13 December 2017

Review: Nevermoor - The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

* Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia *

Jessica Townsend is the hottest debut Australian author at the moment and the writer of Nevermoor - The Trials of Morrigan Crow. Nevermoor is a fantasy novel for young and young adult readers and contains elements of magical realism, without the wands and spells.

Morrigan Crow was born on Eventide and consequently she is fated to die on the next Eventide, which happens to be her 12th birthday. Being born on the most unlucky day of the year means she is cursed. Morrigan knows she is going to die on Eventide and unfortunately her birthday is fast approaching, but just when all seems helpless, she escapes to a new place called Nevermoor.

Nevermoor takes off from the first page with instant world-building and it took me a while to 'get into it' to be honest. But once I began to relax into the world of Morrigan Crow, I could settle in and enjoy her adventure.

When I saw the cover (yellow font on a blue background and the presence of umbrellas), I worried that Nevermoor was going to be a Mary Poppins / Harry Potter / Peter Pan rip off. Fortunately my suspicions were swiftly allayed, so don't jump to the same inaccurate conclusions I did. Sometimes judging a book by its cover can be a mistake.

Nevermoor is already achieving amazing milestones in Australian publishing and 20th Century Fox has purchased the movie rights. Nevermoor is aimed at middle grade readers (aged 8-12) but is highly recommended for those who enjoy a young coming-of-age novel and the magic and creative whimsy of the Harry Potter series. It's the first in a series for young and old readers alike.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

11 December 2017

Celebrating 1,000,000 views!

Today is cause for some serious celebration. (Crowd goes wild!)

I've finally surpassed 1,000,000 views here on Carpe Librum!

From humble beginnings way back in 2005, and with a different name (My Four Bucks) I still remember the excitement of achieving just 30 views/hits in a single month. I'd check my stats daily and it was thrilling to see it rise. (Tragic, I know).

Since then, I've kept at it and in November 2011 I was celebrating 13,000 total views and in June 2015 celebrated my 10 Year Blogiversary. I now enjoy an average of 10,000 views per month and am spoiled for choice when it comes to publisher catalogues.

A huge thank you to each and every one of you reading this for making my dreams come true. I hope you've been able to discover some great reads along the way, win a giveaway or perhaps even dodge a dud book now and then thanks to my vetting it for you.

I'll never tire of reading and reviewing here at Carpe Librum, and I'm so grateful to be able to share my love of books with you. If you have any suggestions on how I should celebrate this milestone, let me know in the comments below.

Woohoo!

Carpe Librum!

07 December 2017

Review: The Park Bench by Christophe Chaboute

The Park Bench by Christophe Chaboute is a graphic novel about the day-to-day experiences of a park bench. It's a simple premise, but interestingly, there is no text used in the artwork at all. I've since learned graphic novels like this are called wordless or silent graphic novels.

This is my first time reading a wordless graphic novel but Chaboute makes it surprisingly easy to follow the story arc. There are happy, sad, curious and mundane things that happen on, at and around the park bench and the reader is able to follow along with relative interest.


The Park Bench is an entertaining reading experience and has definitely cemented my view that graphic novels should play a part in everybody's reading at one stage or another. I've always been of the opinion that adults who say they don't read, just haven't found the right book or genre yet.

What graphic novels have you enjoyed?

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

05 December 2017

Review: The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young

* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

Rosamund Young is first and foremost a farmer and runs Kite's Nest Farm in the Cotswolds. She's been observing animal behaviour since 1980 and began to notice that cows are intelligent animals with personalities as diverse as our own.

In The Secret Life of Cows, Rosamund shares anecdotes about her animals, their behaviours and interactions in a personable and chatty manner.

Every cow on her farm is given a name and Rosamund knows the complete family tree of all the cows on her farm. They play games, babysit, hold grudges and grieve. Her cows are able to communicate and let her know if another cow in the herd is hurt, and are surprisingly adept at problem solving. They also love to be groomed, who knew?


I was interested to learn cows will seek out food according to their needs, (willow if they have an injury or stinging nettles when pregnant) highlighting and reinforcing the need for organic farming practices.

Presented in an attractive little hardcover reminiscent of a clothbound classic, The Secret Life of Cows would make a lovely gift this Christmas for animal lovers, hobby and full-time farmers.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

01 December 2017

Review: Force of Nature by Jane Harper

* Copy courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia *

Many readers worried Australian author Jane Harper couldn't top her award-winning debut novel The Dry, but I'm here to tell you she has! Force of Nature is a ripping read and just as full of thrilling suspense as The Dry. The end of each chapter unapologetically forces you to continue onto the next, with a freshly stoked desire to find out what happens.

Force of Nature can easily be read as a standalone, however it does feature the same main character AFP Officer Aaron Falk. This time Falk is investigating the case of a missing person, lost in the bush during a corporate team building and camping retreat. Each of the five female staff members on the retreat have their own problems and the conflict that grows and festers between them was expertly written.

Jane Harper captures the menacing and unforgiving wilderness of the Australian bush with such precision, that several scenes reminded me of the 1886 oil painting Lost by Australian artist Frederick McCubbin.

I'm recommending Force of Nature to readers everywhere and it's certainly been a highlight on my reading calendar this year.

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

P.S. Read a FREE extract here.