yet she is to become France’s most powerful regent. History will make her name synonymous with evil, but she is all too human. Humiliated at the hands of her husband and his mistress, and haunted by her gift of second sight, she must rise above her troubles and fight to save her dynasty and adopted country from the brutal Wars of Religion…In THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI, C W Gortner vividly depicts the turbulent life of one of history’s most notorious yet misunderstood women.
C.W. Gortner is half-Spanish by birth and his formative years were spent in southern Spain, where his lifelong fascination with history began. After years of working as a fashion marketer and editor, he returned to college to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts in Writing. He lives in Northern California with his partner of thirteen years and their Welsh Pembroke Corgi, and welcomes visitors at:

Review by Susie Wilson

Another excellent book by GW Gortner. I couldn’t put it down. Having read many historically based novels, I find it hard to become enthralled by a new book. But this novel captivated me. It was well written and action packed. The development of the characters through the passing of the years is interesting.

Let’s just say it’s no Barbara Cartland novel, with flowers and kisses. Expect more desires, murder and mayhem. As you begin to get to know the main character, each new page will give you an intimate view of her life.

Fear, frustration and lust are just some of the emotions that you will feel reading this excellent novel.

Very entertaining, buy yourself a copy now!