» Next Entries

October 2013

The Archives

  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    14.10.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    It’s not quite summer, but some days, with all the sunshine happening it feels a lot like it is. Well it certainly looks like it from here in the library where we can’t feel the cold, only see the sunshine.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNantucket Blue, Leila Howland (294 pages) – For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams. Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t. When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer. But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on- most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits- that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality. A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

    First lines: “Even without Holly Howard and Dori Archer, who’d been suspended for drinking on campus, we were supposed to win that game. The sun was high and white, and the breeze carried the scent of sweaty, shampooed girls and a whiff of the fresh asphalt from the schools paved driveway.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMy Beautiful Hippie, Janet Nichols Lynch (186 pages) – It’s 1967, and Joanne’s San Francisco neighborhood has been invaded by hippies coming to be part of the “summer of love” – a development that thrills Joanne but disgusts her parents. In the midst of preparations for her sister’s wedding, Joanne meets Martin, an enigmatic and irresistible hippie, and begins to see him secretly. Over the course of the next year, Joanne discovers and an alternative culture of acid tests, street theater, anti-war demonstrations, and psychedelic dances that both fascinates and frightens her. But as her two worlds collide, Joanne must decide whether to stay in her middle-class family or follow free-spirited Martin into a new kind of life.

    First lines: “I was in a hurry as usual, rushing down the hill on Ashbury street. Only minutes before Denise’s bridal shower was about start, my mother had sent me to the Sunrise Market for a tub of Cool Whip. I turned the corner onto Haight Street and smacked right into him.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRules of Summer, Joanna Philbin (337 pages) – When seventeen-year-old Rory MchShane steps off the train in East Hampton, it’s as if she has entered another universe, one populated by impossibly beautiful people wearing designer clothes and driving expensive cars. She’s signed on to be the summer errand girl for the Rules – a wealthy family with an enormous beach-front mansion. Upon arrival, she’s warned by other staff members to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done. Stifled by her friends and her family’s country club scene, seventeen-year-old Isabel Rule, the youngest of the family, embarks on a breathless romance with a guy whom her parents would never approve of. It’s the summer for taking chances, and Isabel is bringing Rory along for the ride. But will Rory’s own summer romance jeopardize her friendship with Isabel? And, after long-hidden family secrets surface, with the Rules’ picture-perfect world ever be the same?

    First lines: “She really should have just told someone. Just dropped it casually into conversation the last day of school, when people were talking about their summer plans. Oh, really? You’re going to tennis camp? You’re spending a month at Wildwood? You got that internship in New York that you applied for six months ago? Well that’s great. I’ll be spending the summer in the Hamptons.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRiptide, Lindsey Scheibe (277 pages) – Grace has one summer to prove she’s good enough. For Grace Parker, surfing is all about the ride and the moment. Everything else disappears. She can forget that her best friend, Ford Watson, has a crush on her that she can’t reciprocate. She can forget how badly she wants to get a surf scholarship to UC San Diego. She can forget the pressure of her parents’ impossibly high expectations. When Ford enters Grace into a surf competition—the only way she can impress the UCSD surfing scouts—she has one summer to train and prepare. Will she gain everything she’s ever wanted or lose the only things that ever mattered?

    First lines: “I stretch out my legs, enjoying the hot sand against my calves. Early morning sun creates an orange sheen on the ocean as I search for a big set of waves. The endless white formations roll in; lines of blurred corduroy become distinct opportunities – or not – as they roll closer to the local surf break.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True, Sarah Strohmeyer (295 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Zoe and her cousin Jess eagerly start summer jobs at New Jersey’s Fairyland theme park, but Jess does not get her dream role and Zoe is assigned to be personal assistant to the park’s “Queen,” winning her no friends. Zoe learns there is a dark core under the glittering facade of the fairy-tale themed amusement park (cough, Disneyland, cough). For starters, her boss has a blacker heart than Snow White’s stepmother, and the other interns are worse backstabbers than Cinderella’s step-sisters. On the upside, she has the chance of romance with a real-life Prince Charming, and a shot at winning a big heap of cash. If she can just live through a summer in the Fairyland Kingdom.

    First lines: “There was no getting around the fact that Tinker Bell was a little bitch. The tiny, white powder-puff bichon frise with professionally manicured toenails scampered under the thornbush and out of sight.”

  • Fashion Friday, Style Catalogue

    Fashion House <3

    11.10.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Fashion House <3

    If you have some time to kill over the next couple of days (last weekend of holidays, and whatnot!) I recommend this book:

    Syndetics book coverFashion house : illustrated interiors from the icons of style / Megan Hess.
    “A collection of beautifully illustrated interiors celebrating fashionable people in their inspirational, eclectic, fun, and always extraordinary habitats. Within the sumptuously illustrated pages of this book, you will find every extravagant interior you’ve ever dreamed of. Fashion House celebrates some of the most decadent and indulgent interiors from around the world and the icons, past and present, who inhabit them. Discover the type of furniture they choose, the style of clothes they wear, and how they style a space.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

    I had an obsessive pore over a look through this book and I fell in love straight away. It’s not a straight-up fashion book; it actually focuses more on interior design but it is SO beautifully illustrated and put together that you won’t be able to resist. It features lots of different interior design styles and lists the items you need to create that look (I’m torn between Warehouse Digs and Tropical Escape – dilemmas). It also has themed rooms – AudreyDior or Versace room, anyone?! But don’t worry, even someone who has no interest in updating their digs will enjoy this book. So exquis.

    ♥ PS – Sooooo, I totally haven’t hit up any of those DIY activities yet (apart from the apricot and coconut balls, they were amaze. But they no longer exist so it doesn’t seem to count, lol). But I’m planning to this weekend! I’ve bought the materials and everything! Stay tuned, peeps. Beautiful things are about to happen! We hope.

  • Books, Grimm, New

    Coming soon

    09.10.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Coming soon

    October is the month for The House of Hades by Rick Riordan, Just One Year by Gayle Forman (author of If I Stay), The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (The Maze Runner), Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff (How I Live Now), of course Allegiant by Veronica Roth, and we’ve just ordered these:

    The Waking World, Tom Huddleston. Not to be confused with Tom Hiddleston (Loki in Thor (trailer looks good in 3D!)). “The Island is in peril. For years, bloodthirsty Marauder pirates have raided along the coast, carrying off goods and cattle. Now they’re growing bolder, striking further inland, even taking slaves to man their black ships. An invasion is underway. As the son of a wealthy Law, young Aran should be safe. The underground farmstead of Hawk’s Cross lies miles from the sea, and even the killing winds that sweep down from the moors can’t penetrate those solid steel gates. But Aran doesn’t want to be safe, he wants to be a warrior: to fight for his friends, his family and his home. Many tales have been told of the boy who became our greatest King. Very few have spoken of the future…” (goodreads.com)

    Elegy, Amanda Hocking. The fourth and final book in the Watersong series. “Now that Gemma holds the key to breaking the siren curse, the stakes have never been higher. At last, a future with those she loves – and a romance with Alex – is close enough to touch… but not if Penn has anything to say about it. Penn is more determined than ever to have Daniel for her own and to destroy Gemma and Harper along the way, and Penn always gets what she wants. Now a final explosive battle is about to begin, and the winner will take everything Gemma holds dear.” (goodreads.com)

    Homeland, Cory Doctorow. The sequel to Little Brother. “A few years [after Little Brother], California’s economy collapses, but Marcus’s hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a crusading politician who promises reform. Soon his onetime girlfriend Masha emerges from the political underground to gift him with a thumbdrive containing a Wikileaks-style cable-dump of hard evidence of corporate and governmental perfidy. It’s incendiary stuff – and if Masha goes missing, Marcus is supposed to release it to the world. Then Marcus sees Masha being kidnapped by the same government agents who detained and tortured Marcus years earlier. Marcus can leak the archive Masha gave him – but he can’t admit to being the leaker, because that will cost his employer the election. He’s surrounded by friends who remember what he did a few years ago and regard him as a hacker hero. He can’t even attend a demonstration without being dragged onstage and handed a mike. He’s not at all sure that just dumping the archive onto the Internet, before he’s gone through its millions of words, is the right thing to do. Meanwhile, people are beginning to shadow him, people who look like they’re used to inflicting pain until they get the answers they want.” (goodreads.com)

  • Rachel and Rebecca

    A love letter to Elizabeth Wein

    08.10.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on A love letter to Elizabeth Wein

    Dear Elizabeth Wein,

    We love your characters, your writing style, and your ability to completely absorb us into the past. You opened our eyes to what life was like during World War Two in a way that history books haven’t. You changed the way we think about the world, (and what more can we ask for from a brilliant writer) and for this we thank you. The heroines of these two books, Verity and Rose respectively, are strong, fierce, resilient, and endearing young women who, in Maggie Stiefvater’s words, will “infest your heart.” They’re deeply relatable characters, particularly in their relationships with their loved ones, the best aspects of which we see in our own friendships. More than anything though we love the gloriously absorbing story you weave, particularly in Code Name Verity, where there were so many layers of narrative details that when we got to the end we had to start all over again.

    AND she has another series called ‘The Lion Hunters’ (which sadly we don’t have at the moment) which is Arthurian which means they feature subject matter pertaining or relating to King Arthur and his court.

    With much love and respect

    R n R

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCode Name Verity

    Fair warning, this book has left more than one librarian in tears. It’s one of our all time favourite books. We, and many others on Goodreads, can’t quite put into words why we love it so much. The consensus seems to be: because it’s a completely different read to other YA, to other war stories, to other stories about women. Because while heartbreaking it’s tender and Elizabeth Wein pulls us between them both beautifully. Because in amongst the heartbreak it will make you laugh. Because it’s one hundred percent completely and utterly believable.

    That’s all well and good you say, but what’s it about? Verity has been shot down over WW2 occupied France. She’s an enemy agent being interrogated by SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden. They’ve struck a deal where he’ll stop the torture if she tells him everything she can remember about the British War Effort. But that story starts with Maddie, the pilot who flew Verity into France – an Allied Invasion of Two. It’s a rollicking good story with some seriously shocking twists. We cannot recommend it highly enough!

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRose Under Fire

    Rose is an American, it’s 1944 and she’s just arrived in the UK to ferry planes. She’s more naive than the other girls and in the early part of the book the suspense builds as you just know something is going to go dastardly wrong. Which it does so spectacularly, landing Rose (quite literally) in Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Where Verity was battling the Nazi’s by herself, Rose’s strength to fight them comes from her friendships with the other prisoners. More than caring for someone else though, Rose’s life depends on these friendships. The horrific conditions of the concentration camps are something that, because of time and distance, we can’t ever quite comprehend. However, the characters, and more specifically the relationships between them, are so very relatable that they pull us into the world Elizabeth Wein is describing with ease. Because we fell so in love with the characters, the horrors of WW2 resonated in a way they didn’t when we studied them in school.

    If you want to know more about the Nazi concentration camps, the Memorial Site and Museum of Auschwitz has a fantastic website as does the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum which can be found here.

  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    07.10.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    set during a war (both real and imagined):

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDusk, Eve Edwards (293 pages) – When Helen, a young hard-working nurse, meets aristocratic artist Sebastian, she doesn’t expect to even like him, let alone fall in love. But against the troubled backdrop of wartime London, an unlikely but intense romance blossoms. And even the bloody trenches of the Somme, where they are both posted, cannot diminish their feelings for each other. But Helen is concealing a secret and when a terrible crime is committed there are devastating consequences for them both. When lives are being lost, can true love survive in the brutal backdrop of WWI?

    First lines: “‘Nurse, I’m ready for the next patient. What do we have?’ Helen checked her hastily scribbled notes for the surgeon. Dr Cameron was one of her favourites among the medical staff, a cheery Scot, short of stature, whose balding crown glowed in the operating theatre lights with a steady and reassuring beam. “

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsShahana, Rosanne Hawke (195 pages) – Shahana lives alone with her young brother in the shadow of the Line of Control, the border patrolled by Pakistani and Indian soldiers that divides Kashmir in two. Life is hard, but Shahana ekes out a living with her beautiful embroidery. Then she finds a boy lying unconscious near the border. Zahid is from across the Line of Control, and Shahana takes a terrible risk by sheltering him. But how can she give Zahid up to the authorities when she knows he’ll be imprisoned – or worse?

    First lines: “The early sun was shining as Shahana skipped down the village bazaar. Her beloved big brother Irfan was taking her to tent school. Their cement school had never been rebuilt after the earthquake. Shahana had on her blue qameez and white shalwar; she was nine and had just learned how to iron her school uniform. Today would be exciting.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTorn, David Massey (274 pages) – In war-torn Afghanistan, a girl walks right into a hail of bullets: Elinor watches it with her own eyes. The young British army medic risks the line of fire to rescue her, only to realize the girl is gone. To find the missing, mysterious child, Elinor enlists the help of an American Navy SEAL. But in all the confusion, with coalition troops fighting every day to maintain a fragile peace, does Ben have something to hide? Elinor came to Afghanistan with the hope of changing hearts and minds: What she’s about to discover will make her question everything she ever believed about love and war.

    First lines: “Five a.m. I’m woken by yapping dogs and the first distant call to prayer, carried to me on a light breeze. My first morning in Afghanistan. Private Elinor Nielson, recently qualified medic, first tour of active duty. That’s what I keep telling myself – over and over like a demented idiot – to calm my nerves.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Elementals, Saundra Mitchell (296 pages) – In 1917, war spells the death of one age in Europe; the rise of motion pictures heralds the birth of a new one in America. Caught between both are two extraordinary souls, bound by destiny. Kate Witherspoon has lived a bohemian life with her artist parents. In 1917, the new art form of the motion picture is changing entertainment—and Kate is determined to become a director. Meanwhile, midwestern farm boy Julian Birch has inherited the wanderlust that fueled his parents’ adventures. A childhood bout with polio has left him crippled, but he refuses to let his disability define him. Strangers driven by a shared vision, Kate and Julian set out separately for Los Angeles, the city of dreams. There, they each struggle to find their independence. When they finally meet, the teenage runaways realize their true magical legacy: the ability to triumph over death, and over time. But as their powerful parents before them learned, all magic comes with a price.

    First lines: “Ordinary girls are untroubled by destiny. Unfortunately, neither Amelia van den Broek nor Zora Stewart Birch was entirely ordinary. They leaned against the dining counter, watching the whole of the world grow smaller as they rose into the air on the great Ferris wheel.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFaerie After, Janni Lee Simner (264 pages) – After a devastating war between humanity and Faerie, Liza’s world was forever changed. Plants and trees became aggressive, seeking to root in living flesh and bone, and newborn children were discovered to have magic powers. Liza was one of these children, and with her abilities she brought her mother back from the ruined Faerie realm and restored the seasons to her own. Now there are signs of a new sickness in the forest. Piles of ash are found where living creatures once stood. Liza investigates and discovers the Faerie realm has continued to deteriorate, slowly turning to dust, and that its fate is inexorably linked to that of the human realm. To find a solution, Liza must risk crossing over, putting herself and all she cares about at risk. Will Liza be forced to sacrifice her life and the lives of her friends in order to save both worlds?

    First lines: “He came to me in the rain, as the first maple leaves were surrendering their green. Beyond the path where I waited, their veins burned orange and red beneath a steel-gray sky, and their branches hissed restlessly as they reached for the falling water.”

  • Fashion Friday, Style Catalogue

    DIY Fashion

    04.10.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on DIY Fashion

    Image from apairandasparediy.com

    Over the weekend I stumbled across a new site which I’m really loving – apairandasparediy.com. Hosted by Geneva Vanderzeil, who is an utter whizz with DIY, the site is filled with aaaaall sorts of fashion DIY ideas for you to try out at home, as well as chic wardrobe inspiration, beautiful travel photos and the occassional recipe.

    As usual, I was kinda late discovering this site – when I followed on Instagram, she already had 47,000 followers. Whoa! Pretty popular, then. I definitely recommend checking the site out (if you’re not one of the 47,000 people who already have). There are lots of projects I want to try, including the chevron midi rings, the porcelain jewellery stand (although mine’s going to feature a beautiful tea cup on top, natch) and the leather collar. I really like the rug dress idea, but I’m not sure that I can make a floor rug look that good on me. I’ll admit that I’m not the best at DIY (my achievements are often more along the ‘nailed it’ lines…) but this site makes things look fairly simple, so here’s hoping.

    The hostess of this site has also published a book, which we have at the library:

    Syndetics book coverDIY fashionista : 40 stylish projects to re-invent and update your wardrobe / Geneva Vanderzeil.
    This volume allows you to re-create the most coveted looks and catwalk trends yourself by doing projects that are professional-looking, inexpensive to make and reuse items you already have or can easily source from markets or secondhand stores.

    DIY books usually make me cringe, as the ideas are often super elaborate and require a million different materials and pieces of equipment. (There’s also my lack of DIY finesse that I mentioned earlier). However, most of Geneva’s ideas really do seem to be easy, and there are lots and lots that don’t require a sewing machine (want but seriously cannot afford). So wish me luck! And I’ll keep you posted on my projects, lol.

  • Books, Grimm, Most Wanted

    Most Wanted: October 2013

    03.10.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Most Wanted: October 2013

    It’s business as usual for the most popular YA titles this month. If there’s something you really want to read, place a reserve! (Also have a look to see if we’ve got the ebook.) If there’s something you really want to read and we don’t have it, let us know about it and we’ll see if we can order it in.

    1. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [no change]
    2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
    3. The Fall of Five, Pittacus Lore [up 1]
    4. Black Friday, Robert Muchamore [no change]
    5. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [up 1]
    6. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [up 2]
    7. Light, Michael Grant [down 4]
    8. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
    9. Insurgent, Veronica Roth [up 1]
    10. Divergent,Veronica Roth [down 2]
    10. Champion, Marie Lu [new, on order]

  • Graphic Novels, Rachel and Rebecca

    Fantastical Graphic Novels

    01.10.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Fantastical Graphic Novels

    Fantasy has never been more popular; these days you can’t turn around without falling over a book about vampires or werewolves or zombies. With these recommendations, though, Nicola was looking for something a little different than your average urban fantasy. Graphic novels are brilliant at bringing such worlds to life; often the true nature of the world depicted is shown in the background of the action. And so without further ado, these are Nicola’s picks for the best fantastical graphic novels:

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGirl Genius, Kaja Boglio

    Girl Genius started life (and continues) as a webcomic. But if flicking through its not inconsiderable archives (it started in 2005) doesn’t appeal, you can take out the books in our collection. Set in an alternate history Steampunk Europe, which is currently under the control of the mighty Wulfenbach Empire. Into this falls Agatha, a teenage girl with almost magical powers of invention and the last scion of a great family. The scale of this world is almost indescribable; one really gets the sense that there’s a massive world beyond the page. This is certainly one of the best developed worlds in fiction.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCastle Waiting, Linda Medley

    At the end of Sleeping Beauty, what happens to the castle? This graphic novel attempts to answer that question; the thorn forest persists, and the castle itself becomes a sanctuary to all sorts of odd people. The world is heavily based on fairytales, but it’s not limited by that. There are hints of darkness beneath the stories of lost princesses and noble woodcutters. Outside the warm and comforting walls of the castle is a real world, one scarred by war and disease. But this graphic novel never loses its gentle tone of optimism and kindness.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCity in the Desert, Moro Rogers

    Many fantasy settings start off with a premise that monsters are real; often those monsters are hidden from everyday life. In City in the Desert, however, monsters are out in the open and hunting them is the only real occupation that pays a decent wage any more. The desert setting seems to be unique, as well, which is always a good thing! Again, the world is fully developed. A nice touch is having the main characters, Irro and Hari, often in conflict with their society; they’re not big heroes, they’re two people who are trying to make their way in an often hostile world.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTales from Outer Suburbia, Shaun Tan

    You could make an argument that this is “urban fantasy”; in fact, it’s there in the title. However, this is a series of oddly realistic tales about the strange things that happen in the ‘burbs. The stories are narrated in a rather matter of fact way, but the subject matter lifts it beyond your average fantasy story; the helpful water buffalo in the long grass in a deserted lot, or a strange man in an old fashioned diving suit. The art is gorgeous. Shaun Tan is Australian, and the art is evocative of that baked-dryness of Australian summers, although perhaps this little book could be set anywhere. It’s not only a unique book in our collection, it’s one of my favourite graphic novels of all time.

» Next Entries