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  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    16.09.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    featuring fairy tales and ghosts

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Shadow Girl, Jennifer Archer (325 pages) – For as long as Lily Winston can remember, she has never been alone. Iris, a shadowy figure who mimics Lily’s movements and whispers in her ear, is with her always—but invisible to the rest of the world. Iris is Lily’s secret. But when Lily’s father is killed in a tragic accident, his cryptic final words suggest that he and Lily’s mother have been keeping secrets of their own. Suddenly, Iris begins pushing Lily more than ever, possessing her thoughts and urging her to put together the pieces of a strange puzzle her father left behind. As she searches for answers, Lily finds herself drawn to Ty Collier, a mysterious new boy in town. Together, Lily and Ty must untangle a web of deception to discover the truth about her family, Iris, and Lily’s own identity.

    First lines: “Ty Collier shivered as he paused in front of the Daily Grind coffee shop to wipe his boots on the mat beside the door. Cold weather was nothing new to him; he had grown up freezing his butt off every winter in Baltimore. But this morning something besides the frigid air raised goose bumps on his skin.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSpy for the Queen of Scots, Theresa Breslin (402 pages) – As lady-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots, the beautiful Ginette – known as Jenny – is the young queen’s closest childhood friend. Growing up in the elegant but ruthless French court, surrounded by enemies and traitors – not least the jealous, manipulative Catherine de Medici, and Mary’s own scheming half-brother, James – Jenny has always been fiercely loyal to her mistress. But when she overhears a mysterious whispered plot, closely followed by several unexplained deaths at court, she puts her own life in danger and turns spy for Mary. Jenny quickly realises not a soul at court can be trusted, and when she and Mary return to their Scottish homeland for Mary to claim her throne, they face even greater peril.

    First lines: “”They are ready for you, my lady.’ ‘But I am not yet ready for them,’ Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, replied abruptly, looking up from her writing desk in a disdainful manner. Then she recovered herself and spoke more kindly to the man standing at the door of her chamber. ‘I need a few extra minutes to prepare. Would you grant me that courtesy?'”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBack to Blackbrick, Sarah Moore Fitgerald (227 pages) – Cosmo’s brother Brian died when he was ten years old. His mum hides her grief by working all the hours God sends and Cosmo lives with his grandparents. They’ve been carefree days as Granddad buys him a horse called John and teaches him all he knows about horses. But the good times have to come to an end and although he doesn’t want to admit it, Cosmo knows his Granddad is losing his mind. So on one of the rare occasions when Granddad seems to recognise him, Cosmo is bemused that he gives him a key to Blackbrick Abbey and urges him to go there. Cosmo shrugs it off, but gradually Blackbrick draws him in. Cosmo arrives there, scared and lonely, and is dropped off at the crumbling gates of a huge house. As he goes in, the gates close, and when he turns to look, they’re rusty and padlocked as if they haven’t been opened in years. Cosmo finds himself face to face with his grandfather as a young man, and questions begin to form in his mind: can Cosmo change the course of his family’s future?

    First lines: “My granddad was pretty much the cleverest person I ever met so it was strange in the end to see the way people treated him – as if he was a complete moron. We were waiting for a train one day, not bothering anyone, when this boy said to me, ‘Hey. Hey you. What’s wrong with the old man?'”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsElegy, Tara Hudson (386 pages) – A stalker ghost, misguided Seers, and spellbinding wraiths—Amelia Ashley has faced them all. Now, in the third of the Hereafter books, her greatest hope is to spend the rest of her afterlife with her living boyfriend, Joshua. But the demonic forces return to give her an ultimatum: turn herself over to the darkness or watch them murder one living person per week until she does. Amelia fears she might really be doomed, until the forces of light give her another option. She can join them in their quest to gather souls, with a catch: Once she joins them, she can never see Joshua again. Faced with impossible choices, Amelia decides to take her afterlife into her own hands—and fight back.

    First lines: “Once again, I’m staring at my own death. My heart is pounding. My breath is coming in short spurts. And I can’t stop digging my fingernails into the heels of my palms, just so I can feel the little crescents of pain they create.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe New Normal, Ashley Little (222 pages) – Tamar Robinson knows a lot about loss – more than any teenager should. Her younger sisters are dead, her parents are adrift in a sea of grief, and now Tamar is losing her hair. Nevertheless, she navigates her rocky life as best she can, not always with grace, but with her own brand of twisted humor. Life goes on, and regrets are useless. Tamar isn’t the most popular girl at school or the best-looking, but she’s whip-smart, morbidly funny and – most important of all – tenacious.

    First lines: “I am losing my hair. I don’t know why. I’m only sixteen. I’m not starving myself. I’m not undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments. But I have been losing shitloads of hair.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe River Charm, Belinda Murrell (302 pages) – When artistic Millie visits a long-lost aunt, she learns the true story of her family’s tragic past. Could the mysterious ghost girl Millie has painted be her own ancestor? In 1839, Charlotte Atkinson lives at Oldbury, a gracious estate in the Australian bush, with her Mamma and her sisters and brother. But after the death of Charlotte’s father, things start to go terribly wrong. There are murderous convicts and marauding bushrangers. Worst of all, Charlotte’s new stepfather is cruel and unpredictable. Frightened for their lives, the family flees on horseback to a stockman’s hut in the wilderness. Charlotte’s mother and the children must fight to save their property, their independence and their very right to be a family. Will they ever return together to their beautiful home?

    First lines: “Millie wasn’t sure if she was asleep or awake, but there seemed to be a strangely shimmering girl standing at the end of her bed. The girl hovered there, in an old-fashioned white dress – high-necked, long-sleeved and flowing to her ankles. Her long, dark hair tumbled around her pale, pale face.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Watcher in the Shadows, Carlos Ruiz Zafon (261 pages) – When fourteen-year-old Irene Sauvelle moves with her family to Cape House on the coast of Normandy, she’s immediately taken by the beauty of the place–its expansive cliffs, coasts, and harbors. There, she meets a local boy named Ishmael, and the two soon fall in love. But a dark mystery is about to unfold, involving a reclusive toymaker who lives in a gigantic mansion filled with mechanical beings and shadows of the past.

    First line: “Those who remember the night Armand Sauvelle passed away would swear that a purple light flashed across the sky, leaving in its wake a trail of blazing ashes that faded away over the horizon – a light that his daughter, Irene, never saw, but that would haunt her dreams for years to come.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNameless : a tale of beauty and madness, Lili St. Crow (328 pages) – When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven—the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico. Now Cami is turning sixteen. She’s no longer mute, though she keeps her faded scars hidden under her school uniform, and though she opens up only to her two best friends, Ruby and Ellie, and to Nico, who has become more than a brother to her. But even though Cami is a pampered Vultusino heiress, she knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it’s not until she meets the mysterious Tor, who reveals scars of his own, that Cami begins to uncover the secrets of her birth…to find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now.

    First lines: “Of all the cars in New Haven to fall before, I chose Enrico Vultusino’s long black limousine. The Dead Harvest had been dry for once, but Mithrus Eve had brought a cargo of snow, a white Mithrusmas for New Haven after all.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStill Star-Crossed, Melinda Taub (340 pages) – Romeo and Juliet are gone. Will love live on? Despite the glooming peace that’s settled on Verona after the recent tragedy, Montagues and Capulets are brawling in the streets. Faced with more bloody battles, Prince Escalus concludes that the only way to truly marry the fortunes of these two families is to literally marry them together. Everyone is skeptical, but none more so than the pair selected, for the most eligible Montague bachelor is Benvolio, Romeo’s best friend, still anguished by the loss of his companions, and the chosen Capulet maid is Juliet’s older cousin Rosaline, the girl Romeo first loved and whose refusal of Romeo’s affection paved the way for bloodshed. Contrary to their late cousins, there’s no love lost between Benvolio and Rosaline, yet they forge a bond to end the renewed feud not only to escape their forced betrothal, but to save their lives and the city of Verona itself.

    First lines: “In fair Verona’s streets, the sun was hot. Late summer was upon the city, and the sun, oh, it beat. It dazzled off the cobblestones so the beggars groaned and burnt their bare dirty feet. It poured down on the merchants so the sweat trickled down their necks on market day. And the great families – well, they were safe in their cool stone houses, cellars deep enough to hold a bit of chill in, but when they did emerge after sunset, the air was still hot and thick.”


  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    09.09.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    with one word titles:

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFalling, Cat Clarke (72 pages) – It’s a hot summer night, Cam is having the party of the year, and Anna has big plans. Her best friend Tilly’s come out, and Anna wants to set her up with the only other gay girl in school. That should take the heat off Anna and her own guilt over cheating on Cam. As the party hots up, Anna sets off a chain of events that will change all their lives forever.

    First lines: “You’re not supposed to kiss someone who ISN’T your boyfriend. It’s pretty much the first rule of relationships. But that’s what I did last night.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStrangelets, Michelle Gagnon (272 pages) – 17-year-old Sophie lies on her deathbed in California, awaiting the inevitable loss of her battle with cancer. 17-year-old Declan stares down two armed thugs in a back alley in Galway, Ireland. 18-year-old Anat attempts to traverse a booby-trapped tunnel between Israel and Egypt. All three strangers should have died at the exact same moment, thousands of miles apart. Instead, they awaken together in an abandoned hospital—only to discover that they’re not alone. Three other teens from different places on the globe are trapped with them. Somebody or something seems to be pulling the strings. With their individual clocks ticking, they must band together if they’re to have any hope of surviving.

    First lines: “Sophie Page felt herself getting closer. Every inhalation drew further apart from the previous one until there were measurable gaps between them.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGolden, Jessi Kirby (277 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost may be a distant relative of poet Robert Frost, but she has never taken the road less travelled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap – one that might be the key to unravelling a town mystery – she decides to take a chance.

    First lines: “There’s no such thing as a secret in this town. But I’m keeping this one, just for today. I fold the letter once, twice, three times and slide it into my back pocket like a golden ticket, because that’s what it is. A ticket out.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCrash, Lisa McMann (233 pages) – Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that. What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode and nine body bags in the snow. The vision is everywhere – on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows.

    First lines: “My sophomore psych teacher, Mr. Polselli, says knowledge is crucial to understanding the workings of the human brain, but I swear to dog, I don’t want any more knowledge about this. Every few days I see it. Sometimes it’s just a picture, like on that billboard we pass on the way to school. And other times it’s moving, like on a screen. A careening truck hits a building and explodes. Then nine body bags in the snow.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsUnbreakable, Elizabeth Norris (479 pages) – Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but civilization is slowly rebuilding, and life is starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up, asking for Janelle’s help. Somebody from an alternative universe is running a human-trafficking ring – kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths. And Ben, with his unique abilities, is the prime suspect.

    First lines: “Some days are so perfect, they just don’t seem real. They’re the days when you wake up and aren’t tired, when the sun is shining and the breeze kicks up from the ocean, keeping you from getting too hot or too cold, and everything you do goes right. Like you’re inside of a movie with your own soundtrack, where you’re so happy that you can’t help just spontaneously breaking into a smile. Some days are like magic.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStung, Bethany Wiggins (290 pages) – There is no cure for being stung. Fiona doesn’t remember getting the tattoo on her right hand – the one she knows she must conceal at any cost. She doesn’t remember her world exploding. She doesn’t remember her house falling apart. She doesn’t remember humanity dividing. But it has, into those who have the tattoo and those that don’t. Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded, while a select few without tattoos live protected inside a fortresslike wall. But Fiona has woken up branded, on the wrong side of the wall and … normal.

    First lines: “I don’t remember going to sleep. All I remember is waking up here – a place as familiar as my own face. At least, it should be. But there’s a problem.”


  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    02.09.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    taking place in dystopian worlds:

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Testing, Joelle Charbonneau (325 pages) – The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few, who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must pass The Testing – their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career. Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate, eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies.

    First lines: “Graduation day. I can hardly stand still as my mother straightens my celebratory red tunic and tucks a strand of light brown hair behind my ear. Finally she turns me and I look in the reflector on our living area wall. Red. I’m wearing red.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBZRK Reloaded, Michael Grant (432 pages) – In the second instalment of the series, the entire BZRK cell – including Noah and Sadie – has been left in pieces after the last round of battle with the Armstrong Twins, conjoined brothers who plot to rob mankind of its free will. Vincent’s mind is shattered, and his memories hold dangerous secrets – secrets that Lear, BZRK’s mysterious leader, will stop at nothing to protect. Meanwhile, Bug Man has taken control of the President’s brain, but playing with sanity is a dangerous game. The consequences can spiral way out of control, and the Armstrong Twins are not people Bug Man can afford to disappoint.

    First lines: “Vincent felt the laugh building inside him. It was like a build-up of steam in a covered pot. Like a volcano whose time to erupt has come at last. He was being torn apart.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRun For Cover, Eva Gray (207 pages) – In a terrifying new world, four girls must depend on one another if they want to survive. Rosie finds herself running for her life – again (check out the first time here). But this time she’s got Louisa – who can be okay sometimes, Maddie – who can’t stop complaining and Evelyn – the girl with a million conspiracy theories, along with her. If she weren’t so scared, Rosie would be totally annoyed. But one of Evelyn’s theories was right: the boarding school the girls were sent to belongs to the Alliance, the wrong side of the War. Rosie has no choice to run – and no one to rely on but her new friends. Whether she likes it or not.

    First lines: “I’m not like the other girls. Louisa and Maddie and Evelyn – it’s like we’re from totally different planets.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIcons, Margaret Stohl (428 pages) – When the Icons landed, everything changed. They called it The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol’s family dropped dead. Earth lost a war it didn’t know it was fighting. Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside, far from the nearest Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can’t avoid. Dol is different. She survived. Why?

    First lines: “One tiny gray dot, no bigger than a freckle, marks the inside of the baby’s chubby arm. It slips in and out of view as she cries, waving her yellow rubber duck back and forth. Her mother holds her over the old ceramic bathtub. The little feet kick harder, twisting about the water.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStorm Thief, Chris Wooding (387 pages) – Rail is lucky. The storm thief only took his breath. He wears a respirator now, but at least he didn’t die. There’s little hope in a the city of Orokos, where strange, dangerous storms rearrange the streets and turn children into glass. Until Rain and his friend Moa unearth a mysterious object, that could hold the key to the secret at the heart of Orokos. But there are others, such as the Chief of the Protectorate Secret Police who would do anything to get their hands on that power. Anything at all…

    First lines: “The seabird slid through the black sky beneath the blanket of cloud, its feathers ruffling fitfully as it was buffeted by the changing winds. The ocean was the colour of slate. It bulged and warped in angry swells. Above, spectral light flickered within the thunderheads, and the air boomed.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe 5th Wave, Rick Yancey (457 pages) – After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave. On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, until Cassie meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope for rescuing her brother and even saving herself. Now she must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. Cassie Sullivan gets up.

    First lines: “There will be no awakening. The sleeping woman will feel nothing the next morning, only a vague sense of unease and the unshakable feeling that someone is watching her. Her anxiety will fade in less than a day and will soon be forgotten.”


  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    26.08.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    all about secrets:

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Last Herrick Secret, Adele Broadbent (222 pages) – Becs and her family are returning to the city, taking Isaiah Herrick with them. Becs is keen to slot right back into city life where she left off, but it’s harder than she expected. Isaiah struggles with the change and is worried about a stranger he saw on the verandah as they left the bush. Meanwhile, things aren’t right at Herrick House, and soon Becs and Isaiah have to return in order to help with the last Herrick secret.

    First lines: “‘Goodbye, Son.’ Mother smiled, a tear sliding down her cheek. A knot formed in my throat, cutting off my answer. I hugged her instead before standing in front of Papa.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIndigo Awakening, Jordan Dane (294 pages) – Voices told Lucas Darby to run. Voices no one else can hear. He’s warned his sister not to look for him, but Rayne refuses to let her troubled brother vanish on the streets of LA. In her desperate search, she meets Gabriel Stewart, a runaway with mysterious powers and far too many secrets. Rayne can’t explain her crazy need to trust the strange yet compelling boy—to touch him—to protect him even though he scares her. A fanatical church secretly hunts psychic kids—gifted “Indigo” teens feared to be the next evolution of mankind—for reasons only “the Believers” know. Now Rayne’s only hope is Gabe, who is haunted by an awakening power—a force darker than either of them imagine—that could doom them all.

    First lines: “Lucas Darby stumbled through heaving waves of neon signs and drifting shadows, straining to make sense of the muffled whispers he heard. Drugs had forced him endure a never-ending silence, where even the music in his head had died. But now the voices had emerged and quenched a killer thirst in his soul.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSomething Like Hope, Shawn Goodman (193 pages) – 17-year-old Shavonne has been in juvenile detention since the seventh grade. Mr Delpopolo is the first counselor to treat her as an equal, and he helps her get to the bottom of her self-destructive behavior, her guilt about past actions, and her fears about leaving the Center when she turns 18. Shavonne’s mentally unstable roommate Cinda makes a rash move, and Shavonne’s quick thinking saves her life—and gives her the opportunity to get out of the Center if she behaves well. But Shavonne’s faith is tested when her new roommate, Mary, is targeted by a guard as a means to get revenge on Shavonne. As freedom begins to look more and more likely, Shavonne begins to believe that maybe she, like the goslings recently hatched on the Center’s property, could have a future somewhere else—and she begins to feel something like hope.

    First lines: “Lying on the cold hard floor of a locked room, I wish. Is it bad to wish? It feels bad, but only because my wishes drift away. They escape from me and go wherever wishes go. Where do wishes go? Better places, I hope.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Whole of My World, Nicole Hayes (370 pages) – Desperate to escape her grieving father and harbouring her own terrible secret, Shelley disappears into the intoxicating world of AFL. Joining a motley crew of footy tragics and, best of all, making friends with one of the star players, Shelley finds somewhere to belong. Finally she’s winning. So why don’t her friends get it? Josh, who she’s known all her life, but who she can barely look at anymore because of the memories of that fateful day. Tara, whose cold silences Shelley can’t understand. Everyone thinks there’s something more going on between Shelley and Mick. But there isn’t is there? When the whole of your world is football, sometimes life gets lost between goals.

    First lines: “The mirror used to be mum’s. Her mum’s before that. It’s oval shaped with a gold frame and patches of tarnish around the edge, like smudges of dirt that won’t go away.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGloss, Marilyn Kaye (394 pages) – New York, 1963. Fashion, music and attitudes are changing, and there’s nowhere in the world more exciting. Sherry, Donna, Allison and Pamela have each landed a dream internship at Gloss; America’s number-one fashion magazine. Each girl is trying to make her mark on New York and each finds herself thrown head-first into the buzzing world of celebrity, high-end fashion and gossip. But everything isn’t as glamorous as it seems – secrets from the past threaten to shatter their dreams. They’re finding out that romance in New York is as unpredictable and thrilling as the city itself.

    First lines: “Sherry Ann Forrester knew the rules. Among the many social guidelines that had been drummed into her since childhood was this fixed decree: a lady maintained her air of composure, whatever the circumstances.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDare You To, Katie McGarry (456 pages) – If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does. Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.

    First lines: “I’m not interested in second place. Never have been. Never will be. It’s not the style of anyone who wants to play in the majors. And because of my personal philosophy, this moment sucks.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBroken, Elizabeth Pulford (243 pages) – Critically injured in a motorbike accident, Zara Wilson lies in a coma. She is caught between many worlds: the world of her hospital room and anxious family, and that of her memories and a dream-like fantasy where she searches for her brother Jem. Jem proves elusive but Zara s adventures in her subconscious unlock dark secrets of a troubled childhood. Zara must face up to her past in order to accept her future.

    First lines: “My head is full of bubbles. Strange floating words, bits of conversations, bits of people. Some I know. Some I don’t. Hundreds of coloured dots. I can’t see straight. Can’t think straight. I seem to be nowhere. I seem to be everywhere. If only the wretched thumping in my head would stop.”


  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    19.08.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Sin-Eater’s Confession, Lisa J. Bick (287 pages) – People in Merit, Wisconsin, always said Jimmy was … you know. But people said all sorts of stupid stuff. Nobody really knew anything. Nobody really knew Jimmy. I guess you could say I knew Jimmy as well as anyone (which was not very well). I knew what scared him. And I knew he had dreams—even if I didn’t understand them. Even if he nearly ruined my life to pursue them. Jimmy’s dead now, and I definitely know that better than anyone. I know about blood and bone and how bodies decompose. I know about shadows and stones and hatchets. I know what a last cry for help sounds like. I know what blood looks like on my own hands. What I don’t know is if I can trust my own eyes. I don’t know who threw the stone. Who swung the hatchet? Who are the shadows? What do the living owe the dead?

    First lines: “Call me Ben. Okay, it’s not Ishmael or anything, but the idea’s the same. Wicked and repentant, that’s me.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHalf Lives, Sara Grant (334 pages) – Present day: Icie is a typical high school teenager – until disaster strikes and her parents send her to find shelter inside a mountain near Las Vegas. The future: Beckett lives on The Mountain – a sacred place devoted to the Great I AM. He must soon become the leader of his people. But Beckett is forced to break one of the sacred laws, and when the Great I AM does not strike him down, Beckett finds himself starting to question his beliefs. As Beckett investigates The Mountain’s history, Icie’s story is revealed – along with the terrifying truth of what lies at the heart of The Mountain.

    First lines: “If you’d asked me that day whether I could lie, cheat, steal and kill, I would have said ab-so-lutely not.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNine Days, Fred Hiatt (239 pages) – Set against the bustling backdrop of Hong Kong, Vietnam, and the border of China, this heart-pounding adventure takes place as two teens, an American teenage boy and his friend, a Chinese girl from his Washington, DC-area high school, must find her father who has been kidnapped—and they only have nine days.

    First lines: “Already the summer heat is defeating the wheezing air-conditioning unit in a third-floor bedroom window of an apartment in Bethesda, Maryland. A fifteen-year-old girl in a T-shirt and shorts kicks off her sheet, rises and slips into the chair in front of her computer.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFar Far Away, Tom McNeal (369 pages) – Jeremy Johnson once admitted he’s able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it’s been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn’t been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings.

    First lines: “What follows is the strange and fateful tale of a boy, a girl, and a ghost. The boy possessed uncommon qualities, the girl was winsome and daring, and the ancient ghost … well, let it only be said that his intentions were good.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson (370 pages) – More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings — merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing — kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery — one that will change Rithmatics — and their world — forever.

    First lines: “Lilly’s lamp blew out as she bolted down the hallway. She threw the lamp aside, splashing oil across the painted wall and fine rug. The liquid glistened in the moonlight. The house was empty. Silent, save for her panicked breathing. She’d given up on screaming. Nobody seemed to hear.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Murmurings, Carly Anne West (370 pages) – Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on. As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not.

    First lines: “I’m supposed to wonder why Gregor Samsa is a cockroach. Not how. Why. That’s the way Mrs. Dodd says we need to think if we’re going to analyze The Metamorphosis.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPortraits of Celina, Sue Whiting (349 pages) – Make him pay, Bayley. Make him pay. It’s as if the wooden chest is luring me, urging me to open it – daring me almost. Open me up. Look inside. Come on, just for a second; it won’t hurt. Celina O’Malley was sixteen years old when she disappeared. Now, almost forty years later, Bayley is sleeping in Celina’s room, wearing her clothes, hearing her voice. What does Celina want? And who will suffer because of it? A ghost story. A love story. A story of revenge.

    First lines: “The day I turned sixteen we buried my father. No one realised what day it was. Not even me. We were too stunned. How could someone you love die – just like that?”


  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    12.08.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    about the ordinary teen:

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDear Life, You Suck, Scott Blagden (306 pages) – Irreverent, foulmouthed seventeen-year-old Cricket is the oldest ward in a Catholic boys’ home in Maine—and his life sucks. With prospects for the future that range from professional fighter to professional drug dealer, he seems doomed to a life of “criminal rapscallinity.” In fact, things look so bleak that Cricket can’t help but wonder if his best option is one final cliff dive into the great unknown. But then Wynona Bidaban steps into his world, and Cricket slowly realizes that maybe, just maybe, life doesn’t totally suck.

    First lines: “The shrinkadinks think I have a screw loose. Ain’t playing with a full deck. Whacked-out wiring. Missing marbles.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEscape Theory, Margaux Froley (269 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Devon Mackintosh has always felt like an outsider at Keaton, the prestigious California boarding school perched above the Pacific. As long as she’s not fitting in, Devon figures she might as well pad her application to Stanford’s psych program. So junior year, she decides to become a peer counsellor, a de facto therapist for students in crisis. At first, it seems like it will be an easy fly-on-the-wall gig, but her expectations are turned upside down when Jason Hutchins (a.k.a. “Hutch”), one of the Keaton’s most popular students, commits suicide. Devon dives into her new role providing support for Hutch’s friends, but as the secrets and confessions pile up in her sessions, Devon comes to a startling conclusion: Hutch couldn’t have taken his own life.

    First lines: “Those Nutter Butters are going to need milk. Devon glared at the package of peanut butter cookies at the foot of her bed. The bright red plastic caught the light from her desk lamp, taunting her, daring her to break into the package.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThings I Can’t Forget, Miranda Kenneally (312 pages) – Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different. This summer she’s a counsellor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counsellor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt – with her. Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy.

    First lines: “Girls like me do not buy pregnancy tests. I drag my pencil down the paper, drawing tears rolling from her eyes. Girls like me sing in the church choir.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOpenly Straight, Bill Konigsberg (320 pages) – Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He’s won skiing prizes. He likes to write. And, oh yeah, he’s gay. He’s been out since 8th grade, and he isn’t teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that’s important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time. So when he transfers to an all-boys’ boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret — not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben who doesn’t even know that love is possible.

    First lines: “If it were up to my dad, my entire life would be on video. Anything I do, he grabs his phone. “Opal,” he’ll yell to my mother. “Rafe is eating corn flakes. We gotta get this on film.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOut of Nowhere, Maria Padian (337 pages) – At Maquoit High School, Tom Bouchard has it made: captain and star of the soccer team, boyfriend to one of the prettiest, most popular girls, and third in his class, likely to have his pick of any college, if he ever bothers filling out his applications. But life in his idyllic small Maine town quickly gets turned upside down after the events of 9/11. Enniston has become a “secondary migration” location for Somali refugees, who are seeking a better life after their country was destroyed by war—they can no longer go home. Tom hasn’t thought much about his Somali classmates until four of them join the soccer team, including Saeed. But when Saeed’s eligibility is questioned and Tom screws up in a big way, he’s left to grapple with a culture he doesn’t understand and take responsibility for his actions.

    First lines: “It’s like he came out of nowhere. I was stuck, okay? I’ll man up to that. We were playing Marquoit High School. I mean, more than half their guys play four-season private club soccer. Olympic Development Program, that sort of thing.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBruised, Sarah Skilton (274 pages) – Imogen has always believed that her black belt in Tae Kwon Do made her stronger than everyone else–more responsible, more capable. But when she witnesses a holdup in a diner, she freezes. The gunman is shot and killed by the police. And it’s all her fault. Now she’s got to rebuild her life without the talent that made her special and the beliefs that made her strong. If only she could prove herself in a fight – a real fight – she might be able to let go of the guilt and shock. She’s drawn to Ricky, another witness to the holdup, both romantically and because she believes he might be able to give her the fight she’s been waiting for.

    First lines: “By the time my brother arrives, he can’t get to me. The cops have barricaded the diner – two blocks in all directions. blood and worse coats my hair, my face, and my clothes, sticking to me like chunks of blackberry jam. They had to cut me out of my shirt, but since they can’t cut me out of my skin, I don’t see how I’ll ever be clean.”


  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    05.08.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    another time, another place:

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Laura Line, Crystal Allen (326 pages) – Thirteen-year-old Laura Dyson wants two things in life: to be accepted by her classmates and to be noticed by ultra-cute baseball star Troy Bailey. But everyone at school makes fun of her for being overweight, and Troy won’t give her a second glance. But a school assignment changes that. Laura is forced to learn the history of the slave shack on her grandmother’s property, and she discovers she comes from a line of strong African-American women. Through understanding her roots, Laura finds the self-esteem she’s been missing.

    First lines: “Sweet Mother of Teen Vogue magazine, I’m model-marvelous in this new outfit! And when the doors of the bus open like stage curtains, I pooch my lips, raise my chin, and use the school sidewalk as my runway.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA Moment Comes, Jennifer Bradbury (266 pages) – While the rest of India anxiously awaits the upcoming partition that will divide the country into two sovereign nations, eighteen-year-old Tariq focuses on his own goal: to study at Oxford. He simply must find a way in, to fulfill his grandfather’s dreams, and his own. But for a Muslim born and raised in India, there is no obvious path to England – until Tariq is offered a job, translating for one of the British cartographers stationed in India and tasked with establishing the new borders. In a flash he accepts the position, determined to use this new contact as his way to Oxford.

    First lines: “”I know you will make us proud, Tariq,” Master Ahmed calls out to me as I step onto the dusty sidewalk outside the school gates. I lift my palm to my face, fingertips to my forehead, bow. “Khuda hafiz.””

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMy name is Parvana, Deborah Ellis (201 pages) – On a military base in post-Taliban Afghanistan, American authorities have just imprisoned a teenaged girl found in a bombed-out school. The army major thinks she may be a terrorist working with the Taliban. The girl does not respond to questions in any language and remains silent, even when she is threatened, harassed and mistreated over several days. The only clue to her identity is a tattered shoulder bag containing papers that refer to people named Shauzia, Nooria, Leila, Asif, Hassan — and Parvana. In this long-awaited sequel to The Breadwinner Trilogy, Parvana is now fifteen years old. As she waits for foreign military forces to determine her fate, she remembers the past four years of her life. Reunited with her mother and sisters, she has been living in a village where her mother has finally managed to open a school for girls. But even though the Taliban has been driven from the government, the country is still at war, and many continue to view the education and freedom of girls and women with suspicion and fear.

    First lines: “”Is your name Parvana?” The girl in the dusty blue chador gave no response. She sat without moving on the hard metal chair and kept her eyes lowered. The cloth of the chador covered the lower half of her face.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Caged Graves, Dianne K. Salerni (326 pages) – 17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumours of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out … or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted.

    First lines: “Even facing probable death, Private Silas Clayton couldn’t stop thinking about that leather satchel. Screams and gunfire echoed off the mountain walls in the distance. Light from burning homesteads flickered through the trees, and smoke hung over the valley, obscuring the stars.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGolden Boy, Tara Sullivan (340 pages) – Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different— light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists. Habo is strange and alone. His father, unable to accept Habo, abandons the family; his mother can scarcely look at him. His brothers are cruel and the other children never invite him to play. Only his sister Asu loves him well. But even Asu can’t take the sting away when the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, and Habo knows he is to blame.

    First lines: “I am sitting under the acacia tree on the ridge when I first see them: three men, in nice clothes, coming toward our house. Their shoulders are straight and their fat bellies strain against their belts when they walk. They are the image of power.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Language Inside, Holly Thompson (517 pages) – Emma Karas was raised in Japan; it’s the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma’s family moves to a town outside Lowell, Massachusetts, to stay with Emma’s grandmother while her mom undergoes treatment. Emma feels out of place in the United States, and longs to be back in Japan. At her grandmother’s urging, she volunteers in a long-term care center to help Zena, a patient with locked-in syndrome, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang, another volunteer, who assists elderly Cambodian refugees. Weekly visits to the care center, Zena’s poems, dance, and noodle soup bring Emma and Samnang closer, until Emma must make a painful choice: stay in Massachusetts, or return home early to Japan.

    First lines: “third time it happens / I’m crossing the bridge / over a brown-green race of water / that slides through town / on my way to a long-term care center / to start volunteering”


  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    22.07.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    with extraordinary protagonists:

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSiege and Storm, Leigh Bardugo (432 pages) – Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all the while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long. The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the evil there but as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and further away from Mal.

    First lines: “The boy and the girl had once dreamed of ships, long ago, before they’d ever seen the True Sea. They were the vessels of stories, magic ships with masts hewn from sweet cedar and sails spun by maidens from thread of pure gold.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPulse, Patrick Carman (371 pages) – In the year 2051, most Americans live in one of two gigantic, modern States. Faith Daniels discovers that she can move objects with her mind. This telekinetic ability is called a “pulse,” and her mysterious classmate Dylan has the same talent. They are part of a dwindling group that lives between the states and whose unusual abilities could help when the inevitable war begins.

    First lines: “Faith Daniels was sleeping soundly when several things in her room began to move. She was a tall girl with long limbs that extended beyond the bed into the cool air of her bedroom.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSpirit and Dust, Rosemary Clement-Moore (384 pages) – Daisy Goodnight can speak to the dead. It’s not the result of a head injury or some near-death experience. She was just born that way. And she’s really good at it. Good enough to help the police solve the occasional homicide. But helping the local authorities clear cold cases is one thing. Being whisked out of chemistry class by the FBI and flown to the scene of a murder/kidnapping in Minnesota? That’s the real deal. Before the promotion can go to Daisy’s head, she’s up to her neck in trouble. The spirits are talking, and they’re terrified. There’s a real living girl in danger. And when Daisy is kidnapped by a crime boss with no scruples about using magic—and Daisy—to get what he wants, it looks like hers is the next soul on the line.

    First lines: “The local cops kept staring at me. I couldn’t decide if it was the plaid miniskirt in subarctic temperatures, or the fact they’d never seen anyone talk to the dead before.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Creative Fire, Brenda Cooper, (348 pages) – Ruby Martin expects to spend her days repairing robots while avoiding the dangerous peace-keeping forces that roam the corridors of the generation ship The Creative Fire. The social structure of the ship is rigidly divided, with Ruby and her friends on the bottom. Then a ship-wide accident gives Ruby a chance to fight for the freedom she craves. Her enemies are numerous, well armed, and knowledgeable. Her weapons are a powerful voice, a quick mind, and a deep stubbornness, If Ruby can’t transform from a rebellious teen to the leader of a revolution, she and all her friends will lose all say in their future.

    First lines: “Four men in red uniforms surrounded three men wearing dirty gray work clothes. The reds muscled the less fortunate men down an orange hallway. Uneven light showed the scars where bots and cargo carts had bumped the metal walls and two places where graffiti had been painted over.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStormbringers, Philippa Gregory (279 pages) – Luca Vero is a member of the secret Order of Darkness, tasked with searching out and reporting signs of the end of the world. With him are his loyal friend and servant Freize, and his clerk, Brother Peter, as well as the Lady Iolde and her mysterious servant-companion Ishraq. Luca and Isolde grow more and more attracted to each other as they continue their journey to unravel the mysteries throughout Christendom. But their travels are delayed by the uprising of an intense religious crusade that threatens the balance of the civilized world. Death lingers in the air as war ravages on, but this religious conflict is nothing compared to the arrival of an intense and deadly storm.

    First lines: “The five travellers on horseback on the rutted track to Pescara made everyone turn and stare: the woman who brought them weak ale in a roadside inn; the peasant building a hewn stone wall by the side of the road; the boy trailing home from school to work in his father’s vineyard.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSong of the Slums, Richard Harland (370 pages) – What if they’d invented rock ‘n roll way back in the 19th century? What if it could take over the world and change the course of history? In the slums of Brummingham, the outcast gangs are making a new kind of music, with pounding rhythms and wild guitars. Astor Vance has been trained in refined classical music. But when her life plummets from riches to rags, the only way she can survive is to play the music the slum gangs want.

    First lines: “‘Come on down!’ called Verrol. There was an urgency in his voice that Astor hadn’t heard before. She joined the musicians down below, but when the young buzz guitarist offered her his instrument, she shook her head. ‘I can’t play that.'”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsImposter, Jill Hathaway (261 pages) – This is the follow up to Slide. Vee Bell is now more or less in control of her gift (or curse) of “sliding”—slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes. But then Vee starts coming to in weird place, not knowing what she’s done. Someone is getting insider her head and messing with her mind, literally. As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone else she knows has the ability to slide. And this “slider” is using Vee to exact revenge.

    First lines: “The dream always goes like this: I’m in the passenger seat of a car, racing down the interstate. The smell of gasoline stings my nostrils. My lips are moving, and sound is coming out, but my words don’t make sense. And I know what’s going to happen, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTouched, Corrine Jackson (341 pages) – You’d think being able to heal people with a touch would be a blessing. But to 17-year-old Remy O’Malley, it’s more like a curse. Every injury Remy heals becomes her own. She lives in fear of the day she’s forced to mend a wound from which she can’t recover – and she’s desperate to keep her ability a secret.

    First lines: “Okay. This is going to hurt like hell. Taking a deep breath, I stepped into the room, my movements piercing the alcoholic haze insulating Dean.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKeeper of the Black Stones, PT McHugh (366 pages) – Jason Evans, a shy, introverted high school freshman, thought that his mundane life was all there was – girls, golf, physics, and the occasional bully. Until he found out about the secrets his grandfather had been keeping from him … a set of stones that allowed him to jump through time … a maniacal madman who used the stones to shape history to his liking … and Jason’s own role as one of the few people in the world who could stop that man.

    First lines: “The old soldier’s horse thundered across the plain toward the small village of Abergavenny, and death rode with him. The people of the village didn’t deserve to die, but within the next several hours, many of them would.”

    book cover courtesy of Syndetics17 & Gone, Nova Ren Suma (353 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common – they are seventeen and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these visions, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? Is she next? Through Lauren’s search for clues, things begin to unravel, and when a brush with death lands Lauren in hospital, a shocking truth changes everything.

    First lines: “Girls go missing every day. They slip out bedroom windows and into strange cars. They leave good-bye notes or they don’t get a chance to tell anyone… Girls make plans to go, but they also vanish without meaning to, and sometimes people confuse one for the other.”


  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    08.07.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    The New Zealand authors edition:

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSinking, David Hill (175 pages) – Conrad is on his way to swimming training in the pre-dawn darkness. As he hurries through a park, a terrified old man bursts out of the trees at him, before running away. On his way home later, Con sees the same old man, perfectly at ease this time, with his grand-daughter, an edgy, aggressive, solitary girl who has just arrived at Con’s school. The girl, Becks is a horse enthusiast. Con hates horses almost as much as she hates swimming. The old man holds a terrible secret, which is driving him almost mad. Becks is fiercely protective of him, and reacts explosively against the group of school bullies who mock him. But she can’t cope by herself, and slowly, she and Con are drawn into the full details of the secret

    First lines: “It was still dark when I came out of our driveway. I mean really dark. Quarter past five on Tuesday morning dark. The soft dark when you should be asleep in bed.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMortal Fire, Elizabeth Knox (434 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Canny Mochrie has always been a little different. She’s never known her father, she’s always had a calculating, mathematical mind, and she’s always been able to see something Extra. When she begrudgingly joins her older stepbrother on a trip to research a strange coal mine disaster that happened thirty years earlier, she stumbles into a mystery with long buried secrets, that may just be her own secrets too.

    First lines: “Canny and her teammates stood on platform nine of Castlereagh Station and watched everything they’d seen the night before in Founderston play again in reverse. Passengers from the overnight express were met, kissed and led away into the concourse – or set off by themselves heads down into the hot wind.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhen Our Jack Went to War, Sandy McKay (180 pages) – It’s 1916 and the Great War has been going on in Europe for nearly three years when Jack McAllister enlists. Jack’s younger brother, thirteen-year-old Tom, is at first envious, but Tom soon changes his mind as the reality of war becomes more apparent through the letters Jack sends home. Tom writes to Jack about life at home in New Zealand, while in turn Jack writes of his first-hand experience in Trentham, the troop ship, Britain, France, the Battle of Messines and finally, Passchendaele.

    First lines: “When our Jack went to war our mother cried and cried. Poor Ma – she really didn’t want him to go.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCattra’s Legacy, Anna Mackenzie (348 pages) – Thirteen-year-old Risha is living a simple life in the mountains with her father when he suddenly dies. Risha is left alone and discovers she is no longer welcome in her village. Disguised as a boy, Risha, leaves the village with a group of traders on a quest to find out the truth about her mother and her true heritage.

    First lines: “The villagers came to witness the burial, but only out of custom and curiosity, drifting away as soon as the first clod of earth fell. Ganny lingered longest, touching Risha’s arm before she left. Risha didn’t notice.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMurder at Mykenai, Catherine Mayo (389 pages) – Friendship vs. Treachery in Ancient Greece, a decade before the Trojan War. Menelaos, teenage son of the assassinated High King of Greece, is tumbling ever deeper into danger. Odysseus, his best friend, tries to help – but Odysseus’s great ideas have a tendency to backfire…

    First lines: “This had to be the strangest thing he’s ever seen. Odysseus stared at it, caught between laughter and amazement, and it glared right back, its tiny head swaying snake-wise at the end of a long, scrawny neck.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFelix and the Red Rats, James Norcliffe (245 pages) – When David’s uncle comes to visit he sets off a bizarre series of events. Things become complicated when the pet rats turn bright red. David senses that somehow the red rats are connected to the story he is reading, and he becomes more convinced when the colour red becomes contagious. The parallel story sees Felix and his friend Bella inadvertently shifted into a strange land where they must solve a riddle. But this puts them into great danger. How will they escape and find their way home?

    First lines: “‘But why?’ demanded Martha. ‘He’s such a weirdo,’ said Gray. ‘He’s such a fake,’ said Martha. I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t upset that Mum’s uncle was coming to stay. I was younger and I’d only met him once before and, to tell the truth, I’d kind of liked him.”


  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    01.07.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    the one word titles edition:

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSurfacing, Nora Raleigh Baskin (192 pages) – Though only a sophomore, Maggie Paris is a star on the varsity swim team, but she also has an uncanny, almost magical ability to draw out people’s deepest truths, even when they don’t intend to share them. It’s reached a point where most of her classmates, all but her steadfast best friend, now avoid her, and she’s taken to giving herself away every chance she gets to an unavailable — and ungrateful — popular boy from the wrestling team, just to prove she still exists. Even Maggie’s parents, who are busy avoiding each other and the secret deep at the heart of their devastated family, seem wary of her. Is there such a thing as too much truth?

    First lines: “The most peaceful memory I have is of when I drown. And if I close my eyes, I can still see the sunlight, cut into white bands, broken at the water’s surface.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsReach, Hugh Brown (256 pages) – Will Clark thinks he’s a socially inept bookworm who just happens to enjoy cross-country running and taekwondo. But then his mother returns after a five-year absence overseas, and he has his first full-contact taekwondo fight, and the gorgeous comic-reading Conway Jones asks if she can be his maths tutor … Will must reassess himself, and his past, as he reaches towards a new future and lets his dreams take flight.

    First lines: “‘You want a hand?’ Will called. Lloyd Clark, wiry and tireless, was digging in his huge vegetable garden, his white singlet patched with sweat.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTowering, Alex Flinn (293 pages) – Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her. Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again. Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

    First lines: “I had not been outside in years. I wasn’t sure how many, exactly, because I didn’t keep track from the beginning. I didn’t realize I’d need to.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsScowler, Daniel Kraus (288 pages) – Nineteen-year-old Ry Burke, his mother, and little sister scrape by for a living on their dying family farm. Ry wishes for anything to distract him from the grim memories of his father’s physical and emotional abuse. Then a meteorite falls from the sky, bringing with it not only a fragment from another world but also the arrival of a ruthless man intent on destroying the entire family. Soon Ry is forced to defend himself by resurrecting a trio of imaginary childhood protectors: kindly Mr. Furrington, wise Jesus, and the bloodthirsty Scowler.

    First lines: “A tooth was missing and that was never a pleasant thing. It was going on thirty minutes that Ry and Sarah had been after it.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCharmfall, Chloe Neill (242 pages) – High school can be a battlefield, but for Lily Parker, surviving at St. Sophia’s School for Girls is a matter of life and death. When a Reaper infiltrates the school, Lily reaches deep into herself to draw out her magic—and finds that it’s gone! And it turns out she’s not alone. A magical blackout has slammed through paranormal Chicago, and no one knows what—or who—caused it. But Lily knows getting back her magic is worth the risk of going behind enemy lines.

    First lines: “His fur was silvery gray. His eyes shifted color between sky blue and spring green, and his ears were flat against his head. I’d tripped and fallen, which put me at eye level with the giant werewolf in front of me.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRun, Tim Sinclair (235 pages) – Dee lives for parkour and the alternative worlds he invents to escape his mundane life. He knows the city better than anyone – the hidden spaces at night, the views that no one else sees, from heights that no one else can scale. With parkour, he’s not running away. He’s free. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Soon, Dee is running for his life, running for real.

    First lines: “I walk. One foot and then the next, just like everyday people. Feet on the ground just like everyday people.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTrinkets, Kirsten Smith (275 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Moe’s Shoplifters Anonymous meetings are usually punctuated by the snores of an old man and the whining of the world’s unhappiest housewife. Until the day that Tabitha Foster and Elodie Shaw walk in. Tabitha has just about everything she wants: money, friends, popularity, a hot boyfriend who worships her…and clearly a yen for stealing. So does Elodie, who, despite her goodie-two-shoes attitude pretty much has “klepto” written across her forehead in indelible marker. But both of them are nothing compared to Moe, a bad girl with an even worse reputation. Tabitha challenges the three to a steal-off and so begins a strange alliance linked by the thrill of stealing and the reasons that spawn it.

    First lines: “The people who say Portland is a place where hipster thirtysomethings go to retire clearly have never been to Lake Oswego”


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