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  • Comicfest, Comics, Competition, Happenings, Rachel

    Happy Free Comic Book Day!

    02.05.15 | Permalink | Comments Off on Happy Free Comic Book Day!

    Syndetics book coverHAPPY FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! It’s the last – and biggest! – day of Comicfest 2015! Come on down to the Central library today to collect a free comic book! Plus there are LOADS of exciting things happening all day!

    At 10am we have a Comics 101 workshop with Sarah Laing providing insight into what is required to make successful prose, comics and cartoons. For all ages – bring along pens and paper!

    At 11.30 we will be judging our cosplay competition with prizes for kids, teens and adult divisions. Get dressed up or just come down to see the costume extravaganza!

    At 12pm we have a talk from Tintin and Weta Workshop lead conceptual designer, Chris Guise who will take you through the process of transforming a much-loved comic into the successful film “The adventures of Tintin – the secret of the Unicorn”. Don’t forget to have your questions ready for the Q&A!

    At 1pm we have a panel discussion titled “New Zealand Women’s Comics with the editors of Three Words” where Sarah Laing, Rae Joyce, and Indira Neville will discuss the rich history and future of New Zealand’s female cartoonists and comics. Sarah, Rae, and Indira will also discuss the genesis and work behind assembling Three Words, a forthcoming comprehensive anthology of New Zealand Women’s Comics.

    Finally, judging for the manga drawing competition will take place at 2pm! Please remember entries must be entered by 1pm.

    We hope you’ll join us for a super comic-filled day, we can’t wait to share it with you!
    Lumpy Space Princess!


  • Comicfest, Comics, Events, Graphic Novels, Isn't that cool?

    In Honour of Comicfest: Must-read Comics

    29.04.15 | Permalink | Comments Off on In Honour of Comicfest: Must-read Comics

    COMICFEST! The top fest in Wellington according to me. You guys should totally check it out for free comics and other awesome things ALSO check out a large number of graphic novels from our collection in honour of it. We’ve got a rad blog with all the details of what’s up during the festival – you can follow the blog here. In honour of Comicfest here’s a list of cool graphic novels for teens we have in our collection:

    Boxers by Gene Luen Yang

    “China, 1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants. Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers–commoners trained in kung fu–who fight to free China from ‘foreign devils.'” (Goodreads)

    Cardboard by Doug TenNapel.

    “Cam’s down-and-out father gives him a cardboard box for his birthday and he knows it’s the worst present ever. So to make the best of a bad situation, they bend the cardboard into a man-and to their astonishment, it comes magically to life. But the neighborhood bully, Marcus, warps the powerful cardboard into his own evil creations that threaten to destroy them all!” (Goodreads)

    Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

    “After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It’s pretty terrifying. Maggie’s big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn’t been the same. Besides her brothers, Maggie’s never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don’t have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures. Missing mothers… distant brothers… high school… new friends… It’s a lot to deal with. But there’s just one more thing. MAGGIE IS HAUNTED.” (Goodreads)

    Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel

    “Imagine Garth Hale’s surprise when he’s accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts don’t have, and he’s stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garth’s newfound abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather’s ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, and nearly lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake.” (Goodreads)

    Rapunzel’s Revenge Shannon Hale.

    “Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother. Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall. And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond. Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you’ve never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter.” (Goodreads)

    And since we’re talking about ComicFest here’s some work from the clever folk who will be at the festival:

    The art of The adventures of Tintin by Chris Guise

    “The artists at Weta Digital and Weta Workshop were thrilled to get the opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg to bring Hergé’s wonderful characters to the big screen in The Adventures of Tintin. They spent five years working on this movie. This book tells the story of how the filmmakers started with the original Hergé artwork and books and ended up with what is seen on-screen. It features early concept drawings, previs sequences, models, costume designs and final stills from the film. The book focuses on the creative process, showing the many designs that made it into the movie and others that didn’t. It highlights the attention to detail, skill and creativity of all the artists involved in the making of the movie. The story is told by the artists themselves, who talk about their inspirations, techniques and experiences. Through them we gain a true insight into the creative thinking behind this groundbreaking feature film.” (Goodreads)

    Chris Guise will actually be at Comicfest on Saturday the 2nd of May from 12pm-1pm. Chatting about the process of transforming a much-loved comic into the successful film version of The Adventures of Tintin – the Secret of the Unicorn. It would be well worth going along to listen to such a talented NZer talk about working with Weta Digital!

    Dreamboat dreamboat by Toby Morris

    “Set in Dannevirke, New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s this is the story of a group of teenagers who set up a rock’n’roll band. The teenagers encounter some of the good and bad of the culture of the time – along with legendary music and the cars – there is the seedier side where racism, sexism and parochialism come to the fore.”

    Toby Morris will in a panel discussion at the Fest about the relationship between cartoon and comic. It’s on Thursday the 30th of April from 6-7pm. It’ll be mean to attend. Check out this book as a thank you to the talented comic book writer for participating in the panel! Go on, do it. Be a sport.


  • Books, Comics, cute animals awww, Rachel

    Cool dogs!

    13.01.15 | Permalink | Comments Off on Cool dogs!

    Have you seen Cool Dog Group on Facebook? It’s a place to post pictures of dogs doing cool things, like riding a skateboard, wearing a cap, or just bein’ cute. It’s a closed group but it has 30k+ members, so you can request to join to view more cool dogs! While you wait for membership approval, here’s a list of great books featuring cool dogs (dogs are inherently cool anyway, don’t you think?)

    Syndetics book coverThe story of us / Deb Caletti.
    “Eighteen-year-old Cricket’s mother has left a trail of broken relationships behind her, but this time she’s found a “good guy.” Cricket, however, fears that her mother won’t go through with her marriage plans. Indeed, the week leading up to the wedding, as family and friends arrive at a large coastal inn, is fraught with spoiled soon-to-be stepsisters, fighting dogs, and the sudden divorce of the groom’s parents. Complications arise for Cricket involving her own love life, her beloved dog Jupiter, and her mother’s reluctance to marry.” (adapted from Syndetics)

    Syndetics book coverNotes from the dog / Gary Paulsen.
    “Fifteen-year-old Finn is a loner, living with his dad and his amazing dog, Dylan. This summer he’s hoping for a job where he doesn’t have to talk to anyone except his pal Matthew. Then Johanna moves in next door. She’s 10 years older, cool, funny, and she treats Finn as an equal. Dylan loves her, too. Johanna’s dealing with breast cancer, and Matthew and Finn learn to care for her, emotionally and physically. When she hires Finn to create a garden, his gardening ideas backfire comically. But Johanna and the garden help Finn discover his talents for connecting with people.” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverLaika / Nick Abadzis.
    “Laika was the abandoned puppy destined to become Earths first space traveler in the Soviets Sputnik program. This is her journey. Nick Abadzis masterfully blends fiction and fact in the intertwined stories of three compelling lives. Along with Laika, there is Korolev, once a political prisoner, now a driven engineer at the top of the Soviet space program, and Yelena, the lab technician responsible for Laika’s health and life.” (adapted from Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverThe dust of 100 dogs / A.S. King.
    “In the late 17th century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was slain and cursed with the dust of 100 dogs, dooming her to live 100 lives as a dog before returning to a human body–with her memories intact. When she finally returns to life as a human being and has only one thing on her mind–to recover the treasure she had buried in Jamaica three hundred years before.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

    Syndetics book coverSorta like a rockstar : a novel / by Matthew Quick.
    “Although seventeen-year-old Amber Appleton is homeless, living in a school bus with her unfit mother, she is a relentless optimist who visits the elderly at a nursing home, teaches English to Korean Catholic women with the use of rhythm and blues music, and befriends a solitary Vietnam veteran and his dog, but eventually she experiences one burden more than she can bear.” (Syndetics summary)

    Syndetics book coverMy boyfriends’ dogs : the tales of Adam and Eve and Shirley / Dandi Daley Mackall
    “On a stormy night in St. Louis, Bailey Daley finds refuge in an after-hours diner. Bailey, a girl with three dogs in tow, wearing a soaking-wet prom dress, obviously has a story to tell. See, she wants what every girl wants from her boyfriend: enthusiasm, loyalty, and unconditional love.” (Syndetics summary)

     

    Syndetics book coverStay with me / Paul Griffin.
    “Fifteen-year-olds Mack, a high school drop-out but a genius with dogs, and Cece, who hopes to use her intelligence to avoid a life like her mother’s, meet and fall in love at the restaurant where they both work, but when Mack lands in prison he pushes Cece away and only a one-eared pit-bull can keep them together.” (Syndetics)


  • anime, Comics, DVDs, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Manga, Rachel

    Mahou shoujo Part 2

    22.07.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Mahou shoujo Part 2

    Since mahou shoujo is a whole subgenre of anime and manga I thought I had better tell you about our super collection of manga and anime that we have in our libraries! Did you even know we had them in the collection? I’ve chosen a few “magical girl” themed anime and manga for you all to check out that you may or may not be familiar with already.

    (In case you didn’t know, manga are comics you read and anime are cartoons you watch.)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPretty Guardian Sailor Moon (manga)

    If you grew up in the 90s like me, you’d probably be pretty familiar with Sailor Moon. Usagi Tsukino (Serena) is a regular girl, until she discovers she is sailor senshi Sailor Moon. Together with the other sailor scouts, handsome Tuxedo Mask and two mystical beings that appear to be sentient stuffed cats, Sailor Moon must stop the evil Queen Beryl from taking over the world.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCardcaptor Sakura (manga)

    This is one of my absolute favourites! Ten year old Sakura accidentally releases a magical set of cards called the Clow Cards, and is enlisted by the guardian of the cards to capture them again. Each card has a special ability and some cards require some serious puzzle-solving to capture. It is written and illustrated by popular manga group Clamp, and it has absolutely beautiful illustrations throughout.

    My-Z-HiMe (anime)

    This story takes place in the distant future on the planet Earl, colonized by immigrants from Earth centuries ago. Certain girls and women aspire to be Meister Otomes – bodyguards, attendants and warriors that serve the royalty of various kingdoms. Arika Yumemiya has come to Windbloom Kingdom in search of her mother, a former Otome. Arika enrols at Garderobe Academy to train to be an Otome herself, but she must beware those who desire to use the old technologies of the Otome for destructive powers.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAlice 19th (manga)

    Alice Seno is a 15-year-old girl, constantly living in the shadow of her seemingly perfect older sister Mayura. One day Alice rescues a white rabbit from the road, but it is no ordinary rabbit. It reveals its true form and informs Alice she is destined to be a Lotis Master – someone who uses the power of words and communication to enter the Inner Heart of others. Alice soon discovers this is a powerful ability which must be used carefully when she accidentally makes her older sister disappear. Using the power of the Lotis Runes, Alice must get Mayura back.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFull Moon o Sagashite (manga)

    Twelve-year-old Mitsuki Koyama loves singing and dreams of becoming a pop star. Unfortunately, a malignant tumor in her throat prevents her from pursuing her passion. However, her life turns around when two surprisingly fun-loving harbingers of death appear to grant Mitsuki a temporary reprieve from her illness and give her singing career a magical push start. (library catalogue)


  • Comics, GLBT, Graphic Novels, Librarian's Choice, Nick', Nicola, Reviews

    Nik’s Picks: Young Avengers

    21.07.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Nik’s Picks: Young Avengers

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOh, Young Avengers. I love you. Let me count the ways. This is a relatively new title from Marvel, documenting the, well, Young Avengers. A group of teenagers fighting super villains while dealing with typical adolescent angst might seem like a tired concept, but the great writers on this title make it so much more than that. The line-up includes Miss America, a mysterious supe who is so strong she can kick holes into other dimensions, “Kid” Loki, a teen version of the villain from the Marvel Universe, who isn’t exactly the most trustworthy member of the team (for obvious reasons), the Wiccan, son of the Scarlet Witch, and many more besides. One of the things I love about this title is that the line-up changes every couple of issues, which keeps things fairly fresh while staying true to the original spirit of the series.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Young Avengers also have to cope with other problems, outside the usual teenage angst. They struggle with getting acceptance from the ‘real’ Avengers, ethical dilemmas and the changing roster of the team. Not all of their problems are easily solved by applications of their powers and they have to deal with the consequences. Another notable feature is the diversity of the team: Miss America is Hispanic, the Patriot is African American and there are several members of the team who are gay or bisexual. In fact, this series has won two GLAAD awards for its sensitive portrayal of their struggles. Although this may not be the most unique feature of these guys, since at least two of the teens are aliens and one is the reincarnation of a Norse deity.

    Despite all these various problems, there’s plenty of light hearted moments; Loki’s tricks are often centered around his disinclination to pay for his food when he’s in diners. The team genuinely care about each other, despite their many clashes. But the series never feels like an after-school special. It’s well written, it’s funny, it’s action packed, and for a “cape” comic, it’s extremely believable. Even if you’re not a comic reader, this series is definitely worth picking up.

    Here’s Volume 1: Sidekicks.


  • Comedy, Comics, Librarian's Choice, Movies, Nicola, Non-fiction, Nostalgia, Study

    Nik’s picks : Best of the Bard (retold) edition

    04.07.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Nik’s picks : Best of the Bard (retold) edition

    Shakespeare is taught in most college classes these days; whether you think this is a bad or good thing depends on you! I’m a fan, but I get tired of the same-old same-old productions and books. So here are a few of my favourite Shakespeare related books, websites and DVDs, to make your experience of the great man that much more interesting. I think this post is going to get a lot of flack from English teachers and Shakespeare purists everywhere, but I’m of the opinion that stuff like this should be enjoyable and accessible. I’m sure the Bard would have wanted it that way.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTo be or not to be: a chooseable path adventure, by Ryan North, Shakespeare, and you!

    This is unquestionably one of my favourite things to come into the YA collection in a while. I have fond memories of choose-your-own adventure books from my childhood, even though I always ended up dying! That’s an option in this book but the great thing is, you can always start again. Especially if you start out as Hamlet Senior…well, that’s not a spoiler. After all, I think the statue of limitations on spoiler warnings runs out after 415 years. Anyway, you can start the game as the aforementioned (deceased) King of Denmark, Ophelia or Hamlet himself. After that, it’s up to you. It’s written more like a YA novel than in prose, and the possible endings get pretty wacky. Added to this are the amazing illustrators; there are too many to namecheck all of them but Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant), Randall Munroe (XKCD) and Faith Erin Hicks (Friends with Boys, Nothing Possibly can go wrong) all contribute. What I find particularly awesome is that this book is the result of a kickstarter campaign: crowd funding for the win! A necessary disclaimer: I wouldn’t recommend using this to write your NCEA essays.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHamlet: a novel, John Marsden

    This book takes a rather more serious look at Hamlet. It keeps fairly close to the original story, but manages to convey the inner emotions of those entangled in the story. Retellings of Hamlet are by far the most popular among YA writers, but I think this one’s the best. The language is fresh and the pace makes the looming disaster all the more tragic. It also doesn’t try to force a happy ending on the characters, which I’ve always find a bit jarring, especially in books that aim to be taken seriously.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLady Macbeth’s daughter, Lisa Klein

    In the text of Macbeth, it is revealed that lady Macbeth has been pregnant before; but this is only mentioned once, and Macbeth’s lack of children plays a central role in the plot of the play. In this novel, Lisa Klein imagines what the life of such a child – a daughter, who is cast out by Macbeth – would be like. The historic Lady Macbeth also had a son, by her first husband, but is Lady Macbeth and Albia, her lost daughter, who tell the story in alternating chapters. The writer says she set out to give “an entirely new perspective on the events of Shakespeare’s play, using a protagonist who is outside the main action but crucial to its unfolding.” She more than succeeds, and manages to incorporate historical facts into the narrative fairly seamlessly, which keeps the book from seeming too fanciful.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe most excellent and lamentable tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare and illustrated by Gareth Hinds

    This is the only book included in this blog post which takes its text entirely from the play, although it’s somewhat abridged. What sets it apart from the other graphic adaptations is its attention to detail; the artist, in his postscript, has taken actual features from Verona and uses them in backgrounds in his lavish illustrations. He does admit that he’s moved various places around for aesthetic purposes, but it doesn’t really affect the sense of a real Renaissance city. Gareth Hinds also tries to “fix” parts of the text that are often portrayed incorrectly in the staging.

    Shakespeare retold DVD series

    There are plenty of “pure” adaptaions out there but sometimes it can be a struggle to get through all that prose. These modern adaptations are a whole lot of fun. They feature some of the best actors England has to offer having a great time chewing the scenery and taking a break from having to memorise 16th century lines. Again, I wouldn’t recommend using these to help write your essay, but I’m a big believer in enjoying Shakespeare because it’s fun, rather than because you have to study it in class. My favourites are Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer night’s dream.

    10 things I hate about you

    I remember when this film first came out, which, given that this was 15 years ago, is going to date me a bit. I didn’t realise that this was based off Taming of the Shrew until a while later though! It’s considered a classic, and for good reason. Even though the fashion is slightly dated, the movie still holds up: Heath Ledger, in his break-out role, has great chemistry with Julia Stiles, who’s equally impressive as Kat. It’s full of quotable dialogue and great acting, and conveys what it’s like to be young, cynical and in love in college. Well, as far as I can remember, anyway.

    Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead

    This is a classic adaptation of an extraordinary play. It concerns the lives of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, two fairly minor characters in Hamlet. There are chunks of the actual play, but for the most part it’s in modern language. It deals with fate, the nature of theatre and performance, and various philosophical problems. It might sound a bit dry, but it’s extremely funny and features some of the best actors working today.


  • Comics, Events, Facebook, Graphic Novels, Happenings, Isn't that cool?, Library, Manga, Nicola, Pencil it in your diaries, Wellington

    Comics Fest 2014

    24.04.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Comics Fest 2014

    It’s no secret that I love graphic novels, which is why I’m so excited about ComicFest, an event that the library is running from the 2nd-3rd of May. We’ve got some great events lined up: a panel on Friday night with some of the best cartoonists in New Zealand, plus more events on the Saturday.  You can find out more on the event page, but here are just some of the events running:

    A panel on Friday Night featuring Ant Sang, who wrote and drew the awesome comic Shaolin Burning and worked on Bro’ Town. There’s also Robyn Kenealy who’s a brilliant webcomic artist and creator of Steve Rogers’ American Captain, which chronicles Steve Rogers’ attempts to work out his place in the twenty-first century. Grant Buist, another one of our awesome panelists, has been working in comics for almost twenty years. He’s currently working on a graphic novel and draws Jitterati for Fishhead Magazine. His website is well worth a look, since he’s done a heap of great reviews of our graphic novel collection. This is definitely the panel you want to attend if you want to know what it’s like working in comics today.

    There are also some wicked workshops: Ant Sang is running “Comics 101” from 4:30-6:30 for those aspiring artists among you, and then there’s another workshop run on the Saturday by Gavin Mouldey, a Wellington-based animator and illustrator. He’s done all the gorgeous promotional art for all our advertising, and owns the dittybox shop and gallery in Island Bay.

    There’s a costume competition all day Saturday with a special category for teens and great prizes for you to win, generously provided by Unity Books and and White Cloud Worlds. A fair few of the library staff will be in costume too, so try and work out who we’re being!

    Finally, last but certainly not least, we are giving away FREE, yes, FREE comics from when we open. We have limited stock, so get in early! This is because the library is participating in Free Comic Book Day, a day where all over the world stores and librariess give away a selection of comics and graphic novels. We decided to use this as an opportunity to promote a great (and steadily growing) part of our collection and bring together some of the best comic artists working in New Zealand today. You can find the main Facebook event here, and interviews with our featured panelists and artists on our main blog.


  • Books, Comedy, Comics, Espionage, Fantasy, GLBT, Graphic Novels, Great Reads, New, Nicola, Non-fiction

    New books

    17.04.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Non-fiction
    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBeyond Magenta: Transgender teens speak out, Susan Kuklin, (176 pages)Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves. -Publisher Information

    First lines: The stories you are about to read are of real people, members of the transgender community, whom I have come to appreciate and respect. An author is supposed to be objective, and this author has withheld judgement while conducting interviews, taking photographs and writing. But my subjects’ willingness to brave bullying and condemnation in order to reveal their individual selves makes it impossible to be nothing less than awestruck.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndeticsthis star won’t go out ,Esther Earl, (431 pages)A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.-Publisher Information

    First lines: This is a story about a girl that went through a life chnaging experience known as Thyroid Cancer. It’s not one of those dramatic “based on a true story” cancer things, especially since Thyroid Cancer is not as bad as cancer. It’s a story about me, Esther Earl, having a sickness that’s pretty scary.

    Fiction:
    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe sound of letting go, Stasia Ward Kehoe (388 pages)For sixteen years, Daisy has been good. A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly. A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad. She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave. But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal. Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy? Should she side with her parents or protect her brother? How can she know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go? -Publisher Information

    First lines: Dave Miller grins in my direction. At least, I think his easy-eyed, right-cheek-dimpled expression is meant for me. It’s hard to be certain, since we are separated by the fingerprinted interior window that divides my band room refuge from the chaotic dissonance of the rest of Evergreen High.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsVitro, Jessica Khoury (359 pages)On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings—the Vitros—have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. With the help of Jim Julien, a young charter pilot, she arrives–and discovers a terrifying secret she never imagined: she has a Vitro twin, Lux, who is the culmination of Corpus’s dangerous research.Now Sophie is torn between reuniting with the mother who betrayed her and protecting the genetically enhanced twin she never knew existed. But untangling the twisted strands of these relationships will have to wait, for Sophie and Jim are about to find out what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach. -Publisher Information

    First lines: “Skin Island,” Sophie said for what felt like the hundredth time. “I know what I’m talking about. It’s called Skin Island, and is has to be nearby. Please, can’t you check again?”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTeen spirit, Francesca Lia Block (234 pages)After Julie’s grandmother passes away, she is forced to move across town to the not-so-fancy end of Beverly Hills and start over at a new school. The only silver lining to the perpetual dark cloud that seems to be following her? Clark—a die-hard fan of Buffy and all things Joss Whedon, who is just as awkward and damaged as she is. Her kindred spirit.
    When the two try to contact Julie’s grandmother with a Ouija board, they make contact with a different spirit altogether. The real kind. And this ghost will do whatever it takes to come back to the world of the living.

    First lines: Until things started to fall apart, I had never questioned my desire to be alive, It wasn’t something I had to think about. Even though I didn’t have any close relationships at achool and felt different from the other kids, even though I wasn’t always confident about how I looked or the things I could do, I never thought there was something really wrong with me; I was never lonely or sad.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEmilie and the sky world, Martha Wells (313 pages)When Emilie and Daniel arrive in Silk Harbor, Professor Abindon, an old colleague of the Marlendes, warns them that she’s observed something strange and potentially deadly in the sky, a disruption in an upper air aether current. But as the Marlendes investigate further, they realize it’s a ship from another aetheric plane. It may be just a friendly explorer, or something far more sinister, but they will have to take an airship into the dangerous air currents to find out. Emilie joins the expedition and finds herself deep in personal entanglements, with an angry uncle, an interfering brother, and an estranged mother to worry about as well as a lost family of explorers, the strange landscapes of the upper air, and the deadly menace that inhabits the sky world. -Publisher Information

    First lines: Emilie took a deep breath and kocked on the door. Twilight had fallen, and the quiet street smelled stringly of dinner. Karthea’s house, like all the others, had a chicky stone facade and wood framed windows with cheer curtains and potted flowers on the stoop. The gas lamp on the corner had already been lot, glowing bright in the failing daylight.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Gospel of Winter, Brendan Kiely (296 pages)As sixteen-year-old Aidan Donovan’s fractured family disintegrates around him, he searches for solace in a few bumps of Adderall, his father’s wet bar, and the attentions of his local priest, Father Greg—the only adult who actually listens to him.When Christmas hits, Aidan’s world collapses in a crisis of trust when he recognizes the darkness of Father Greg’s affections. He turns to a crew of new friends to help make sense of his life: Josie, the girl he just might love; Sophie, who’s a little wild; and Mark, the charismatic swim team captain whose own secret agonies converge with Aidan’s. -Publisher Information

    First lines: In order to tell you what really happened, what you don’t know, what the journalists didn’t report, I have to start at Mother’s annual Christmas Eve party. Two nights befre, as if the universe were the coproducer of her big show, a snowstorm whitewahsed our little corner of Connecticut. Mother was thrilled.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhen I was the greatest, Jason Reynolds (232 pages) A lot of the stuff that gives my neighborhood a bad name, I don’t really mess with. The guns and drugs and all that, not really my thing. Nah, not his thing. Ali’s got enough going on, between school and boxing and helping out at home. His best friend Noodles, though. Now there’s a dude looking for trouble—and, somehow, it’s always Ali around to pick up the pieces. But, hey, a guy’s gotta look out for his boys, right? Besides, it’s all small potatoes; it’s not like anyone’s getting hurt.And then there’s Needles. Needles is Noodles’s brother. He’s got a syndrome, and gets these ticks and blurts out the wildest, craziest things. It’s cool, though: everyone on their street knows he doesn’t mean anything by it.Yeah, it’s cool…until Ali and Noodles and Needles find themselves somewhere they never expected to be…somewhere they never should’ve been—where the people aren’t so friendly, and even less forgiving. -Publisher Information

    First lines: “Okay, I got one. Would you rather live every dy for the rest of your life with stinky breath, or lick the sidewalk for five minutes?” Noodles asked. He turned and looked at me with a huge grin on his face because he knew this was a tough one.

    Graphic novels:
    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHomicidal Psycho jungle cat: a Calvin and Hobbes collection, Bill Watterson (175 pages)Reprising the wide-open landscape format of, The Days Are Just Packed, Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat chronicles another segment of the multifarious adventures of this wild child and his faithful, but skeptical, friend. If the best cartoons compel readers to identify themselves within the funny frames, then all who enjoy Calvin and Hobbes are creative, imaginative, and … bad, bad, bad! Calvin, the irascible little boy with the stuffed tiger who comes to life are a pair bound for trouble.-Publisher Information

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Search (Avatar: The Last airbender) Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante Di Matrino, Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru The biggest mystery of Avatar—the fate of Fire Lord Zuko’s mother—is revealed in this remarkable oversized hardcover collecting parts 1–3 of The Search, from Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko!-Publisher Information


  • Books, Comics, General Monty

    Best of 2013: Monty’s Picks

    16.12.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Best of 2013: Monty’s Picks

    Trashy comic fun!

    Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison, W. Haden Blackman

    I personally love movie characters being loyally and accurately transferred from the big screen to comic books (often) and evil Sith lord Darth and an innocent, everyman lieutenant slug it out with whole battalions and win. You’re never really sure if Darth will destroy his young companion (like he does everyone else) and that tension lies at the heart of many scenes. We wonder what remains of Anarkin, but mostly, we enjoy one lusty, enormously destructive battle scene after another!

    Demon Knights 2: The Avalon Trap, Paul Cornell

    Reinventing old, neglected super characters seemed to be one of the major drives of DC’s new 52 series, but whilst The Blue Beetle, Captain Atom and Firestorm have long since been cancelled The Demon Knights, still runs (thankfully) and continues to impress. Mystical groupies include the rhyming demon Etrigan, Lucifer and Madame Xanadu and this unstable mix of good, basically evil and good or evil (depending on which side of the moral bed they got out of on) characters makes for an unpredictable, surprising comic, drawn awfully and horribly well by Diogenes Neves.

    FF volume 1: Fantastic Faux, Matt Fraction

    Fun parody and reimagining of the Fantastic Four story with Ms Thing, Ant Man and Valentine’s Day! For those who like kooky, often ridiculous meta-fiction.


  • Art, Comics, GLBT, Happenings, Movies, NZ Music Month, Wellington

    Winging Your Way Way Through The Weekend, 1-2 June

    30.05.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Winging Your Way Way Through The Weekend, 1-2 June

    Kia ora folks!

    Wintry splendour is raining down on us with things to do this weekend. It’s a pretty special one because we get one more day than usual – sweet! It’s the Queens Birthday (but not really, her real birthday’s in April. We’re just kind minions and let her have two). One way you could spend your extra day off is revelling in the glory of our monarch or you could do some of these things:

    Te Papa re-opens the Visa Platinum Gallery with an Andy Warhol exhibit. “Warhol: Immortal” celebrates Mr. Pop Art himself. He did all sorts of really great things and liked Campbells Soup too. Not to be confused with The Dandy Warhols.

    Geeks unite! The closest thing to a Comic-Con on our shores, Armageddon, visits Wellington for the first time this year.

    Less Dance Dance Revolution more… real dance? Stage Challenge/J-Rock hit Wellington (starting tonight).

    Another Film Festival is in town. Out Takes with the pun-tastic byline, “reel queer film festival” is screening a few choice youth flicks.

    Maybe you’re one of the fine few who aren’t having a “weekend” and are instead working it away? Here’s an endgame for those hard earned pingers – they’re building Springfield!

    To end NZ Music Month Shapeshifter release “Delta” just in time for the weekend playlist.

    Later!


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