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Tag: Pirates

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.

New Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Books

This week’s cornucopia of new books contains epic adventures, dark fairy tales, sky pirates, unforgettable, kickass characters, a shipwreck, and Joan of Arc!

Kill Me Softly, Sarah Cross (331 pages) – If you like the TV series Once Upon a Time and Grimm then you might like to read this! Mirabelle sneaks back to her birth town just before her sixteenth birthday, to find it’s a place where fairy tales are real. Trouble is (as you know) fairy tales aren’t lovely and sweet, and Mirabelle is drawn into one in particular, involving two brothers with fairy tale curses and “a dark secret”.

First sentence: Birthdays were wretched, delicious things when you lived in Beau Rivage.

Where It Began, Ann Redisch Stampler (369 pages) – This one reminded me of the Jenny Han books (e.g. The Summer I Turned Pretty) and then I saw that she’s written “unputdownable!” on the cover! Gabby has reinvented herself for her senior year, with some success, as she has a perfect boyfriend in Billy. But eight months in, she wakes up on the ground next to Billy’s wrecked BMW with no memory, with no sign of Billy. Putting her life back together may mean facing some unpleasant truths.

First sentence: This is how it starts: some hapless girl in a skanky tank top lying on her back in the wet grass somewhere in Hidden Hills.

Once Upon a River, Bonnie Jo Campbell (348 pages) – “Margo Crane, a beautiful and uncanny markswoman, takes to the Stark River after being complicit in the death of her father and embarks on an odyssey in search of her vanished mother.” (catalogue) This sounds intriguing! And the cover calls Margo “an unforgettable heroine”.

First sentence: The stark river flowed around the oxbow at Murrayville the way blood flowed through Margo Crane’s heart.

The Maid, Kimberly Cutter (287 pages) – The story of Joan of Arc! Jehanne d’Arc was a peasant girl, “whose sister was murdered by the English, who sought an escape from a violent father and a forced marriage, who taught herself to ride and fight, and who somehow found the courage and tenacity to persuade first one, then two, then thousands to follow her” (catalogue), in other words, she was awesome! Also, the cover painting is Joan of Arc, by Sir John Everett Millais.

First sentence: She awakes in darkness, curled on the cold stone floor of the tower.

Blind Sight, Meg Howrey (289 pages) – Luke Prescott has “spent a short lifetime swinging agreeably between the poles of Eastern mysticism and New England Puritanism” (cover), thanks to his mother and grandmother. You couldn’t blame him for being confused! But wait, there’s more: his father, a famous TV star, invites him to Los Angeles to spend time, so Luke finds himself in the elite world of celebrity, trying to figure out the difference between truth and belief.

First sentence: Names are just what we all agree to call things.

Losers in Space, John Barnes (433 pages) – “In 2129, hoping to bypass the exams and training that might lead to a comfortable life, Susan, her almost-boyfriend Derlock, and seven fellow students stow away on a ship to Mars, unaware that Derlock is a sociopath with bigger plans” (catalogue). They say that Susan is “kickass” though, so I have some hope for her against a sociopath!

First sentence: “This collection of losers and misfits will now come to order for a report from your activities chairman”.

There is no long distance now (very short stories), Naomi Shihab Nye (201 pages) – There are 40 stories in here! 40! The dust jacket says: “”In these forty life-altering, life-affirming, and extremely short short stories, the award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye proposes that no matter how great the divide between friends, siblings, life and death, classmates, enemies, happiness and misery, war and peace, breakfast and lunch, parent and child, country and city, there is, in fact, no long distance. Not anymore.”

First sentence: Jane’s father announced their moves as if they were dinner menus.

Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding (461 pages) – This is sky pirates, with steampunk. Darian Frey is the captain of Ketty Jay. When an attempt to steal a chest of gems goes horribly wrong, he finds himself the most wanted person in Vardia, on the run from bounty hunters, the Century Knights, and the “queen of the skies”, Trinica Dracken. The punishment seems to outweigh the crime: Frey and his crew must flee to the pirate town of Retribution Falls, and find out what’s really going on. It’s like Stardust meets Firefly!

First sentence: The smuggler held the bullet between thumb and forefinger, studying it in the weak light of the storeroom.

Thief’s Covenant, Ari Marmell (272 pages) – “Once she was Adrienne Sati, an orphan with a rags-to-riches story until a conspiracy of human and other forces stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder. Now she is Widdershins, a thief with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and help from the mystical god Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdenshins. But now something horrid, something dark, is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go.” (catalogue)

First sentence: The girl watched, helpless, as the world turned red beneath her.

Jamrach’s Menagerie, Carol Birch (295 pages) – In 19th Century London, Jaffy, a street urchin, is taken under the wing of the great Charles Jamrach, famed owner of exotic creatures (including the tiger that tried to kill Jaffy). Jaffy is recruited by Jamrach on a trip to the Dutch East Indies to catch a “fabled dragonlike creature”. The creature is caught, but is it bad luck? The fierce storm and resulting shipwreck seem to suggest so.

First sentences: I was born twice. First in a wooden room that jutted out over the black water of the Thames, and then again eight years later in the Highway, when the tiger took me in his mouth and everything truly began.

New Books

Battle Dress, by Amy Efaw (290 pages) – West Point is a really, really old school in New York for officer cadets in the US Army. It is steeped in tradition! But don’t just take my word for it; check wikipedia! Seventeen-year-old Andrea Davis has been accepted, which gives her the chance to escape her dysfunctional family and to ‘prove to herself that she has what it takes’. But is she prepared for what the training (which is called “Beast” by the cadets, so presumably it’s far from easy). Battle Dress is based on the author’s own experiences.

4First line: ‘The morning I left for West Point, nobody showed up at my house to say good-bye.

Family, by Micol Ostow (376 pages) – Melinda Jensen is seventeen, and flees to San Francisco to escape her abusive home life. She falls in with Henry, a charismatic leader of a cultish ‘family’ of people. It is the seventies! Henry is a bit Charlie Manson-ish! This book is written in the form of episodic verse (poems).

First line: ‘I have always been broken

Purple Daze, by Sherry Shahan (207 pages) – 1965, and the times were changing very quickly! Riots, assassinations, wars, and all the kinds of other social upheavals that made the decade famous. For those things. You know what I mean. This group of high school friends live through it all, and their stories are told via letters, diaries, notes, and poems. Mainly poems, for it is written in the form of episodic verse.

First line: ‘We’re slumped on the front seat of a low-slung Pontiac, cherry paint job.

Long Lankin, by Lindsey Barraclough (454 pages) – Long Lankin is a very old folk song about a man who murders his lord’s wife and infant son when he’s not paid for some work he did on the lord’s castle. I didn’t say it was a happy song! Grim were the days before Fair Go, haha. ANYWAY, this book is about two girls who go to stay with their great-aunt who lives in ye olde house, Guerdon Hall. The aunt isn’t too happy they’re there; the last time two young girls were there her life was ‘devasted’. And now an old evil presence has been awakened …

First line: ‘There’s too much sky, and the further out of London we go, the more of it there is.

Venomous, by Christopher Krovatin (323 pages) – High-school junior Locke Vinetti has a problem with his anger. He can not control it, and he calls it ‘the venom’. Now he’s a bit of a loner! He meets Renee, the ‘beautiful, messed-up goth girl of his dreams’. But can he get rid of the venom also? This book is interspersed with comic-style illustrations! 

First line: ‘The city is absolutely gray today.

Rampart, by Diana Peterfreund (402 pages) – Astrid Llewelyn’s boyfriend is rendered unable to take her to the prom when he is attacked by a killer unicorn. Astrid had always ignored her mother’s belief in killer unicorns (can you blame her) and now she’s off to Rome to train as a killer unicorn hunter at the ancient Cloisters, for she is descended from one of the greatest killer unicorn hunters that ever hunted. Killer unicorns!

First lines: ‘“‘I will never really leave,’ said the unicorn. Diamond sparkles floated from the tip of its glittering silver horn. ‘I will always live in your heart.'” I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and forced myself to continue reading.

Crusade, by Linda Press Wulf (245 pages) – A boy atop a white charger rides into Georgette’s village. He is surrounded by other children, and he wants more to join his Crusade to the Holy Lands. It is a journey of great danger and peril! And one that may have happened, and most likely failed disastrously. (Another book set during the Children’s Crusade is Angel Fish, by Lili Wilkinson.)

First lines: ‘Foundling. Orphan. Parish child. All these names belonged to him but he didn’t want to belong to them.

Steel, by Carrie Vaughn (294 pages) – Jill is sixteen and a master fencer. She goes on holiday with her family to the Bahamas and finds a old, broken, piece of a rapier blade. It transports her back it time, and she winds up on the deck of a seventeenth-century pirate ship. Luckily she can use a sword! ‘Time travel, swordplay, and romance’, says the blurb, accurately.

First lines: ‘Jill shook her legs out one at a time. Rolled her shoulders. Rearanged her hold on her weapon once again, curling gloved fingers around the grip.

Shine, by Lauren Myracle (359 pages) – When sixteen-year-old Cat’s former best friend, Patrick, is founded nearly beaten to death for being gay, she swears vengeance on the attackers. She doesn’t believe the sherriff, who reckons it was done by out-of-towners, but Cat is sure it was someone in their isolated rural community. ‘Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone in the name of justice.’

First lines: ‘Patrick’s house was a ghost. Dust coated the windows, the petunias in the flower boxes bowed their heads, and spiderwebs clotted the eaves of the porch.

Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier (330 pages) – Gwen is a normal teenaged girl living in an exclusive part of London. Her family haven’t told her about the ability some of the women have to time travel, since it seems that the gene skipped over her. But! When she started time travelling she doesn’t know what’s going on, and so goes on a crash course in time travel, secret societies, living in the olden days, and Gideon, a gorgeous fellow time traveller.

First lines: ‘Hyde Park, London: 8 April 1912. As she fell to her knees and burst into tears, he looked all around the park. Just as he’d expected, it was empty at this early hour.

Through Her Eyes, by Jennifer Archer (377 pages) – Tansy Piper moves to a tiny Texan town with her mother. They move into an old, spooky house, and Tansy finds some things that belonged to Henry, a mysterious and troubled man who lived (and died!) there long ago. She can visit his world through the lens of her camera and soon she becomes more involved with his life than the real life of the present. oOooOo ghoooooosts oOooOo

First line: ‘I died on a bitter, cold night.

New Books

Carter’s Big Break, by Brent Crawford (231 pages) – This is the follow-up to Carter Finally Gets It. Will Carter has survived his freshman year at high school, and has somehow been cast in a film opposite Hollywood teen actress, Hilary Idaho.

First line: ‘On the last day of school, I’m happily strolling down the hall after Mr. Rumpford’s ridiculously hard algebra final.

Somewhere in Blue, by Gillian Cummings (334 pages) – Sandy’s father has died and she wallows in grief. Her mother seems to be coping a bit too well, and Sandy also distances herself from her best friend, who in turn has a difficult relationship with her mother. “An intense story of loss and shifting relationships.”

First line: ‘Something about the waves, something about their blue-gray depths, had been flowing down into Sandy, rushing in to fill a gaping hole.

The Selected, by Patrick Cave (405 pages) – This is a prequel/sequel to Sharp North (or is it the other way round? or both?). The setting is a futuristic Britain ruled by Great Families who keep spare clones of themselves. Climate change and a fascistic government mean life is a raw deal for everyone else.

First lines: ‘Dawn in the mountains. The first iron heat gathering, shimmering in bands across hard, thirsty slopes.

Anastasia’s Secret, by Susanne Dunlap (330 pages) – Anastasia Romanova was a daughter of the last Tsar of Russia, who, along with his family, were killed by the Bolsheviks after the Russian Revolution. History is grim! However! There is some doubt as to their fates, and this book is “a haunting vision of the life – and imagined love story – of Russia’s last princess.”

First lines: ‘We are surrounded by guards. Not the nice ones; the ones we don’t like, who make us bow to them, make us show our identity cards and take a long time to examine them, even though they know perfectly well who we are and that we haven’t been anywhere outside of the Governer’s House in Tobolsk for months.

Stravaganza : City of Ships, by Mary Hoffman (348 pages) – The fifth book in The Stravaganza Sequence, about time travelling teens who end up in Talia, a country in a parallel world, much like 16th-century Italy. But with pirates!

First line: ‘If she raised herself slightly from the stool she sat on, Flavia could see the masts of ships in the harbour.

Radiance, by Alyson Noël (183 pages) – Riley Bloom dies in a car crash, and ffins herself in an afterlife where she gets a job as a Soul Catcher. Some spirits don’t want to move on, and her first task to to find one such spirit. Also! Her dog died with her so he’s there as well.

First line: ‘Most people think that death is the end.

I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett (249 pages) – The latest in a long line of Discworld novels. Tiffany is a witch, and isn’t finding the job too glamorous. The fightin’ Nac Mac Feegles aren’t helping either.

First line: ‘Why was it, Tiffany Aching wondered, that people liked noise so much? Why was noise so important?

Burning Mountain, by L. J. Adlington (315 pages) – Vesuvius, Pompeii, Italy during WWII and the Afghan War are all connected in this book.

First line: ‘Drenched in grey ash, grazed by a rain of rock, Gaius Justinius Aquila staggered along the beach, eyes wide at all the horrors.

Fierce September, by Fleur Beale (358 pages) – Book two of the Juno series. ‘Juno and the Taris inhabitants must leave their dying island to live on the Outside, a seemingly hostile place of pandemics and conflict. Juno enjoys the new freedoms and choices now available to her in a future New Zealand. But Taris doesn’t give up its hold so easily, and she is shocked to find the island held more secrets than any of them knew.’

The Eternal Ones, by Kirsten Miller (410 pages) – Not a reference to vampires, thank goodness, but rather people who are reincarnated repeatedly. I think! Take a gander at the official website and watch the trailer.

First line: ‘Haven was back.

Some new (mostly purple) books

There aren’t many new books this week. No doubt there will be LOADS next week. Most of this week’s books’ covers have similar colouring! Weird, eh.

Withering Tights : The Misadventures of Tallulah Casey, by Louise Rennison (351 pages) – Louise Rennison is the author of the always-popular Confessions of Georgia Nicolson. This is the first in a new series about Tallulah Casey, who has just enrolled in a Performing Arts College in Yorkshire (hence the title, if you know your classics). The back blurb made me laugh! “Alex had everything a dream boy should have. Back, front, sides. A head.”

First lines: ‘Wow. This is it. This is me growing up. On my own, going to Performing Arts College.

Swapped by a Kiss, by Luisa Plaja (344 pages) – Rachel sees her boyfriend, David, kissing their friend Jo, who is the nicest girl at the school. Rachel, enraged, wishes she was Jo and suddenly she finds herself in Jo’s body. Being Jo isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Shouldn’t you just be yourself? Yes.

First line: ‘I am in the doorway of a dance tent and my boyfriend is inside, kissing a girl who is not me.

To Catch a Pirate, by Jade Parker (228 pages) – Annalisa Townsend is discovered hiding in the hold of a ship by James Sterling, pirate and charmer. Determined to find her father’s treasure she sets out a year later to try to find Sterling. Will she get the treasure? Or will he also capture her heart with his suave seadog stylings?

First line: ‘Annalisa Townsend didn’t know which terrified her more: the razor-sharp edge of the dagger pressed against her throat or the ruthless glare of the pirate who’d shoved her against the wall with the harsh words, “Hold your tongue or I’ll remove it.”

Rebel Girl : Secrets at St Jude’s, by Carmen Reid (289 pages) – Four girls at St Jude’s School for Girls face different problems of various magnitude (Niffy wants to be gorgeous! Min is studying too much and missing out on fun! Amy’s rich dad goes broke! Gina’s got a wandering eye!). So they get in touch with their inner rebel.

First line: ‘Long after midnight, Gina lay wide awake in her narrow dorm bed.

Boyology : A Teen Girl’s Crash Course in All Things Boy, by Sarah O’Leary Burningham (167 pages) – This is non-fiction! And it intended to assist teens who want to understand the male psyche. Chapter headings include, ‘The Firsts of First Dates: And the Rest of the Dating Game‘, ‘You Wear the Pants: Setting Your Boundaries‘, and ‘Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.

Sam Stern’s Eat Vegetarian, by Sam Stern and Susan Stern (187 pages) – This is the Sterns’ fifth book, and is packed with some very nice-looking recipes. Meat-free, so are probably cheaper to make if you’re on a budget! Which is good.

Sam Stern has a website worth looking at if you want some of his recipes. Or get out one of his other books maybe.

Chocolate Cake With Hitler, by Emma Craigie (204 pages) – Helga Goebbels, daughter of the Nazi’s head of propaganda, spent the last ten days of her life (she was twelve) stuck in Hitler’s bunker. Her parents and the other adults become more and more tense and Helga soon begins to realise that her childhood wasn’t the fairytale it seemed.

First lines: ‘I’m sitting with Papa on a bench beside the sea. I must be about three years old.

Read These New Books

Once again, here’s a large selection of new books, from fairies to vampires to werewolves to survivalists to society’s elite (pirates and witches).

Rapture of the Deep, L A Meyer (454 pages) – for lovers of the Bloody Jack adventures, here’s the next. Jacky thinks she’s getting married, but actually she’s being kidnapped by British Naval Intelligence and made to dive for treasure near Havana, which isn’t necessarily such a terrible thing when you’re the piratical spy type.

First sentence: “Ah, and it’s a bonny, bonny bride ye shall be, Jacky.”
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Re-Gifters, Mike Carey, Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel (graphic novel) – Dixie is a soon-to-be maybe champion of hapkido (a martial art), but her life gets complicated when she meets and falls for surfery boy Adam. Winning her championship and also Adam could be tricky: there are lessons to be learned for Dixie.

Tallow, Karen Brooks (404 pages) – The Curse of the Bond Riders Book 1. Tallow is rescued as a child by a candlemaker. As he grows up, his mysterious and deadly talents are revealed, and all manner of ominous people – both enemies and allies – become interested in him. A fantasy story based on historical Italy with excellent reviews!

First sentence: “I know you’re out there.”
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Splendor, Anna Godbersen (394 pages) – the last of the Luxe novels, or at least I think it is. Will Diana and Henry find a way to be together without having Manhattan’s society up in arms?

First sentence: Fifty years ago every American girl wanted to be a European princess.
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Battleground, Chris Ryan (305 pages) – the SAS supremo writer is back again, this time with the story of 14 year old Ben who finds himself kidnapped in Afghanistan. Which sounds bad, but worse is the fact that he discovers they’ve got a nuclear weapon on them.

First sentence: “Ambush!”
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X Isle, Steve Augarde (477 pages) – see what he’s doing with the title? X Isle is the only way out after the floods come and devastate the globe. Sounds like a grim disaster novel (Adrienne might like it!).

First sentence: The steady chug of the diesel engine drew closer, and eventually the salvage boat emerged from the mist, a blank grey shape steering a middle course between the ghostly lines of chimney stacks that rose from the water.
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Destiny’s Path, Frewin Jones (329 pages) – book two in the Warrior Princess series, good news if you’ve already read the first one. Branwen is still uncomfortable with the idea of being the Chosen One, but then she’s shown a vision of life if she abandons her destiny, and it’s pretty bleak.

First sentence: Branwen Ap Griffith pulled back on the reins and her weary horse gradually came to a halt, snorting softly and shaking its mane.
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Ash, Malinda Lo (264 pages) – A fairy tale; Ash, recovering from the death of her father, dreams that the fairies will “steal her away” then meets Sidhean (a fairy). Because stories need a complication to work (truly they do), she also meets Kaisa (not a fairy) who teaches her to hunt and with whom she becomes friends. The result? A literary tug of war.

First sentence: Aisling’s mother died at midsummer.
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We Were Here, Matt de la Pena (356 pages) – Miguel is sent to juvi, then escapes with Rondell and Mong (great names, together), hoofing it to Mexico where he hopes he’ll have a chance to start over. A story of self-discovery and learning to forgive yourself (among other things).

First sentence: Here’s the thing: I was probably gonna write a book when I got older anyways.
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Taken, Nora McClintock (165 pages) – stress extreme. As mentioned in this post, Stephanie is captured by a serial killer then escapes (good for her) and must survive in the middle of nowhere (bad for her).

First sentence: My stomach clenched as the bus rumbled across the county line.
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Once a Witch, Carolyn MacCullough (292 pages) – Tamsin pretends to be her talented witchy older sister, which might seem like a good idea at the time, but one thing leads to another… this book contains it all; fantasy, romance, witchcraft and time travel.

First sentence: I was born on the night of Samhain, when the barrier between the worlds is whisper thin adn when magic, old magic, sings its heady and sweet song to anyone who cares to hear it.
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Ghost Town, Richard Jennings (165 pages) – I’ve filched this from the catalogue because it’s way to complex for me to explain: “Thirteen-year-old Spencer Honesty and his imaginary friend, an Indian called Chief Leopard Frog, improbably achieve fame and riches in the abandoned town of Paisley, Kansas, when Spencer begins taking photographs with his deceased father’s ancient camera and Chief Leopard Frog has his poems published by a shady businessman in the Cayman Islands.”

First sentence: “Well, I guess that makes it official,” I said to Chief Leopard Frog.
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Destroy All Cars, Blake Nelson (205 pages, plus appendices) – James Hoff is into the environment – he wants to, as the title suggests, destroy all cars. His ex-girlfriend, Sadie, is also into the environment, but James thinks she’s soft, merely wanting to build cycleways. Naturally there’s going to be some sort of romantic showdown that may well be a bit messy.

First sentence (sort of): We stand at the edge.
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Suicide Notes, Michael Thomas Ford (295 pages) – Jeff’s in a psychiatric ward, recovering from a suicide attempt, and learning valuable lessons from the “crazies” around him. “Compelling, witty and refreshingly real.”

First sentence: I read somewhere that when astronauts come back to Earth after floating around in space they get sick to their stomachs because of the air here smells like rotting meat to them.
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My Vicksburg, Ann Rinaldi (149 pages) – set during the American civil war. Claire Louise is forced to make a difficult choice between saving a friend’s life and being loyal to family (and state).

First sentence: The only reason we came back to town, and stayed during that terrible nightmare of a time, those forty-seven days of confusion and heartbreak that made up the siege of Vicksburg, was because of Sammy the cat.
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I Lost My Mobile at the Mall: Teenager on the Edge of  Technological Breakdown, Wendy Harmer (319 pages) – the mobile in question even has a photo of Elly’s friend standing next to Hugh Jackman, no less, so it really is a big deal!

First sentences: My name is Elly Pickering. I’ve lost my mobile phone at the mall and am now facing certain death.
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Changeling: Dark Moon, Steve Feasey (325 pages) – Trey Laporte is back, which is just as well since Lucien is lying in a coma and Trey can save him. The back of the book says it so much better: “… to succeed he must face his biggest challenge yet: a portal to the Netherworld, an Icelandic zombie, an evil sorceress, and Trey’s nemesis, the dark vampire Caliban.” All zombies should be Icelandic.

First sentence: The vampire Lucien Charron lay motionless on a high-sided bed in his Docklands apartment.
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Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical (199 pages plus a small graphic short story) – Some famous YA authors contribute to this collection, including Annette Curtis Klause (Blood and Chocolate), Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels), David Almond (Skellig) and Cynthia Leitich Smith (Tantalize).

First sentence (Aimee Bender): Mom bought me the razor when I was thirteen.
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Nothing Like You, Lauren Strasnick (209 pages) – update: now that I’ve had a read I can summarise. Holly is nearly finished high school and gets herself into really messy relationship issues. This is a well-written book about figuring out the important things in life, learning from mistakes, and love (kind of reminds me a little bit of Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr). A good example of a realistic, non-romantic first person narrator.

Very briefly:

Avalon High: Coronation: Volume 3: Hunter’s Moon, Meg Cabot (graphic novel)

Highly Desirable New Books

This week’s lot (in order of how many words make up the title):

Jatta, by Jenny Hale (464 pages) – a fantasy thriller replete with dragons, werewolves, and a mystery that begins with bloody paw prints.

First sentence: Princess Jatta woke on the cold marble floor, groaning weakly.

Posse, by Kate Welshman (278 pages) – things have been tense between best friends Amy and Clare, and when Clare disappears while they’re on Year 11 camp (Year 12 in New Zealand) there are more questions than answers; about what actually happened, about friendship…

First sentence: It’s the kind of heat you can’t escape.

Stolen, by Lucy Christopher (301 pages) – Gemma is kidnapped from an airport and taken to the Australian outback where her kidnapper, “expected [her] to love him.” Reviews all say this is a really well-written and moving story. It’s written as a letter from Gemma to her kidnapper, which is an interesting angle.

First sentence: You saw me before I saw you.

Jinxed, by Sara Lawrence (331 pages) – on a rather different note, the cover of Jinxed says “It’s spring term at Stagmount and love has never felt so naughty.” Set in a riotous boarding school in Brighton.

Resistance, by Craig Simpson (357 pages) – set in Norway during World War II; a story about Resistance freedom fighters, sabotage and courage.

First sentence: Her dying cry echoed across the Hardanger plateau.

Bloodline Rising, by Katy Moran (343 pages) – set in the dark ages and the sequel to Bloodline, Cai is captured in Constantinople and sent to Britain where he’s taken in by Wulfhere, prince of Mercia. When war threatens Cai must choose between his own life and that of his new clan’s.

First sentence: The young man moved like a cat: quick, sure.

Blood Water, by Dean Vincent Carter (248 pages) – a deadly parasite has gone missing, threatening to kill everyone in the town and Sean and James must track it down and destroy it before it does so.

First sentence: I managed to steal another hour in the laboratory tonight to examine the specimen before retiring to bed.

Bad Company, by Mike Walker (264 pages) – a story of modern day piracy and people smuggling on the Indian Ocean, with just a small amount of romance thrown in.

First sentence: If Lewis Hamilton hadn’t snatched fifth place in Brazilian and won the World Championship I wouldn’t  have been stuck with three thieving bastards on a leaking ship in the Indian Ocean with a pirate holding a gun in my face screaming that he was going to blow my head away.

‘Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me?’, by Louise Rennison (315 pages) – the final fab confessions, with some unexpected spelling in the title (bas? baz?). The shiny gold cover is calling “Read me! Read me!” If you get a bit lost there’s a comprehensive glossary of Georgia terms in the back.

First sentence(s): Why. Oh why oh why?

That be a loud shirt, me hearties

Tomorrow is Talk Like A Pirate Day, perfect for unleashing yer inner pirate. Instead of saying ‘hello’, say ‘ahoy!’; instead of ‘yes’, say ‘aye aye!’; and say ‘arrrr!’ for no reason whatsoever, me mateys. Here be a few steps towards talking like a pirate. And here be this ‘ere website, translated into pirate for ye scurvy dogs.

Arrrr.

Also, tomorrow is NZ’s annual Loud Shirt Day, which benefits deaf children. So while you’re talking like a pirate you can wear your brightest, most colourful shirt. You won’t regret it!