Catch & Release, Blythe Woolston (210 pages) – a road trip! Polly and Odd have had one of your worst nightmares – a flesh-eating bacterial infection, and many reconstructive surgeries as a result. Now their epic future plans are derailed, so they head off to Oregon in a classy car for a spot of fly fishing (and perhaps some more worrying adventures?).
First sentence: I would have recognized the guy even if he hadn’t driven up in a truck with Estes Equipment on the door, wearing an Estes Equipment hat and an Estes Equipment shirt with ‘Buck’ embroidered above the pocket.”
Beneath a Meth Moon, Jacqueline Woodson (182 pages) – Laurel loses her mother and grandmother in Hurricane Katrina and turns to crystal meth to cope. Can she grieve, move on, and beat her addiction? We hope so :-\
First sentence: It’s almost winter again and the cold moves through this town like water washing over us.
Poison Heart, S B Hayes (360 pages) – “From the moment Katy sees Genevieve’s beautiful face staring at her from a window, her life will never be the same. Wherever Katy turns, Genevieve is there – at school, with Katy’s friends, and worst of all, in Katy’s hot new boyfriend’s life. But Genevieve has a menacing side, a dangerous side, a threatening side that she only reveals to Katy: I’m your worst nightmare. When Genevieve’s behaviour becomes increasingly twisted, Katy delves into the girl’s past, with the help of her best friend Luke. Nothing prepares her for the dark truths that she discovers, or the new romance she finds along the way. Is Genevieve a troubled girl with a difficult childhood? Or is the truth unearthly and much more frightening? Who is the real Genevieve? What are her secrets? Why is she determined to destroy Katy’s life?” (catalogue)
First sentence: We were on the number fifty-seven bus when it happened – the moment that would change my life forever.
The Jade Notebook, Laura Resau (365 pages) – this is a companion novel to The Indigo Notebook and The Ruby Notebook. Zeeta and her mother have been traveling the globe, but finally settle in Mazunte, Mexico, where Zeeta’s boyfriend, Wendell, is spending time photographing sea turtles (as you do). Zeeta feels like Mazunte could be home, but when she and Wendell begin finding out information about her mysterious father’s past, Zeeta starts to see a darker side to her home.
First sentence: At sunset, Comet Point feels like the tip of the world.
Promise the Night, Michaela MacColl (262 pages) – this is based on the life of Beryl Markham, who was the first pilot to fly solo from England to North America. But this is not about the flying, but earlier: Beryl lives with her father on a huge ranch in British East Africa, with only her mother’s dog, Buller, for company. When one day Buller is attacked and taken by a leopard, Beryl promises to rescue him (as you would!). Which might be good training for being daring enough to fly solo across the Atlantic.
First sentence: Beryl sat bolt upright, her heart beating faster.
Skin Deep, Laura Jarratt (376 pages) – “After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna struggles to rebuild her life. But every stare in the street, every glance in the mirror, makes her want to hide away. And then Ryan turns up – a tall, good-looking traveller unlike anyone Jenna’s met before.” (cover) Yay Ryan.
First sentence: The stereo thumps out a drumbeat.
The Emerald Flame, Frewin Jones (344 pages) – more adventures from Branwen, the Warrior Princess. Branwen has come to accept that she’s the one to save her country from imminent invasion by the Saxons. This is no small task, and one filled with danger and the threat of disaster. We wonder if guidance from the spirits, and the trusty Rhodi and “sometimes maddening” Iwan, are enough support?
First sentence: A profound darkness had fallen among the close-packed oaks, and it felt to Branwen ap Griffith as though she and her small band of riders were wading through a flood tide of shadows, thick as black water.
Vixen, Jillian Larkin (385 pages) – the first book in a new series called The Flappers. “The roaring twenties where anything goes…The first in a sparkling new trilogy full of romance, dancing and secrecy. Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria wants the glamorous flapper lifestyle. Now that she’s engaged to the heir of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun… or are they? Clara, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch – but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears… Lorraine, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry.” (catalogue)
First sentence: She didn’t feel like wearing a garter tonight.
Wellington writer Jack Lasenby has won the Young Adult category of the New Zealand Post Book Awards, announced last night.
Calling the Gods is a futuristicky, action-packed story of survival: “Banishment is the cruellest punishment, and Selene is being driven out unjustly by her own people. A story of violence, love and courage, of leadership and betrayal, a tale of a young woman’s heroic persistence against impossible odds.” (catalogue)
Read a review of Calling the Gods at the National Library’s Create Readers Blog.
The Bridge by Jane Higgins received the Honour Award.
Congratulations to everyone!
This week’s upcoming books include a reluctant book club; what seems like a really bad idea; the conclusion to a dystopian thrill ride; and a collection of spooky faeries.
Faery Tales and Nightmares, Melissa Marr – fans of Melissa Marr in general and the Wicked Lovely series in particular will be interested in this collection of stories. There are twelve stories, described rather poetically by her website like so: “Dangerous promises and beguiling threats swirl together in a dozen stories of enchantments, dark and light, by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr. Uncanny and unexpected creatures appear from behind bushes, rise from under the seas, or manifest from seasonal storms to pursue the objects of their attention – with amorous or sinister intent – relentlessly. From the gentle tones of a story-teller’s cadences to the terror of a blood sacrifice, tales of favorite characters from Marr’s Wicked Lovely novels mix with accounts of new characters for readers to fall in love with… or to fear. Lush, seductive, and chilling, Melissa Marr’s stories revel in the unseen magic that infuses the world as we know it.” (author’s website)
Golly. Featured Wicked Lovely characters include Devlin and Ani (from Radiant Shadows), Niall, Irial and Leslie (from Ink Exchange), plus Seth, Keenan and Donia.
The Unbearable Book Club For Unsinkable Girls, Julie Schumacher – “I’m Adrienne Haus, survivor of a mother-daughter book club. Most of us didn’t want to join. My mother signed me up because I was stuck at home all summer, with my knee in a brace. CeeCee’s parents forced her to join after cancelling her Paris trip because she bashed up their car. The members of “The Unbearable Book Club,” CeeCee, Jill, Wallis, and I, were all going into eleventh grade A.P. English. But we weren’t friends. We were literary prisoners, sweating, reading classics, and hanging out at the pool. If you want to find out how membership in a book club can end up with a person being dead, you can probably look us up under mother-daughter literary catastrophe. Or open this book and read my essay, which I’ll turn in when I go back to school.” (goodreads.com)
Reached, Ally Condie – will be published towards the end of the year, but you can order it now! Reached is the conclusion to the best-selling Matched trilogy. “After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.” (goodreads.com)
You can read more about the Matched trilogy in this interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Dying to Know You, Aidan Chambers – the new book by the author of Postcards from Noman’s Land. “In this contemporary love story, a teenage boy named Karl enlists a famous writer to help him impress his girlfriend, Fiorella. She has asked him to write her a letter in which he reveals his true self. But Karl isn’t convinced he’s good enough with words, so he tracks down Fiorella’s favorite author and begs him to take up the task. The writer reluctantly assents, on the condition that Karl agree to a series of interviews, so that the letter will be based on an authentic portrait of Karl. The letter, though effective, has unexpected consequences for Karl, Fiorella, and the writer.” (goodreads.com)
This Friday the 18th of May is Pink Shirt Day.
What is Pink Shirt Day? “Pink Shirt Day is a national campaign aimed to raise awareness about the power to prevent bullying. Pink Shirt Day aims to reduce bullying by celebrating diversity and promoting the development of positive social relationships. An annual event celebrated throughout New Zealand and the world, Pink Shirt Day aims to create a New Zealand where all people feel safe, valued and respected.” (website)
The wait for The Hunger Games is approximately six weeks, due to crazy popularity. But! This is not so bad! You could be living in Auckland, where the queues have reached epic lengths. While you wait you can spend some time uncovering the next big thing – and then write us a review!
1. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [no change]
2. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [no change]
3. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [no change]
4. City of Lost Souls, Cassandra Clare (on order) [no change]
5. Insurgent, Veronica Roth (on order) [up 5]
6. Fear, Michael Grant [up 3]
7. The World of the Hunger Games, Kate Egan [no change]
8. The Prisoner, Robert Muchamore [down 2]
9. Mastiff, Tamora Pierce [down 1]
10. Destined, Aprilynne Pike (one order) [new]
Where Things Come Back, John Corey Whaley
I can’t remember the last time I got so much enjoyment out of a book!
Where Things Come Back is made up of two separate narratives which eventually come together in a way I never expected. The first narrative is that of 17 year old Cullen Witter, whose widely-liked younger brother suddenly disappears. While his brother’s disappearance is in the forefront of his mind, the people of the small town he lives in are obsessed with the alleged sighting of a Lazarus Woodpecker, a bird not seen in the area for more than 50 years. The other narrative follows Benton Sage, a young university student who takes up a position as a missionary in Africa but loses his faith and any sense of meaning in his life along the way. It’s very well written and the multiple storylines are interwoven carefully. One issue I had was the narrative perspective change towards the end which came out of the blue. It took me four pages to click to what was going on before I realised it was something clever. There are a lot of smart, witty and heartfelt observations throughout the book as well as a lot of elements to the story, so I look forward to reading it over again.
I really can’t recommend this book enough!
The Met Gala is a huge fashion event. Its always been a big deal for the fashion world – run by US Vogue and headed by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. It centres around a fashion exhibition that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York holds annually which opens with this big fashiony party. Alexander McQueen and Poiret have been past subjects for exhibits and this year its the highly inventive and influential female designers Muiccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli. There’s a really interesting article about the exhibition and the work of these two designers that you can read HERE.
This year’s gala was held on Monday night and I bet you’ve seen something, somewhere about it on the interwebs (even Stuff did a red carpet article). Big news indeed! And all the best celebs and models were there looking glam.
To catch you up – there’s great dress coverage from Fashionista and the Fug girls. Coco’s Tea Party offers her top ten and worst ten – do you agree? Do some research and let me know your favourite outfit! Mine is model Dree Hemingway in a custom made dress from good, old Topshop, what do you think?!
This week’s selection is brought to you by heart shaped things, sunglasses, and a whole lot of love.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Benjamin Alire Saenz (359 pages) – Dante and Ari are opposites (the cover tells me in detail), so opposite that in fact they probably shouldn’t attract, but they do! “In breathtaking prose, American Book Award winner Benjamin Alires Saenz captures those moments that make a boy a man as he explores loyalty and trust, friendship and love” (cover!).
First sentence: One summer night I fell asleep, hoping the world would be different when I woke.
Love? Maybe, Heather Hepler (267 pages) – a Valentine’s Day story! Piper’s birthday is Valentine’s Day, which may be one of the reasons why she’s a bit cynical about the whole thing. But when her one best friend suffers a broken heart two weeks before the BIG DAY, she agrees to get involved in a plot to restore said heart, even if it means going on a date herself. All of a sudden everything is warm and fuzzy for Piper: her heart shaped lollies are a hit (see cover), she has a popular boyfriend, and someone’s leaving secret gifts in her locker.
First sentence: Claire tells me it’s romantic that my birthday is on Valentine’s Day, but then she thinks it’s romantic when Stuart remembers to say excuse me after he burps.
The Darlings in Love, Melissa Kantor (311 pages) – The Darlings are three best friends, Victoria, Natalya and Jane (as seen in The Darlings are Forever), and they fall in love! This could lead to happiness, or heartbreak, or both! (Preferrably in reverse order.)
First sentence: Natalya pulled her dark blue winter jacket more tightly around her, shivering in the sharp January wind as she waited for the light to change.
The Disenchantments, Nina LaCour (307 pages) – Colby and Bev are in a band – The Disenchantments – and the plan is to graduate and tour Europe. But Bev disenchants The Disenchantments when she announces she’s ditching them to go off on her own travels. So plans must change, and the band swaps Europe for the Pacific Northwest, and the future becomes much less certain.
First sentence: Bev says when she’s onstage she feels the world holding its breath for her.
Love & Haight, Susan Carlton (176 pages) – In 1971 Chloe and MJ have a plan to travel to San Francisco to spend the Christmas/New Year break with Chloe’s hippy aunt. Chloe has a second plan, involving her secret, unwanted pregnancy. Reviewers say this book is an interesting historical account of 1970s San Francisco, hippy culture, and some of the serious social issues of the time.
First sentences: The view was wrong. That’s what Chloe kept thinking.
Glimmer, Phoebe Kitandis (347 pages) – Oo. Marshal and Elyse wake up one day “tangled in each other’s arms” but also with amnesia. They have no idea how they came to be in Summer Falls, a resort town, but they do know that something’s amiss: the town’s people are “happy zombies” with no memory of unpleasant things, even though there are indeed unpleasant things in Summer Falls…
First sentence: I come to life with a gasp in the darkness.
The Story of Us, Deb Caletti (389 pages) – “After jilting two previous fiances, Cricket’s mother is finally marrying the right man, but as wedding attendees arrive for a week of festivities, complications arise for Cricket involving her own love life, her beloved dog Jupiter, and her mother’s reluctance to marry.” (catalogue)
First sentence: I found out something about myself as all those boxes piled up: I hated change.
Dragonswood, Janet Lee Carey (403 pages) – When the king dies, Wilde Island is thrown into turmoil as the royal witch hunter goes on, well, a witch-hunting rampage, determined to root out an young women with “fire in their hearts and sparks in their soul”. This is unfortunate for Tess, who wants the things in life that fire and sparks give (i.e. not just a husband and house). She’s accused of witchery and forced to run to Dragonswood, to take refuge with an “enigmatic huntsman”, who sounds interesting.
First sentences: I am seven years old. My father takes me to a witch burning.
The Mephisto Covenant, Trinity Faegen (434 pages) – “Jax, a son of Hell, and Sasha, a descendent of Eve, unexpectedly find love, but Sasha must sacrifice the purity of her soul to save him while he struggles to keep her safe from his brother Eryx, whose mission is to take over Hell and abolish humanity’s free will.” (catalogue)
First sentence: “Your father’s ring is gone! That slime, Alex, took it – I know he did.”
Bewitching, Alex Flinn (338 pages) – in which we read about Kendra, who was responsible for the Beast becoming Beastly in Beastly. Kendra is an immortal, who finds that her interfering in human life sometimes makes problems worse rather than better. So, when she comes across Emma, a modern-day plain step-sister, can she stop herself from getting involved?
First sentence: If you read fairy tales, and who doesn’t, you might believe there are witches all over the place – witches baking children into gingerbread, making princesses sleep hundreds of years, even turning normal teenage boys into hideous beasts to teach them a lesson.
I’d like to take a quick break from all the New Zealand Music Month posting to refect on the sad news this week that rapper Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys passed away aged just 47.
In a career spanning almost 30 years The Beastie Boys had one of the most distinctive, energetic and creative voices in popular music. They released 8 studio albums, all of which are available on our catalogue, along with several compilations and EPs. A good starting point is the excellent, two disc best of The sounds of science (complete with exhaustive and hilarious liner notes) and last year’s Hot sauce committee. part two.
Although the albums are all great, the best (in my opinion) document of their work are the music videos, often directed by MCA under the pseudonym Nathaniel Hornblower. So what better way to celebrate Yauch’s life than a video retrospective …
So What Cha Want (1992)
Don’t play no game that I can’t win (2011)
Great artist, huge loss.
Great news for the modern man: live at the Auckland Town Hall by Eru Dangerspiel.
Eru Dangerspiel is Trinity Roots band member Ricky Gooch’s side project, though it’s seriously major in concept.
22 piece group (plus choir!) including Whirimako Black, Anna Coddington, Nathan Haines and members of Fat Freddy’s, The Black Seeds, Fly My Pretties, Dimmer, The Phoenix Foundation – whew! It’s funky, it’s futuristic, it’s Great news for the modern man!