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Friday, July 29, 2011

Book Review - Dark Age Dawning #1 Nightfall - Ellen Connor

Nightfall (Dark Age Dawning, #1)Nightfall by Ellen Connor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very good book. I really liked the concept that the author has gone with. It is like a mixture of different genres that mesh really well. The author has an unique style that I found just that touch different than the usual for this style of book. The characters are engaging and you feel as if you are there, witnessing the growth of strength these people have to go through.
The world is vastly changed due to magic returning. People are scattered and a new Dark Age has dawned. Technology is not our friend and there are things that bite in the night. Hot, dangerous, sad yet uplifting - I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Lora Leigh, Meljean Brook, and even Laurell K Hamilton.

I enjoyed it very much.

View all my reviews

Christmas Roadshow - Awesome Books

Last night, we went to the Pan Macmillan Christmas Roadshow – and let me say there are some big names coming out in the months leading up to Christmas.
 We have books from authors, Matthew Reilly, Liane Moriarty, Andy Griffiths, Di Morrissey, David Baldacci, Peter Watt, Tara Moss, Sue Grafton and Mark ‘Chopper’ Read - as well as many more.

Also there are a couple of new names, Amy Kathleen Ryan & Ilsa J Bick who write brilliant Y/A novels we really want to read.
Last night’s showcase showed us that this Christmas we are going to be treated to a large range of fantastic books – and that is only from one supplier!

I am excited this year to be able to provide our customers with fantastic reads that they be happy to read or give as gifts to their loved ones.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Review - Home - Bill Bryson

At Home: A Short History of Private LifeAt Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very informative book. I love the way Bill Bryson writes. Very humerous and witty. He wanders around the place but always ends up back to where he was meant to go. Along the way you are learning interesting facts and history. I never relieased half the rooms of the house had such great history behind them. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review - Heist Society #1 Heist Society - Ally Carter

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.
Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.
For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way. 

This has the easy reading of Ally Carter's other series 'Gallagher Girls' It is fun, fast paced and full of art references. I like the way Ally wrote the main characters Kat and Hale. The main bad guy was a bit dense for someone educated, even when faced with hard facts, he just didn't believe them. Sometimes it was a bit hard to figure out some of the characters motives but all in all it was an entertaining read.  I will be picking up the second book soon.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Em Bailey - Shift - Giveaway winner is......

The winner for our giveaway of Shift by Em Bailey is Heartbeatoz. Can you please contact us on to give us your postal address.

Thank you very much for entering our comp!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Manga - Why it's a part of my life - Tarran Jones

  My first real experience with anime and manga was when I was 12 or 13. As a child, I didn’t really watch many cartoons in the morning unless I was over my best friend’s house. I saw all the old school cartoons like Smurfs, Jetsons (which I loathed), Flintstones, Dungeon’s and Dragons, Thunder Cats, Gummi Bears etc.. but I didn’t eagerly await them in the mornings like I did when I discovered Sailor Moon.  I had a TV in my bedroom but only switched it on when I came home from school, but this one morning, I had just gotten out of the shower and I turned it on. Cheez TV was came onto the screen and they played Sailor Moon - my dad had to yell at me to get ready for school.

Sailor Moon was the first anime I saw that completely captured my attention. I had never seen colours, story and animation like that before. I was enraptured by the big eyes and long legs ( I wished I had legs like that) Thus began my love affair with Japanese Animation. I devoured everything that came my way. I watched Slayers, Pokemon, Yugioh, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, and so many more I can’t remember. I then discovered that the dubs were cut. I was devastated. So I endeavoured to get all my anime in Japanese and watch them with English subtitles and I discovered a whole new world (cue dreamy music)
Going online in the so called early days of the internet (1995) I found many internet pages devoted to my obsession  and that was when I discovered I wasn’t alone in my anime/manga madness and there were other like me.  I miss those early days, because those type of pages has since disappeared. You could find character histories, pictures, songs, etc..  They were called all manner of names and I spent hours trawling through them. (I’m sure there are pages still out there but I haven’t been able to find them how I use to remember them.)

It was when I went online I found out about the written expression of anime – Manga. On my quest to discover manga in Adelaide I went into many comic stores and finally came across a comic store in the city that stocked what I wanted.  In fact I saw they had Sailor Moon manga! I was so excited. It was very expensive at the time (remembering I was only 13-14) I could only afford to buy one at a time. After I devoured those, I went onto others until my library was quite large. I find that manga and anime have such indepth storylines and you grow really attached to the characters. I bawled my eyes out at the end of Sailor Stars (last season of Sailor Moon that will never get released here due to gender issues)  The authors are not afraid to get their hands (or pens) dirty with the storylines. I have been shocked at some manga (DearS) and have teared up at others (Chobits) I have never looked back since starting to read and watch anime/manga. I read this types of books because most of them have fantastic concepts, the story arcs are huge and expressive.

Now when I order manga in for the store, I am reminded of the feeling I used to experience each time they come in. The covers are so bright and attention grabbing. We have brilliant series like Bleach, Naruto Kamisama Kiss, Blue Exorcist, Slayers, Cardcaptor Sakura, Death Note, Pokemon instore and I love to see that look on people’s faces when they come in and find the book they were looking for.  I am now 28 years old and I still have every scrap of Sailor Moon merchandise I have collected. In fact, at the end of the year they are re releasing Sailor Moon manga and releasing for the first time Code Name Sailor V!!!!!!! What manga do you enjoy reading? What got your interest in the genre? Do you go to conventions like AvCon, Supa Nova, Animnation?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Book Giveaway - Shift ARC - Em Bailey

Olive Corbett is definitely NOT crazy.

Not anymore. These days she takes her meds like a good girl, hangs out with her best friend Ami, and stays the hell away from the toxic girls she used to be friends with.
She doesn’t need a boyfriend. Especially not a lifesaver-type with a nice smile. And she doesn’t need the drama of that creepy new girl Miranda, who has somehow latched on to Olive's ex-best friend.
Yet from a distance, Olive can see there's something sinister about the new friendship. Something almost... parasitic. Maybe the wild rumours ARE true. Maybe Miranda is a killer.
But who would believe Olive? She does have a habit of letting her imagination run away with her..

We have 1 copy of Em Bailey's new book - Shift to give away. All you have to do to win is answer this question.

If you could shift into any living person - who would it be?
Please comment on the blog!

Giveaway is open till 25th July 3:30pm and only to Australian residents.

If you would like to read a review then here it is.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review - Shift - Em Bailey

Olive Corbett is definitely NOT crazy.

Not anymore. These days she takes her meds like a good girl, hangs out with her best friend Ami, and stays the hell away from the toxic girls she used to be friends with.
She doesn’t need a boyfriend. Especially not a lifesaver-type with a nice smile. And she doesn’t need the drama of that creepy new girl Miranda, who has somehow latched on to Olive's ex-best friend.
Yet from a distance, Olive can see there's something sinister about the new friendship. Something almost... parasitic. Maybe the wild rumours ARE true. Maybe Miranda is a killer.
But who would believe Olive? She does have a habit of letting her imagination run away with her..

This was a different book that made you think. Very well written and intense. The author takes you on a journey through the human mind and what lengths people will go to to be liked.

This comes out in September 2011 and I think it is definatly worth a read.

Book Review - Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See

A language kept a secret for a thousand years forms the backdrop for an unforgettable novel of two Chinese women whose friendship and love sustains them through their lives.An old woman -Lily is the daughter of a humble farmer who tells of her relationship with her "old-same," their arranged marriages, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. When the local matchmaker delivers startling news: if Lily's feet are bound properly, they will be flawless. In nineteenth-century China, where a woman's eligibility is judged by the shape and size of her feet, this is extraordinary good luck. Lily now has the power to make a good marriage and change the fortunes of her family. To prepare for her new life, she must undergo the agonies of footbinding, learn nu shu, the famed secret women's writing, and make a very special friend, Snow Flower. But a bitter reversal of fortune is about to change everything.
I love the cover of this book. It is like the writing, beautiful, rich and enticing. When I first saw the book come into the store I was like wow, then reading the blurb made me want to continue reading. From the first pages the story had me enthralled. Lily is a life like character with all her goods and faults. She makes mistakes and yet still soldiers on. Snow Flower is such a beautiful girl weighed down by hardship and these two laotong are the support for each other till there is a gross misunderstanding that forever marrs their relationship. 

The author describes the pain of footbinding and the utter hopelessness of some of the womens lives, yet also portrays the love, kindness and companionship that is the basis of most families. The sense of duty and filial respect that must be show for the elders and menfolk and the secret language of nu shu is deeply embedded in the lives of all the women.This is a wonderfully written story and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes Amy Tan and Arthor Golden.

Lisa See is the author of seven novels, including the critically acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shanghai Girls, Peony in Love and Flower Net (which was nominated for an Edgar Award), The Interior, and Dragon Bones. She is also the author of the widely acclaimed memoir On Gold Mountain. She lives in Los Angeles. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

George R R Martin - A Dance with Dragons is OUT!!

Six years have passed since the time of events in "A Storm of Swords". Autumn is ending, with the realm in disarray. Tommen sits on the Iron Throne, but it is Cersei who rules, supported by Casterly Rock and Highgarden. Thanks to Dorne, the north has become a lawless wilderness. 

Have you got the next exciting installment of Song of Ice and Fire yet? If not - why not? We have plenty of copies ready for you to read!  Find out what happens to your favourite characters at Castle Plaza Bookshop.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review - Whoopie Pies - Hannah Miles

Move over cupcakes, whoopie pies have come to town! Not quite a cake, not quite a cookie, these delightful treats are the new baking craze sweeping the world. Originally an Amish tradition, they can be enjoyed in a variety of flavours with different fillings. CLASSIC PIES are the perfect indulgence. Deliciously simple recipes include Classic Chocolate and Marshmallow Fluff Pies, Pumpkin Pies, Red Velvet Pies and Pecan Pies. A chapter of less conventional but no less delicious FRUITY PIES boasts a juicy Raspberry and Cream Pie, Key Lime Jello Pie, Lemon Sherbet Pie and Banoffee Pie. LUXURY PIES make perfect home-baked gifts and include chocolate-box pretty Rose and Violet Pies, refreshingly minty Grasshopper Pies, creamy Coconut Cloud Pies or grown-up Almond and Amaretto Pies, perfect for dessert with a cup of coffee. Ideal for any celebration, PARTY PIES offers plenty of inspiration. Try a Giant Whoopie Birthday Pie, a towering rainbow-hued Whoopie Pie Croquembouche or Oyster Pies, each one complete with its own sugar pearl.

I made the Mocha Whoopie Pies from this book and they were fantastic!! Very easy to make, I basically had all the ingrediants in the cupboard already. It was fun to put these together as I had never had a whoopie cake before. I sent some into my partners work and I got a marriage proposal and my container was sent home squeaky clean. Highly recommend this book!
Here is a picture of what they turned out like! 
About the author of Whoopie Pies by Random House
A lawyer and MasterChef finalist in 2007, Hannah Miles has developed a second career as a cake maker and food writer. She has a monthly column in Country Kitchen and Country & Town House magazines and writes for Delicious. She is the author of Sundaes & Splits, also published by Ryland Peters & Small.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Review - Kitchen Princess - Natsumi Ando, Miyuki Kobayashi

HUNGRY HEARTNajika is a great cook and likes to make meals for the people she loves. But something is missing from her life. When she was a child, she met a boy who touched her heart–and now Najika is determined to find him. The only clue she has is a silver spoon that leads her to the prestigious Seika Academy.
Attending Seika will be a challenge. Every kid at the school has a special talent, and the girls in Najika’s class think she doesn’t deserve to be there. But Sora and Daichi, two popular brothers who barely speak to each other, recognize Najika’s cooking for what it is–magical. Is either boy Najika’s mysterious prince?

This is a brilliant series. The characters have so much depth to them and life. The recipes that are talked about in the manga are given to you at the end of the book. Heartfelt and nearly made me cry in parts.The artwork is gorgeous and I really love this managa. Definatly a series to look out for! 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Author Signing August 2011 - Tony Park

                      TONY PARK
                        Will be signing copies of his new book 
                   AFRICAN DAWN

                                      At Castle Plaza Bookshop
                              on Thursday 18th August at 3.30PM

Author of the Month - Nicole Murphy

Nicole has been telling stories for as long as she can remember and been writing them down since primary school.
Her two main occupations thus far in her life – teaching and journalism – have taught her a great deal about writing. As a teacher, having to explain the nuances of story to young children helped to hone the information in her mind. As a journalist, Nicole has won awards for her writing (in particular a series of articles on mental illness) and has interviewed people such as Gary McDonald, Noeline Brown and Roy Billing. She quit journalism in 2008 to focus on her fiction writing.
Nicole has had more than a dozen short stories published, the most recent in the Scary Kisses, a paranormal romance anthology from Ticonderoga Publishing. She has worked in the speculative fiction industry as an editor and edited The Outcast for CSFG Publishing (including the Aurealis Award nominated horror short “Woman Train”) and Issue 25 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, both published in 2006.
Nicole is also active in fandom. She has been on the organising committee for the first five Conflux conventions, including chairing Conflux 4 in 2007 and programming Conflux 5 in 2008. She was involved with the organising committee for Aussiecon 4, the 2010 Worldcon in Melbourne (quitting when she got the deal for her urban fantasty trilogy The Dream of Asarlai) and is a long-time member of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (CSFG). She is a member of the Fantasy Writers on Retreat writing group, which includes Trudi Canavan, Russell Kirkpatrick, Matthew Farrer, Cat Sparks, Donna Hanson and Kylie Seluka.
Nicole lives in Queanbeyan with her husband Tim, a computer programmer who happens to be one of the top croquet players in Australia.
Nicole's series is called Dream of Asarlai of which the first one 'Secret Ones' is reviewed here.

'Rogue Gadda' the third in the series has just been released and I am looking forward to reading it!!! 

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