STUDENT BOOK REVIEWS BY LITPICK REVIEWERS


Read About


The Top Seven Ways


LitPick Helps Students


Love Reading



 

 

STUDENT BOOK REVIEWS BY LITPICK REVIEWERS
All is Assuredly Well
Professor M.C. Gore
This pre-Raphaelite picture book is a remarkable contribution to the canon of books for the young children of same-sex parents. King Phillip and his husband, Don Carlos, live contentedly for decades until the king is called to the Hero's Journey to earn a baby girl to complete their family. "Sweet characters, skillful storytelling, and knockout illustrations."-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
All is Assuredly Well
Ciarrah's Light (The Sun Child Chronicles Book 3)
Lou Hoffmann

Sequel to Wraith Queen's Veil
The Sun Child Chronicles: Book Three

Luccan, future Suth Chiell of the Ethran Sunlands, also known as Lucky, has reached the end of a months-long adventure and gained much. Now he wants nothing more than to relax and recover at home. His mother’s apparition has other ideas, and dark dreams drag Lucky further and further into unconsciousness until he’s nearly dead. With help from Lucky’s sentient obsidian blade, Ciarrah, he makes it back to the light, only to find his country is in deep distress, and it’s getting deeper.


The wizard Thurlock, Lucky’s dragon-kin uncle Han, and other friends help him muddle through as he becomes the channel for prophecy. War erupts in the Sunlands, and in a battle against wraiths created by the advanced science of a dying world, Lucky plays a key role. Physical weapons can’t stop the enemy, but Ciarrah’s light can, and only Lucky can wield it. With the help of his winged horse, his boyfriend, and Thurlock, Lucky sets out to prevent his mother’s shade from wreaking any more havoc. But will stopping her end the horrors facing his world?

Ciarrah's Light (The Sun Child Chronicles Book 3)
Drasine (Book 3)
Geoffrey Saign
Death matches. The Deranged. Ancient secrets.
Sam and Jake are battle-tested warriors, but nothing can prepare them for the Evil One.

Sam is eager for the attack they know is coming. Yet Jake has grown distant from her and won’t tell her why. Giant Lessers attack and attach a bomb to Jake’s arm. Sam is beside herself, but Jake has a deeper secret worry.

They are blackmailed—capture the magical dragon, Drasine—or Jake dies. Everyone wants Drasine, including the powerful Evil One, who has sworn to destroy KiraKu. Worse, Drasine is protected by a mysterious being no one has been able to defeat.

Sam will do anything to save Jake, but they don’t know who to trust. They are betrayed at every step.

And one of them may have to die to save the other…
Drasine (Book 3)
Fabulous Faith in Meet My Worry MonsterFabulous Faith in Meet My Worry Monster
Melissa Webster
This book is “A Mom’s Choice Awards® and We won the Distinguished Recipient award which is a prestigious award known nationwide. We are happy to award deserving books like Fabulous Faith in Meet My Worry Monster,” said Dawn Matheson, Executive Director, Mom’s Choice Awards. “Our panel of judges really felt this special book merited a place on our list of the best in family-friendly products that parents and educators can feel confident in using.” Faith has a worry monster she named Stan and he tries to keep her from having fun at school. Faith realizes she has a super power in her that can defeat Stan. Its the power to control her own thoughts and its in the form of a sparkly kitty cat. Stan is not happy about this super power and he tries to overcome but in the end Faith wins.Faith has a worry monster named Stan. Stan tries to keep her from having fun at school. Faith realizes that she has a super power in her that can defeat Stan. It’s the power to control her own thoughts and it takes the form of a sparkly kitty cat. Stan is not happy about this super power and tries to overcome it, but in the end Faith wins.  
Fabulous Faith in Meet My Worry Monster
Gorgon (Book 2)Gorgon (Book 2)
Geoffrey Saign
Giant monsters. Dragons. Mysterious creatures. All gathering to fight for two worlds.
Sam and Jake are the guardians, but can they stop the coming war?
 
A powerful Lesser poisons Sam's dad and Jake's mom. To save their parents, Sam must bring WhipEye to Gorgon--the cruel and scheming leader of the Amazon Lessers.
 
Gorgon demands that Sam and Jake bring him the Jewel of Origin, a weapon of great power. If he gets it, nothing will stop him. Sam and Jake must decide--will they save two worlds or save their parents? Their friendship will be tested to its limits.
 
To stop Gorgon, Sam must be willing to risk the lives of her friends in a battle that some will not survive.
 
Sometimes love means watching those you love die...Book 2, WhipEye Chronicles (Book 1, WhipEye, Winner International Book Award for Children’s Fiction) Samantha and Jake have two days to save their poisoned parents, and only Gorgon—the cruel and scheming leader of Amazon Lessers—can help them. But Gorgon is planning to destroy KiraKu, and he pits Sam against Jake. Worse, Sam feels controlled by the supernatural staff, WhipEye, and Jake gains a dangerous weapon. Can their friendship survive its greatest test? Can Sam and Jake stop a war and save their parents? Mysterious creatures, dragons, and Gorgon force them into a life or death adventure that some will not survive… …a story about love, nature, wildlife, intuition, and trusting yourself…
Gorgon (Book 2)
The Dying Days of Segregation in Australia
Barbara Miller
Did the deep north of Australia experience racism, discrimination and segregation? Yes. But it was different from the deep south of the USA. A system similar to South African apartheid existed on Aboriginal reserves like Yarrabah in Queensland till as recently as 1984. This book, The Dying Days of Segregation in Australia: Case Study Yarrabah, is unique in that Australian Aborigines themselves tell their story of living under legal discrimination on reserves and discusses their aspirations for self-determination, local government and land rights.

Human rights abuses of the law they lived under are discussed in detail as well as government policy that promoted racial discrimination. Race relations are examined. The book is a political history from contact till now between white and black Australia and puts Yarrabah in a national context.

Despite past racism and discrimination and some lingering examples of this in government policy and society’s attitudes, Yarrabah today is a thriving community run by an Aboriginal Council. It still has some of the hallmarks of a disadvantaged population like lack of housing and health issues.

Yarrabah is no longer a reserve. It is still a discrete community but its residents do not experience segregation and can come and go freely and have the same human rights as other Australians. For those interested in politics and government and public affairs policy in relation to ethnic studies or minority studies, this is the book to read. History buffs and legal eagles will find it fascinating. The author has a long term and close association with Yarrabah.

This is an excellent coverage of the milestones in the contemporary historical coverage of our Indigenous Queenslander’s struggle for Land Rights and freedom from the autocratic control of Government. It is works such as this that clearly identify the oppressive control and heinous actions of the Department of Aboriginal and Islander Advancement. The hypocrisy of including ‘Advancement’ in their name, when they did the exact opposite, only underlines the Machiavellian treatment of Queensland’s First Nation people. Miller has clearly and effectively covered the momentous changes that have been wrought. Only someone who has lived and worked with these trials and tribulations could explain the events so well. This is undoubtedly a valuable contribution to understanding the hard-fought steps that our Indigenous people have had to overcome, and it’s not over—but now there is room for hope!

Dr Timothy Bottoms, historian, author of Conspiracy of Silence and a History of Cairns, City of the South Pacific 1770–1995. August 2016.

It is entirely appropriate that Barbara Miller is the one to write an update on Yarrabah’s efforts at self-determination and land rights, as she does not just stand on the sideline and cheer us on. She often jumps into the fray herself. No doubt many people who were or still are involved in some degree in the push for Aboriginal social justice and human rights and all that that encompasses, plus interested persons, will be attracted to Barbara Miller’s latest case study. This book gives a succinct report of how things have turned out in the last thirty years. She has ably teased out the many strands of human rights issues that reveal the many flash points that happened as Aboriginal people and friends contended with, and still contend with the ‘hydra-like monster’. Her reporting skills and love for Aboriginal people are recognised by friend and foe alike, with her work being quoted by such bodies as the Human Rights Commission.

Rev Michael Connolly, Former Chairman of Yarrabah, August 2016.

When I came to live in Yarrabah in 1984, the days of the white only section and black only sections in the town, drawn up by the Department of Native Affairs, was coming to an end.

Les Baird, Trainer, Wontulp-Bi-Buya College 2006–2016, Health Manager Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service, Yarrabah 2000–2005.


The Dying Days of Segregation in Australia
War World
Rod C. Spence
Praise for War World

"*****FIVE-PLUS STARS to War World - deliciously unpredictable fiction from an expert storyteller - it's a well-written winner." --Publishers Daily Review
 
"Killer gnomes, wizards, prehistoric monsters--War Worldgrabs readers from the first page and doesn't let go - the action is high-octane, pulling teens and adult readers alike - about as far from H.G. Wells as you can get."--Midwest Book Review

"Spence has created an exciting world, one that sinks its claws into you - this is definitely one Sci-Fi series that I can get behind."--Abooktropolis
 
 
One planet - 6 teenagers - a million light years of terror. 
School field trips shouldn't be this dangerous.

Jeremy Austin never asked to save a planet--it's bad enough being a "B"average student as the son of a world-famous geneticist for crying out loud! He didn't ask to be attacked by Gnome assassins, didn't choose to become food for a prehistoric monster, would never have thought consorting with wizards a wise concept, and he definitely would never, ever sign up to do sword combat against the bloodthirsty Gnome King. 

Note to self: say NO to portals and wormholes. 

His father's expedition to a planet 2.4 million light years from Earth has gone missing. Jeremy and five high school friends embark on a rescue mission. Surrounded by an army of mercenaries, they travel through a high-tech portal and discover a nightmare planet on the other side--a violent world of alien races and man-eating monsters--a world in despair; anxiously awaiting the arrival of a savior who will defeat the evil Shadow Lord. 

For Jeremy, the search for his father becomes lost in a struggle for survival... and escape from those who would put the mantel of planet savior on his shoulders.

A doomed expedition. Surrounded by aliens. Running out of time.
 
Note to readers: This young adult, sci fi, fantasy contains a lot of action and adventure (think Jurassic Park meets Lord of the Rings), high school teens with issues (murder, bullying and juvenile pranks gone awry), genetic engineering (the world must have a new super soldier) and survival skills put to the test (monsters, aliens and mercenaries... oh my). So if you like a fast pace, some comic banter and a mysterious, deadly world to explore, this book series is for you! 

Includes preview of Book 2 of War World: Paladin. 

Q & A with the Author 
 
Q - How would you describe the War World series? 
A - Survival... in the vein of Crichton's Jurassic Park. Life on planet Genesis was supposed to be controlled, safe. It's anything but... The planet's humanoid races are violent killers. War World sends a group of high school students on a field trip to hell. There is lots of action, adventure, fantasy settings, and magic. There are even nefarious government agents and an army of mercenaries who think they can go through a portal and tame the dangers of the alien planet. Right... 

Q - Where did the idea for War World come from? What was the inspiration?  
A - My first big novel to read as a teenager was The Sword of Shannara- that led to reading The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings novels while recuperating from having four wisdom teeth removed one Christmas. So fantasy became a favorite of mine. Additionally, I've always been a fan of Michael Crichton's novels and his technothriller movies: Westworld, Jurassic Park, Sphere- the idea of technology running amok. 

War World grew out of a 'what if.'
- What if modern weapons interacted with Middle Earth?
- What would normal teenage American high school students do if suddenly thrust into a world dominated by Gnomes, Trolls, Elves, Dwarves, knights and wizards?
- What if this world was a lot like the television series, Lost? Hidden bunkers, new and old technology and a mysterious expedition gone missing.
War World
White Woman Black Heart
Barbara Miller


This book is shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards (Australia) for the Premier's Award for a Work of State Significance. The judges said:

"This historical memoir recounts Barbara Miller’s involvement with the aboriginal people of Mapoon on Cape York where the community was forcibly removed from their lands by the Queensland Government in 1963.

The Aboriginal story is a first-hand account of their heartbreaking departure and then triumphant return to their lands 11 years later, aided by Barbara and her friends. Barbara recounts that she was inspired to campaign for the Mapoon people by a meeting with Aboriginal elder, Burnum Burnum, who told her, ‘you may be a white woman but you have a black heart’, and in this book describes not only the Mapoon community’s (Aboriginal Australians) decade-long struggle but her own homecoming in finding her place in a loving aboriginal family.”

Barbara often found herself saying, “the stork dropped me at the wrong house’ only to find she was repeating her mother’s words. In this riveting historical memoir exploring race relations and social change, Aboriginal elder Burnum Burnum, told her, “you may be white but you have a black heart, as you understand my people and feel our heart.’ He suggested to IDA that she take on the Mapoon project and played matchmaker by introducing her to Aboriginal teacher and Australian civil rights movement leader Mick Miller."

The Mapoon Aborigines were forcibly moved off their land by the Queensland government in NE Australia in 1963 to make way for mining. With an effective team behind her, Barbara helped them move back in 1974 to much government opposition which saw her under house arrest with Marjorie Wymarra. It also saw Jerry Hudson and Barbara taken to court.

In helping the Mapoon people return to their homeland, she found her home as part of an Aboriginal family, firstly Mick’s and later Norman’s as she remarried many years later, now being with her soulmate Norman about 30 years. It is a must read for those interested in ethnic studies and political science as an isolated outback community whose houses, school, health clinic, store and church were burnt to the ground rose from the ashes and rebuilt despite all the odds. It is a testimony to the Mapoon people’s strength over social injustice.
…………..
This is a highly engaging and inspiring memoir. At its centre is the story of Mapoon which has all the elements of a great drama with the violent expulsion of the community in 1963 and their triumphant return eleven years later. As the author explains she came almost by chance to be at the very centre of the drama which in turn dramatically changed her life. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in political and social change over the last 50 years.

Professor Henry Reynolds, FAHA FASSA University of Tasmania, eminent historian & award-winning author

The author shows great sensitivity, respect and understanding and manages to convey the petty-fogging autocratic paternalistic control of Indigenous people, which pervaded the period of the Bjelke-Petersen era. One can see what Aboriginal people had to contend with and how, with the re-establishment of Mapoon, that a most positive success story has finally been achieved. This is an engrossing and compassionate memoir of an extraordinary woman who through her actions demonstrates what can be achieved through persistent commitment and faith.

Dr Timothy Bottoms, author of Conspiracy of Silence, Queensland's frontier killing times (Allen & Unwin 2013) and CAIRNS, City of the South Pacific, A History 1770-1995 (Bunu Bunu Press 2016).

Barbara Miller has written this book, a continuum to the trilogy of the Mapoon books. It is a testimony to the endurance and resilience of the Mapoon people and their determination to return to the land of their forefathers.

Ricky Guivarra, former Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Councillor

White Woman Black Heart

LITPICK and YOU
 
Students improve reading & writing
 
Authors get reviews, videos, social media, & more
 
Find great books and start book clubs too!
RECENT STUDENT BOOK REVIEWS
LitPick student book reviewer info and sign up registration form LitPick author publisher info and sign up registration form LitPick teacher, librarian, and educator info and sign up registration form
Friends of LitPick Student Book Reviews who get book reviews from our student book reviewers