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January 2014

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  • Books, Espionage, Great Reads, Horror, Nicola

    Summer Thrillers

    09.01.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Summer Thrillers

    Here are some great books to take with you on holiday.

    Book cover coutresy of Syndetics
    Extremities, David Lubar (205 pages) A group of high school girls takes revenge on their sadistic gym teacher in the most fitting way possible. Two stowaways find themselves on a ship for the dead. An ancient predator stalks the wrong victim. Here are thirteen tales of death, murder, and revenge from the fertile and febrile imagination of master storyteller David Lubar—his first story collection for the teen audience. (Goodreads)

    First lines: From the author’s note: I am torn (You will appreciate the delicious irony of those specific words as you make your way through this book). Part of me feels that these stories need no introduction. I want you to plunge into the worlds I’ve created and savour the darkness.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Winter Damage, Natasha Cartheue (310 pages) On a frozen Cornish moor, a fifteen-year-old girl lives in a trailer with her dad and little brother. Ennor’s mother left years ago, when things started to go wrong – and gradually their world has fallen apart. Now her father’s gravely ill, school has closed, and Ennor knows they’re going to take her brother away if things don’t pick up soon. So three days before Christmas, when the wind is cold and her dad’s health takes a turn for the worse, Ennor packs a blanket, a map, a saucepan and a gun into her rucksack, and sets off to find her mum and bring her home. Ennor thinks she knows where she’s going. But this journey will change her life for ever – it becomes a battle for survival, a heartbreaking story of love and friendship, and a fable about not finding what you were looking for, but finding something more important instead . . .(Goodreads)

    First lines: There was good in this world and there was evil but the young girl had not learnt the diiference. She didn’t have time for noticing or wondering. Everything was just chores and more.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Close your pretty eyes Sally Nichols (231 pages) Eleven-year-old Olivia has been in care since she was five, and is just beginning her nineteenth placement. Her new home is a secluded farmhouse, centuries old, where she slowly bonds with her foster family. But the house holds dark secrets. Olivia discovers that it was once a notorious baby farm, where unwanted children were left to die. She becomes convinced that the place is haunted. She is desperate to save her new family from the ghosts. The danger is real – but does it come from the twisted mind of a very disturbed child? (Goodreads)

    First Lines: I think I might be a witch. Something went wrong when I was born. Other babies got blue eyes and curly hair, but I came out howling and evil. Other babies were sweet and innocent, and their parents loved them, but my mum hated me right from the start.

    Truly, Madly, Deadly Hannah Jayne (262 pages)Sawyer Dodd is a star athlete, a straight-A student, and the envy of every other girl who wants to date Kevin Anderson. When Kevin dies in a tragic car crash, Sawyer is stunned. Then she opens her locker to find a note:You’re welcome. Someone saw what he did to her. Someone knows that Sawyer and Kevin weren’t the perfect couple they seemed to be. And that someone—a killer—is now shadowing Sawyer’s every move…(Goodreads)

    First lines: “Thank you for coming.” The words rose and fell on the soft pile carpet, and Sawyer wondered whether she should brush the small ball of fuzz from Kevin’s earlobe. It stuck there stark and white against the dark navy blue of his suit.

    Book cover courtesy of SYndetics
    How to lose everything, Phillip Mattheis (207 pages)One summer, an incredible discovery gives Jonathan and his three closest friends many things they so desperately want – but at what cost? Jonathan, Sam, Schulz, and Eric usually spend their summers hanging out at the park, skateboarding and dreaming about the days when they’ll finally move out of the suburbs. But one summer, the four teenagers find a small fortune hidden inside a mysterious abandoned house, and that changes everything. The dizzying thrill of money and power makes the future seem irrelevant; the only question that matters is what they should buy next. It was a dream come true, but it couldn’t last. What starts out as a blessing soon turns into a curse, as stress, drugs, criminal behavior, dwindling funds—and even death—raise serious questions about their choices, and their futures.(Goodreads)

    First lines: When I saw Sam again, he looked like a penguin. It was the beginning of April and it was drizzling. He came up to me and said my name, not quite sure of himself. I was standing there with my friend Will and Will’s friend, whom I ddn’t know. They seemed annoyed by this pudgy, stammering little man.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Defriended Ruth Baron (248 pages) Jason has met the perfect girl. OK, so maybe he hasn’t actually MET Lacey yet, but they talk online all the time. Yet despite spending most nights chatting, Lacey refuses to meet up in person. Suspicious, Jason starts googling, and his cyberstalking leads to a shocking discovery: According to multiple newspapers, Lacey died a year earlier. Soon, Jason finds himself enmeshed in a disturbing mystery. Has he found a way to iChat with the dead? Or is someone playing a dangerous trick? Either way, Jason has to discover the truth before it’s too late. You can’t put up away messages from beyond the grave…(Goodreads)

    First lines: So bored I think I might be dead. Jason wrote the imaginary status update in his head as Ms. rowen droned on about the properties of iron. He thought about sneaking his phone from his pocket and posting it to facebook, but Ms. rowen had hawkish eyes and no patience for rule breakers.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Not a drop to drink Mindy Mcginnis (309 pages)
    Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.
    Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.
    But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….(Goodreads)

    First lines: Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond, the smell of sweet water luring the man to be picked off like the barn swallows that dared to swoop in for a drink. Mother had killed the people who came too close to their pond before, but over the next seven years they fell by Lynn’s gun as well, their existence easily wiped out first by a bullet, then by the coyotes before the sun could rise.


  • Books, Grimm, New

    Recently ordered

    08.01.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Recently ordered

    City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare (due in New Zealand in May/June) – the next instalment in the Mortal Instruments series. They say it’s the last, but we’ve heard that before (can it really be true?). “Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him – must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!” (goodreads.com)

    Raging Star, Moira Young (May) – the conclusion to the Dust Lands trilogy that began with Blood Red Road. “Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton…until she meets him and he confounds all her expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world… for the chosen few. The few who can pay. Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia. What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.” (goodreads.com)

    The One, Kiera Cass (May) – the next in the Selection series. “The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen. America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.” (goodreads.com) That’s an amazing dress.

    The Book Thief, Markus Zusak – we’ve ordered extra copies of this, for re-reading after watching the movie (opening on Thursday, tomorrow).


  • Books, Library Serf, Most Wanted

    Most Wanted: January 2014

    07.01.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Most Wanted: January 2014

    The Book Thief has raced up the reserves list since New Year’s. It’s got staying power: first published in 2006, it was on our most wanted list in 2009 – 2010, and has been on the New York Times bestsellers list continually for a very long time. It’s also one of 5 movie books on our list this month.

    1. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [no change]
    2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
    3. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [no change]
    4. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [back after 4 years]
    5. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 4]
    6=. The Fall of Five, Pittacus Lore [down 2]
    6=. Black Friday, Robert Muchamore [down 1]
    6=. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [no change]
    9=. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
    9=. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [down 3]


  • Rachel and Rebecca

    Books that haven’t gone out in a while

    07.01.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Books that haven’t gone out in a while

    This week we’re bringing you the gems that haven’t gone out in a while, part three! You can see the reasoning behind this collection and the previous instalments here and here.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Properties of Water, Hannah Roberts McKinnon

    For thirteen-year-old Lace Martin it has always been the three of them: Lace, her older sister, Marni, and the lake. The sisters’ lives have always circled around the lake on which they’ve grown up. As Marni always said, the water was in their blood. Both competitive swimmers, the girls once shared everything. But living in her sister’s shadow was sometimes difficult for Lace; there was no escaping Marni’s beauty, wit, and athleticism. All that changed one tragic summer afternoon.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFigs and Fate: Stories About Growing Up in the Arab World Today, Elsa Marston

    The five stories in this collection are told from the perspective of Arab teens living in Syria, Lebanon, a Palestinian refugee camp, Egypt, and Iraq. Each main character embarks on a mission to confront his or her social situation, whether regarding friends, family, teachers, or society at large. Marston beautifully details the rich Middle Eastern culture of these five individuals and their families, dispelling negative stereotypes associated with young adults living in these societies and providing for a better understanding of their culture. Their ideals, goals, and dreams are no different from those of teens living elsewhere in the world. By exploring the challenges they face, Figs and Fate will awaken you to the rhythms of young people’s lives in the Middle East – a beat that may sound surprisingly familiar to you.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe swallow and the Dark, Andrew Matthews

    Sam is sixteen, and at war with his own body, fighting an incurable illness that gives him only months to live. Time has suddenly become very important to him as he now has so little left. Nearly a hundred years ago, another Sam — a lieutenant in the British Army — is off to fight a different kind of war, on the Western Front. He knows that he may well not survive. Linking the two is a girl named Marion. But is Marion just a figment of Sam’s imagination — a hallucination caused by his medication — or something far more extraordinary? Could she somehow be… a bridge across time?

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Year of the Shanghai Shark, Mo Zhi Hong

    The North-Eastern Chinese city of Dalian is home to orphaned teenager Hai Long. In the year of the Sars epidemic, he and his friends live out their urban existence, going to school, navigating the malls, and watching American basketball and Michael Jordan. They are part of China’s new generation, severing ties with their cultural past, surrounded by a fascinating array of rich, colourful characters who frequent their inner-city apartment block – from Gambler Dang, a high stakes Ma Jiang player, to Fish, a peasant from the countryside and an unlikely friend, and finally Uncle, whose shadowy occupation exerts an irresistible pull on Hai Long’s life…

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Door of No Return, Sarah Mussi

    “Until my son, the lost Prince – get it, that’s you – comes back through The Door of No Return, and claims his ransom, my soul will never rest in the land of my ancestors.” Those are Zac’s grandfather’s dying words. An old man’s wild fancy? Or real: diaries, lost maps, secrets buried 300 years ago somewhere in Africa? A motive for murder? Somewhere in the old slave forts of Ghana lies the answer, and Zac knows his only choice is to go there and find out.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCry of the Giraffe : based on a true story, Judie Oron

    Labelled outcasts by their Ethiopian neighbors because of their Jewish faith, 13-year-old Wuditu and her family make the arduous trek on foot to Sudan in the hope of being transported to Yerusalem and its promise of a better life. Instead, they are herded into a squalid refugee camp until the day soldiers round up Wuditu and scores of others, forcing them back to the Ethiopian border. Throughout her harrowing trek across the scorching sand, and the humiliation, fear, and despair she later faces as a slave, Wuditu’s only hope is to be reunited with her family in Yerusalem. Based on real events, this is one girl’s courageous journey from exile and slavery to hope in a new land. It mirrors the experience of thousands of Ethiopian Jews who fled from hatred, persecution, and brutality to a new life in their spiritual homeland.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSo Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), Micol Ostow

    Despite his dreams of hipster rock glory, Ari Abramson’s band, The Tribe is more white bread than indie-cred. Made up of four suburban teens from a wealthy Jewish school, their Motley Crue is about as hardcore as SAT prep and scripture studies. But after a one-song gig at a friend’s Bar Mitzvah – a ska cover of “Hava Nagilah” – the Tribe’s popularity erupts overnight. Now, Ari is forced to navigate a minefield of inflated egos, misplaced romance, and the shallowness of indie-rock elitism. It’s a hard lesson in the complex art of playing it cool.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSecret Keeper, Mitali Perkins

    When her father loses his job and leaves India to look for work in America, Asha, her older sister, Reet and their mother must wait with Baba’s brother and his family, as well as their grandmother, in Calcutta. Uncle is welcoming, but in a country steeped in tradition, the three women must abide by his decisions. Asha knows this is temporary – just until Baba sends for them. But with scant savings and with time passing, the tension builds. Ma finds it hard to submit to her mother- and sister-in-law; Reet’s beauty attracts unwanted marriage proposals; and Asha’s promise to take care of Ma and Reet leads to impulsive behaviour.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Middle of Everywhere, Monique Polak

    Fifteen-year-old Noah Thorpe is spending the school term in George River, In Quebec’s Far North. The Inuit kids call Noah a Qallunaaq–the Inuktitut word for a non-Inuit person, someone ignorant of the customs of the North. Noah thinks the Inuit have a strange way of looking at the world, plus they eat raw meat and seal blubber. Most have never left George River–a town that doesn’t even have its own doctor, let alone a McDonald’s. But Noah’s views change when he realizes he will have to learn a few lessons from his Inuit buddies if he wants to survive in the North.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMalka, Mirjam Pressler

    Malka’s world is changing. Jews are no longer welcome in her home town and her family is threatened by Nazi round-ups. Nothing is safe any more. Now Malka’s mother knows she has no choice – she must take her daughters across the mountains to freedom. But escape proves harder than they could ever have imagined. Separated from her mother and alone in a terrifying new world, Malka struggles to survive starvation and brutality at the hands of the Nazis. But she is unaware that, miles away, a broken-hearted mother is searching for her lost little girl…

    The Star Locket, Natalie Jane Prior

    Identical in appearance, yet raised as strangers on opposite sides of the world, Estee Merton and Sally Taverner share a perilous inheritance: a broken half of a mysterious star-shaped locket, a magical talisman that could control the destiny of millions. Aided by a renegade secret society and a young man who loves one of them too much, Sally and Estee are drawn into a terrifying struggle on the murky streets of nineteenth-century Starberg. As torn loyalties threaten everyone’s safety, the star locket is fated to decide which twin will live and which will be lost. The problem is, there is no way of telling who is real and who is not.



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