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  • Books, New, Simon

    New Books

    05.10.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, by Kat Rosenfield (279 pages) – Becca is keen to leave the small town where she grew up. Her boyfriend dumps her, and the body of a girl Becca’s age is found the next day, and Becca is suddenly too unsure and too shaken to gather the will to leave. “Horrifying,” “emotionally arresting,” and a “raw debut.”

    First line: ‘They found her just after dawn on June 24th, crumpled awkwardly by the side of the road with a rust-coloured blossom drying in the dirt beneath her.

    Hidden : A Firelight Novel, by Sophie Jordan (264 pages) – Siteen-year-old Jacinda can turn into a dragon, and now she  must surrender her giant lizardy self to her enemies in order to destroy them. From within! This is the third book in the series, aaaand it’s also the last one.

    First (amazing) line: ‘The air traps hot inside my lungs as I hover outside the van, peering within, studying the shadowed depths, so reminiscent of another van not so long ago.

    Smart Girls Get What They Want, by Sarah Strohmeyer (348 pages) – Three pals – Gigi, Bea, and Neerja – are very smart overachievers, and are all certain that once they leave school for Harvard or Princeton or whatever their lives will be just awesome. They probably will! But in the meantime they decide that they’re missing out on the full highschool experience, so make a pact to face their fears and do something about it.

    First line: ‘Before Bea, Neerja, and I got everything we wanted from high school – the adoration, the fun, the fame, and the super-hot boys – all we did was study.

    The Diviners, by Libba Bray(578 pages) – It is 1926, and New York is pretty swell. It’s the tops! Evie is excited to move there, but she has to live with her occult-obsessed uncle, who she fears will discover her secret occult powers. However, something evil and dark has awoken, and the bodies begin to pile up.

    First lines: ‘In a town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, every lamp blazes. There’s a party going  on – the last of the summer.

    Carnival of Souls, by Melissa Marr (306 pages) – Mallory is a witch! As is the rest of her family, who all some time ago fled the City of Daimons where they lived. Now in the human world, Mallory must always be on the watch for any daimons out to get her. At the City’s heart is the Carnival of Souls, where once every generation the chance to join the ruling elite is up for grabs in deadly competitions. Soon Mallory must face the Carnival. I think! I’m not doing a good job of summarising this one.

    First lines: ‘The man – witch – who’d summoned Selah was nothing like what she’d expected. In truth, he looked no different than many daimons she’d met: implacable expression and a musculature that would serve him well in one of Marchosias’ fighting competitions.

    Drift Race, by David Jubermann (342 pages) – Leon grew up in Japan, but moves back to NZ with his mother. He becomes involved in the world of drift racing, which he thought he’d left behind. In no time at all he ‘spirals into an exciting world of adrenaline, fast cars and high-speed chases,’ and becomes a top competitor. BUT! Death and danger await around the corner (maybe literally?) – will he be okay?

    First line: ‘They were tired – all of them, near the end of their endurance.’

    Geek Charming, by Robin Palmer (338 pages) – This is the book that was the inspiration for ‘the Disney Channel original movie Geek Charming.’ If I had to guess (without reading the blurb) it is about a geek who is in fact a prince! Or a geek who gets a make-over and a girl falls for him! Maybe she kisses a geek and he turns into a prince. Or all of that? Who knows

    First line: ‘One day as I was watching Oprah, waiting for her to get to her “Favourite Things for Spring” segment (she has the cutest taste in accessories), I heard this self-help guru guy say that the word for crisis in Chinese is actually two words: danger and opportunity.

    Betrayal, by Gregg Olsen (273 pages) – This is the second Empty Coffin Novel (Envy was the first). Twins Hayley and Taylor are murder solving slueths in a Washington town that is sometimes called ‘Empty Coffin’ after some old piece of creepy folklore probably. The twins have some supernatural abilities that allow them to receive clues from the dead, often via Scrabble tiles. (Here’s my usual Scrabble message: ‘QZKKCYTP’ or something.)

    First line: ‘Olivia Grant wasn’t exactly sure what she’d expected America to be like, but Port Gamble, Washington, most certainly wasn’t it.


  • Music, New, Simon

    K-Pop we’ve got

    29.09.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on K-Pop we’ve got

    We’ve gone and bought some K-Pop for our YA music collection (as promised). This is what we have so far;

    Alive, BIGBANG
    The Second Mini Album, 2NE1
    The Boys, Girls’ Generation
    Wonder Party, Wonder Girls
    Mr Simple, Super Junior
    Sherlock, SHINee

    All are packaged in amazing cases that aren’t really designed for library shelves (or being handled, to be honest!) so currently they’re kept at the Children’s/YA desk at Central. Just ask, or reserve them! In the meantime here’s the latest teaser from SHINee.


  • Books, New, Simon

    New books

    08.08.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Only a handful of new books. There are lots more! But this has been a draft for a week.

    Social Suicide, by Gemma Halliday (277 pages) – This is the second book in the Deadly Cool series.  It looks like it’s a kind of murder-mystery series, set in a highschool. Hartley Featherstone, jouralist, blogger, and detective finds the body of the person – apparently electrocuted while reading Twitter! – she’s meant to interview. It’s pleasing that there’s a new series that isn’t about the supernatural, actually!

    First line: ‘You had to be incredibly stupid to get caught cheating in Mr. Tipkin’s class, but then again, Sydney Sanders was known for bet the only brunette blonder than Paris Hilton.

    Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls, by Mary Downing Hahn (330 pages) – Based on actual events experienced by the author, this is about the murders of two girl in 1950s Baltimore. The story is told from several points of view, and while the subject matter might be a little dark, the book’s ending is very satisfying.

    First lines: ‘He opens his eyes. It’s still dark, way before dawn. He’d willed himself to wake at three a.m., and he’s done it.

    Send Simon Savage : Return of the Black Death, by Stephen Measday (312 pages) – This is the second Simon Savage book (the first is here). Besides having the best of all names, Simon has the perfect DNA for work as a ‘temponaut’; a time-traveller working for The Time Bureau. He’s lost his family, and has to find them. And someone has transported the plague through time to the present, risking a pandemic of the Black Death.

    First line: ‘1348, a harbour in Venice – Simon Savage had never seen so many rats in his life.

    The Poison Diaries : Nightshade, by Maryrose Wood and the Duchess of Northumberland (279 pages) – This is the second book in a gothic-style trilogy set in the 18th Century. The books are inspired by the real Poison Garden that the Duchess of Northumberland herself has created and maintains in her castle. Anyway, in part 2 Jessamine learns that her true love, Weed (that’s his name), is still alive and maybe her father has something to do with it. She will do whatever she can to get him back! Especially with her new-found powers of horticulture and propogation.

    First line: ‘I wake, as I usually do, to the sound of Weed’s voice.’

    Never Fall Down, by Patricia McCormick (216 pages) – This is a fictionalised account of the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, who grew up in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge’s nightmarish rule of the country. He manages to survive by pretending to be able to play an instrument and then, later ordered to fight. After all the horror he witnessed he became an advocate for human rights and peace.

    First lines: ‘At night in our town, it’s music everywhere. Rich house. Poor house. Doesn’t matter.


  • Books, New, Simon

    New Books!

    14.07.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books!

    Only a few new
    books have come in this week I
    am sorry to say


    See You at Harry’s
    , by Jo Knowles (310 pages) – Fern feels a bit rejected by her family, who all have their own things to deal with. Her father run Harry’s, a restaurant, and in addition to an older sister (sarcastic and self-involved), an older brother (coming to terms with being gay), and a mother who is never around, she also has a toddler brother who is always the centre of attention. Until tragedy strikes, sadly, and Fern feels responsible and desolate. Do things get better? Usually!

    First line: ‘The very best day of my life, I threw up four times and had a fever of 103 degrees.

    New Girl, by Paige Harbison (314 pages) – Cassie is newly arrived at the exclusive and hoity-toity Manderley Academy, and finds that her spot was recently vacated by Becca Normandy. Becca was perfect in all the ways that really matter in novels set in exclusive adademies, although in this case she has been missing since the end of last year. Cassie feels like an imposter and it isn’t helped when she falls for Max, Becca’s ex-boyfriend. Is Becca out there, waiting ..?

    First line: ‘The panoramic view outside the windoes of the bus showed a world that wasn’t mine.

    Tina’s Mouth : An Existential Comic Diary, by Keshni Kashya & illustrations by Mari Araki (242 pages) – This is a graphic novel, but with a lot of text, so it’s more like an illustrated book? Tina’s parents are from India and she is from California, where she goes to the Yarborough Academy in Southern California. She creates an ‘existential diary’ for her English class, in an attempt to fix her place in the world; this book represents that diary. Also a good intro to Satre.

    First lines: ‘Dear Mr. Jean-Paul Sartre, I know that you are dead and old and also a philosopher. So, on an obvious levl, you and I do not have a lot in common.

    Secrets of the Henna Girl, by Sufiya Ahmed (269 pages) – Zeba Khan is sixteen, and life is okay. She’s just finished school in the UK and is waiting for her exam results, and excited for college and uni. First she is spending the summer break in Pakistan with her family. There she learns – to her shock! – that is she is it to marry a stranger, to protect her father’s honour. Does she hold the secrets that will help her escape?

    First lines: ‘The rain was beating hard against the window. It was the typical English rain of the summer – fast and furious as it attempted to wash away the dusty, dry heat of the unbearably hot days.

    Messy : A Novel, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (359 pages) – This is a companion book to Spoiled, about Brooke Berlin who discovers her father is a rich and famous movie-star. Now, to help her career along, she decides to start up a blog full of Hollywood inside gossip. But she doesn’t have time to actually write anything, so she hires Max, a green-haired girl who loathes celebrities, to secretely do all the work for her.

    First line: ‘“You were so good in that movie. Talking dogs are my favorite.” Max McCormack felt a snicker bubbling up, like a secret, and willed it to die.


  • Books, New, Simon

    Ngā Pukapuka Hou

    06.07.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Ngā Pukapuka Hou

    Justice and Utu, by David Hair (320 pages) – This is the third book in Hair’s Aotearoa series, and the sequel to The Lost Tohunga; thrilling young-adult fantasy novels drawn from the mythology and history of New Zealand.’ They have all won or been nominated for awards, and you can read the first chapter of the latest book on the author’s official website. Or the first few sentences of the prologue, here, on this ol’ weblog.

    First lines: ‘Twelve-year-old Evie van Zelle loved cards and games, and knew dozens of card tricks. She’d been superstitious all her life: wouldn’t cross the path of a black cat, go under a ladder or step on cracks.

    Slated, by Teri Terry (438 pages) – Kyla may or may not have been a terrorist, but whatever happened she’s been ‘slated’: her memory has been wiped and her personality reset. She even gets a new family. It is sort of a second chance for hardened criminals, such as herself (maybe).  But she still recalls faints memories of what she once was, and it seems that maybe someone is lying to her. A thriller.

    First lines: ‘Weird. All right, I haven’t got much experience on which to bas this judgement. I may be sixteen and I’m not slow or backward and haven’t been locked in a cupboard since birth – so far as I know – but Slating does that to you.

    Among Others, by Jo Walton (302 pages) – Morwenna grows up in Wales, reading sci-fi and playing with fairies. Her mother, a sorceress, tries to bend the spirits to dark ends (she’s up to no good), Morwenna has to battle her, resulting in her twin sister’s death. Now, sent to a boarding school in non-magical England by her remote father, her magic attracts her mother – who’s looking for her, and Morwenna won’t be able to escape. Aren’t you glad your mum isn’t an evil sorceress?

    First line: ‘The Phurnacite factory in Abercwmboi killed all the trees for two miles around.

    Invisible Sun, by David MacInnis Gill (370 pages) – This is the companion to Black Hole Sun. Durango is a sixteen-year-old mercenary who, with his girlfriend, live on the wild frontier that is newly colonised Mars. The first chapter starts in Christchurch, the Capital City of the Zealand Perfecture, and is the largest city on Mars, so we must do something right in the future, I guess?

    First line: ‘Vienne points the gun, squeezes the trigger, and fires a live round square into my chest.

    Illuminate, by Aimee Agresti (514 pages) – High-school student Haven Terra gets an amazing job as an intern to Aurelia Brown, a rich, powerful A-lister who owns the fabulous Chicago hotel Haven gets to live in. She is lucky! But is she really. No, probably not. Aurelia and her circle of minions, the Outfit, are in the business of buying souls, and does Haven want anything to do with that? What does her destiny hold? The first in the Gilded Wings trilogy.

    First line: ‘Up until that point, English class had been unremarkable.

    A Waste of Good Paper, by Sean Taylor (293 pages) – Jason’s been given a diary to write in by Pete, a teacher at the school for boys with behaviour difficulties where Jason has been sent. Because he’s good at writing, if a little reluctant to actually fill in the pages. But things worth recording happen! And so his diary isn’t the waste of good paper Jason initially thought it would be. 

    First line: ‘Friday the 6th of March – Pete says this is a writing boook that he’s only giving me and he says it’s called JASON’S JOURNAL.‘.

    Little Sister, by Aimee Said (301 pages) – Allison can’t wait for her older sister, Larrie, to leave their (Australian, if it matters? just setting the scene) high school so that she can make her mark, for her older sister is super-popular and smart. But when a rumour about Larrie surfaces online, Allison finds that she is in the spotlight for unwanted reasons. Also there is a boy she likes.

    First lines: ‘Monday morning: Whitlam High School assembly hall. Welcome to another week of mind-numbing boredom higher education.

    Love Notes from Vinegar House, by Karen Tayleur (250 pages) – Going to copy this off the book cover: ‘Freya Jackson Kramer has done some stupid things before, but this is the first time they’ve been splashed across Facebook. When she escapes to Vinegar House for the holidays, she thinks she’s leaving her troubles behind. But Freya’s troubles are just beginning. How will she deal with her manipulative cousin, Rumer? How can she avoid the ex-love of her life, Luke Hart? And what secrets lie in the locked attic?’ Also; ghosts.

    First line: ‘There are three things you should know about me if we’re ever going to be friends.

    The Lost Crown, by Sarah Miller (412 pages) – There have been several YA books lately about the last Tsar of Russia and his family; this one focuses on his daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. History tells us how it all ends (pretty tragically!), but The Lost Crown ‘recounts the days of Imperial Russia with lyricism, criticism, and true compassion.’ Quite a grim epilogue you can be sure.

    First lines: ‘Our luggage is packed and we’ve said our good-byes. The palace is as dark and still as a museum at midnight, but it’s been hours and the train still isn’t here.

    Incarnate, by Jodi Meadows (374 pages) – In Range, a million people have been reincarnated for thousands of years, each time able to remember their past lives. Until Ana comes along; she is a new soul, and is subsequently distrusted and feared by people. But not Sam, who develops a relationship with Ana. Romance! Fantasy! Thrills! Book one in a planned trilogy!

    First lines: ‘I wasn’t reborn. I was five when I first realized how different that made me.


  • Books, New, Simon

    New Books

    29.06.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Here are some new books! Now Grimm won’t have an excuse to kill me.

    The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa (504 pages) – It is the future (I think!) and vampires treat humans like cattle, farming them for blood. Allison lives on the fringes of a vampire city, surviving as a scavenger; she is turned into a vampire, so becoming what she hates the most. Just to make things worse she has to pretend to not be a vampire so her new friends – a ragged band of humands seeking an end to vampirism – don’t kill her.

    First lines: ‘They hung the Unregistered in the old warehouse district; it was a public execution, so everyone went to see.

    Fated : The Soul Seekers, by Alyson Noel (325 pages) – This is the first book in a series by the author of the Immortals series. Daire Santos is seeing things and everything is generally pretty weird. Her mother send her to live with her grandmother, who realises that Daire is, in fact, a Soul Seeker, someone who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead, flavoured with Native American mysticism. Also she meets a guy.

    First lines: ‘First came the crows. An entire murder of them. Circling the graveyard in strict formation, their dark beady eyes watching, relentlessly watching, their sleek black bodies buffeted by the wind.

    The Girl in the Park, by Mariah Fredericks (217 pages) – A haunting psychological thriller about a girl – the school ‘party girl’ – whose murdered body is found in NYC’s Central Park. Her childhood friend, Rain, is determined to untangle the gossip and rumour from the truth and subsequently find the killer.

    First lines: ‘In my dream, everyone talks except me. It’s a party, and I’m surrounded by voices.

    The Selection, by Kiera Cass (327 pages) – It is the future! America has had a war and is now a dystopian monarchy (called Illea) with a fairly strict caste system. Thirty-five girls are selected and must compete in a televised selection to win the heart of Illea’s prince. America Singer is selected to compete, but she really just wants to be with Aspen, her true love, who happens to be a caste below her. Sooooo I reckon you might like this if you like The Hunger Games but weren’t so keen on all the killing? 

    First lines: ‘When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic. She had already decided that all our problems were solved, gone forever.‘ 

    Dying to Know You, by Aidan Chambers (275 pages) – Karl is in love with Fiorella, and because is very smart and literate, she insists that he writes her a letter to express his love for her. However! Karl isn’t sure that he can write well enough at all, so he convinces Fiorella’s favourite author to write the letter on his behalf. He agrees! Setting off a chain of events that transforms all their lives.

    First lines: ‘“Could I talk to you?”
    “Why?”
    “You’re a writer?”
    “And?”
    “I need your help.”

    Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse, by Lucas Klauss (403 pages) – Phillip meets and falls for the girl of his dream, Rebekah, who happens to belong to a super-evangelical church, as mainly found in the US. He starts to get involved with the religion in an effort to get to know Rebekah more; or is it because his mother died recently? Anyway. I don’t think an actual apocalypse takes place.

    First lines: ‘Ow. Ow. Ow. Pain cuts through my foot each time it hits the pavement. I hobble and curse, and then I stumble onto a nearby lawn.

    Everneath, by Brodi Ashton (370 pages) – Nikki gets snatched into the underworld, or the Everneath, and has to spend six months there and six months on Earth with her loved ones. It is like the myth of Persephone, brought into the present! Cole, the smouldering immortal from Everneath, wants Nikki for his Queen, but Nikki just wants to stay with her boyfriend Jack. Cole, Jack. Jack, Cole. Everneath, Earth. Earth, Everneath.

    First line: ‘I was picturing his face – a boy with floppy brown hair and brown eyes – when the Feed ended.’

    The Haunting of Tabitha Grey, by Vanessa Curtis (295 pages) – Tabitha and her family move into Weston Manor, and soon things start behaving unnaturally. Sounds, smells, and ghostly crying, and soon Tabitha is getting haunted. Like the title says! ‘A classic ghost story with a stunning twist’ says the book cover – correctly, for I read the ending and it’s very good and chilling.

    First line: ‘When Dad first crunches the car up the semi-circular gravel drive outside Weston Manor I don’t take much notice.

    Red Rocks, by Rachel King (255 pages) – Jessie inadvertedly unleashes a curse on his family by stealing a sealskin he finds at Red Rocks. Wellington’s Red Rocks! He is staying with his father … in Owhiro Bay! Yay Wellington

    First line: ‘Waves battered the beach, chattering to the stones as the receded. Jake stood still, watching the rocks, waiting for a movement.

    Pretty Crooked, by Elisa Ludwig (360 pages) – Willa takes from all the rich kids – who are ostensibly her ‘friends’ – at her school and gives it to the poorer scholarship kids. Soon the cops get involved and Willa’s noble efforts might get her in trouble, but maybe help comes from the most unlikely people. The first in an ‘adventurous teen caper series’ filled with active social reform mystery and humour.

    First line: ‘Go go go go go go! The chant was in my head, because I didn’t have enough breath in my lungs to make sound.

    AND NOW here is a list of books that are either sequels or parts of continuing series. Have you read a book that you liked so much that you thought, man, where’s that sequel? WELL it might be here. Who knows.

    Angel Fire, by L. A. Weatherly (sequel to Angel)
    Alice On Board, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (part of the immensely long Alice series)
    The Savage Grace, by Bree Despain (sequel to Lost Saint and part of the Dark Divine series)
    Flora’s Fury, by Ysabeau S. Wilce (sequel to Flora’s Dare and Flora Segunda)
    Surrender, by Elena Johnson (sequel to Possession)
    The Nightmare Garden, by Caitlin Kittredge (sequel to The Iron Thorn)
    Thumped, by Megan McCafferty (sequel to Bumped)
    Taken at Dusk : A Shadow Falls Novel, by C. C. Hunter
    Balthazar, by Claudia Gray (part of the Evernight series)
    Until I Die, by Amy Plum (sequel to Die For Me)
    Spell Bound : A Hex Hall Novel, by Rachel Hawkins
    Freax and Rejex, by Robin Jarvis (sequel to Dancing Jax)


  • Books, Grimm, New, Simon

    New Books

    01.06.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    In time for the long weekend (happy Queen’s Birthday to you)!

    From Simon:

    The Dreamwalker’s Child, by Steve Voake (300 pages) – Young Sam lives in the country and hates it. He has no pals and everything is relaxed and peaceful slow and dull. Until he’s in an accident which sticks him in a coma. However! His mind wakes in another world run by giant smart insects who want to wupe humanity from the face of Earth with mosquito-spread disease. It’s up to Sam and his allies to stop this from happening.

    First line: ‘When they are first born, most people find the world a fascinating, magical place.

    The Girl in the Mask, by Marie-Louise Jensen (311 pages) – It is 1715 or so, and Sophie’s duty is to look pretty and get hitched ASAP. She hate all the balls and dances and so on required of her, so when it’s dark she secretly moonlights as a highway robber. Which seems reasonable. She also gets involved with the failed Stuart rebellion, just to add a touch of historical context.

    First lines: ‘I didn’t hear my cousin’s voice at first. It wasn’t until the library door was flung open with a bang, making me jump, that I came back down to earth.

    The Calling, by Kelley Armstrong (326 pages) – This is the second book in the Darkness Rising series (the first is The Gathering). Maya. who has a pawprint birthmark and can talk to animals (I think?), and her similarly supernatural friends have all been kidnapped. They escape! And are now being chased through the Vancouver wilds.

    First line: ‘I don’t know who was more anxious – Daniel or Kenjii – but they weren’t making this emergency helicopter evacuation and easier.

    Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (372 pages) – In a vast virtual reality world (designed by Willy Wonka’s futuristic twin), Wade Watts escapes the ecological wasteland that is Earth in 2044. The world’s founder died a few years previously and had left his fortune to whoever can solve numerous 1980s-pop-culture riddles throughout the world. 1980s pop culture! Well I am sold. Ready Player One has been showered with praise and awards probably and I think a movie is on its way.

    First line: ‘Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when the first heard about the contest. I was sitting in my hideout watching cartoons when the news bulletin broke in on my video feed, announcing the James Halliday had died during the night.’

    From Grimm, since Simon is sickathomewithacold:

    Lovetorn, by Kavita Daswani (250 pages) – Shalini has moved from India to Los Angeles, which is a rather large cultural shock (accent, hair, clothes etc.). Additionally, and most differently of all, she is set to marry Vikram (and has been almost her whole life). Then there’s Toby at school, who is bound to turn Shalini’s sense of her destiny on its head.

    First sentence: In a carved wooden frame on my mother’s bedside table sits a photograph of me taken on the day that I got engaged.

    The Difference Between You and Me, by Madeleine George (256 pages) – Jesse and Emily are really rather different. One is an activist (or rather, the only member of NOLAW – the National Organization to Liberate All Weirdos) the other is vice president of the student council. But they are attracted to one another. Things get complicated when they end up on opposite sides of an issue – what will win over, their relationship or their commitment to their causes?

    First sentence: Jesse is in the sophomore hall girls’ bathroom, the farthest stall from the door, one huge, scuffed fisherman’s boot propped up on the toilet seat so she can balance her backpack on her knee and rifle through it.

    Trafficked, by Kim Purcell (384 pages) – Hannah struggles to look after her grandmother in Moldova, so she leaps at the chance to go to Los Angeles to work as a nanny. However, the family treats her like a captive slave, and when she is caught sneaking out the house to visit Colin, her neighbour, she is threatened with prostitution. Hannah, fortunately, has a lot of gumption, and her investigations into her employers captors may lead to the truth about a missing uncle who disappeared mysteriously in Moldova, but they may also put her in danger.

    First sentence: Hannah took two small steps forward in the immigration line entering America at LAX.

    When the Sea is Rising Red, by Cat Hellisen (296 pages) – Felicita lives an elite life as a member of Pelimburg’s founding family, but she has few choices. When her friend throws herself off a cliff rather than marry the man she’s been assigned to, Felicita fakes her own suicide and escapes to the city’s slums. There she meets Dash (a “charismatic renegade”, what’s not to like?) and the vampire Jannik. Things take a turn for the disturbing when pale corpses begin washing up on the beach. In her death, Felicita’s friend has (maybe unknowingly?) unleashed some sinister magic from the sea, which those who want to overthrow the powerful classes of Pelimburg might use to start a rebellion.

    First sentence: She’s not here.

    Frost, Marianna Baer (396 pages) – Strange goings on are going on at Frost House, a boarding school with a rather creepy name. Door slam, pictures fall off walls. Leena’s room mate, Celeste, thinks it’s the other students trying to scare her off, but Leena is not so sure, and fears increasingly for her safety: “does the threat lie with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind… or in Frost House itself?” (book cover). Warning: this book may also contain a love interest named David.

    First sentence: Before I lived here, before any of this happened, I imagined Frost House as a sanctuary.

    Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am, Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis (148 pages) – Ben is a bit of a star: he’s bright, popular, and talented. He surprises everyone when he enlists in the army straight out of high school, saying he feels compelled to serve his country. But things go horribly wrong when he’s serving in Iraq, and Ben returns with a brain injury: he comes back hardly able to speak or walk, and with no memory of who he is.

    First sentence: The knife came out of nowhere.


  • Music, NZ Music Month, Simon

    New Zealand Music I Like: The Wild

    06.05.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Zealand Music I Like: The Wild

    The Wild are an Auckland alternative hip-hop group. They have not released an album yet! But they have released an incredibly awesome single, Revolution, which may be purchased on iTunes for like, $2 or something? Small change, whatever it is. It came out last year, believe it or not, but because I am old and out-of-touch I have only just discovered it. Anyway, I have embedded the video (for there is a video) below. In fact, their Youtube channel has a lot of decent content. So subscribe to it! Okay!


  • Books, New, Simon

    New Books

    03.04.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Try Not to Breathe, by Jennifer R. Hubbard (233 pages) – Ryan, sixteen-years-old and back home from a mental hospital after a suicide attempt, meets Nicki. She isn’t afraid to ask him about his depression and his secrets, and ‘trusting Nicki just might be the catalyst Ryan desperately needs to start living again.’ A bit grim! But happy all the same.

    First line: ‘It was dangerous to stand under the waterfall, but some kids did it anyway, and I was one of them.

    Pink Smog : Becoming Weetzie Bat, is Francesca Lia Block (185 pages) – This is a prequel to Weetzie Bat, a fairly controversial book in some parts of America. Which is usually an indication of quality when it comes to YA literature! Well, that’s my opinion. Anyhoo, if you’re familiar with that book you will want to read this, the prequel. I have trouble with prequels since I already know how they end, you know? But that’s just me and my problem with the third Underworld movie really.

    First: ‘The day after my dad, Charlie, the love of my life, left, and an angel saved my mom from drowning, I woke up with a slamming headache and a wicked sunburn.

    Torn, by Cat Clarke (374 pages) – Four girls – Alice and Cass, and Polly, and Rae – are stuck in a cabin in the Scottish Highlands with Tara, the ‘queen of mean’. She’s a real bully, so Cass decides to teach her a lesson. Aaaaaaand so shortly there are four girls and one dead body. ‘A compelling story of guilty secrets, troubled friendship and burgeoning love.’

    First line: ‘A funeral without a body is like a wedding without a bride. Or a groom.

    Double, by Jenny Valentine (246 pages) – Chap is mistaken for Cassiel, a missing boy, and subsequently takes on this new identity. He moves in with Cassiel’s family, but soon discovers that they have some pretty dark secrets. Thrills, mystery, and unputdownableishness.

    First lines: ‘I didn’t choose to be him. I didn’t pick Cassiel Roadnight out of a lineup of possible people who looked just like me.

    Velvet, by Mary Hooper (323 pages) – It is Victorian England, and not a time to be poor! So Velvet is pleased when the glamorous psychic, Madame Savoya, plucks her from the steam laundry to become a lady’s maid. She gets to wear nice clothes and live in a grand house. But the more she learns about Madame Savoya’s spiritual medium shenanigans, the less ideal her new life seems.

    First line: ‘Velvet had fainted too many time, according to Mrs Sloane, and was liable to be dismissed from Ruffold’s Steam Laundry.

    The Wrong Grave, by Kelly Link (183 pages) – A collection of short stories about the supernatural, blended with humour. And some pretty neat sketches by Sean Tan.

    Dark Eyes, by William Richter (373 pages) – Wallis “Wally” Stoneman was born to Russian parents but adopted by a wealthy New York couple. Now she’s a rebellious teen, out to find her birth mother, who stole a fortune from her birth father, a Russian gangster who has just escaped from prison. He is out for revenge and the fortune. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for teens, a reviewer suggests!

    First line: ‘Valentina stirred awake and found Mrs Ivanova leaning over her bed, gently squeezing her shoulder.

    Wisdom’s Kiss, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (284 pages) – Via the catalogue: ‘Princess Wisdom, who yearns for a life of adventure beyond the kingdom of Montagne, Tips, a soldier keeping his true life secret from his family, Fortitude, an orphaned maid who longs for Tips, and Magic the cat form an uneasy alliance as they try to save the kingdom from certain destruction. Told through diaries, memoirs, encyclopedia entries, letters, biographies, and a stage play.’

    First line: ‘Trudy’s sight revealed itself one warm summer night when the child was older that three.

    Ticket to Love, by Marilyn Kaye (305 pages) – Four young women head to New York for the ‘mini-break adventure of a lifetime’. Megan’s a shopaholic, Erica is meeting an online boyfriend, Jen wants to meet a celebrity, and Serena’s in it for the museums. But! Can they all find love/form relationships/retain their illusions in the face of a stark and indifferent reality?

    First lines: ‘Megan could her her mobile ringing as she twisted the key in the lock. Entering her flat, she dropped her shopping and fumbled in her bag for the phone.’

    My Very Unfairy Tale, by Anna Staniszewski (198 pages) – Jenny is twelve, and for the last three years has been the designated adventurer whose job is to protect magical kingdoms ‘far and wide’ from all sorts of unsavoury things. She also lives in the real world, but her adventuring is taking her away from her friends and family. SO when she get given one final impossible task, she takes it. “Speedy and amusing,” wrote a reviewer.

    First lines: ‘You know all those stories that claim fairies cry sparkle tears and elves travel by rainbow? They’re lies. All lies.


  • Books, New, Simon

    New Books

    20.03.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Here are this week’s fortnight’s month’s new books, where I literally judge books by their covers.

    Article 5, by Kristen Simmons (364 pages) – It is the near future and things have changed! The US has revoked its Bill of Rights, and replaced it with some ‘Moral Statutes’. Instead of police, law is enforced by soldiers, who don’t hesitate to arrest for bad behaviour. When Ember’s rebellious single mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes, she leaves her previously unassuming and safe life behind and becomes a rebel with a cause. The Handmaid’s Tale for teens maybe!

    First lines: ‘Beth and Ryan were holding hands. It was enough to risk a formal citation for indecency, and they knew better, but I didn’t say anything.

    The Catastrophic History of You and Me, by Jess Rothenberg (375 pages) – Brie is sixteen, and tastes great on crackers with quince. Just kidding! She is an actual human who is sixteen, and when her boyfriend tells her he doesn’t love her, she dies of a broken heart.  And now, stuck in limbo, she must watch everyone deal with her death, while she too must go through the five stages of grief. Luckily (to balance the whole unluckily dying situation) she has the ghost of a boy who died in the 80s to help her.

    First line: ‘There’s always that one guy who gets a hold on you. Not like your best friend’s brother who gets you in headlock kind of hold.’

    What Boys Really Want, by Pete Hautman (297 pages) – Lita and Adam are both sixteen, and have been friends for ages.  They try not to interfere with one anothers’ love lives, mistaken though they think the other is, but when Adam steals content from Lita’s anonymous blog for a self-help book he is writing, What Boys Really Want, things get hilariously complex.

    First line: ‘The idea for the book came to me as a bunch of us were tubing down the Apple River on a nice, sunny day, the last weekend before school started.

    The Survival Kit, by Donna Freitas(351 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Rose is popular! But when her mother dies, none of that matters so much. Rose’s late mother has left her a ‘Survival Kit’; an iPod, a picture of peonies, a crystal heart, a paper star, a box of crayons, and a tiny handmade kite. What can they mean? Well you will have to read the book won’t you.

    First line: ‘I found it on the day of my mother’s funeral, tucked in a place she knew I would look. There is was, hanging with her favorite dress, the one I’d always wanted to wear.

    Tiger’s Voyage, by Colleen Houck (543 pages) – This is book three in the Tiger’s Curse series. Books one and two are already in! I don’t recall seeing them, but they’re in the catalogue. And the catalogue never lies. Here’s what it says about this part of the series: ‘After battling the villanous Lokesh, Kelsey and the Indian princes Ren and Kishan return to India, where Kelsey learns that Ren has amnesia, and five cunning dragons try to keep the trio from breaking the curse that binds them.’

    First line: ‘Behind the thick glass of his Mumbai penthouse office once again, Lokesh tried to control the incredible rage slowly circling through his veins.

    Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi (376 pages) – After some kind of ecological apocalypse, humanity splits – some live in the Reverie, a kind of haven from the storms that assault the planet, while others survive on the earth, mutated and living pretty primitive lives. Aria leaves the safety of the Reverie to find her missing mother, and meets Perry, an outsider who is also searching for someone. His mutation seems to be looking like a male model! They fall in love! A forbidden romance. ‘Should appeal to both teen and adult readers far beyond dystopia fans’, says Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.

    First lines: ‘They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod “the Death Shop.” A million ways to die out there. Aria never thought she’d get so close.

    Where Things Come Back, by John Corey Whaley (228 pages) – Here is what the catalogue says: ‘Seventeen-year-old Cullen’s summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin’s death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother’s sudden disappearance.’ However! There is a lot more to this multi-award winning book than just that short sentence!

    First lines: ‘I was seventeen years old when I saw my first dead body It wasn’t my cousin Oslo’s. It was a woman who looked to have been around fifty or at least in her late forties.

    Someone Else’s Life, by Katie Dale (485 pages) – Another book about a girl coping with her dead mum. Rosie learns that she might have inherited Huntington’s disease, which has recently killed her mother … or she might not, since she also learns that she was actually switched at birth. She discovers a secret that could ‘shatter the lives of everyone around her,’ which can’t be much fun for Rosie, or the girl who might  actually have inherited Huntington’s. Sounds grim. 🙁

    First lines: ‘Sunlight dances over the little girl’s dark curls as she toddles clumsily through the dry grass.

    Immortal Beloved, by Cate Tiernan (389 pages) – From the catalogue! ‘New name, new town, new life. Nastasya has done it too often to count. And there,s no end in sight. Nothing ever really ends . . . when you’re immortal.’ And now, from Youtube!

    First line: ‘Last night my whole world came tumbling down. Now I’m running scared.

    (We also have the sequel, Darkness Falls.)

    Advent, by James Treadwell (439 pages) – This is book 1 in the ‘Advent Trilogy’. Gavin, a disenfranchised youth is sent to his eccentric aunt’s place in Cornwall. At the same time magic returns to the world, 500 years after it was locked away. Its return to the modern world is disruptive and not at all benign. And! Some reviews suggest that this could be the new Tolkien, so there you go.

    First line: ‘On a wild night in deep winter in the year 1537, the greatest magus in the world gathered together and dismissed his household servants, wrapped himself in his travelling cloak, took his staff in one hand and in the other a small wooden box sealed with pitch and clasped with silver, and stepped out into the whirling sleet, bound for the harbour and – so he expected – immortality.

    Hollow Pike, by James Dawson (314 pages) – Witchcraft! Horror! Lis London has nightmares that someone is trying to murder her. She dismisses the local legends of witchcraft but  … should she? Probably not! This has been enjoyably reviewed on Amazon, where it gets a pretty good rating of 4.5 stars.

    First line: ‘Lis knew she was dreaming, although this brought little comfort as the blood ran over her face.’


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