Waiting On Wednesday: The Dark Between The Stars by Atticus

Weekly Meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

 

Published by: Headline Publishing Group

Expected Publication: 11th September 2018

The second collection of romantic and poignant poems from Atticus, the No.1 Instagram poet.

From the internationally bestselling author of LOVE HER WILD comes THE DARK BETWEEN STARS, a new illustrated collection of heartfelt, whimsical, and romantic poems from Instagram poetry sensation, Atticus.

Atticus has captured the hearts and minds of nearly 700k followers (including stars like Karlie Kloss, Emma Roberts, and Alicia Keys). In his second collection of poetry, The Dark Between Stars, he turns his attention to the dualities of our lived experiences = the inescapable connections between our highest highs and lowest lows. He captures the infectious energy of starting a relationship, the tumultuous realities of commitment, and the agonizing nostalgia of being alone again. While grappling with the question of how to live with purpose and find meaning in the journey, these poems offer both honest explorations of loneliness and our search for connection, as well as light-hearted, humorous observations.

As Atticus writes poignantly about dancing, Paris, jazz clubs, sunsets, sharing a bottle of wine on the river, rainy days, creating, and destroying, he illustrates that we need moments of both beauty and pain = the darkness and the stars = to fully appreciate all that life and love have to offer.

REVIEW: Die Hard Christmas by Doggie Horner and Illustrated by JJ Harrison

Published: 24th October2017

Publisher: Insights Editions

Pages: 32

Format: Hardback Picture Book (Purchased)

RRP: $24.99

5/5 Stars

A delightful Christmas storybook for adults based on the action-packed Die Hard movie

All John McClane wants for Christmas is to reunite with his estranged family. But when his wife’s office holiday party turns into a deadly hostage situation, he has to save her life before he can get home in time for Christmas!

The unconventional fan-favorite movie Die Hard is now an illustrated storybook—complete with machine guns, European terrorists, and a cop who’s forced to rely on all his cunning and skills (and the help of a fellow officer) to save the day. Based on the classic “Night Before Christmas” poem and filled with whimsical illustrations, this cleverly reimagined homage is destined to become a holiday classic.

Contains adult material including violence and strong language. Reader discretion is advised. Ho-ho-ho.

 

 

Die Hard is the Christmas movie in my house (followed closely by the 1994 version of Miracle of 34th Street). So much so that it doesn’t feel like Christmas until we’ve watched at least the first movie. Thus, it comes as no surprise about how excited I was to learn about, and then pre-order, this brilliantly quirky and amazing Christmas book for adults.

Die Hard Christmas by Doogie Horner and illustrated by JJ Harrison is exactly what you expect it to be. An illustrated copy of the 1988 Die Hard movie, presented as a picture book for adults. Written in rhyming verse, in a style that mimics The Night Before Christmas poem, Horner’s adaption of the movie is pretty much spot on, minus a few scences and the odd character. The book reads as a complete story that is neither rushed or incomplete and the echoing of the christmas poetry creates a beautiful and somewhat hilarious contrast between what is happening in the story and on the page at times.

Don’t be fooled by the picture book format, rhyming verse or the concept however,Die Hard Christmas is the ultimate picture book for adults this year; with it’s blood, bombs, machine guns and “yipee-ki-yay ….” slogan it is most certainly not for kids, and remains as close as it possibly can be to the movie we all love and adore.

JJ Harrison’s illustrations are bold and cartoon like as they take on the iconic 1988 movie and bring it on to the page. What I love most about this book is perhaps the way in which Horner and Harrison have created the ultimate Die Hard fan book that is both true to the original, but also with a tiny spark of creativity and their own take on the story without compromising or dishonouring the original story. All the known characters feature heavily in the book, and Harrison has done an outstanding job at making them both easy to recognise and somehow, sutbly different as well.

All in all, Die Hard Christmas is the book that fans of the franchise have been waiting almost thirty years for without even knowing it. It’s the ultimate book that answers the age old questions as to whether Die Hard is a suitable Christmas movie (a big resounding fat YES from my family!) and it’s honesty and originally are sure to make this book a much love Christmas classic in it’s own right.

If you are looking to buy Die Hard Christmas for a loved one this Christmas, I wouldn’t delay. Online book retailers appear to be selling out of this gem quickly, and with Christmas just around the corner, I wouldn’t leave it too long!

 

 

 

To purchase a copy of Die Hard Christmas, visit the following online retailers:

Print = Amazon USAngus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Barnes & Noble  | Boffins Books Aus   Booktopia | Book Depository | Dymocks  Ebay (Aus)  |   Indigo (CA) |

 

REVIEW: The Beast Of Hushing Wood by Gabrielle Wang

Published: 3rd April 2017

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Pages:180

Format: Paperback courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $16.99

4/5 Stars

By the award-winning author of The Wishbird. A powerful magic realism story about Ziggy Truegood, a young girl who has a premonition that she will drown on her 12th birthday.

Ziggy Truegood lives in a tiny town deep in Hushing Wood, where strange things are happening. The townspeople are fighting, Ziggy feels like something is hunting her, and her beloved woods have become dark and hostile. When exotic Raffi and his grandfather arrive in town, Ziggy finds herself strangely drawn to them. But are they there to save Ziggy, or are they the hunters?

Thought-provoking and engaging, Hushing Wood is a lovely blend of action, fable and magic realism.

With illustrations by the author
Recommended for children 10 -13 years old.

The Beast Of Hushing Wood is an adventure style novel perfect from children on the cusp of young adulthood, but not necessarily ready for the older themes of Young Adult books. It’s the kind of book that will appeal to adventure/risk takers and lovers of magic and the unknown. It’s a book that continued to surprise me and kept me guessing for the entire 180 pages of the novel.

With adventurous themes and settings, magical aspects and mythological beings, there is a lot to take in and love about The Beast Of Hushing Wood. When the book opened, I expected a self-discovery-slash-coming-of-age style narrative and while there are elements of both of those things in the story, the narrative has so much more to offer in a remarkable short amount of pages.

For one, it’s illustrated! I can’t remember the last novel I read that had illustrations scattered throughout the pages and so I really enjoyed the illustrations that spanned everything from a two page spread to small chapter style headings. Not being familiar with the author’s previous work, I wasn’t aware at the time of reading that Wang is both the books author and illustrator and looking back knowing this gives the book a larger than life feeling. You can literally see and read the tale unfold before your eyes as the author intended it to be and that’s kind of magical in itself..

I loved the book’s sense of otherness. The world of Hushing wood and the town Ziggy and her friends call home is crowded in by the woods and not kind to foreigners. But then there is Ziggy, a spirited eleven year old who knows her own mind. She’s not easily mislead by the closed mind towns folk and uses logic and her limited knowledge of the world to problem solve. If anything I think the world needs more books about young girls like her. What’s more the use of Eastern mythology and the re-telling of those tales brings a sense of wholeness and completion to the story. By including these tales that many westernised kids are not used to, Wang is both teaching and widening the readers knowledge and social construction, while adding another level of mystical and compulsion to the book.

But perhaps my favourite aspect of the book was the insistence on the power of one’s imagination. There are countless examples within the novel that express to the readers that your imagination is fantastic. With children from 12 plus heading to a highly indoctrinated and exact educational system, our imagination and it’s place in our day to day lives is often forgotten and left behind. We are not taught to be creative and imagine life outside the walls presented to us, but it happens every day as a child, and again as a reader of any age through books.

“But the imagination isn’t real,” I say.

“People only say that because their power of imagination is weak. When it becomes strong, your imagination can take you to incredible places. These are real places, although you cannon touch them with your hands.’ He taps his chest. “True imagination is your door to a real world. Sometimes people glimpse this world when they’re not looking straight at it.”

The Beast Of Hushing Wood is a highly imaginative and creative story that will appeal to readers of all ages. The best way I can sum up the book is to suggest that it has the power and intensity of adventure of J.R.R Tolkein (with perhaps no where near half as many characters), the magical and paranormal immersion and focus of Holly Black’s Darkest Place Of The Forrest, the mythological presence of Rick Rordan’s Percy Jackson’s Series but the light heartedness and tenderness of a book suitable for readers from 10 plus, while remaining a safe stepping stone into Young Adult themes and narratives.

 

 

To learn more about Gabrielle Wang, visit the following social media pages:

Gabrielle Wang Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

To Purchase a copy of The Beast Of Hushing Wood, visit the following online retailers:

Paperback:  Booktopia | Dymocks | QBD | The NIle 

Ebook:  Amazon AUS | Amazon US |

 

REVIEW: OH, ALBERT! by Davina Bell and Illustrated by Sara Acton

Published: 18th July 2016

Publisher: Penguin Viking (Penguin Random House Australia)

Pages: 32

Format: Hardcover Children’s Picture Book (ARC provided Courtesy of the publisher)

RRP: $24.99

4/5 Stars

Albert can’t help getting into mischief when no one is around. But one day he goes too far . . .

Oh, Albert!

A perfect story about a family and their not-so-perfect (but loveable!) dog.

 

OH, ALBERT! is the perfect little picture book for dog lovers of all ages. It’s adorably cute and playful, but unsuspectingly honest for the reality of what owning a pet is often like.

Told over the course of a week in a families household, OH, ALBERT! gives a first hand account of what owning a pet, in particularly a Golden Labrador like Albert, is really like. Filled with mischief and loveable antics, we follow Albert and his never ending stomach through the week and feel first hand the families highs and lows as Albert follows his nose and eats his way through a red triangle here, an electrical wire there and a half a bike helmet when the family isn’t watching. But when Albert stumbles across something that makes him feel unwell, the family are shaken and quickly take their much loved family member to the vet and take every yelled criticism and bad thought of him back.

Simply put this book is divine. As a a proud owner of a very much prized Golden Labrador  named Jack, I’ve witnessed many of the highs and lows that this book illustrated perfectly. Much like Albert, Jack had eaten everything in his path once or twice before and I’ve felt the frustration as finding something else in pieces and the desperate pleading at the vets when my puppy has found something he shouldn’t have as well.

What I particularly loved about this book was the instance that pets of any kind are family. We treat them much the same as any other family member – yelling at them and growing frustrated when they interfere with something we’ve done/need or eat something they shouldn’t have – but the minute they are in trouble, we are there for them through thick and thin. Because although they might be tiring, frustrating, mischievous and destructive at times, they are also playful, adorable, and so very much loved and so ingrained in the family unit that we can’t exclude the four legged members from the tight knit bond of the two legged members.

Davina Bell’s text is simple and to the point in this book, allowing Sara Acton’s illustrations to really shine. Acton’s brought to life a very playful and cheeky dog that readers of all ages will instantly recognise. What’s more the use of white space and her simply yet effective illustrations mean that readers can easily put themselves or their loved ones into the book along with Albert, adding an entirely new and more emotional element to the book itself.

Finally, whether you are a dog lover or not, this book will appeal to everyone for it’s simple message of forgiveness, hope and unconditional love. Through Albert we experience what it is like when you are found to be constantly doing the ‘wrong’ thing and being admonished for it (‘Oh Albert, how could you?‘). But we also see how the family who appear fed up and upset, are also so in love with Albert and accept him for who he is, crazy eating habits and all. If there is one thing that is so crystal clear, it’s the power of love and the bond of family that saves and protects us, giving us strength and letting us a laugh of those small moments of frustration.

OH, ALBERT! is the perfect book for kids (and adults) of all ages. It’s adorably cute and playful thanks to Acton’s illustrations and it packs quite the unsuspecting emotional punch just below the surface of Bell’s simple text. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

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My Dog Jack shares a number of characteristics with Albert – especially the love of eating everything!

 

To learn more about Davina Bell, visit the following social media sties:

Penguin Random House Australia Entry | GOODREADS ENTRY

 

To learn more about Sara Acton’s illustrations, visit the following social media sites:

Sara Acton’s website | Sara Acton’s Facebook | PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE ENTRY | GOODREADS ENTRY

To purchase a copy of OH, ALBERT!, visit the following online booksellers:

Penguin Random House Australia | Booktopia | Wheeler’s | Mighty Ape | Book Depository | Fishpond |

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REVIEW: ‘Just The Way We Are’ by Jessica Shirvington & Claire Robertson

Published: 22nd June 2015

Publisher: ABC Books, Imprint of Harper Collins Australia

Pages: 32

Format: Hardback, Picture Book

RRP: $24.99

5/5 Stars

A celebration of families of every kind!
Meet Anna, Chiara, Henry, Izzy and Jack.
Their families might not look like your family, but that’s okay … they’re perfect, just the way they are!
From bestselling author Jessica Shirvington and much-loved illustrator Claire Robertson comes a gorgeous, heart-warming new picture book, celebrating families of every shape and size!

 

 

Just The Way We Are is a beautiful children’s picture book that reinforces the notion to children of all ages and backgrounds that they are ‘normal’ no matter what their family situation may be like. It encompasses multi-generations, gendered and cultured families of all ages and backgrounds to illustrate that diversity is a good thing and not something to be feared or shamed by.

When you look at families in society now, you never know what you might encounter. For there are families of every shape, size and colour, ever where you look. And yet, if you look at a current cross section of books available to young children, its more likely that you will find stories centred around  an Anglo-Saxon child who fits neatly into the ‘nuclear family’ mould. While I’m aware there are stories that exist outside this mould, the majority that be found easily and locally can pretty much fit into the above category. Until now.

With Shirvington breaking away from her well known YA books and lending her hand at picture books, she has filled a gap in the market by focussing  on diversity within families and the home, whilst also encouraging it. A point I think children need to hear more often.

Just The Way We Are is a diverse picture book that focuses on five different children who come from different social and cultural backgrounds as they explain why their family is just as special as yours despite it looking different on the outside.

We have Anna who lives with her parents and her Grandpa, Chiara who has two dad’s and a pet, Henry whose parents are separated and he has two homes, Izzy who has guardians and is fostered by a big loving family with kids from similar situations, and Jack who lives with just his Mum.

Each child and their family is given four pages to introduce themselves and explain their family and something unique about them that showcases both how special, but also ‘normal’ they are; all the while driving home the message that their family is “perfect just the way [they] are.”

Each child has also been allocated a different coloured font through which to tell their story, which further emphasises their differences in a bright and colourful way, and signals the separation of the various family stories.

Just The Way We Are features bright and bold illustrations of each family and something they like to do together, while also utilising a lot of white spaced throughout this book so that the text can drive home their message more effectively.

As a whole I really loved this picture book and the message it brings to young children who are unaware of the world, and often family dynamics, outside of their own immediate family. It’s a happy, encouraging, friendly look at society that both showcases and praises the unique qualities and diversities of all different types of families.

To learn more about the book and it’s author, visit the following websites:

Jessica Shirvinton’s Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |

To purchase a copy of Just The Way We Are, head on over to the following online retailers:

Harper Collins Australia | ABC Online | Booktopia | Bookworld | Angus & Robertson | Boomerang Books |

 

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