How many times have you found the perfect hairstyle on Pinterest (or anywhere on the internet, for that matter) and then, when you click the link to find out how to do it, there are no instructions! Just a pretty picture. SO annoying! So I was pretty happy when this new book arrived:
The hairstyle directory : the ultimate, practical guide to creating classic & modern styles / Christina Butcher.
“From elaborate “up-dos” to casual braids, inspirational hairstyles continue to populate fashion blogs, Pinterest boards, and style magazines everywhere. However, this popularity belies a gaping lack of consolidated and authoritative advice on the techniques required to create these styles, and so the Hair Style Directory presents a comprehensive resource that identifies the practical techniques to create over 80 hairstyles. The accompanying step-by-step tutorials then give the reader the instructions they need to replicate that style.” – abridged from amazon.com
I have it out at the mo and it’s really good – loads of hairstyles I want to try out. I’m completely useless at doing my hair (definitely guilty of sleep-styling) so am excited to try out some of the tutorials in this book. If it goes well, I’ll post some pics here… Wish me luck!
so claims a song by CSS (they’re pretty rad).
For some people, music is what keeps them going. It can be an essential part of coping and survival and can help people in ways even they can’t understand. It could be the melody, an intense beat or the maybe lyrics blasting through your headphones which make you think the song was written just for you. For whatever reason, music makes us feel things both good and bad. For some characters in the books below, music is what keeps them going through some especially difficult times.
Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
“Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.” (goodreads.com)
Eleanor has a pretty difficult home life, and Park enables and encourages her obsession with music. It helps her get through some pretty traumatic times and the 80s tunes Eleanor connects with relate just so to her life and surroundings. AND Rainbow Rowell herself published some playlists on her blog that inspired and represent each of the main characters, so you could listen to those while you read this amaaaazing book and truly immerse yourself in the experience! Just a suggestion. (You can find the playlists here at Rainbow Rowell’s blog)
P.S. We also have this as a book on cd!
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
“It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.” (goodreads.com)
Nick and Norah’s first connection is formed via the playlists Nick makes for his then-girlfriend Tris, who is also Norah’s friend. Tris couldn’t care less about the thought and effort put into these playlists for her, but Norah feels a connection to the person who compiled them and… well you’ll see when you read it 🙂 We also have the dvd, which is just 80c to issue using your YA library card!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
“Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.” (goodreads.com)
We have the movie version of this too! These music books sure lend themselves well to film adaptations, huh?
The Vinyl Princess, Yvonne Prinz
“Allie, a sixteen-year-old who is obsessed with LPs, works at the used record store on Telegraph Ave. and deals with crushes–her own and her mother’s–her increasingly popular blog and zine, and generally grows up over the course of one summer in her hometown of Berkeley, California.” (WCL catalogue)
The Vinyl Princess covers a bunch of niche areas – LP collecting, zine-making, blogging (although these are all becoming pretty ubiquitous) – so if you relate to any of these pasttimes, this may just be the book for you!
Fat Kid Rules the World, K. L. Going
Troy Billings is seventeen, 296 pounds, friendless, utterly miserable, and about to step off a New York subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Until he meets Curt MacCrae, an emaciated, semi-homeless, high school dropout guitar genius. Soon, Curt has recruited Troy as his new drummer, even though Troy can’t play the drums. Together, Curt and Troy will change the world of punk, and Troy’s own life, forever. (edited from goodreads.com)
Fat Kid Rules The World achieves something great in the way music, and particularly the energy of drumming is described. It could so easily fall flat, but Going really captures the energy and essence of a punk drummer.
Chopsticks, Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral
This one looks like it’ll all be sunshine and happiness, but don’t be fooled: “In a love story told in photographs and drawings, Glory, a brilliant piano prodigy, is drawn to Frank, an artistic new boy, and the farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness until the only song she is able to play is ‘Chopsticks.'” So it’s kind of a graphic novel – there’s something for everybody!
We hope you’ve enjoyed NZ Music Month 2014, maybe came to one (or more!) of our library music events and we look forward to doing it all over again next year! If there were any highlights of NZMM that you’d like to tell us about, please do so in the comments! I’ll be back to regular scheduled posting next week – who’s excited for TFIOS? 😉
Rolling Stone magazine has published a list of 40 best YA novels. Their list includes classics like The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger and The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton; some not quite old enough to be classics like Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan; and some recently published future-classics like Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.
Some Lots of these picks we totally agree with – browse our librarians’ choice list on Easyfind here.
Grandmaster, David Klass (226 pages) Freshman Daniel Pratzer gets a chance to prove himself when the chess team invites him and his father to a weekend-long parent-child tournament. Daniel, thinking that his father is a novice, can’t understand why his teammates want so badly for them to participate. Then he finds out the truth: as a teen, his father was one of the most promising young players in America, but the pressures of the game pushed him too far, and he had to give up chess to save his own life and sanity. Now, thirty years later, Mr. Pratzer returns to the game to face down an old competitor and the same dark demons that lurk in the corners of a mind stretched by the demands of the game. (Goodreads)
First lines: Chess club was done for the day, and so was eye. I had played three games that afternoon, two of which I’d managed to lose in the first fifteen moves. I tried to remind myself that I had just taken up the game six months ago and was still leanring the basics, but there were times when I wanted to heave the nearest chess set out the window and never touch another rook or pawn again.
Broken Strings, Maria Farrer (423 pages)Jess, a talented 17-year-old violinist, suffers from stage-fright as she auditions for a place at a prestigious music school. Her family do not have enough money for her to continue to study so when she fails, she vows not to play again. Until her wealthy grandmother – estranged from her family since Jess’s mother fell pregnant – shows up at their doorstep and promises six months of tuition in exchange for Jess moving to live with her. Once ensconced in her grandmother’s rich, but empty, life she starts to uncover the mystery of why her grandmother never spoke to her mother again, and the secret which tore her family apart. (Goodreads)
First lines: I slump back in my chair, push the table leg with the bottom of my shoe. It grates across the floor and puts my teeth on edge. My heard’s hurting; pounding between my eyes. I shudder-full of hope, full of dread.
What we did for love, Natasha Farrat (205 pages)Arianne knew Luc before he went away, of course she did. Everyone in Samaroux knows each other. When he returns after five years, the spark between them reignites and becomes something more. But will the war let them be together? As the two teens fall deeply in love, their world starts to crumble around them. German forces, reeling from defeats in the east, are closing in, and Luc, desperate to atone for his family’s past, wants to join the resistance. Arianne will do anything to keep him safe. But in such a small village, Luc is not alone in his love for Arianne. And Luc’s rival just might be a traitor. How far will they go to protect what they believe in? And what will they do for love?(Goodreads)
First lines: I should leave. I want to- I think- but it’s so difficult. I love it here. There’s the lake, look, surrounded by trees. And there’s the river going into it, where we used to swin because the lake is so muddy, and there’s the road curving around the hill uptowards the village. It’s so peaceful.
Dead and buried, Anne Cassidy (328 pages)It’s been five years since Rose’s mother Kathy went missing and, after recent events, all Rose wants to do is get on with her life. Which means taking a break from her complicated stepbrother, Joshua. Then police officer Henry Thompson comes calling with bad news: a body has been found buried in the garden of Rose’s old house. A body that has lain undiscovered for five years. The body of a missing teenage girl. With Kathy and Brendan implicated in her death, Rose and Joshua have one last chance to clear their parents’ names. But if they fail, the consequences will be deadly . . .(Goodreads)
First lines: Now, when Rose thought of her mother, the word killer came into her head. It conjured up pictures sje did not want to see, sounds that she did not want to hear. It was better not to think of her at all.
Graffiti Knight, Karen Bass (282 pages)After a childhood cut short by war and the harsh strictures of Nazi Germany, sixteen-year-old Wilm is finally tasting freedom. In spite of the scars World War II has left on his hometown, Leipzig, and in spite of the oppressive new Soviet regime, Wilm is finding his own voice. It’s dangerous, of course, to be sneaking out at night to leave messages on police buildings. But it’s exciting, too, and Wilm feels justified, considering his family’s suffering. Until one mission goes too far, and Wilm finds he’s endangered the very people he most wants to protect.(Goodreads)
First lines: The broken windows of the building to the right watched our progress with the hollow stare of someone defeated and beyond caring.
Year of mistaken discoveries, Ellen Cook (257 pages)As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared;they were both adopted. Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact…until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it’s urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom, but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party. Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora’s loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora’s who is also looking for a way to respect Nora’s legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she’;s really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics.(Goodreads)
First lines: It was clear that beer didn’t make my boyfriend a deep thinker.
“I never thought about it before, but Jesus was adopted.” Colton nodded slowly, as if realizing something very profound. Or he didn’t want to move too quickly in case he got the spins.
“Joseph was, like, his stepdad.”
Spirit of a mountain wolf, Rosanne Hawke (205 pages)Fourteen-year-old Razaq Khan lives in the Pakistani tribal area of Kala Dhaka, Black Mountain. When an earthquake devastates his family home, Razaqs dying father tells him to travel to his uncle Javaid. A man preying on orphans lures Razaq to the city with the promise of finding his uncle. But it is not long before Razaq realizes he has not been helped at allhe has been sold in to slavery. Losing hope while in captivity, Razaq meets Tahira, a young girl suffering just like him.(Goodreads)
First lines: Abdur-Razaq Nadeem felt the rumble in the earth- like a truck rushing underground. Then, an eerie heaviness, a sound almost, but there were no words to describe it -like a mourning song with no music.
City in the desert: the serpent crown, Moro Rogers (149 pages) Monster hunter Irro is perhaps the only person in Kevala making a good living. The city pays him and his tailed assistant, Hari, a bounty for each monster carcass they bring in. But one day a religious sect called The Way of the Sacred Peace comes to Kevala to solve the monster problem by capping the city’s Spirit Fountain. Out of a job with all the monsters gone, Irro and Hari are determined to prove that there is a more sinister plot behind the Sacred Peace’s plan. Irro and Hari leave the walls of Kevala to seek new lives elsewhere. However, when the Crown Serpent of Kevala tracks them down and informs them that the evils of the Sacred Peace have spread far beyond Kevala’s borders, our heroes decide to return and save the city they love. Before they can do that, though, they must journey across the wastelands to the prison of the Monster King, and release him in exchange for his help. (Goodreads)
Will o’ the Wisp, Tom Hammock and Megan Hutchison (214 pages)After her parents’ accidental death by mushroom poisoning, young Aurora Grimeon is sent to live with her estranged grandfather on Ossuary Isle, deep in the southern swamps. Joined by her grandfather’s pet raccoon Missy, Aurora explores the fog-covered island of graves. Along the way she meets its sinister residents who care for the tombstones and mausoleums, living out their lives by the strange rules of Hoodoo magic. When ghostly things start happening out in the swamp and island residents start disappearing, Aurora thrusts herself into the middle of the mystery, uncovering secrets that might be better left buried.(Goodreads)
We’re past the halfway mark through NZ Music Month now, so better make the most of it! Don’t forget we have Harriet and the Matches performing at Newtown library this Friday the 23rd of May, we’ll see you there at 7pm!
In the mean time, have a dance party in your living room to these fab songs and videos from NZ artists!
Here’s Lorde performing Tennis Court at the Billboard Music Awards the other day
Settle Down by Kimbra
Apple Pie Bed by Lawrence Arabia
It’s Choade My Dear by Connan Mockasin
Dominion Road by The Mutton Birds (an oldie but a goodie)
40 Years by The Phoenix Foundation (this one’s directed by Taika Waititi who directed the movie Boy)
And finally Just A Boy by Pikachunes
This post was brought to you by Gina at Newtown library’s genius (Gina-us?) suggestions! With much enthusastic nodding and encouragement from myself.
Today, one-word titles:
Gasp, Lisa McMann – the third book in the Visions series (after Crash and Bang). “After narrowly surviving two harrowing tragedies, Jules now fully understands the importance of the visions that she and people around her are experiencing. She’s convinced that if the visions passed from her to Sawyer after she saved him, then they must now have passed from Sawyer to one of the people he saved. That means it’s up to Jules to figure out which of the school shooting survivors is now suffering from visions of another crisis. And once she realizes who it is, she has to convince that survivor that this isn’t all crazy – that the images are of something real. Something imminent. As the danger escalates more than ever before in the conclusion to the Visions series, Jules wonders if she’ll finally find out why and how this is happening – before it’s too late to prevent disaster.” (goodreads.com)
Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier (June/July) – the long-awaited new novel from the author of Liar and How to Ditch Your Fairy. “The setting: Razorhurst, 1932. The fragile peace between two competing mob bosses – Gloriana Nelson and Mr Davidson – is crumbling. Loyalties are shifting. Betrayals threaten. Kelpie knows the dangers of the Sydney streets. Ghosts have kept her alive, steering her to food and safety, but they are also her torment. Dymphna is Gloriana Nelson’s ‘best girl’, experienced in surviving the criminal world, but she doesn’t know what this day has in store for her. When Dymphna meets Kelpie over the corpse of Jimmy Palmer, Dymphna’s latest boyfriend, she pronounces herself Kelpie’s new protector. But Dymphna’s life is in danger too, and she needs an ally. And while Jimmy’s ghost wants to help, the dead cannot protect the living…” (goodreads.com)
Exposure, Kathy Reichs – the fourth in the Virals series from the creator of the Bones TV series. “When twin classmates are abducted from Bolton Prep, Tory and the Virals decide there’s no one better equipped than them to investigate. But the gang has other problems to face. Their powers are growing wilder, and becoming harder to control. Chance Claybourne is investigating the disastrous medical experiment that twisted their DNA. The bonds that unite them are weakening, threatening the future of the pack itself. The Virals must decipher the clues and track down a ruthless criminal before he strikes again, all while protecting their secret from prying eyes. And everyone seems to be watching.” (goodreads.com)
And a book about the Divergent film:
Inside Divergent: the Initiates’ World, Cecilia Bernard. “This eye-catching volume takes you inside the film version of Divergent. With more than 100 photographs – many never before seen – Inside Divergent will immerse you in the thrilling dystopian world of futuristic Chicago, where you’ll meet the initiates and discover the factions.” (goodreads.com)
Denim : from cowboys to catwalks : a visual history of the world’s most legendary fabric / Graham Marsh and Paul Trynka ; fashion editor, June Marsh.
My friend said the other day it was time to pack away the jorts. Winter has started I guess. Let the real jeans season begin.
What is more fashion AND anti-fashion than jeans. Probably every person owns a pair and most people wear them, either to look cool, or fashionable or to look ordinary, as a type of uniform. Denim has become a ubiquitous fashion feature and for such a basic wardrobe staple they are still subjected to the whims and trends of fashion (moving away from skinnies into a looser fit, at the moment I think).
The jeans I’m really loving right now are my Acne skinnies (soooo comfortable) and ripped vintage jeans. But see, everyone has a very personal opinion on jeans and some are devoted to them. A website I’ve been loving lately is Jean Stories. Created by jeans lovers and former Vogue writers Jane Herman and Florence Kane, who talk to fellow jeans obsessives about their favourite styles, how to wear denim, what’s new, sneakpeeks into wardrobes. Seriously love it. (Particularly love the story of how a worn out pair of jeans, ripped and dirty, from a guy from Christchurch ended up on an editor from Vogue, ha! so FASHION)
The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender, Leslye Walton (301 pages)Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. (Goodreads)
First lines: To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistake for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth-deep down, I always did.
I was just a girl.
The inventor’s secret, Andrea Cremer (369 pages)Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape from the coastal cities or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks. (Goodreads)
First lines:Every heartbeat brought the boy closer. Charlotte heard the shallow pulls of his breath, the uneven, heavy pounding of his footfalls. She stayed curled within the hollows of the massive tree’s roots, body perfectly still other than the sweat that beaded on her forehead in the close air.
Nil, Lynne Matson (374 pages)On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days–to escape, or you die. Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field. Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time. (Goodreads)
First lines: Heat. Inexplicable, consuming heat-choking like smoke, burning like fire. That was my last memory before the invisble flames spoiked into icy nothingness, along with the crazy though that if I survived this bewildering bonfire, my dad would freak when I was late returning his new car.
The Dark Inside, Rupert Wallis (360 pages) When thirteen-year-old James discovers a homeless man in an abandoned house, the course of his life changes dramatically. Hoping to find a ‘cure’ for a dark curse inflicted on the homeless man, the pair embark on a journey together not knowing that what they discover will impact them both in ways they never imagined…
First lines: Run. And James did. Out the back door. Through the gap in the garden fence. Not stopping even after after the bellowing of his stepfather had wasted in the wind and there was nothing but the whip of grass across his shins.
Fragile Spirits, Mary Lindsay (308 pages) Paul has always known he was a Protector, fated to serve a Speaker who could hear the voices of spirits lingering after death and help those souls find peace.
Vivienne ignores the voices of the dead. Paul has always followed the Protector’s rule book, preparing diligently for the day when he’d be matched with his Speaker and fulfill his destiny. Vivienne never does what she’s told. So when Paul is matched with Vivienne, they both find the pairing less than satisfactory. But a kidnapping, a malevolent spirit and power stronger than both of them may just prove that they are two halves of the same whole. (Goodreads)
First lines: 21st century Cycle, Journal entry 1: I have been instructed to keep a journal of my Speaker’s progress for this cycle in order to track his/her preferences and trends to carry over into our future lifetimes together. I await my assignment with great excitement. Paul Blackwell-Protector 993.
Control, Lydia Kang (393 pages)When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn’t even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA. (Goodreads)
First lines: Maybe if I move a little slower, I can prevent the inevitable. Time will freeze and it’ll be easy to pretend we’re not moving again. I don’t want to budge from the roof of this cruddy building. The door to the stairwell creaks open. Dad sees the lump of me at the edge of the rood, unmoving. Dark clothes, dark frizzled hair. I am depression personified.
The Wall, William Sutcliffe (286 pages)Joshua lives with his mother and step-father in Amarias, an isolated town, where all the houses are brand new. Amarias is surrounded by a high wall, guarded by soldiers, which can only be crossed through a heavily fortified checkpoint. Joshua has been taught that the Wall is the only thing keeping his people safe from a brutal and unforgiving enemy.
One day, Joshua stumbles across a tunnel that leads underneath the Wall. The chance to catch a glimpse of life on the other side of The Wall is too tempting to resist. He’s heard plenty of stories about the other side, but nothing has prepared him for what he finds . . .(Goodreads)
First lines: We sprint for the ball, shoulder to shoulder, orbackpacks thumping from side to side. I get in front, but David grabs my schoolbag and pulls me back, like a rider stopping a horse.
“Oi!” I should. “That’s a foul!”
“There’s no such thing.”
“Yes there is!”
“Not when there’s no ref.”
Divided we fall, Trent Reedy (374 pages)Danny Wright never thought he’d be the man to bring down the United States of America. In fact, he enlisted in the National Guard because he wanted to serve his country the way his father did. When the Guard is called up on the Idaho governor’s orders to police a protest in Boise, it seems like a routine crowd-control mission … but then Danny’s gun misfires, spooking the other soldiers and the already fractious crowd, and by the time the smoke clears, twelve people are dead. The president wants the soldiers arrested. The governor swears to protect them. And as tensions build on both sides, the conflict slowly escalates toward the unthinkable: a second American civil war. (Goodreads)
First lines: I am Private First Class Daniel Christoper Wright, I am seventeen years old, and I fired the shot that ended the United States of America.
The Eye of Zoltar, Jasper Fforde (401 pages)Orphaned sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, a Mystical Arts Management company that rents out wizards for cash. The Mighty Shandar tells Jennifer that if she finds a mysterious jewel named The Eye of Zoltar, he will spare the dragons he didn’t manage to kill in Book One. It is said the Eye was last seen around the neck of the really very legendary and not at all likely Sky Captain Morgan, who reputedly plunders jetliners from the back of the equally legendary and probably not real Leviathan, a kind of flying manta ray the size of a coach.(Goodreads)
First lines: The first thing we had to do was capture the Tralfamosaur. The obvious question aside from “What’s a Tralfamosaur?’ was: ‘Why us?’. The answer to the first question was this was a Magical Beast, created by some long-forgotten wiszard when conjuring up exotic creatures was briefly fashionable.
Resistance, Jenna Black (366 pages) Nate Hayes is a Replica. The real Nate was viciously murdered, but thanks to Paxco’s groundbreaking human replication technology, a duplicate was created that holds all of the personality and the memories of the original. Or…almost all. Nate’s backup didn’t extend to the days preceding his murder, leaving him searching for answers about who would kill him, and why. Now, after weeks spent attempting to solve his own murder with the help of his best friend and betrothed, Nadia Lake, Nate has found the answers he was seeking…and he doesn’t like what he’s discovered. The original Nate was killed because he knew a secret that could change everything. Thanks to Nadia’s quick thinking, the two of them hold the cards now—or think they do. Unfortunately, neither of them fully understands just how deep the conspiracy runs.
First lines: “You can’t be serious!” Nadia told her mother.
She tried to keep her voice level and calm despite a stab of panic. She’d known her lide would never be the same after what had happened, and she’d known that being summoned to her mother’s private study hadn’t boded well, but nothing could have prepared her for the bombshell that had just exploded in her face.
Echo Boy, Matt Haig (399 pages)Audrey’s father taught her that to stay human in the modern world, she had to build a moat around herself; a moat of books and music, philosophy and dreams. A moat that makes Audrey different from the echoes: sophisticated, emotionless machines, built to resemble humans and to work for human masters. Daniel is an echo – but he’s not like the others. He feels a connection with Audrey; a feeling Daniel knows he was never designed to have, and cannot explain. And when Audrey is placed in terrible danger, he’s determined to save her. The Echo Boy is a powerful story about love, loss and what makes us truly human.
First lines: It has been two weeks since my parents were killed. It has been the longest two weekens of my life. Everything has changed. Literally everything. The only thing that remains true is that I am still me. That is, I am still a human called Audrey Castle.
I’ve not done any reviews for a while, so here are four quick ones:
The Cracks in the Kingdom, Jaclyn Moriarty – the sequel to A Corner of White, and the middle book of the Colours of Madeleine trilogy, so I’ll try not to give too much away. Elliot lives in the kingdom of Cello, where colours rage across the country with very little warning, causing various degrees of havoc, and where the royal family have mysteriously and secretively disappeared (save for Princess Ko, who is keeping up appearances so that Cello doesn’t fall apart). Madeleine lives in the world, and communicates with Elliot through a parking meter. Princess Ko is convinced that the royal family have been moved into the world, and enlists Elliot’s (and Madeleine’s) help to track them down; the clock is ticking.
This is a really original, fantastic story, written really well. It’s sometimes hilarious, sad, surprising and always entertaining.
Half Bad, Sally Green – this is the first in a new trilogy and it’s been touted as the next big thing by some people. Nathan lives in a world of witches, black ones and white ones; he’s half and half, and because of this he worries the white witches (black witches are, apparently, inherently evil, so will he be?). At the start of the book Nathan lives in a cage in the Scottish countryside, watched over by a white witch prison guard. He needs to track down his father – the mysterious, über-cruel black witch Marcus – before the gifting ceremony on his 17th birthday or face death.
I didn’t find this as Harry Potter-ish as some reviewers (people said Harry Potter was lots of ish also – it’s tough being truly original), and it was an intriguing start to a new series.
Cress, Marissa Meyer – this is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles (Cinder is the first), and they’re very good – don’t let the book covers put you off, they’re not really that girly. They are all cyborg-sci-fi reworkings of fairytales, and Cress is Rapunzel. Cress has been imprisoned on a remote satelite by the Lunar queen, effectively her spy in the sky. Her job is to find Cinder for the Queen, but she might be more intent on rescue. In the mean time, Scarlet and Wolf are also on the run in France. (The next one, Winter, which is Snow White, will be published next year, which is a while away.)
The reason I mention the book covers is these books are action-packed and the female characters aren’t afraid of, well, getting involved in it. They aren’t really the high-heel types. Maybe the covers are subversive? Certainly, having lots of hair is more impractical than glamorous. Anyway! They’re a great read.
We’ve also got this as a book on CD.
Steelheart, Brandon Sanderson – this was published last year, but it’s so cool I thought it was worth mentioning. Epics are humans who have incredible superpowers, some of them are obscure and not so useful, some of them devastating for non-Epics. They also have a fatal weakness (again, some weaknesses are obscure, some devastating), and exploiting this is the only way to destroy an Epic. Steelheart, Chicago’s self-appointed overlord, is one of the worst. Ever since he saw Steelheart bleed (and then kill his father), David has wanted to join the Reckoners, a group who assassinate Epics. He thinks he can kill Steelheart, if he can figure out what made him bleed.
It’s a long wait for the second book in this series, Firefight (due for publication in 2015). Plenty of time to read Steelheart, which is awesome.
We’ve also got this as a book on CD.