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July 2012

The Archives




  • Books, Fantasy, Grimm, Reviews

    It’s not easy being queen

    14.07.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on It’s not easy being queen

    Bitterblue is the third book by American writer Kristin Cashore (blog here), and acts as a companion to Graceling and Fire.

    Bitterblue has been Queen of Monsea for eight years when the novel opens. Being Queen of Monsea, in practice, means struggling under a great weight of paperwork supplied by her trusted advisors, who assure her that it is indeed essential to the running of her kingdom. It also means she is isolated from her friends (who are busy overthrowing kings in other countries), and increasingly frustrated by how little she knows about Bitterblue City and Monsea. It is hardly surprising then, when one night she snatches the opportunity to escape the castle and explore the streets in disguise, finding herself drawn to a pub where a storyteller has his audience enthralled.

    This begins an intricate journey of discovery for Bitterblue and the people of Monsea, who have been kept from the truth first by Leck (Bitterblue’s heinous father, as seen in Graceling and Fire), and then by a misguided assumption that sweeping things under the carpet and quietly moving on is the best way of dealing with attrocities. Bitterblue is about secrets, lies, and the truth that slowly wangles its way out of hiding. (And also adventure and romance.)

    Bitterblue is a quiet, page-turning read. There’s a large cast of characters, all with strengths and weaknesses – it’s hard to separate the goodies from the baddies, which is mostly the point. Bitterblue herself differs from Kristin Cashore’s other two heroines (Katsa and Fire), in that she doesn’t have a special power and isn’t (she thinks) particularly beautiful (describing herself as being built like an eggplant), but she does have a large amount of pluck and courage and wit, proving that you don’t have to be magic to be strong, and being strong is an admirable quality in a heroine.

    Apart from being a great story, Bitterblue has some other features:

    • – Cyphers! I never really understood how cyphers work, but now I do! Just don’t ask me to explain.
    • – Illustrations – some nice pictures by Ian Schoenherr, including of Monster Bridge, Winged Bridge, Winter Bridge.
    • – “A Who’s Who of the World as We Know It” (a list of characters) – compiled by Bitterblue’s excellent royal librarian, Death (which rhymes with teeth, you see).

    You can read the first couple of chapters here. There’s also a website with extras.

    ~ Grimm


  • Competition, Facebook, Vic Ferrari

    Win a copy of Insurgent by Veronica Roth

    13.07.12 | Permalink | 1 Comment

    Would you like a copy of Insurgent by Veronica Roth? How about a copy that you can wipe clean even after you spill a drink on it, because it comes wrapped in the classic library protective plastic? Of course you do. Go to the Teen Blog Facebook page, be one of the first three YA cardholders to answer a very easy question and you can (w)insurgent. Cool? Cool.


  • Books, Grimm, New, zombies

    Waiting on Wednesday on Friday

    13.07.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Waiting on Wednesday on Friday

    Stephanie’s been ordering up a storm: here’s a couple of new interesting titles you might like to reserve. Zombies and vampires, oh my! (More next Wednesday.)

    Team Human, Justine Larbalastier and Sarah Rees Brennan. This is a spoof, obviously, but reviewers say it’s an affectionate spoof, from the authors of Liar, and The Demon’s Lexicon:

    “Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn’t mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It’s up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity.

    “On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.” (goodreads.com)

    This Is Not a Test, Courtney Summers. Brace yourself: Courtney Summers, queen of gritty stories, does the zombie apocalypse (that is a blood spatter top left of the book cover):

    “It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.

    “To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.

    “But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside.

    “When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?” (goodreads.com)


  • Books, Fantasy, Raewyn, Reviews

    A review from Raewyn!

    12.07.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on A review from Raewyn!

    A Confusion of Princes, Garth Nix

    Imagine knowing you are one of ten million princes throughout the Empire! Imagine knowing you could die twenty times and be ‘reborn’! But you can only be reborn if you are connected to the Imperial Mind, so the first task for Prince Khemri is to dodge any stray bullets and explosive devices to get to a base where he can ‘connect’! He becomes a naval cadet and a target for his fellow cadets, as he seems to be privileged with 12 priests and a senior Master of Assassins assigned to him. His first death comes during a raid by their enemies the Sad Eyes, whilst stopping the invaders from blowing up the base. More adventures follow but will he accept his Imperial-chosen destiny or change it for himself? Good sci-fi adventure by a favourite author.

    ~ Raewyn


  • eLibrary, Library, Library Serf

    Dystopian E-Books

    11.07.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Dystopian E-Books

    The library has a growing collection of -ebooks, including a selection in the popular young adult dystopian genre:

    0.4, Mike Lancaster

    The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary E Pearson

    Ashfall, Mike Mullin

    Candor, Pam Bachorz

    Matched and Crossed, Ally Condie

    The Dead, Charlie Higson

    The Declaration, The Resistance and The Legacy, Gemma Malley

    There’s a waiting list for the Hunger Games trilogy, but if you don’t mind that then The Hunger Games is here, Catching Fire here and Mockingjay here.

    E-books are available for three weeks, and they’re free to borrow (and also don’t incur any overdue charges). So easy.

    For other, print, dystopian books have a look at this list.


  • Grimm, Movies

    A Festival of Films

    10.07.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on A Festival of Films

    Have you done the International Film Festival before? If not, then maybe this is the year! There’s a fabulous aray of films, including some cherry picked here:

    From Up on Poppy Hill – if you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli then you might like to see their latest on the big screen at the Embassy. To get prepared, you could also do a Studio Ghibli retrospective, including My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle.

    Lore – this is based on one of the stories in The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert, in which Lore and her brothers and sisters travel 900 kilometres across post-war Germany to safety (they hope) in Hamburg.

    I Wish – set in Japan, where Koichi’s family is disrupted by the separation of his parents, and he finds himself at opposite ends of the country to his brother Ryu. Koichi believes there’s magic in the new bullet train service that might reunite them (and so a plan is hatched!).

    Farewell, My Queen – the last days of Marie-Antoinette (as opposed to the first days, as in the movie Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst). This is also based on the novel (same name) by Chantal Thomas.

    There are many many more! Have a look at the website for more (or come into a library and pick up a brochure).

    You can also keep up to date with new DVDs added to the library’s collection with this RSS feed here.


  • Internet, Library, Library Serf

    Most Searched For

    09.07.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Most Searched For

    Each month (ish) we check to see which library items are the most-reserved, most in demand (Most Wanted). We also keep an eye on which catalogue items are the most searched for, and the two sort of match up! Here’s a list of the top 10 young adult Easyfind catalogue searches  from June:

    1. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
    2. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
    3. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
    4. Naruto #56, Masashi Kishimoto
    5. Matched, Ally Condie
    6. Divergent, Veronica Roth
    7. Naruto #55, Masashi Kishimoto
    8. Dare to Dream: Life as One Direction
    9. City of Lost Souls, Cassandra Clare
    10. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

    Spelling things correctly increases the chance of getting the results you want*: here are some words and names that sent people on wild goose chases – choclate, tradgedy, Stephanie Meyer (our old friend), Selean Gomez, cognative.

    * Although Easyfind does helpfully suggest spelling alternatives for you!


  • Books, New, Simon

    Ngā Pukapuka Hou

    06.07.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Ngā Pukapuka Hou

    Justice and Utu, by David Hair (320 pages) – This is the third book in Hair’s Aotearoa series, and the sequel to The Lost Tohunga; thrilling young-adult fantasy novels drawn from the mythology and history of New Zealand.’ They have all won or been nominated for awards, and you can read the first chapter of the latest book on the author’s official website. Or the first few sentences of the prologue, here, on this ol’ weblog.

    First lines: ‘Twelve-year-old Evie van Zelle loved cards and games, and knew dozens of card tricks. She’d been superstitious all her life: wouldn’t cross the path of a black cat, go under a ladder or step on cracks.

    Slated, by Teri Terry (438 pages) – Kyla may or may not have been a terrorist, but whatever happened she’s been ‘slated’: her memory has been wiped and her personality reset. She even gets a new family. It is sort of a second chance for hardened criminals, such as herself (maybe).  But she still recalls faints memories of what she once was, and it seems that maybe someone is lying to her. A thriller.

    First lines: ‘Weird. All right, I haven’t got much experience on which to bas this judgement. I may be sixteen and I’m not slow or backward and haven’t been locked in a cupboard since birth – so far as I know – but Slating does that to you.

    Among Others, by Jo Walton (302 pages) – Morwenna grows up in Wales, reading sci-fi and playing with fairies. Her mother, a sorceress, tries to bend the spirits to dark ends (she’s up to no good), Morwenna has to battle her, resulting in her twin sister’s death. Now, sent to a boarding school in non-magical England by her remote father, her magic attracts her mother – who’s looking for her, and Morwenna won’t be able to escape. Aren’t you glad your mum isn’t an evil sorceress?

    First line: ‘The Phurnacite factory in Abercwmboi killed all the trees for two miles around.

    Invisible Sun, by David MacInnis Gill (370 pages) – This is the companion to Black Hole Sun. Durango is a sixteen-year-old mercenary who, with his girlfriend, live on the wild frontier that is newly colonised Mars. The first chapter starts in Christchurch, the Capital City of the Zealand Perfecture, and is the largest city on Mars, so we must do something right in the future, I guess?

    First line: ‘Vienne points the gun, squeezes the trigger, and fires a live round square into my chest.

    Illuminate, by Aimee Agresti (514 pages) – High-school student Haven Terra gets an amazing job as an intern to Aurelia Brown, a rich, powerful A-lister who owns the fabulous Chicago hotel Haven gets to live in. She is lucky! But is she really. No, probably not. Aurelia and her circle of minions, the Outfit, are in the business of buying souls, and does Haven want anything to do with that? What does her destiny hold? The first in the Gilded Wings trilogy.

    First line: ‘Up until that point, English class had been unremarkable.

    A Waste of Good Paper, by Sean Taylor (293 pages) – Jason’s been given a diary to write in by Pete, a teacher at the school for boys with behaviour difficulties where Jason has been sent. Because he’s good at writing, if a little reluctant to actually fill in the pages. But things worth recording happen! And so his diary isn’t the waste of good paper Jason initially thought it would be. 

    First line: ‘Friday the 6th of March – Pete says this is a writing boook that he’s only giving me and he says it’s called JASON’S JOURNAL.‘.

    Little Sister, by Aimee Said (301 pages) – Allison can’t wait for her older sister, Larrie, to leave their (Australian, if it matters? just setting the scene) high school so that she can make her mark, for her older sister is super-popular and smart. But when a rumour about Larrie surfaces online, Allison finds that she is in the spotlight for unwanted reasons. Also there is a boy she likes.

    First lines: ‘Monday morning: Whitlam High School assembly hall. Welcome to another week of mind-numbing boredom higher education.

    Love Notes from Vinegar House, by Karen Tayleur (250 pages) – Going to copy this off the book cover: ‘Freya Jackson Kramer has done some stupid things before, but this is the first time they’ve been splashed across Facebook. When she escapes to Vinegar House for the holidays, she thinks she’s leaving her troubles behind. But Freya’s troubles are just beginning. How will she deal with her manipulative cousin, Rumer? How can she avoid the ex-love of her life, Luke Hart? And what secrets lie in the locked attic?’ Also; ghosts.

    First line: ‘There are three things you should know about me if we’re ever going to be friends.

    The Lost Crown, by Sarah Miller (412 pages) – There have been several YA books lately about the last Tsar of Russia and his family; this one focuses on his daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. History tells us how it all ends (pretty tragically!), but The Lost Crown ‘recounts the days of Imperial Russia with lyricism, criticism, and true compassion.’ Quite a grim epilogue you can be sure.

    First lines: ‘Our luggage is packed and we’ve said our good-byes. The palace is as dark and still as a museum at midnight, but it’s been hours and the train still isn’t here.

    Incarnate, by Jodi Meadows (374 pages) – In Range, a million people have been reincarnated for thousands of years, each time able to remember their past lives. Until Ana comes along; she is a new soul, and is subsequently distrusted and feared by people. But not Sam, who develops a relationship with Ana. Romance! Fantasy! Thrills! Book one in a planned trilogy!

    First lines: ‘I wasn’t reborn. I was five when I first realized how different that made me.


  • Fashion Friday, Le Chic Librarian

    Fashion Friday

    06.07.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Fashion Friday

    Dior kicked off the Haute Couture shows in Paris with a lot of anticipation and acclaim.  The new designer at Dior is Raf Simons, who is well respected and much lauded.  There was a lot of rumours and secrecy over who would get this coveted, high-profile design job after John Galliano dramatically melted-down and was fired in 2011.  The clothes are very nice and have been well-recieved.  What do you think of them? 
    (Check out the gallery below for my choices, or the Fashion Gone Rogue page).


  • Grimm, Most Wanted

    Most Wanted: July 2012

    06.07.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Most Wanted: July 2012

    This month sees not much change in the most requested items: the queue for The Hunger Games is now only about three months long (!), and lots of people are keen to read all about One Direction (see also Dare to Dream).

    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 [no change]
    5. Insurgent, Veronica Roth [no change]
    6. Rapture, Lauren Kate (on order) [up 1]
    7. Fear, Michael Grant [down 1]
    8. Reached, Ally Condy (on order) [up 1]
    9. Inheritance, Christopher Paolini [up 1]
    10. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [new]


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