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dystopia, Espionage, Fantasy, New, New Zealand, Nicola

New books

12.05.15 | Comment?

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsConspiracy of blood and smoke, Anne Blankman

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.
But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.
Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first? (Goodreads)

First lines: The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone bicycled down the country lane. Desolate fields, their grasses winter-brown and glistening from the afternoon’s rainfall, stretched out on either side of the road. The first strains of twilight darkened the distant hills to black, and nearby a few muddy sheep grazed, pausing to gaze blank-eyed at Gretchen as she peddled past.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMagonia, Maria Dahvana Headley

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name. Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia. Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie? (Goodreads)

First lines: I breathe in. I breathe out. The sky’s full of clouds. A rope is looping down from above, out of the sky and down to earth. There is a woman’s face looing at me, and all around us, hundreds upon hundreds of birds.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNanotech, Denis Wright

High School students on a science field trip to Auckland are captured by white supremacist group NAB, whose target is American biologist Professor Meinhoff. He’s made a startling and dangerous breakthrough in molecular biology–a virus that could destroy entire ethnic groups if it falls into the wrong hands. The kidnappers want it. Joe Baxter, his mates and teacher, Bernie, get in the way. Time is running out as they try to escape the kidnappers, save the professor, and ensure that the shocking plan doesn’t succeed. (Publisher information)

First lines: Even waiting around to be murdered can get kind of boring after a while. Don’t get me wrong. I mean, sure, we’ve been though the total freak-out stage, the numb-with-fear stage, followed by the red-and-white anger stage, but now we’re in a passive ‘whatever’ stage.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRook, Sharon Cameron

History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a saviour of the innocent or a criminal? Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she. As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse. (Goodreads)

First lines: The heavy blade hung high above the prisoners, glinting against the stars, and then the Razor come down, a wedge of falling darkness cutting through the torchlight. One solid thump, and four more heads had been shaved from their bodies.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAn ember in the ashes, Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free. Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do. But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy. There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. (Goodreads)

First lines: My big brother reaches home in the dark hours before dawn, when even ghosts take their rest. He smells of steel and coal and forge. He smells of the enemy. He folds his scarecrow body through the window, bare feet silent on the rushes.

Book cover  courtesy of SyndeticsDream a little dream, Kerstin Gier

Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yes, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially the one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys conduct dark magic rituals. The strangest part is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But what’s really scaring Liv is that the dream boys seem to know things about her in real life, things they couldn’t possibly know–unless they actually are in her dreams? Luckily, Liv never could resist a good mystery, and all four of those boys are pretty cute…(Goodreads)

First lines:The dog was snuffling at my bag. For a drug taking dog was a surprisingly fluffy specimen, like a golden retriever, and I was going to tickle it behind the ears when it bared its teeth and uttered a threatening “Woof!”


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