3 great podcasts I love to listen to

3 podcasts I love to listen to (that your kids might love to)I’ve discovered podcasts this year and often listen to one on the way home from school on the bus. These three podcasts are my favourites so far.

1. Dear Hank and John.

This weekly podcast is marketed as a ‘comedy podcast about death’, and author John Green and his brother Hank sure deliver a podcast full of comedy, dubious advice, and all the latest news on everything from Mars to AFC Wimbledon.

I love this podcast because of its humour and references to pop culture. I also like how John reads a short poem at the start of each podcast. I would recommend it for listeners 14+.

The brothers have a YouTube channel (The Vlogbrothers) which I also enjoy, and learn a lot from.

2. Sleek Geeks

This is a great podcast where two geeks (Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and mathematician Adam Spencer) discuss all things science and maths. Packed with facts, questions, and a healthy dose of humour, this is one of my favourite podcasts. There are 44 episodes to enjoy.

3. Dr Karl on Triple J

In this weekly podcast, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Zan Rowe and various guests answer science questions from Triple J listeners. I love this podcast because I learn so many interesting facts from it. If you enjoy Dr Karl’s books (as I do), or are interested in science at all, you’ll love this podcast.

What are your favourite podcasts?

NB: I listen to podcasts through iTunes, so I’ve linked to them there, but there are different podcast streaming services you can use and Google is the best way to find them.

5 books ‘for girls’ that boys might like

5 books for girls that boys might like. A list from kid book blogger Book Boy | bookboy.com.auWhenever I write a book review where the main character is a girl, I get emails or comments about the fact that I’m a boy reading ‘books for girls’.

I don’t really think of it like that. To me, a good book is a good book.

Anyway, here’s a little round-up of some of those books. Your boys might like them, too.

Click the link to read my review.

The Other Christy (9+)

Friday Barnes Girl Detective (10+)

Counting by 7s (10+)

Thirst (10+)

The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee (8+)

You might also like this post about books for boys featuring awesome girls – a list based on books that I had read and recommended.

Review: Every Breath

Every Breath by Ellie Marney reviewed by a kid book bloggerTitle: Every Breath

Author: Ellie Marney

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

About the book

James Mycroft is an eccentric genius with a passion for forensics. Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne from the country. When Mycroft needs help investigating a murder, Rachel finds herself drawn closer to him and unable to resist him.          

What I thought

This fast-paced, action packed book was impossible to put down. I really liked the character of Mycroft, as he reminds me of Sherlock Holmes (who is referenced throughout the book), and is a very intriguing character. The story was full of twists and turns, and kept me interested the whole way through.

I would recommend this book for ages 14+ as it contains strong themes and violence. Every Breath is the first book in a trilogy, and I am looking forward to reading book #2, Every Word, and book #3, Every Move

Buy Every Breath at Booktopia.

NB: Author Ellie Marney will release a new book set in the ‘Every’ world on 14 August, 2017. Called ‘No Limits’, it’s definitely aimed at older teens. You can find out more about it here

What I’m reading this school holidays

School holiday reads for teens and tweensThe school holidays are finally here and I can’t wait to get some reading in! I’m going to take a break for the next few weeks, but thought I would leave you with a list of what’s on my To Be Read pile in the holidays. As you will see below, I jump around a bit with my reading so I’ve already started some of these.

 

School Holiday Reads for Tweens and TeensBegin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology (Edited by Danielle Binks)

I really like short stories, and some of my favourite Australian YA authors have written stories for this book. I’m looking forward to bringing you a review next term.

School Holiday Reads for Tweens and TeensEleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I’ve just started this one and I am really liking it! It’s my current ‘bus read’ – which is fitting, given it’s about two misfits in America in the 1980s who meet on the school bus.

School Holiday Reads for Teens and TweensThe Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King

I am a real Sherlock Holmes fan and recently started reading this one, which is the story of 15-year-old Mary Russell who stumbles across the retired Sherlock Holmes in 1915 and works with him to solve a crime. So far, it’s great!

School Holiday Reads for Teens and TweensYoung Sherlock Holmes (Death Cloud) by Andrew Lane 

I can’t wait to get into this one, which is the first book in a series! Sherlock Holmes is 14 and is sent to live with his aunt and uncle, where he uncovers his first murder…

School Holiday Reading for Tweens and TeensAll The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I am about halfway through this at the moment and I am really looking forward to having some time to get it finished. It’s a big book, but the story is really interesting and I’m enjoying it. The language is beautiful.

School holiday reads for Teens and TweensWreck by Fleur Ferris

I recently won this in a Twitter competition and it’s been getting great reviews so I’m looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about!

Happy school holidays – see you next term!

Click the titles to see more about each book and to buy at Booktopia.

My top 10 book reviews in my first year of blogging

The top 10 book reviews from the first year of bookboy.com.auIn just a few weeks I will celebrate my blog’s first birthday! (I hope there will be cake…)

I thought I might turn it into a mini festival by mixing up my regular posts with a few lists from my first year of blogging.

Today, I’m sharing the top 10 most popular reviews on bookboy.com.au from the past 12 months – from number 10 down to my most popular review of all! Some are by me and some are by my minion brother Book Boy Junior.

Click on each link to read the full review for each book.

10. Bro by Helen Chebatte*

9. The Turners by Mick Elliott*

8. The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub*

7. Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

6. Artie And The Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh*

5. Harry Potter And The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

4. Pax by Sara Pennypacker

3. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey*

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

And the winner of most popular review goes to…

1. The 78-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton*

*Australian author

Two great writing books I read this week

Two great books about writing, reviewed by a kid book bloggerRecently I’ve been writing a bit more of my own stuff, mostly short stories. When I found these books on my mum’s shelf, I decided to have a look at them to see if they could help me, and, unsurprisingly, they did!

• On Writing by Stephen King

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

This is the first book about writing I’ve ever read (except for Once Upon A Slime by Andy Griffiths, which I loved when I was about 10). I really liked Stephen King’s voice and how the book was part-memoir, part-book about writing. I found the memoir bit very inspiring, particularly when he talked about his childhood – I would love to make a magazine like Stephen King did!

As for the actual writing section, I learnt a lot about writing and, particularly, editing my short stories and how unnecessary information can just distract from the story itself.

My favourite tip from On Writing is that the second draft of a story is your first draft minus 10 per cent.

I would recommend this book for ages 14+ because some of the wording and language may be difficult for younger children and it involves drug use and coarse language.

Buy On Writing at Booktopia

• Letters To A Young Writer by Colum McCann

Publisher: Bloomsbury (Allen & Unwin)

This was the second writing book that I read and I found it less in-depth but still very good and practical. Much less dense, the book presents the information in short chapters or snippets, so you can dip in and out of it easily.

I liked how each chapter began with a quote from a famous author or figure in literature. I also really liked the aesthetic of the hardback book – it’s nice to look at and feels good to hold. It is the kind of book that would make a nice gift.

My favourite tip from this book was to use your writing like a camera – to describe the surroundings with the colour and clarity of a picture.

I would recommend this book for ages 12+ because, again, some kids may not get their heads around the writing and it does contain some mild coarse language.

Buy Letters To A Young Writer from Booktopia.

Find a new book: what to try next

I thought I might try something a bit different this week. Sometimes it’s hard to find your next read, so I’ve made a list of related books – if you like the first one, you might like the second one.

Find a new book: what to read next | bookboy.com.au - a 13yo book blogger - has some suggested reads for you

I’ve linked to reviews where I have them, or the link on each title will take you to Booktopia for more information and to buy if you’re interested.

If you likeThe Outsiders by S.E.Hinton The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton, reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of The Outsiders

 

 

TryBro by Helen Chebattebook review Bro by Helen Chebatte, reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of Bro

 

 

If you like… The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan The Rangers Apprentice prequel Tournament at Gorlan reviewed by a kid book blogger.

Review of The Ranger’s Apprentice (prequel)

 

 

TryBrotherband by John Flanagan Brotherband series by John Flanagan, great read for kids

 

 

 

If you like… The Treehouse Series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton The 78-storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of The 78-Storey Treehouse

 

 

Try… Danny Best by Jen Storer and Mitch Vane Review of Danny Best: Never Wrong by Jen Storer, by a kid book blogger

Review of Danny Best Never Wrong

 

 

Or… Artie and The Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh 

Book Boy, a kid book blogger, reviews Artie and The Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh

Review of Artie and The Grime Wave

 

 

 

Or… the My Life series by Tristan Bancks and Gus Gordon My Life And Other Massive Mistakes by Tristan Bancks reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of My Life And Other Massive Mistakes

 

 

Or… the Weirdo series by Anh Do and Jules Faber Review of Weirdo 3: Extra Weird by Anh Do and Jules Faber, by a kid book blogger

Review of Weirdo 3: Extra Weird

 

 

If you like… Friday Barnes by R.A. Spratt Friday Barnes Girl Detective reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of Friday Barnes Girl Detective

 

 

Try… Encyclopaedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol Encyclopedia Brown Boy Detective is still loved by kids today, according to this kid book blogger

 

 

 

If you likeThe Maze Runner by  James Dashner The Maze Runner by James Dashner reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of The Maze Runner

 

 

Try… Gone by Michael Grant The Gone series by Michael Grant, reviewed by a kid book blogger

Review of Gone

 

 

What are you reading at the moment? What do you plan to read next?

Review: Bro

book review Bro by Helen Chebatte, reviewed by a kid book bloggerTitle: Bro

Author: Helen Chebatte

Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont

About the book: In a school divided into racial gangs, there are three unspoken rules:

  • Stick with your own kind
  • Don’t dob on your mates (or your enemies)
  • Respect the family.

But fight clubs, violence and racial prejudice get in the way of these rules. Romeo Makhlouf knows to follow these rules, but when he gets into a fight with another boy, the rules become so much harder to follow.

What I thought: This confronting book feels like a modern-day version of The Outsiders, with its gangs, love and engrossing plot line. Set in Australia, it feels realistic and very close to home.

I didn’t really connect with a lot of the characters, possibly because they were the tough guys of the school, who started a lot of fights, but I still really liked the book. It was an interesting insight into racism in teenagers.

I think a lot of boys would really enjoy Bro, although Romeo is in year 10 so it feels like an older book. I would recommend it for ages 14+. Anyone who enjoys reading books by S.E. Hinton, or very Australian books, would like this one.

Buy Bro here.

Review: The Amateurs

The Amateurs reviewed by a kid book blogger | bookboy.com.auTitle: The Amateurs

Author: Sara Shepherd

Publisher: Hot Key Books (Allen & Unwin)

About the book: It’s been five years since Aerin’s sister disappeared, and a year since she was found dead in the forest near her house. Police have long-since closed the case but her murderer was never caught. Then she meets, via an amateur sleuth website, Seneca and Maddy, amateur crime solvers, who turn up and put the case on its head.

What I thought: This book was full of so many secrets and twists, it was impossible to know who the murderer was until the end. I really enjoyed having that element of trying to match your wits against the characters to see who could solve the crime first, but I admit I didn’t see the twist coming!

I really liked how all the voices sounded very real and contemporary, and how the point of view changed, so you could see every character’s perspective on the case.

This book contains very strong themes, coarse language, references to drug use and strong violence. It’s definitely not for readers under 14.

Buy The Amateurs.

Review: The Yearbook Committee

The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub, reviewed by a kid book bloggerTitle: The Yearbook Committee

Author: Sarah Ayoub

Publisher: HarperCollins Australia

About the book: Five teenagers from different walks of life are thrown together in their final year of high school to work on the school yearbook. There’s Matty, a loner; Ryan, the school captain; Tammi, the popular girl by association; Charlie, the newcomer; and Gillian, the MP’s daughter. Together, they learn that the Yearbook Committee is more than just about putting together the yearbook – it’s about forming friendships.

What I thought: I thought this book was funny, emotional and, at times, sad. I really connected with all of the characters because they felt so real – like you were in the room talking to them. Each character narrates throughout the story, giving different perspectives to events that unfold. I liked how each character told their own part of the story because it helped develop the characters more and show who they really were.

I would recommend this book for ages 14+ as it contains coarse language, adult themes and drug use. If you’re looking for a starkly realistic but also entertaining novel about friendships, hardships and contemporary Australian teenage life, then this one is for you.

Buy The Yearbook Committee.