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February 2014

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  • Books, Grimm, Most Wanted

    Most Wanted: February 2014

    14.02.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Most Wanted: February 2014

    These are the 10 most reserved Young Adult titles for the month. Hollywood rules: if they’re making movies of you (or your series) you’re onto a good thing. We’re really looking forward to The Fault in Our Stars (June) and Divergent (April).

    1. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [up 3]
    2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
    3. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [down 2]
    4. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 1]
    5. City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare [new, on order]
    6. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [down 3]
    7=. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
    7=. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [up 2]
    7=. Insurgent, Veronica Roth [back]
    10. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [down 1]


  • Great Reads, Horror, Mysteries, New, Nicola

    New Mysteries

    13.02.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Mysteries

    Book Cover courtesy of SyndeticsBlythewood, Carol Goodman (489 pages) At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes. (Goodreads)

    First lines: I heard the bells that morning as I was entering Washington Square. I stopped just past the arch and looked south to see if the sound might be a streetcar but I didn’t see one. Then I looked north, through the arch and up fifth avenue, listening for the bells Og Grace Church playing the quarter hour-but it wasn’t the tune they played. And if the bells weren’t from Grace Church or a streetcar, that meant they were my bells, the ones I heard inside my head, the ones I’d been hearing for the last six months whenever something bad was going to happen.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDeadly: a Pretty little liars novel, Sara Shepherd (305 pages) Deadly, the fourteenth volume in Sara Shepard’s YA Pretty Little Liars series, delivers more juicy scandals, dark secrets, and shocking plot twists. This #1 New York Times bestselling series is also a hit ABC Family original TV show.High school seniors Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer have all done horrible things—things that would put them behind bars if anyone ever found out. And their stalker “A” knows everything.So far A has kept their secrets, using them to torture the girls. But now A’s changed the game. Suddenly the girls are hauled in for questioning, and all their worlds begin to unravel. If A’s plan succeeds, Rosewood’s pretty little liars will be locked away for good. . . .(Goodreads)

    First lines: Remember when you learned about omnipotence in English class? It’s when a narrator is all-knowing and and can see and hear everything. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? Sort of like being the Wizard of Oz. Imagine what you could do if you were all-knowing.

    Book Cover courtesy of SyndeticsHaunted, William Hussey (332 pages) Milton Lake is a seemingly ordinary town, where tales of hauntings and strange goings on ripple beneath the surface. When a mysterious boy comes to town and moves into a large, derelict house, all alone, his arrival changes everything. Shrouded in secrecy, he senses a kindred spirit in Emma Rhodes, and reveals to her a shocking truth. Someone in Milton Lake is using the fabled Ghost Machine to call the spirits of the dead back to our world. Now it is up to these two lost souls to find out who is operating the strange invention before it is too late …For call by call, the dead will be unleashed. (Goodreads)

    First lines: “You gotta bring them back the head, Henry, or won’t count. Good luck.” Henry Torve sidestepped through a gap in the rusted vars, his teeth clenching at the clatter-clang of the gate. Ever since he’d heard the stories about this place, most of them told by his cousin Emma, he had dreamed of this moment: his leg reaching through the gate, his foot touching down upon the cursed earth, and then…he shivered. Henry wouldn’t let go of the bars, not yet, the others might notice how his hands shook.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFull ride, Margaret Peterson Haddix (343 pages) Becca thought her life was over when her father was sent to prison for embezzlement. It didn’t help when he used her as his excuse: “How else is a guy like me supposed to send his daughter to college?” She and her mother fled their town and their notoriety, started over, and vowed never to let anyone know about their past.Now a senior in high school, Becca has spent the last four years hiding in anonymity. But when it’s time to apply to colleges and for financial aid, her mother gives her a rude awakening: If she applies, her past may be revealed to the worldBut Becca has already applied for a full-ride scholarship. And as she begins to probe deeper into the secrets of her past, she discovers that she and her mother might be in danger of more than simple discovery – by revealing the truth about their past, she might be putting their very lives in jeopardy. (Goodreads)

    First lines: My mother and I ran away after the trial. We’d gone back to the house and it felt completely wrong:too big, too empty, too booby-trapped with memories. I used to sit there by the front window when I was a little kid, waiting for Dady to come from work…He won’t be coming home now.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis song will save your life, Leila Sales (274 pages) Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing. (Goodreads)

    First lines: You think it’s so easy to chane yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not. What do you think it takes to reinvent yourself as an all-new person, a person who makes sense, who belongs? Do you change your clothes, your hair, your face? Go on, then. Do it.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBrotherhood of Shades, Dawn Finch (265 pages)From the chaos of Dissolution rises a secret order, a Brotherhood formed to protect the world of the living from the world of the dead.Adam, a teenage boy living on the streets of London, knows nothing of the fantastic and precarious world that exists just beyond his reality – until he dies, cold and alone, aged 14. After years of rejection, Adam discovers he is important, and the Brotherhood needs him. His recruitment to their Order will take him on an adventure that spans the worlds of both the living and the dead, as he and a living girl (14-year-old Edie Freedom) battle to solve a prophetic riddle and save the world. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The small dark room was filled with the stench of bodies, a harsh, acidic smell of unwashed flesh and decay that clung to all those who passed through. A bare flame guttered and spat on its fatt candle as two men, clothes in black robes with a white cord binding their waist, leaned over the two ragged bundles on the floor.
    “The Mother is dead?”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMarie Antoinette, Serial Killer Katie Alender (292 pages)Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

    First lines: In her apartment high above the streets of Paris, Gabrielle Roux stood in front of the bathroom mirror, still wearing her daringly short purple dress and sky-high platform heels. The light glanced off her golden hair and she brished it and thought back to the glittering party from which she had just come.


  • anime, Graphic Novels, Internet, Lists, Rachel

    Everything not saved will be lost.

    11.02.14 | Permalink | 3 Comments

    I’ve been on a really big video game kick lately, especially enjoying some “indie” games including Fez and The Stanley Parable. Which got me thinking, I really love when different media types get all mashed up into one another. Here, specifically, I’m going to highlight some rad books and movies that feature video games in some way.

    The End Games, T. Michael MartinBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    Seventeen-year-old Michael and his little brother Patrick have been battling the monsters in The Game for weeks. Armed with just a rifle between them, the brothers must follow the instructions of the Game Master, which they hope will lead them to a “safe zone”, safe and far away from the terrifying Bellows, the flesh-hungry roaring beasts that roam the land. Michael and Patrick are very good at The Game. They are surviving. But The Game is changing. The Game doesn’t play fair.

    This book is so exciting, and it uses well-known video game narrative in a novel format, providing us with a thrilling debut novel from T. Michael Martin. Plus, isn’t this opening quote great?

    nintendo

    Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, Bryan Lee O’MalleyBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    “What are you doing?”
    “Getting a life.”

    You may have seen the awesome movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and this is the first of six graphic novels that spawned the movie. Scott Pilgrim is a bit of a loser, he plays in a band in his friend’s garage and shares a bed with his roommate, because Scott can’t afford a bed. Or rent. But Wallace has that covered. Then, Scott meets the girl of his dreams – literally. Ramona Flowers rollerblades through Scott’s idle daydream and he becomes determined to track her down. But to get to Ramona, Scott must first defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes… Not so easy after all.

    Scott Pilgrim is so fun because it mashes up video game tropes into its natural narrative. The battles Scott faces with Ramonas exes play out like video game boss battles, and he even earns coins and powerups when he defeats them. The movie is fairly faithful to the books, so watch that if you want, but then ending is different, and the books delve a lot more into little stories that wouldn’t fit into the film. Both are fantastic!

    Level Up, Gene Luen YangBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    Dennis Ouyang feels crippled by his parents’ high expectations of him. They want him to focus on school so he can become a gastroenterologist (a doctor of the digestive system). Dennis wants to play video games. But he does what’s expected of him, until his father’s sudden death leads him to an academic burnout and gets him kicked out of college. Things are suddenly not so straightforward as they once were, and things keep getting weirder when four sappy greeting card angels appear and take charge of Dennis’s life…

    Video game tropes have a lot of fun imagery associations so a graphic novel format suits the mashup well, I think!

    Ready Player One, Ernest ClineBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    It’s 2044 and the world is a pretty ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade escapes this grim reality by hooking himself into OASIS, a sprawling virtual reality where you can live and fall in love on any of your choice of ten thousand planets. OASIS holds grim realities of its own though – somewhere in the sprawling virtual world lurks the ultimate lottery ticket, hidden by OASIS creator James Halliday behind a series of perplexing puzzles. The ticket yields immense fortune and power – if you can unlock it. The world is aware only that Halliday’s riddles are based on his love of late-20th-century pop culture, and many spend their days idly researching and debating Halliday’s idols. Then one day, Wade stumbles across the first clue. Suddenly, the whole world is watching and competing with Wade for the ultimate lottery ticket, many willing to kill Wade to get to it. The race is on, and the stakes are high. Ready, Player One?

    The living-in-a-virtual-reality trope has been widely used, and perhaps is bearing closer on our reality than we realise? Time will tell!

    Eagle Strike, Anthony HorowitzBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    You may already be aware of Alex Rider, teen MI6 agent, but if not, here’s the lowdown. Alex’s uncle was an agent, he was killed, and Alex was brought onboard with MI6. Each book in the series covers a mission assigned to Alex and in Eagle Strike, the fourth book in the series, Alex discovers a plot by popstar-philanthropist Damian Cray to blow up several countries, supposedly for reasons of (obviously crazed) peace activism. Alex has had MI6 backing him up before, but now he’s on his own. Can he stop Cray’s deadly plan in time?

    Although not obviously video game based, Eagle Strike does contain this element – Cray catches Alex eavesdropping on him, so he drops Alex into a real life version of Feathered Serpent, the game Cray had been developing as part of his diabolical plot. Pure evil!

    Summer WarsCover courtesy of Syndetics

    Kenji is good at maths, bad with girls, and spends most of his time in the sprawling online reality of OZ. He lives an insular life until the girl of his dreams hijacks him to be her fake fiance at her family reunion. During the reunion things only get weirder when a cryptic email is received, unleashing a rogue AI in OZ and falsely implicating Kenji in the hacking. Kenji must halt and restore the damage to the virtual infrastructure and stop the rogue AI, named Love Machine, before it causes irreparable damage.

    If you know of any other great books or movies that fit into this theme, let us know in the comments!


  • Books, Grimm, New

    Upcoming!

    05.02.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Upcoming!

    A new music series, short stories for people with Divergent-withdrawal (if you can wait a few months), and time travel.

    Rock War, Robert Muchamore – a new series (Rock War) by the creator of CHERUB. “Meet Jay. Summer. And Dylan. Jay plays guitar, writes songs and dreams of being a rock star. But his ambitions are stifled by seven siblings and a terrible drummer. Summer works hard at school, looks after her nan and has a one-in-a-million singing voice. But can her talent triumph over her nerves? Dylan is happiest lying on his bunk smoking, but his school rugby coach has other ideas, and Dylan reluctantly joins a band to avoid crunching tackles and icy mud. They’re about to enter the biggest battle of their lives. And there’s everything to play for.” (goodreads.com)

    Four, A Divergent Collection, Veronica Roth (Juneish) – five short stories from Four’s perspective (“The Transfer,” “The Initiate,” “The Son,” “The Traitor,” and “Free Four”). Find out what Four thinks really happened.

    The 57 lives of Alex Wayfare, M. G. Buehrlen – “For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair. But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them. It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories. Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever. And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.” (goodreads.com)


  • Rachel and Rebecca

    Books that haven’t gone out in a while

    04.02.14 | 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 four! You can see the reasoning behind this collection and the previous instalments here and here.

    book cover courtesy of Syndetics33 Snowfish, Adam Rapp

    On the run in a stolen car with a kidnapped baby in tow, Curtis, Curl, and Bobbie are three young people with troubled pasts and bleak, uncertain futures. As they struggle to find a new life for themselves, it becomes painfully clear that none will ever be able to leave the past behind – though for some, redemption is waiting in the unlikeliest of places. It’s a harrowing and haunting read that’s sure to stay with you.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons, Ann Rinaldi

    Kidnapped from her home in Senegal and sold as a slave in 1761, a young girl is purchased by the wealthy Wheatley family of Boston. Phillis Wheatley – as she comes to be known – has an eager mind and a knack for learning that leads her on an unusual path for a slave. When the Wheatley’s discover Phillis’s talent for writing poetry, they begin to mold her future by having her “perform” for influential guests. Eventually she is sent to England, where her work is finally published – the first book of poetry by and African American woman. Despite her great achievement and the fame that follows, Phillis is troubled about her way of life. All of the trappings of success do nothing to change the fact that she is still a slave.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsVariant X, Sue Robinson

    A deadly strain of botfly is causing fear and panic on Australia’s east coast. In a race against time, Adam Wilde follows his scientist father to South America in search of a biological remedy. On board the Carlotta, their floating laboratory on a tributary of the Amazon, Adam meets Sharma, the daughter of a family friend. The two are suspicious of each other from the outset and, in the melting heat of the forest, tension builds to breaking point. Things are about to go very, very wrong.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAnonymity Jones, James Roy

    Once, in a street not very far from yours, there lived a girl called Anonymity Jones. Anonymity’s life is falling apart. Her father has left to have a mid-life crisis, her mother’s new boyfriend is a definite worry, her Europe-bound sister has changed her name (just to make a point), and all her girl friends are now girlfriends, with boyfriends. And then there’s the art teacher. Anonymity’s losing control, and it’s decision time. Does she hang on, get out, or get even?

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKoyal Dark, Mango Sweet, Kashmira Sheth

    Jeeta’s family is caught up in the whirlwind of arranging marriages for her two older sisters, but the drama and excitement leave Jeeta cold. Even though tradition demands the parade of suitors, the marriage negotiations, and the elaborate displays, sixteen-year-old Jeeta wonders what happened to the love and romance the movies promise? She dreads her turn at the matrimonial circuit, especially since Mummy is always complaining about how Jeeta’s dark skin and sharp tongue will turn off potential husbands. But when Jeeta’s smart mouth and liberal ideas land her in love with her friend’s cousin Neel, she must strike a balance between duty to her tradition-bound parents, and the desire to follow her heart.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGeneral Winston’s Daughter, Sharon Shinn

    When seventeen-year-old heiress Averie Winston travels with her guardian to faraway Chiarrin, she looks forward to the reunion with her father, who is commanding general; seeing her handsome fiancé, Morgan; and exploring the strange new country. What she finds is entirely different from what she expected. Although the Chiarizzi appear to accept the invading army, rebels have already tried to destroy them; Morgan is not the man she thought he was; and she finds herself falling in love with Lieutenant Ket Du’kai, who himself comes from a conquered society. Can the irrepressible Averie remake herself in this new world?

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDamosel : in which the Lady of the Lake renders a frank and often startling account of her wondrous, Stephanie Spinner

    Water spirit Damosel, the Lady of the Lake, glides through Arthur’s kingdom like a glamorous wraith. She shimmers and shifts between the worlds of fairies and humans, with the Rules Governing the Ladies of the Lake always on her mind: The Rule of Thorough Preparation for a Difficult Task, The Rule of Eternally Binding Vows to Wielders of Magic, Especially Wizards, The Rule of Service to Future Kings. Her knowledge is vast (magic, metal, men’s hearts) and leads to her greatest honor – and worst mistake. Damosel makes a promise to the wizard Merlin to protect young King Arthur, and then dares to break it – with devastating results.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInferno, Robin Stevenson

    For Dante, high school is hell. She hates her new home in the suburbs, her only friend has moved away, her homeroom teacher mocks her and her mother is making her attend a social skills group for teenage girls. When a stranger shows up at school and hands Dante a flyer that reads: “WOOF, WOOF. YOU ARE NOT A DOG. WHY ARE YOU GOING TO OBEDIENCE SCHOOL?” Dante thinks she’s found a soul mate. Someone who understands. But there are all kinds of ways of bringing about change … and some are more dangerous than others.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsToads and Diamonds, Heather Tomlinson

    Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family’s scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: Flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks. It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely step-sister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward. Blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem, however. Diribani’s newfound wealth brings her a prince – and an attempt on her life. Tana is chased out of the village because the province’s governor fears snakes, yet thousands are dying of a plague spread by rats. As the sisters’ fates hang in the balance, each struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune, love … or death?

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Bad Girls’ Club, Rhian Tracey

    Four girls – Mary, Bea, Meena and Atlanta – are thrown together when they are picked for very different reasons by their teacher, to form a book review club. Their discussions and reviews will be heard on radio, chaired and presented by the incredibly cool Jazz. As the girls gradually relax and talk more and more animatedly about what they think about the different books, they find they are learning from, as well as about, each other. And so they become friends. Until one day Mary does the unforgivable and, having flirted outrageously with Bea’s new boyfriend, makes an all-out play for him. The tender new friendship of the foursome is fractured as a result of what Mary has done.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNo and Me, Delphine De Vigan

    Lou Bertignac is thirteen, has an IQ of 160, a head full of questions and a good friend in class rebel Lucas. At home, her father puts a brave face on things but cries in secret in the bathroom, while her mother has hardly left the house in years, not since her second child died in its sleep. To escape this desolate world, Lou likes to go to one of Paris’s main railway stations, Gare d’Austerlitz, to see emotion writ large in the smiles and tears of arrival and departure. But there she also sees the homeless and meets a girl called No, not much older than herself. She determines to make No the subject of her class project, and bit by bit, coaxed with drinks and a seat in a warm cafe, No begins to talk.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWendy, Karen Wallace

    Wendy’s imagination never runs away with her – it flies. Wendy Darling is not the perfect girl her parents would like her to be. Intrepid, outspoken, and wilful, she’s always getting into trouble. One evening, confined to the nursery by her horrible nanny, she sneaks out to spy on one of her parents’ glamorous parties. What Wendy sees changes her life forever and triggers a series of confusing adventures as she tries to solve the mysteries that lie at the heart of her family…

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Midnight Charter, David Whitley

    In the city of Agora, anything can be bought and sold. Even children are possessions until their twelfth birthday. Mark has been sold by his father and Lily, an orphan from birth, has bartered for her life. Thrown together by chance, in the ancient tower of Count Stelli, they face an existence of poverty and servitude unless they can find a way to break free. But, unbeknown to Mark and Lily, they are being watched by the ruler of the city. Can they survive the treachery that awaits them and discover the dark secret that binds them together?

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMessage in a Bottle, Valerie Zenatti

    After a suicide bomb attack on her local Jerusalem cafe, seventeen-year-old Israeli Tal Levine sends a message in a bottle to Gaza. It is a desperate act, but Tal hopes that by starting a dialogue with a Palestinian, their shared experiences could lead to some kind of mutual understanding. Her message is found by a young man calling himself Gazaman, and a remarkable email correspondence begins…



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