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  • Lists, Rachel

    It’s time for a summer romance

    09.12.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on It’s time for a summer romance

    It’s officially summer and to kick off the season we’ve got some appropriately fluffy summer romance novels for you. If you want your heartstrings tugged – in summer! – you’ve come to the right place.

    Syndetics book coverAlong for the ride, Sarah Dessen

    “It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents divorce, or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend the summer with her dad and his new family in a charming beach town. A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she has been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.” (Syndetics)

    Syndetics book coverTwenty boy summer, Sarah Ockler

    According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.” (Goodreads)

    Syndetics book coverGreat, Sara Benincasa

    “Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. But Jacinta’s carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.

    Based on beloved classic The Great Gatsby, Great has all the drama, glitz, and romance with a terrific modern (and scandalous) twist to enthrall readers.

    Syndetics book coverOne man guy, Michael Barakiva

    “When it appears that Alek is going to fall off the Honor Track at school, the 14-year-old’s strict Armenian parents, for whom education is of paramount importance, insist he go to summer school. Little do they or he know that it will be a life-changing experience. For it is there that he meets Ethan, who epitomizes cool. To Alek’s amazement, the two become friends and then fall in love. But when Alek’s parents predictably find the two making out, they ground him and forbid him to see Ethan again. Surely, this can’t end well. Or can it?” (Booklist)

    Syndetics book coverTo all the boys I’ve loved before, Jenny Han

    “Lara Jean writes plenty of love letters, but she never sends them. It’s just her way of moving on from a crush. When her secret box of letters goes missing and she discovers they’ve been mailed including one to her sister’s ex-boyfriend Lara Jean has to come face-to-face with her past and in the process learn more about her future.” (Booklist)

     

    Syndetics book coverTeen idol, Meg Cabot

    When teenage heartthrob Luke Stryker shows up at a small-town Indiana high school to do research for a movie role, he persuades junior Jenny Greenley to use her considerable talents to try to change things at school for the better.” (Goodreads)


  • dystopia, Espionage, Horror, Nicola, Non-fiction, Sci Fi

    New books

    26.11.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA song for Ella Grey, David Almond

    Claire is Ella Grey’s best friend. She’s there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story – as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final. (Goodreads)

    First lines: I’m the one who’s left behind. I’m the one to tell the tale. I knew them both, knew how they lived and how they died. It didn’t happen long ago. I’m young, like them. Like them? Can that be possible? Can you be both young and dead?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe boy with the tiger’s heart

    When Nona’s guardian kills himself, she is immediately suspected of murdering him. In a world where nature and darkness are feared, where wild animals are killed or held captive and cities are illuminated by permanent light, who will believe her innocence? Nona must flee with her only friend – a bear who is strangely human. In their desperate attempt to escape capture, Nona and her bear encounter two strange boys, Caius and Jay. Together, the four of them will hide, and fight, and make the deadliest of enemies in their desperate race to a forbidden place called The Edge – where nature is unrestrained, where there is light and shade, forest and mountain, and where there are no shackles or boundaries. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The snow falls heavily that night and in the morning lies in deep drifts, which smooth over the shapes of the edges of the jagged rocks and grassy knolls. It hides the bog holes that lie at the edge of the marshes and covers the recks of the burnt-out cars.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMortal Heart (The fair assassin book III), Robin LaFevers

    Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…(Goodreads)

    First lines: For most, the bleak dark months when the black storms come howling out of the north is a time of grimness and sorrow as people await the arrival of winter, which brings death, hunger and bitter cold in its wake. But we at the convent of Saint Mortain welcome winter with open arms, for it is Mortain’s own season, when he is full upon us.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTalon, Julie Kagawa

    Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.
    Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George. Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons. (Goodreads)

    First lines: “Ember, when did your parents die, and what was the cause of death?”
    I stifled a groan and tore my gaze from the car window, where the bright, sunny town of Crescent Beach shimmered beyond the tinted glass. The air in the black sedan was cold and stale, and, annoyingly, the driver had engaged the child safety locks so I couldn’t roll down the window.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe hangman’s revolution (W.A.R.P book II) Eoin Colfer

    Young FBI agent Chevie Savano arrives back in modern-day London after a time-trip to the Victorian age, to find the present very different from the one she left. Europe is being run by a Facsist movement known as the Boxites, who control their territory through intimidation and terror. Chevie’s memories come back to her in fragments, and just as she is learning about the WARP program from Professor Charles Smart, inventor of the time machine, he is killed by secret service police. Now they are after Chevie, too, but she escapes–into the past. She finds Riley, who is being pursued by futuristic soldiers, and saves him. Working together again, it is up to Chevie and Riley to find the enigmatic Colonel Clayton Box, who is intent on escalating his power, and stop him before he can launch missiles at the capitals of Europe. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Towards the end of the twentieth century, Scottish professor Charles Smart succeeded in stabilizing a time tunnel to Victorian London (constructed from exotic matter with negative energy density, duh). Within months the FBI had established the Witness Anonymous Relocation Program to stash federal witnesses in the past.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRevolution, Deborah Wiles

    It’s 1964, and Sunny’s town is being invaded. Or at least that’s what the adults of Greenwood, Mississippi, are saying. All Sunny knows is that people from up north are coming to help people register to vote. They’re calling it Freedom Summer. Meanwhile, Sunny can’t help but feel like her house is being invaded, too. She has a new stepmother, a new brother, and a new sister crowding her life, giving her little room to breathe. And things get even trickier when Sunny and her brother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool — where they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The first thing we do, me and Gillette, is make sure everybody is asleep. Daddy and Annabelle (I still can’t call her Mama) go to bed after watching the Lawrence Welk show on television. Parnell will be home at midnight, after he sweeps the floors and locks the doors on the corner of Fulton and West Washington Streets. Little Audrey-champion sleeper- has been snoring for hours, so we don’t worry about her.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsParanoia (Book II of the Night Walkers), J.R Johansson

    In the aftermath of the events that nearly killed him, Parker Chipp is trying to learn to cope better with life as a Watcher. And it seems to be working…until he wakes up in jail with a hangover and 12 hours of missing time. Darkness has somehow taken control and Parker doesn’t have a clue how to stop him. He finds an unlikely ally in Jack, the mysterious guy in the motorcycle jacket who offers to help Parker master his abilities as a Watcher. But even as they practice, the darkness inside Parker is getting more and more powerful, taking over Parker’s body and doing everything he can to destroy Parker’s life. When Jack reveals that there is another kind of Night Walker, known as a Taker, Parker starts to wonder if the strange things happening in Oakville are more than just a coincidence. After all, people are more than just sleepwalking. They’re emptying their savings accounts with no memory of doing so, wandering into strange parts of town and disappearing, they’re even killing other people–all in their sleep. If Parker wants to find out what’s happening or have any hope of seeing his father again, he’ll have to defy Jack and put his own life in danger…because the more he learns about these other Night Walkers, the more certain he becomes that his life isn’t the only one that could be lost. (Goodreads)

    First lines:Weird stuff was going down in Oakville, and this time I was definitely – well, fairly – sure that I had nothing to do with it. The Sunday morning news headline on the muted television above the kitchen counter read: Another mysterious withdrawal.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFiendish, Brenna Yovanoff

    When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged. (Goodreads)

    First lines: When I was little, everything twinkled. Trees and clouds all seemed to shine around the edges. At night, the stars were long tails of light, smeared across the sky like paint. The whole county glowed.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBlind, Rachel De Woskin

    Imagine this: You are fourteen, watching the fireworks at a 4th of July party, when a rocket backfires into the crowd and strikes your eyes, leaving you blind. In that instant, your life is changed forever. How do you face a future in which all your expectations must be different? You will never see the face of your newborn sister, never learn to drive. Will you ever have a job or fall in love? This is Emma’s story. The drama is in her manysmall victories as she returns to high school in her home town and struggles to define herself and make sense of her life, determined not to be dismissed as a PBK – Poor Blind Kid. This heartfelt and heart wrenching story takes you on Emma’s journey and leaves you with a new understanding of the challenges to be faced when life deals a devastating blow. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Going blind is a bit like growing up. Maybe because the older you get, the more you have to close your eyes partway. From the time I was tiny, if I thought the words, When I die, I’ll be dead forever, I could actually understand, in my bone marrow, what forever meant.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe truth against the world, Sarah Jamila Stevenson

    When Olwen Nia Evans learns that her family is moving from San Francisco to Wales to fulfill her great-grandmother’s dying wish, she starts having strange and vivid dreams about her family’s past. But nothing she sees in her dreams of the old country–the people, the places–makes any sense. Could it all be the result of an overactive imagination . . . or could everything she’s been told about her ancestors be a lie?Once in Wales, she meets Gareth Lewis, a boy plagued by dreams of his own–visions he can’t shake after meeting a ghost among the misty cairns along the Welsh seaside. A ghost named Olwen Nia Evans.

    First lines: “Right over there, behind the old church.” Gareth’s mother pointed. “You used to love rolling down that hill. Over and over until you got dizzy.” She laughed, the wind blowing her pale hair out of its ponytail and whipping it around. Gareth glanced up from his phone. The hill looked a lot smaller than it had seemed in his memory.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe fire wish, Amber Lough

    Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The earth and all her layers sped past while I traveled to the surface. I was smoke and flame, swirling through granite, through shale and sand. It took only a moment, then I emerged, myself again.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMayday, Jonathan Friesen

    Seventeen-year-old Crow will stop at nothing to protect her younger sister—even if it costs her her own life. But then she’s given a chance to come back and make things right. There are a few catches, though. First, she won’t come back as herself. And before she can set things straight, she’ll have to figure out what’s what—and things aren’t exactly as clear-cut as she remembered.
    (Goodreads)

    First lines: Let’s start with where I’m not. I’m not in dark tunnel walking toward a bright light. I’m not drifting toward heaven, looking down on my body. I’m seated in the front of an amubulance -alone- waiting. I’me not sure if this is a normal rest stop before the long trip; I’ve never died before.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStarbreak, Phoebe North

    The Asherah has finally reached Zehava, the long-promised planet. There, Terra finds harsh conditions and a familiar foe—Aleksandra Wolff, leader of her ship’s rebel forces. Terra and Aleksandra first lock horns with each other . . . but soon realize they face a much more dangerous enemy in violent alien beasts—and alien hunters.
    Then Terra finally discovers Vadix. The boy who has haunted her dreams may be their key to survival—but his own dark past has yet to be revealed. And when Aleksandra gets humanity expelled from the planet, it’s up to Terra, with Vadix by her side, to unite her people—and to forge an alliance with the alien hosts, who want nothing more than to see humanity gone forever.
    (Goodreads)

    First lines: I’ve never kept a journal before. Never thought about it. It’s not how my brain works, not really. I see colours, the way shadows mingle with light. But words? I could take them or leave them, or so I always thought. One of my ancestors kept a journal. All about how she arrived on the Asherah, how she came to live inside the dome. How she hated it there. She thought she was trapped in the deepness of space. She could never forget it- how her freedoms had been taken from her, one by one, by the High Council.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI’m just me, M.G Higgins

    Nasreen and Mia are two very different girls. But they stand out at Arondale High. And kids make assumptions about the only Muslim and the new black girl–the only African American–in school. “Who let you into the suburbs?” Samantha asks. Everyone gawks. Nasreen has kept her head down for years. Eighteen months and she’s out, she tells herself. Off to college. Mia is bold. Yeah, she wishes she were somewhere else, but she’s not going to take the bullying lying down. She has to live her life. Graduate. Get into a good school. The school administrators are ignorant. And worse. The bullying escalates. Both at school and online. The girls come up with a plan to fight back. To regain some dignity. To turn the tables on the bullies. (Goodreads)

    First lines: I knock on my brother’s door. His rap music is so loud, I’m sure he can’t hear me. I pound louder. “Jaffar! Open up!”
    The volume goes down. He opens his door a crack and glares at me.
    “What?”
    I clear my throat. He never lets me forget he’s older than me.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEvil librarian, Michelle Knudsen

    When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body!

    First lines: Italian class. The shining highlight of my Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Not because I am any good at Italian (I’m not), or because I like the teacher (I don’t.) It’s because Ryan Halsey sits one row over and two rows up from where I sit, which is absolutely perfect for forty-five minutes of semi-shameless staring.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEden, Joanna Nadin

    After her cousin Bea is killed in a house fire, Evie returns to her childhood home of Eden, full of guilt for what might have been. She is not the only one seeking redemption. Bea’s boyfriend, Penn, arrives in Cornwall, desperate to atone for a terrible mistake. And as Penn and Evie’s feelings for each other intensify, Evie slowly unravels the dark truth behind Bea’s tragic death.

    First lines: I still dream of Eden. Not the burnt, broken shell it is now, now even the sweating, stifling coffin it became that last summer, when it was shrouded in dust sheets, awaiting burial like a corpse. No, the Eden in my mind if the one from my childhood, when my entire world was contained within it’s cool, granite walls and high hedges, and my imagination played out on its velvet lawns and in the creeping dampness of the woods.

    Non fiction

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBrown girl dreaming, Jaqueline Woodson

    Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become. (Goodreads)

    First lines: I am born on a Tuesday at University Hospital
    Columbus, Ohio
    USA
    a country caught
    between Black and White


  • Books, Comedy, dystopia, Fantasy, GLBT, Mysteries, Nicola

    New Fiction

    11.09.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Fiction

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDonnel’s Promise, Anna Mackenzie

    “When Risha takes up her mother’s throne there is celebration — for some. In the murky world of politics, how can you know who to trust, when to fight, when to run? As war between the Five Duchies threatens everyone Risha loves, the hidden truth of Cattra’s legacy is revealed — but for Risha there is no time to learn to use her arcane talent, even less to save those sacrificed in her name.” (Goodreads)

    First lines: From a scarp of rock high on the slope above the citadel, Rosha gazed north. A spine of mountains steered her vision inland, across the hills and plains of LeMarc, the Elswater Sound a blue bite at the juncture of land and sea. Beyond that the distance defeated her.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe kiss of deception, Mary E. Pearson

    “A princess must find her place in a reborn world.
    She flees on her wedding day.
    She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.
    She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.
    She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.
    The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.
    Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.” (Goodreads)

    First lines: Journey’s end. The promise. The hope. Tell me again, Ama. About the light. I search my memories. A dream. A story. A blurred remembrance. I was smaller than you, child. The line between truth and sustenance unravels. The need. The hope. My own grandmother telling stories to fill me because there was nothing more.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe war of the four isles, Andrew McGahn

    “Nearly three years have passed since Dow Amber escaped the ruin of the Twelfth Kingdom. In that time, war has raged across the Four Isles, but Dow himself has been hidden away by his Twin Islands hosts, relegated to a backwater of the war in the company of the beguiling Cassandra. But when word reaches Dow that Ignella of the Cave has been imprisoned on the infamous Ship Kings dungeon-isle of Banishment, he can be patient no longer. He sets forth on an epic voyage that will take him halfway around the world — defying storm and monster, betrayal and despair — to the heart of the greatest battle of the age, and to the discovery at last of his true purpose upon the high seas.” (Syndetics summary)

    First lines: The War of the Four Isles – so called to set it apart from the Great War of eight decades earlier – was a complex and many-faceted affair, not easily summarised. But as this tale will mot join the war until the third year of the fighting, some account of the intervening years is required – and there not being the time nor space here to give that account in full, the merest summary must indeed suffice, and now follows.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSpark, Rachael Craw

    “Evie doesn’t have a choice. One day she’s an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer. The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death.” (Goodreads)

    First lines: The dream is always the same. I’m running through a forest at night, air like warm water, lapping at my skin, warming my lungs. Above me a canopy of branches filters the moonlight in black and white – a strobe effect exaggerating the feel of speed, the pumping of my arms and legs. I am strong. Powerful. Fearless.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPlaylist for a broken heart, Cathy Hopkins

    “When Paige finds an old mix CD in a local charity shop, she can’t help but wonder about the boy who made it and the girl he was thinking of when he chose the songs. The tracks tell the story of a boy looking for his perfect girl, a girl to understand him, a story of being alone, being let down, misunderstood and not knowing where to turn. Following the clues of the music, Paige sets out to find the mysterious boy, going from gig to gig and band to band, hoping to track him down. But will who she finds at the end of the trail, be the boy she’s imagined?” (Goodreads)

    First lines: “Here we go,” whispered Allegra.
    I held my breath and waited for Mr Collins, our drama teacher, to read out who had got parts in the end-of-year play. Everyone who’d auditioned standing near the wooden stage in the school hall. It smelt of beeswax and lavender from the polish used by the cleaners who’d started the evening clear-up behind us. Please, please let me get Juliet, I prayed.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThrough to you, Lauren Barnholt

    “It starts with a scribbled note in class: I like your sparkle. Harper had casually threaded a piece of blue and silver tinsel through her ponytail in honor of school spirit day. And that carefree, corny gesture is what grabs Penn Mattingly’s eye. Penn—resident heartbreaker of the senior class. Reliably unreliable. Trouble with a capital “T.”  Harper’s surprised by Penn’s attention—and so is Penn. The last thing he needs is a girlfriend. The note is not supposed to lead to anything. Oh, but it does. They hang out. They have fun. They talk. They make out. And after a while, it seems like they just click. But Penn and Harper have very different ideas about what relationships look like, in no small part because of their very different family backgrounds. Of course they could talk about these differences—if Penn knew how to talk about feelings. Harper and Penn understand their attraction is illogical, yet something keeps pulling them together. It’s like a crazy roller coaster—exhilarating, terrifying, and amazing all at once. And neither knows how to stop the ride…” (adapted from Goodreads)

    First lines: This is how it ends:
    With me crying in a bathroom and the Crowne Plaza Hotel, cursing myself for being so stupid. I knew it was wrong, I knew it wasn’t going to end well, I knew I was putting myself in a situation where I was going to end up broken hearted.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe boy’s own manual to being a proper Jew, Eli Glasman

    “Yossi, at seventeen, feels as though his homosexuality makes him less of a Jew. Living as he does in Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish community, he has a lot to hide. When non-religious rebel Josh turns up at school, Yossi is asked to look after him, and while Yossi educates Josh on the ancient traditions of their race, Josh does some educating of his own. Through their relationship, Yossi learns to see the laws of Judaism in a very new light. But when he and Josh are caught kissing in the bathhouse, Yossi’s life takes on a dramatic new turn, and he can ignore his new reality no longer.” (Goodreads)

    First lines: Reading an article online from one of New York’s Jewish newspapers, I found an advertisement offering a Jewish alternative to homosexuality. I followed the link and read through everything the website had to say. The administrator of the website was a guy named Rabbi Pilcer. It took me three weeks to get up the courage to send him an email asking if I could speak with him.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA blind spot for boys, Justina Chen

    “Sixteen-year-old Shana Wilde is officially on a Boy Moratorium. After a devastating breakup, she decides it’s time to end the plague of Mr. Wrong, Wrong, and More Wrong. Enter Quattro, the undeniably cute lacrosse player who slams into Shana one morning in Seattle. Sparks don’t just fly; they ignite. And so does Shana’s interest. Right as she’s about to rethink her ban on boys, she receives crushing news: Her dad is going blind. Quattro is quickly forgotten, and Shana and her parents vow to make the most of the time her father has left to see. So they travel to Machu Picchu, and as they begin their trek, they run into none other than Quattro himself. But even as the trip unites them, Quattro pulls away mysteriously…” (Goodreads)

    First lines: If you want to see the world with fresh eyes, haul yourself off to the Gum Wall in Pike Place Market. At least that’s what Dad said twelve years ago when he brought me to the brick was studded with spat-out, stretched-thin, and air hardened wads of gum.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsZom-B Clans, Darren Shan

    “B’s first mission with the Angels –sentient, do-gooder zombies– went horribly wrong when vicious members of the Ku Klux Klan attacked New Kirkham, a stronghold of precious human survivors. B is not about to let the racist thugs persecute innocent people, but while saving the town, one of B’s oldest friends is kidnapped by the Klan. The Angels are prepared to do what it takes to save him, but B will have to make some very hard decisions about loyalties–to old friends, to the Angels, and to new families and old.” (Goodreads)

    First lines: When Becky Smith’s racist father told her to throw an innocent black boy to a pack of zombies, she did it because she had spent her whole life obeying his orders. Instantly horrified by what she had done, she told her father he was a monster and cut herself off from him.

    Played, Liz Fichera

    “He said: I like to keep under the radar and mostly hang out with my friends from the rez. But when I saved Riley Berenger from falling off a mountain, that rich suburban princess decided to try to save me.
    She said: If I can help Sam Tracy win the heart of the girl he can’t get over, I’ll pay him back for helping me. I promised him I would, no matter what it takes.” (Goodreads)

    First lines: being the good daughter wasn’t easy. First there was the guilt that gnawed at my self-esteem like a leech whenever I didn’t live up to my parents’ expectations. That guilt could be triggered by the smallest of things. Like when I snapped at Mom before school because I was late and she didn’t appreciate my lipstick shade, and she looked back at me with wide eyes as if wondering whether I was her real daughter or an imposter from outer space.


  • Books, dystopia, Fantasy, Horror, New, New Zealand, Nicola, Sci Fi

    New books

    04.09.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Deadly Sky, David Hill

    It’s 1974, and a dark, cold New Zealand winter. So when Darryl’s mum announces she is going to the remote Pacific island of Mangareva for work, and she’s taking him with her, he is thrilled. But even as Darryl soaks up the warmth and peaceful beauty of French Polynesia, his holiday is darkened by violent anti-nuclear protests. Plus there’s Alicia, with her furious outbursts against all Pacific nuclear tests. Darryl knows she’s talking rubbish. What he doesn’t know is that when he boards Flight 766 to start flying home, his life and the lives of others will be changed forever. (Publisher’s website.)

    First lines: There were about ten ships. No, more than that. Twelve, fifteen, nearly twenty of them. Black silhouettes on the sea, too far away for Darryl to see properly, but he could pick the long guns of the battleship, the high sides and flat decks of aircraft carriers. Others lay around them, completely still, facing in all directions.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDragon shield, Charlie Fletcher

    Something dark has woken in the British Museum, and it has stopped time, literally freezing the city in its tracks. The people are there, but unmoving, unseeing – like statues. The statues, on the other hand, can move, and are astonished at what they see. In the Great Ormond Street Hospital, Will and Jo are suddenly plunged into this world of statues – and find themselves pursued by murderous dragons. With help from a couple of friendly statues, Will and Jo must escape the evil that stalks them in the streets of London. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The British Museum sprawls across 22 acres of London, with nearly 100 separate galleries stretching two and a half miles around it. Only a tiny fraction of the 8 million or so objects it contains are ever on display at one time. It’s not juts big; it’s vast, and stuffed with treasures. And secrets.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Unbound: an Archived novel, Victoria Schwab

    Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s really safe. Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels? (Goodreads)

    First lines: My body begs for sleep. I sit on the roof of the Coronado, and it pleads with me, begs me to climb down from my perch on the gargoyle’s broken shoulder, to creep back inside and the down the stairs and through the still-dark apartment into my bed – to sleep.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSinner, Maggie Stiefvater

    Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret — his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved? (Goodreads)

    First lines: I am a werewolf in L.A. You asked why I did it. Did what? -The whole thing, Cole. The everything. You mean the last five weeks. You mean me burning down your place of work. Getting kicked out of the only sushi restaurant you liked. Stretching your favourite leggings and then tearing them running away from the cops.
    You mean why I came back here.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe crystal heart, Sophie Masson

    When 17-year-old army conscript Kasper Bator is chosen to join the elite guard that keeps watch over a dangerous prisoner in a tower, he believes what he’s been told: the prisoner is a powerful witch. But when he meets the prisoner, Kasper’s life will change forever—for the prisoner is no witch, but a beautiful young girl. The daughter of the country’s enemy, the Prince of Night, Izolda has been held hostage since she was three. And she is in imminent danger, for a prophecy says she must die on her 16th birthday if Krainos is to be saved from the Prince of Night. Kasper decides to help her escape. As the days pass, their friendship turns into real love, but their hiding place won’t stay safe forever. (Goodreads)

    First lines: There was once a woddcutter’s son who was as brace as lion. His country was in danger and he knew he must answer the call. So one day he saddled his horse and set out along the winding road to…
    The world shattered in noisy pieces as I jerked awake, staring right into the furious face of Captain Gawel looming over me.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsJust call my name, Holly Goldberg Sloan

    Emily Bell has it all. She’s in love with a boy named Sam Border, and his little brother has become part of her family. This summer is destined to be the best time of their lives–until a charismatic new girl in town sets her sights on Sam. Now Emily finds herself questioning the loyalty of the person she thought she could trust most. But the biggest threat to her happiness is someone she never saw coming. Sam’s criminally insane father, whom everyone thought they’d finally left behind, is planning a jailbreak. And he knows exactly where to find Emily and his sons when he escapes…and takes his revenge. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The most life-changing events happen on the most ordinary days. I was normal that his mom wasn’t home. She was the one who worked, so he didn’t see her much during the week. When Sam walked through the front door, his little brother, Riddle, was in the playpen staring off at nothing as h chewed a hole in the yellow mush designed to keep a prisoner.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOpposition, Jennifer L. Armentrout

    Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came. She can’t believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.
    Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.
    War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Back in the day, I had this plan for the off chance that I was around for the whole end-of-the-world thing. It involved climbing up on my roof and blasting R.E.M’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” as loud as humanly possible, but real life rarely turns out that cool.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBreaking Point, Kristen Simmons

    After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.
    Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself. Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways. With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back? (Goodreads)

    First lines: The Wayland Inn was behind the slums, on the west end of Knoxville. It was a place that had festered since the War, buzzing with flies that bred in the clogged sewers, stinking of dirty river water brought in on the afternoon breeze. A place that attracted those who thrived in the shadows. People you had to seek to find.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe healer’s apprentice, Melanie Dickerson

    Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter’s daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.
    When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she’s never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose’s life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The townspeople of Hagenheim craned their necks as they peered down the cobblestone street, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Duke of Hagenheim’s two handsome sons. The top-heavy, half-timbered houses hovered above the crowd as if they too were eager to get a peek at Lord Hamlin and Lord Rupert.

    Graphic novels:

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCourtney Crumin #5: The witch next door, Ted Naifeh

    Holly Hart is new to Hillsborough and witchcraft. When her family moves in next to Courtney, the two girls quickly become friends. But as Courtney watches Holly making the same mistakes she once made, she begins to have second thoughts about teaching the girl magic. And when Holly sees the aftermath of the other children’s “adventures” with Courtney, her suspicions cause her to make a dangerous decision. (Goodreads)

    Non fiction

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInside the Maze Runner: the guide to the Glade, Veronica Deets

    The first book in James Dashner’s New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series is soon to be a major motion picture. Featuring the star of MTV’s Teen Wolf, Dylan O’Brien; Kaya Scodelario; Aml Ameen; Will Poulter; and Thomas Brodie-Sangster, the movie will be in theaters September 19, 2014. The Maze Runner is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.
    Explore the Glade and uncover the secrets to the Maze in the ultimate Maze Runner movie companion book. This action-packed volume features more than 100 thrilling full-color photographs, up-close profiles of the Gladers, and details about the Glade, the Maze, and more! A must-have for fans of the Maze Runner series, who’ll want to learn all they can before The Maze Runner movie hits theaters on September, 19, 2014. (Goodreads)


  • dystopia, Fantasy, Great Reads, New, Nicola

    New fiction

    12.06.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on New fiction

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Mark of the Dragonfly, Jaleigh Johnson (386 pages)Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. The girl doesn’t remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she’s from the Dragonfly Territories and that she’s protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home. The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect–everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Micah brought the music box to her on the night of the meteor storm. Piper never slept on these nights, when debris from other worlds feel from the sky. Restlessness kept her awake in bed, staring at the slanted ceiling of her tiny house.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe ring and the crown, Melissa De La Cruz (372 pages)Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?
    Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard. Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one. (Goodreads)

    First lines: In 1429, the English army and its formidable magicians were led to victory by their Merlin, Emrys Myrddyn, defeating Charles VI of France and his dark Witch, Jeanne of Arkk. Henry VI was crowned King of England and France. Since the fifteenth century, the sun has never set on the Franco-British Empire.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAfterlife: Book 3 in the Parallon series, Dee Shulman (427 pages)Eva is on the brink of death. Ripped from her own world she’s woken in another, only to discover the devastating truth about the lethal fever she’s been fighting – and the enemy that’s chased her and Seth through time. Now the reckless twenty-first century girl and the fearless Roman gladiator must face the final battle. But it’s not just their love at stake; the fate of the universe is in their hands. (Goodreads)

    First lines: “No!” Zackary stared at the cage in horror. How could this be happening to him now? He thought he’d finally cracked this thing. In fact he was so sure this time that he’d virtually written his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. So what the hell was happening to that rat? It was definitely sick.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBurn: Book 3 of the Pure trilogy, Julianna Baggot (418 pages)Inside the Dome, Patridge has taken his father’s place as leader of the Pures. His struggle has led him here, intent upon bringing down the Dome from the inside, with the help of a secret resistance force. But things are not as simple from his new position of power and he finds himself tempted by his father’s words: perhaps if the world is to survive it needs the Dome – and Partridge – to rule it…As Partridge’s resolve weakens, Pressia and Bradwell continue piecing together the clues left to them from the time before the Detonations. It is their hope that they will be able to heal the Wretches, and free them from their monstrous fusings and the Dome’s oppression once and for all. But everything depends, too, on Partridge. Separated by distance and history, can they still trust their friend and ally? Or is the world doomed to an eternity of war and hardship?

    First lines: He knows the ending. He can see it almost as clearly as he saw the beginning.
    “Start there,” he whispers into the wind. His wings are bulky. The quills ruffle; some drag behind him. He has to tighten his wings against the wind as he walks through the stubble fields toward the stone cliff. He wants to go backward, to tunnel and dig to the little boy he once was.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFat Boy vs. the cheerleaders, Geoff Herbach (311 pages)When the high school cheerleading team takes over a soda vending machine’s funds, which were previously collected by the pep band, Gabe Johnson, an overweight “band geek” tired of being called names and looked down on, declares war. (Publisher’s summary)

    First lines: Ripping off the pop machine last night wasn’t meant to be funny. It was my duty to all the geeks, burners and oddballs in the school because that machine sucks. Robbing it was serious business, okay? Why are you laughing, Mr. Rodriguez?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWe were liars, e. Lockhart (225 pages)A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family. No one is a criminal. No one is an addict. No one is a failure. The Sinclairs are athletic, tall and handsome. We are old-money Democrats. Our smiles are wide, our chins square, and our tennis serves aggressive.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFree to fall, Lauren Miller (469 pages) Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results. Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school. Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore — a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming. (Goodreads)

    First lines: It came in a plain white envelope, which made both more and less of its significance. More, because their decision was printed in ink, on thick cotton paper, which felt a little like they’d carved it in stone. Less, because there was nothing about that nondescript rectangle to imply there was life-changing information inside.


  • Books, dystopia, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Great Reads, Mysteries, New, Nicola

    New books and graphic novels

    23.05.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books and graphic novels

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGrandmaster, David Klass (226 pages) Freshman Daniel Pratzer gets a chance to prove himself when the chess team invites him and his father to a weekend-long parent-child tournament. Daniel, thinking that his father is a novice, can’t understand why his teammates want so badly for them to participate. Then he finds out the truth: as a teen, his father was one of the most promising young players in America, but the pressures of the game pushed him too far, and he had to give up chess to save his own life and sanity. Now, thirty years later, Mr. Pratzer returns to the game to face down an old competitor and the same dark demons that lurk in the corners of a mind stretched by the demands of the game. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Chess club was done for the day, and so was eye. I had played three games that afternoon, two of which I’d managed to lose in the first fifteen moves. I tried to remind myself that I had just taken up the game six months ago and was still leanring the basics, but there were times when I wanted to heave the nearest chess set out the window and never touch another rook or pawn again.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBroken Strings, Maria Farrer (423 pages)Jess, a talented 17-year-old violinist, suffers from stage-fright as she auditions for a place at a prestigious music school. Her family do not have enough money for her to continue to study so when she fails, she vows not to play again. Until her wealthy grandmother – estranged from her family since Jess’s mother fell pregnant – shows up at their doorstep and promises six months of tuition in exchange for Jess moving to live with her. Once ensconced in her grandmother’s rich, but empty, life she starts to uncover the mystery of why her grandmother never spoke to her mother again, and the secret which tore her family apart. (Goodreads)

    First lines: I slump back in my chair, push the table leg with the bottom of my shoe. It grates across the floor and puts my teeth on edge. My heard’s hurting; pounding between my eyes. I shudder-full of hope, full of dread.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhat we did for love, Natasha Farrat (205 pages)Arianne knew Luc before he went away, of course she did. Everyone in Samaroux knows each other. When he returns after five years, the spark between them reignites and becomes something more. But will the war let them be together? As the two teens fall deeply in love, their world starts to crumble around them. German forces, reeling from defeats in the east, are closing in, and Luc, desperate to atone for his family’s past, wants to join the resistance. Arianne will do anything to keep him safe. But in such a small village, Luc is not alone in his love for Arianne. And Luc’s rival just might be a traitor. How far will they go to protect what they believe in? And what will they do for love?(Goodreads)

    First lines: I should leave. I want to- I think- but it’s so difficult. I love it here. There’s the lake, look, surrounded by trees. And there’s the river going into it, where we used to swin because the lake is so muddy, and there’s the road curving around the hill uptowards the village. It’s so peaceful.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDead and buried, Anne Cassidy (328 pages)It’s been five years since Rose’s mother Kathy went missing and, after recent events, all Rose wants to do is get on with her life. Which means taking a break from her complicated stepbrother, Joshua. Then police officer Henry Thompson comes calling with bad news: a body has been found buried in the garden of Rose’s old house. A body that has lain undiscovered for five years. The body of a missing teenage girl. With Kathy and Brendan implicated in her death, Rose and Joshua have one last chance to clear their parents’ names. But if they fail, the consequences will be deadly . . .(Goodreads)

    First lines: Now, when Rose thought of her mother, the word killer came into her head. It conjured up pictures sje did not want to see, sounds that she did not want to hear. It was better not to think of her at all.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGraffiti Knight, Karen Bass (282 pages)After a childhood cut short by war and the harsh strictures of Nazi Germany, sixteen-year-old Wilm is finally tasting freedom. In spite of the scars World War II has left on his hometown, Leipzig, and in spite of the oppressive new Soviet regime, Wilm is finding his own voice. It’s dangerous, of course, to be sneaking out at night to leave messages on police buildings. But it’s exciting, too, and Wilm feels justified, considering his family’s suffering. Until one mission goes too far, and Wilm finds he’s endangered the very people he most wants to protect.(Goodreads)

    First lines: The broken windows of the building to the right watched our progress with the hollow stare of someone defeated and beyond caring.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsYear of mistaken discoveries, Ellen Cook (257 pages)As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared;they were both adopted. Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact…until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it’s urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom, but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party. Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora’s loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora’s who is also looking for a way to respect Nora’s legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she’;s really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics.(Goodreads)

    First lines: It was clear that beer didn’t make my boyfriend a deep thinker.
    “I never thought about it before, but Jesus was adopted.” Colton nodded slowly, as if realizing something very profound. Or he didn’t want to move too quickly in case he got the spins.
    “Joseph was, like, his stepdad.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSpirit of a mountain wolf, Rosanne Hawke (205 pages)Fourteen-year-old Razaq Khan lives in the Pakistani tribal area of Kala Dhaka, Black Mountain. When an earthquake devastates his family home, Razaqs dying father tells him to travel to his uncle Javaid. A man preying on orphans lures Razaq to the city with the promise of finding his uncle. But it is not long before Razaq realizes he has not been helped at allhe has been sold in to slavery. Losing hope while in captivity, Razaq meets Tahira, a young girl suffering just like him.(Goodreads)

    First lines: Abdur-Razaq Nadeem felt the rumble in the earth- like a truck rushing underground. Then, an eerie heaviness, a sound almost, but there were no words to describe it -like a mourning song with no music.

    Graphic novels:

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCity in the desert: the serpent crown, Moro Rogers (149 pages) Monster hunter Irro is perhaps the only person in Kevala making a good living. The city pays him and his tailed assistant, Hari, a bounty for each monster carcass they bring in. But one day a religious sect called The Way of the Sacred Peace comes to Kevala to solve the monster problem by capping the city’s Spirit Fountain. Out of a job with all the monsters gone, Irro and Hari are determined to prove that there is a more sinister plot behind the Sacred Peace’s plan. Irro and Hari leave the walls of Kevala to seek new lives elsewhere. However, when the Crown Serpent of Kevala tracks them down and informs them that the evils of the Sacred Peace have spread far beyond Kevala’s borders, our heroes decide to return and save the city they love. Before they can do that, though, they must journey across the wastelands to the prison of the Monster King, and release him in exchange for his help. (Goodreads)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWill o’ the Wisp, Tom Hammock and Megan Hutchison (214 pages)After her parents’ accidental death by mushroom poisoning, young Aurora Grimeon is sent to live with her estranged grandfather on Ossuary Isle, deep in the southern swamps. Joined by her grandfather’s pet raccoon Missy, Aurora explores the fog-covered island of graves. Along the way she meets its sinister residents who care for the tombstones and mausoleums, living out their lives by the strange rules of Hoodoo magic. When ghostly things start happening out in the swamp and island residents start disappearing, Aurora thrusts herself into the middle of the mystery, uncovering secrets that might be better left buried.(Goodreads)


  • Fantasy, Great Reads, Mysteries, Nicola, Sci Fi

    Best New Fantasy and Science Fiction

    27.02.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Best New Fantasy and Science Fiction

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBloodsong, Melvin Burgess (355 pages)Sigurd has a fabulous but frightening future predicted: even to start, he must leave everything he knows to go and fight a dragon, and from there descend into the Underworld. Sounds bad enough, but when you know that the dragon lives on a futuristic, industrially-ruined moonscape that was once Hampstead Heath, the scene is set for a staggeringly brutal fight on an epic scale. Unhappily for him, he meets the love of his life in the underworld, and Sigurd’s efforts to rescue his lover will cause huge heartache and grief for both of them, and also for everyone who ever meets them. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Regin said, “It’s time.” He smacked his lips. An old guy like him, it’s all he can talk about. Adventure! And all the time there he is scowling away like it was a problem with the carburettor. “A monster, Sigurd. A real live un. It’s perfect. ” He licked his face like it was dipped in gravy.

    Book Cover courtesy of SyndeticsOverpowered, Mark H. Kruger (423 pages) Nica Ashley is accustomed to traveling the globe with her journalist mother, so when she gets sent to live in a small town with the father she barely knows, she’s in for a bit of a culture shock. Barrington prides itself on being a sleepy, family community with the lowest crime rates in the state of Colorado. There’s even a private security force run by Barrington Technology (BarTech) and a nightly curfew for all residents.On Nica’s first day at school, she meets Jackson Winters and finds out he went from school superstar to living ghost after his girlfriend disappeared a few months ago. When Nica follows him out after curfew one night, they both witness a mysterious green flash-and the next morning the power has gone out and all the birds are dead. But secrets are well and alive, and as Nica and some of her friends discover they now have abilities best described as “super,” they also realize that Barrington might not be so safe. And that BarTech is looking for them.(Goodreads)

    First lines: It all started with a stupid sandwich. Chicken curry and spinach stuffed inside a homemade pita pocket. I found it one Friday Morning in my backpack when I was getting ready for school. Neatly wrapped inside a neon-green plastic bag, one of those flimsy sacks used by the local Bangkok markets, along with a handwrittem note, which tumbled out: “Nica: remember to recycle!”

    Book Cover courtesy of SyndeticsUnhinged, A. G Howard, (387 pages) Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head. (Goodreads)

    First lines: My art teacher says that a real artist bleeds for her craft, but he never told us that blood can become your medium, can take on a life of its own and shape your art is vile and gruesome ways.

    Book cover couresty of SyndeticsSky Run, Alex Shearer (277 pages) In a world where islands float above the sun and Cloud Hunters sail the skies for water, orphans Gemma and Martin live with their 120-year-old great, great, grand aunt Peggy and the sky-cat Botcher on a remote rock miles from civilisation. When Peggy decides they should visit City Island to register at school, the group embarks on a trip that will take them through uncharted territories, navigating a very dangerous sky. Encountering cloud pirates, sky rats and an axe murdering motel owner, Gemma and Martin must learn to fend for themselves, and fight for what’s right in a perilous world.
    (Goodreads)

    First lines: I was one hundred and twenty years old last birthday. Which is a good age in some places, although it’s not so much around here. But it’s no time of life to be looking after teenagers. I can tell you that.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsUncrashable Dakota, Andy Marin (309 pages)In 1862, Union army infantryman Samuel Dakota changed history when he spilled a bottle of pilfered moonshine in the Virginia dirt and stumbled upon the biochemical secret of flight. Not only did the Civil War come to a much quicker close, but Dakota Aeronautics was born.Now, in Andy Marino’s Uncrashable Dakota, it is 1912, and the titanic Dakota flagship embarks on its maiden flight. But shortly after the journey begins, the airship is hijacked. Fighting to save the ship, the young heir of the Dakota empire, Hollis, along with his brilliant friend Delia and his stepbrother, Rob, are plunged into the midst of a long-simmering family feud. Maybe Samuel’s final secret wasn’t just the tinkering of a madman after all. . . .What sinister betrayals and strange discoveries await Hollis and his friends in the gilded corridors and opulent staterooms? Who can be trusted to keep the most magnificent airship the world has ever known from falling out of the sky?(Goodreads)

    First lines: Hollis Dakota was ten years old when his parents took him to the shipyard that sprawled like a bucket of as across the river from New York City. His family owned the shipyard, but Hollis had never been there, because he lived in the sky.

    Book cover courtesy of  SyndeticsThe Lazarus Machine, Paul Crilley (261 pages) An alternate 1895… a world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference engine. Where steam and tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.But all is not well…A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. as the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.Professor Moriarty.When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Tonight, seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed was going to be the voice of a fifty-year-old woman. More specifically, he was going to be the voice of Mrs. henrietta Shaw-missing and presumed dead for over a year now.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsConquest, John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard (407 pages)Earth is no longer ours. . . .It is ruled by the Illyri, a beautiful, civilized, yet ruthless alien species. But humankind has not given up the fight, and Paul Kerr is one of a new generation of young Resistance leaders waging war on the invaders. Syl Hellais is the first of the Illyri to be born on Earth. Trapped inside the walls of her father’s stronghold, hated by the humans, she longs to escape. But on her sixteenth birthday, Syl’s life is about to change forever. She will become an outcast, an enemy of her people, for daring to save the life of one human: Paul Kerr. Only together do they have a chance of saving each other, and the planet they both call home. For there is a greater darkness behind the Illyri conquest of Earth, and the real invasion has not yet even begun. . .(Goodreads)

    First lines: In the beginning was the wormhole. It bloomed like a strange flower at the edge of the solar system, dwarfing Pluto in size and majesty. It was beautifal: theory become real. One it was discovered, the eyes of the Earth turned upon it, and the space telescope Walton eas redirected to examine it more closely. Within days, images were being sent back to Earth.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAlliance, Mark Frost (338 pages) After exposing the sinister underground society of students known as the Knights of Charlemagne, Will West stays at the Center over the summer to explore his newly developing physical and mental abilities. Meanwhile, his roommates investigate the Knights’ shadowy purpose and discover unsettling information about their own backgrounds. Will and his friends must quickly figure out what’s going on and separate friend from foe as they prepare for the coming fight. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Lyle Ogilvy had trouble staying dead. During the past seven months, the medical staff had given up on him half a dozen times, only to realise that he was a xase for which they could find no precedent in the history of medicine. They finally had to admit that the question Is he dead or alive? had them baffled.

    These Broken stars, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, (374 pages)It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
    (Goodreads)

    First lines: Nothing about this room is real. If this were a party at home, the music would draw your eye to human musicians in the corner. Candles and soft lamps would light the room, and the wooden tables would be made of actual trees. People would be listening to each other instead of checking to see who’s watching them.


  • Books, Grimm, New

    Upcoming Fiction

    20.02.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Upcoming Fiction

    While We Run, Karen Healey (May/June) – “Abdi Taalib thought he was moving to Australia for a music scholarship. But after meeting the beautiful and brazen Tegan Oglietti, his world was turned upside down. Tegan’s no ordinary girl – she died in 2027, only to be frozen and brought back to life in Abdi’s time, 100 years later. Now, all they want is for things to return to normal (or as normal as they can be), but the government has other ideas. Especially since the two just spilled the secrets behind Australia’s cryonics project to the world. On the run, Abdi and Tegan have no idea who they can trust – and, when they uncover startling new details about the program, they realize that thousands of lives may be in their hands.” (goodreads.com) We’re excited to see a new book by Karen Healey! And the sequel to When We Wake, too!

    Guy in Real Life, Steven Brezenoff (May) – “It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again. But they don’t.” (goodreads.com) They say this is a bit like Rainbow Rowell and John Green; the cover looks like this could be so.

    Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders, Geoff Herbach (May) – “It’s geeks versus jocks in an epic battle of the beverages! From ‘one of the most real, honest, and still funny male voices to come around in a while’ (YALSA) comes a brand-new cast of quirky characters, pitting fat boy Gabe against the high school cheerleading team in a battle over control of the school’s soda machine. The war is ON! Never have the stakes been so high. Never have the trenches been so deep. Never has one soda vending machine been so vital. When the high school cheerleading team takes over the machine’s funds previously collected by the pep band, Gabe will not stand for it. Something must be done.” (goodreads.com)

    #scandal, Sarah Ockler (June) – When Lucy’s best friend Ellie gets sick just before prom she (Lucy) agrees to be Ellie’s boyfriend Cole’s date. Which is great, until Cole romantically kisses Lucy under the stars. Lucy’s been in love with Cole for ages, and Lucy knows she’s going to have to tell Ellie about it, but before she can, compromising photos magically appear all over her Facebook profile. Lucy’s public enemy number one, and she needs to find out who her fb hacker is. And what of Cole?


  • Books, Grimm, New

    Recently ordered by us

    15.01.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Recently ordered by us

    A historical fantasy, a contemporary fantasy, and two romances.

    The Story of Owen, dragon slayer of Trondheim, E. K. Johnston (March) – This is getting great reviews by people saying it’s awesome, and like any great hero, Owen has a bard: “Listen! For I sing of Owen Thorskard: valiant of heart, hopeless at algebra, last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers. Though he had few years and was not built for football, he stood between the town of Trondheim and creatures that threatened its survival. There have always been dragons. As far back as history is told, men and women have fought them, loyally defending their villages. Dragon slaying was a proud tradition. But dragons and humans have one thing in common: an insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. From the moment Henry Ford hired his first dragon slayer, no small town was safe. Dragon slayers flocked to cities, leaving more remote areas unprotected. Such was Trondheim’s fate until Owen Thorskard arrived. At sixteen, with dragons advancing and his grades plummeting, Owen faced impossible odds armed only with a sword, his legacy, and the classmate who agreed to be his bard. Listen! I am Siobhan McQuaid. I alone know the story of Owen, the story that changes everything. Listen!” (goodreads.com)

    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han (April) – the new novel by the popular author of The Summer I Turned Pretty. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.” (goodreads.com) This sounds horrifying to me! If you do this, maybe don’t address the letters.

    The Geography of You and Me, Jennifer E. Smith (April) – the latest from the queen of chance encounters (e.g. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight). “Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father. Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and – finally – a reunion in the city where they first met.” (goodreads.com)

    The Ring and the Crown, Melissa de la Cruz (April) – “Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve? Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard. Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of – the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only one rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.” (goodreads.com)


  • Books, Grimm, New

    Upcoming Books: 2014 Edition

    16.10.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Upcoming Books: 2014 Edition

    As it’s October, we’ve started ordering things that are going to be published next year. Here’s a small selection so far, and we’ll let you know when anything else rather interesting comes up also!

    Panic, Lauren Oliver (March 2014) – the new book by the author of the Delirium trilogy. Some people think the plot sounds familiar. We shall see. “Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought. Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for. For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them – and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.” (goodreads.com)

    Into the Still Blue, Veronica Rossi (January/February 2014) – This is the conclusion to the trilogy that started with Under the Never Sky. “Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it’s time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world. The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do – and they are just as determined to stay together. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won’t even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost. Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.” (goodreads.com)

    Cress, Marissa Meyer (February 2014) – the third in the Lunar Chronicles. “Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker – unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.” (goodreads.com)

    Heartbeat, Elizabeth Scott (January/February 2014) – “Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with. But Emma can’t tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her. Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn’t have interested Old Emma. But New Emma – the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia – New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?” (goodreads.com)


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