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  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    10.06.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    The magical edition:

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRise of the fallen, Teagan Chilcott (202 pages) – Appearing as students at a local Brisbane high school, Emilie and Cael are centuries-old elementals on the run. Their inseparable bond starts to fray when Soul, an irresistible demon, comes on the scene and Emilie follows him into the savage world where she and Cael were once kept captive.

    First lines: “There was nothing but silence as I lay back on the soft, green grass of the oval. It was a clear day; the clouds that usually speckled the bright sky were missing.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInvisibility, Andrea Cremer and David Levithan (358 pages) – Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse.

    First lines: “I was born invisible. I have no idea how this worked. Did my mother go to a hospital, expecting me to be just another normal, visible baby?”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSpellcaster, Claudia Gray (389 pages) – Descended from witches, high school senior Nadia can tell as soon as her family moves to Captive’s Sound that the town is under a dark and powerful spell. A sickness is infecting everyone and everything in the town, especially Mateo, the teenage local whose cursed dreams predict the future. Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his curse, and to prevent a coming disaster that threatens the entire town.

    First lines: “Before anything else, Nadia felt the chill. She wasn’t sure why. Her father already had the car’s heat on because of the awful weather.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPantomime, Laura Lam (390 pages) – R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide. Gene, the daughter of a noble family, runs away from the decadence of court to this circus of magic, where she meets runaway Micah, a runaway who has quickly become the circus’s rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

    First lines: “”Well, boy,” the ringmaster said. “What can you do?” I swallowed. The clown who had found me eavesdropping tightened his grip on my shirt.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsScarlet in the snow, Sophie Masson (318 pages) – When Natasha is forced to take shelter from a sudden, terrible blizzard, she is lucky to see a mansion looming out of the snow. Inside, it is beautiful despite the empty frames instead of paintings that hang on the walls. In the garden, she finds one perfect red rose about to bloom, a vivid splash of scarlet against the snow. Dreamily she reaches out a hand, only to have a terrifying, gigantic creature who looks like a cross between a bear and a man and demand vengeance on her for taking his rose. Sound familiar? There’s plenty of twists and intrigue to make this fairy tale fresh. Natasha will have a long journey, and many ordeals, ahead of her before there can be a happy ending.

    First lines: “‘Ah, there you are! I might have known I’d find you up here, scribbling like some old clerk. Look at you – you’ve got ink all over your fingers! No, stop, don’t do that, Natasha, you’ll get it on your nose too!'”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFathomless, Jackson Pearce (291 pages) – Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant until Celia meets Lo who is fighting to remember her past. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea – a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid – all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she’s becoming. There’s only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her … and steal his soul.

    First lines: “There are lights at the surface. Lights so unlike the sun, that can’t reach down into the depths of the ocean. Lights we can see only when we look outside the water.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBetween the lives, Jessica Shirvington (330 pages) – For as long as she can remember, every 24 hours Sabine ‘shifts’, living each day twice. She has one life in Wellesley, Massachusetts (where she is rich, popular and has the charmed future) and a completely different life in Roxbury, Boston (where she is poor, a delinquent and with a hopeless future). All Sabine has ever wanted is the chance to live one life. When it seems this might finally be possible, Sabine begins a series of dangerous experiments to achieve her goal. But is she willing to risk everything to get it?

    First lines: “I am a liar. Not compulsive. Simply required. I am two people. Neither better than the other, no superpowers, no mystical destinies, no two-places-in-one-time mechanism – but two people.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA necklace of souls, R L Stedman (366 pages) – In a hidden kingdom a mysterious Guardian protects Dana’s people with the help of a magical necklace. But evil forces are also seeking the power of the necklace, and as the Guardian grows weaker these forces threaten to destroy the kingdom. With the help of her best friend, Will, and the enigmatic N’tombe, Dana, the rightful heir, must claim the power of the necklace and save her people. But the necklace takes a terrible toll on whoever wears it – a toll that Dana may not be prepared to face.

    First lines: “A true dream is when the events I see in my sleep have, or will happen. It’s a talent that runs in my family. I was thirteen when I had my first true dream. This was my dream.”


  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    20.05.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    the rad covers edition:

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAroha, Anaru Bickford (284 pages) – In the year 2019, Māori teenager Aroha lives in the United States with her aunt and uncle, and is tormented daily by the cousin who holds her responsible for ripping their family apart. Aroha also suffers from dreams that have plagued her since her childhood in New Zealand, in which the world ends in a wall of fire. Are these dreams, or premonition? Nightmare, or prophecy? Aroha’s story is a journey to find love and accept responsibility … at the end of the world.

    First lines: “There is a myth that attempts to explain the last days. It describes the end of the world as a coming together of two lovers: the earth and the sky reunited, plunging the world once again into darkness. Let me assure you – the end of the world was nothing that any myth or legend could have prepared you for.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsReturn to me, Justina Chen (341 pages) – Nothing is going as planned for Rebecca Muir. She’s weeks away from starting college – at a school chosen specifically to put a few thousand miles of freedom between Reb and her parents. But her dad’s last-minute job opportunity has her entire family moving all those miles with her. And then there’s the matter of her unexpected, amazing boyfriend, Jackson, who is staying behind on the exact opposite coast. Reb started the year knowing exactly what her future would hold, but now that her world has turned upside down, will she discover what she really wants?

    First lines: “If you believed my so-called psychic of a grandmother, she predicted that I would almost die. Her eerie, creepy forewarning made no difference at all. I was seven. I still jumped into the murky lake. I still dropped to its mossy bottom. I still almost drowned.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSteal my sunshine, Emily Gale (333 pages) – Hannah is a fifteen-year-old girl whose greatest desire is to belong and be loved by her family. However, dark family secrets threaten everything. Combined with Hannah’s contemporary story, is her eccentric grandmother’s painful story about a shameful aspect of Australia’s history and how it affected thousands of girls and women: the forced adoptions that saw ‘wayward girls’ and single mothers forced to give up their babies by churches and hospitals.

    First lines: “The morning it started Mum freaked out about the Christmas tree. It had been thirty degrees most of the night and I wasn’t sure if I’d been asleep for any of it. I could tell from the safety of my bedroom that Mum had woken up foul: heavy footsteps in the kitchen, cupboard doors slammed in, the dishwasher drawers yanked out and rammed in again.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBattle lines, Will Hill (702 pages) – The third installment of the epic Department 19 series promises to promises to deliver higher—and sharper—stakes than ever before! Secret government unit Department 19 is recovering from evil vampire Valeri Rusmanov’s deadly attack on their base. The Department’s newest member, teenage operator Jamie Carpenter, is tasked with training up a new squad, as his friends and colleagues desperately search for ways to try to stop what is coming.

    First lines: “In the village of Crawthorne is an alarm. A direct copy of a World War Two air-raid siren, it is bright red, and sits atop a pole two metres above the ground.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChosen at nightfall, C. C. Hunter (399 pages) – The cover describes this as Shadow Falls novel as “the magnificent final chapter in the breathtaking series!” And based on the reserve queue, more than a few of you are eager to read it! So here it is: Kylie’s most powerful enemy returns to destroy her once and for all, there’s only one way to stop him–to step into her full powers and make a stunning transformation that will amaze everyone around her.

    First line: “Kylie Galen looked up from the slice of pepperoni pizza on the fine china plate and tried to ignore the ghost swinging the bloody sword right behind her grandfather and great-aunt.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBy any other name, Laura Jarrat, (355 pages) – Nobody can know the truth – Holly’s life depends on it. Holly is fifteen years old, but she’s only been “Holly” for a matter of months. Because of something that happened, she and her family have had to enter witness protection and have all assumed new identities. All, that is, except her sister Katie, who is autistic. Starting at a new school mid-term is hard enough at the best of times, and Holly has no clue who she is any more. Lonely and angry, she reaches out to friends – new and old. But one wrong move will put all their lives in danger.

    First line: They told me to pick something unobtrusive, then they handed me a book of baby names and a cup of hot chocolate from a machine, and they left me there in the white room.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInferno, Sherrilyn Kenyon (451 pages) – the fourth ‘Chronicles of Nick’ book finds our protagonist unable to trust anyone but the being he has been warned will ultimately kill him (Death). If Nick is to survive this latest round, he will have to sacrifice a part of himself. However, the best sacrifice is seldom the sanest move. Sometimes it’s the one that leaves your enemies confused.

    First line: “Silhouetted by the setting sun, and completely rusted out on the inside from his hatred of every living thing, Nick stood on the top of what remained of the old Jax Brewery building, watching his once beloved city burn to the ground.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsUnravel me, Tahereh Mafi (461 pages) – Juliette has escaped to Omega Point, the headquarters of the rebel resistance and a safe haven for people with abilities like hers. She is finally free from The Reestablishment and their plans to use her as a weapon, but Warner, her former captor, won’t let her go without a fight. Haunted by her past and terrified of her future, Juliette knows that in her present, she will have to make some life-changing choices. It’s the second in a trilogy though so make sure you read Shatter me first.

    First lines: “The world might be sunny-side up today. The big ball of yellow might be spilling into the clouds, runny and yolky and blurring into the bluest sky, bright with cold hope and false promises about fond memories, real families, hearty breakfasts, stacks of pancakes drizzled in maple syrup sitting on a plate in a world that doesn’t exist anymore.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Subterranean Stratagem, Michael Pryor, (362 pages) – The follow up to The Extinction Gambit finds Kingsley and Evadne, the Extraordinaires, struggling to contain Kingsley’s wolfish side and save their juggling and escapology act. The secret to controlling the wolfishness is in Kingsley’s mysterious past. Was he really raised by wolces? Who were his parents? What happened to them? What begins as a quest to restore Kingsley’s past becomes an adventure that pits the Extraordinaires against forces that could shatter the minds and souls of millions.

    First lines: “The giant steel jaws on either side of Kingsley Ward were quivering. Being suspended upside down as he was, it was difficult to judge the trap’s eagerness to close on him, so he ignored the metal monstrosity and focused his attention on wrenching himself free from the straitjacket.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEmilie and the Hollow World, Martha Wells (301 pages) – While running away from home, Wmilie’s plan to stow away on a steamship go awry. Suddenly she’s on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure. Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine to journey to the dark interior of the planet in search of her new guardian’s missing father. Emilie must take daring action if they are ever to return to the surface alive.

    First line: “Creeping along the docks in the dark, looking for the steamship Merry Bell, Emilie was starting to wonder if it might be better to just walk to Silk Harbor.”


  • Books, Fantasy, Raewyn, Reviews

    Some terrible magic this way comes

    17.12.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Some terrible magic this way comes

    Advent (Advent Trilogy book one), by James Treadwell

    A December night 1537 and a powerful mage boards a ship for England. There is a shipwreck and none survive. What has happened to the box he was carrying? The box with a magic mirror and ring inside?

    Present day: Gavin knows he is different. He still has his childhood imaginary friend, Miss Grey for a start and he dreams very strange dreams. His parents don’t like him and when they get the chance to go overseas, they pack him off to his Aunt Gwen who lives outside Truro, on an estate called Pendurra. But his aunt isn’t there to meet his train and she isn’t in her cottage and when a girl with dead eyes bangs on his door at midnight and then shuffles away, Gavin is certain this is not going to be an ordinary holiday! The next day he meets the owner of Pendurra and his daughter. The very same dead looking girl whom he’d seen the night before but now very much alive. Marina and Gavin spend time exploring, finding strange things happening and finally realise that ‘magic is rising…’

    ~ Raewyn


  • Books, New, Simon

    New Books

    10.12.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Pirate Cinema, by Cory Doctorow (384 pages) – In near-future England, the law has become really tight with digital downloads. If you’re caught three times your household’s internet is blocked for a year. Which is actually not too dissimilar to NZ, actually. Anyway, sixteen-year-old Trent, moviemaker and downloader, gets banned, nearly destroying his family – they all rely on the internet for work. He runs away to London and joins up with like-minded people who are fighting the wealthy media conglomerates that control the government.

    First line: ‘I will never forget the day my family got cut off from the Internet, I was hiding in my room as I usually did after school let out, holed up with a laptop I’d bought thirdhand and that I nursed to health with parts from here and there and a lot of cursing and sweat.

    Burning Blue, by Paul Griffin (293 pages) – Rich, popular, and pretty Nicole is attacked by someone who throws acid on her face, disfiguring her. Quiet hacker Jay, who goes to her school, decides that he will find out who it was that attacked Nicole, and in the process he begins to fall for Nicole, whose personality is pretty attractive also, evidently.

    First lines: ‘I was at the cemetery when it happened. I didn’t even know Nicole at the time. Well, I knew of her. Everybody did.

    All You Never Wanted, by Adele Griffin (225 pages) – Alex is super-pretty, and her parents are rich, so she lives the life. Her sister, Thea, doesn’t quite have the looks, however, and she’s jealous of Alex’s boyfriend, Joshua. They have the house to themselves one weekend and plan a party; Thea also plans to sabotage Alex’s relationship, and she will do anything to get the life that Alex wants. ANYTHING

    First line: ‘She gets into the car and then she can’t drive it. Can’t even start the engine for the gift of the air conditioner. She is a living corpse roasting in sun-warmed leather.

    The Blood Keeper, by Tessa Gratton (422 pages) – Mab Prowd is a blood witch, and spends her time practising blood magic on the remote Kansas farm where she and other blood witches hang out, doing their thing (i.e., blood magic) and avoiding non-blood magic studies. Mab accidently activates a long-dead and powerful curse, which messes with her magic. It does result in her meeting Will Sanger, a local boy, for whom she develops an attachment. Ooooh

    First line: ‘The last thing the Deacon said to me before he died was “Destroy those roses.”

    The Lost Prince, by Julie Kagawa (395 pages) – This is book five of The Iron Fey series. It’s about fairies! But not Rainbow Magic fairies, that’s for sure. In this volume Ethan Chase, whose dislike of the Faery realm is such that he ignores them all, has to break his own rules when the Fey start to disappear and his family is endangered.

    First lines: ‘My name is Ethan Chase. And I doubt I’ll live to see my eighteenth birthday. That’s not me being dramatic; it just is.

    Illumination, by Karen Brooks (664 pages) – This is book III of The Curse of the Bond Riders, following on from Tallow and Votive. Now Tallow ‘sets in motion forces beyond her control. From Serenissima to Farrowfare, enemies – as well as those she has always trusted – plot to ensure her compliance and, ultimately, destruction. But in doing so, they make a fatal mistake – they underestimate her and the power she can wield.’ Yes I just copied and pasted that

    First lines: ‘Dawn infused the glade with a sickly light. In the distance, an owl gave a tired hoot and a gentle wind stirred the trees.

    The Assassin’s Curse, by Cassandra Rose Clarke (298 pages) – Ananna is told that she has to marry some dude from another pirate clan. She’s not keen so abandons ship, only to have an assassin sent after her. She accidently misuses her magic, cursing them both – her and the assassin – and binding them together. To break the curse they must complete three tasks, and soon romance blossoms betwixt them, yarrr.

    First line: ‘I ain’t never been one to trust beautiful people, and Tarrin of the Hariri was the most beautiful man I ever saw.

    99 Flavours of Suck, by Tania Hutley (237 pages) – Kane’s mother is a dog-whisperer with her own television show, and together they track down a sheep-killing dog for her show. He gets bitten and transforms into some kind of werewolf, which results in nonstop itching (among other things). The only way to break the curse is a kiss from his soulmate, Pippa, who unfortunately hates his guts.

    First line: ‘On my babe-scale, Pippa Jensen shoots past infinity.

    The Dark Unwinding, by Sharon Cameron (318 pages) – Katherine is told to sort out her uncle, who is reportedly insane and squandering the family fortune. However, she finds that he’s a genius with clockwork who has employed an entire village of people rescued from London workhouses, and his apprentice is hot. She’s torn between the family she’s part of, the people he’s helping, and the hot apprentice in this romantic gothic adventure.

    First lines: ‘Warm sun and robin’s-egg skies were inappropriate conditions for sending one’s uncle to a lunatic asylum. I had settled this point four hours earlier, while miles of road slipped beneath the carriage wheels.

    Regine’s Book : A Teen Girl’s Last Words, by Regine Stokke (329 pages) – Regine Stokke was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008, and started a blog in which she  wrote about the last year of her life (she died a year later). This book is reproduction of her blog and many of the comments she received from the hundreds of followers she had, and is full of photos, and you might need a box of tissues with you when you read it.

    First line: ‘Tuesday, Nov 4 2008 – Disclaimer; I’ve decided to start a blog about what it’s like to get a life-threatening disease. Some of the content will therefore be too heavy for some people.

    The Shadow Society, by Marie Rutkoski (408 pages) – At the age of five, Darcy Jones was abandoned outside a firestation in Chicago. She doesn’t remember much but the new boy – Conn – at her high school awakens old memories. She discovers that she’s in fact from an alternate timeline where the Great Chicago Fire never happened and where Shades prey on humans. She must infiltrate the Shadow Society to reveals what the Shades have planned.

    First line: ‘Knowing what I know now, I’d say my foster mother had her reasons for throwing a kitchen knife at me.

    Game Changer, by Margaret Peterson Haddix (250 pages) – KT Sutton is the star pitcher of her softball team, and so her life is pretty much softball-centred. However, she blacks out during a game and awakens in a world where sports and academia have reversed roles. Sports is taught all day long, with hours of tedious practice, while everyone obsesses over after-school academic competition.

    First lines: ‘KT Sutton swung her arm in a phantom arc. Her hand released a phantom ball. The perfect pitch.


  • Books, New, Simon

    New Books

    15.11.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Here are some of the new books we’ve got in the library! Just some, mind you. This is not a representative sample. Oh no no

    Time Between Us, by Tamara Ireland Stone (368 pages) – This book is set in 1995, which, incredibly for some of us, was nearly eighteen years ago. I am almost too depressed to continue. Haha ha. Anna, who lives back then, meets Bennett, who is from the now (2012) but can travel through time. They fall in love, but their relationship is complicated by the whole time travel thing. You might say it is literally tested by time.  

    First line: ‘Even from this distance I can see how young he looks. Younger than the first time I saw him.

    Crewel : A Novel, by Gennifer Albin (360 pages) – Crewel is not a mispelling of ‘cruel’*, as I thought, but it is a type of embroidery, and teen Adelice is able to embroider the very fabric of reality. She is manipulated by the Manipulation Services into becoming a Spinster, which means living apart from her home and family. Part one of the ‘Crewel World’ series.
    * the pun still stands though

    First lines: ‘They came in the night. Once, families fought them, neighbours coming to their aid. But now that peace has been established, and the looms proven, girls pray to be retrieved.

    My Book of Life by Angel, by Martine Leavitt (246 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Angel is taken in by Call, who soon has her addicted to drugs and working on the streets. It’s when her best friend disappears and she has an innocent to save that she finds she has the strength to do what she couldn’t for herself. Told entirely as a long, kind of depressing poem.

    First line: ‘When Serena went missing
    I look in all the places she might go

    A Corner of White, by Jaclyn Moriarty (413 pages) – This is the first in a series called ‘The Colours of Madeleine.’ Madeleine lives in Cambridge, and discovers a crack in reality between our world and the Kingdom of Cello, just large enough for her and Elliot to exchange letters. Can Madeleine help Elliot solve the mystery of his father’s whereabouts and his mother’s illness?

    First line: ‘Madeleine Tully turned fourteen yesterday, but today she did not turn anything at all.

    Origin, by Jessica Khoury (393 pages) – Pia has been genetically breed to produce a new race of humans who will never die. She lives in a compound deep in the Amazon rainforest, but when she finds a secret way out she meets Eio, a nearby village with whom she forms an attachment. The pair of them begin to work out the details of Pia’s life, and she discovers that there is much more to life than living forever.

    First lines: ‘I’m told that the day I was born, Uncle Paolo held me against his white lab coat and whispered, “she’s perfect.” Sixteen years later, they’re still repeating the word.

    Glass Heart, by Amy Garvey (310 pages) – Wren Darby has powers that are actually quite impressive, but when she uses them she risks losing control. She forms an attachment with Gabriel, who warns her not to go overboard on the reality altering, and she discovers things about her family that are shocking revelations. Yikes, Wren!

    First line: ‘I’m flying, soaring, swooping, dizzy with power and the sharp bite of the December air on my cheeks.

    Call The Shots, by Don Calame (457 pages) – This is a follow on from Swim the Fly and Beat the Band. Sean is jealous that his two best friends have awesome girlfriends. His parents are going to have a baby soon, and his sister is convinced that he’s gay. SO to remedy all this he plans to make their own horror film, and then enter it in a competition. But making a film isn’t easy!

    First lines: ‘“It’s my best idea yet.” Coop’s got a huge grin on his face as he wrestles his ice skate onto his left foot. “It came to me last night while I was launching a mud missile.”

    Eve & Adam, by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate (291 pages) – Eve (short for ‘Evening’) is in a nasty car crash, and rushed to her mother’s research facility to recuperate. Bored, she gets the chance to create a boy using an ‘amazing simulation’ that teaches human genetics – it makes eyes, hair, even personality. WILL he be perfect?

    First line: ‘I am thinking of an apple when the streetcar hits and my leg severs and my ribs crumble and my arm is no longer an arm but something unrecognisable, wet and red.

    Flock, by Wendy Delsol (394 pages) – Here’s what the catalogue has to say. ‘Katla’s hopes of dodging unfinished business during her senior year are dashed by the arrival of two “Icelandic exchange students,” Marik and Jinky, who have come to collect Katla’s frail baby sister and take her to the water queen.’ The sequel to Frost.

    First line: ‘Spending the morning ball-and-chained to a new kid was not my idea of a good kickoff to our senior year.

    Be My Enemy, by Ian McDonald (269 pages) – Everett Singh continues his search of the multiverse for his missing father, who could be anywhere – there are billions of parallel universes out there. Here he must visit three Earths: one that is frozen and barren; one that has had aliens occupying the moon since the 60s; and the third where nanotechnology has cornered what remains of humanity in the ruins of London. Sequel to Planesrunner.

    First line: ‘The car came out nowhere. He thought it might have been black in the split second that he saw it.


  • Books, Fantasy, Grimm, New

    Looking forward to:

    26.10.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Looking forward to:

    This week, a feudal, Eastern dystopian fantasy adventure, flying shapeshifters, and Russian spies who are after potions during the Cold War.

    Stormdancer, Jay Kristoff (The Lotus War number 1). “Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task. But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected. Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she’s determined to do something about it. Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?” (goodreads.com)

    The Girl With Borrowed Wings, Rinsai Rossetti. “A stunningly written tale of an isolated girl and the shape-shifting boy who shows her what freedom could be – if only she has the courage to take it. Controlled by her father and bound by desert, Frenenqer Paje’s life is tediously the same, until a small act of rebellion explodes her world and she meets a boy, but not just a boy – a Free person, a winged person, a shape-shifter. He has everything Frenenqer doesn’t. No family, no attachments, no rules. At night, he flies them to the far-flung places of their childhoods to retrace their pasts. But when the delicate balance of their friendship threatens to rupture into something more, Frenenqer must confront her isolation, her father, and her very sense of identity, breaking all the rules of her life to become free.” (goodreads.com)

    The Apothecary, Maile Meloy. “It’s 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows – a fascinating boy who’s not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary’s sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies – Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Discovering and testing potions they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending disaster.” (goodreads.com). This book also has illustrations by Ian Schoenherr, who drew the bridges and maps in Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (they are cool bridges and maps).


  • Books, Grimm, New

    New Books

    21.09.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Arcadia Awakens, Kai Meyer (394 pages) – Rosa Alcantara comes from a New York Sicilian family. On a visit back to the home country, Rosa is introduced to the world of the Mafia, but with a large twist. Not only is the underworld of crime and deadly family rivalries alive and well, but there seems to be a mysterious, supernatural element to it: strange beasts roam the hills of Sicily, and the feuding families have dark, dangerous secrets. It is perhaps unwise, then, to fall in love with a member of the enemy family. But then who’s wise? (Not Rosa, nor Alessandro.)

    First sentence: “One day,” she said, “I’ll catch dreams like butterflies.”

    The Convent, Maureen McCarthy (419 pages) – “Peach is nineteen and pretty happy with the way things are. She has her university work, two wildly different best friends, her sister, Stella, to look after and a broken heart to mend. But when she takes a summer job at a cafe in the old convent, her idea of who she is takes a sharp turn – into the past. Where once there were nuns, young girls and women who had fallen on hard times, Peach discovers secrets from three generations of her family. As their stories are revealed, Peach is jolted out of her comfort zone. But does she really want to know who she is?” (Book cover)

    First sentence: My sister and I often rode past the convent that summer.

    Another Faust, Daniel & Dina Nayeri (387 pages) – this novel is a companion to Another Pan, and Another Jekyll, Another Hyde. Set in an exclusive academy (which we like). Five children from various cities across Europe mysteriously disappear, only to turn up seeveral years later in New York, together with an unusual governess. Together they attend the Manhattan Marlowe School, exhibiting unusual powers bestowed on them by their governess. Having unusual powers is a bit of a head rush, but there’s a dangerous side, which they may discover to their detriment.

    First sentences: Victoria didn’t have time to play. She didn’t have time for friends or laughing or jumping or any other things little kids do.

    The Kill Order, James Dashner (327 pages) – For Maze Runner fans. Before the Maze, there were the sun flares, and the infectious disease of the mind that drove the people of the eastern United States to madness, threatening humanity. Amongst all the chaos, Mark and Trina wonder if there is something they can do to stop the devastation of civilisation as they knew it.

    First sentence: Teresa looked at her friend and wondered what it would be like to forget him.

    Such Wicked Intent, Kenneth Oppel (310 pages) – the disturbing story of young Victor Frankenstein continues (after This Dark Endeavour). Victor has turned away from alchemy, but can’t resist the temptation when another possible way to cheat death presents itself. He, Elizabeth, Henry and Konrad travel through a portal into the spirit world and “unknowingly unlock a darkness from which they may never return” (cover).

    First sentence: The books flew open like startled birds trying to escape the flames.

    Endless, Jessica Shirvington (449 pages) – the fourth Violet Eden book. “Angels are real. They aren’t always kind. Violet Eden is certain of all this because she is Grigori – part angel, part human. She has felt the influence of both light and dark. When Hell unleashes its worst, Violet must embrace every facet of her angel self to save the people she cares about and the world as she knows it. But death is not the worst thing that Violet will face. For her, the endless question ‘Can love conquer all?’ will finally be answered.” (goodreads.com)

    First sentence: What do you do the moment your father discovers your dead mother is still alive, standing in his apartment looking not a day older than the day she died – over seventeen years ago?

    Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas (405 pages) – Celaena is an assassin, freed from hard labour by Crown Prince Dorian, provided she defeat 23 other assassins and assorted killers in a gladiatorial competition. The winner becomes King’s Champion. Sounds simple enough, except that before the competition begins the competitors all start dying in mysterious and horrible circumstances. Something evil is afoot, and can Calaena find the cause before her world is destroyed?

    First sentence: After a year of slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier, Calaena Sardothien was accustomed to being escorted everywhere in shackles and at sword-point.


  • Books, New, Simon

    New Books

    20.03.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (We also have the sequel, Darkness Falls.)

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

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

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

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


  • Books, New, Simon

    New Books

    06.12.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Brooklyn Burning, by Steve Brezenoff (202 pages) – Kid and Felix, two kids living on the streets in Brooklyn, are madly in love. Felix leaves, and Kid is left as the suspect in an arson. But! A year later Scout appears on the scene and Kid gets another chance with love. He – or she! for gender of the main characters is never specified, remarkably – also gets to be in a band.  Punk rock!

    First line: ‘On the corner of Franklin and India streets in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is the north wall of Fish’s bar.

    Unforgettable, by Loretta Ellsworth (256 pages) – Baxter can remember every little thing that happens, from emotions to numbers. When his ability gets his mother’s criminal boyfriend locked away for credit card scam, Baxter and his mum move to a distant town to forget the past (not that he can actually forget it! but you know) where he falls for a girl who he met years ago and never forgot (he can’t!) but who has forgotten him. But the criminal boyfriend might be back!

    First line: ‘It’s a warm spring day when Mom takes me to the playground near our apartment.’

    All You Desire : Can You Trust Your Heart?, by Kirsten Miller (423 pages) – Catalogue summary has a go: ‘Haven Moore and Iain Morrow have been living a blissful life in Rome, an ocean way from the Ouroboros Society and its diabolical leader. But the mysterious disappearance of Haven’s best friend sends the pair running back to New York, where they encounter the diabolical, scheming Horae.’ So if that makes sense then you will know that this is from the Eternal Ones series and you want to read the sequel.

    First line: ‘Haven Moore checked her watch and turned back towards the city.’

    Water Balloon, by Audrey Vernick (312 pages) – Marley’s parents have split! And her best friend might not be so friendly anymore. AND she has to take the worst job ever, looking after her grandmother, some five-year-old twins, and all in a place without the Internet. She is stretched as tightly as a water balloon (hence the title) but she does meet a boy. Will love blossom? More importantly will she ever get back on the Internet?

    First line: ‘The blitzing began five years ago, in second grade, on one of those amazing spring days that remind you how hot summer can be.

    The Scent of Apples, by Jacquie McRae (183 pages) – Libby loves her grandfather, maker of cider and so scented by apples, but he is killed in a nasty accident. Faced with her parents’ seeming indifference, Libby takes to hurting herself as a coping mechanism. She is sent to boarding school and meets Charlie, a girl who teaches Libby that life can be about ‘fishing, whanau and laughter’. Libby is involved in another accident, sadly, forcing ‘secrets to be revealed and truths told.’

    First line: ‘Weeping willows, their skinny arms covered in ghostly green leaves, hang out over the riverbanks.

    Enthralled : Paranormal Diversions, edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong (452 pages) – The list of contributors that I am not prepared to type out are a real who’s who of teen paranormal fiction authors. There are sixteen stories in this collection, and while some are continuations of various series, many are new stories. Vampires! Fairies! Angels! Probably ghosts! AwoooooooOOOoooo

    Glow : Sky Chasers, by Amy Kathleen Ryan (385 pages) – Earth is off the cards, so spacecraft are sent into space (of course) to colonise other planets. Young sweethearts Kieran and Waverly have only ever known life on board Empyrean, and when it’s attacked and most adults killed, their lives are drastically changed. This is the first book in a series.

    First line: ‘The other ship hung in the sky like a pendant, silver in the ether light cast by the nebula.

    Always a Witch, by Carolyn MacCullough (276 pages) – ‘Haunted by her grandmother’s prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a terrible decision, witch Tamsin Greene risks everything to travel back in time to 1887 New York to confront the enemy that wants to destroy her family,’ accurately predicts the library catalogue, reading the tea leaves. This is the sequel to Once A Witch.

    First lines: ‘I was born on the night of Samhain. Others might call it Halloween. Born into a family of witches who all carry various Talents. Others might call it magic.

    Pregnant Pause, by Han Nolan (340 pages) – When sixteen-year-old Eleanor discovers she’s pregnant her parents want her to either go with them to Kenya, as missionaries, or move in with her older, married sister in California – in both cases, she has to adopt out the kid when it’s born. Instead she marries her true love and joins him at his parents’ camp for overweight kids. She is very headstrong! But it’s for the best … or is it.? (I had to read the last paragraph to find out.)

    First lines: ‘Okay, I’m pregnant, and so here’s what I’m scared about. What if my kid turns out to be a mass murderer?

    Keeper of the Night, by Kimberly Willis Holt (308 pages) – Isabel lives on the island of Guam. Her mother takes her own life, and Isabel is left to look after her family; her sister, who has night terrors, her brother, who starts carving words into his bedroom wall, and their father, who is distant, unable to cope, and sleeps on the floor where Isabel’s mother was found. So; a bit grim! But ultimately bouyant.

    First lines: ‘My mother died praying on her knees. Her rosary beads were still in her hands when we found her.

    Rip Tide, by Kat Falls (314 pages) – Ty’s father runs a subsea farm, and his family must deal with the threat posed by sharks, killer whales, and squids. Giant squids! Maybe! Anyway a subsea farm sounds pretty cool to me. I don’t know why exactly. Ty discovers an entire township, dead, tied to a sunken submarine at the bottom of a trash vortex. His parents are kidnapped and Ty worries they might share a similar fate. This is the sequel to Dark Life, set in a post-apocalyptic world with futuristic undersea cowboys to which Disney has picked up the film rights.

    First line: ‘Easing back on the throttle, I slowed the submarine’s speed.

    Where the Truth Lies, by Jessica Warman (308 pages) – Emily goes to school at an exclusive Connecticut academy for rich kids. Her father is the headmaster there; she has friends (who are rich), and her life is just wonderful. But she also has nightmares that may stem from something that happened to her when she was a kid. When the super-hot rebel Del Sugar arrives at school she is swept away. But! He is expelled! And Emily begins to question what she knows and doesn’t know, and soon nothing seems to be really what it seems to not be, sometimes. With a “bittersweet ending” which I just read and can confirm.

    First line: ‘I have insomnia.

    Across the Great Barrier, Patricia  C. Wrede (339 pages) – This is book two of ‘Frontier Magic’ (the first is The Thirteenth Child), in which the wild west of the 1800s meets a world where magic is the norm. Catalogue helpfully says, ‘Eff is an unlucky 13th child. And yet, Eff is the one who had saved the day for the settlements west of the Great Barrier. Her unique ways of doing magic and seeing the world, and her fascination with the magical creatures and land in the Great Plains, push Eff to work toward joining an expedition heading west. But things are changing on the frontier.’

    First line: ‘Being a heroine is nowhere near the fun folks make it out to be.


  • Library Serf, New

    Waiting on Wednesday

    16.11.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on Waiting on Wednesday

    Here are a couple of titles we’ve recently ordered which might take your fancy:

    The Fire, James Patterson (Witch & Wizard number 3, due soon). Being further adventures of Whit and Wisty Allgood, in which The One has executed the final member of their family, and Wisty realises it is time for her to confront The One. But in doing so, is she only going to lend more power to The One, or can she and Whit somehow overcome the seemingly all-conquering evil?

    This is, I think, the conclusion to the trilogy (famous last words!).

    How to save a life, Sara Zarr (soon also). Mandy is pregnant and looking for someone to adopt her baby. Jill lost her dad a year ago, and now her mother is seemingly trying to replace him by looking to adopt a baby. Needless to say, she is unimpressed with her mother’s actions, and suspicious of Mandy’s motives. Another thought-provoking offering from the author of Sweethearts, and Once Was Lost.


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