Something for fantasy lovers, something for creepy fairy tale lovers and something for lovers of historical glamour.
Diamonds and Deceit, Leila Rasheed (At Somerton #2) – this is the second book in the series that is touted as being like Downton Abbey. “London is a whirl of balls and teas, alliances and rivalries. Rose has never felt more out of place. With the Season in full swing, she can’t help but still feel a servant dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then Rose meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke. Rose has heard the rumors about Ross’s sordid past just like everyone else has. Yet he alone treats her as a friend. Rose knows better than to give her heart to an aristocrat with such a reputation, but it may be too late. Ada should be happy. She is engaged to a handsome man who shares her political passions and has promised to support her education. So why does she feel hollow inside? Even if she hated Lord Fintan, she would have no choice but to go through with the marriage. Every day a new credit collector knocks on the door of their London flat, demanding payment for her cousin William’s expenditures. Her father’s heir seems determined to bring her family to ruin, and only a brilliant marriage can save Somerton Court and the Averleys’ reputation. Meanwhile, at Somerton, Sebastian is out of his mind with worry for his former valet Oliver, who refuses to plead innocent to the murder charges against him–for a death caused by Sebastian himself. Sebastian will do whatever he can to help the boy he loves, but his indiscretion is dangerous fodder for a reporter with sharp eyes and dishonorable intentions.” (goodreads.com)
The Nethergrim, Matthew Jobin – “Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes’ honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned! Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together – and work apart – in ways that will test every ounce of resolve.” (goodreads.com) Goodreads suggests that if you read and enjoyed the Ranger’s Apprentice books you might like this one.
The Mirk and Midnight Hour, Jane Nickerson – “Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war – a war that has already claimed her twin brother. When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy – one of the men who might have killed her own brother – and yet she’s drawn to him. But Violet isn’t Thomas’s only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds – keeping him alive – and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn’t been out of compassion. Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.” (goodreads.com) This is based on the folk tale ‘Tam Lin’. We don’t know much about this one! Except it’s Scottish. Interesting.
Do you use Goodreads? It’s a great way to keep track of what books you’ve read as well as what you would like to read in the future. You can give books ratings and write reviews, as well as follow the reviews and blog posts of your favourite authors.
So many books pass by my gleaming, book-loving eyes every day that it’s impossible to read them all. But I keep a to-read list on Goodreads so that perhaps one day I can try. Here are some I’m particularly curious about but haven’t gotten around to reading yet:
As Simple As Snow, Gregory Galloway
I originally wanted to read this because it was recommended by John Green, whether it was via his Youtube channel, his blog, or somewhere else entirely I just can’t remember. It’s about the narrator and his girlfriend Anna who is full of energy and enthusiasm. She’s complicated and interesting and fun, and all of sudden, a week before Valentines Day, she disappears. A dress placed beside a hole in the frozen river is the only clue to what may have happened. Mysterious!
Beauty Queens, Libba Bray
When I first saw this one I wasn’t immediately drawn towards it. That was until I read another of Libba Bray’s books (A Great and Terrible Beauty) and discovered how fantastic it was, after which I very much wanted to read Beauty Queens as well. As for the story, fifty contestants from the Miss Teen Dream pageant are stranded on an island together after their plane crashed on the way to the pageant. Do they continue to practice for the talent portion of the contest, or just try and survive the island?
Swamplandia, Karen Russell
I have read a couple of Karen Russell’s short stories before, including the one this novel is based on. They are both wonderful and whimsical and a wee bit creepy. Swamplandia! is about Ava, a resourceful but terrified twelve-year-old who is tasked with single-handedly caring for the seventy ‘gators of her family’s declining alligator wrestling dynasty. A more sophisticated competitor known as the World of Darkness is encroaching on the land and business of Swamplandia and it’s a lot for young Ava to handle. Not to mention her mother has just died, her father is AWOL, her sister is having an affair with a ghost and her brother has defected to the World of Darkness to try and save their own family business. To save her family, Ava must embark on a harrowing and perilous journey to the part of the swamp known as the Underworld and make it back in one piece.
Brooklyn Burning, Steve Brezenoff
When you’re sixteen and no one understands you, sometimes you just have to run. This is what Kid does, and ends up in the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. These streets provide the background for Kid to fall hopelessly in love and then nearly lose it all. This is the tale of two summers of fires, music, loss and love in Brooklyn.
The thing that stood out to me about this book is that you are never told the gender of the protagonist. It’s left fluid, which allows anyone to fit themselves into the protagonist’s proverbial shoes.
The Clockwork Scarab, Colleen Gleason
Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are the sister and niece, respectively, of Bram Stoker and Sherlock Holmes, so vampire hunting and mystery solving is in their blood, like it or not. When two society girls go missing, who better to investigate than this team of two? The only clue to solving the mystery is a strange Egyptian scarab. The stakes are high – if Evaline and Mina can’t figure out why the belles of London are in grave danger, they’re next.
I love the concept of extending known and classic stories into new territories, so I have high expectations for this one!
My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary, Rae Earl
This one caught my attention when I began watching the show My Mad Fat Diary, which I hadn’t realised was based on a book, specifically this one by Rae Earl. Sharon Rooney does an amazing job at portraying Rae in the TV show and I’m intrigued to see what the writing is like and compare and contrast the differences to the show. A main divergence is that the show is set in the mid-90s, whereas the book is set in the mid-80s. This makes quite a difference to the feel of the story, as Rae is very reliant on music as a coping mechanism for her depression. Rae is a strong, sassy and very relatable teenage girl dealing with friends, boys and her mum, just like so many of us.
There are heeeeaps more books on my to-read shelf so I’ll follow up with another installment in the future. What books are you excited to read, new or old?
Ulf Stark, author of around 30 books for children and young adults, is in town for the New Zealand Festival’s Writers Week. This Swedish author has also written film, TV and theatre scripts and been nominated twice for the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
See Ulf live at the Hannah Playhouse (Downstage Theatre) on Sunday March 9th at 12:15pm
We have three of Ulf’s books, including a signed copy, to give away to one lucky individual thanks to Gecko Press. To win please tell us Ulf’s home country by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, Tweet @WCL_LIbrary or comment on the post on our Facebook page. (We will announce a winner on the morning of Thursday March 13th).
Justin from the library Online Services Team meet with Ulf on Saturday morning. Here is their Q & A:
(J) How did you get into making books?
(U)So, I was not very talented in anything. And actually I disliked writing when I was very young because I was left-handed and we were forced to do right-handed in school. So that was the worst thing to have to write things. Then during my teen ages a lot of things changed. When you are a teenager you are looking in the mirror and you don’t recognise your face, you don’t recognise your feelings either. And then I read a lot of books. Not the younger books I had read before, but the real books. I think there is something, when you are in your teenage years you don’t feel confident to talk to your parents, or you don’t want to talk to them about the subjects that are near you – not about sexuality, not about a lot of things. So I had those conversations with the books and that was fine I think. Then we got a teacher in school who I liked very much and she liked my writing as well. I don’t think that teachers are aware of the power they have. So I started writing and then I came in contact with young authors and I was beginning to write. I wrote my first book when I was 18. It was a collection of poems. It was not that good – it was awful I would say.
(J)Did it get published?
(U)Yes it was. I got 500 Swedish Crowns and then I wrote another collection of poems, a little bit better and then a novel for the adults. Then I was 25 and I understood that I hadn’t anything else to write about. So I worked a little bit, for ten years or something. Then I started writing again in 1984 I think with this one [Fruitloops & Dipsticks] and it was a little success in Sweden and the Nordic countries. Suddenly I got money for writing. I had been working in the bureaucracy beforehand for a lot of years, training in education so it was quite good.
(J)Do you think the break helped?
(U)I think what helped with the job was that I was teaching about the differences about the male and the female. I was very interested in this difference, what is it to be a man and what is it to be a female? Why are we so different? So this is [Fruitloops & Dipsticks] sort of an investigation of the differences. An investigation of me being a male writer taking place in a girl.
(J)That would have been quite difficult?
(U)Yeah. It was quite difficult so I decided to let her be a boy after a while. It was much easier that way. It was published in a lot of countries. It is still published in a lot of new countries – in Russia for example. And they do a new edition now because of [Vladimir] Putin’s laws.
(J)Has it been censored?
(U)You cannot write anything about sexuality for young people under 16 years.
(J)Is that frustrating for you, knowing that they’re censoring your work?
(U)A little bit frustrating but on the other hand this edition [uncensored Fruitloops & Dipsticks] still exists in Russia. So I think the interest for the first edition has increased because it is forbidden.
(J)I think that’s a good way to make people interested in something, isn’t it. Tell them they can’t have it.
(U)Yeah. What could there be in this book? I’m not so disturbed by it. I am disturbed by Putin.
(J)Your books are originally written in Swedish aren’t they? Do you feel like they lose something when translated? Is there is a stark difference in the mood or the feel?
(U)There could be. I don’t think it’s because of the translation, it’s more because of the cultural differences.
(J)Yeah, I know that in German for instance there are words for things that would take a sentence to say in English.
(U)Yes – different associations and all this. But when it’s translated into so many countries I think it’s more universal.
(J)Have you ever had any unexpected reactions to your work?
(U)Yeah. Perhaps, take this one for example [Fruitloops & Dipsticks]. I was in Belarus, which is almost a dictatorship.
(J)Ex-Soviet isn’t it?
(U)Yes. I wrote a book called The Dictator and I was there and we had readings. It was translated so a local was reading it. They had to read in Russian [Fruitloops & Dipsticks] and I was astonished by the interest in sexuality. I mean there is not much in that book, I just felt like a sexual therapist or something when I came there. In Sweden now I can be astonished because of how they react. In this one [Can You Whistle, Johanna?] there is a Grandfather smoking a cigar. It could be a problem and that was why it was very hard to get the book into the USA. Just because he was smoking. I told her [literary agent] that he was dyeing at the end.
(J)So there is a health message there?
(U)Yes. If you smoke a cigar you will die. So there are moralistic reactions to the books. Often it is the parents who complain about the books.
(J)What we can we expect to hear or learn in your Writers Week programme?
(U)I just don’t know because I don’t know the questions. Perhaps you could get a clue about Swedish books. I mean, I am not representative of all the authors in Sweden, but I think what is common for us is a view from the child’s perspective. To be loyal with the child’s side, not being a story teller from up high. I think that is important. Some of these books are biographical in some way. In this one [My Friend Percy’s Magical Gym Shoes] the character Ulf is almost burning up society because he wants his friend Percy to see the fireworks coming. Then he sprays water on the fire and I got applause for that. But they didn’t like that in Spain. They thought the parents would have hit him at least a little bit.
(J)At least you don’t have to live there!
(U)But I think it’s better to hear of us making a lot of crazy things. He has to think about himself, his feeling, and think it was wrong, “I did wrong.” It’s an inner process. He has to think, I have done something stupid and see the consequences already, not that the act itself is punishable.
(J)Do you feel like there is a big difference between Swedish writing when compared to English?
(U)Yes, I think I was in England and they have very few books for the smaller kids that have discussions on things like death. That was a taboo.
(J)Do you find they are for entertainment?
(U)We have a lot of animals dying in Swedish literature. Even here [Can You Whistle, Johanna?] the grandfather is dying at the end. Often when you are writing about death, even in Sweden I would say it is just the rituals that you are writing about. Whether it’s something like putting flowers on or saying something because you are afraid of the reaction of sadness. I think it’s good. I think children have to be confronted with real feelings, so they should be a little bit sorry. They are not dying and hopefully they have their parents to discuss things and say something to. I have no fear of writing about something.
(J)What would be your advice to a young author?
(U)Not taking any advice I think. You have to find your own way but I think reading is a very good way of learning how to write because you could say I don’t like that way of writing. You could find your own way by reading other books, not imitating them but see what you want to do and see how it is made in other books. Start with poems, I think that’s a good short way to see what happens. And then perhaps short stories, I think starting a big novel project when you are thirteen is not good.
(J)It’s one way to pop your self-esteem isn’t it? Do you have any personal author recommendations?
(U)I don’t know if we read the same books here in New Zealand and in Sweden. My mother used to read a lot of Astrid Lindgren and so did I. I think for my own kids I read a lot of Roald Dahl books to my son and more tragic stores for my daughter who just loved tragedy. You could also read a lot of the old books, not just the new ones. These days everything is so up-to-date I think it is good to have a historical perspective as a child. I am writing books now about the 60s and 50s, there are no mobile telephones in this and they don’t want to read it. But it’s just like you could read a book from Sweden, I think it is important to take part of and experience different cultures.
(J)Do you think kids have changed?
(U)Yeah. I think the technique is changing a lot in the daily life of children. When I was coming here on my flight for 40 hours I saw what people were doing. People choose a lot of films and the whole time they were looking at blue screens and they got a blue face. It was reflecting and I was doing the same. I had a lot of good books I thought I would read but it is an easy way just to put my finger on the screen. You have to have dull time I think. Dull time is where you awaken creativeness. I am trying to have a dull life.
(J)Do you have much of a relationship with the internet? Do you use social media or blogs?
(U)No very little actually. My wife does but I really think that I have a need for moral contemplation and not so much being on the net. Perhaps I prefer meeting personally, I’m a bit afraid of being addicted the screen.
(J)We’ve already kind of touched on it – what is your process of writing, how do you turn an idea into a book?
(U)I see it more like an organic process. I have a lot of writing friends who are doing very exact shadows of what they should do in each chapter and also the schools are teaching children how to write and the disposition is so mechanical. I’ve tried that model too. Now I just start a story and see what happens. The more interesting persons are more interesting than the story.
(J)So you focus on the character than the character?
(U)Yes, for instance there are lots of books for the very, very young people but then I was thinking that there are no books for the unborn. So I did a book about a boy having a chat with a mother’s stomach to the child inside giving answers to the child in there about what happens when you come out. That was the theme.
(J)That’s a strange sort of thing to think up, where did an idea like that come from?
(U)I think I saw a stomach somewhere and thought what would I teach a small child or say this the life coming to you.
(J)Do you think you’re quite a curious person by nature?
(U)Yeah. I think so. I’m curious about all the things that haven’t got answers. I think the daily life of children, coming to school and learning things, there are answers. Often education is built on a question and an answer and then they could have the idea that there are answers for everything. But for the very, most important things there are no answers. You have to make up the answers yourself. What is the meaning of life? Okay, this is the meaning of life. Okay there it was. Why are you falling in love with a person and not with another person? Why are we dying? What’s in the universe? There are a lot of things that children from the beginning are very interested in.
(J)But they stop asking?
(J)If you could have a coffee with any human being, either been or alive, who would it be and what would you ask them?
(U)Umm. I think it would be nice to meet god.
(U)Yeah. I have a lot of questions. I wrote a book about god, it was my last book. God created the earth but he was a little bit tired of inventing everything. So he first invented the Darwinist evolution theory so that he only had to do the small things like the fishes and now the creation could go on. But then when he woke up there are human beings, the animals – but he didn’t plan to make the shadows. They are dark so he decided to put them to the other side of earth, the side he couldn’t see. They call this the night. And what happens is you get a sort of Prozac world, no shadows, no darkness, no sadness.
(J)Fake smiles on everybody?
(U)Yes, everyone is going about smiling. So there are no stories, no fairytales, no dreams. It’s a drugged world. I find it quite funny to write about the fear of happiness and that you have a need for the shadows. Then there is a boy and a girl just going to find their shadows again and they found it the god is there to clean it up again. They say no, no don’t do that we need our shadows, even the sorrowness. God is thinking okay, okay you are write and he puts them back again. I think that applies to books also. You need to have the shadow sides and the night sides. I think we will have a lot to discuss over coffee.
Wellington City Libraries has many of Ulf’s books available for loan, check them out here.
I don’t know if you’ve ever checked out Lilliana Vazquez’s blog cheapchicas.com? I did for the first time today and it’s soooo cool – lots of tips for getting the latest looks and trends into your wardrobe for cheap prices that won’t make your eyes water. Yay! Definitely a worthy addition to your list of favourite fashion blogs. Even more good news, we now have Lilliana’s sweet new book at the library:
The cheap chica’s guide to style : secrets to shopping cheap and looking chic / Lilliana Vazquez with Jessica Jones.
“Priceless tips and tricks to shopping on a budget, from America’s favorite frugal fashionista. Stylish bargain-hunters have been flocking to Lilliana Vazquez’s CheapChicas.com since 2008 for tips and tricks on how to shop smart, copy their favorite designer looks, and dress chic for less. Now a go-to destination for women eager for affordable fashion, the site has established Lilliana as a nationally recognized style expert. Now, in The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style, Lilliana is spilling her secrets! Fun quizzes will help readers define their style and budget. And Lilliana lays out the best places-from stores to flash-sale sites to their own closets- to score stylish deals. Approachable and beautifully designed, The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style is the must-have accessory for 2013 and beyond”– Provided by publisher.
I can’t wait to get my hands on it – I’m all for saving my fashion funds!! Reserve your copy now.
A Spark Unseen:The Dark Unwinding #2, Sharon Cameron, (335 pages)When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead.But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust–if anyone–to protect her uncle from danger once and for all. (Goodreads)
First lines: I opened my eyes, the air in my bedchamver pulsing with the kind of silence that only comes in the wake of sound – a sound that never should have been there. I waited, listening. Shadows hid the dressing table, my bookshelves, the roses on the wallpaper, each window swathed in a shroud of black. But my room was empty.
Borderlands, Chasing the Valley #2, Skye Melki-Wegner, (397 pages)Danika and her crew of escaped refugees are seeking the safety of the Magnetic Valley – and trying to evade Sharr Morrigan, the king’s most lethal hunter. But the borderlands they must cross to reach the Valley are smugglers’ territory: lawless, wild and steeped in ancient magic. When one of the crew is badly wounded, Danika turns to the smugglers for help – and accepts a bargain that might prove deadly.It is Lukas, however, who hides the most dangerous secret. What has he seen through the eagle’s eyes? The answer can be found in an alchemy charm and a smuggler’s tale, and will lead Danika and her friends to an electrifying, unputdownable showdown.
First Lines: It’s the sixth night when the hunters find us. I’ve volunteered for guard duty, which means a cold stint on the edge of our camp. My crewmates huddle in sleeping sacks, curled up for warmth at the back of a cave. ‘Cave’ might be a bit generous. It’s more of a dimble in the cliff face, high up in a narrow canyon called the Knife.
The road to Gundagai:”Matilda Saga” #3 , Jackie French, (422 pages)Blue Laurence has escaped the prison of her aunt’s mansion to join The Magnifico Family Circus, a travelling troupe that brings glamour and laughter to country towns gripped by the Depression. Blue hides her crippled legs and scars behind the sparkle of a mermaid’s costume; but she’s not the only member of the circus hiding a dark secret. The unquenchable Madame Zlosky creates as well as foresees futures. The bearded lady is a young man with laughing eyes. A headless skeleton dangles in the House of Horrors.And somewhere a murderer is waiting … to strike again. (Goodreads)
First lines:Blue stared at the monster in the mirror. Her scalp showed through the straggly red hair. Scars like patches of red clay on her neck. Eyes peered from smuges in a dead white face. Wrists like chicken bones, too thing for the silver bracelet Mum and Dad had given her on her fifteenth birthday, a year ago today.
Cress: Lunar chronicles, Book #3 Marissa Meyer, (550 pages) In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can. (Goodreads)
First lines: Her satellite made one full orbit around planet Earth every sixteen hours. It was a prison that came with an endlessly breathtaking view-vast blue oceans and swirling clouds and sunrises that set half the world on fire.
Ignite me:Shatter Me trilogy, Book #3, Tahereh Mafi, (408 pages)Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she’ll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew – about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam – was wrong. (Goodreads)
First lines: I am an hourglass. My seventeen years have collapsed and buried me from the inside out. My legs feel full of sand and stapled together, my mind overflowing with grains of indecision, choices unmade and impatient as time runs out of my body.
Into the still blue: Under the never sky Book #3, Veronica Rossi (389 pages)The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do–and they are just as determined to stay together.Within the confines of a cave they’re using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival–he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most. (Goodreads)
First lines: Aria lurched upright, the echo of gunshots rining in her ears. Disrented, she blinked at her surroundings, take in the canvas walls, the two bed pallets, and the stack of battered storage trunks, finally recognizing Perry’s tent. Pain pulses stealdily in her right arm. She looked down at the white bandage wrapped from her shoulder to her wirst, dread swirling in her stomach.
Endless Knight: Book #2 in the Arcana Chronicles, Kresley Cole, (320 pages)Evie has her full powers as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. Teens reincarnated as the Tarot are in the throes of an epic battle for mankind. She must trust new allies against other Arcana, Bagmen zombies, post-apocalyptic storms, and cannibals. But she’s also drawn to Death, the Endless Knight, who shares history with the Empress. She can’t remember; he can’t forget. (Goodreads)
First lines: During the Flash, a global cataclysmic flare, the durface of the earth was scorches to ash and bodies of water flash-evaporated. All plant life was killed, most animals as well. The vast majority of humans perished, with women the hardest hit. Rain has not fallen in eight months.
Enders: Book #2 in the Starters series, Lissa Price, (272 pages)With the Prime Destinations body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save Callie’s life – but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too …and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?(Goodreads)
First lines: My hand went to the back of my head and swore I could feel the chip underneath my skin. But I couldn’t, of course; it was buried deeply under the metal blocking plate. It was just the surrounding scar tissue I felt, hard and unforgiving. I tried not to touch it.
These are the 10 most reserved Young Adult titles for the month. Happy reading!
1. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [no change] * **
2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change] *
3. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 1] * **
4. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [down 1] * **
5. City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare [no change, on order]
6. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [up 1]
7. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [down 1] **
8. Insurgent, Veronica Roth [down 1] * **
9=. Looking for Alaska, John Green [back] **
9=. The One, Kiera Cass [new, on order]
* We also have this as a book on CD.
** We also have this as an eBook/eAudiobook.
Check out these remarkably similar book covers for Frozen by Melissa De la Cruz and Michael Johnston and Adaptation by Malinda Lo:
Frozen: “More than a century after a catastrophic disaster wiped out most of humanity and covered much of the earth with ice, fifteen-year-old Cass yields to the voice in her head urging her to embark on a dangerous journey across a poisoned sea to the mythical land, Blue.”
Adaptation: “In the aftermath of a series of plane crashes caused by birds, seventeen-year-old Reese and her debate-team partner, David, receive medical treatment at a secret government facility and become tangled in a conspiracy that is, according to Reese’s friend, Julian, connected with aliens and UFOs.”
Descriptions from library catalogue.
Our graphic novel section is growing bigger by the day! Here are some of my picks, from the historical to the hysterical.
Boxers and Saints – Gene Luen Yang
These two graphic novels tell the story of the Boxer rebellion from different points of view. The Boxer Rebellion was a clash between the occupying colonial powers in China and a pro-nationalist and anti-Christian movement that became known as the Boxers. Gene Luen Yang captures the hard lives of the protagonists: Little Bao, who fights for the Boxers, and Vibiana, who is Christian. Both books are heart-breaking stories of people caught up in larger events beyond their control.
The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun
This book serves as a stand-alone inthe Sixth Gun series. The Horsemen go their seperate ways, trying to escape the dreadful choices they made. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read the Sixth Gun series, but for those who have, it’s an interesting look at our primary antagonists. As usual, the artwork is both lush and disturbing, with reddish tones and black shadows predominating. The Sixth Gun was mentioned in one of my earlier blog posts about graphic novels, and is well worth picking up.
Doctor Who: Dead Man’s Hand
Continuing the Western theme, here’s a new adventure featuring the Eleventh Doctor and Clara. They go to Deadwood, a frontier town in 1882, to pay their respects to the famous gunslinger, Wild Bill Hickock. But as always with the Doctor, nothing is as it seems. The town is being terrorized by a sinister, masked gunman. They meet up with real-life figures Calamity Jane and Oscar Wilde, who was on a tour of America at the time. (Bet you didn’t know that!) The art’s decent, but the real star is the story, which clips along in true Doctor Who style.
The thrilling adventure hour
A comic anthology featuring a plethora of awesome stories, by a whole range of different authors and artists. Western, science-fiction, steampunk, superheroes: there’s something here for everyone. The art and writing is consistently amazing, keeping close to the “pulp” feeling of the book. My pick for best story? “Beyond Belief” a screwball comedy about a pair of psychics who keep the various supernatural factions of their city from war in between drinking cocktails and delivering killer quips.
Normcore, is it a thing? A new ‘trend’, a joke, something you need to be wearing right now?!
According to The Cut, who broke this very important story yesterday, the latest trend for the youngsters in New York is to dress ‘normally’. Not like a fashionista, hipster or an authentic individual, but with a sameness which means they blend into the crowd. (Or look like an extra from Seinfeld). Plain mum-jeans are a feature, as are socks and sandals, New Balance sneakers, baseball caps and plain t-shirts and jumpers. (Alexa Chung’s buddy Dev Hynes favours a turtleneck).
Is this real? Do you – or would you – dress like this? I have been digging my trackpants lately…
However, not everyone belives.
Here’s an example of library normcore – a workmate wearing her totally normal, plain (and comfy) Nikes. (Co-ordination with the carpet way too fashiony though).
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Bloodsong, Melvin Burgess (355 pages)Sigurd has a fabulous but frightening future predicted: even to start, he must leave everything he knows to go and fight a dragon, and from there descend into the Underworld. Sounds bad enough, but when you know that the dragon lives on a futuristic, industrially-ruined moonscape that was once Hampstead Heath, the scene is set for a staggeringly brutal fight on an epic scale. Unhappily for him, he meets the love of his life in the underworld, and Sigurd’s efforts to rescue his lover will cause huge heartache and grief for both of them, and also for everyone who ever meets them. (Goodreads)
First lines: Regin said, “It’s time.” He smacked his lips. An old guy like him, it’s all he can talk about. Adventure! And all the time there he is scowling away like it was a problem with the carburettor. “A monster, Sigurd. A real live un. It’s perfect. ” He licked his face like it was dipped in gravy.
Overpowered, Mark H. Kruger (423 pages) Nica Ashley is accustomed to traveling the globe with her journalist mother, so when she gets sent to live in a small town with the father she barely knows, she’s in for a bit of a culture shock. Barrington prides itself on being a sleepy, family community with the lowest crime rates in the state of Colorado. There’s even a private security force run by Barrington Technology (BarTech) and a nightly curfew for all residents.On Nica’s first day at school, she meets Jackson Winters and finds out he went from school superstar to living ghost after his girlfriend disappeared a few months ago. When Nica follows him out after curfew one night, they both witness a mysterious green flash-and the next morning the power has gone out and all the birds are dead. But secrets are well and alive, and as Nica and some of her friends discover they now have abilities best described as “super,” they also realize that Barrington might not be so safe. And that BarTech is looking for them.(Goodreads)
First lines: It all started with a stupid sandwich. Chicken curry and spinach stuffed inside a homemade pita pocket. I found it one Friday Morning in my backpack when I was getting ready for school. Neatly wrapped inside a neon-green plastic bag, one of those flimsy sacks used by the local Bangkok markets, along with a handwrittem note, which tumbled out: “Nica: remember to recycle!”
Unhinged, A. G Howard, (387 pages) Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head. (Goodreads)
First lines: My art teacher says that a real artist bleeds for her craft, but he never told us that blood can become your medium, can take on a life of its own and shape your art is vile and gruesome ways.
Sky Run, Alex Shearer (277 pages) In a world where islands float above the sun and Cloud Hunters sail the skies for water, orphans Gemma and Martin live with their 120-year-old great, great, grand aunt Peggy and the sky-cat Botcher on a remote rock miles from civilisation. When Peggy decides they should visit City Island to register at school, the group embarks on a trip that will take them through uncharted territories, navigating a very dangerous sky. Encountering cloud pirates, sky rats and an axe murdering motel owner, Gemma and Martin must learn to fend for themselves, and fight for what’s right in a perilous world.
First lines: I was one hundred and twenty years old last birthday. Which is a good age in some places, although it’s not so much around here. But it’s no time of life to be looking after teenagers. I can tell you that.
Uncrashable Dakota, Andy Marin (309 pages)In 1862, Union army infantryman Samuel Dakota changed history when he spilled a bottle of pilfered moonshine in the Virginia dirt and stumbled upon the biochemical secret of flight. Not only did the Civil War come to a much quicker close, but Dakota Aeronautics was born.Now, in Andy Marino’s Uncrashable Dakota, it is 1912, and the titanic Dakota flagship embarks on its maiden flight. But shortly after the journey begins, the airship is hijacked. Fighting to save the ship, the young heir of the Dakota empire, Hollis, along with his brilliant friend Delia and his stepbrother, Rob, are plunged into the midst of a long-simmering family feud. Maybe Samuel’s final secret wasn’t just the tinkering of a madman after all. . . .What sinister betrayals and strange discoveries await Hollis and his friends in the gilded corridors and opulent staterooms? Who can be trusted to keep the most magnificent airship the world has ever known from falling out of the sky?(Goodreads)
First lines: Hollis Dakota was ten years old when his parents took him to the shipyard that sprawled like a bucket of as across the river from New York City. His family owned the shipyard, but Hollis had never been there, because he lived in the sky.
The Lazarus Machine, Paul Crilley (261 pages) An alternate 1895… a world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference engine. Where steam and tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.But all is not well…A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. as the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.Professor Moriarty.When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war. (Goodreads)
First lines: Tonight, seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed was going to be the voice of a fifty-year-old woman. More specifically, he was going to be the voice of Mrs. henrietta Shaw-missing and presumed dead for over a year now.
Conquest, John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard (407 pages)Earth is no longer ours. . . .It is ruled by the Illyri, a beautiful, civilized, yet ruthless alien species. But humankind has not given up the fight, and Paul Kerr is one of a new generation of young Resistance leaders waging war on the invaders. Syl Hellais is the first of the Illyri to be born on Earth. Trapped inside the walls of her father’s stronghold, hated by the humans, she longs to escape. But on her sixteenth birthday, Syl’s life is about to change forever. She will become an outcast, an enemy of her people, for daring to save the life of one human: Paul Kerr. Only together do they have a chance of saving each other, and the planet they both call home. For there is a greater darkness behind the Illyri conquest of Earth, and the real invasion has not yet even begun. . .(Goodreads)
First lines: In the beginning was the wormhole. It bloomed like a strange flower at the edge of the solar system, dwarfing Pluto in size and majesty. It was beautifal: theory become real. One it was discovered, the eyes of the Earth turned upon it, and the space telescope Walton eas redirected to examine it more closely. Within days, images were being sent back to Earth.
Alliance, Mark Frost (338 pages) After exposing the sinister underground society of students known as the Knights of Charlemagne, Will West stays at the Center over the summer to explore his newly developing physical and mental abilities. Meanwhile, his roommates investigate the Knights’ shadowy purpose and discover unsettling information about their own backgrounds. Will and his friends must quickly figure out what’s going on and separate friend from foe as they prepare for the coming fight. (Goodreads)
First lines: Lyle Ogilvy had trouble staying dead. During the past seven months, the medical staff had given up on him half a dozen times, only to realise that he was a xase for which they could find no precedent in the history of medicine. They finally had to admit that the question Is he dead or alive? had them baffled.
These Broken stars, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, (374 pages)It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
First lines: Nothing about this room is real. If this were a party at home, the music would draw your eye to human musicians in the corner. Candles and soft lamps would light the room, and the wooden tables would be made of actual trees. People would be listening to each other instead of checking to see who’s watching them.