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  • Books, Grimm, New

    New Books

    04.05.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    172 Hours on the Moon, Johan Harstad (351 pages) – as reported a little earlier, this one’s a space travel thriller, where a trip to the moon would seem to be the opportunity of a lifetime for three teens, but only one will make it back.

    First sentence: “Gentlemen, it’s time,” Dr ______ [suspiciously blacked out name] said, eyeing the seven men in suits around the large conference table.

    Cross My Heart, Sasha Gould (263 pages) – set in 16th century Venice. Laura is safely installed in a convent, until her sister unexpectedly dies, and Laura’s father takes her back home, to marry her sister’s odious old fiance. Doom! Luckily, Laura manages to escape this fate, and earn her way into a secret society of women – The Segreta – whose secrets may or may not be deadly, and may be linked to her sister’s untimely demise. The cover says “clandestine romance, political intrigue, and deadly secrets”.

    First sentence: His gondola slips through the water like a knife cutting into dark silk.

    The One Dollar Horse, Lauren St John (309 pages) – Casey Blue lives in a tower block in East London but dreams of winning the Badminton Horse Trials (which is as far away from a tower block in London as you can get really). When she rescues a starving horse, it seems like she might be a little bit on her way, but her past (and a boy with “melty, dark eyes”) might derail her.

    First sentence: Casey used the twin points of her horse’s ears to line up the jump, like a sniper lining up a target on a gun barrel.

    Love-shy, Lili Wilkinson (309 pages) – Penny is a journalist-in-training, and works on the school newspaper. When she finds a boy posting on a “love-shy forum” anonymously, she decides she is going to discover who he is, and write a feature article. But who is the love-shy boy?

    First sentence: “I found a story.”

    Chopsticks, Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral (unpaged) – unlike your average novel: “In a love story told in photographs and drawings, Glory, a brilliant piano prodigy, is drawn to Frank, an artistic new boy, and the farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness until the only song she is able to play is ‘Chopsticks.'” (Catalogue)

    First sentence: [photo of sunlight through an oak tree].

    Preloved, Shirley Marr (272 pages) – Amy’s life is full of hassles (mother, friend, reputation, etc etc). She certainly doesn’t need to be haunted by a 1980s ghost called Logan, who’s either dangerous, annoying, or the ideal boy.

    First sentence: Whenever my mum decided to give me advice, it often sounded like this: “Amy, don’t bring an open umbrella into the house, because a ghost might be hiding under it.”

    Stir It Up!, Ramin Ganeshram (166 pages) – Anjali lives above her parents’ roti shop in Queens (NY), where she develops a passion for cooking, but her dream of becoming a celebrity chef doesn’t sit well with her traditional Trinidadian parents. When the chance to be a part of a reality TV cooking show arises, Anjali jumps: are her dreams about to be realised?

    First sentence: My heart pounds as I race around the kitchen with Deema, filling orders, trying not to get behind.

    Tessa Masterson Will go to Prom, Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin (256 pages) – from the people who brought you Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance. Lucas and Tessa are best friends, have been forever. Lucas wishes they were more, so when he finally comes out, and asks Tessa to the prom, his world is shaken when Tessa, in turn, comes out as a lesbian. Lucas feels betrayed that she has kept this a secret from him for so long, and when Tessa decides to go to the prom with her girlfriend – and dressed in a tux – and comes under fire as a result, will she be able to count on her best friend for support?

    First sentence: Before you read the paper or watch tonight’s news, before you grab the Time magazine in your orthodontist’s office or dig into the police report, before the protesters’ shouts distract you, you should hear the whole thing from the beginning.

    Between the Sea and Sky, Jaclyn Dolamore (229 pages) – “Esmerine, a mermaid, grows close to her childhood playmate Alander, a winged man, when they join forces to find her sister Dosia, who has reportedly eloped with a human despite the sisters’ vow to always keep the sea and its people first in their hearts.” (catalogue) “With subtle echoes of Pride and Prejudice” says the cover, which just adds to the charm.

    First sentence: It was not every day that a mermaid became a siren, and not every day that Esmerine attended such a party.

    Rock On, Denise Vega (297 pages) – Ori has lived a bit in his brother Del’s shadow, but with Del safely away at college, Ori’s chance to step into the spotlight arises. Ori and his band (called The Band to Be Named Later, or TBTBNL) are competing in The Battle of the Bands, and Ori’s the lead singer. But then Del comes back from college, and expects things to revert to the way they were. Can Ori overcome his confidence issues with his brother, and be a true lead singer? Can TBTBNL also win Battle of the Bands glory? Perhaps.

    Last sentence: Rock and roll, baby.


  • Books, Grimm, New

    Waiting on Wednesday

    14.03.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Waiting on Wednesday

    Some titles that will be published soon:

    172 Hours on the Moon, Johan Harstad. Johan Harstad is a Norwegian author: this one was published as DARLAH in Norway, and won awards.

    “Three teenagers are going on the trip of a lifetime. Only one is coming back. It’s been more than forty years since NASA sent the first men to the moon, and to grab some much-needed funding and attention, they decide to launch an historic international lottery in which three lucky teenagers can win a week-long trip to moon base DARLAH 2-a place that no one but top government officials even knew existed until now. The three winners, Antoine, Midori, and Mia, come from all over the world. But just before the scheduled launch, the teenagers each experience strange, inexplicable events. Little do they know that there was a reason NASA never sent anyone back there until now-a sinister reason. But the countdown has already begun.” (goodreads.com)

    The Fame Game, Lauren Conrad. For a complete change of pace:  Lauren Conrad’s latest novel finds Madison Parker (frenemy of Jane Roberts in L A Candy) about to become famous in Hollywood. But this comes with the usual backstabbing, rumours and negativity. To top it off, there’s a new girl in town who threatens to eclipse Madison’s star. Who’s going to win the fame game?

    Insurgent, Veronica Roth. The anticipated sequel to Divergent which will be released in May. “War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.” (goodreads again)

    Here is the author’s tumblr, in which she answers random questions about her books and other stuff.

    Thanks to Stephanie for the selections.

    In other upcoming news: Markus Zusak, author of the über-popular The Book Thief will be publishing a new novel in September this year, called Bridge of Clay. It’s about time! This is how it is summarised so far: “It’s about a boy. His name is Clay. He’s building a bridge. And he wants that bridge to be something truly great and miraculous.” (goodreads.com). This is suitably mysterious. We will let you know when you can reserve a copy!

    In other Australian author news, Melina Marchetta recently blogged about the cover of the upcoming concluding chapter in the Lumatere Chronicles, Quintana of Charyn. You can see it right here. She looks suitably confrontational. Quintana will be published in October this year (can’t hardly wait). In the mean time you should recap on the other two: Finnikin of the Rock, and Froi of the Exiles. Rave, rave <3.


  • Balls, Books, Comedy, Espionage, Horror, New, Sci Fi, Simon, zombies

    New Books

    02.09.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Finder’s Shore, by Anna Mackenzie (218 pages) – This, the ‘gripping finale to the award-winning Sea-Wreck Stranger Trilogy’, has Ness returning back to the island she fled from three years previously. A ‘haunting exploration of belonging, of life’s tangled threads, of the stark and unsettling reality of ambition and greed.’ Look for it in next year’s NZ Post Children’s Book Awards, and say to yourself, “man, that guy on that library blog was right – again”.

    First lines: ‘Blood binds me to this place. Blood and memory.

    King of Ithaka, by Tracy Barrett (261 pages) – Telemachos is the son of Odysseus, king of Ithaka, and although the island has been doing okay without its ruler (who has been dealing with the Trojan War) for many years, the people are getting restless. They want a new king! So Telemachos leaves home to find his dad with only a cryptic prophecy to guide him.

    First line: ‘Brax snorted and stamped, his bony knee grazing my ear.

    Bad Taste in Boys, by Carrie Harris (201 pages) – Kate Grable wants to become a physician, so when she gets to help her high school football team she’s thrilled, as it’s a nice career move. And she also has a crush on the quarterback. However, the idiot coach has been giving the team steroids which somehow turn the team into zombies who crave the ‘other’ white meat, if you know what I mean (i.e., they literally want to eat Kate and her pals). Can Kate find an antidote? Or will she be food?

    First line: ‘“You’re one of thos genius types,” said Coach, nudging me with a beefy elbow.

    The Unidentified, by Rae Mariz (296 pages) – It is … the future!  But it’s a dystopian future, sadly. Fifteen-year-old Katey goes to school in a mall/school (‘The Game‘) run by corporations, who use the students for market research and product creation. One day she witnesses a shocking anticorporate prank, and by following the clues she discovers a counterculture group who call themselves The Unidentified. They too become part of the marketing they so dislike, so Katey decides to do something that could change The Game forEVER!

    First lines: ‘If reality TV cameras were installed in my high school, the would be focused directly on the Pit. That’s where all the drama plays out.

    Picture The Dead, by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown (262 pages) – I am having trouble summarising this book, so here’s the catalogue; ‘After Jennie Lovell’s fiancé, Will, is killed during the Civil War, she forms an alliance with a spirit photographer and uses her ability to talk to the dead to investigate the secrets Will was hiding and how he really died.’ This book (a ghost story and a mystery!) has many lovely illustrations!

    First line: ‘It’s dark outside, an elsewhere hour between midnight and dawn. I lie awake, frozen, waiting for a sound not yet audible.

    Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt : And Other Things I learned in Southern Belle Hell, by Crickett Rumley (296 pages) – Deliquent seventeen-year-old Jane has been expelled from thirteen boarding schools, and so is sent back to the small town in Alabama her family comes from. There she finds herself stuck in Magnolia Maid Pageant hell, where everyone wears pearls and those massive Gone With The Wind-type dresses covered in ruffles and lace and drink sweet tea and eat fried green tomatoes. Can she escape, or will they make a Southern belle out of her?

    First line: ‘There’s a whole chapter in the Magnolia Court Orientation Handbook titled “Manners Befitting a Maid Upon Announcement of Selection to the Court.”

    The Midnight Palace, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (298 pages) – Ben and Sheere are twins. When just wee babies in Calcutta, they were rescued from an unthinkable threat. Later, in the 1930s and on their sixteenth birthday, it reappears and so they – and a secret society of orphans – must face ‘the most frightening creature in the history of the City of Palaces’. This book is translated from the Spanish, which suggests that it’s probably going to be quite creepy somehow (the scariest night of my life was due to a Spanish horror film. It haunts me still).

    First line: ‘Shortly after midnight, a boat emerged out of the mist that rose like a fetid curse from the surface of the Hooghly River.

    Mostly Good Girls, by Leila Sales (347 pages) – Catalogue, please: ‘Sixteen-year-olds Violet and Katie, best friends since seventh grade despite differences in their family backgrounds and abilities, are pulled apart during their junior year at Massachusetts’ exclusive Westfield School.’ “Brilliant, poignant, and straight-up hilarious,” says Lauren Oliver. “Recommend this to fans of Meg Cabot’s novels and academy-based stories,” argues Booklist. “Suggest this one to readers who enjoy the writing style of Ally Carter. A strong debut that is not be missed,” adds School Library Journal, knowingly.

    First lines: ‘Poor Mr. Thompson. Mr’s Thompson is my precalc teacher, and he is also the only male at the Westfield School.

    Payback Time, by Carl Deuker (298 pages) – Mitch wants to be a writer, so he becomes – a little reluctantly! – the sports reporter for his high school’s newspaper. The football (not soccer, or even rugby, but gridiron) team’s quarterback, Angel, is obviously really talented at his ball-handling abilities, but doesn’t appear too keen to show them on the field. And the coach never lets him anyway. What gives, Angel? What’s the story here? Mitch is determined to find out, ‘in this thriller both thought-provoking and suspenseful.’

    First lines: ‘I’m going to be a famous reporter. My name – Daniel True – will be on the front page of the New York Times.’

    The Anti-Prom, by Abby McDonald (280 pages) – Three girls, each somehow done a wrong by the guys who were supposed to take them to the school prom, decide to seek revenge and ‘team up for a night of rebellion, romance, and revenge.’ Sort of like Carrie but funnier and not a horror. Heh. Eh heh heh.

    First lines: ‘He doesn’t kiss me like that. That’s the first thing I think when I find Kaitlin Carter getting to second base with my boyfriend in the back of our rental limo.‘ 

    An Act of Love, by Alan Gibbons (295 pages) – When only seven-years-old, besties Chris and Imran became blood brothers. Now, eleven years later, one has joined the army and is serving in Afghanistan, and the other is a potential jihad recruit. They certainly aren’t friends anymore. ‘Will their childhood bond be strong enough to overcome an extremist plot?’ 

    First lines: ‘you think you’re invincible when you’re a kid. Invincible, that’s a laugh.


  • Books, Grimm, New, Simon

    New Books

    28.05.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    This post is MASSIVE. Lots of new books, you see.

    Thyla, by Kate Gordon (279 pages) – Amnesia, Tasmania, and identity; these are the three subject headings for this book which I think might have an element of the paranormal? Some girls are missing from a school, and it’s all a bit mysterious; the protaganist, Tessa, was found in the bush, living feral and without memory of who she was. Anyway!  It gets a glowing review on Amazon. And a sequel is on the way.

    First lines: ‘My name is Tessa. It was the one thing I knew for certain. the one word that stood lonely in my head when the lights were turned on.

    Cloaked, by Alex Finn (341 pages) – This is by the author of Beastly (recently released as a film) and, similarly, is a modern retelling of a fairy tale. Teenager Johnny, who repairs shoes in Miami, is asked by a princess (or someone named Princess? I need to research more) for help to find her brother who has been turned into a toad.  That’s like two fairy tales right there.

    First lines: ‘I’ve never seen a princess before. And it looks like I won’t be seeing one today either.

    Recovery Road, by Blake Nelson – A pair of teenaged addicts meet up in rehab, and form a relationship that they try to continue once they’re out again. Of course, both have inner demons and so their relationship is put to the test. Will it last? Will they stay on the wagon?

    First lines: ‘You can’t tell what Spring Meadow is from the road. The sign, nestled beneath a large oak tree, could be for a retirement village.’

    Phantoms in the Snow, by Kathleen Benner Duble (226 pages) – Newly orphaned Noah, whose parents raised him to be a pacifist, is sent to live with his uncle. He – the uncle – lives on an army base in Colorado, where a division of winter warfare soldiers train. They are called Phantoms, as you can’t see them in the snow. Oh and it’s 1944!  So Noah needs to ‘resolve his upbringing with the horrors of World War II’ while on an army base and on the front lines in Italy.

    First line: ‘Noah Garrett sat on the kitchen chair and listened to the rhythmic ticking of the hall clock echoing through the nearly empty rooms of his house and to the two lowered voices coming from behind the hastily shut door, the minister’s gentle and quiet, his neighbour’s shrill and determined.

    Throat, R. A. Nelson (453 pages) – Emma is seventeen and has epilepsy, and her seizures are unpredictable and often. She’s lost friends and can’t even legally drive. One unexpected benefit (I guess?) is that when she’s attacked by a vampire, a seizure prevents him from killing her, and she escapes. Now she has all the powers of a vampire but without having to avoid sunlight or drink blood. The original vampire is determined to make a meal of her, though, and Emma must prepare … for a fight to the death!

    First line: ‘When I was thirteen, I ran away from home because of a curse.

    Corsets & Clockwork : 13 Steampunk Romances, edited by Trisha Telep (437 pages) – Imagine the Victorian era, but with high tech and technomagical machinery, and ‘feisty heroines and genius inventors, supernatural outcasts and idealistic heroes’. Hold that image. Now, add a little romance, and there you have it! Steampunk romance.

    First line: ‘There are millions of stories in the Clockwork City; here are thirteen of them.

    Shadowspell, by Jenna Black (295 pages) – This is the second installment in the Faeriewalker series (the first is Glimmerglass). Aaaaaand here’s what the catalogue says; ‘on top of spending most of her time in a bunkerlike safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon.’ Uh oh!

    First line: ‘Going on a date with a bodyguard hanging over your shoulder sucks.

    Crossing the Tracks, by Barbara Stuber (258 pages) – Missouri, 1926, and fifteen-year-old Iris is hired out to be a companion and housekeeper for an elderly woman. Alone, and stuck in the ‘gritty rural’ country, where a nearby farmer is menacing everyone, she finds herself and learns to ‘trust, hope, and – ultimately – love’.

    First lines: ‘I’m under Mama’s coffin. My little house in the centre of the parlour has silky black curtain walls and a hard ceiling that I can touch with the top of my head if I sit cross-legged and stretch my neck.’

    Entwined, by Heather Dixon (472 pages) – After their mother dies, Princess Azalea and her 11 princess sisters are locked in a castle to mourn her death. Each night they join The Keeper for a dance in a magical silver forest, accessible via a magical passage. But soon they discover that he likes to keep things. The clue’s in the name, your highnesses!

    First line: ‘ An hour before Azalea’s first ball began, she paced the ballroom floor, tracing her toes in a waltz.

    Demonglass, by Rachel Hawkins (359 pages) – Sophie thought she was just a witch, but she is actually a demon, and her powers threaten everyone. SO she heads to London in an attempt to have her powers removed. The Eye, the organisation out to rid the world of ‘Prodigum’ (i.e. magic users, faeries, and shapeshifters) are also on her tail. Her pointy devil tail. (Made that up.)

    First line: ‘At a normal high school, having class outside on a gorgeous May day is usually pretty awesome.’

    What Happened to Goodbye, by Sarah Dessen (402 pages) – Mclean and her father are always on the move, going from town to town and from school to school. At each stop she reinvents herself, but now, at Lakeview, she’s trying to be just herself. Mclean. Not anyone else. Partly because she meets and falls for Colgate (just kidding! his name is Dave) and he falls for the real Mclean, whoever that is. Are your Mcleans showing?

    First line: ‘The table was sticky, there was a cloudy smudge on my water glass, and we’d been seated for ten minutes with no sign of a waitress.

    Bumped, by Megan McCafferty (232 pages) – It is the future! And all people over 18 are infertile. As a consequence, teen girls are paid to conceive and give birth to peoples’ kids, and teens become the most prized members of society. Twins Melody and Harmony, were separated at birth; Melody has an ‘enviable conception contract’ and Harmony believes ‘pregging for profit’ is a sin. But they soon find they have more in common than just DNA.

    First lines: ‘I’m sixteen. Pregnant. And the most important person on the planet.

    The Marbury Lens, by Andrew Smith (358 pages) – This seems complex! So here’s the catalogue summary; ‘Sixteen-year-old Jack is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.’

    (Fantastic!) first line: ‘I guess in the old days, in other places, boys like me usually ended up twisting and kicking in the empty air beneath gallows.

    Timeless, by Alexandra Monir (290 pages) – Michele’s parents die (lots of orphans this week!) and she is sent to live with her rich-but-distant grandparents in New York. She discovers a diary which transports her back to 1910. Literally!

    First line: ‘Michele stood alone in the centre of a hall of mirrors.

    Now over to Grimm for mooooooore new books.

    Keep Sweet, by Michele Dominguez Greene (215 pages) – Alva Jane’s family are Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, and it’s a rather large family: 29 brothers and sisters, and a father with seven wives. She doesn’t question her life, until she’s caught innocently kissing her crush and is forced into a marriage to a fifty year old man.

    First sentence: ‘I closed my eyes at the memory of Joseph John’s face, flushed with excitement as he whispered those words to me – the words that changed my life forever.’

    Stay, by Deb Caletti (313 pages) – Clara is caught in an unhealthy obsessive relationship with Christian, until she escapes and leaves town. Noone knows where she is, but she is still unable to feel safe, fearing he might find her.

    First sentence: ‘First off, I’ve never told this story to anyone.’

    Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance, by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin (229 pages) – Charlie and Fielding are stars of the show Jenna & Jonah’s How to Be a Rock Star, and it’s a raging hit. Part of the charm of the show is Charlie and Fielding’s “relationship”, so they are to hold hands and kiss and whatnot when they’re out in public. Trouble is, they hate each other. Then when a paparazzo gets hold of a rumour that could ruin everything for them and they have to lie low for a while they finally get to find out more about each other: will this be a good thing or an even worse thing?

    First sentence: ‘I will never like a boy like Fielding Withers (and, yes, I know I used the word “like” twice in one sentence, but meaning different things).’

    Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys (338 pages) – In 1941 in Lithuania Lina and her mother and brother are captured by Soviet guards and shipped off to Siberia, not knowing if they will see their father again (and it’s thousands and thousands of kilometres). The story is based on first hand accounts of survivors of the Siberian deportations.

    First sentence: ‘They took me in my nightgown.’

    The Ghoul Next Door, by Lisi Harrison (241 pages) – from the author of The Clique series, this is the first in the Monster High series. “Freak is the new chique” says the back cover! Cleopatra De Nile is used to being in charge at Merston High, but now there’s Frankie Stein and Melody Carver to contend with: her popularity is seriously in danger, but then Frankie and Melody have their own issues as well.

    First sentence: ‘The amber-infused air snapped with anxiety.’

    Livvie Owen Lived Here, by Sarah Dooley (229 pages) – Livvie is autistic and has frequent outbursts, causing trouble for her family: her destructive tendencies mean they’re constantly on the move. When they are faced again with eviction, Livvie decides to search out the house where she felt happy: “The problem is, Livvie burned down that house” says the cover.

    First sentence: ‘I heard the whistle blast at 9.15.’


  • Grimm, New

    New Books Again

    23.05.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books Again

    A box of chocolates: horror, angels, love triangles, the origins of a New York icon, memoirs of addiction, high fantasy, gritty realism, dramas, and short stories, oh and chimpanzees again!

    Non-fiction

    We All Fall Down: Living With Addiction, and Tweak: Growing Up On Methamphetamines, by Nic Sheff – Two memoirs with rave reviews on the subject of drug addiction, and companions to the book Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff. On Tweak: “The author details his immersion in a world of hardcore drugs, revealing the mental and physical depths of addiction, and the violent relapse one summer in California that forever changed his life, leading him down the road to recovery.” (Library catalogue)

    Fiction

    Half Brother, Kenneth Oppel (377 pages) – Oh fab! Ben’s father is a behavioural scientist, and on Ben’s 13th birthday, Zan comes to live with the family, as an experiment: Zan is a chimpanzee. Cool, you’d think. Well yes indeed!, although having a chimpanzee for a half-brother can have its hairy moments, and then when things start going wrong can Ben save Zan? (From what, I want to know, hoping it’s not horrible, and that it has a happy ending like the Chimpanzee movie.)

    First sentence: This is how we got Zan.

    Angry Young Man, Chris Lynch (167 pages) – Xan (not to be confused with Zan) is an angry young man, becoming increasingly involved in hard-core activism and groups of anarchists. Robert, his older brother, is completely different, steady and together. But when Xan appears to spiral out of control will Robert be able to rescue him, and is Robert such a solid, dependable hero anyway?

    First sentence: I want you to understand my brother.

    Huntress, Malinda Lo (371 pages) – High fantasy (complete with map) inspired by the I Ching, and prequel (by several centuries) to Ash, in Huntress the human kingdom is suffering: the sun never shines and strange creatures have begun appearing. Two seventeen year old girls are chosen to go on a dangerous journey to save the kingdom. Along the way they fall in love, but then it becomes clear that there should only be one Huntress saviour: will they be torn apart?

    First sentence: She saw a beach made of ice, and she felt her heart breaking.

    Summer and the City, Candace Bushnell (409 pages) – sequel to The Carrie Diaries and therefore also prequel to Sex and the City. Carrie’s having a good summer, enjoying the shopping, the parties, and the men the Big Apple provide, plus she’s in a writing class learning what will become her trade. During the summer she will meet two of her BFFs, Samantha and Miranda, and become more Carrie Bradshaw-ish.

    First sentence: First Samantha asks me to find her shoe.

    Dramarama, E Lockhart (305 pages) – Sadye (Sarah) and Demi (Douglas) become instant best friends when they meet at the auditions for a prestigious drama camp. When they both get in things look exciting – the chance to study under one of New York’s leading directors, for example, but it’s drama camp in more ways than one: can their friendship survive?

    First sentence: Transcript of a microcassette recording: Demi: Is it on?

    We’ll Always Have Summer, Jenny Han (291 pages) – the conclusion to the trilogy that began with The Summer I Turned Pretty. Belly and Jeremiah have been together for two years. Things should be happily ever after, but they aren’t really. Belly has unresolved feelings for Conrad, and when Jeremiah proposes marriage she must choose between the two, possibly breaking one of their hearts in the process. Obviously you must read this if you’ve read the others! And bring a hankie!

    First sentence: On Wednesday nights when I was little, my mom and I would watch old musicals.

    The Saga of Larten Crepsley: Ocean of Blood, Darren Shan (247 pages) – The prequel to Cirque Du Freak, where you get to learn more about Larten: what he was like as a teenager, rebelling against vampire authorities and hitting the road with his brother, leaving a trail of human destruction behind them. But are there dangers for him in this wanton, destructive lifestyle?

    First sentence: The vampire known as Quicksilver threw a knife high into the smoke-clogged air of the tavern.

    Fallen Angel, Heather Terrell (310 pages) – Ellie is shy and withdrawn around everyone except her friend Ruth, until she meets Michael. Together, she and Michael discover they have a similar secret: otherworldly powers, which will come in handy when they’re pitched into the eternal conflict, the battle between good and evil.

    First sentence: I watched my curtains billow in the early autumn wind that wafted through my opened bedroom window.

    Virgin Territory, Jame Lecesne (218 pages) – Set around the time of September 11 2001. Dylan’s father moves the family from New York to a small Florida town after the death of his mother. Dylan finds himself drifting through summer, losing a sense of his future while his past – and memories of his mother – appears to fade. When the Blessed Virgin Mary is sighted in town, interesting new arrivals bring a new perspective for Dylan: can he forge ahead and carve out a new future for himself?

    First sentence: I’m staring out the passenger window of Doug’s banged-up Ford Explorer as we speed along I-95.

    The Kissing Game: Short Stories, Aidan Chambers (215 pages) – including several pieces of flash fiction, which we like as a concept. The cover says, “In these sixteen short stories, acclaimed author Aidan Chambers examines moments of truth in which a conversation or an event suddenly reveals a surprising, sometimes life-altering meaning.”

    First sentence (‘Cindy’s Day Out’): Enough! she said to herself.


  • Exclusive academies for rich kids who form cliques, Fantasy, Grimm, New, Sport

    More New Books

    05.04.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on More New Books

    Rose Sees Red, Cecil Castellucci (197 pages) – It is 1982 in New York and Rose is a ballet dancer who attends the High School of Performing Arts. Yrena is Rose’s neighbour, a visiting Russian dancer who, due to the Cold War between USSR and the United States, is all but a prisoner in her apartment. One night Yrena, intent on experiencing New York life, escapes through Rose’s apartment window, and the two hit the town for a wild night of adventure.

    First sentence: I was black inside so I took everything black.

    The Children of the Lost, David Whitley (357 pages) – the second book in the Agora trilogy that began with The Midnight Charter. Mark and Lily are exiled from the city of Agora, and find refuge in a small nearby village. Lily is happy, but Mark longs to return to Agora to take revenge and find answers.

    First sentence: Gradually, Lily became aware that she was being watched.

    Kick, Walter Dean Myers and Ross Workman (197 pages) – Ross Workman wrote to Walter Dean Myers saying he was a fan of his books and Walter Dean Myers replied saying let’s write a book together, so they did. True story. Kick is about a troubled boy who’s an excellent football (soccer) player, on his way to the state cup final, until he ends up in jail. Can he and his mentor, a policeman called Sergeant Brown, turn his life around?

    First sentence: Bill Kelly and I had been friends since we played high school basketball together.

    I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend, Cora Harrison (342 pages) – Jenny Cooper is Jane’s cousin, and goes to live with the Austens, which is an education in the world of balls, beautiful dresses, turns about the room, gossip, and other such things. When she (Jenny) falls in love, Jane is there to help her out.

    First sentence: It’s a terrible thing to write: Jane looks like she could die – but it’s even worse to have the thought jumping into your mind every few minutes.

    Pathfinder, Orson Scott Card (657 pages) – Rigg is able to see into people’s paths, a secret he shares only with his father. When his father dies, Rigg learns that he’s been keeping a whole lot of other secrets, about Rigg and his family. Rigg has other powers…

    First sentence: Rigg and Father usually set the traps together, because it was Rigg who had the knack of seeing the paths that the animals they wanted were still using.

    Firespell, Chloe Neill (278 pages) – Lily is a new girl at an exclusive academy and she doesn’t fit in and has no friends apart from her roommate Scout. When she discovers that Scout has magical powers and protects the city from supernatural monsters, Lily is keen to help, but can she, if she has no powers of her own?

    First sentence: They were gathered around a conference table in a high-rise, eight men and women, no one under the age of sixty-five, all of them wealthy beyond measure.

    The Body at the Tower, Y S Lee (344 pages) – the second book in the Agency Victorian detective series (the first is A Spy in the House). Mary Quinn, under cover, investigates the mysterious scandals surrounding the building of the Houses of Parliament, but there are distractions (suspicious workmates, past secrets, and the return of James Easton).

    First sentence: A sobbing man huddles on a narrow ledge, clawing at his eyes to shield them from the horror far below.

    The Doomsday Box, Herbie Brennan (328 pages) – a Shadow Project book. Time travel is possible, trouble is someone (secret codename Cobra) has used it to transport the black plague into the 21st Century. The supernatural teen spies of the Shadow Project must avert disaster, while also averting their own disaster, on the run from the KGB in Moscow in the 1960s.

    First sentence: Opal fastened the strap around her ankle and stood up to admire her new shoes.

    Zora and Me, Victoria Bond and T R Simon (170 pages) – based on events in the life of author Zora Neale Hurston. When a young man’s body is found on train tracks in a small Florida town Zora thinks she knows who did it, so she and her friends set out to prove her theory and search for the truth. Narrated by Zora’s best friend Carrie, hence the title.

    First sentence: It’s funny how you can be in a story but not realise until the end that you were in one.

    The False Princess, Eilis O’Neal (319 pages) – Nalia believes herself to be princess of Thorvaldor, but discovers she’s actually a stand in. She’s cast out, called Sinda, and sent to live with her unwelcoming aunt in a village where she (Sinda) learns she has magic, which is Sinda’s ticket out, albeit a dangerous ticket. This one is called “A dazzling first novel” and “an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance”, which sounds great.

    First sentence: The day they came to tell me, I was in one of the gardens with Kiernan, trying to decipher a three-hundred-year-old map of the palace grounds.

    Fallout, Ellen Hopkins (663 pages) – the companion to Crank and Glass. About Kristina’s three oldest children, who must climb out from under their mother’s meth addiction and the hold it has over the family. Novel in verse form.

    First sentence: That life was good / before she / met / the monster, / but those page flips / went down before / our collective / cognition.

    Accomplice, Eireann  Corrigan (259 pages) – Two friends stage a kidnapping as a joke and in order to gain notoreity. Of course this is going to be a very bad idea indeed.

    First sentence: The picture they usually use is one from the Activities spread of the yearbook.

    Pride, Robin Wasserman (231 pages) – one in the Seven Deadly Sins series, and we have the complete set.


  • Grimm, New

    New Books

    04.04.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins (372 pages) – romantic tension in Paris, where Anna (against her will, go figure) goes to spend a year at school, leaving behind her almost-boyfriend and meeting the marvelous Etienne St Clair Smart who, problematically, has an actual-girlfriend.

    First sentence: Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amélie and Moulin Rouge.

    Across the Universe, Beth Revis (398 pages) – this one has an almost retro sci-fi type of cover (which you can’t tell much from the pic over there). Amy is cryogenically frozen, to wake 300 years into the future on a new planet, however her cryo chamber is unplugged and she’s stuck on her spaceship, Godspeed, with the scary Eldest and his son Elder, knowing that someone is trying to kill her.

    First sentence: Daddy said, ‘let Mom go first.’

    Matched, Ally Condie (366 pages) – The matching screen is a device used by society’s officials to determine who is matched with whom for life. Cassia’s best friend flashes up on the matching screen for her, perfect, she thinks, until she sees another face appear fleetingly. Cassia must choose between two lives, between “perfection and passion”.

    First sentence: Now that I’ve found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?

    Birth of a Killer, Darren Shan (253 pages) – a new series from the horror man! Larten is a young man all alone, until he meets Seba Nile, who teaches him all about being a vampire, but will Larten turn his back on being human and embrace this new world?

    First sentence: When Larten Crepsley awoke and yawned one grey Tuesday morning, he had no idea that by midday he would have become a killer.

    Into the Wild Nerd Yonder, Julie Halpern (245 pages) – Things are changing in Jessie’s world, her friends are getting cooler (she’s not), so she’s on the lookout for a new set of friends. But can she befriend the Dungeons and Dragons crowd without being tainted with their geekdom?

    First sentence: I so used to love the first day of school.

    The Radleys, Matt Haig (337 pages) – the humorous side of abstaining from being a vampire. The Radleys are a fairly average family (two parents, two kids) living in a fairly average British town, except for the one thing (they’re vampires, but they’re abstaining). Then Uncle Will arrives, the black sheep of the family, and he’s going to shake things up a bit.

    First sentence: It is a quiet place, especially at night.

    Yellowcake, Margo Lanagan (235 pages) – Ten short stories from one of Australia’s literary fantasy queens.

    First sentence (from ‘The Point of Roses’) – Billy flew into the kitchen.

    Angel, L A Weatherly (507 pagtes) – Willow doesn’t know what she is, just that she’s different. Alex does know what she is, and that they are enemies. An “epic tale of love, destiny and sacrifice.” With angels, obvs.

    First sentence: “Is that your car?” asked the girl at the 7-Eleven checkout counter.

    Not That Kind of Girl, Siobhan Vivian (322 pages) – Natalie is the good, bright girl in school, but she nearly gets expelled anyway, so what’s the point in being good? Is it better to be the bad girl?

    First sentence: On the first day of my senior year, I happened to walk past the auditorium during the freshman orientation assembly.

    Five Flavours of Dumb, Anthony John (338 pages) – Piper is in a band called Dumb, and her bandmates do indeed seem to be a bit that way, plus she’s deaf, which makes being in a band particularly interesting: she has no idea if they’re truly terrible or really good. This doesn’t stop her from determindely finding a gig for them, with some self-discovery along the way.

    First sentence: For the record, I wasn’t around the day they decided to become Dumb.


  • Books, Horror, New, Simon

    Old Books

    04.03.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on Old Books

    Just kidding! These are new books. Not to dismiss older books though! They’re still worth reading.

    Anyway, this week’s new books are serious, or grim, or thrilling, or kind of funny, or supernatural, romantic and also scary. Or a mixture of those!

    Dark Water Rising, by Marian Hale (233 pages) – In 1900 a hurricane hit Galveston, a city in Texas. It was the USA’s deadliest natural disaster. This is the story of Seth, a boy whose family has just moved to Galveston and will need to try to survive through the storm (which struck before hurricanes were given names).

    First line: ‘The train clicked on its rails, rumbling past cow pastures and summer-parched fields of grain and hay.

    Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A. S. King (326 pages) – Vera’s best friend, who she secretly loves, goes and dies shortly after betraying her in retaliation for something she didn’t actually do. She can clear his name, but only if she can forgive him.

    First line: ‘The pastor is saying something about how Charlie was a free spirit.

    Fall For Anything, by Courtney Summers (230 pages) – Eddie Reeves’ father was a successful photographer until he killed himself. Eddie needs to know why her father took his own life, and the mystery of his death deepens when she meets and falls for Culler Evans, an ex-student of her father’s.

    First lines: ‘My hands are dying. I keep trying to explain it to Milo, but he just looks at me like I’m crazy.

    The Last Ghost, by Helen Stringer (356 pages) – Belladonna Johnson can talk to ghosts, including those of her parents. When the spirits start to disappear, she and her pal Steve have to travel to the Other World to see what’s what in spirit land.

    First line: ‘It was Wednesday – the day of the week when it feels like Friday will never arrive.

    Sequins, Stars & Spotlights, by Sophia Bennett (327 pages) – This is the third book in the Threads series, about some friends in London who are getting their sequined? feet through the door of the fashion industry. In this, the final book of the series, the four chums are so close to beginning ‘glittering careers’ but! their ‘challenges suddenly seem so overwhelming.’

    First line: ‘I’m sitting in the back row of a mega-tent in Paris, surrounded by fashion students, buyers, editors and movie stars, and watching THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CATWALK SHOW I WILL EVER SEE IN MY LIFE.

    Unearthly, by Cynthia Hand (432 pages) – At the age of fourteen Clara learnt that she was part-angel. Now she is sixteen and she must complete a rite of passage – her purpose – that every part-angel must do. She soon finds that she is only a small part of some major celestial battle between angels and bad angels, the Black Wings. ‘Supernatural powers, forbidden romance’!

    First line: ‘In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees.

    Tyme’s End, by B. R. Collins (319 pages) – Bibi finds refuge in a deserted house called Tyme’s End. She bumps into its owner, who has been away for the past decade, and together they are pulled towards the ‘romantic, beguiling, sinister and malevolent’ house. Terror awaits them. And the reader!

    First lines: ‘I’ve had enough. There’s only so long anyone can stand being shouted at, and I’m way past it.’

    Entice, by Carrie Jones  (263 pages) – Evil pixies are kidnapping teens, Zara and her friends anticipate an all-out war. Zara’s soulmate, Nick, has been taken to Valhalla however, and the good guys need all the warriors they can get. BUT Zara gets pixie-kissed! So obviously that hampers things.

    First line: ‘“Am I really not allowed to complain about being here?” I ask as we enter Bedford High School about an hour late for the winter ball.


  • Books, Classic novels, Exclusive academies for rich kids who form cliques, New, Sci Fi, Simon

    New Books

    30.11.10 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Here are last week’s new books, this week! This week’s new books may be announced this week, or next week. Who can say.

    Elixir : A Novel, by Hilary Duff (with Elise Allen) (330 pages) – You may have heard of Hilary Duff – she’s been on the telly and recorded some albums I think – and she now turns her hands to writing a novel. Elixir is about Clea, whose photographs begin to show a ghostly/gorgeous man at about the same time her father, a renowned surgeon, disappears.

    First lines: ‘I couldn’t breathe. Wedged in the middle of an ocean of people, I gasped for air, but nothing came.

    Bamboo People : A Novel, by Mitali Perkins (272 pages) – Chiko is forced into the Burmese army; Tu Reh is a refugee, a member of an oppressed Burmese minority, and he’s keen to join the resistance. The two boys’ stories come to a ‘violent intersection’ and an unlikely friendship forms.

    First lines: ‘Teachers wanted. Applicants must take examination in person. Salaries start at –

    Sugar and Spice : An L. A. Candy Novel, by Lauren Conrad (279 pages) – This is the last book in this series about some TV reality show (much like The Hills which made Conrad famous in the first place). 

    First line: ‘“Over here!” “Let’s get a shot of the two of you!” “Smile, girls!” Jane Roberts felt hands on her shoulders – her publicist? random PopTV assistants? – maneuver her into place as several paprazzi shouted out to her and Scarlett Harp.

    The Daughters, by Joanna Philbin (297 pages) – A supermodel’s unconventional-looking daughter becomes “the new face of beauty”. Everyone is surprised but they roll with it. The first in a series.

    First line: ‘“Katia!” “Katia!” “Over here!” “Over here!”

    Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly (471 pages) – Andi is about to be expelled from her swanky Brooklyn school, so goes to Paris with her father as some sort of punishment. She finds a diary writen two centuries previously by a girl, Alexandrine, who became involved with a French prince just as the French Revolution begins. Andi finds comfort and distraction in the journal, until the past ‘becomes terrifyingly real’.

    First line: ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, deejay.’

    Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld (Illustrations by Keith Thompson) (485 pages) – This is the second book in the Leviathan Trilogy. We wrote about the first book here. This a great read – it has steam-powered mechs, genetically-engineered flying ships, and a Tesla cannon. That’s right – a freaking TESLA CANNON.

    First line: ‘Alek raised his sword. “On guard, sir!”

    Duff : The Designated Ugly Fat Friend, by Kody Keplinger (280 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Bianca detests Wesley, who calls her “the Duff”. Not Hilary Duff! But family troubles and other circumstantial occurences result in the pair becoming more than enemies. Less than enemies? They fall in love, in any case.

    First line: ‘This was getting old.’

    Scandal, by Kate Brian (228 pages) – The lastest in the Private series. ‘After her terrifying Carribean vacation,’ says the back cover, ‘Reed can’t wait to get back to Easton and resume her normal life of classes, shopping trips and late-night gossip sessions.’ Reed’s in for a shock, however, as Billings house has been demolished and the Billings girls have been separated by the admin.

    First line: ‘We came from all corners of campus.

    Boost, by Kathy Mackel (248 pages) – Savvy is over six feet tall, and only thirteen. When you’re tall everyone asks you if you play basketball over and over, let me tell you, but Savvy actually does play and loves it. But she’s too light! So she turns to steroids.

    First line: ‘I stood at the free throw line, all eyes on me.

    Jane, by April Lindner (373 pages) – This is a modern re-telling of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë’s cheery classic novel. This is set in the present, so Rochester becomes Nico Rathburn, world-famous rockstar, and Jane Moore, an orphaned student-turned-nanny is the protaganist. Sticks to the original story while being ‘something totally new and captivating,’ according to Cecily von Ziegesar.

    First line: ‘The chairs in the lobby of Discriminating Nannues, Inc., were less comfortable that they looked.’

    Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (260 pages) – From the authors of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which is also a movie! Will this be a movie also? Yes, apparently.

    First line: ‘Imagine this: you’re in your favourite bookstore, scanning the shelves.

    The Three Loves of Persimmon, by Cassandra Golds (211 pages) – Persimmon Polidori owns a florist shop in an underground train station. She meets up with a brave little mouse named Epiphany, and undergoes ‘the trials of love, heartbreak, doubt and the discovery of her own true nature.’

    First line: ‘In a tiny hole under the train tracks on the deepest level of a vast underground railway station, lived a mouse called Epiphany.

    The Blue-Eyed Aborigine, by Rosemary Hayes (247 pages) – This historical novel is based on fact; in 1629, the crew of a Dutch ship mutinied and the boat wrecked near Australia. Two of the crew, a cabin boy and a young soldier, survive and their fates are linked with ‘discoveries that intrigue Australians  to this day.’

    First lines: ‘Jan Pelgrom was miserable. He’d been a cabin boy for more than five years.

    The Jumbee, by Pamela Keyes (385 pages) – Esti Legard moves to a Caribbean island for her senior year in high school. There she ‘finds herself torn between a mysterious, masked mentor and a seductive island boy’, in a scenario borrowed from the classic novel, The Phantom of the Opera.

    First line: ‘“Paul is dead!”

    The Ghosts of Ashbury High, by Jaclyn Moriarty (480 pages) – The catalogue has this to say: ‘Student essays, scholarship committee members’ notes, and other writings reveal interactions between a group of modern-day students at an exclusive New South Wales high school and their strange connection to a young Irishman transported to Australia in the early 1800s.’

    Raised by Wolves, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (418 pages) – At the age of four, Bryn’s parents were killed by bad werewolves. She was taken and raised by good werewolves! Years later she discovers that her pack are keeping secrets. Dark werewolf secrets about her family, that she’s determined to uncover (the secrets, not her family).

    First line: ‘“Bronwyn Alessia St. Vincent Clare!”

    100% Justin Bieber : First Step 2 Forever : My Story, by Justin Bieber (236 pages) – This is the tween pop star’s official autobiography, discussing his rapid rise to power. Where to next for Bieber? It has loads of photos and a reasonable amount of text.


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

    New Books

    05.11.10 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    First line: ‘My mother’s baby shower.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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