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  • Environment, GLBT, Horror, Mysteries, Nicola, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    New Books

    20.12.16 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe girl I used to be, April Henry

    When Olivia’s mother was killed, everyone suspected her father of murder. But his whereabouts remained a mystery. Fast forward fourteen years. New evidence now proves Olivia’s father was actually murdered on the same fateful day her mother died. That means there’s a killer still at large. It’s up to Olivia to uncover who that may be. But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first? (Goodreads)

    First lines: The only sound I can hear is my own panicked breathing. I’m running flat out through the forest. Then my toe catches a root, and suddenly I’m flying. Until I’m not. I come down hard. With my hands cuffed in front of me, I can’t even really break my fall. Despite the plastic boot on my left leg, I’m again in a crazy scrambling second, spitting out dirt and pine needles as I start sprinting again.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBlood red snow white, Marcus Sedgwick

    Russia wakes from a long sleep and marches to St Petersburg to claim her birthright. Her awakening will mark the end for the Romanovs, and the dawn of a new era that changed the world. Arthur Ransome, a journalist and writer, was part of it all. He left his family in England and fell in love with Russia and a Russian woman. This is his story. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The years slip away. Outside, down at the lake, I can hear the water lapping and the geese calling. From the woods above the house comes the soft roar of a shotgun – someone hunting in the dusk. In here, the fire flickers brightly, and my chair is old and comfortable. Surely this is home. And yet, the years slip away. Opposite me, the chair by the fire is empty.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGirl mans up, M-E Girard

    All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty. But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth–that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.

    First lines: There are four of us dudes sitting here right now, and I kick all of their butts when it comes to video games – and I’m not even a dude in the first place. Maybe I’m being a little cocky here, but it’s true. My brother says I’m a little psycho, loading my gun and rushing for the middle of the battle, and yeah, sometimes I end up getting my butt kicked. But usually he’s there, covering me with his sniper skills, so we both come out on top.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSpontaneous, Aaron Starmer

    Mara Carlyle’s senior year is going as normally as could be expected, until—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last teenager to blow up without warning or explanation. As the seniors continue to pop like balloons and the national eye turns to Mara’s suburban New Jersey hometown, the FBI rolls in and the search for a reason is on. Whip-smart and blunt, Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it while trying to make it to graduation in one piece. It’s an explosive year punctuated by romance, quarantine, lifelong friendship, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bloggers, ice cream trucks, “Snooze Button™,” Bon Jovi, and the filthiest language you’ve ever heard from the President of the United States. (Goodreads)

    First lines: When Katelyn Ogden blew up in third period pre-calc, the janitor probably figured he’s only have to scrub guts off one whiteboard this year. Makes sense. In the past, kids didn’t randomly explode. Not in pre-calc, not at prom, not even in chem lab, where explosions aren’t exactly unheard of. Not one kid. Not one explosion. Ah, the good old days.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe rains, Gregg Hurwitz

    In one terrifying night, the peaceful community of Creek’s Cause turns into a war zone. No one under the age of eighteen is safe. Chance Rain and his older brother, Patrick, have already fended off multiple attacks from infected adults by the time they arrive at the school where other young survivors are hiding. Most of the kids they know have been dragged away by once-trusted adults who are now ferocious, inhuman beings. The parasite that transformed them takes hold after people turn eighteen—and Patrick’s birthday is only a few weeks away. Determined to save Patrick’s life and the lives of the remaining kids, the brothers embark on a mission to uncover the truth about the parasites—and what they find is horrifying. Battling an enemy not of this earth, Chance and Patrick become humanity’s only hope for salvation. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The document you are reading does not -cannot- exist. If you’re reading this, your life is at risk. Or I should say, your life is at even greater risk than it was already. I’m sorry to burden you with this. I don’t wish you the harm that came to me and the others from Creek’s Cause. This is what I’ve managed to piece together since it all began.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe blood between us, Zac Brewer

    Growing up, Adrien and his sister, Grace, competed viciously for everything. It wasn’t easy being the adopted sibling, but Adrien tried to get along; it was Grace who didn’t want anything to do with him. When their scientist parents died in a terrible lab fire, there was nothing left to hold them together.Now, after years apart, Adrien and Grace are forced to reunite at the elite boarding school where their parents were teachers. Being back around everyone he used to know makes Adrien question the person he’s become, while being back around Grace makes him feel like someone he doesn’t want to be. For as much as Adrien wants to move on, someone seems determined to reopen old wounds. And when Adrien starts to suspect that Grace knows more about their parents’ deaths than she let on, he realizes there are some wounds no amount of time can heal. If Adrien isn’t careful, they may even kill him. (Goodreads)

    First lines: There’s nothing like the acrid smell of a building on fire. Even once the flames have been extinguished and the smoke has withered into the nothingness, the smell permeates everything. The burned remains that the fire didn’t claim. The air that hangs above the hollowed blackened walls. The clothing of anyone who was unfortunate enough to be nearby. The fire doesn’t just smell, either.


  • Comics, dystopia, Environment, GLBT, Graphic Novels, Great Reads, Horror, Nicola, Sci Fi

    Summer reading: Best stories about survival

    08.12.16 | Permalink | Comment?

    Whether in the face of the elements, climate change, mysterious conspiracies or zombies…here are my top picks for books about surviving (or not) against the odds. These aren’t easy reads, but they’re testament to the human spirit in challenging and overcoming.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHatchet, Gary Paulsen

    This is a classic and for good reason. After a plane crash, Brian finds himself alone with only the titular hatchet to help him survive in the middle of the wilderness. I haven’t read it for a while and I really appreciated it on the re-read. There are few other characters that appear but the majority of the book is Brian vs. nature. “One flip of the coin”, Brian thinks at one point, is all that stands between him and disaster. My heart was in my mouth until the very end.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNot a drop to drink, Mindy McGinnis

    “Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.” Lynn is lucky; she lives by a pond in a world where there is little water. She will defend it, even if it means killing to do so. But a stranger comes Lynn has to make some hard decisions about what to do about her water. Often these survival novels deal with people who are lacking something – this is one of the few that deals with the choices an individual has to make when they have control of the resources; when it’s not a question of your survival, but other people’s.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA drop of night, Stefan Bachmann

    Anouk is contacted by a mysterious corporation, asking her to apply for a spot on a team of “talented young people” to explore an archaeological site, unlike any other. This one is an underground palace dating from the French Revolution somewhere near Paris. Of course, not everything is what it seems. I really enjoyed this book; it’s an intriguing premise and the book’s pace doesn’t let up.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe girl who owned a city, by O.T. Nelson ; adapted by Dan Jolley ; illustrated by Joëlle Jones

    This is one of my favourite graphic novels ever. A plague has killed off everyone over the age of 12, leaving the children in a world where their main threat is each other. Is it survival of the fittest or is there an option to create a better world?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBleeding earth, Kaitlin Ward

    Lea and her girlfriend Aracely have enough to deal with in their lives, hiding their relationship from Aracely’s father. Then the earth starts bleeding, literally, and their struggle for survival begins. Quite apart from the representation of GLBTQ characters in genre fiction (which is great!), this a heartrending story of realising what the people you love are capable of when their lives are on the line.


  • Environment, Happenings, Library, Real Life, Urban Survival Series

    Check in from the Teen Blog Team

    15.11.16 | Permalink | Comments Off

    Hey everyone,

    Hope you’re all coping with the unholy combination of exams and earthquakes and torrential rain! Keep an eye on our website for which branches are open and when, as well twitter and facebook.

    Please stay safe and dry and well. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon!


  • Comedy, Comics, dystopia, Environment, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Grimm, Horror, New, Nicola, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    New books

    06.11.15 | Permalink | Comments Off

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis broken wondrous world, Jon Skovron

    A year ago, Boy, the son of Frankenstein’s monster, had never even met a human. Now he’s living with his human “family,” the descendants of Dr. Frankenstein, in Switzerland. That is, until the maniacal genius Dr. Moreau, long-ago banished to a remote island for his crimes against humanity, asks for his aid. Moreau wants Boy to join his army of animal/human hybrid creatures and help him overthrow human society. Boy must choose: side with the twisted doctor and save his fellow monsters, or try to defend the humans who run the planet?Boy will do anything to save this broken, wondrous world from the war that threatens to split it in two. But how much will he have to give up? And is the world worth saving?(Goodreads).

    First lines: When I was a little boy, I had nightmares about them: mad scientists in lab coats and rubber gloves, hunched and wild-eyed, with bedhead hair and shrill voices that crackled like electricity. The Frankensteins.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe ultimate truth, Kevin Brooks

    When Travis Delaney’s parents die in a car crash, Travis is devastated. In a bid to pull himself out of his grief, he starts to look into the last case they were investigating at the private investigation agency they ran. What starts as a minor distraction soon becomes a sinister, unbelievable mystery – and Travis is determined to solve it. Why were his parents looking for a missing boy when the boy’s family says he isn’t missing? Where is the boy himself? And why would a man who is in surveillance photos taken by Travis’s parents turn up at their funeral?
    As Travis searches for answers, he starts to have the chilling realization that the question he should be asking is the one he most wants to avoid: Was the accident that killed his parents really what it seemed?(Goodreads).

    First lines: I only noticed the man with the hidden camera because I couldn’t bear to look at the coffins any more. I’d been looking at them for a long time now. From the moment the two wooden boxes had been brought into the church, to the moment they’d been carried out into the graveyard and lowered gently into their freshly dug graves, I’d never taken my eyes off them.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWolf by wolf, Ryan Graudin

    The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball. Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission? (Goodreads).

    First lines: There were five thousand souls stuffed into the train cars – thick and deep like cattle. The train groaned and bent under their weight, weary from all of their many trips. (Five thousand times five thousands. Again and again. So many, so many.)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDumplin’, Julie Murphy

    Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.(Goodreads).

    First lines: All the best things in my life have started with a Dolly Parton song. Including my friendship with Ellen Dryver. The song that sealed the deal was “Dumb blonde” from her 1967 debut album, Hello, I’m Dolly. During the summer before my first grade, my aunt Lucy bonded with Mrs. Dryver over their mutual devotion to Dolly.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDead upon a time, Elizabeth Paulson

    It’s a fairy-tale nightmare…One girl is kept in a room where every day the only food she’s given is a poisoned apple. Another is kept in a room covered in needles — and if she pricks her finger, she’ll die. Then there are the brother and sister kept in a cell that keeps getting hotter and hotter…A sinister kidnapper is on the loose in Kate’s world. She’s not involved until one day she heads to her grandmother’s house in the woods — and finds her grandmother has also been taken. Already an outcast, Kate can’t get any help from the villagers who hate her. Only Jack, another outsider, will listen to what’s happened. Then a princess is taken, and suddenly the king is paying attention – even though the girl’s stepmother would rather he didn’t. It’s up to Kate and Jack to track down the victims before an ever after arrives that’s far from happy.(Goodreads).

    First lines: Not for the first time while trekking up the steepest part of Birch Hill, Kate Hood wished her boots had been sewn onto slightly thicker soles. She stuck to the center of Woodson Road, the part most travelled by carriage and coach, but still felt every pebble and puddle beaneth her feet. She knew that, by the time she kicked loose the boots and peeled off her woollen socks in the crackling hearth at Nan’s house, her toes would be blue and numb.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsShadow of the wolf, Tim Hall

    Robin Loxley is seven years old when his parents disappear without trace. Years later the great love of his life, Marian, is also taken from him. Driven by these mysteries, and this anguish, Robin follows a darkening path into the ancient heart of Sherwood Forest. What he encounters there will leave him transformed, and will alter forever the legend of Robin Hood.(Goodreads).

    First lines: First, forget everything you’ve heard. Robin Hood was no prince, and he was no disposed lord. He didn’t fight in the Crusades. He never gave a penny to the poor. In fact, all of those Sherwood legends, only one holds true: Robin was blind.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBattlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo, Brian Falkner

    This alternative history re-imagines the 1815 Battle of Waterloo as a victory for the French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte, when he unleashes a terrible secret weapon – giant carnivorous survivors from pre-history – on his unsuspecting British and Prussian adversaries. In this world, smaller “saurs” are an everyday danger in the forests of Europe, and the Americas are a forbidden zone roamed by the largest and most deadly animals ever to walk the earth. But in his quest for power, Napoléon has found a way to turn these giant dinosaurs into nineteenth century weapons of mass destruction. Only Willem Verheyen, an outsider living in hiding in the tiny village of Gaillemarde, has the power to ruin the tyrant’s plans. And Napoléon will stop at nothing to find him. War is coming, and young Willem is no longer safe, for Gaillemarde is just a stone’s throw from the fields of Waterloo — fields which will soon run red with blood.(Goodreads).

    First lines: The boy who brings the bread is Willem Verheyen. This is not true. His name is Pieter Geerts, but neither he, nor his mother, no anyone in the world has used that name in so long that it is just a distant reflection of a life that once was. Willem was born on the first day of the first month of a new century. When he was just seven years old, he saved the life of a village girl from a bloodthirsty raptor.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCarry on: the rise and fall of Simon Snow, Rainbow Rowell

    Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen. That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
    Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up. (Goodreads).

    First lines: I walk to the bus station by myself. There’s always fuss over my paperwork when I leave. All summer long, we’re not allowed to walk to Tescos without a chaperone and permission from the Queen – then, in the autumn, I just sign myself out of the children’s home and go.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDaughters unto devils, Amy Lukavics

    When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries. When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.(Goodreads).

    First lines: The first time I lay with the post boy was on a Sunday, and I broke three commandments to do it. Honor thy father and they mother, thou shalt not lie, and remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Why couldn’t I stop counting all of my sins? it was if I was craving the wrath that was to follow them, challenging it, if only to make certain that I was indeed, alive.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe trouble in me, Jack Gantos

    Fourteen-year-old Jack is sick of his old self. When his family moves to a new rental home in Fort Lauderdale, he wants to become everything he’s never been before. Then in an explosive encounter, he meets his new neighbor, Gary Pagoda, just back from juvie for car theft. Instantly mesmerized, Jack decides he will do all it takes to be like Gary. As a follower, Jack is desperate for whatever crazy, hilarious, frightening thing might happen next. But he may not be as ready as he thinks when the trouble inside him comes blazing to life.(Goodreads).

    First lines: I was still in my white Junior Sea Cadet uniform and was marching stiff-legged like a windup toy across the golden carpet of scorched lawn behind our new rental house. Each splinter of dead grass had once been a soft green blade, but the summer heat had baked them into tanned quills that now crackled like trophy pelts beneath the hard rubber of my shoes.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThese shallow graves, Jennifer Donnelly

    Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.(Goodreads).

    First lines: Josephine Montfort stared at the newly mounded grave in front of her and at the wooden cross marking it.
    “This is the one you’re after. Kinch.” Flynn, the gravedigger, said, pointing at the name painted on the cross. “He died on Tuesday.”
    Tuesday, Jo thought. Four days ago. Time enough for the rot to start. And the stink.

    Gotham by midnight, Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith

    Spinning out of Batman Eternal, Detective Jim Corrigan aka The Spectre stars in his very own series Gotham By Midnight! Normally Batman and the other caped protectors of Gotham have the streets of the city covered. But when monsters, ghosts and other supernatural beings enter the mix, even the Dark Knight needs help. Enter Detective Jim Corrigan to prowl the streets of Gotham, solving the unsolvable supernatural crimes the city can muster. (Publisher summary).


  • Books, Comedy, Environment, Espionage, Graphic Novels, Nicola

    New books

    19.12.14 | Permalink | Comments Off

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn real life, Lawrence Tabak

    Fifteen-year-old math prodigy Seth Gordon knows exactly what he wants to do with his life—play video games. Every spare minute is devoted to honing his skills at Starfare, the world’s most popular computer game. His goal: South Korea, where the top pros are rich and famous. But the best players train all day, while Seth has school and a job and divorced parents who agree on only one thing: “Get off that damn computer.” Plus there’s a new distraction named Hannah, an aspiring photographer who actually seems to understand his obsession.
    While Seth mopes about his tournament results and mixed signals from Hannah, Team Anaconda, one of the leading Korean pro squads, sees something special. Before he knows it, it’s goodbye Kansas, goodbye Hannah, and hello to the strange new world of Korea. But the reality is more complicated than the fantasy, as he faces cultural shock, disgruntled teammates, and giant pots of sour-smelling kimchi. What happens next surprises Seth. Slowly, he comes to make new friends, and discovers what might be a breakthrough, mathematical solution to the challenges of Starcraft. Delving deeper into the formulas takes him in an unexpected direction, one that might just give him a new focus—and reunite him with Hannah. (Goodreads)

    First lines: School called. Again. Unexcused absence, blah, blah blah. My interception rate on these calls is eighty-four percent (This is Seth’s father, how can I help you?) But they called Dad while I was at Mom’s.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSkink no surrender, Carl Hiaasen

    Classic Malley—to avoid being shipped off to boarding school, she takes off with some guy she met online. Poor Richard—he knows his cousin’s in trouble before she does. Wild Skink—he’s a ragged, one-eyed ex-governor of Florida, and enough of a renegade to think he can track Malley down. With Richard riding shotgun, the unlikely pair scour the state, undaunted by blinding storms, crazed pigs, flying bullets, and giant gators.

    First lines: I walked down to the beach and waited for Malley, but she didn’t show up. The ocean breeze felt warm. Two hours I say there on the sand – no Malley. In the beginning it was just annoying, but after a while I began to worry that something was wrong. My cousin, in spite of out all of her issues, is a punctual person.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsJackaby, William Ritter

    Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny. (Goodreads)

    First lines: It was late January, and New England wore a fresh coat of snow as I stepped along the gangplank to the shore. The city of New Fiddleham glistened in the fading dusk, lamplight playing across the icy buildings that lined the waterfront, turning their brickwork to twinkling diamonds in the dark.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRites of passage, Joy N. Hensley

    Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.
    So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him. As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out. At any cost. (Goodreads)

    First lines: I’m physically incapable of saying no to a dare – I’ve got the scars and broken bone count to prove it. And that fatal flaw, Bad Habit #1, is the reason I’m sitting in the car with my parents right now, listening to some small-town radio DJ talk smack about me.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Mark of Cain, Lindsey Barraclough

    1567
    Aphra is not a normal child. Found abandoned as a baby among the reeds and rushes, the two outcast witches who raise her in their isolated cottage are never sure if she was born, or just pushed up through the foul, black mud for them to find. Little Aphra’s gifts in the dark craft are clear, even as an infant, but soon even her guardians begin to fear her. When a violent fire destroys their home, Aphra is left to fend for herself. Years of begging and stealing make her strong, but they also make her bitter, for she is shunned and feared by everyone she meets. Until she reaches Bryers Guerdon and meets the man they call Long Lankin – the leper. Ostracized and tormented, he is the only person willing to help her. And together, they plot their revenge.
    1962
    Four years have passed since the death of Ida Guerdon, and Cora is back in Bryers Guerdon in the manor house her aunt left to her. It is a cold, bitter winter, and the horrifying events of that sweltering summer in 1958 seem long past.
    Until Cora’s father arranges for some restoration work to take place at Guerdon Hall, and it seems that something hidden there long ago has been disturbed. The spirit of Aphra Rushes – intent on finishing what she began, four centuries ago.(Goodreads)

    First lines: We hurry through the wood along the narrow dirt path that runs by the edge of the brook. Zillah’s swollen-knuckled old fingers grip my small hand as I stumble alongside her.
    “Keep up, child. We have to make haste,” she urges. “It is not so good for us to be so close to the watermen. We must take care not to be seen.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSchizo, Nic Sheff

    Miles is the ultimate unreliable narrator—a teen recovering from a schizophrenic breakdown who believes he is getting better . . . when in reality he is growing worse. Driven to the point of obsession to find his missing younger brother, Teddy, and wrapped up in a romance that may or may not be the real thing, Miles is forever chasing shadows. As Miles feels his world closing around him, he struggles to keep it open, but what you think you know about his world is actually a blur of gray, and the sharp focus of reality proves startling. (Goodreads)

    First lines: It’s starting again. There’s a sound like an airplane descending loudly in my ear. I can’t quite place it. The sweat is cold down my back. I feel my heart beat faster. My hands shake. God, I can’t take it.

    Graphic Novels

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsShe-Hulk #1: law and disorder, Charles Soule (writer), Javier Pulido and Ron Wimberly (artists)

    Jennifer Walters is the She-Hulk! A stalwart member of the Avengers and FF, she’s also a killer attorney with a pile of degrees and professional respect. But juggling cases and kicking bad guy butt is a little more complicated than she anticipated. With a new practice, a new paralegal and a mounting number of super villains she’s racking up as personal enemies, She Hulk might have bitten off more than she can chew! When Kristoff Vernard, the son of Victor Von Doom, seeks extradition, it’s an international jailbreak, She-Hulk-style! Then, She-Hulk and Hellcat must uncover the secrets of the Blue File — a conspiracy that touches the entire Marvel Universe! And when someone important to She-Hulk is killed, and won’t let it stand — but who can she trust? She-Hulk takes on her most terrifying role yet: defendant! (Goodreads)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Wrenchies, Farel Dalrymple

    Meet the Wrenchies.
    They’re strong, powerful, and if you cross them, things will quickly go very badly for you. Only one thing scares them—growing up. Because in the world of the Wrenchies, it’s only kids who are safe… anyone who survives to be an adult lives in constant fear of the Shadowsmen. All the teenagers who come into contact with them turn into twisted, nightmarish monsters whose minds are lost forever. When Hollis, an unhappy and alienated boy, stumbles across a totem that gives him access to the parallel world of the Wrenchies, he finally finds a place where he belongs. But he soon discovers that the feverish, post-apocalyptic world of the Wrenchies isn’t staying put… it’s bleeding into Hollis’s normal, real life. Things are getting very scary, very fast.


  • Environment, Fantasy, Grimm, New

    New Books

    13.04.11 | Permalink | Comments Off

    Subject Seven, James A Moore (327 pages) – Subject Seven is an as-yet not activated lethal assassin in the body of a teenager. When he escapes from his lab intent on finding others of his kind and destroying their creators action ensues! And lots of it!

    First sentence: The quiet of the compound was complete.

    Enticed, Jessica Shrivington (413 pages) – the sequel to Embrace, with Emblaze coming soon. In which Violet Eden, Grigori, must protect humans from exiled angels, a quest that takes her to the Sacred Mountains of Jordan in search of “the one thing that could forever tilt the balance of power” (back cover).

    First sentence: The angel had been ordered to make his choice.

    Running in Heels, Helen Bailey (312 pages) -  A riches-to-rags story in which Daisy finds her life takes a dive after her father is sent to jail for corruption – now she lives above a kebab shop and is getting a hard time from the school bully. We’re rooting for you Daisy!

    First sentence: Even if I hadn’t woken up this morning to find fourteen missed calls, seven Where the hell are you when I need you? texts and one tearful voice mail on my iPhone saying something totally terrible had happened and to get my bony butt into town, like, yesterday, as I hurry along the pavement at our Starbucks rendezvous I can immediately tell from Mia’s body language she’s super-stressed.

    The Freak Observer, Blythe Woolston (201 pages) – Loa’s life is turned upside down by the death of her younger sister. “A starling debut about death, life, astrophysics, and finding beauty in chaos” (book cover – the picture does appear to be a heart)

    First sentence: Your beloved physics teacher, Mr Banacek, likes to sleep on a bed of nails.

    Dark Goddess, Sarwat Chadda (371 pages) – the sequel to Devil’s Kiss. Billi SanGreal, Knight Templar, rescues a girl from a werewolf attack, to discover she is no ordinary girl. Not only are the werewolves after her, the Dark Goddess also wants her as a sacrifice, to harness her powers. Can Billi protect the girl and save the world?

    First sentence: The Rottweiler’s head lay in a bush, just off the snow-sprinkled path.

    Trickster’s Girl, Hilari Bell (281 pages) – a novel in the paranormal romance/thriller genre, but with an environmental twist. The world is dying, and Kelsa must help Raven (gorgeous, but maybe crazy? or maybe he is a mythological creature, as he says) pull it back from the brink, even if this means endangering herself.

    First sentence: Raven had spent too long on the hunt.


  • Books, Comics, Environment, Espionage, Fantasy, Horror, New, Sci Fi, Separated at Birth, Simon

    New Books

    05.11.10 | Permalink | Comments Off

    As promised, here are some more new books. Maybe all of them. There are many! If there was an earthquake right now they would fall on me, perhaps injuring me slightly.

    Nevermore, by Kelly Creagh (543 pages) – Isobel falls in lurve with the aloof and sarky (and gorgeous) Varen, whose dream world – based on the not-at-all-jolly stories of Edgar Allan Poe – have come to life. She must rescue him before his nightmares devour him!

    First line: ‘By the end of fourth period, Isobel’s espresso buzz from that morning’s venti latte had long since worn off.

    Annexed, by Sharon Dogar (329 pages) – Peter van Pels and his family went into hiding with Anne Frank, and there, in this (imagined) story, he finds himself falling in love with her. As history documents, it’s not a happy love story, and Peter’s experience continues into and beyond the Nazi death camps.

    First lines: ‘I think I’m still alive. But I’m not sure.

    The FitzOsbornes in Exile : The Montmaray Journals Book Two, by Michelle Cooper (451 pages) – Diary-writer Sophie and her family’s home, an island kingdom!, has been overrun by the Nazis, and they all find themselves trying to navigate the English aristocracy while pretty much penniless and/or mad. A sequel (obviously!) to this book.

    First line: ‘I write this sitting at an exquisite little Louis the Fifteenth secretaire in the White Drawing Room, using a gold fountain pen borrowed from the King of Montmaray and a bottle of ink provided by one of the footmen.

    Demon Princess : Reign Check, by Michelle Rowan (292 pages) – Nikki is half human, and half demon, and ‘has had a lot to deal with’. A faery king enrols at her high school to investigate her potential for destroying the world, and Nikki is summoned to the Underworld to appear before a demon council for some reason. And! She’s also madly in love with her Shadow Creature servant, Michael, but it’s forbidden. :(

    First line: ‘Act normal, I told myself as I pushed through the front doors of Erin Heights High School.

    The Hunt : A Dark Touch Novel, by Amy Meredith (262 pages) – Another supernatural romance, the genre du jour. Demons are on the hunt and Eve must use her powers to fight them. She’s also mad keen on ‘gorgeous’ Luke, who may or may not be something more as well. Do they have a future together? Do they have a future at all? Will anyone have a future?

    First line: ‘“Dude, have you decided to give up showering?” Dave Perry called after practice on Monday.

    Trash, by Andy Mulligan (215 pages) – Everyone seems to be reserving this book! It’s about three friends who live in a dumpsite somewhere in the third world,, making a living from trash. They find something – a deady secret – and shortly afterwards they are ‘hunted without mercy.’ But it has a happy ending; it is ‘utterly original and universal, it will touch the world.’

    First line: ‘My name is Raphael Fernandez and I am a dumpsite boy.

    Kiss Me Deadly : Tales of Paranormal Romance, edited by Trisha Telep (430 pages) -Thirteen stories of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, shapeshifters, fallen angels, zombies (ugh) and other instances of supernatural love. Actually really good even if you’re no fan of supernatural romance; Maggie Stiefvater’s The Hounds of Ulster is a cracking story.

    Beautiful Darkness, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (503 pages) – Going to copy and paste this synopsis; ‘In a small southern town with a secret world hidden in plain sight, sixteen-year-old Lena, who possesses supernatural powers and faces a life-altering decision, draws away from her true love, Ethan, a mortal with frightening visions.’

    First line: ‘I used to think our town, buried in the South Carolina back woods, stuck in the muddy bottom of the Santee River valley, was the middle of nowhere.

    Yes, I Know the Monkey Man, by Dori Hillestad Butler (196 pages) – When T. J.’s dad is injured she discovers that she was kidnapped by her father 10 years ago. Not only does she have a mother and a step-father, but also a twin sister. This book also arguably has the best title of any book, ever.

    First line: ‘The little red light on our answering machine was blinking on and off when I wandered into the kitchen.

    Mutation : The Phoenix Files, by Chris Morphew (311 pages) – This is the third book in the Phoenix Files series. We reviewed the first book a while ago. There were 100 days left before the world ends; now there are only 63 days left and (in addition to the whole major catastrophe thing) something weird is happening to the people of Phoenix.

    First line: ‘My fists clenched in my lap as Shackletone approached the podium, a hint of his sick, grandfatherly smile still pulling at his lips.‘ 

    Love Sucks!, by Melissa Francis (285 pages) – a sequel to Bite Me!, and if there’s a third book what do you think it will be called? Stake Out! maybe. Pass The Grave-y! probably not. Love at First Bite! Jack reckons. Vampire teen A. J. still suffers being in love with her gorgeous step-brother, and maybe her vampire trainer, who is also gorgeous, and her father wants to take over the world, AND she has to plan the prom.

    First line: ‘My mother’s baby shower.

    The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting (329 pages) – Violet has the cheery ability to psychically detect dead bodies, as well as the imprint that remains on their killers. So now that a serial killer is stalking her small town, she realises that she’s the only one who can find the killer (and she’s being haunted quite a bit). She teams up with best friend Jay, who she’s developing feelings for (he is gorgeous).

    First line: ‘Violet Ambrose wandered away from the safety of her father as she listened to the harmony of  sounds weaving delicately around her.

    The Secret To Lying, by Todd Mitchell (328 pages) – James was a nerd at his old school, but now that he’s been enrolled in an exclusive academy for mathletes he can easily be the ‘cool guy’ – he makes up a tough background for himself and soon is lying about everything. Unfortunately there are consequences, and in his case they are quite destructive.

    First line: ‘I was the guy no one noticed.

    Once Dead, Twice Shy, by Kim Harrison (232 pages) – More supernatural romance. This one’s particular hook is dead teen Madison, who, with the help of a magic amulet, affects the illusion of a live body, and is involved in the battle between light and dark reapers. There’s also her cute crush, and a guardian angel. A sequel is in the works!

    First lines: ‘Everyone does it. Dies, I mean.

    The Project, by Brian Falkner (343 pages) – Falkner’s last book, Brainjack, won this year’s NZ Post Children’s Book Award in the YA fiction category. So this book should be quite good! It’s about a book (the ‘most boring book in the world’) that hides a terrible secret; when it’s revealed the world may never be the same again.

    First line: ‘“I reckon we would have got away with it if it wasn’t for that drunken chipmunk.”

    Before We Say Goodbye, by Gabriella Ambrosio (144 pages) – Two cousins – Dima and Myriam – are Palestinians living in Jerusalem. Myriam is hopeful of visiting America with Dima, but Dima has no dreams of the future; she has ‘already accepted her destiny: today she will die.’

    First line: ‘It was technically springtime on the day that Dima got up from her mattress after a long yet strangely brief and confused night.

    Girl Saves Boy, by Steph Bowe (280 pages) – A romance, but not supernatural (refreshingly!). Sacha has a terminal disease, his mother has died, and his father is seeing his art teacher. He attempts to drown himself! But luckily is rescued by Jewel Valentine, and it’s all uphill from there.

    First line: ‘My brother’s last word was: “Polo.”

    The Runaway Dragon, by Kate Coombs (292 pages) – The sequel to The Runaway Princess, in which Princess Meg finds a baby dragon. Laddy, the dragon, runs away from home, so the Princess, her friends, and a group of guardsmen go on a quest to find him.

    First line: ‘At first Meg visited Laddy a lot, riding her horse from the castle through the Witch’s Wood to Hookhorn Farm, where her friend Cam’s sister lived.

    Token of Darkness, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (197 pages) – Gorgeous football hero, Cooper, has a car accident, and when he awakens he starts seeing a ghost. Samantha (the ghost) is attractive but is, you know, a ghost, so their relationship is going to be a bit out of the ordinary. Delilah, a clairvoyant cheerleader, and telepathic Brent realise that Cooper’s in trouble. Awoooh.

    First line: ‘The darkness was a alive, and it was hungry.

    There is also a new book about Glee, called 100% Gleek : The Unofficial Guide to Glee!, and a comic version of Anthony Horowitz’s Raven’s Gate called, well, The Power of Five. Book One, Raven’s Gate : The Graphic Novel.


  • Books, Comedy, Environment, Fantasy, Horror, New, New Magazines, Sci Fi, Simon

    Lots of New Books

    04.09.10 | Permalink | 1 Comment

    Yes. There are lots of new books! Read them all, that’s my challenge.

    Legacies : A Shadow Grail Novel, by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill (320 pages) – This is the first book in the Shadow Grail series, about a teen girl named Spirit White, whose family die and she’s shipped off to Oakhurst Academy. Everyone there is some sort of magic user! Students start disappearing, and a mystery has got to be solved.

    First lines: ‘Someone was moaning. Spirit wished whoever it was would be quiet.

    Dark Life, by Kat Falls (297 pages) – The oceans have risen, and people either live on the tiny pieces of land or deep under the ocean. The ocean is a rough, dangerous place to live! Ty and Gemma find themselves venturing into this underwater frontier (for noble reasons!) and discover some dark secrets.

    First lines: ‘I peered into the deep-sea canyon, hoping to spot qa toppled skyscraper. Maybe even the Statue of Liberty.

    Juggling Fire, Joanne Bell (171 pages) – Rachel grew up in the mountains in Yukon, but she has to move to the city. Then her father disappears, and Rachel – wanting to know why – hikes back through the mountains, where she must confront danger (bears!) and the past.

    First line: ‘Mom doesn’t cry when I heave the packs from the pickup; she only blinks hard, squeezes my shoulders and whirls around, like she has to get away from me fast.

    Crawlers, by Same Enthoven (261 pages) – Nine kids go to the theatre to see a play and in one evening of sheer horror they encounter some sinister and disgusting mind-controlling hairless, blubbery spidery-octopus things. I will never eat takoyaki again!

    First line: ‘In the dark pit that had been my prison for almost three hundred and fifty years, Steadman’s latest victim was regaining consciousness.

    Indigo Blues, by Danielle Joseph (231 pages) – Adam is an indie music sensation, and Indigo is the girl who dumped him. He subsequently wrote a song about her, and now she is almost as famous as he is. She’s not too pleased! And he’s still calling her, and she’s like, no way.

    First line: ‘When I found out that “Indigo Blues” hit number one on the Billboard charts this morning, I ran to the bathroom and threw up.

    The Alchemist and the Angel, by Joanne Owen (224 pages) – It is the 16th century, and Jan, an alchemist’s apprentice, is searching for the elixir of life. He travels to Prague, a city rich with alchemy and corruption, and while there he meets a mysterious girl (the ‘Angel of the Ghetto’). This book is beautifully illustrated!

    First line: ‘Emperor Rudolf II – Ruler of the World, Aficionado of Alchemy, Collector of Curiosities – shifted in his throne.’

    My Rocky Romance Diary by Kelly Ann, (really) by Liz Rettig (313 pages) – The saga of Kelly Ann’s romantic life continues in this, the fourth of her diaries.

    First line: ‘First day of term and Mum woke me up at eight but I’d two free periods first thing so I mumbled ‘Leavemealoneandgoaway’.

    Reality Check, by Jen Calonita (277 pages) – Catalogue says, ‘When a television executive signs Long Island sixteen-year-old Charlie and her three best friends to be the stars of a new reality television show, their lives are suddenly not the same.’

    First line: ‘It’s only 3:47 PM. How can that be? It feels like I’ve been here for hours, not just forty-seven minutes.’

    The Fire Opal, by Regina McBride (293 pages) – ‘While invading English soldiers do battle in sixteenth-century Ireland, Maeve grows up with a mystical connection to a queen who, centuries before, faced enemies of her own.’ Thanks, Catalogue!

    First line: ‘When I was seven years old, my mother and I spent a July afternoon on the foreshore collecting kelp, which we planned to dry and burn for summer fires.

    Notes From The Dog, by Gary Paulsen (133 pages) – Okay, this is from the Catalogue again: ‘When Johanna shows up at the beginning of summer to house-sit next door to Finn, he has no idea of the profound effect she will have on his life by the time summer vacation is over.’

    First line: ‘Sometimes having company is not all it’s cracked up to be.’

    So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), by Micol Ostow (Art by David Ostow) (246 pages) – Ari Abramson’s band, made up of four teens from a wealthy Jewish school, suddenly become popular overnight. They now must navigate the ‘minefield of inflated egos, misplaced romance, and the shallowness of indie-rock elitism.’ Comedy!

    First line: ‘There are many things that Jonas Fein does well.

    Freak Magnet, by Andrew Auseon (297 pages) – Gloria is a ‘freak magnet’, and in fact keeps a record of all the weirdos who talk to her. Charlie is a freak, so it’s only a matter of time before he ends up in her Freak Folio. However! They’re both burdened by grief and loss*, and so form a connection.

    * :(

    First line: ‘When the world’s most beautiful woman walks into the room, it’s hard to keep from throwing up.

    Runaway Storm, by D. E. Knobbe (223 pages) – This is the first in a series (there’s an excerpt of the next book included). Nate has stolen a kayak and has run (paddled?) away from home to some remote Canadian island. He encounters smugglers, real runaways, and a massive, deadly storm.

    First lines: ‘Nate slouched out of the elevator and crossed the lobby of the apartment building. The apartment, this building, New York – they had never felt like home.

    Beyond Evie, by Rebecca Burton (200 pages) – Charlotte’s life is pretty swell, apart from having lost her father and later falling in love (obsessively!) with Evie, who breaks her heart. ‘Perceptive,’ ‘powerful,’ and ‘psychologically intense’ (yet ‘optimistic’ also!).

    First lines: ‘You, Evie, told me I was beautiful. I thought you meant you liked me, but I was wrong.

    Two Good Thieves, by Daniel Finn (386 pages) – In the Third World slums in a city somewhere in South America, Demi and Baz fight for a better life in a ‘city of thieves’ in this fast-pace, gritty thriller. (It’s also published as She Thief, which we have as a new book this week.)

    First lines: ‘The city’s burning. The city is always burning.

    Tripwire, by Steve Cole and Chris Hunter (238 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Felix Smith is a soldier, a spy, and a covert bomb disposal expert. He works for ATLAS, who use teenagers for military operations (the enemy don’t expect teenagers!).

    First line: ‘Got you. The sight of the bomb hit Felix like a punch in the guts.

    Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto, by Eric Luper (293 pages) – Seth’s girlfriend dumps him and his father is spotted out on a date with a woman who is not Seth’s mother. So Seth begins an anonymous podcast about the mysteries of love. Soon his life is picking up – he holds a job, makes new friends, and tracks down his father’s mystery date.

    First lines: ‘“Come on Seth. Say something.” Veronica stares at me like I’m the one who should be doing the explaining – like I’m the one who just turned everything upside down.

    Rush, by Jonathan Friesen (295 pages) – Jake loves taking risks, just to feel the rush. He’s offered a job with a group of firefighters who rappel into wildfires. Very risky! His friend and secret crush, Salome, gets caught up in taking risks also, and the consequences are devastating.

    First lines: ‘“Pure insanity.” I whisper at the sky as sheets of rain sting my face.

    Sea : A Novel, by Heidi R. Kling (327 pages) – A romance set in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia. Sienna Jones travels with her father to Asia to help with an internation relief team, and she meets the ‘most handsome boy she’s ever seen,’ Deni. He though his father died in the disaster but he learns that mightn’t be the case; together, they make the heartbreaking journey to the epicentre of the tsunami’s destruction.

    First line: ‘I’m sitting alone on the other side of the world talking to a sea turtle that might be my mom.

    The Six Rules of Maybe, by Deb Caletti (321 pages) – Scarlet spends all her time worrying about others, and trying to help them and fix their lives. Often when it means ignoring her own needs! But then she falls in love with her newly pregnant sister’s husband, and finds herself at the centre of a drama (and then some!) for the first time.

    First line: ‘You could tell something was different about Juliet the moment she stepped out of the truck.

    Smiling Jack, by Ken Catran (271 pages) – Robert’s well-respected father and uncle are killed in a road accident. He finds a defaced playing-card Jack at the accident site. Soon more people are dying, and the same card is found near each death. A murder mystery with a startling and unexpected twist!

    First line: ‘Smiling Jack came into my life about ten-thirty, one November night.

    Lies : A Gone Novel, by Michael Grant (447 pages) – This is the follow up to Gone and Hunger, about a world where all adults disappear and the remaining kids get all Lord of the Flies/Mad Max on one another. They also have powers! There are mutants, and dark supernatural forces.

    First line: ‘Obscene graffiti. Smashed windows. Human Crew tags, their logo, along with warnings to freaks to get out.

    Daniel X : Demons and Druids, by James Patterson and Adam Sadler (243 pages) – Alien hunter Daniel X travels to England with his friends to find Beta, an outlaw that takes the form of fire and who killed Daniels parents when he was a wee toddler. Daniel can create anything, has superspeed, can shapechange, and has superstrength! He travels through time as well, and meet Merlin.

    First lines: ‘I bet I can see London from here, I was thinking. I was literally 150 feet in the air above a grassy field, outside a charming little village called Whaddon.

    Classy : Be a Lady, Not a Tramp, by Derek Blasburg (230 pages) – This is a manual for older teen girls who want to be a classy; how to dress, etiquette to adopt, even what to read and watch. A modern Miss Manners!

    Here are the latest magazines:

    Entertainment Weekly #1115 – Always good for a twenty-minute read, for it is Quite Interesting.
    XBox 360 : Official Australian Magazine #58 – Mafia II | Mortal Kombat | Loads of other games | Wouldn’t it be cool if we had games?
    Seventeen September 2010 – Beauty Master Class | Secrets to the Best Date Ever! | 823 (!) Fashion and Beauty Ideas
    Girlfriend September 2010 – perfumes | prints | Perry | Patterson | pin-ups


  • Books, Environment, Fantasy, Horror, New, Simon

    En ee double-you books

    03.07.10 | Permalink | Comments Off

    My So-Called Death, by Stacey Jay (229 pages) – Karen snuffs it in a cheerleading accident. But she is re-animated somehow! And now, as a zombie, enrols in a boarding school for the undead. There she must a. solve a mystery and b. fall for gorgeous walking cadaver, Gavin.

    First line: ‘My very short-lived career at Peachtree High ended the day I fell from the top of the stunt pyramid and died.

    Escape Under the Forever Sky, by Eve Yohalem (220 pages) – Lucy is the daughter of the US ambassador to Ethiopa. She’s not allowed to leave the embassy compound. But then she’s kidnapped! Left to fend for herself in the Ethiopian wild, she survives by being smart, clever, and couragous. Based on a true story too.

    First lines: ‘Dust is everywhere. Red-brown, soft as silt. It coats the windshield, the dashboard, our clothes, our skin.

    The Great Wild Sea, by M. H. Herlong (283 pages) – Another story of survival. Three brothers are left on a rickety old boat after their dad disappears. They’re in the middle of nowhere! Together they face a massive storm and forty-foot waves, and then they’re left on a deserted island.

    First line: ‘We drove all night to get to the boat.

    A New Dawn : Your Favourite Authors on Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Series, edited by Ellen Hopkins (174 pages) – Some authors write about the Twilight series. Like the title says! Subject headings include ‘My Boyfriend Sparkles,’ ‘Dancing With Wolves,’ and ‘To Bite, or Not to Bite; That Is the Question.’

    Wyrmeweald : Returner’s Wealth, by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell (409 pages) – I am excited by this book! The authors usually write books for children, and I have been hopeful they’d write a book for older people. And here it is! This is the first in a fantasy trilogy, replete with Riddell’s lush drawings.

    First lines: ‘The most ancient of the great whitewyrmes turned his mighty head towards the horizon. His nostrils flared.

    Three Rivers Rising : A Novel of the Johnstown Flood, by Jame Richards (293 pages) -  In May, 1889, a massive flood submerged Johnstown, Pennsylvania, killing 2,200 people and decimating the place. Look at these photos! This book tells its story in poem form.

    First line:
    ‘Father says he comes for the fishing,
    but in truth he comes to keep an eye
    on other businessmen.


    Identity, by Sandra Glover (233 pages) – Louise, Jessica and Cate are three girls who don’t know each other, and, in fact, live hundreds of miles apart. But their lives are somehow connected! Could it have something to do with cloning? Perhaps!

    First line: ‘She jogged along the path, listening to her music, keeping her pace steady.

    Birthmarked, by Caragh M. O’Brien (362 pages) – In the future the world is a dry, hot wasteland. The world is split into those who live inside the wall – the Enclave – and those who live outside the wall. The people inside the wall need babies from outside! It’s complex.

    First line: ‘In the dim hovel, the mother clenched her body into one final, straining push, and the baby slithered out into Gaia’s ready hands.

    Boys, Girls & Other Hazardous Materials, by Rosalind Wiseman (282 pages) – Charlie moves to a new school and wants to shed her mean girl image. But it’s difficult to do for various reasons. ‘A fresh, funny, and juicy read about friendship, betrayal, and how far some kids will go to be accepted.’

    First lines: ‘Here’s the deal. My name is Charlie – and, yes, I’m a girl.

    Shadows : A Dark Touch Novel, by Amy Meredith (280 pages) – The first in a planned series. Sort of a supernatural romance, but with demons.

    First line: ‘The ghost slipped between the two pine trees, moving silently, not even leaving footprints in the pine needles in the ground.

    The Snowball Effect, by Holly Nicole Hoxter (356 pages) – ‘Having lost her stepfather, grandmother, and mother in the span of a year, seventeen-year-old Lainey unexpectedly reconnects with long-lost relatives, copes with her five-year-old brother’s behavioral problems, and endangers her long-term romance when drawn to a young man with an unexpected connection to her mother.’ Thanks, catalogue synopsis!

    First line: ‘I wouldn’t say I’d been worried about Mom, but I’d known for a while that things were bad.

    Your Skirt’s Too Short : Sex, Power, Choice, by Emily Maguire (247 pages) – This non-fiction book ‘discusses sex, power and choice in the context of young women’s lives, providing readers with the courage and knowledge to tackle these issues head on.’ This looks to be a fantastic intro to feminism.

    Does My Bum Look Big in This? Body Image and the Media, by Lisa Cox (76 pages) – Another non-fiction book which offer ‘a behind the scenes look at the media industry: showing you how to critically and independently evaluate what you see, hear or read in popular culture.’ This is a great skill to have, frankly!


  • cute animals awww, Environment, Prudence

    Hello birdie

    25.06.10 | Permalink | Comments Off

    Landcare Research would like your help for the 2010 Garden Bird Survey. It takes an hour, and all you need to do is count the different bird species you see in your backyard, school, park, garden, or meadow (I think that covers it). It’s been going on for a few years now, and the results are used to find out if common bird populations are increasing or decreasing. SO if you want to do it you can go to this webpage and download an identification flyer with a recording form. Will house sparrows win for the fourth year running? Will silvereyes make a late resurgence?


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