Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Graphic Novels @ your library

Our graphic novel collection is always growing and evolving to include new and classic manga, comics, graphic novels and picture books for all ages. Here is a small selection of what's new this month with a snappy single sentence sum up!


Black Butler vol. 6-9 by Yana Toboso
A travelling circus, missing children and an investigation that may lead Ciel into trouble beyond even Sebastian's inhuman powers....

Thief of thieves vol. 1: "I Quit" by Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer and Shawn Martinbrough
Q: How do you quit a life of crime when you're addicted to stealing? A: Become a thief of thieves; life gets complicated when you're running from both sides of the law.

Sakura Hime: the legend of Princess Sakura vol. 2-4 by Arina Tanemura
A teenage princess, demons, cute and sassy companions, sounds like a shojo manga smash-hit to me!

The Stand vol. 2: American Nightmares by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Mike Perkins
A human-made super virus is accidentally released from a U.S. Army base, for the survivors the nightmare has only just begun...

Kobato vol. 4-6 by Clamp, William Flanagan and Alexis Eckerman
We find out more about Kobato and Ioryogi, but what are they? How did they get here? and where are they going?

Saga vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
A sci-fi/fantasy epic, think Star Wars meets Game of Thrones, raising a child amidst a galactic war is never easy....

Captain America vol. 2 by Ed Brubaker and Alan Davis
The Cap faces new battles as he returns for more action-packed adventures and intrigue!

These titles and more can be found on our online catalogue and are available for request now!

HINT: If you are having trouble finding graphic novels on the catalogue, do a 'Power Search' and select 'Graphic Novels' in 'Item Category1'. This will give you a list of all graphic novels in Newcastle Region Library's collection. You can also limit in a Power Search by the year published, author, series, library etc.

Can't find anything you like?

Let us know what YOU want to see in your library's graphic novel collection,
complete an online Purchase Suggestion form here

Monday, December 10, 2012

What library staff are reading....December 2012

Looking for something to read over the holidays 
OR simply curious to know what librarians actually read?

Here is but a small sampling of the multitude of moorish memoirs, mysteries and marvels we're devouring this December!

Port Villa Blues by Gary Disher
This is the second Wyatt novel - a fast paced gritty Australia crime novel by a former winner of the Ned Kelly award. Wyatt finds himself in trouble after a contract robbery where he helps himself to a little extra. The characters are believable if undesirable and the dialogue is very real. There is plenty of suspense and lots of action - this is a great read.


Bill the Bastard by Roland Perry
This is the true story of a remarkable horse called Bill who was one of the 200,000 Australian horses sent to the middle great in the Great War. Bill could only be ridden by one man - Major Michael Shanahan. This is a wonderful tale of a determined trooper and his stoic but cantankerous mount. They fought together and depended on each other for survival. This book is a warm and human story set in the most inhuman of times, it also provides an insight into the lives and conditions of the ANZACs in the Great War.

The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey
A short story about a boy who has a secret identity as a superhero. It is available from our collection in both eBook and print.

Trick of the dark by Val McDermid
Who really killed Philip Carling? Available as an eBook.

Bunny Lake is missing by Evelyn Piper
A Hitchcock-like thriller in which a child is missing, but is she real or a figment of the mother's imagination? Available as an eBook.

Castles, Follies and Four-leaf clovers: Adventures along Ireland's St Declan's Way by Rosamund Burton
I don't usually read travel memoirs, but I loved this and was suprised to see the Irish-born author lives in Sydney. It's worth reading just to find out about the ancient sheela-na-gig, St Declan's role in promoting Christianity in Ireland and St Brigid's relationship to the Celtic goddess. Available as an eBook.

In the evil day by Peter Temple
Action and intrigue taking place across Hamburg, London and Johannesburg. Available as an eBook.

The Dinner by Herman Koch

The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland

The Convent by Maureen McCarthy

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Some of these titles are available as eBooks in our EBL eBook collection. Search for them and many other delightful December delectations below:

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Casual Vacancy - a review by The Bookchook

Author: J.K. Rowling

Publication Date: 2012

Publisher: Little Brown Book Group Limited

What's it all about?

 J.K. Rowling's highly anticipated first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, was launched amidst high media publicity and has had mixed reviews. The Casual Vacancy is a grim novel dealing with the realities and ugliness of modern life but there is none of the magic so beautifully crafted in the Harry Potter novels. Instead, Rowling has used her latest work as a tool to promote social good.

The novel is set in the small English village of Pagford and follows the political and personal fallout created by the death of Barry Fairbrother, a member of the parish council, a good man, with a mission to engage those less priviledged in society. The election brings to the surface simmering tensions over class, family and status, in a place of secrets, poisoned by "things denied, things hidden and disguised."

There is little to love in this work. The characters have few redeeming features. There's the extravagantly obese councillor, Howard Mollison, disaffected youths Fats and Andrew, and the real hero of the novel, skanky Krystal Weedon - "funny and tough; impossible to intimidate; always coming out fighting." This is a world far removed from Hogwarts, dealing with drug addiction, self-harm, rape, suicide and domestic violence. Not suprisingly, the adolescent characters are drawn with much greater depth and compassion than the adults in the novel.

This is a long book, with not a lot happening in the beginning. The action picks up on page 240 and from there the reader becomes immersed in the scandals unfolding in Pagford and the trouble-plagued council estate, The Fields. As the election spins out of control and the plot plunges toward a tragic ending, the covers of middle-class decency are ripped away to reveal the true ugliness beneath.

The Casual Vacancy is a thought-provoking read. It is overly long, but worth the effort of getting through the first-half. Rowling's message of the need for social good shows that we are all our brother's keepers - we should all take care of each other, regardless of our social standing. Which isn't really so different, after all, from the world of Harry Potter.

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Natasha's picks for November/December 2012

Welcome to one of our NEW regular posts on The Book Crowd!

Every second month one of our staff will share some books that have delighted and intrigued them and you, our dear reader, may discover something new...

Gaysia :  Adventures in the Queer East by Benjamin Law
In his second book Ben takes on a journey to find out what it is like to be LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) in countries throughout Asia. This is a fascinating and enlightening read, taking me from tears to laughter from one line to the next. Ben has a wonderful way of capturing personality and emotions in his writing and you really feel the personal experience in each story. From Ladyboy beauty pageants in Thailand to sham marriage social network sites in China to heartbreaking stories of people who simply want to be themselves without shame and persecution from their families and culture. This is a wonderful read and another brilliant piece from one of my favourite writers.

For more information about Ben, this book and his writing visit his website:

The end of your life book club by Will Schwalbe
This is the wonderful and moving story of Will and his mother Margaret, her battle with cancer, their love of books and their connection through reading and all the knowledge, inspiration and courage it can give us in life. Each time Margaret goes for chemotherapy treatment, Will comes with her and they end up discussing a great many things but most often it is based around the question 'What are you reading?'. Eventually, as Margaret's treatments continue they start to pick the same books to read and use these strange and difficult blocks of time together to discuss them like a book club. I am still reading it and it is lovely...

The Convent by Maureen McCarthy
Maureen McCarthy has been a favourite of mine since I was in my teens. Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude has seen me through countless rainy days and tension filled Easter long weekends! So of course I had to check out her latest YA novel The Convent. This story is based around Peach, a young girl who is taken on a journey of self-discovery when she starts working at a cafe in the Abbotsford Convent. Here she uncovers family secrets and is challenged in ways she never imagined. I confess that I have only just started reading this but I know it will be delightful and very soon it shall consume me completely as Maureen's books always tend to do. I urge anyone to read Maureen McCarthy's writing, remember young adult books are not just for young adults and these days they are some of the best reads out there.

This book is available as an EBL eBook. You can search for it and other wonderful eBooks below:

For an interesting discussion about Young Adult fiction watch this wonderful special episode from Jennifer Byrne of The First Tuesday Book club Jennifer Byrne Presents: The Harry Games here

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

New eBooks Available This Week

Here are some of the latest eBook titles available free to members of Newcastle Region Library:


Fifty Shades of Mr Darcy : A Parody  by  William CodpieceThwackery,  Michael O' Mara

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton , Allen & Unwin

Gently with the Ladies by Alan Hunter ,  Constable & Robinson

I Made Lattes for a Love God by Wendy Harmer ,  Allen & Unwin

The Taming of Annabelle by  MC Beaton , Constable & Robinson

Perfecting Fiona by MC Beaton ,   Constable & Robinson

Bus Stop and the Influence of the 70s on Fashion Today by Lee Bender , A&C Black

From Better Homes and Gardens:
Better Homes & Gardens Very Merry Cookies
Better Homes and Gardens : Best of Christmas Ideas
Better Homes & Gardens 365 Vegetarian Meals
Better Homes & Gardens 365 Pies and Tarts

Jamie : King of the Kitchen
by Stafford Hildred ; Tim Ewbank , John Blake

Internet Dating 101: It's Complicated . . . But It Doesn't Have To Be
by Laura Schreffler ,
New Chapter Press

Building Real Furniture for Everyday Life
by Chris Gleason , F+W Media

To borrow these books visit EBL here
or use the search box below. You will need your library card number and PIN.

If you have any questions call the library staff on 02 4974 5340.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Graphic Novels @ your library

Here is a small selection of what's new this month with a snappy single sentence sum up!


Darth Vader and son by Jeffrey Brown
Ever wondered how things would've turned out had Darth raised Luke on the Death Star? A hilarious glimpse into growing up Sith....

Sailor Moon: Pretty Guardian vol. 1-4 by Naoko Takechi
Get your vintage manga fix, I mean, who doesn't love a sailor scout?

The Walking Dead Compendium 2 by Robert Kirkman
Zombies, post-apocalyptic America, killing, relationships and so much more of everything you love about Rick Grimes and all those troublesome corpses!

Chi's sweet home vol. 1 by Kanata Konami
Kittens, sadness, happiness, cuteness, can the Yamada family keep adorable little lost Chi in an apartment that is strictly "NO PETS ALLOWED"?

The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
The Joker's murky origins are revealed, can one bad day make you go insane and are we all just one step away from madness?

Pandora Hearts vol. 1 by Jun Mochizuki
Coming of age, an inescapable prison called the Abyss, a girl named Alice who is not what she seems, a fantasy you may fall into, never to return...

Locke and Key 5: Clockworks by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
This dark fantasy series continues as we find out more about how the Locke family and the keys fit together.

Brightest day 3 by Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Ivan Reis and Ardian Syaf
Heroes, villians, secrets, twists, turns, revelations, it's the final instalment, you know the drill.

Vampire Knight vol. 14 and 15 by Matsuri Hino
Vampire shojo manga at its best, romance, secrets, Cross Academy is more than your average elite boarding school, the saga continues.

Bakuman vol. 7-14 by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
What does it take to become successful in the manga-publishing world AND win the girl of your dreams?
Follow the adventures of two young guys trying to live the dream in this Shonen smash hit.

These titles and more can be found on our online catalogue and are available for request now!

HINT: If you are having trouble finding graphic novels on the catalogue, do a 'Power Search' and select 'Graphic Novels' in 'Item Category1'. This will give you a list of all graphic novels in Newcastle Region Library's collection. You can also limit in a Power Search by the year published, author, series, library etc.

Can't find anything you like?
Let us know what YOU want to see in your library's graphic novel collection,
complete an online Purchase Suggestion form here

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Phryne Fisher's electronic adventure!

Stuck on the train with nothing to read?
Forgot to borrow the latest Miss Fisher from the library today?

Your doctor is running over an hour late for your appointment
and you've left your Phryne Fisher book in the car?!?!
(which is parked 20 mins away!!!)

Our eBook library is here!

Newcastle Region Library have all the Phryne Fisher mysteries available as eBooks and ready to download through EBL (Ebook Library). To log in and start downloading click here

So have your iPad, eReader, tablet, phablet, smart phone, PC, pearl handled pistol and PIN at the ready to read, download and enjoy Miss Fisher mysteries wherever you go!

Here is my review of the latest Phryne Fisher:

Title: Unnatural Habits
Author: Kerry Greenwood
Publication Date: 2012
Category: Mystery

What's it all about? Three young and very pregnant girls go missing from a lying-in home in Melbourne. A pushy and highly ambitious reporter decides to search for answers in all the most dangerous places, only to get abducted herself within 24 hours. Everyone, including Jack Robinson, is decidedly nervous and so Miss Fisher with the aid of her helpful household brood is on the case.

I confess that I am still reading this book so I cannot provide a full analysis, but I can say that I am reading this with deliberately slow relish, like sipping a divine cocktail concoction from Mr Butler, I simply don't want it to end.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

To find out more about Newcastle Region Library's eBook collections click here

If you need any help with our eBook Collection call the library staff on 02 4974 5340 or Ask a Librarian

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Popular eBooks at Newcastle Region Library

It's great to see so many of our members using our EBL eBook Collection. I thought I'd share the top 15 titles being downloaded or read online:

The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do
All My Enemies by Barry Maitland
Chelsea Mansions by Barry Maitland
The Drop (Harry Bosch Mystery 15) by Michael Connelly
Between the Lines by Jodi Piccoult and Samantha van Leer
Bad Debts (Jack Irish Book 1) by Peter Temple
The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri N. Murari
Blood and Circuses (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries 6) by Kerry Greenwood
House Rules by Jodi Piccoult
The Dinner by Herman Koch
Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan
Red by Libby Gleeson
Hatched (The Grimstones 1) by Asphyxia
Sticks, Stones: Allen & Unwin Shorts by Christos Tsiolkas
Friends Like These by Wendy Harmer

It seems children, teens and adults alike are enjoying our eBook collection, particularly the mystery and crime lovers.

Library members can use the search box below to get to EBL:

Or click here to find our eBook links.

If you need any help with our eBook Collection call the library staff on 02 4974 5340.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

EBL eBook Feature - Fashion Geek

For something a little different try Fashion Geek. You can borrow a print version from one of our branches or as an eBook from EBL.

This book will teach you to:

Hack a pedometer to create sparkling shoes

Sew headphones into a handmade monster hat

Disguise your flash drive as a fabulous necklace

Create light-up buttons to sew onto any jacket

Author: Diana Eng

Publication Date: 2009

Publisher: North Light Books

Monday, July 30, 2012

EBL eBooks Now Available for Newcastle Region Library Members


EBL eBooks are now available for members to use. You can download to an eReader, tablet or smart phone; to a computer; or simply read online.

What books are included, for example?

Over 100 non-fiction titles covering Australian history,cooking, phonics, leadership, marketing and more.
100 fiction titles including Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The Slap, The Grimstones, Mice, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and The Mr Badger books (Leigh Hobbs).

Going by title alone, I think my new favourite book is going to be Apocalyse Cakes : New Recipes for the End, featuring Fallen Angel Food Cake.
How do I find EBL?

Links and help sheets are currently located on our main eResources page.
The direct link is: http://library.ncc.nsw.gov.au:2048/login?url=http://nccnsw.eblib.com.au

How do I get into EBL?

Once you reach the login page, you will need to enter an active Newcastle Region library card number and your PIN.

How long can I keep the books for?

You can choose from a 1 to 14 day loan period.
When loan period expires the book will no longer be on your device or computer.
You may download the same book again if you want to.
The same book may be downloaded by several borrowers at the same time – no waiting lists.

Compatible Devices

You can find a list of compatible devices, applications and eBook readers here.
EBL books can also be downloaded onto the Kindle Fire. For more information see the EBL blog.

Other Requirements

You will need to download Adobe Digital Editions to your personal computer (this requires you to create an Adobe account).  For iOS, Android and Kindle Fire you will also need the Bluefire Reader App (this needs to be registered to the same Adobe account) to download and read eBooks directly.
For more information about system requirements visit this link.

Need more help?

Once you are in the EBL portal there is a help link – I have found these very useful. If you can’t find the answers you need, please give library staff a call on 4974 5340, or send a query via our ASK a Librarian link. Use these contacts also to suggest eBook titles or subjects for purchase.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

On Love

Author: Alain de Botton

Publication Date: © 1993, 2006

Category: Fiction, although there is a lot of philosophy and other stuff thrown in!

Who'll want to read it? Fans of Alain de Botton, arm chair philosophers, people in a relationship, people  no longer in a relationship.

Point of no return: For me, there was no real 'point of no return'. I was drawn slowly into the fictional  romance between Alain and Chloe, but really fascinated by his interpretations of why we do things, drawing quite a few parallels with my own experiences.

A word of warning: this book is not a light read. It has a lot of philosophical content, some mathematics (for example, the probability calculation on pages 8-9, of two random people sitting next to each other on a particular flight), and is basically a non-fiction book in a fictional setting.

Classic lines: "Chloe took off one of the offensive shoes, supposedly so as to let me look at it, but more realistically, to murder me with it; I chose to duck the incoming projectile; and it crashed through the window behind me and fell down to the street, where it impaled itself in the remains of a neighbor's leftover chicken Madras." - pages 60-61

"Dr . Saavedra had diagnosed a case of anhedonia, a disease defined by the British Medical Association as a reaction remarkably close to mountain sickness resulting from the sudden terror brought on by the threat of happiness."- page 123

"We spend our time loving like utilitarians; in the bedroom we are followers of Hobbes and Bentham, not Plato and Kant. We make moral judgements on the basis of preference, not transcendental values." - pages 158-159

"To have killed myself would have been to forget that I would be too dead to derive any pleasure from the melodrama of my extinction." - page 172

To read an extract on Alain de Botton's website, click here.

What's it all about? Written in the first person, Alain meets Chloe by sitting next to her on a flight back to England. He falls in love with her during the flight, and they agree to meet again. The book chronicles the relationship from the beginning, through the difficult first date, beyond the comfortable familiarity of the seemingly solid relationship, and out the other side - the breakup, and recovery from breakup.

Everything is analysed in great detail, which makes it a little slow going. I commented to a friend that it would be exhausting to over-think everything in that manner, and to have a relationship with someone who thought in that depth would be a bit annoying. It did shine a light on some things that have happened in my own relationships, and made me grateful that I have never swallowed a handful of effervescent vitamin C tablets.
Publisher: Grove Press

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Monday, July 16, 2012

eBooks for High School Science Students

Newcastle Region Library members can now access a new collection of science eBooks via our website.

Series available include:

Periodic Table of the Elements
Science Foundations
Experimenting with Everyday Science
Cells: the Building Blocks of Life
Conservation Heroes

To try it out, have your library card ready and type "science experiment" in the search box below. Once you get to our website you will be asked to enter your library card number. You will then have unlimited access to the Infobase eBook collection.

Friday, June 29, 2012

White Elephants : Yard Sales, Relationships and Finding What Was Missing

Author: Katie Haegele

Publication Date: 2012

Who'll want to read it?
Anyone who loves garage sales, op shopping and buying things that have lived many lives before they came to you. People who are interested in how discovering these 'things' with their own pasts can transport us and delight us in the most unimaginable ways. Oh and also those who are interested in zines.

What's it all about?
Katie is a writer of zines and many other things, from Philadelphia. She loves going to yard sales, rummage sales and the like. So, in a captain planet "with our powers combined" kind of fashion, she has melded these two things into a series of zines titled 'White Elephants' which were then compiled into this wonderful, wonderful book!

However, this book is not just some list of things bought and people waxing lyrical about the "oh so fabulous and super awesome vintage stuff i found!!", it is a lovely and sometimes hilarious memoir about Katie's life, her relationship with her mother, dealing with the loss of her father and the beautiful and powerful connection things can give us to our memories, how they are a bridge into another way of thinking, living and breathing.

I loved this book. I loved reading about 'Dream Phone' a toy for girls who could pretend they were trying to ring their latest "crush", the phone has weird and creepy recorded clues about who your crush might be and what he likes. Just the kind of crazy, creepiness that you just couldn't make up if you tried. Katie's descriptions of the layout and people that staff the sales are fantastic, all the classic characters from the grumpy garage sale people who overprice everything to the lovely almost over helpful old ladies in church rummage sales who suprise you with their personal and sometimes inappropriate comments.

I also loved the panic, depression, unbridled joy, love, sadness and excitement that Katie described as part of her life. It was refreshing and honest, life is not always wonderful, sometimes you find nothing that catches your eye, that captures your heart, your imagination, but then suddenly, just as you think all is lost, there they are.....a pair of gravestone salt and pepper shakers "Here lies salt" and "Here lies pepper" and well, you can't help but smile*.

*If you aren't smiling then you might not enjoy this book but thanks for reading this far!

Publisher: Microcosm Publishing

If you would like to know more about Katie you can visit her website here

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wrap With Love

Wallsend District Library is continuing their charity work, as a collection centre for knitted squares or completed blankets for the Wrap With Love project.

We collect knitted squares and finished blankets here all year round, and have given a couple of thousand squares in the last three years to this wonderful charity.

On Friday 10th August 2012, Wrap With Love Inc. will host a Knit In at Lake Macquarie Art Gallery, where they sew all the squares into blankets for the charity. Details can be found here.

Each of the Newcastle Region Libraries should soon have a poster and some Knit In brochures, which have the knitting instructions on the back. Alternatively, the instructions can be found here, or printed. Click on the links for printer friendly instructions for squares or completed wraps.

Plain squares are perfectly acceptable, from beginners to experts, but if you want to get fancy, feel free. Have a look at the Wrap Gallery here.

If anyone would like to contribute, please bring any squares or completed blankets to your local branch, who will forward them to Wallsend District Library for collection.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Language of Flowers

Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Publication Date: 2011

Who'll want to read it? Anyone who loves the idea that there is a secret language in things all around us.

What's it all about? Victoria is emancipated at the age of 18 after a childhood in foster care. She has a kind of freedom that she has never felt before; but out in this new world of freedom with no system to catch her if she falls, no one -however cruel and cold- to pick her back up again, she quickly finds herself homeless and jobless, sleeping in parks and eating food out of bins. All she knows as home, as truth and as her own are flowers and their language, hidden from anyone who doesn't speak it or know it exists. This is how Victoria has always communicated and related to her world, with a flower you can say a thousand things you may never utter aloud.

A local florist gives her a chance and discovers that Victoria has a real and raw talent for floral design but not just any kind of floral design, Victoria has a talent for healing, rejuvinating and inspiring people with flowers that she never knew possible. However, this new life doesn't stop the darkness of her past from catching up with her. A vendor at the flower market seems to be communicating with her in an emotional exchange consisting only of flowers, could anyone really still know about the Victorian language of flowers other than her? How is it that he seems to know her already? Is everything she has built for herself about to come crashing down or is her life about to grow in ways she couldn't imagine....

This is a book about loneliness, our inner darkness and our inner light, growth, flowers, San Francisco and learning to love others but also yourself.

Publisher: Picador Australia

If you want learn more about the Victorian language of flowers, the book or the author click here

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Publication Date: 2011

Category: Fiction

Who'll want to read it? Do you love fairy tales? Do you love beautiful descriptive text that augments the reading experience? Do you love being totally immersed in your reading experience?
If so, this book is for you.

Point of no return: Page 4: You are amongst them, of course.
I love a book that is so descriptive that you feel you can see everything, but not so descriptive that it detracts from the story. To have the level of description, and then to be spoken to directly, really pulled me into this book, with no chance of leaving it until it was finished. Even when I stopped reading (to go to work, for example) I was still half living in Erin Morgenstern's world.

Classic line: There are so many beautifully classic lines, so I have just opened the book at random and chosen a sentence.
Page 241: She claims there is a fire-breathing paper dragon somewhere in the tent, and though Bailey believes her, he has difficulty reconciling in his head the idea of paper that breathes fire.

What's it all about? Le Cirque des RĂªves really is the Circus of Dreams. This circus arrives with no warning, appears lifeless during the day, only opens at night, closes at dawn, and is the most perfect circus you could ever imagine.

Unbeknownst to the spectators, and to most of the performers, it is also the venue for a competition that two illusionists have been trained for, and bound to, since they were children.

Celia and Marco do not know the rules, or even how to win. As the competition progresses, the two begin to design their 'moves' for each other, and begin to fall in love. The lives of everyone involved in the circus become enmeshed in their competition, and the safety of everyone becomes reliant on the continuation of the 'game'. But there can be only one winner, and the winner is the last one left standing.

I did not want to finish this book, and yet I was unable to stop reading. It made me laugh out loud, tear up, and, at one point in particular, my heart was racing and beating so loud, you could probably have heard it if you were sitting across the table from me.

The way the story panned out amazed and delighted me. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Erin Morgenstern's second novel!

Publisher: Doubleday

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Other Side of Underbelly with Andrew Rule

On Wednesday 6 June 2012, about 40 people braved the cold and wet to come to Wallsend District Library and hear Andrew Rule speak.

They were well rewarded! Investigative journalist, co-editor of the Chopper series, and co-author of the Underbelly series, he has written, published, and edited over 30 true crime books.

Joanne and husband Scott with Andrew Rule
Andrew was a fantastic speaker, charismatic and highly entertaining. He regaled us with tales of clandestine publishing, seedy underworld figures, the wonders of substandard book glue and some additional back story for a few of the Underbelly characters. He related to us some amazing meetings and conversations he has had with some of the colourful criminal figures he has written (and not written) about, and gave us an insight into what it is like to get established as a writer, an investigative journalist and a pioneer of true crime writing in Australia.

Andrew Rule, enchanting the crowd

Andrew's talk was part of the events for the National Year of Reading. You can find more events, all across Australia, here.

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.