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Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

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Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters
Author of the book: Rick Riordan

The Camp Half-Blood is protected by Thalia, a daughter of Zeus that sacrificed her life to save the young Annabeth, Grover and Luke from an attack of Cyclops and was transformed by her father in a magical tree. Out of the blue, Percy Jackson is visited by his unknown half-brother Cyclops Tyson and they discover that Thalia was poisoned and is dying. Then the camp is attacked by a Colchis Bull but it is vanquished by Percy. Soon he learns that Luke is the one that has poisoned the magical tree. Annabeth discovers the mystic Golden Fleece is capable to heal Thalia and save their camp. But Mr. D assigns the winner demigod Clarisse to the quest of retrieving the magic fleece. However Percy Jackson, Annabeth, Grover and Tyson decide to follow an ancient prophecy and they go to the dangerous journey to the Sea of Monsters to recover the Golden Fleece from Luke that wants to revive the evil Kronos to destroy the Olympus.
What type of story was it?: Adventure
What do you rate the book out of 10?: 10

Student's Name: Cozza
Age: 10


Quicksand -

HANG IN THERE BOZO : the Ruby Redfort emergency survival guide for some tricky predicaments by Lauren Child.

A follow on from the Ruby Redfort adventures, this pocket size guide has it all. Everything from finding your way without the aide of a compass, how to survive a bear attack, lighting a fire without matches to deciding whether an alien is friend or foe. Do love the handy at-a-glance ID chart…how else would I have discovered the difference between the Queen of England and a stick of dynamite?

A sometimes humorous, sometimes deadly serious look at survival. Must admit the section on dealing with individuals who you know are dangerously dull is vital reading!

·      Stop.
·      Think.
·      Decide to be calm.
·      Focus on that glass of ice-cold lemonade.

Good read – Vicki @ Pakenham


Reading Rewards - reviews -

Shadows by Tim Bowler

From the cover:  Jamie is under pressure from his father to succeed. In the competitive world of squash, his dad is determined that Jamie should succeed where he failed. The emotional and physical bullying that Jamie has to endure makes him recoil into himself until he feels backed into a corner and doesn't know where to turn. Then he discovers the girl hiding in his shed and sees an opportunity, not only to help her, but to get away from his own life too. Together they go on the run - but danger is coming after the girl and it's surely only a matter of time before they're both discovered.

These YA books by Tim Bowler really have some rather strong storylines in them, too strong I think for the younger end of the genre.  This one is full of violence e.g. the Dad beats up the son every time he loses a squash match, then makes him walk home; a 15- year old pregnant run-away not only gives birth under a ring road overpass but bites off the umbilical cord then carts the baby around in her haversack; and two violent brothers who used to prostitute the girl come hunting for her to drag her back.  Yep, just your standard teen read.  Narrated well by Mark Meadows, this adult found that although the characters are well-drawn and the story gripping, it's quite a disturbing book and not one I'd recommend.

Midnight Bayou

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Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts 
From the cover:  Declan Fitzgerald had always been the family maverick, but even he couldn't understand his impulse to buy a dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans. All he knew was that ever since he saw Manet Hall, he'd been enchanted - and obsessed - with it. Determined to restore Manet Hall to its former splendour, Declan begins the daunting renovation room by room, relying on his own labour and skills. But the days spent in total isolation in the empty house take a toll. He is seeing visions of days from a century past, and experiencing sensations of terror and nearly unbearable grief - sensations not his own, but those of a stranger. Local legend has it that the house is haunted, and with every passing day Declan's belief in the ghostly presence grows. Only the companionship of the alluring Angelina Simone can distract him from the mysterious happenings in the house, but Angelina too has her own surprising connection to Manet Hall - a connection that will help Declan uncover a secret that's been buried for a hundred years.

A few years ago I had a binge on Nora Roberts books then veered off in another reading direction.  I had been quite taken with her writing style and that little touch of ‘magic' that wound through her stories lifting them out of the routine romance genre.   She is a prolific author, with some 209 novels published to date. Many of these are series  – The Donovans, Dream, the Key trilogy, the Garden trilogy, Chesapeake Bay, the Gallaghers, Three Sisters Island etc. – and some stand alone titles, as this one was.  It is also part of the Nora Roberts 2009 movie collection, which also includes Northern Lights, High Noon, and Tribute.
Once again I fell under the spell of her characters and the setting, and as I love a good haunted house story, I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook which was well narrated by James Daniels and Sandra Burr. 

The Beatles biog

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The Beatles: the authorised biography by Hunter Davies.
Playaway format narrated by John Telfer

From the cover:  During 1967 and 1968, Hunter Davies spent 18 months with the Beatles at the peak of their powers as they defined a generation and rewrote popular music.  As their only ever authorised biographer he had unparallelled access, not just to John, Paul, George and Ringo, but to friends, family and colleagues.  He collected a wealth of intimate and revealing material that makes this the classic Beatles book; the one all other biographers look to.  Hunter Davies remained close with the band and as such has had access to more information over the years.  This 40th anniversary edition contains new material which has never been revealed before, from the author’s archives and from the Beatles themselves, that will bring new insights to their legend.

If you’re old enough to remember ‘Beatlemania’, ‘the Mop Tops’ and ‘the British Invasion’, don’t worry, there’s still a lot to enjoy in this book!
I began losing personal interest in the Beatles when they went through their Indian and drug phase but I still loved their music, with Rubber Soul (one of their earliest) and The White Album (one of their latest) being amongst my all-time favourite albums.  What I found most interesting in this biog is the information on their early days – school, and parents, and exams (or lack thereof), and ‘mucking around in a stupid beat band’.  Being Australian, we didn’t really know any of their background, we just got carried along in the tide when they swept DownUnder in 1964.  
As you would imagine, there’s a wealth of material in here, from the influential Brian Epstein and George Martin, to the impact their success had on the lives of their Mums and Dads, to those closest to the guys who stuck with them through thick and thin, and of course the tawdry decade of legal stoushes during the break up of Apple.  Strangely enough, the book sort of had three endings – one at the end of 1968 when the decision to stop playing live was made; an update on the 'studio years', John & Yoko and the aftermath of John's murder; and yet another with Paul’s band Wings and the death of Linda McCartney.  John Telfer's narration, including the many disparate accents was beautifully delivered, and this was indeed a book to take you on a Magical Mystery Tour, the likes of which will never be seen again.

Scare Me

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Scare Me by Richard Parker  
Narrated by Rupert Holiday Evans

From the cover:  When did you last Google yourself? Wealthy businessman, Will Frost, gets woken in the middle of the night by an anonymous caller, asking him exactly this. When Will goes online, he finds a website has been set up in his name, showing photographs of the inside of his home, along with photographs of six houses he has never seen before. In the first of these strange houses, a gruesome murder has already taken place. Will is then told that his own family is in mortal danger. The only way he can keep them safe is to visit each of the houses on the website in person before the police discover what has happened there.

Seven houses. Seven gruesome homicides. Seven chances to save his daughter's life... Scare Me is a tale of modern urban terror, for anyone who is ever worried that someone might one day use the internet to track them down and cause them and their family harm.

This book is brutal. And nasty.  And definitely too long – three houses would have been elegant sufficiency.  The whole  premise that underpins this story is quite terrifyingly real – I could easily imagine this happening if someone was sick enough to do it.  It’s a very disturbing book but one that is almost impossible to put down.

Fountain Gate Housing Estate Estate

Links to our Past - history -

The Fountain Gate housing estate, in Narre Warren, was developed by Isador Magid in the mid 1960s. He employed Robin Boyd to create the Estate on Radburn principles, which involved separating pedestrians and vehicles by providing short cul-de-sac entries and internal spines of open space. Prominent architects were also employed to design Protoype houses. The Fountain Estate is bounded by Tinks Road, Sweet Gum Avenue, Prospect Hill Road and Dawn Avenue and is listed in the City of Casey Heritage Scheme as being of local significance and possibly State significance and an innovative and imaginative housing development. Some individual houses also have Heritage listing. 

Fountain Gate Estate 1972

Fountain Gate Estate 1978. The Fountain Gate Shopping Centre wasn't opened until March 1980. The City of Berwick Civic Centre was opened in December 1978.

A copy of the original Estate plane which came with the contract of sale.

This is not very legible but it is a letter dated November 14, 1966 from Alexander Magit & Associates to the Shire of Berwick  advising us of the  approval of your Council for the erection of the motif in the form of  a fountain in accordance with the designs prepared by Mr Robin Boyd, Architect.
According to a long serving City of Casey/City of Berwick employee, this Robin Boyd fountain at the entrance to the Estate  was only turned on once when the estate was opened ( early 1970’s ) and the water went onto the highway which caused traffic problems, this may have been because the prevailing wind at the time. As you can imagine because of it’s proximity to the highway this would be a problem, which became worse when the highway was widened, it was never turned on again.
There was some discussion in the early 1990s about the Fountain Gate name and whether it should become the name of  a suburb. The Fountain Gate Shopping Centre tended to dominate the area and people began to use Fountain Gate to describe the area, rather than the correct name of Narre Warren. In the end it was never adopted as a suburb name and both the Fountain Gate Housing Estate and the Shopping Centre are in Narre Warren.

This article from the Sunday Age of  February 16, 1992 mentions the controversy of the use of the name Fountain Gate as opposed to Narre Warren.  Also of interest is the price of a house $106,000. 
However, the fact that Fountain Gate was never officially adopted as a place name didn't prevent developers using the name in a proposed future housing estate, south of the Highway. This brochure isn't dated but I presume it is from the 1980s.

Pulitzer Fiction prize

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2014's Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded to Donna Tartt for her latest novel The Goldfinch.

Tartt's sprawling epic tells the story of Theodore Decker, a Manhattanite who winds up in possession of a renowned painting, Carel Fabritius's "The Goldfinch."  Theo heads to Las Vegas, New York City's Lower East Side, and Amsterdam, where the events of his life are intermixed with his burgeoning theories on art and love.

The Goldfinch was Tartt's third novel, following her critically acclaimed The Little Friend, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2003. Tartt began writing her first book, The Secret History, while studying at Bennington College.

The Goldfinch was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2013, and has been nominated for the BAILEYS Women's Prize for Fiction in 2014 - yet to be announced.

Code Breakers by Sally Rippin

Book Swamp -

Type of story: Mystery

Tell us about it:
Code breakers is a really good book.
It is about a club called the secret mystery club, who receives a note from a person whom they do not know. They kept getting letters from this mystery person, each member of the club was able to break the code on each letter, except Billie B Brown. Finally the very last note was for her to break and she did it ! It ended up being the parents of the members in the club and when they had cracked everything ,they found a cubby house which was especially made for them.

How good was it? Fantastic

Review by Shanika, age 9

The Spirit Keeper

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The Spirit Keeper by K. B. Laugheed is an intriguing tale set in Pennsylvania in the 18th century. It is the story of seventeen-year-old, Katie O’Toole, the thirteenth child of Irish immigrants. On 2nd March 1747 Katie was removed from her family by 'savages'. She was taken captive by two strange Indians who claim to have been searching for her. Syawa is a gifted Holy man with captivating and mystical ways, and his travelling companion, Hector, Syawa’s strong and courageous bodyguard. Together they take Katie on an epic journey across the American frontier.
Katie is their ‘Creature of Fire and Ice’, with her red flaming hair and clear blue eyes, destined to bring a great gift to their people. She is to become their ‘Spirit Keeper’. And indeed she shows great spirit, bravery, strength, intelligence, and faith during her arduous journey with these two Indians. 
It is a compelling account of two very different cultures and how they connected through love, loss, and loyalty. It is a wonderful first novel for K. B. Laugheed and a great read!
~ Narelle

Big, Beautiful & Sexy

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Big, beautiful & sexy : my journey from Idol to showgirl : an intensely personal story by Casey Donovan with Naomi Evans.

From the cover:  Thrust into the limelight in 2004 as the youngest ever winner of Australian Idol, Casey Donovan has experienced the best and worst that winning a reality TV show can offer.

The success of her debut album and landing the boyfriend she always wanted gave way to media coverage of her weight, family struggles and being dropped by her record label. But battling her demons in a very public arena, Casey fought back receiving critical acclaim for her roles on stage shows The Sapphires, and The Flowerchildren - The Mamas and Papas Story.

Casey's career has powered from strength to strength. She is now regarded as one of Australia's most acclaimed indigenous entertainers with a career spanning music, stage and screen. In this intensely personal account of the last ten years, Casey opens up about her family life, her passion for music, and her gratitude to those that continue to believe in her. And for the first time, she tells the painful truth behind her first love, a relationship which consumed every aspect of her life, ruining friendships, family and almost her career.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I read it in a day. It’s a warts-and-all story of how early fame can sometimes not be a good thing, and doesn't prepare you on how to cope with life thereafter. Casey has risen above this and continues to grow within herself and I wish her every success in the future with that amazing voice of hers.

Poirot and Me

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Poirot and Me by David Suchet

From the cover:  Hercule Poirot, with his distinctive moustache and fastidious ways, is one of Agatha Christie’s finest creations and one of the world’s best-loved detectives.

Through his television performance in ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot, David Suchet OBE, CBE (pronounched Soo-Shay) has become inextricably linked with the ‘little Belgian’, a man whom he has grown to love dearly through an intimate relationship lasting more than twenty years.
No one could have been more surprised than David when he was asked to play the role back in 1988.  By the end of 2013, David Suchet will have played the detective in every one of the seventy Poirot stories that Agatha Christie wrote.  In Poirot and Me, he shares his many memories of creating this iconic television series and reflects on what the detective has meant to him over the years.

My first ever introduction to Agatha Christie’s books came through my bedroom window when I was about 10 years old.  My grandmother snuck it to me, with the obligatory torch, one night when Mum and Dad demanded, unfairly of course, “lights out”.  Cat Among the Pigeons featured the little Belgian with the little grey cells and from then on I was hooked.  Having over the years watched sundry actors play Christie characters, most of them not at all what I had pictured in my head, David Suchet’s portrayal is without doubt the quintessential Poirot! 

This captivating book is very well written, and does indeed take us further into the character, along with other acting work (particularly in the theatre) that came Suchet’s way.  But it’s the strength of this multi-award winning character actor, his commitment to Dame Agatha’s intent and his promise to Rosalind, Christie’s only child, that his portrayal will never be comical or embarrassing, that is remarkable.  The way he goes about bringing Poirot to life and keeping him true is absorbing.  There are photos to enjoy, an extensive index of people and characters in the book, and the 300+ pages were fascinating.  Highly recommended for fans of either gent!

Good As Gone

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GOOD AS GONE by Douglas Corleone

From the cover:  Ex U.S. Marshall Simon Fisk is pitted against some very formidable foes in this fast-paced, riveting thriller as he relentlessly searches  for a kidnapped young girl.  Simon’s own daughter, Hailey, was abducted and after ten years, is still missing.  His wife later committed suicide.  Now working as a freelancer who specialises in retrieving kidnapped children for their custodial parents, Simon is unwillingly drawn into the Sorkin case by the French police.  His investigation will take him from Paris to Germany, Poland, the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia as he tries to rescue Lindsay before it is too late.  Simon is a man who strongly believes in right and wrong and that keeps the violence and deaths to a minimum during the course of his investigation.  While he remains a step behind the kidnappers, his quick thinking keeps him moving rapidly and continuously forward.  

 In a novel that touches on police and political corruption, child pornography, exploitation of women, and the lingering effects of Chernobyl, Simon’s search for Lindsay is thoroughly engrossing.  It is virtually impossible to find the reason for Lindsay’s kidnapping – the author brings the story to a stunning and completely unexpected conclusion.  Pulse-pounding adventure!


Book Swamp -

Trackers Book One by Patrick Carmen

This is a really cool book of which I love. It's about this group of Trackers, whose names are: Adam, Lewis, Finn & Emily. The book is really cool. It is about that group of Trackers which get into a really bad situation of which 2 people are trying to trick tem into working for them. Luckily it was a good job, but the Trackers didn't know that. So they went through a very bad situation and found themselves working for the Internet Security Department, (ISD).

Courtenay Gardens PS

Aurelius Awards

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The Aurealis Awards were established in 1995 by Chimaera Publications, the publishers of Aurealis magazine, to recognise the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.  The 2013 Aurealis Award winners were announced at a ceremony in Canberra on Saturday 5 April and the winning titles are:

Science-fiction novel:  Lexicon by Max Barry
Fantasy novel: A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan
Horror novel: Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near
Young adult novel (tied):  These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, and
Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near
Anthology (tied): The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2012 ed. by Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene, and
One Small Step, An Anthology of Discoveries ed. by Tehani Wessel
Collection: The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories by Joanne Anderton
Children’s book:  The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie by Kirsty MurrayIllustrated book or graphic novel (tied):  Burger Force by Jackie Ryan, and
The Deep Vol 2: The Vanishing Island Tom Taylor & James Brouwer
Fantasy short fiction:  The Last Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Science-fiction short fiction: Air, Water and the Grove by Kaaron Warren
Horror short fiction:  The Year of Ancient Ghosts by Kim Wilkins
Young adult short fiction:  By Bone-light by Juliet Marillier

Why we took the car

Quicksand -

I always keep my eyes and ears out for translated junior and young adult fiction as I know they will be top class reads!

'Why we took the car' by Wolfgang Herrndorf won the German Youth Literature prize, and has been translated into English by Tim Mohr.
Mike Klingenberg is an awkward teenager with delusions of grandeur who somehow befriends Andrej Tshichatschow (known as Tschick). Tschick has recently arrived in Germany from Russia, and is quite an enigma with his cool attitude and alcoholic breath.
Mike's adventures begin with Tschick arrives at his house in a beaten up Russian car (a Lada). Tschick is an under-age driver and the car has been 'borrowed.'
Neither boy has been invited to the popular girl Tatiana's party and they are both p....ed off and ready for action.
Off on a road trip they go to Wallachia - a German euphemism for the 'middle of nowhere' and also a region of Romania. They meet some crazy, fascinating people along the way.
As you can imagine, the teenagers get into all sorts of trouble.
Tatiana is never far from Mike's thoughts and Tschick gives Mike an insight into why his peers aren't particularly friendly towards him. Things are not always what they seem and maybe Mike is not as boring as he thought he was.
Each chapter begins with a picture of the Lada - the car's headlights shining on the chapter number. This adds to the overall quirkiness of the book. I loved this clever, very appealing novel and I recommend it to Quicksand readers.


Book Swamp -

The BFG by Roald Dahl

I think The BFG is a great book. It's about a little girl named Sophie and a giant called the BFG (big friendly giant). The BFG gives sweet dreams to children but if they see him he takes them back to his cave where he keeps his dreams in jars and he has ginormous ears as big as truck wheels and he can hear a lady- bug crawling on a leaf and I like the part when the bloodbottler almost ate him.

Age: 7

The Valley Of The Lost

Book Swamp -

Deltora Quest:  The Valley Of The Lost by Emily Rodda

This book was awesome. The three companions Lief, Barda and Jasmine looked for the last gem to go in the belt of Deltora. The belt of Deltora was stolen in the first book The forests of silence. The last gem is the diamond. They have to find out the guardians first name to win the diamond and take it back to Del. His name was Endon. I haven't read it all yet so I don't know what happens next.

Age: 10

Harlan Coben's Six Years

Reading Rewards - reviews -

SIX YEARS by Harlan Coben

From the cover:  Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man.  But six years haven’t extinguished his feelings, and when Jake comes across her husband’s obituary, he can’t keep away from the funeral.  There he catches a glimpse of the grieving widow … but she is not Natalie.  As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel and soon even his life is at risk.

It's very rare that I dither over a book review.  One minute I thought this was quite good, with a strong and different storyline; but then again the main character, Jake, was so annoying and unbelievable, he became irritating.  The book would have been better if it didn’t drag in the middle, and the more it went on, the more convoluted it became but it also picked up in pace.  I toyed with the idea of ditching it, but I just had to stick with it to find out how it all played out!  

I have read other Harlan Coben novels before and this is definitely nowhere near his best but at least it was a bit different to the general run-of-the-mill formula in this genre.  Gotta love the playaway format and it was well narrated by Mr. Kerry Shale.  

If anyone else has read it, what did you think of it?


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