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The Great Race

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Great Race: the race between the English and the French to complete the map of Australia by David Hill.  This was a Bolinda Audiobook narrated by Paul English, but we have many formats in our catalogue.  Click here.

From the cover: On the afternoon of
8 April 1802, in the remote southern ocean, two explorers had a remarkable chance encounter. Englishman Matthew Flinders and Frenchman Nicolas Baudin had been sent by their governments on the same quest: to explore the uncharted coast of the great south land and find out whether the west and east coasts, four thousand kilometres apart, were part of the same island. And so began the three-year race to compile the definitive map of Australia. Written from diaries and other first-hand accounts, this is the thrilling story of men whose skill and determination enabled Terra Australis Incognita to become Australia.

I admit it, I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for Matthew Flinders.  Two reasons: as an ex-Mornington resident, I often spent time either in Mornington Park or Schnapper Point where there are many references relevant to Matthew Flinders' explorations.

“Matthew Flinders entered the heads of Port Phillip Bay on the 26th April 1802 and landed near Mornington on the 28th April. On Schnapper Point above the Mornington pier is a memorial to Matthew Flinders engraved on a granite obelisk which rises thirty feet in the shape of a giant fin, to a man of destiny, “the most generous, most learned and most modest of all the Australian explorers.”  The settlement at Schnapper Point developed into the township of Mornington.”     from http://morningtonchamber.com.au/our-history/
And the other reason?  I really enjoyed Bryce Courtenay’s Matthew Flinders’ Cat!

I think the title of this book, however, is a bit misleading.  The ‘race’ seems to be about who published what first, not necessarily about who discovered what first.  Both protagonists were unaware the other was on the way to the same place; both languished thither and yon for quite some time not ‘making haste’, and bumped into each other from time to time with no great alacrity to resume the high seas.  No matter, the book itself is absorbing.  Initially there’s a fair bit about ‘who did what’ before Flinders and Baudin – even back to the 1600s with Dutch explorers like Dampier, Abel Tasman, the revolting saga of the Batavia, the Portuguese Torres, French D’Entrecasteau et al, but stick with it, we’re soon off with the protagonists, plus Flinders’ cat Trim, who cracks a minor mention.  It’s a hair raising ride indeed due to wars, the ever-present scurvy and later, dysentery, storms and wrecks, burials at sea, the first settlements, Flinders’ outrageous imprisonment on the Mauritius for 6 ½ years, and the trials and tribulations of exploring, surveying and mapping in the 1800s.  Today’s well-known names crop up – the French cartographer Freycinet – gorgeous place in Tassie; Bass Strait after George Bass who eventually goes missing at sea; Botany Bay, Port Jackson/Sydney, Benelong, King Island, Flinders Island, Kangaroo Island, Rottnest, the Great Barrier Reef and much more.  A fascinating book and well recommended.  

Upcoming Books to Movies

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Very excited about the making of two of my favourite books into movies.

The Book Thief  will be released in mid November. Based on the the novel  by Markus Zusak I can't wait to see this story on the big screen.  Directed by Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) and  musical score by John Williams (Jaws, Jurrasic Park, Harry Potter etc), the film stars Emily Watson, Geoffrey Rush, Sophie Nélisse, and Ben Schnetzer.

Check out this clip to see how Liesel  is bought to life on screen.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is currently being filmed in the US. Starring Shailene Woodley as  Hazel (The Secret Life of the American Teenager ), , Ansel Elgort as Augustus, Natt Wolff as Isaac (The Naked Brothers Band ) and Willem Dafoe as  Peter Van Houten.

John Green has been vlogging from the set.  Check out the clip below as he introduces the actors plus talks about watching his book come to life.

PS. Look out for movies of Divergent by Veronica Roth and Maze Runner by James Dashner as they will also be in cinemas in 2014


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Reading Rewards - reviews -

Mark Billingham, Lisa Unger, John Connolly, Mary Higgins Clark and Val McDermid are some of my favourite crime authors. When I heard that they had all released a book this month I was immediately confronted with the decision of “Who should I read first?!?!”.

Thankfully the decision was made for me, as they all released the same book!  These five authors, along with fifteen other well-known crime writers, have joined together to produce the serial novel “Inherit the dead”.

“Inherit the dead” tells the story of private investigator Perry Christo as he tries to track down a missing heiress. While on the trail, Perry finds that he too has become a target. Each author has written a chapter (not surprisingly there are 20 chapters in the novel), so every chapter has a slightly different style, but this does not detract from the flow of the story.

I found that the female authors were more descriptive with clothing and movement, tossing words like “languidly” and “draped” about, however this was appropriate, as they seemed to have the chapters revolving around female characters.

All authors contributing to the book have donated their time and effort, with all proceeds going to “Safe Horizon” which is the largest victims’ support charity in the United States.

Not only is this book a great collaborative effort, it’s also a great read.
~ Leanne

Hampton Park Jan 28 1970

Links to our Past - history -

These aerials of Hampton Park were taken on January 28, 1970, back in the days when it was just a county town. It was before the Eumemmerring By-pass was built, which was started in 1969 and completed in 1972. To see more photographs of this area, click here.

This shows the South Gippsland Highway, going from bottom right to top left of the photograph. The first road from the bottom of the picture, on the left of the Highway is Abbotts Road - it bisects the railway line. Around the middle, on the right of the Highway, is Somerville Road and above that is Pound Road.

This shows Somerville Road. The five roads on the south side are View Street, The Fairway, Parkland Avenue, Ora Street and Wren Street. On the north of Somerville Road is Bride Street, running beside the oval. On the right of the photograph is Hallam Road and it intersects with Pound Road, where the trees surrounding the four small paddocks look a bit like a swastika.  You can see the Hallam Main Drain at the top of the picture.

This photographs also shows the intersection of Hallam Road and Pound Road. It also shows the intersection where Pound Road diverts at at 45 degree angle at the Shrives Road ineresection.


Book Swamp -

KINGDOM OF SILK  series by
Glenda Millard

I have just finished reading all six books in this series and I didn’t want them to end.  I loved the Silk family.
Father Ben and his wood making skills, mother Annie and her paintings and her songs, Nell part fairy grandmother part magical.
Then there is the Rainbow girls, Scarlet, Indigo, Violet, Amber, Saffron and baby Tishkin who went away without saying goodbye.
The boys, Griffin named after a mythical beast and Perry Angel, who came for a visit and stayed when he discovered family.
Layla, Griffin’s best friend, reader of hearts, and I have to mention Blue, the white dog with red freckles or is he a red dog with white freckles; and Zeus the one eyed crow.
If you want to meet a family full of love and wonder, the Silks are the family for you. Read one, read two or do what I did, read the series. You’ll love them.
The Naming of Tishkin Silk
Layla Queen of Hearts
Perry Angel’s Suitcase
All the Colours of Paradise
Plum Puddings and Paper Moons
Nell’s Festival of Crisp Winter Glories

Vicki@ Pakenham

Vale Tom Clancy

Reading Rewards - reviews -

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Thomas Leo "Tom" Clancy, Jr. (April 12, 1947 – October 1, 2013) was an American author best known for his technically detailed espionage and military science storylines set in and around the aftermath of the Cold War. Seventeen of his novels were best-sellers, with over 100 million copies in print. His name was also a brand for similar movie scripts written by ghost writers; many series of non-fiction books on military subjects; merged biographies of key leaders; and video games. 

Dubbed the inventor of the techno-thriller, his novels The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears have been transformed into blockbuster films starring Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford.  Ben Affleck played his most famous fictional character, Jack Ryan, in 2002.

Clancy died October 1, 2013, after a brief illness at Johns Hopkins Hospital, near his Baltimore USA home. No cause of death was released. Deb

The Sky So Heavy

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'The Sky So Heavy' is written by Clair Zorn, an Australian author who lives on the New South Wales coast.
At the centre of the novel is teenager, Fin, who has an excellent wry sense of humour. he goes about his day in his own fashion - dodging school work where he can, and trying to be cool and impress the object of his affections, Lucy.

But on the other side of the world a nightmare is unfolding that has dire and unforeseen consequences.
Nuclear missiles are being detonated and Fin's life is about to be turned upside down.
Fin wakes up to a snowy, freezing cold world where resources become limited, and people will do anything to survive.

Fin has to take charge.
With a younger brother to look after, Fin has to make momentous decisions that could mean survival or death.

This is an impressive novel that will appeal to teenagers who enjoy adventurous and futuristic stories.


The Fault in our Stars

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Fault in Our Stars  by John Green

Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, participated in a tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, but Hazel has never been anything but terminal. When a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters, who is recovering from osteosarcoma, suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, it forces Hazel to re-examine her perspective on love, loss, and life.

Forget that the book has YA (Young Adult) on the cover – this is for anyone who enjoys being swept along by a story.  This book has reviews everywhere, and because of that, I avoided it … until it was added to our Teen Book Group for reading and discussion.  I thought I’d better check out what the hoo-ha is about, hoping that it wouldn’t be a real downer peppered with platitudes, pity and pathos. I couldn’t have been further from the truth – this book sings with love, laughter and wonder.  Told from Hazel’s point of view, it has an infectious banter that bewitches you; it’s funny, intelligent, irreverent and thoughtful.  Augustus and Hazel’s connection is so heart-achingly right that they join my list of  ‘Memorable Couples in Books’ – like Henry and Claire in the Time Traveller’s Wife and  Sam and Molly in Ghost.
We have this book in many formats and the audio version is brilliantly narrated by Kate Rudd who gives life to all the characters - so much so you feel you do actually know them!  The Fault in Our Stars won the 2013 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production and rightly so. 
Deb.   PS - stock up on the tissues.

Gembrook Union Church

Links to our Past - history -

Theses are photographs taken in the 1980s of the Gembrook Union Church and the Gembrook Catholic Church, Sacred Heart. The Union Churches have always interested me - they seemed to have been built in small communities, with a eucumenical spirit. There was one built at Yannathan in 1890, which was used by the Anglicans, the Presbyterians and the Methodists.It was used until 2011, when it closed down and was sold. There is also a Union Church at Officer. This was built in 1929 after 500 pounds was raised from members of the public. Previous to this, church services took place in the public hall.

The Gembrook Union Church, taken in the 1980s.
According to Bill Parker in his book Forest to Farming, the Gembrook Union Church was opened on April 6, 1879. The land, on the corner of Ure Road and Mountain Road,  was donated by the Reverend John Bromby  on the condition that the building could be used by all denominations. The property was 'owned' by the Pastoral Aid Society, a union between the Church of England and the Presbyterian Church.  The first services were Anglican and they were conducted by the Minister at Berwick. Later services were Presbyterian. The church is now the Gembrook Uniting Church. In 1905, an Anglican Church was built in Gembrook, St Silas.  St Silas was closed around 1994 and is now privately owned, though it does still seem to be used for some services.

Another view of the rather austere Gembrook Union Church, taken in the 1980s.

The third church built in Gembrook was Sacred Heart Catholic Church, built in 1921. Bill Parker writes that it was built by a Mr Twyford, 'a skilled carpenter and devout Anglican'. It is in Main Street in Gembrook and still operates today. It is pictured above, in a photograph taken in the 1980s.

Out of this World by Susannah McFarlane (EJ12 Series)

Book Swamp -

Type of story: Adventure

Tell us about it: It is AWESOME!!! Once I got into the plot I couldn't get my head out of it. It is when EJ12, code cracker in the under 12 division at Shine (other wise known as Emma Jacks) goes out of this world to try and stop evil agency Shadow. Will she be able to get out and stop Shadow once and for all? Why is she finding hard to do a school project on outer space? Perhaps it isn't hard after all.

How good was it? Fantastic

Review by Lisa, age 10

The girl who blew up her brother and other naughty stories for good boys and girls by Christopher Milne

Book Swamp -

Type of story: Funny

Tell us about it: This book is for good boys & girls only! If naughty kids read this, they might get ideas like blowing up their sibling, put their daddy's dirty underwear into his suite case for his work or being like a kindergarten kid from hell! This book has several stories in it. I recommend this book for goody two shoes kids. There is a series.

How good was it? Fantastic

Review by Nandira, age 8

Mad men, bad girls and the Guerilla Knitters Institute

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Mad men, bad girls and the Guerilla Knitters Institute by Maggie Goff

If you like Kerry Greenwood you'll love Maggie Goff. This is a great zany, light-hearted read. 

The descriptions of Byron Bay and the Gold Coast are absolutely spot on, thoroughly recognizable even from 15 years ago. 

I would wholeheartedly recommend this for a fun read to get away from all the dour news of the day. 

With many thanks to one of our Library users -  Edwina Vaughan, for this review!

~ Michelle

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Book Swamp -

Tell us about it: This book is about Charlie with his Mum, Dad, two Grandmas and Grandpas who all live in a small cottage and all are very poor. Every day when Charlie goes to school, he passes by Willy Wonka's enormous Chocolate Factory with his mouth drooling. One day Willy Wonka says, "in the Willy Wonka chocolate bars, there are five golden tickets to be found. The five people who find the tickets will have a trip all around my factory." But will Charlie find it?

I recommend this book for people who love the movie or love all the sweets in the world.

How good was it? Fantastic

Review by Nandira Xavier, age 8

Thea Stilton: Big Trouble in the Big Apple

Book Swamp -

Type of story: Mystery

Tell us about it: The Thea sisters, Collete, Nicky, Pamela, Violet and Paulina go to New York for Nicky's marathon. In this story, the Thea sisters are staying with Pamela's family in the pizza shop. Meanwhile someone has been telling people to move out. The Thea sisters are very curious. Read this story and you will find out.

How good was it? Fantastic

Review by Naomi Yong, age: 10 

The Peculiar Pumpkin Thief by Geronimo Stilton

Book Swamp -

Type of Story: Mystery

Tell us about it: Someone steals everything that is ready for Halloween  They open a big Halloween party and trap everyone while they steal things from peoples houses!

How good was it? Fantastic

Review by Mirai Tanabe, age 10

Clifton Chronicles

Reading Rewards - reviews -

It has been many years since I have read anything by this well-known author, and now I am wondering why I waited so long? I came across this series of books known as the CliftonChronicles - 3 titles - by Jeffrey Archer - Only time will tell, The Sins of the Father and Best Kept Secret, which I am led to believe are the first three books in a 5 book series. 

The Clifton Chronicles includes a cast of colorful characters and takes us from the ravages of the Great War to the outbreak of the Second World War, from the docks of working-class England to the bustling streets of 1940 New York City, they take the reader on a journey through to future volumes, which will bring to life one hundred years of recent history to reveal a story of two families that are forever entwined. 

Book 1 - "Only Time will Tell" is about two boys who meet in school, one from a wealthy family, and one from a poorer family who become great friends The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920, Harry never knew his father, but he learns about life on the docks from his uncle, who expects Harry to join him at the shipyard once he’s left school. But then an unexpected gift wins him a scholarship to an exclusive boys’ school, and his life will never be the same again. As he enters into adulthood, Harry finally learns how his father really died, but the awful truth only leads him to question, was he even his father? Is he the son of Arthur Clifton, a stevedore who spent his whole life on the docks, or the firstborn son of his friend Giles Barrington's father of West Country society, whose family owns a shipping line? 

Book 2 - "The Sins of the Father" continues the story only days before Britain declares war on Germany, Harry Clifton, hoping to escape the consequences of long-buried family secrets, and forced to accept that his desire to marry Emma Barrington will never be fulfilled, has joined the Merchant Navy. But his ship is sunk in the Atlantic by a German U-boat, drowning almost the entire crew. An American cruise liner, the SS Kansas Star, rescues a handful of sailors, among them Harry and the third officer, an American named Tom Bradshaw. When Bradshaw dies in the night, Harry seizes on the chance to escape his tangled past and assumes his identity with unbelievable consequences. 

Book 3 - "Best Kept Secret" - The vote in the House of Lords as to who should inherit the Barrington family fortune has ended in a tie. The Lord Chancellor's deciding vote will cast a long shadow on the lives of Harry Clifton and Giles Barrington. Harry returns to America to promote his latest novel, while his beloved Emma goes in search of the little girl who was found abandoned in her father's office on the night he was killed. When the general election is called, Giles Barrington has to defend his seat in the House of Commons and is horrified to discover who the Conservatives select to stand against him. But it is Sebastian Clifton, Harry and Emma's son, who ultimately influences his uncle's fate. 

I literally couldn't put these books down!!! They are a classic family saga, and I am devastated that Mr Archer's fourth book is not due out until March 2014! The great but frustrating part is that each books ends in a cliff-hanger!! In the classic words of Molly Meldrum - 'do yourselves a favour' and borrow these, you won't be disappointed. You can also download the e-book through Bolinda on the library website.

~ Janine

The Raven Cycle 2: The dream thieves

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A secret is a strange thing.
There are three kinds.
The first requires two people: one to keep the secret, one to never know it.
The second is harder, the secret you keep from yourself, the ‘I am afraid’ secret.
The third is the secret no one knows about. It was known once but not anymore.
We all have secrets in our lives…and Ronan Lynch has lived with every sort of secret.      The Raven cycle Series: The raven boys, The dream thieves...
The Raven Boys are back; Gansey, Adam, Ronan, Noah and Blue have found Cabeswater and awakened the ley line, they are now one step closer to Glendower and one step closer to the prophetic end, Gansey’s death. But looking for long buried secrets will take this five-some to places they never imagined. Gansey will face slowly losing his friend, Blue will accept that her feelings will be what they will be and not what she wants them to be, Adam will face his past in order to find his future, while Ronan will have to dig deep down to discover the haunting truth about his family’s past and come to terms with his extraordinary paranormal gift. Nothing stays secret forever, especially not when you go hunting for it, but the Raven boys will soon learn they’re not the only one’s hunting…there are dangerous times ahead.
As with the prequel 'the dream thieves' had me enraptured from the very beginning. There is just so much that I love about this series but first and foremost I love how character driven the story is; I love Ronan for his complexity and ability to constantly surprise me, Adam I can only admire for his strength and determination, Noah is charmingly endearing as the boy who never grew up, Gansey is soulful and wise beyond his years with the knowledge to know who he is and what he wants without having to apologise for it and Blue has a strong independent spirit I can’t help but love. Additionally I can’t help but admire the skill of Stiefvater to craft such an intelligent and unpredictable tale. This is a story you read in a whirlwind, never knowing what’s coming next, always being surprised by the outcome. In the dream thieves Ronan takes centre stage as the main protagonist and I quite enjoyed getting to know him better, however I did miss Blue and Gansey but enjoyed the brief moments of their developing relationship. What stands out about this novel is the mystery, Stiefvater has told  you how the story ends but makes it so difficult to envision; you just can’t imagine where she’s going to take these characters, this story and you the reader, which makes for a thrilling and enthralling read. While at time it may seem that Stiefvater is going off on a tangent, why did she introduce this character, every page of storytelling has meaning, adds to the plot which slowly unravels the further you read. Stiefvater challenges you to think, to observe, to put together the puzzle pieces that she leaves behind and solve the mystery, but she does it so masterfully that it is difficult to see the whole picture until of course you’ve finished the book. This is not a novel you just read, this is a novel in which you think, you observe, you wonder, you amaze and you become very much a part of the story as the sixth raven boy. Sequels can be hard to live up to the hype of the first book but not only does The dream thieves live up to the expectations The raven boys left but it exceeds it. The dream thieves is one of the most refreshing and imaginative story’s in the YA genre today, it will hook you from page one to the very end; it’s not to be missed.
Don't believe me check out the author's top ten reasons to read:

Courtney :)

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis

Book Swamp -

The main character in this novel is Timmy Failure. Timmy is the CEO of a detective agency which has its headquarters in his mother's wardrobe. The agency consists of Timmy and his colleague, a make-believe polar bear called Total, which makes the name of his agency Total Failure Inc.

Timmy and Total blunder from case to case, attempting to solve crimes with hilarious results, always missing the obvious. No case is too small or too large for them.

Great fun.

 - Ann

Popular Books for Girls

Book Swamp -

Hi Everyone,

Check out some of these great books for girls! Let me know if you can suggest some others and I'll add to our slideshow!


Man Booker Shortlist

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The six books on the just-announced 2013 Man Booker Shortlist could not be more diverse! They are from novelists from New Zealand, England, Canada, Ireland and Zimbabwe – each with its own highly distinctive taste. They range in size from the 832 pages of Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries to the 104-page The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín. The times represented stretch from the biblical Middle East (Tóibín) to contemporary Zimbabwe (NoViolet Bulawayo) by way of 19th-century New Zealand (Catton), 1960s India (Jumpha Lahiri), 18th-century rural England (Crace) and modern Tokyo (Ruth Ozeki).


We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Harvest by Jim Crace
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri.  To be published in Australia in October 2013
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

The Winner will be announced on 15 October, 2013.  


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