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  • Espionage, Fantasy, Mysteries, New, Nicola, Real Problems, realistic fiction

    New books

    06.09.17 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOrangeboy, Patrice Lawrence

    Not cool enough, not clever enough, not street enough for anyone to notice me. I was the kid people looked straight through. NOT ANY MORE. NOT SINCE MR ORANGE. Sixteen-year-old Marlon has made his mum a promise – he’ll never follow his big brother, Andre, down the wrong path. So far, it’s been easy, but when a date ends in tragedy, Marlon finds himself hunted. They’re after the mysterious Mr Orange, and they’re going to use Marlon to get to him. Marlon’s out of choices – can he become the person he never wanted to be, to protect everyone he loves? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Man, I couldn’t stop looking at her. When I closed my eyes, I still saw her. Her hair was thick and blonde, and a curl looped over her ear to her shoulder. She wore black mascara and green eyeliner and her lips looked shiny and stick. Sonya Wilson was right there next to me and it made my brain buzz.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDon’t tell the bridesmaid, Katy Birchall

    Romance is in the air! Preparations for the Wedding of the Century between Anna’s dad and super famous actress Helena Montaine is in full swing (all Anna needs to do is escape having to wear the biggest meringue of a bridesmaid dress that EVER existed.) And not only that but Anna, her friends and her ACTUAL BOYFRIEND (definitely requires shouting), Connor, are about to go on a school trip in romantic Rome. So as long as Anna can avoid doing something like falling face first in the Trevi Fountain, nothing could spoil this perfect pasta-filled moment. Could it? (Publisher summary)

    First lines:”You can’t keep me trapped up here forever!”
    Jess folded her arms, looking very pleased with herself.
    “Sure I can.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSuperpowerless, Chris Priestly

    David is sixteen. A pretty ordinary boy, in most ways – he just wants to hang out in his bedroom, reading his dad’s old comics. Comics that are full of his heroes – those figures whose lives are charmed, special, unique. Life hasn’t been easy recently for David, though. His father died just a couple of years ago, he has a fractious relationship with his mum, and he has fallen out with his best friend. But, David has a secret, which he hasn’t told anyone. He has superpowers. He can soar through the air, he has superhearing, he feels and hears everything super-keenly. So life should be easier, then, shouldn’t it? But somehow it’s not – and when David gets involved with the girl next door, gorgeous Holly Hunter, he begins to realise just how very complicated it can get. David’s harbouring another secret, a deeper darker one, and on this journey from boyhood to manhood, will he have the courage to face up to it? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: David is halfway to the shop when he spies a group of girls he knows from school. He doesn’t usually employ his superpowers for such trivial things, but as they draw near he engages his power of invisibility and they walk on past as though he doesn’t even exist.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLabyrinth lost, Zoraida Cordova

    Alex is a bruja and the most powerful witch in her family. But she’s hated magic ever since it made her father disappear into thin air. When a curse she performs to rid herself of magic backfires and her family vanishes, she must travel to Los Lagos, a land in-between as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland, to get her family back. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The second time I saw my dead aunt Rosaria, she was dancing.
    Earlier that day, my mom had warned me, pressing a long, red fingernail on the tip of my nose,
    “Alejandra, don’t go downstairs when the Circle arrives.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe girl in between, Sarah Carroll

    A homeless girl and her Ma, always hiding from the authorities, take shelter in an abandoned mill in the center of a big city, but when developers make plans to knock the mill down, everything changes, prompting the girl to wonder what kind of ghosts are haunting both the mill and her mother. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I’m invisible. Ma says I’m supposed to be so the Authorities don’t get me. She goes out into the streets almost every day but I’m not allowed. I’ve got to stay inside the mill so they don’t see me.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCity of saints and thieves, Natalie C. Anderson

    After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrive in Kenya. Her mother quickly finds work as a maid for the Greyhills, a prominent family. When her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, Tina knows exactly who’s behind it. Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. Finally, Tina gets a chance for vengeance but as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: If you’re going to be a theif, the first thing you need to know is that you don’t exist. And I mean, you really have to know it. You have to own it. Bug Eye taught me that. Because if you do exist, you might snag someone’s eye who will frown and wonder who you are.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSolo, Kwame Alexander

    Seventeen-year-old Blade endeavors to resolve painful issues from his past and navigate the challenges of his former rockstar father’s addictions, scathing tabloid rumors, and a protected secret that threatens his own identity. (Publisher summary)


  • Books, Comedy, dystopia, Espionage, GLBT, Māori literature, New, New Zealand, Nicola, realistic fiction, Science!

    New books

    17.08.17 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWant, Cindy Pon

    Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost. With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I watched the two you girls from the corner of my eye as the crowds surged around me. Eleven o’clock on a balmy June evening and the Shilin Night Market in Taipei was spilling over with mei shoppers looking for a way to cool themselves. Stores lined both sides of the narrow street, and music blared in Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhen Dimple met Rishi, Sandhya Menon

    Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now , they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right? Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him–wherein he’ll have to woo her–he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not? Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Dimple couldn’t stop smiling. It was like two invisible puppeteers, standing stage left and stage right, were yanking on strings to lift up the corners of her mouth. Okay, or maybe something less creepy. The point was, the urge to grin felt irresistible. Dimple clocked on the email again and read it. Standford. She was going to Standford.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSaints and misfits, S.K. Ali

    There are three kinds of people in my world: 1. Saints, those special people moving the world forward. Sometimes you glaze over them. Or, at least, I do. They’re in your face so much, you can’t see them, like how you can’t see your nose. 2. Misfits, people who don’t belong. Like me–the way I don’t fit into Dad’s brand-new family or in the leftover one composed of Mom and my older brother, Mama’s-Boy-Muhammad. Also, there’s Jeremy and me. Misfits. Because although, alliteratively speaking, Janna and Jeremy sound good together, we don’t go together. Same planet, different worlds.But sometimes worlds collide and beautiful things happen, right? 3. Monsters. Well, monsters wearing saint masks, like in Flannery O’Connor’s stories. Like the monster at my mosque.People think he’s holy, untouchable, but nobody has seen under the mask. Except me. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I’m in the water. Only my eyes are visible, and I blow bubbles to ensure the rest of me stays submerged until the opportune time. Besides the lifeguard watching from his perch, there’s a gaggle of girls my age patrolling the beach with young siblings in tow. They pace in their flip-flops and bikinis, and I wait.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTash hearts Tolstoy, Kathryn Ormsbee

    Tash is a gifted filmmaker and dramatic arts student with her own vlog, and she and her best friend Jacklyn have a YouTube series titled Unhappy Families, based on Anna Karenina. Tash and Jack are consigned to relative obscurity until a prominent online celebrity praises Unhappy Families, but with the accolades and attention comes the pressure to live up to the image. Additionally, Tash is struggling with her older sister’s growing distance, a surprise announcement from her parents, her understanding of her own identity as a romantic asexual, and her long-distance flirtation with fellow vlogger Thom. As a result, Ormsbee’s story comes close to feeling overstuffed with issues, but her attention to the depth of Tash’s thoughts and feelings, as well as a spot-on narrative voice, make this a compassionate and frank look into challenges that can seem to fly at teenagers from all directions. (Publisher information).

    First lines: Isn’t it funny how something can be a joke for so long until one day it isn’t? You laugh at an awful new pop song until the fateful day you end up playing it twenty times on repeat, totally un-ironically. You laugh at the idea of deep-fried okra until the fateful afternoon your family stops at some boondocks diner and, as a joke, you order deep-friend okra, and it is suddenly your new favourite snack.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNerve, Jeannie Ryan

    When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it’s exhilarating–Vee and Ian’s fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they’re directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they’re playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE. (Publisher summary).

    First lines: It took three days of waiting, but at four a.m. on a Sunday, the street in front of Abigail’s home finally emptied of all the Watchers. Maybe even crazies needed to sleep once in a while. She could use some rest, too, but more than that, she craved freedom. It had been almost a week since she’d left her house.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSlave power, Raewyn Dawsom

    East of the Black Sea, c.300 BC: Fifteen-year-old Melo is one of the most gifted Riders in the Wild Horse Tribe, destined to become a leader in her female warrior clan. Her old rival Mithrida, however, has cunning plans of her own. But when city slave traders cut a violent path through the Plains, all the Amazon Tribes are under threat. Far, far away on the Holy Island, Sofia, a young priestess-intraining, wonders why these strangers have landed on their isolated shore. Can she find the answers from the Black Rock? When the worlds of traders, slaves and warriors collide, new alliances come from unexpected sources and new powers are harnessed. But is it enough for the Peace Way to succeed? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: “Aaarghh! Hold on, everyone!” Melo staggered and stabbed her spear into the ground as it bucked and groaned beneath them like a furious wild horse. A second big quake so soon? The night’s first shattering terror had been bad enough – she would be needed to extend her guard duty – but where?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGirls can’t hit, T.S. Easton

    Fleur Waters never takes anything seriously until she turns up at her local boxing club one day, just to prove a point. She’s the only girl there, and the warm-up alone is exhausting but the workout gives her an escape from home and school, and when she lands her first uppercut on a punching bag she feels a rare glow of satisfaction. So she goes back the next week, determined to improve. Fleur’s overprotective mum can’t abide the idea of her entering a boxing ring. Her friends don’t get it either and even her boyfriend, ‘Prince’ George, seems concerned by her growing muscles and appetite but it’s Fleur’s body, Fleur’s life, so she digs her heels in and carries on with her training. When she finally makes it into the ring, her friends and family show their support and Fleur realises that sometimes in life it’s better to drop your guard and take a wild swing. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I groaned inwardly. It was a cold Tuesday morning in May and my parents were arguing about the dishwasher again.
    “Honestly, Liz,” Dad said, “you don’t need to rinse the plates before putting them in. That’s the whole point of a dishwasher.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWreck, Fleur Ferris

    Tamara Bennett is going to be the first journalist to strictly report only good news. Finished with high school, Tamara is ready to say goodbye to her sleepy little town and part-time job at the local paper. But things take an unexpected turn when Tamara arrives home to find her house ransacked and her life is danger. What is the mysterious note her attacker wants and why is he willing to kill for it? A tragic boating accident five years ago holds the clue that could keep Tamara alive. But how can she find the truth when she can’t tell who’s lying? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Tomorrow morning, at ten thirty-two, my train will pull away from the station and take me to my exciting new city-dwelling grown-up life. This chapter of my existence will be called ‘Deliriously happy university student.’ The chapter after that will be called ‘Journalist changes the world one good-news story at a time.’ I am going to be the first journalist, probably on the planet, who strictly reports good news.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKid got shot, Simon Mason

    Meet Garvie Smith. Reprobate, genius, waster, and sometime detective. Right in the middle of revision hell – until now. A boy from Marsh Academy has been shot, with no clear motive and no clues. Disgraced DI Singh is on the case, and he’s determined to keep Garvie away. But Garvie knows he’s the only one who has any idea where to look for the answers. Starting with his best friend’s girlfriend. And it’s going to take more than pointless revision or flunking his exams to stop him getting involved. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The others were already there, waiting in the darkness, and Garvie Smith went through the park gate and across the slippery grass towards them. Haphazardly arranged on the tiny swings and miniature roundabout of Old Ditch Road kiddies’ playground, dim, low-slung and damp, Smudge, Felix, Dani and Tiger raised hands and touched knuckled with him, one by one, and he settled down among them, yawning.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe book of heroes, Miyuki Miyabe

    When her brother Hiroki disappears after a violent altercation with school bullies, eleven-year-old Yuriko finds a magical book in his room which leads her to another world where she learns that Hiroki has been possessed by a spirit from The Book of Heroes. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Halfway up the long slope to the Threshing Hill, the youth heard the sound of a tolling bell. He stopped and looked around. The sound came thickly through the chilled ashen-blue mist that rose all around him, yet he heard it as sure as he felt the vibrations in the ground beneath his feet.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBecoming Aurora, Elizabeth Kashmer

    Sixteen-year-old Rory is at a crossroads in her life. While her gang plans its next move in a racially motivated turf war, Rory is sentenced to spend her summer at an aged care facility. She’s proud of taking the rap for a crime her gang committed and reading to a feisty old boxing champion isn’t going to change that. But what happens when Rory’s path intersects with migrant boxer Essam’s and she becomes the victim, not the perpetrator? Can she find the courage to face her past and become the girl her dad called Aurora? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Tonight we are wolves. Our pack moves as one, past empty shop fronts and faded billboards. On the corner we gather in the shadows of the Royal George Hospital. Last drinks were served hours ago, but the stink of stale beer lingers.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBoone Shepard, Gabriel Bergmoser

    Boone is taking a break from writing for The Chronicle newspaper to hunt down and destroy every last copy of a very rare, very dangerous book. But then his editor calls to demand he investigate a missing persons case deep in the Scottish Highlands – in the company of his rival, photographer Promethia Peters – and he is forced to abandon his personal goals and get back to work. Restless and begrudging, Boone is unprepared when this hunt leads him back to the one story that won’t stop chasing him – his own. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I always take the time to appreciate the rolling green fields and pretty woods of the English countryside, whether I am viewing them from the seat of my motorbike, or, as I found myself on the day this story begins, hanging one handed from the side of a speeding training. But it is hard to appreciate nature when you’re viewing it at an angle with your eyes full of soot and the wind throwing you around like the world’s strangest flag.

    Moon boy, Kathy Sutcliffe

    Kat and Eru are new in town and trying to find their way. Not easy when her mum’s in a relationship with his mum, and he’s not your usual sort of guy: Māori with the palest skin and blond dreads and – strangest of all – no ears. More moon than boy. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: “Hey.” A guy walking past my towel flashes me a white-toothed grin, his eyes sparkling blue beneath a floppy fringe. He’s carrying an armload of driftwood and staggering a bit on the soft sand. “My family’s having a bonfire tonight to see in the New Year. You can come if you like.”

    Freedom swimmer, Wai Chim

    Ming survived the famine that killed his parents during China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’, and lives a hard but adequate life, working in the fields with his fellow villagers…When a group of city boys come to the village as part of a government re-education program, Ming and his friends aren’t sure what to make of the new arrivals. They’re intellectuals not used to hard labour and village life. But despite his reservations, Ming befriends a charming city boy called Li. The two couldn’t be more different, but slowly they form a bond over evening swims and dreamlike discussions… But as the bitterness of life under the Party begins to take its toll on both boys, they begin to imagine the impossible: freedom. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Ma is gone. I fought back tears, gripping the handle of the wheelbarrow tighter so her body wouldn’t tip out too soon. I was taking her to the river to join the other villagers who passed. I didn’t dare look around- what if one of those bodies had surfaced, caught on a rock instead of being swept away by the current after the last rains? I could almost picture the head of some weeks-dead villager bobbin up beside me, all sunken cheeks and lifeless eyes behind paper-thin lids.


  • Nicola, Real Life

    New books

    02.08.17 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMy life as a hashtag, Gabrielle Williams

    What’s a girl to do when her parents have split up; her mum’s trawling Tinder; and one of her best friends has decided not to invite her to the biggest party of the year, which she then has to watch unfold on everyone else’s social media? If you’re a girl called MC, you get mad as hell, that’s what you do. But what begins as one girl’s private, no-holds-barred rant soon snowballs in the most public way possible. (Publisher information).

    First lines: Yumi’s house was strictly back-door only. The front door was for electricians, plumbers, and religious freaks rummaging in the shrubs for converts. It meant someone inside the house had to get up from what they were doing to let you in. The back door required no more heavy lifting than an arm raised in a wave. The back door was friendlier. Which is why I always went through it.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLiving on Hope Street, Demet Divaroren

    We all love someone. We all fear something. Sometimes they live right next door – or even closer. Kane will do everything he can to save his mother and his little brother Sam from the violence of his father, even if it means becoming a monster himself. Mrs Aslan will protect the boys no matter what – even though her own family is in pieces. Ada wants love that she can count on, while she faces new questions about herself. Mr Bailey is afraid of the refugees next door, not knowing that his worst fear will strike in another form. And Gugulethu is just trying to make a life away from terror. On this street, everyone comes from different places, but to find peace they will have to discover what unites them. (Publisher information).

    First lines: The lamb roast looked like a giant fist. Sam eyeballed it. He sat at the dinner table sniffing the air.
    “Smells so yum!” He said, scooping a ball of mashed potato with his finger and shoving it in his mouth. “Can we eat now, Mum? Please?”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow to make a wish, Ashley Herring Blake

    Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, drinks-too-much mother Maggie. Then Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams despite her own difficult circumstances. One fateful evening Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace’s world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again. When Grace must choose between Maggie and Eva, will she give up the future for the life she has? (Publisher information).

    First lines: She waits until we’re driving over the bridge to tell. This is a strategic move. Wait until your temperamental daughter is suspended over the Atlantic Ocean to drop the bomb, thereby decreasing the chance that she’ll fling open the car door and hurl herself over the edge.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGirl saves boy, Steph Bowe

    Isn’t it enough having your very own terminal disease, without your mother dying? Or your father dating your Art teacher? No wonder Sacha Thomas ends up in the lake that Saturday evening…
    But the real question is: how does he end up in love with Jewel Valentine? With the help of quirky teenage prodigies Little Al and True Grisham, Sacha and Jewel have a crazy adventure, with a little lobster emancipation along the way. But Sacha’s running out of time, and Jewel has secrets of her own. (Goodreads summary)

    First lines: There was a boy in the lake. At first, I thought he was my brother, but then I realised he was way to big to be a ten year old boy. Even in my mind my brother will never get any older. That’s scary. isn’t it? To realise you’ve lived a whole eight years longer than your older brother ever could.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe possible, Tara Altebrando

    Kaylee lives a normal life with her adoptive parents, and almost never thinks of her birth mother, Crystal, who is serving a life sentence in prison. But the woman at the front door is producing a podcast about Crystal that is about to blow Kaylee’s forgotten past wide open. What if strange things have been happening Kaylee’s entire life, things she could not explain? What if she’s more like her mother than she ever imagined? What if the podcast is about to put her on a collision course with Crystal—and her darkest self? (Goodreads summary)

    First lines: I realised in the fourth inning that I hadn’t given up a hit yet. The whispers of a no-hitter started when I headed for the mound to pitch the sixth.
    You think she can do it? I bet she’s going to do it.
    Has anyone at school ever done that? No, not ever.

    Convergence, Marita Smith

    Robyn Greene searches for the ancient gene that is supposed to enable humans to communicate with animals. After years of failure, she’s beginning to wonder if the gene is a myth. But when she stumbles across a strange genetic mutation, Robyn’s world turns upside down. The man posing as her boss is, in fact, an operative of the mysterious international organisation, MRI. Worse, they have dark plans to exploit her discovery. In a race against time, Robyn must track down individuals with this rare gene before the MRI turns them into lab rats (Publisher information).

    First lines: “The program has come under scrutiny. Some of the directors think it is unnecessary now we’ve found the boy.”
    “You mean Vulcan wants to axe it.”
    “It’s not about Vulcan. It’s about the objectives of the Institute. It’s been eighteen months, Brock. They’ve found nothing.”


  • Comedy, Exclusive academies for rich kids who form cliques, GLBT, New, Real Life, realistic fiction

    New books

    03.05.17 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHonestly Ben, Bill Konigsberg

    Ben Carver returns for the spring semester at the exclusive Natick School in Massachusetts determined to put his relationship with Rafe Goldberg behind him and concentrate on his grades and the award that will mean a full scholarship–but Rafe is still there, there is a girl named Hannah whom he meets in the library, and behind it all is his relationship with his distant, but demanding father. (Publisher information.)

    First lines: According to the swim instructor at the Gilford gym, I had the worst buoyancy of any human he’d ever seen. My brother, Luke, and I got one lesson each as our Christmas present, mostly because Luke wanted to learn. I wasn’t so sure I needed to add swimming to my life, as I’d gotten along just fine without it for seventeen years.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe hate u give, Angie Thomas

    After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died. (Publisher information)

    First lines: I shouldn’t have come to this party. I’m not even sure I belong at this party. That’s not on some bougie shit, either. There are some places where it’s not enough to be me. Either version of me. Big D’s spring break party is one of those places.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGoodbye days, Jeff Zentner

    Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and a judge is pressuring the district attorney to open up a criminal investigation. Eli’s girlfriend, Carver’s therapist, and Blake’s grandmother ask Carver to spend a “goodbye day” with them to share their memories and say a proper farewell. As other families ask for their own goodbye day with Carver, will it mean making peace with their losses, or bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown– and possibly prison? (Publisher information)

    First lines: Depending on who – sorry, whom – you ask, I may have killed my three best friends. If you ask Blake Llyod’s grandma, Nana Betsey, I think she’d say no. That’s because when she first saw me earlier today, she grabbed me in a huge, tearful hug and whispered in my ear: “You are not responsible for this, Carver Briggs. Good knows it and so do I.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWeedflower, Cynthia Kadohata

    After twelve-year-old Sumiko and her Japanese-American family are relocated from their flower farm in southern California to an internment camp on a Mojave Indian reservation in Arizona, she helps her family and neighbours, becomes friends with a local Indian boy, and tries to hold on to her dream of owning a flower shop. (Publisher information)

    First lines: This is what it felt like to be lonely:
    1)Like everyone was looking at you. Sumiko felt this once in a while.
    2)Like nobody was looking at you. Sumiko felt this a lot.
    3)Like you didn’t care about anything at all. She felt this maybe once a week.
    4)Like you were just about to cry over every little thing. She felt this about once daily.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSeven days of you, Cecilia Vinesse

    Sophia has spent her life ping-ponging between different countries and schools, so, in theory, saying goodbye should be easy. But now she’s leaving Tokyo, the place that finally felt like home. The only way she can get through this is to make her final week perfect. Then Jamie Foster-Collins shows up, just in time to ruin everything. Jamie and Sophia used to be friends … and his return stirs up feelings she thought she’d forgotten. (Publisher information)

    First lines: At the beginning of the summer, I tried to get on top if the whole moving-continents thing by reminding myself I still had time. Days and hours and seconds all piled on top of one another, stretching out in front of me as expansive as a galaxy. And the stuff I couldn’t deal with – packing my room and saying goodbye to my friends and leaving Tokyo – all that hovered at some indistinct point in the indistinct future.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStranger things have happened, Jeff Strand

    Fifteen-year-old Marcus tries to uphold the honour of his beloved great-grandfather, aka Zachary the Stupendous, by performing a daring magic trick involving a disappearing shark. (Publisher information)

    First lines: “Is this your card?” asked Marcus Millian III, holding up the nine of hearts.
    “It is!” said his mother, eyes wide with surprise. “How did you do that?”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe upside of unrequited, Becky Albertalli

    Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful. Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness — except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right? (Publisher information)

    First lines: I’m one the toilet at the 9:30 Club, and I’m wondering mermaids pee. This isn’t random. There’s a mermaid Barbie attacked to the door of the bathroom here. Which is a pretty odd choice for a bathroom mascot. If that’s even a thing. Bathroom mascots.

    This is my song, Richard Yaxley

    “This is my blood, This is my song. In the 1940s, musician Rafael Ullmann is sent to a Nazi concentration camp. In the 1970s, Annie Ullmann lives a lonely life on a Canadian prairie. Three decades later, in Australia, Joe Hawker is uncertain about himself and his future … until he discovers a song, written by his grandfather many years ago. This Is My Song crosses three continents and time-lines, chanting the need for each of us to find our own music, to sing to those we love most. This compelling and unforgettable story, by award-winner Richard Yaxley, will strike a chord and pluck the heartstrings.” — Back cover.

    First lines: My child, I am dying. Do not be sad or afraid for me. When the time comes I will welcome my departure as natural and proper-even, as you will see, somewhat belated. I have stolen a great deal of time! But know this: as I close my eyes I will allow the last of the light to stay upon my best fortunes, your mother – and you, my child. You. Before then, however, I must deal with the secrets.


  • Books, New, Nicola, Real Life, Real Problems

    New books

    17.03.17 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMind the gap, Phil Earle

    When Mikey’s dad died, something in Mikey died too. He loved his old man and he never stopped dreaming that one day his dad would land the role of a lifetime, prove them all wrong, and rock back up to the estate in the flashiest car anyone had ever seen. Now there’s just numbness, and not caring, and really, really stupid decisions. He says the worst of it is that he can’t even remember his dad’s voice any more. Eventually Mikey’s best mate can’t bear it any more, and so he sets out to give Mikey the memories – and his dad’s voice – back. (Goodreads)

    First lines: It’s hard to sound tough when someone’s hand is around your throat. I did try, but I ended up sounding more like a choirboy than the gangster I was aiming for. Mikey didn’t bother with the tough guy act, but he didn’t look scared either.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA shadow’s breath, Nicole Hayes

    Then, things were looking up for Tessa. Her mum was finally getting her life back on track. Tessa had started seeing Nick. She was making new friends. She’d even begun to paint again. Now, Tessa and Nick are trapped in the car after a corner taken too fast. Injured, stranded in the wilderness, at the mercy of the elements, the question becomes one of survival. But Tessa isn’t sure she wants to be found. Not after what she saw. Not after what she remembered. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Oddly, it’s not the pain that seizes her first – the dull crack of splintering bone, or the sear of muscle ripped from cuff, ligament from joint, skin splitting raggedly where once it was whole. It’s not even the bitter taste of fear in her mouth, sharp and foul.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTraveller, L.E. DeLano

    Teen author Jessa learns that she and one of her characters, Finn, are Travelers with the ability to slide between realities, and that Finn is determined to prevent her dying in yet another realm. (Publisher information)

    First lines: He ran for the trees as hard as he could, his legs burning and his lungs frantically to suck in enough air to keep him going. He had to lead them away. A shot ricocheted off a large rock nearby, splintering him with fragments as he ran on, not daring to take time to look back.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics Long way home, Katie McCarry

    Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving. It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life. But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness. Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The instructions of the English homework I didn’t do hang out from the top of my folder. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both. Story of my life.

    Until we win, Linda Newberry

    A hundred years ago, women didn’t have the vote. When Lizzy Frost becomes involved with the fledgling Suffragette movement, it expands her horizons in ways she never could have imagined. From time spent in prison for the cause, to new relationships with fellow campaigners, Lizzy’s struggle for votes for women sets her heart on fire. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Summer, 1914. I’ll never forget it. No one else will, either, because the war with Germany started in August. But for me, it was the year I became a suffragette. The year I found something to fight for and someone to spend my life with. And it was the year I went to prison.


  • Art, Comedy, Exclusive academies for rich kids who form cliques, GLBT, Lists, Mysteries, Non-fiction, realistic fiction

    Books for Pride Week

    10.03.17 | Permalink | Comments Off on Books for Pride Week

    A bit late with this post, but better late than never! Here are some of the best books about living as a member of the LGBTQ community.

    1. Some assembly required : the not-so-secret life of a transgender teen, Arin Andrews
    2. If you could be mine, Sara Farizan
    3. Girl mans up, M-E Girard
    4. If I was your girl, Meredith Russo
    5. As I descended, Robin Talley
    6. Drag teen, Jeffrey Self
    7. Draw the line, Laurent Linn
    8. Boy meets boy, David Levithan
    9. Beyond magenta : transgender teens speak out, Susan Kuklin
    10. The boy’s own manual to being a proper Jew, Eli Glasman


  • dystopia, Espionage, GLBT, Mysteries, Nicola, realistic fiction, Sci Fi

    New books

    02.03.17 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDark Horses, Cecily Von Ziegesar

    Merritt Wenner has been self-destructing ever since the tragic deaths of her grandmother and her horse, and after an epic all-night bender she walks out of the SAT and disappears. Her parents, looking for a quick fix, ship her off to a residential equine therapy program. At Good Fences, Merritt meets Red—a failed racehorse and a terror in the barn. Red has never bonded with anyone, but Merritt is not afraid of him, which makes all the difference. Soon they’re sneaking rides after curfew, which catches the attention of Red’s owner. Recognizing their potential, he funds their launch into the competitive hunter/jumper circuit. Against the cutthroat backdrop of competitive riding, Merritt and their groom, Beatrice, develop an attraction. Merritt also finds herself drawn to Carvin, a rival rider. But in Red’s mind, Merritt belongs to him alone. Anyone else poses a threat. And Merritt can’t foresee what he’ll do to keep her to himself.(Goodreads)

    First lines: I’m dying. Whatever I drank from those boxes has made me very, very sick. I can’t find my stall. The ground lists and sways beneath my hooves as I stagger around in the dark, looking for.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe home-coming, Stacie Ramey

    It’s been a year since John lost his girlfriend, Leah, to suicide. Living with his uncle keeps his mind from the tragedy and his screwed up family-until he gets into trouble and a judge sends him back home. With a neglectful mother and abusive brother, John’s homecoming is far from happy. As he tries to navigate and repair the relationships he abandoned years ago, Emily, the girl next door, is the only bright spot. She’s sweet and smart and makes him think his heart may finally be healing. But tragedy isn’t far away, and John must soon face an impossible decision: save his family or save himself. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Standing on the high school’s lacrosse field in the town I never thought I’d go back to, I wait for my turn to do suicides. The sun blazes, and I take a drink from my water bottle and try not to chew myself out for landing here instead of getting to stay in Chicago with Uncle Dave.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsProperty of the state, Bill Cameron

    Joey Getchie has been property of the state longer than he was in parental custody. But he’s a survivor, and he has a Plan: graduate high school and get out of the foster care system before it eats him alive. He bonds with Trisha, another foster, who seems to have lucked out when it comes to foster parents. A false accusation leads to a physical clash with his foster father, so Joey flees to Huntzel Manor, where he works part time. He takes up unauthorized residence and keeps a low profile, hoping to avoid attention. But attention arrives in the worst possible way: a classmate is seriously injured in a hit and run accident, and Joey becomes the focus of the investigation. Why shouldn’t he be? He had a violent confrontation with the same classmate just last year. And of course, he’s a kid with a criminal record. Except of course, he isn’t.(Goodreads)

    First lines: “Joseph. Don’t sit down.”
    I’m barely through the door of Moylan’s sixth period Trigonometry dungeon but he’s already on my ass. “You’re required in the office.”
    My therapist says I should count to ten before I open my mouth. With Moylan, I seldom make it past one.
    “My name isn’t Joseph.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLucky strikes, Louis Bayard

    With her mama recently dead and her pa sight unseen since birth, fourteen-year-old Amelia is suddenly in charge of her younger brother and sister, and of the family gas station. Harley Blevins, local king and emperor of Standard Oil, is in hot pursuit to clinch his fuel monopoly. To keep him at bay and her family out of foster care, Melia must come up with a father, and fast. And so when a hobo rolls out of a passing truck, Melia grabs opportunity by its beard. Can she hold off the hounds till she comes of age? (Goodreads)

    First lines: Mama died hard, you should know that. Nearly died alone, too. Now, most nights, she’d so much as groan, I’d come running, but this was late March, ten days shy of Easter and spring barely a thought, and a dream come and snatched me.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe X-Files: origins, Devil’s advocate, Jonathan Maberry

    How did Fox Mulder become a believer? How did Dana Scully become a skeptic? The X-Files Origins has the answers in this young adult origin story. The X-Files Origins: Devil’s Advocate will explore the teen years of Dana Scully, the beloved character depicted in the cult-favorite TV show The X-Files. Her story is set in the spring of 1979, when serial murder, the occult, and government conspiracy were highlighted in the news. The book will follow Scully as she experiences life-changing events that set her on the path to becoming an FBI agent.(Goodreads)

    First lines: “I want to believe,” said Dana Scully.
    Melissa Scully looked at her sister. Dana sat a few feet away, red hair tangled by the wind, blue eyes foxed on darkening sky. Above the canopy of leaves, the first starts of a brand-new April were igniting. The waxing crescent moon was low, slicing its way into the steeple of the empty church across the street.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe one memory of Flora Banks, Emily Barr

    Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life. With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The music is too loud, the room too crowded, and it feels as though there are more people in this house than any human being could possibly know. The low notes vibrate through my body. I have been standing in the corner for a while: I take a deep breath and start to push my way between strangers. I look at my hand. PARTY, it tells me, in thick black letters.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAll we have left, Wendy Mills

    Now:
    Sixteen-year-old Jesse is used to living with the echoes of the past. Her older brother died in the September 11th attacks, and her dad has filled their home with anger and grief. When Jesse gets caught up with the wrong crowd, one momentary hate-fueled decision turns her life upside down. The only way to make amends is to face the past, starting Jesse on a journey that will reveal the truth about how her brother died.
    Then:
    In 2001, sixteen-year-old Alia is proud to be Muslim… it’s being a teenager that she finds difficult. After being grounded for a stupid mistake, Alia is determined to show her parents that that they must respect her choices. She’ll start by confronting her father at his office in downtown Manhattan, putting Alia in danger she never could have imagined. When the planes collide into the Twin Towers Alia is trapped inside one of the buildings. In the final hours she meets a boy who will change everything for her as the flames rage around them…(Goodreads)

    First lines: Travis draws my face into his chest as the smoke engulfs us. The other tower fell, it fell straight down like a waterfall of concrete and steel, and oh God, please help me, because is this one going to fall too? Travis tightens his arms around me, shielding me as parts of the ceiling fall. It doesn’t feel like it will ever end, and I hold on to him with all my strength.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDreadnought, April Daniels

    Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl. It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head. She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction. (Goodreads)

    First lines: This is taking too long. I just want to pay for the shit and go. It’s not like I’m breaking the law or anything-except it totally feels like I’m breaking the law. It’d be really cool to be able to do this without shame, without hopping on a train to ride halfway across the city first. Finally, I get to the front of the line and drop the nail polish on the counter.


  • Books, GLBT, New, New Zealand, Nicola, realistic fiction, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    New books

    06.12.16 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIf I was your girl, Meredith Russo

    Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone. And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met—open, honest, kind—and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself…including her past. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant the truth, he won’t be able to see past it. Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that she used to be Andrew. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The bus smelled of mildew, machine oil, and sweat. As the suburban Atlanta sprawl disappeared behind us, I tapped my foot on the floor and chewed a lock of my newly long hair. A nagging voice reminded me that I was only a half an hour from home, that if I was only a half an hour from hour, that if I got off at the next stop and walked back to Smyrna, by sunset I could be in the comfort of my own bedroom, the familiar smell of Mom’s starchy cooking in the air.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSaint Death, Marcus Sedgewick

    Anapra is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the Mexican city of Juarez – twenty metres outside town lies a fence – and beyond it – America – the dangerous goal of many a migrant. Faustino is one such trying to escape from the gang he’s been working for. He’s dipped into a pile of dollars he was supposed to be hiding and now he’s on the run. He and his friend, Arturo, have only 36 hours to replace the missing money, or they’re as good as dead. Watching over them is Saint Death. Saint Death (or Santissima Muerte) – she of pure bone and charcoal-black eye, she of absolute loyalty and neutral morality, holy patron to rich and poor, to prostitute and narco-lord, criminal and police-chief. A folk saint, a rebel angel, a sinister guardian.(Goodreads)

    First lines: Not too far away from here, just over the horizon of our imagination, there’s a girl floating in the river. She moves with the water, whispering through the bulrushes by the bank. Her arms are out to the side, her legs splay and tiny fish dance around her toes.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe lovely reckless, Kami Garcia

    Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football. Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart? (Goodreads)

    First lines: A police officer shines a blinding light in my eyes.
    “Do you know why I pulled you over over?”
    To ruin what was left of my miserable life?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe memory book, Lara Avery

    Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way–not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan. So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It’s where she’ll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart–a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she’ll admit how much she’s missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.(Goodreads)

    First lines: If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering who you are. I’ll give you three clues.

    Shooting stars:the private diary of Egan (Bush) Tucker and other stuff , Brian Falkner

    In 15 years, Egan Tucker has spoken to no one but his mother … Escaping from an abusive husband, Moana (Moma) took baby Ethan to live in the Coromandel bush. For 15 years, Moma taught Egan to survive, and instilled in him her code for a good life. A chance meeting with a DOC deer culler (JT) while out hunting, results in Ethan finding his first friend. And when Moma goes to get supplies one day and never returns, Ethan decides to head to Auckland to get help from his mother’s friend – and also to try and find JT. But Egan finds that survival amongst the streetkids of Auckland is nothing like living in the bush … and he is unprepared for the tragedy that awaits. (Publisher information.)

    First lines: Captain Cooker in the evetable garden overnight. Lots of damage.
    Mona said not to hunt the pig. Too dangerous.
    Fixed the pig fence.
    Dinner: Potato stew (again!)
    Book I am reading: ‘The old man and the sea’ by Ernest Hemmingway
    Things I am afraid of: the pig.


  • Fantasy, GLBT, Music, Mysteries, New

    New books

    10.08.16 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIris and the tiger, Leanne Hall

    Twelve-year-old Iris has been sent to Spain on a mission: to make sure her elderly and unusual aunt, Ursula, leaves her fortune–and her sprawling estate–to Iris’s scheming parents. But from the moment Iris arrives at Bosque de Nubes, she realises something isn’t quite right. There is an odd feeling around the house, where time moves slowly and Iris’s eyes play tricks on her. While outside, in the wild and untamed forest, a mysterious animal moves through the shadows. Just what is Aunt Ursula hiding? But when Iris discovers a painting named Iris and the Tiger, she sets out to uncover the animal’s real identity–putting her life in terrible danger. (Goodreads)

    First lines: No one had ever asked Iris to spy for them before. She wasn’t totally convinced she’d be any good at it. But Iris also wasn’t in the habit of saying no to her parents – they paid her so little regard as it was – and when they first sat her down to outline their plan, Iris felt the unfamiliar glow of their attention.

    Songs that sound like blood, Jared Thomas

    Roxy May Redding’s got music in her soul and songs in her blood. She lives in a hot dusty town and is dreaming big. She survives run-ins with the mean girls at high school, sings in her dad’s band and babysits for her wayward aunt. But Roxy wants a new start. When she gets the chance to study music in the big city, she takes it. Roxy’s new life, her new friends and her music collide in a way she could never have imagined. Being a poor student sucks… navigating her way through the pressure of a national music competition has knobs on it… singing for her dinner is soul destroying… but nothing prepares Roxy for her biggest challenge. Her crush on Ana, the local music journo, forces her to steer her way through a complex maze of emotions alien to this small town girl. Family and friends watch closely as Roxy takes a confronting journey to find out who the hell she is. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Hanging Dad’s washing on the line straight after school on a Friday was the last thing I wanted to be doing. At least I was listening to Vance Joy and could smell the basil Dad was growing or I might have set his jocks on fire. Drives me crazy how he just leaves his things in the washing machine like that.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBattlesaurus: clash of empires, Brian Falkner

    In this stunning sequel to a unique alt-history adventure, dinosaurs from a forbidden world have been turned into unstoppable weapons by one of the most ferocious military leaders of all time. In the wake of Napoléon’s crushing victory at Waterloo, the vicious French general Marc Thibault and his brigade of giant carnivorous battlesaurs have struck terror across Europe. England stands alone, but an invasion is looming. Its only hope is a secret attack led by a magician’s son named Willem deep inside enemy territory, to the very heart of Napoléon’s terrifying new army. Deception and betrayal threaten the mission from its outset, but the courage and perseverance of Willem the “saur killer” and his friends lead to a clash of titanic proportions.(Goodreads)

    First lines: The young French soldier shivers, and not from the cold, although here at the parapet of the castle the wind is icy and pitiless. From behind him and below come deep grunting sounds and the rattle of chains. That area of the castle courtyard is covered with hastily erected screens of sailcloth to keep out prying, spying eyes.

    Lonesome when you go, Saradha Koirala

    Paige plays base in high school rock band Vox Pop, which means keeping a steady rhythm even in their most raucous rock and roll moments. But in the tense build-up to the Rockfest competition, Paige finds that she can’t control everything in her life, no matter how hard she practises and how loud she plays. There’s stuff happening in the band that she can’t put her finger on, a friend who can’t handle her own secret anymore and a mysterious guy who plays double bass like an angel. But there isn’t much time to sort things out – Rockfest looms and so does the end of school year, when everything will change for good. (Publisher information)

    First lines: The stage is huge. Lighting rigs and speaker systems tower above us and there’s a noise I can’t yet place. Slowly I tune in to the rhythmic roaring of a vigorous crowd. They’re invisible; coloured lights glare down on me and I’m looking out into darkness.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe level, Olivia Levez

    Frances is alone on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. She has to find water and food. She has to survive. And when she is there she also thinks about the past. The things that she did before. The things that made her a monster. Nothing is easy. Survival is hard and so is being honest about the past. Frances is a survivor however, and with the help of the only other crash survivor, she sees that the future is worth fighting for.(Goodreads)

    First lines: They all know what I’ve done. Of course they do. That’s why they leave me well alone. Hi I’m Rufus! is fascinated, like I’m some frickin sideshow. You can tell because his eyes are on me every time I look.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBreathing under water, Sophie Hardcastle

    Ben and Grace Walker are twins. Growing up in a sleepy coastal town it was inevitable they’d surf. Always close, they hung out more than most brothers and sisters, surfing together for hours as the sun melted into the sea. At seventeen, Ben is a rising surf star, the golden son and the boy all the girls fall in love with. Beside him, Grace feels like she is a mere reflection of his light. In their last year of school, the world beckons, full of possibility. For Grace, finishing exams and kissing Harley Matthews is just the beginning. Then, one day, the unthinkable. The sun sets at noon and suddenly everything that was safe and predictable is lost. And everything unravels.(Goodreads)

    First lines: Chilled bones. Red skin. White clouds exhaled as teeth chatter, and the ocean, just waiting for them…Beneath a silk veil of silence, feet sprint across wet grass, wet sand, and then lift.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDrag teen, Jeffrey Self

    Debut YA author Jeffery Self takes us on a road trip with an insecure high school senior who has one goal: to be the first in his family to leave Clearwater, Florida, and go to college. The problem is, he has zero means of paying for school — until his friends convince him to compete in a drag teen competition for a college scholarship. (Goodreads)

    First lines: This isn’t one of those stories about a heartwarming journey toward accepting my cursed homosexual identity. No. First of all, being gay is far from a case. It’s like an extra order of fries at Wendy’s because the lady in the window isn’t paying attention while she fills your bag.


  • Comics, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Horror, Librarian's Choice, Mysteries, Nicola

    My best picks for 2015

    12.01.16 | Permalink | Comments Off on My best picks for 2015

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis year’s been a great year for graphic novels and horror, among other things. Here are my top ten picks for the best reads of 2015.

    1) The singing bones, Shaun Tan

    2) Baba Yaga’s assistant, Emily Carroll

    3) Nimona, Noelle Stevenson

    4) Part-time Princesses, Monica Gallagher

    5) Gotham by midnight, Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith

    6) Frozen Charlotte, Alex Bell

    7) Calvin, Martine Leavitt

    8) When Mr. Dog bites, Brian Conaghan

    9) Our endless numbered days, Claire Fuller

    10) Silver in the blood, Jessica Day George


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