Dianne Blacklock answers Romance at Booktopia’s ‘Firsts’

Australian author of contemporary women’s fiction, and of new release The Best Man, Dianne Blacklock answers Romance at Booktopia’s ‘firsts’.

1. Who was your first crush?
Hutch, the blond one from the TV show, Starsky and Hutch. I was almost debilitatingly obsessed. Is there anything more overwhelming than those adolescent crushes? Continue reading

Fiona McFarlane, author of The Night Guest, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

the-night-guestThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Fiona McFarlane

author of The Night Guest

Ten Terrifying Questions

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1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in Sydney, in a house with a long garden and a palm tree that looked exactly like a pineapple. I went to my local primary school and then to MLC School Burwood; when I finished school, I did an Arts degree at Sydney University. After working in magazines for a few years, I moved to England to study for a PhD at Cambridge University and later still did a Master of Fine Arts in fiction at the University of Texas. I moved back to Sydney in December 2012.

Continue reading

Winners Announced: CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2013

YC-CBCA (468 x 96)The winners for this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards have been announced.

Booktopia congratulates the winners, those honoured,  and all the wonderful runners up. Be sure to visit our CBCA Showcase.


Older Readers


WINNER

Sea Hearts
by Margo Lanagan

A mesmerising selkie novel from multi-award winning, internationally acclaimed Australian author, Margo Lanagan – one of the most exciting voices in speculative fiction.

On remote Rollrock Island, the sea-witch Misskaella discovers she can draw a girl from the heart of a seal. So, for a price, any man might buy himself a bride; an irresistibly enchanting sea-wife. But what cost will be borne by the people of Rollrock – the men, the women, the children – once Misskaella sets her heart on doing such a thing?

Click here to buy Sea Hearts from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


HONOURS BOOKS

The Ink Bridge
by Neil Grant

A remarkable and gripping story about one refugee boy on a desperate journey from Afghanistan, and the Australian boy who befriends him.

The Ink Bridge is the compelling story of two young men: Omed, an Afghani refugee who flees the Taliban and undertakes a perilous journey to seek asylum in Australia; and Hector, an Australian boy afflicted by grief, who has given up on school and retreated into silence. Their paths meet at a candle factory where they both find work. But secrets fester behind the monotonous routine: secrets with terrible consequences.

Powerful and compelling, Omed’s and Hector’s story will grip hold of your heart and not let go.

Click here to buy The Ink Bridge from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Friday Brown
by Vikki Wakefield

Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run – running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who’d like her to stay. She’s lost, alone and afraid.

Silence, a street kid, finds Friday and she joins him in a gang led by beautiful, charismatic Arden. When Silence is involved in a crime, the gang escapes to a ghost town in the outback. In Murungal Creek, the town of never leaving, Friday must face the ghosts of her past. She will learn that sometimes you have to stay to finish what you started – and often, before you can find out who you are, you have to become someone you were never meant to be.

Friday Brown is the breathtaking second novel from the author of the award-winning All I Ever Wanted. Vikki Wakefield is an astonishing talent.

Click here to buy Friday Brown from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


RUNNERS UP

The Shiny Guys
by Doug MacLeod

One night, the shiny guys visit fifteen-year-old Colin Lapsley. They don’t speak, but Colin can read their thoughts. They want him to pay for the terrible thing that he has done. When the shiny guys won’t go away, Colin is admitted to ward 44. There he discovers an alien world, a powerful weapon, a gentle giant, and a girl who may be able to see what he can see.

The Shiny Guys is a dark, sometimes funny novel about how fantasy and reality can merge, especially when electricity is involved.

Click here to buy The Shiny Guys from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Creepy & Maud
by Dianne Touchell

Hilarious and heartbreaking, Creepy & Maud charts the relationship between two social misfits, played out in the space between their windows.

Creepy is a boy who watches from the shadows keenly observing and caustically commentating on human folly.

Maud is less certain. A confused girl with a condition that embarrasses her parents and assures her isolation.

Together Creepy and Maud discover something outside their own vulnerability – each other’s.

Click here to buy Creepy & Maud from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


The Wrong Boy
by Suzy Zail

Hanna is a talented pianist, and the protected second daughter of middle class Hungarian Jews. Relatively late in World War II the Budapest Jews were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. Hanna and her mother and sister are separated from her father. Her mother becomes increasingly mentally ill until she too is taken away somewhere. Her sister Erika is slowly starving to death. Hanna is quite a naïve 15-year-old but when presented with the opportunity to play piano for the camp commander, she is desperate to be chosen.

She goes each day under guard to the commander’s house and stands waiting in case the commander should want some music. Also living in the house is the commander’s son, Karl. A handsome young man who seems completely disengaged from what is happening around him. Hanna hates him as he sits drawing in the music room. But the longer Hanna goes to the house, the more she realises there are other things going on. Secret things. Karl may not be the person she thinks he is. Before she knows it she has fallen in love with the wrong boy.

Click here to buy The Wrong Boy from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Younger Readers


WINNER

Children of the King
by Sonya Hartnett

Three children have been sent to live in the countryside, safe from the war in London.

When they find two boys hiding in a castle, the past and future come together to make an extraordinary adventure.

A hauntingly beautiful story from one of Australia’s most acclaimed writers for adults and children.

Click here to buy Children of the King from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


HONOUR BOOKS

Pennies for Hitler
by Jackie French

It’s 1939, and for Georg, son of an English academic living in Germany, life is full of cream cakes and loving parents. It is also a time when his teacher measures the pupils′ heads to see which of them have the most ‘Aryan’- shaped heads. But when a university graduation ceremony turns into a pro-Nazi demonstration, Georg is smuggled out of Germany to war-torn London and then across enemy seas to Australia where he must forget his past and who he is in order to survive.

Hatred is contagious, but Georg finds that kindness can be, too.

The companion book for Hitler’s Daughter, Pennies For Hitler examines the life of a child during World War 2, from a different perspective.

Click here to buy Pennies for Hitler from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk
by Glenda Millard & Stephen Michael King

Flame-haired Saffron is the youngest of the five Silk sisters. Her family know that she has a talent for becoming Anne of Green Gables or Cleopatra, and that she loves reading myths and legends. But they don’t know about the firebirds that come to warn her of terrible headaches. And Saffron doesn’t know how to tell them.

In a big family, it’s easy to be overlooked. But when Saffron is sent to the city to see a specialist, she learns that her family’s love for her is deeper than she ever imagined. And that when you’re a Silk, miracles are never far from home…

Another heart-warming story in Glenda Millard’s multi-award-winning Kingdom of Silk series.

Click here to buy The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


RUNNERS UP

Other Brother
by Simon French

Kieran wants to be part of the in-group at school. He wants to be on the football team. He wants to fit in. But then his cousin Bon turns up.

Bon doesn’t know anything about fitting in – he looks different, he wears the wrong clothes, and he says weird things.

Kieran just wants to ignore Bon, but soon he is forced to make a choice.

Which is more important – being popular, or doing the right thing?

Click here to buy Other Brother from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


After
by Morris Gleitzman

In the fourth part of Felix’s story, continuing his adventures in World War Two,.

In After, he faces perhaps his greatest challenge – to find hope when he’s lost almost everything, including his parents.

As Europe goes through the final agonizing stages of the war, Felix struggles to reconcile hatred and healing.

He’s helped by a new friend, but if he should lose her as well …

Click here to buy After from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend
by Steven Herrick

Award-winning author Steven Herrick’s latest book is a heart-warming tale about friendship, grief and the importance of baked goods.

In a country town, in a school just like yours, the kids in Class 6A tell their stories.
There’s Mick, school captain and sometimes trouble-maker, who wants to make the school a better place, while his younger brother Jacob just wants to fly. There’s shy and lonely Laura who hopes to finally fit in with a circle of friends, while Pete struggles to deal with his grandpa’s sudden death. Popular Selina obsesses over class comedian Cameron, while Cameron obsesses over Anzac biscuits and Pookie Aleera – whoever that is!

For new teacher Ms Arthur, it’s another world, but for Mr Korsky, the school groundskeeper, he’s seen it all before.

Click here to buy Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Early Childhood


WINNER

The Terrible Suitcase
by Emma Allen & Freya Blackwood

What do you do when it’s your first day of school and your mum gives you a terrible suitcase instead of a red backpack with yellow rockets and a silver zipper?

Well, first you get mad.

M A D!

Then you use your imagination to build a rocket ship and escape with all your new friends.

Click here to buy The Terrible Suitcase from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


HONOUR BOOKS

With Nan
by Tania Coz & Karen Blair

A leaf that flies…

A rock that hops…

These are some of the wonderful things that Simon sees on his walk with Nan.

Simon takes a walk through the bush with his Nan and along the way finds out that things are not always what they seem.

A simple story about camouflage is brought to life with the beautiful illustrations by Karen Blair

Click here to buy With Nan from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Too Many Elephants in This House
by Ursula Dubosarsky & Andrew Joyner

In Eric’s house there were too many elephants – in the living room, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, even in his bedroom!

The elephants take up a lot of space, but Eric loves every one of them. So when his mum says they have to go, Eric comes up with a clever solution to a very BIG problem . . .

From the creators of The Terrible Plop comes this delightfully energetic story, full of fun and exuberance.

Click here to buy Too Many Elephants in This House from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


RUNNERS UP

The Pros & Cons of Being a Frog
by Sue DeGennaro

Finding the right animal wasn’t easy. It was Camille who finally gave me the idea of being a frog!

Frogboy and Camille are best friends but they are very different.

Camille speaks in numbers and Frogboy likes to dress up.

With Camille’s help he finds that dressing up as a frog is perfect for him, but when he tries to convince his friend to be a frog too, his plan goes terribly wrong.

Click here to buy The Pros & Cons of Being a Frog from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


It’s a Miroocool!
by Christine Harris & Ann James

Audrey lives in the outback, so when she loses her first tooth, she’s worried the tooth fairy will never find her! How will she let the tooth fairy know where she lives . . . and what will the tooth fairy leave her?

This is the same feisty and resourceful Audrey that readers have grown to love in the best-selling “Audrey of the Outback” series. A fabulous introduction for younger readers to the adored children’s fiction character Audrey of the Outback. A wonderfully optimistic story that captures the determined, mischievous, and imaginative nature of children.

Click here to buy It’s a Miroocool! from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Peggy
by Anna Walker

Peggy lives in a small house in a quiet street.

One blustery day a big gust of wind sweeps down and scoops up leaves, twigs and…Peggy!

The wind blows Peggy into the city, where she discovers strange new things, but how will she find her way back home?

Click here to buy Peggy from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Picture Books


WINNER

The Coat
by Julie Hunt, Illustrated by Ron Brooks

Illustrated by Australia’s leading picture-book artist, this is a surprising and delicious story that will lift you off your feet and whirl you away. A coat in a strawberry patch flies off with a down-at-heel man, and together they have the night of their lives.

The Coat stood in a paddock at the end of a row of strawberries. It was buttoned up tight and stuffed full of straw and it was angry. ‘What a waste of me!’ it yelled. Then along came a man. ‘I could do with a coat like that,’ the man said. Together, swooping and swinging, they travelled to the Cafe Delitzia, and had the night of their lives

Click here to buy The Coat from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


HONOUR BOOKS

Sophie Scott Goes South
by Alison Lester

Sophie Scott is only nine years old, but she’s going to Antarctica on an icebreaker with her dad, the ship’s captain. During the voyage to Mawson Station and back, Sophie keeps a diary. She sees icebergs, penguins, seals and whales. She makes new friends, experiences the southern lights and even becomes stranded in a blizzard!

Children’s Laureate and much-loved picture-book creator Alison Lester travelled to Antarctica as an Antarctic Arts Fellow. Her alter ego, Sophie Scott, goes on the same adventure in a friendly, informative and beautifully presented book that sees the wonder of Antarctica through a child’s eyes.

Click here to buy Sophie Scott Goes South from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


tanglewoodRUNNERS UP

Tanglewood
by Margaret Wild, Illustrated by Vivienne Goodman

Tanglewood lives on an island far away, visited only by the wind.

One day a bird shelters from the storm among its branches and a precious bond is formed.

But Seagull belongs to the sky and, too soon, must leave.

Will she ever return?

Click here to buy Tanglewood from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Lightning Jack
by Glenda Millard, Illustrated by Patricia Mullins

When Sam Tully sees the free-spirited horse Lightning Jack, he dares to ride him. Together they muster a herd of steers into their stable, escape a grazier’s deal and fly into the air with Pegasus wings.

Then when they are ambushed by the notorious outlaw Ned Kelly, Lightning Jack leaps out of trouble and back to the wilderness.

But then Sam can’t resist a race and rides Lightning Jack against the ghost of Phar Lap at breakneck speed …Sam’s horse is a gallant horse, a midnight horse, a horse in every dream.

Click here to buy Lightning Jack from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


A Day to Remember
by Jackie French, Illustrated by Mark Wilson

Anzac Day is the day when we remember and honour ANZAC traditions down the ages, from the first faltering march of wounded veterans in 1916 to the ever-increasing numbers of their descendants who march today.

Containing reference to the many places the ANZACs have fought, and the various ways in which they keep the peace and support the civilians in war-torn parts of the world today, this is a picture book that looks not only at traditions, but also the effects of war.

Click here to buy A Day to Remember from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


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Australian Romance Author Showcase with…Mandy Magro

As part of Australian Romance Month, Romance Specialist Haylee Nash will be interviewing one Australian Romance author per day. Much like a beauty pageant, each author will be using their charm, wit and grace (and the power of social media) to take home the Booktopia Romance Bestseller crown. Booktopia invites bestselling Rural Romance author Mandy Magro to the stage.

1. Describe the perfect date.
Out in the bush, snuggled up in front of a campfire with the man of my dreams, the glimmering country sky above and nothing to be heard for miles other than the sounds of nature. What could be more romantic than that? Continue reading

Australian Romance Author Showcase with…Fiona Lowe

As part of Australian Romance Month, Romance Specialist Haylee Nash will be interviewing one Australian Romance author per day. Much like a beauty pageant, each author will be using their charm, wit and grace (and the power of social media) to take home the Booktopia Romance Bestseller crown. Booktopia invites bestselling Mills & Boon author Fiona Lowe to the stage.

1. Describe the perfect date.
Given that it’s freezing cold while I’m writing this, my mind goes straight to the Australian high-country with its towering snow-gums and majestic ranges. There is nothing more special than a picnic in the snow on a still and sunny day with mulled wine and a man to keep you warm. Continue reading

Australian Romance Author Showcase with…Nicole Alexander

nicolealexanderAs part of Australian Romance Month, Romance Specialist Haylee Nash will be interviewing one Australian Romance author per day. Much like a beauty pageant, each author will be using their charm, wit and grace (and the power of social media) to take home the Booktopia Romance Bestseller crown. Booktopia invites bestselling Rural Romance author Nicole Alexander to the stage.

1. Describe the perfect date.
Winter in the outback means a crackling fire, a glass of merlot and my man by my side. Continue reading

Australian Romance Author Showcase with…Melanie Milburne

746As part of Australian Romance Month, Romance Specialist Haylee Nash will be interviewing one Australian Romance author per day. Much like a beauty pageant, each author will be using their charm, wit and grace (and the power of social media) to take home the Booktopia Romance Bestseller crown. Booktopia invites bestselling Mills & Boon author Melanie Milburne to the stage.

1. Describe the perfect date.
A candlelit dinner, soft romantic ballad playing in the background, champagne and scintillating conversation with the man of my dreams (who happens to be my husband, fortunately!) Continue reading

Australian Romance Author Showcase with…Nicola Marsh

nmarshAs part of Australian Romance Month, Romance Specialist Haylee Nash will be interviewing one Australian Romance author per day. Much like a beauty pageant, each author will be using their charm, wit and grace (and the power of social media) to take home the Booktopia Romance Bestseller crown. Booktopia invites bestselling Contemporary Romance and Young Adult author
Nicola Marsh to the stage.

1. Describe the perfect date.
Fabulous food. Sexy saxophone. Dim lighting. Irresistible aftershave. Loaded stares. Spontaneous laughter. Clever innuendo. Subtle touches. Slow building sexual tension… Continue reading

Australian Romance Author Showcase with…Rachael Johns

As part of Australian Romance Month, Romance Specialist Haylee Nash will be interviewing one Australian Romance author per day. Much like a beauty pageant, each author will be using their charm, wit682 and grace (and the power of social media) to take home the Booktopia Romance Bestseller crown. Booktopia invites bestselling Rural Romance author Rachael Johns to the stage.

1. Describe the perfect date.
Going to a chocolate factory! And preferably my date owns the chocolate factory. I’d marry him on the spot! Continue reading

Australian Romance Author Showcase with…Margareta Osborn

As part of Australian Romance Month, Romance Specialist Haylee Nash will be interviewing one Australian Romance author per day. Much like a beauty pageant, each author will be using their charm, wit and grace (and the power of social media) to take home the Booktopia Romance Bestseller crown. Booktopia invites bestselling Rural Romance author Margareta Osborn to the stage.

1. Describe the perfect date.
My husband and I camped up in the mountains, lying in our swag by a fire, looking up at the stars chasing satellites. It would be a balmy night. We’d have just had a camp oven roast cooked by someone else who has now strategically disappeared. A bottle of wine would be to hand and no children within one hundred miles.
Continue reading

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