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

    New books

    17.04.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    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, Grimm, New

    Newly Ordered Books

    09.04.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    This week, a historical fantasy from a Christchurch-based author, two short stories from a popular series, a moving novel about grief and loss, and a holocaust story of survival.

    Awakening, Natalie King (New Zealand writer) – “When Zelie Taylor pulls a lost necklace out of the icy waters of the lake, she has no idea what the consequences will be. At first the pendant is just freezing cold – unnaturally so – but then she hears a voice inside her head and Zelie thinks she must be going mad. She’s not. Seventeen-year-old Tamas’ soul has been trapped in the silver necklace since 1918. His body is nearby, sleeping, and Zelie must help him awaken. At first Zelie would like nothing better than for Tamas’ moody, enigmatic presence to be out of her life, but after a while she isn’t so sure. And what is waiting for Tamas when he does emerge? It seems that the sinister force that trapped him all those years ago has returned and is growing more powerful. A hundred-year-old mystery steeped in dark magic will make Zelie question everything she thought she knew.” (goodreads.com)

    Tales from the Half-Continent, D M Cornish – this is number 3.5 in the Monster Blood Tattoo series, and it’s really two short/long stories: ‘The Corsers’ Hinge’ and ‘The Fuller and the Bogle’. “Bunting Faukes has a debt and no way to repay it – times are tough for grave robbers. But a way out is presented in the person of Atticus Wells, a sleuth with strange eyes that see into everything — Virtue Bland is alone in the world. Packed off to Brandenbrass to serve the household of her late father’s employer, she has only her old pa’s olfactologue to remember him by. But with it she can smell monsters.” (goodreads.com)

    The Year of the Rat, Clare Furniss. “The world can tip at any moment … a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mum dies after giving birth to her baby sister. Told across the year following her mother’s death, Pearl’s story is full of bittersweet humour and heartbreaking honesty about how you deal with grief that cuts you to the bone, as she tries not only to come to terms with losing her mum, but also the fact that her sister – The Rat – is a constant reminder of why her mum is no longer around…” (goodreads.com)

    Alexander Altmann A10567, Suzy Zail. “Fourteen-year-old Alexander Altmann doesn’t need to look at the number tattooed on his arm. A10567; he knows it by heart. He also knows to survive Auschwitz, he must toughen up. Being soft will get him killed. Alexander will take any chance he’s given – and when that chance is caring for the German officers’ horses he grabs it. He just can’t let them know he’s scared.” (goodreads.com)


  • Espionage, Fantasy, Great Reads, Horror, New, Nicola, Sci Fi

    New books

    04.04.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSwagger, Carl Deuker (297 pages)When high school senior Jonas moves to Seattle, he is glad to meet Levi, a nice, soft-spoken guy and fellow basketball player. Suspense builds like a slow drumbeat as readers start to smell a rat in Ryan Hartwell, a charismatic basketball coach and sexual predator. When Levi reluctantly tells Jonas that Hartwell abused him, Jonas has to decide whether he should risk his future career to report the coach. (Goodreads)

    First lines: All this started about a year and a half ago. Back then I was a junior at Redwood High in Redwood City, a suburn twnty-five miles south of San Francisco. In those days, before Hartwell, before Levi, I took things as they came, without thinking a whole lot about them. Maybe that’s because most of the things that came my way were good.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAnything to have you, Paige Harbison (303 pages)Natalie and Brooke have had each other’s backs forever. Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies. Brooke is the movie—the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.Then it happens—one crazy night that Natalie can’t remember and Brooke’s boyfriend, Aiden, can’t forget. Suddenly there’s a question mark in Natalie and Brooke’s friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means.(Goodreads)

    First lines: I heard her before I saw her. Music blasted from inside her car despite the fact that she was in a quiet neighborhood. I climbed in, and she turned down the volume.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Osiris Curse, Paul Crilley (286 pages) When Nikola Tesla is murdered and blueprints for his super weapons are stolen, Tweed and Nightingale are drawn into a global cat and mouse chase with his killers. What’s more, it seems that the people who shot Nikola Tesla are the same people responsible for Octavia’s mother’s disappearance. As the two cases intertwine, Tweed and Nightingale’s investigations lead them to a murdered archeologist and a secret society called The Hermetic Order of Set. Fleeing the cult’s wrath, they go undercover on the luxury airship, The Albion, setting out on her maiden voyage to Tutankhamen’s View, a five star hotel built in the hollowed-out and refurbished Great Pyramid of Giza.In Egypt, the duo begin to unravel the terrible truth behind Tesla’s death, a secret so earth-shattering that if revealed it would mean rewriting the entire history of the world. But if the cult’s plans aren’t stopped, Britain may lose the future.(Goodreads)

    First lines:Death stalks the streets of London. The winter wind, sensing its presence and feeling some distant, ancient kinship, soars above the frozen city, tossing snowflakes though the oil-black sky as it searches for its location.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHalf Bad, Sally Green (394 pages)Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch. You get sick if you stay indoors after dark. You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one. You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen. All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.(Goodreads)

    First lines: There’s these two kids, boys, sitting close together, squished by the arms of an old chair. You’re the one on the left. The other boy’s warm to lean close to, and he moves his gaze from the telly to you sort of in slow motion.
    “You enjoying it?” he asks.

    Backward glass, David Lomax (315 pages) Crack your head, knock you dead, then Prince Harming’s hunger’s fed. It’s 1977, and Kenny Maxwell is dreading the move away from his friends. But then, behind the walls of his family’s new falling-apart Victorian home, he finds something incredible–a mummified baby and a note: “Help me make it not happen, Kenny. Help me stop him.” Shortly afterwards, a beautiful girl named Luka shows up. She introduces Kenny to the backward glass, a mirror that allows them to travel through time. Meeting other “mirror kids” in the past and future is exciting, but there’s also danger. The urban legend of Prince Harming, who kidnaps and kills children, is true–and he’s hunting them. When Kenny gets stranded in the past, he must find the courage to answer a call for help, change the fate of a baby–and confront his own destiny.(Goodreads)

    First lines: Here’s what you need to know: You’re my son and you’re something like negative twenty-two, because that’s how long it will be before you’re born. I have a story to tell you. Most of it happened right here in Scarborough, forty, fifty, even sixty years ago, but it happened to me. Last year. 1977. The year I turned fifteen.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhere the stars still shine, Trish Doller ( 336 pages)Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.(Goodreads)

    First lines: Yellow light slashes the darkness as Mom sneaks into the apartment again. The muffled creak of the floorboards beneath the shabby carpet gives her away, along with the stale-beer-and-cigarette smell that always follows her home from the Old Dutch.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMermaid in Chelsea Creek, Michelle Tea (331 pages)Everyone in the broken-down town of Chelsea, Massachussetts, has a story too worn to repeat—from the girls who play the pass-out game just to feel like they’re somewhere else, to the packs of aimless teenage boys, to the old women from far away who left everything behind. But there’s one story they all still tell: the oldest and saddest but most hopeful story, the one about the girl who will be able to take their twisted world and straighten it out. The girl who will bring the magic.Could Sophie Swankowski be that girl? With her tangled hair and grubby clothes, her weird habits and her visions of a filthy, swearing mermaid who comes to her when she’s unconscious, Sophie could be the one to uncover the power flowing beneath Chelsea’s potholed streets and sludge-filled rivers, and the one to fight the evil that flows there, too. Sophie might discover her destiny, and maybe even in time to save them all.(Goodreads)

    First lines: Chelsea was a city where people landed. People from other counrties, people running from wars and poverty, stealing away on boats that cut through the ocean into a whole new world, or on plabes, relief shaking their bodies and they rattled into the sky.

    Boom cover courtesy of SyndeticsI lived on Butterfly Hill, Marjorie Agosin (454 pages)Celeste Marconi is a dreamer. She lives peacefully among friends and neighbors and family in the idyllic town of Valparaiso, Chile;until the time comes when even Celeste, with her head in the clouds, can’t deny the political unrest that is sweeping through the country. Warships are spotted in the harbor and schoolmates disappear from class without a word. Celeste doesn’t quite know what is happening, but one thing is clear: no one is safe, not anymore.The country has been taken over by a government that declares artists, protestors, and anyone who helps the needy to be considered subversive; and dangerous to Chile’s future. So Celeste’s parents, her educated, generous, kind parentsmust go into hiding before they, too, must disappear. To protect their daughter, they send her to America.As Celeste adapts to her new life in Maine, she never stops dreaming of Chile. But even after democracy is restored to her home country, questions remain: Will her parents reemerge from hiding? Will she ever be truly safe again? (Goodreads)

    First lines: The blue cloud finally opens-just when the bell rings to let the Juana Ross School out for the weekend. I’d been wtaching the sky from the classroom windows all day, wondering just when the rain would pour down.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe mirk and midnight hour, Jane Nickerson (371 pages)A Southern girl. A wounded soldier. A chilling force deep in the forest. All collide at night’s darkest hour. Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother. When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy—one of the men who might have killed her own brother—and yet she’s drawn to him. But Violet isn’t Thomas’s only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds—keeping him alive—and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn’t been out of compassion. Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.(Goodreads)

    First lines: he was already dead. Maybe. He had been greviously wounded-he had expected to die anyway-but they did something to him that sucked out the rest of his feeble life and will, except for the tony spark of spul that hunkered mutely deep inside.


  • Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Horror, New, Nicola

    New books

    27.03.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    We’ve got a great selection this week: standalones and series, plus a new graphic novel, which is always great. (For me, anyway!) Don’t forget that if you have a YA card, you can reserve these amazing books for free.

    Stand-alone books
    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAfterworld, Lynette Lounsbury (409 pages) Dom is the youngest person ever to arrive in the Necropolis, the ‘waiting place’ between death and what comes after. And it isn’t long before he catches the attention of Satarial, a cruel Nephilim from the beginning of time, who has grim plans to use Dom as entertainment in his vicious gladiatorial games. When Dom’s still-living sister, Kaide, appears in the Necropolis too, Satarial has the leverage he needs, and the stage is set for the biggest shake-up the afterlife has seen in centuries. Dom’s only option is to compete in the Trials and attempt to win the chance to enter the Maze. In his favour he has an enigmatic young Guide, Eva, and a Guardian, Eduardo, who may not be what he seems. But will they be enough?(Goodreads)

    First lines: India hit Dominic Mathers with a purtid gust that almost knocked him back tot eh airport. After all these years he wasn’t sure if he loved or hated the place. The air was hot and smelled of sweat and filth and the bloated dead dog that lay in the gutter. It was hard to do anything in India, hard to walk through the mase of desperate people, hard to think with all the noise, hard to move.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNightmare city, Andrew Klavan (303 pages) Tom Harding only wants the truth. But the truth is becoming more dangerous with every passing minute. As a reporter for his high school newspaper, Tom Harding was tracking the best story of his life—when, suddenly, his life turned very, very weird. He woke up one morning to find his house empty . . . his street empty . . . his whole town empty . . . empty except for an eerie, creeping fog—and whatever creatures were slowly moving toward him through the fog.Now Tom’s once-ordinary world has become something out of a horror movie. How did it happen? Is it real? Is he dreaming? Has there been a zombie apocalypse? Has he died and gone to hell? Tom is a good reporter—he knows how to look for answers—but no one has ever covered a story like this before. With the fog closing in and the hungry creatures of the fog surrounding him, he has only a few hours to find out how he lost the world he knew. In this bizarre universe nothing is what it seems and everything—including Tom’s life—hangs in the balance.(Goodreads)

    First lines: Tom was in heaven when the phone rang. At least, he though it was heaven. He had never been there before, and the look of the place surprised him. It wasn’t what he was expecting at all. Then again Tom had never really thought about heaven much.

    Series:

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAlienated, Melissa Landers (344 pages)Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket. Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking. But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.(Goodreads)

    First lines: Winning. Cara Sweeney had made it her business, and business was good. Honor Society president? Check. Young leader award? Check. State debate champion two years running? Double check. And when the title of valdictorian had eluded her, she’d found a way to snag that, too.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsUnder the Empyrean Sky, (Heartland trilogy, book 1) Chuck Wendig (354 pages) Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow, and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie, his first mate and the love of his life forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry, angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. Cael’s ready to make his own luck . . . even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.(Goodreads)

    First lines: The corn reaches for the land-boat above it, but the corn is slow and the cat-maran is fast. The stretching, yearning stalks hiss against the boat’s bottom, making a white noise that sounds like pollen coming out of a piss-blizzard.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHer Dark Curiosity, (A madman’s daughter novel) Megan Shepherd (422 pages) Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father’s island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again. As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.
    (Goodreads)

    First lines: the air in my crumbling attic chamer smelled of roses and formaldehyde. Beyond the frosted windowpanes, the rooftops of Shoreditch stretched toward the eat in sharp angles still marked with yesterday’s snow, as chimney stacks pumped smog into an already foggy sky. On nights like these, I never knew what dangers might lurk in the streets.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhite space, (Book 1 of The Dark Passages) Ilsa J. Blick (551 pages) Seventeen-year-old Emma Lindsay has problems: a head full of metal, no parents, a crazy artist for a guardian whom a stroke has turned into a vegetable, and all those times when she blinks away, dropping into other lives so ghostly and surreal it’s as if the story of her life bleeds into theirs. But one thing Emma has never doubted is that she’s real. Then she writes “White Space,” a story about these kids stranded in a spooky house during a blizzard. Unfortunately, “White Space” turns out to be a dead ringer for part of an unfinished novel by a long-dead writer. The manuscript, which she’s never seen, is a loopy Matrix meets Inkheart story in which characters fall out of different books and jump off the page. Thing is, when Emma blinks, she might be doing the same and, before long, she’s dropped into the very story she thought she’d written. Trapped in a weird, snow-choked valley, Emma meets other kids with dark secrets and strange abilities: Eric, Casey, Bode, Rima, and a very special little girl, Lizzie. What they discover is that they–and Emma–may be nothing more than characters written into being from an alternative universe for a very specific purpose. Now what they must uncover is why they’ve been brought to this place–a world between the lines where parallel realities are created and destroyed and nightmares are written–before someone pens their end.(Goodreads)

    First lines: At first, Mom thinks there are mice because of that scritch-scritch-scritching in the walls. This is very weird. Marmalade, the orange tom, is such a good mouser. But then Mom spies a dirty footspring high up on the wall of her walk-in closet.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLost Covenant (A Widdershins adventure) Ari Marmell (277 pages) It’s been six months since Widdershins and her own “personal god” Olgun fled the city of Davillon. During their travels, Widdershins unwittingly discovers that a noble house is preparing to move against the last surviving bastion of the Delacroix family. Determined to help the distant relatives of her deceased adopted father, Alexandre Delacroix, she travels to a small town at the edge of the nation. There, she works at unraveling a plot involving this rival house and a local criminal organization, all while under intense suspicion from the very people she’s trying to rescue.Along the way she’ll have to deal with a traitor inside the Delacroix family, a mad alchemist, and an infatuated young nobleman who won’t take no for an answer.(Goodreads)

    First lines:
    “Name?”
    “Business?”
    “Thank you. Welcome to Davillon. Next!”
    “Name?”
    “Business?”
    “Thank you. Welcome to…”
    And on. And on.

    And finally, a new graphic novel:
    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLost at sea, Bryan Lee O’Malley (189 pages)Raleigh doesn’t have a soul. A cat stole it – or at least that’s what she tells people – or at least that’s what she would tell people if she told people anything. But that would mean talking to people, and the mere thought of social interaction is terrifying. How did such a shy teenage girl end up in a car with three of her hooligan classmates on a cross-country road trip? Being forced to interact with kids her own age is a new and alarming proposition for Raleigh, but maybe it’s just what she needs – or maybe it can help her find what she needs – or maybe it can help her to realize that what she needs has been with her all along.(Goodreads)

    First lines: I have a lot on my mind and not a lot to do so it’s going to come out, all of it, and then, then, it may begin to make a sort of sense.


  • Books, Grimm, New

    Upcoming Fiction

    12.03.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    Something for fantasy lovers, something for creepy fairy tale lovers and something for lovers of historical glamour.

    Diamonds and Deceit, Leila Rasheed (At Somerton #2) – this is the second book in the series that is touted as being like Downton Abbey. “London is a whirl of balls and teas, alliances and rivalries. Rose has never felt more out of place. With the Season in full swing, she can’t help but still feel a servant dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then Rose meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke. Rose has heard the rumors about Ross’s sordid past just like everyone else has. Yet he alone treats her as a friend. Rose knows better than to give her heart to an aristocrat with such a reputation, but it may be too late. Ada should be happy. She is engaged to a handsome man who shares her political passions and has promised to support her education. So why does she feel hollow inside? Even if she hated Lord Fintan, she would have no choice but to go through with the marriage. Every day a new credit collector knocks on the door of their London flat, demanding payment for her cousin William’s expenditures. Her father’s heir seems determined to bring her family to ruin, and only a brilliant marriage can save Somerton Court and the Averleys’ reputation. Meanwhile, at Somerton, Sebastian is out of his mind with worry for his former valet Oliver, who refuses to plead innocent to the murder charges against him–for a death caused by Sebastian himself. Sebastian will do whatever he can to help the boy he loves, but his indiscretion is dangerous fodder for a reporter with sharp eyes and dishonorable intentions.” (goodreads.com)

    The Nethergrim, Matthew Jobin – “Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes’ honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned! Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together – and work apart – in ways that will test every ounce of resolve.” (goodreads.com) Goodreads suggests that if you read and enjoyed the Ranger’s Apprentice books you might like this one.

    The Mirk and Midnight Hour, Jane Nickerson – “Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war – a war that has already claimed her twin brother. When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy – one of the men who might have killed her own brother – and yet she’s drawn to him. But Violet isn’t Thomas’s only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds – keeping him alive – and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn’t been out of compassion. Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.” (goodreads.com) This is based on the folk tale ‘Tam Lin’. We don’t know much about this one! Except it’s Scottish. Interesting.


  • Fantasy, Great Reads, New, Nicola

    Next instalments:New books in a series

    06.03.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA Spark Unseen:The Dark Unwinding #2, Sharon Cameron, (335 pages)When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead.But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust–if anyone–to protect her uncle from danger once and for all. (Goodreads)

    First lines: I opened my eyes, the air in my bedchamver pulsing with the kind of silence that only comes in the wake of sound – a sound that never should have been there. I waited, listening. Shadows hid the dressing table, my bookshelves, the roses on the wallpaper, each window swathed in a shroud of black. But my room was empty.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBorderlands, Chasing the Valley #2, Skye Melki-Wegner, (397 pages)Danika and her crew of escaped refugees are seeking the safety of the Magnetic Valley – and trying to evade Sharr Morrigan, the king’s most lethal hunter. But the borderlands they must cross to reach the Valley are smugglers’ territory: lawless, wild and steeped in ancient magic. When one of the crew is badly wounded, Danika turns to the smugglers for help – and accepts a bargain that might prove deadly.It is Lukas, however, who hides the most dangerous secret. What has he seen through the eagle’s eyes? The answer can be found in an alchemy charm and a smuggler’s tale, and will lead Danika and her friends to an electrifying, unputdownable showdown.
    (Goodreads)

    First Lines: It’s the sixth night when the hunters find us. I’ve volunteered for guard duty, which means a cold stint on the edge of our camp. My crewmates huddle in sleeping sacks, curled up for warmth at the back of a cave. ‘Cave’ might be a bit generous. It’s more of a dimble in the cliff face, high up in a narrow canyon called the Knife.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe road to Gundagai:”Matilda Saga” #3 , Jackie French, (422 pages)Blue Laurence has escaped the prison of her aunt’s mansion to join The Magnifico Family Circus, a travelling troupe that brings glamour and laughter to country towns gripped by the Depression. Blue hides her crippled legs and scars behind the sparkle of a mermaid’s costume; but she’s not the only member of the circus hiding a dark secret. The unquenchable Madame Zlosky creates as well as foresees futures. The bearded lady is a young man with laughing eyes. A headless skeleton dangles in the House of Horrors.And somewhere a murderer is waiting … to strike again. (Goodreads)

    First lines:Blue stared at the monster in the mirror. Her scalp showed through the straggly red hair. Scars like patches of red clay on her neck. Eyes peered from smuges in a dead white face. Wrists like chicken bones, too thing for the silver bracelet Mum and Dad had given her on her fifteenth birthday, a year ago today.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCress: Lunar chronicles, Book #3 Marissa Meyer, (550 pages) In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Her satellite made one full orbit around planet Earth every sixteen hours. It was a prison that came with an endlessly breathtaking view-vast blue oceans and swirling clouds and sunrises that set half the world on fire.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIgnite me:Shatter Me trilogy, Book #3, Tahereh Mafi, (408 pages)Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she’ll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew – about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam – was wrong. (Goodreads)

    First lines: I am an hourglass. My seventeen years have collapsed and buried me from the inside out. My legs feel full of sand and stapled together, my mind overflowing with grains of indecision, choices unmade and impatient as time runs out of my body.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInto the still blue: Under the never sky Book #3, Veronica Rossi (389 pages)The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do–and they are just as determined to stay together.Within the confines of a cave they’re using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival–he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Aria lurched upright, the echo of gunshots rining in her ears. Disrented, she blinked at her surroundings, take in the canvas walls, the two bed pallets, and the stack of battered storage trunks, finally recognizing Perry’s tent. Pain pulses stealdily in her right arm. She looked down at the white bandage wrapped from her shoulder to her wirst, dread swirling in her stomach.

    Endless Knight: Book #2 in the Arcana Chronicles, Kresley Cole, (320 pages)Evie has her full powers as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. Teens reincarnated as the Tarot are in the throes of an epic battle for mankind. She must trust new allies against other Arcana, Bagmen zombies, post-apocalyptic storms, and cannibals. But she’s also drawn to Death, the Endless Knight, who shares history with the Empress. She can’t remember; he can’t forget. (Goodreads)

    First lines: During the Flash, a global cataclysmic flare, the durface of the earth was scorches to ash and bodies of water flash-evaporated. All plant life was killed, most animals as well. The vast majority of humans perished, with women the hardest hit. Rain has not fallen in eight months.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEnders: Book #2 in the Starters series, Lissa Price, (272 pages)With the Prime Destinations body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save Callie’s life – but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too …and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?(Goodreads)

    First lines: My hand went to the back of my head and swore I could feel the chip underneath my skin. But I couldn’t, of course; it was buried deeply under the metal blocking plate. It was just the surrounding scar tissue I felt, hard and unforgiving. I tried not to touch it.


  • Books, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Great Reads, Horror, Librarian's Choice, New, Nicola, Nostalgia, Sci Fi, Science!

    Best new graphic novels

    28.02.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    Our graphic novel section is growing bigger by the day! Here are some of my picks, from the historical to the hysterical.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBoxers and Saints – Gene Luen Yang Book cover courtesy of Syndetics

    These two graphic novels tell the story of the Boxer rebellion from different points of view. The Boxer Rebellion was a clash between the occupying colonial powers in China and a pro-nationalist and anti-Christian movement that became known as the Boxers. Gene Luen Yang captures the hard lives of the protagonists: Little Bao, who fights for the Boxers, and Vibiana, who is Christian. Both books are heart-breaking stories of people caught up in larger events beyond their control.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun
    This book serves as a stand-alone inthe Sixth Gun series. The Horsemen go their seperate ways, trying to escape the dreadful choices they made. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read the Sixth Gun series, but for those who have, it’s an interesting look at our primary antagonists. As usual, the artwork is both lush and disturbing, with reddish tones and black shadows predominating.  The Sixth Gun was mentioned in one of my earlier blog posts about graphic novels, and is well worth picking up.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDoctor Who: Dead Man’s Hand
    Continuing the Western theme, here’s a new adventure featuring the Eleventh Doctor and Clara. They go to Deadwood, a frontier town in 1882, to pay their respects to the famous gunslinger, Wild Bill Hickock. But as always with the Doctor, nothing is as it seems.  The town is being terrorized by a sinister, masked gunman.  They meet up with real-life figures Calamity Jane and Oscar Wilde, who was on a tour of America at the time. (Bet you didn’t know that!) The art’s decent, but the real star is the story, which clips along in true Doctor Who style.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe thrilling adventure hour
    A comic anthology featuring a plethora of awesome stories, by a whole range of different authors and artists.  Western, science-fiction, steampunk, superheroes: there’s something here for everyone.  The art and writing is consistently amazing, keeping close to the “pulp” feeling of the book. My pick for best story? “Beyond Belief” a screwball comedy about a pair of psychics who keep the various supernatural factions of their city from war in between drinking cocktails and delivering killer quips.


  • GLBT, Great Reads, Librarian's Choice, New, Nicola

    New books – Realistic fiction

    20.02.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover coutresy of SyndeticsMy Basmati Bat Mitzvah , (236 pages ) Paula J. Freedman During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara (Hindi for “star”) Feinstein has a lot more than her Torah portion on her mind. Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-o–who might also be her boyfriend–and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with that snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith.

    First lines: “When Ben-O came over on Saturday for movie night, my Dad answered the door in grey silk pajama bottoms and his Math Teachers play by the numbers T-shirt, an unlit pipe clenched between his teeth. “Ben-o, old chap!” He cried heartily, “How are you, dear boy?”

    Book cover couresty ofSyndeticsPromise me Something, Sara Kocek, (311 pages) As if starting high school weren’t bad enough, Reyna Fey has to do so at a new school without her best friends. Reyna’s plan is to keep her head down, help her father recover from the car accident that almost took his life, and maybe even make some friends. And then Olive Barton notices her. Olive is not exactly the kind of new friend Reyna has in mind. The boys make fun of her, the girls want to fight her, and Olive seems to welcome the challenge. There’s something about Olive that Reyna can’t help but like. But when Reyna learns Olive’s secret, she must decide whether it’s better to be good friends with an outcast or fake friends with the popular kids…before she loses Olive forever.

    First lines: The night Olive Barton vanished into the woods at Talmadge Hill, I got my first kiss. I was wearing sticky drugstore lip gloss that smelled like a Creamsicle. Sugar-drunk off cherry coke and peppermint patties, I had no idea that a mile away in the frigid dark, the night was opening its mouth to swallow a girl.

    Book cover courtesy of SyneticsFreakboy , Kristin Elizabeth Clark (427 pages)From the outside, Brendan Chase seems to have it pretty easy. He’s a star wrestler, a video game aficionado, and a loving boyfriend to his seemingly perfect match, Vanessa. But on the inside, Brendan struggles to understand why his body feels so wrong—why he sometimes fantasizes having long hair, soft skin, and gentle curves. Is there even a name for guys like him? Guys who sometimes want to be girls? Or is Brendan just a freak?

    First lines:  A pronoun is a ghost  of who you really are short sharp harsj, whispering its presence, taunting your soul. In you ogf you but not all you. Struggling my own He She Him Her I You. Scared that for scrambled-pronoun Me, We might never exist.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    BayGirl
    , Heather Smith (275 pages)Growing up in a picturesque Newfoundland fishing village “should” be idyllic for sixteen-year-old Kit Ryan, but living with an alcoholic father makes Kit’s day-to-day life unpredictable and almost intolerable. When the 1992 cod moratorium forces her father out of a job, the tension between Kit and her father grows. Forced to leave their rural community, the family moves to the city, where they live with Uncle Iggy, a widower with problems of his own. Immediately pegged as a “baygirl,” Kit struggles to fit in, but longstanding trust issues threaten to hold her back when a boy named Elliot expresses an interest in her.

    First Lines: As soon as I opened the door, I could smell it. I looked at my watch. It was only three twenty in the afternoon. But time of day never made any differnce to him. He had a whiskey with his bacon and eggs once. he drank it our of a coffee mug, as if that made it ok.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLove in Revolution B.R Collins (263 pages) Esteya is fifteen. As war rumbles closer, Esteya’s brother – an important figure in the Revolutionary Communist Party – is able to protect their family from the worst of the privations of war. Then Esteya meets an extraordinary girl, Skizi, an outcast, shunned by all. But Esteya and Skizi are drawn to each other. Slowly and wonderfully love blossoms … And then Esteya’s family are betrayed and forcibly taken away. Skizi disappears. Esteya is left deserted, heartbroken and in terrible danger. But she must find a way to escape – and to find Skizi.

    First lines: When I was small, ther was a house at the end of the town that had falled down We weren’t allowed to play there, of course, but we did sometimes. We’d play furious, clumsy games of pello against one intact wall, and when we were tired out we’d collpase in the shade with tepid bottles of cheery juice that stained our teeth pink. We’d argue about the bumps and curves in the wall and the angle of of our shots as if we were professionals.

    Image cover courtesy of SyndeticsIf I ever get out of here Eric Gansworth (350 pages) Lewis “Shoe” Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he’s not used to is white people being nice to him — people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family’s poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan’s side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis’s home — will he still be his friend?

    First lines:  “Cut it off,” I yelled. “Shut up or my Dad will hear you,” Carson Mastick said. “He’s not that drunk yet, and I’m gonna have a hard enough time explaining fow you come down looking like a different kid that the one that went upstairs.”

    Book Cover courtesy of SyndeticsCy in chains David L. Dudley (320 pages) Cy Williams, thirteen, has always known that he and the other black folks on Strong’s plantation have to obey white men, no question. Sure, he’s free, as black people have been since his grandfather’s day, but in rural Georgia, that means they’re free to be whipped, abused, even killed. Almost four years later, Cy yearns for that freedom, such as it was. Now he’s a chain gang laborer, forced to do backbreaking work, penned in and shackled like an animal, brutalized, beaten, and humiliated by the boss of the camp and his hired overseers. For Cy and the boys he’s chained to, there’s no way out, no way back.And then hope begins to grow in him, along with strength and courage he didn’t know he had. Cy is sure that a chance at freedom is worth any risk, any sacrifice. This powerful, moving story opens a window on a painful chapter in the history of race relations.

    First lines: There was no way to escape the shuting and the noises of animal terror bursting from Teufel’s stall. The crack of the whip against the stallion;s side, the horse’s madded whinnying of rage and fear, the curses from John Strong’s moth. Cy put an arm around Travis, who pushed closer to him. Travis had his hands over his ears, like that would do any good. I tried to tell you we shouldn’t of sneaked down here, Cy thought, feeling the younger boy trembling. But you had to have your way, and the see the mess we in?

    Book Cover courtesy of SyndeticsYou don’t even know  Sue Lawson (332 pages)Alex Hudson is a good guy. He plays water polo. He has a part-time job. He’s doing okay at school.Then the thing that anchors Alex is ripped away and his life seems pointless. How can he make anyone else understand how he feels, when he doesn’t even know?

    First lines: A low keening noise ices my skin and fills the room. I slip out the door, down the corridow and into the faded afternoon.  As I stumble past the man in a wheelchair sucking on a cigarette and the two guys in green scrubs laughing, I grind to a halt. Srounf me people bustle to the tram stop, weave between ars to cross the road and send text messages as rhey walk back the way I’vee come. My life has shatted into a thousand shards of glass, but nothing out here has changed.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe war within these walls  Aline Sax and Caryl Strzelecki (171 pages)It’s World War II, and Misha’s family, like the rest of the Jews living in Warsaw, has been moved by the Nazis into a single crowded ghetto. Conditions are appalling: every day more people die from disease, starvation, and deportations. Misha does his best to help his family survive, even crawling through the sewers to smuggle food. When conditions worsen, Misha joins a handful of other Jews who decide to make a final, desperate stand against the Nazis.Heavily illustrated with sober blue-and-white drawings, this powerful novel dramatically captures the brutal reality of a tragic historical event.

    First lines: It was September 1939 when the Germans invaded our country. A month later, they marched into Warsaw and took up residence as if they’d never leave. The war seemed to be over.  But after the dust of the bombings has settled, a very different war began… A war against some of us.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Extra Kathryn Lasky (307 pages)One ordinary afternoon, fifeen-year-old Lilo and her family are suddenly picked up by Hitler’s police and imprisoned as part of the “Gypsy plague.” Just when it seems certain that they will be headed to a labor camp, Lilo is chosen by filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl to work as a film extra. Life on the film set is a bizarre alternate reality. The surroundings are glamorous, but Lilo and the other extras are barely fed, closely guarded, and kept in a locked barn when not on the movie set. And the beautiful, charming Riefenstahl is always present, answering the slightest provocation with malice, flaunting the power to assign prisoners to life or death. Lilo takes matters into her own hands, effecting an escape and running for her life. In this chilling but ultimately uplifting novel, Kathryn Lasky imagines the lives of the Gypsies who worked as extras for the real Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, giving readers a story of survival unlike any other.

    First Lines: “Disappeared?What are you talking about? People don’t disappear. She went some place.” “So where do you think Mila went? Why wasn’t she in school? Today of all days, recitation day. She had been practicing forever. She was sure to get the prize.” “Maye she’s sick.” ” Mila sick? Never- she’s as healthy as a horse. And if if she is. she would have dragged herself to school. No- something’s fishy.”


  • Books, Grimm, New

    Upcoming Fiction

    20.02.14 | Permalink | Comment?

    While We Run, Karen Healey (May/June) – “Abdi Taalib thought he was moving to Australia for a music scholarship. But after meeting the beautiful and brazen Tegan Oglietti, his world was turned upside down. Tegan’s no ordinary girl – she died in 2027, only to be frozen and brought back to life in Abdi’s time, 100 years later. Now, all they want is for things to return to normal (or as normal as they can be), but the government has other ideas. Especially since the two just spilled the secrets behind Australia’s cryonics project to the world. On the run, Abdi and Tegan have no idea who they can trust – and, when they uncover startling new details about the program, they realize that thousands of lives may be in their hands.” (goodreads.com) We’re excited to see a new book by Karen Healey! And the sequel to When We Wake, too!

    Guy in Real Life, Steven Brezenoff (May) - “It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again. But they don’t.” (goodreads.com) They say this is a bit like Rainbow Rowell and John Green; the cover looks like this could be so.

    Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders, Geoff Herbach (May) – “It’s geeks versus jocks in an epic battle of the beverages! From ‘one of the most real, honest, and still funny male voices to come around in a while’ (YALSA) comes a brand-new cast of quirky characters, pitting fat boy Gabe against the high school cheerleading team in a battle over control of the school’s soda machine. The war is ON! Never have the stakes been so high. Never have the trenches been so deep. Never has one soda vending machine been so vital. When the high school cheerleading team takes over the machine’s funds previously collected by the pep band, Gabe will not stand for it. Something must be done.” (goodreads.com)

    #scandal, Sarah Ockler (June) – When Lucy’s best friend Ellie gets sick just before prom she (Lucy) agrees to be Ellie’s boyfriend Cole’s date. Which is great, until Cole romantically kisses Lucy under the stars. Lucy’s been in love with Cole for ages, and Lucy knows she’s going to have to tell Ellie about it, but before she can, compromising photos magically appear all over her Facebook profile. Lucy’s public enemy number one, and she needs to find out who her fb hacker is. And what of Cole?


  • Great Reads, Horror, Mysteries, New, Nicola

    New Mysteries

    13.02.14 | Permalink | Comment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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