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  • Books, Lists, Rachel, Top 10

    Top 10: How to…

    23.09.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Top 10: How to…

    This week we’re going to learn a few things. Such as: how to sell toothpaste, how to steal a car (maybe not) and how to be a vampire. Wait, what?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow to sell toothpaste, Leonie Thorpe

    Dom has left school and is about to launch into the real world. All his friends have their futures mapped out, but Dom is distinctly lukewarm about the prospect of doing a degree in science. Before he has to commit, however, there is the holiday job painting his dad’s offices. Dad is an award-winning creative in an ad firm, with possibly his greater success being his ability to look younger, and way, way cooler, than his 17-year-old son. Annoyed that his dad has beaten him to the stud earring, the bicep tatt, and the wardrobe, Dom decides to take on his dad on his own turf, an ad campaign. How hard can it be?” (Syndetics)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow to steal a car, Pete Hautman

    Fifteen-year-old, suburban high school student Kelleigh, who has her learner’s permit, recounts how she began stealing cars one summer, for reasons that seem unclear even to her.” (Syndetics)

     

     

     

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow to ruin a summer vacation, Simone Elkeles

    “Going to Israel with her estranged Israeli father is the last thing Amy wants to do this summer. She’s got a serious grudge against her dad for showing up so rarely in her life. Now he’s dragging her to a war zone to meet a family she’s never known, where she’ll probably be drafted into the army. At the very least, she’ll be stuck in a house with no AC and only one bathroom for seven people all summer-no best friend, no boyfriend, no shopping, no cell phone… Goodbye pride, hello Israel.” (Syndetics)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow to (un)cage a girl, Francesca Lia Block

    A celebration of girls and women in a three part poetry collection that is powerful, hopeful, authentic, and universal.” (Syndetics)

     

     

     

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow to say goodbye in robot, Natalie Standiford

    New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn’t made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It’s not romance, exactly – but it’s definitely love. Still, Bea can’t quite dispel Jonah’s gloom and doom – and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? Or is he destined to vanish?” (Syndetics)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow to ditch your fairy, Justine Larbalestier

    In a world in which everyone has a personal fairy who tends to one aspect of daily life, fourteen-year-old Charlie decides she does not want hers–a parking fairy–and embarks on a series of misadventures designed to rid herself of the invisible sprite and replace it with a better one, like her friend Rochelle’s shopping fairy.” (Syndetics)

     

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow to save a life, Sara Zarr (also available as book on CD)

    “Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she’s been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends–everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she’s somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one. Mandy Kalinowski understands what it’s like to grow up unwanted–to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she’s sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It’s harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too? As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy–or as difficult–as it seems.” (Syndetics)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow to be popular : when you’re a social reject like me, Steph L, Meg Cabot

    “Steph Landry’s been top of her school’s unpopularity list ever since she spilt her red Super Big Gulp all over It Girl Lauren Moffat’s white D&G mini-skirt. But now Steph’s got a secret weapon – an ancient book, HOW TO BE POPULAR, which her soon-to-be step-grandmother once used to break into her A-crowd. All Steph has to do is follow the instructions in The Book and wait for the partying begin. But as Steph’s about to discover, it’s easy to become popular – it’s less easy staying that way!” (Syndetics)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow to be a vampire : a fangs-on guide for the newly undead, Amy Gray

    “For those who join the decadent realm of the vampire, eternal life holds juicy perks–charm and strength, shape-shifting and flying, telepathy and super-powered senses. “How to Be a Vampire” is a comprehensive guide to the vampire lifestyle that quenches newcomers’ thirst for lore–and tasteful tips.” (Syndetics)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow to take the ex out of ex-boyfriend, Janette Rallison

    Sixteen-year-old Giovanna Petrizzo finds it hard enough to fit in. Three years since her family moved to Texas, she’s still the newcomer. It doesn’t help matters when her twin brother, Dante, takes on the mayor’s son by running for class president. The least she could expect, though, would be for her boyfriend, Jesse, to support their cause. But Jesse’s apparent defection triggers Giovanna’s rash emotional side, and before she knows it, she’s turned Jesse from the boy of her dreams to the exboyfriend she dreams of winning back.” (adapted from Syndetics)


  • DVDs, dystopia, Fantasy, Lists, Rachel, Top 10

    Top 10: Spring flower girls

    16.09.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Top 10: Spring flower girls

    In the name of Spring (again), I bring you books featuring girls with flowery and botanical names. Violets, Daisys and Lilys, you’ll find them right here.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow I Live Now, Meg Rosoff

    Fifteen-year-old Daisy thinks she knows all about love. Her mother died giving birth to her, and now her dad has sent her away for the summer, to live in the English countryside with cousins she’s never even met. There she’ll discover what real love is: something violent, mysterious and wonderful. There her world will be turned upside down and a perfect summer will explode into a million bewildering pieces. How will Daisy live then?'” (adapted from Syndetics)

    Featuring awesome protagonist Daisy. We also have the movie version on DVD, but it is R16 so you may have trouble reserving it with a young adult library card. Give us a call if you get stuck!

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCinder, Marissa Meyer

    “Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.” (Syndetics)

    Cinder has one horrible step-sister, but her other, lovely step-sister is named Peony. We also have this book on CD, and Rebecca Soler does an incredible job of narrating all the unique characters.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEmbrace, Jessica Shirvington

    Violet Eden is dreading her seventeenth birthday dinner. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. The one bright spot is that Lincoln will be there. Sexy, mature and aloof, he is Violet’s idea of perfection. But why does he seem so reluctant to be anything more than a friend? Nothing could have prepared her for Lincoln’s explanation: he is Grigori, part angel and part human, and Violet is his eternal partner. Without warning, Violet’s world is turned upside down. As Violet gets caught up in an ancient battle between dark and light, she must choose her path. The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity…” (adapted from Syndetics)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMarcelo In The Real World, Francisco X. Stork

    Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear–part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify–and he’s always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm’s mailroom in order to experience “the real world.” There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it’s a picture he finds in a file — a picture of a girl with half a face — that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.” (adapted from Syndetics)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDash & Lily’s Book of Dares, Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

    Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?” (Syndetics)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSoulmates, Holly Bourne

    Every so often, two people are born who are the perfect match for each other. Soulmates. But while the odds of this happening are about as likely as being struck by lightning, when these people do meet and fall in love, thunderstorms, lightning strikes and lashings of rain are only the beginning of their problems. After a chance meeting at a local band night, Poppy and Noah find themselves swept up in a whirlwind romance unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. But with a secret international agency preparing to separate them, a trail of destruction rumbling in their wake, they are left with an impossible choice: the end of the world, or a life without love?” (Syndetics)

    This one doubly wins because the author (Holly) has a botanical name too!

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsVampire Academy, Richelle Mead

    “St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger… Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.” (Goodreads)

    If one’s not enough, we have the whole series here in our collection!

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOn a Clear Day, Walter Dean Meyers

    Dahlia is a Low Gater: a sheep in a storm, struggling to survive completely on her own. The Gaters live in closed safe communities, protected from the Sturmers, mercenary thugs. And the C-8, a consortium of giant companies, control global access to finance, media, food, water, and energy resources–and they are only getting bigger and even more cutthroat. Dahlia, a computer whiz, joins forces with an ex-rocker, an ex-con, a chess prodigy, an ex-athlete, and a soldier wannabe. Their goal: to sabotage the C-8. But how will Sayeed, warlord and terrorist, fit into the equation?” (Syndetics)

    This one’s actually not out just yet, but you can still reserve it before its release in a couple of weeks.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFlora Segunda, Ysabeau Wilce

    Flora knows better than to take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall–the house has eleven thousand rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway. Huge mistake. Lost in her own house, she stumbles upon the long-banished butler–and into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that changes her world forever.” (Syndetics)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Fault In Our Stars, John Green

    Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.” (Syndetics)

    I couldn’t make this list and NOT include Hazel Grace! It just couldn’t be done. We also have this as an audiobook on CD.

    There are plenty more books that could have made it onto this list – have you got any suggestions? Let us know in the comments!


  • Books, Grimm, Top 10

    Top 10 Chocolate

    06.09.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Top 10 Chocolate

    chocolateHow is it that a top 10 books with chocolate in the title has escaped me? Here are some YA, some children’s, some other fiction, and the Dewey number of the gods.

    The Chocolate War, and Beyond the Chocolate War by Robert Cormier – before young adult literature was something everyone wanted to be doing, there were the Roberts (Cormier, Swindells and Westall). The Chocolate War is classic YA literature. First published in 1974, it’s a disturbing tale of evil and good, corruption and the opposite of corruption (with chocolate as the catalyst). Plus there’s a sequel.

    Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. A much-loved, pre-Twilight story of a werewolf who falls for a human boy with a very catchy title. Interestingly, the author also wrote a pre-Twilight vampire story (The Silver Kiss).

    Bitter Chocolate by Sally Grindlay. The more serious side of chocolate. Bitter Chocolate is set in West Africa during a particularly violent time (Liberia and Sierra Leone were both in a state of civil war in the early 2000s). After rebel fighting kills his family, Pascal is made a child soldier, escapes, and then is forced to work as a slave in a cocoa plantation. For information about Fair Trade products, and an app to help find them, you can visit Fairtrade New Zealand.

    Chocolate cake with Hitler by Emma Craigie. Twelve-year-old Helga Goebbels is the daughter of Joseph, the head of Nazi propaganda. As World War II comes to an end, chocolate cake for tea every day with Uncle Leader turns into hiding in an underground bunker, watching the Nazi leadership crumble.

    In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin. This is the book that reminded me I hadn’t done a chocolate list, so it goes in too. The Birthright trilogy is set not too far in the future (2083 to start), in a time when chocolate and coffee are illegal (unimaginable!). Anya’s family manufactures chocolate, meaning they’re as good as the Mafia.

    Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Tita is forbidden to marry, and must look after her mother until she dies. To complicate things, she falls in love with Pedro, who is seduced by her delicious cooking (Tita is a gifted cook, like Remy the rat in Ratatouille). Pedro marries Tita’s sister as a way of staying close to her (like that works, poor Tita). The title is a reference to the best way to make hot chocolate (I am dubious). There are recipes in the book, and it was made into a (Spanish language) film.

    Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Another movie conversion (this one with Johnny Depp). One day, quite suddenly, Vianne breezes into a somewhat  uptight French village and opens a chocolate shop, causing consternation among the locals who disapprove of her sinfully good chocolate and her outlook on life.

    The Great Chocolate Cake Bake Off by Wellington’s own Philippa Werry. Home-grown chocolatey story about a boy who discovers he has a gift for baking, but can he come up with a great bake-off-winning recipe?

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. This is the most amazing book about chocolate, ever.

    Everything at 641.6374. There is an unbelievable collection of chocolate recipes books. You should try one (pictured is one about Whittakers, for example).


  • Books, Grimm, Movies, Top 10

    Top 10: Book related 2013 movies

    07.01.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Top 10: Book related 2013 movies

    2013 should be another great year for movies. Rebecca and Rachel are looking forward to The Perks of Being a Wallflower (starring Emma Watson (Hermione) and also Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries), which is one of many intriguing upcoming book-inspired films, like:

    1. Catching Fire – November (book / IMDB page). New cast additions include Sam Claflin (who is Finnick, and from Snow White and the Huntsman) and Jenna Malone (Johanna).
    2. Beautiful Creatures – February (book / IMDB page). Based on the book by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, in which Lena is the girl of Ethan’s dreams, literally. The film stars Alice Englert (trivia: she is the daughter of New Zealand director Jane Campion) and Alden Ehrenreich. They may soon become household names.
    3. City of Bones – August (book / IMDB page). The first film, and the first book in the Mortal Instruments series, which, if you haven’t read it already and mean to, you should reserve now! Starring Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower and Godfrey Gao (as Magnus Bane).
    4. Iron Man 3 – April (graphic novels / IMDB page). IMDB says that Stan Lee might put in an appearance. We shall see!
    5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – December (book / IMDB page). Poor Smaug.
    6. Man of Steel – June (graphic novels / IMDB page). Starring Henry Cavill (Humphrey in Stardust, recommended recently by R and R – I agree, excellent sky pirate) and Russell Crowe as Jor-El (Amy Adams is Lois).
    7. Ender’s Game – October (book / IMDB page). Based on the über-popular book by Orson Scott Card, in which Ender Wiggin, genetically engineered genius, is sent to an elite school to train to save the earth from invasion by a (very) malignant alien race. NCEA seems not too bad now. The film stars Asa Butterfield (from Hugo) and Abigail Breslin (My Sister’s Keeper) and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit). They’re also Marvel comics.
    8. The Great Gatsby – June (book / IMDB page). One of the 20th century’s enduring classics, written by F Scott Fitzgerald. Gatsby hosts great parties, but that’s all most people know about him. When Nick moves in next door, he’s keen to uncover the mystery, but becoming part of Gatsby’s world may reveal a dark side. Carey Mulligan, Leonardo DiCaprio star alongside Isla Fisher, who used to be on Home and Away.
    9. The Host – March (book / IMDB page). This is the other Stephenie Meyer novel, where she tries out Sci Fi. Wanderer (or Wanda for short) is an alien who inhabits bodies. When she’s given Melanie Stryder, she can’t quite take her over, and she’s drawn into Melanie’s world of free rebels fighting the alien invasion. Saorise Ronan is Wanda, and she’s also going to be busy in:
    10. How I Live Now – release date TBA (book / IMDB page). In the award-winning book by Meg Rosoff, New Yorker Daisy is sent to live in the English countryside, which seems like a major adjustment but the sudden onset of World War III puts that in perspective as Daisy battles to survive and find her family.


  • Books, Grimm, Horror, Top 10, zombies

    Top 10: Zombies

    15.10.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Top 10: Zombies

    Can you take a zombie seriously? Sometimes yes, sometimes no (it depends largely on whether there is supposed to be kissing).

    Seriously:

    This is Not a Test, Courtney Summers – this book is a horror story: imagine being trapped inside your school building with five other students, with moaning masses of the undead outside, lying in wait, when you know it’s only a matter of time before the water supply runs dry, you eat your last food, and face the prospect of either starving to death or running the zombie gauntlet outside, to who knows where. What makes it worse is how the horror plays out in the way that you and your schoolmates cope. And then, when you think you’ve barricaded the school building enough, someone gets in.

    The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan – to quote an earlier post: “Mary lives in a fenced village in the middle of the forest of hands and teeth; fenced, because the forest of hands and teeth is peopled with zombies (the Unconsecrated) with an undying drive to bite. When the village’s fortifications are compromised Mary must flee in the ensuing chaos, down the paths that run through the forest, following mysterious symbols that might lead her to the sea she dreams of.”

    Rot & Ruin, Jonathan Maberry – the School Library Journal likes this series, perhaps even better than The Forest of Hands and Teeth: they say it “appears to be a retelling of Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth but with a male protagonist. But Maberry’s vision of a zombie-infested future has more action, more violence, and more emotional depth” (School Library Journal). It must be good then! Instead of a forest, here there’s the Rot and Ruin where – Benny (the male protagonist) learns – the zombies actually aren’t even the scariest prospect. 

    The Enemy, Charlie Higson – the latest in the series (The Sacrifice) has recently arrived. When a sickness sweeps through London, affecting everyone over the age of 14, leaving them either (mercifully) dead or the walking undead, those under 14 find themselves in a fight to survive. Some, sensibly, hole up in supermarkets (the lucky ones in Waitrose, which is quite posh), while they must attempt to make their way to the relative safety of Buckingham Palace. But if they get to Buckingham Palace, what will they find? A zombie queen? Or something more problematic? We should’t be too flip: this one’s grim and doesn’t pull any punches.

    Not quite as seriously:

    Dearly Departed, Lia Habel – this series is called “Gone with the Respiration” (a salute to Gone With the Wind), so I think it’s safe to say it’s a bit fun. “Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead – or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?” (Goodreads.com). This brings a whole new meaning to the expression “undying love”.

    You Are So Undead to Me, Stacey Jay – the first in the series about Megan Berry, Zombie Settler. Homecoming (and people’s lives) are in peril when someone starts using black magic to turn the average, bumbling undead of an Arkansas town into souped-up zombies. Can Megan save the day? Can she what! (I’m picking).

    I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It, Adam Selzer – take that Katy Perry. Ali meets the mysterious Doug – a strong, silent, Goth-type of singer – and falls madly in love with him before, doh, someone points out he’s actually a zombie. Naturally Doug’s mysteriousness is not all that attractive any more, but when Ali tries to dump him she learns it’s not so easy to get rid of a zombie. She also learns, along the way, that vampires don’t like their music being critiqued.

    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith – I think you have to give credit to someone who basically invents a new genre in the 21st century. This was the first Classic Novel Horror Mashup, and there’s a bunch of others, including Romeo and Juliet, Sense and Sensibility, and P & P & Z even has it’s own sequels and prequels. Excellent.

    A mixed bag:

    Zombie Blondes, Brian James – Hannah is the new girl in a town where the many houses for sale and the, well, deathly quiet suggest something’s wrong. Hannah seems oblivious on her first day of school, when she meets the popular crowd: a group of cheerleaders who all look remarkably the same, and who Hannah really wants to be like.

    Zombies Versus Unicorns – more to the point, can you take a unicorn seriously? One or two writers have had a crack at it in this oddly fab collection of short stories.


  • Books, Grimm, Top 10

    Top 10: Dystopia Revisited

    30.04.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Top 10: Dystopia Revisited

    Since we published our list of Top 10 Dystopian novels (see it here), the publishing world has gone a bit barmy for them, the result being heaps and heaps more to choose from. So, it might be time for another list! Here’s the 10 dystopian novels (and series) I have enjoyed the most since (or more accurately, found the most gripping).

    1. The Chaos Walking trilogy, Patrick Ness – Todd lives in a strange world where only men exist, and they can hear each other’s thoughts, which are a constant “Noise” that is inescapable. While out with his dog, Manchee – who can talk – Todd finds an odd “hole” in the Noise, and it is his interaction with this whole that will send him on the most incredible, dangerous, hard journey you could possibly imagine: the books read like a nightmare rollercoaster. 
    2. The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins – speaking of nightmare rollercoasters.
    3. Blood Red Road, Moira Young – this was fab! It’s a dangerous, post-apocalyptic road trip, where the danger comes more from some truly heinous characters than the desert-like landscape. There’s a kick-ass heroine, a witty and confident, mysterious hero, and a crow. Plus there will be a sequel. And a movie.
    4. The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan – Mary lives in a fenced village in the middle of the forest of hands and teeth; fenced, because the forest of hands and teeth is peopled with zombies (the Unconsecrated) with an undying drive to bite. When the village’s fortifications are compromised Mary must flee in the ensuing chaos, down the paths that run through the forest, following mysterious symbols that might lead her to the sea she dreams of. Rather tense. This book has two companions, The Dead-Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places.
    5. A Long, Long Sleep, Anna Sheehan – a dystopian take on the sleeping beauty fairytale. Rose is, in effect, a society princess. Her parents are high flying elite, rich enough to afford a stas chamber, in which you can sleep for years without aging. So, one day Rose is woken with a kiss (as in, the kiss of life), to find she’s sixty two years in the future and everyone she knows is long gone. She must struggle to adjust to a whole new society, a new life, but there’s much worse: a terminator-like killing machine that’s out to get her, and the truth about her long, long sleep.
    6. Matched and Crossed, Ally Condie – this kind of goes together with:
    7. Delirium and Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver – these two series have, it is often pointed out, similar storylines. The characters live in societies that attempt to control human emotions, since it is human emotions that have caused all societal catastrophes in the past. They rule with an iron grip, but what happens when someone beings to question the rules, regulations, and truths that have been hammered into them all their lives? Not towing the party line, risking and living a little, and following your heart can lead you on a dangerous journey!
    8. Under the Never Sky, Veronica Rossi. I don’t think very much of the cover (sorry cover!), or the tag line on the cover (it needs a paper bag really). But! It’s a really good read. Lots of action, and a heroine and hero who learn things along the way, and develop, and don’t fall floppily in love with each other after a few moments.
    9. Divergent, Veronica Roth – the Veronicas! This one is soon to be followed by Insurgent. People have gone quite crazily enthusiastic for Divergent. If you’re after a gripping read with suspense, a courageous heroine and an aloof, super-cool hero, then please read! My only problem with Divergent is the idea central to its dystopian-ness, being that society is divided into factions based on character traits and behaviours (why?). I also hoped that the names for the factions could have been cooler. Still, am looking forward to reading the next!
    10. The Maze Runner trilogy, James Dashner – In The Maze Runner, Thomas wakes up in a lift that is climbing for what seems to be an eternity into a nightmare world, where a group of boys survive together in “The Maze” of shifting walls, and hideous machine-bug-like monsters. He has no recollection of his past, apart from a sense of having been here before, and a yearning to become one of the maze runners, who map the maze in the hope of finding a way out.

    But there’s much more! Here’s a selection of dystopian fiction (and other book lists are here).


  • Books, Grimm, Top 10

    Top 10: Books With Happy Endings

    04.04.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Top 10: Books With Happy Endings

    This is to go with Top 10 Tearjerkers, for balance. The tearjerkers were a whole lot easier to find than the happy endings. Perhaps a happy ending is a lot harder to write well? So, without giving away too many punchlines, here is a selection of happy and happier endings.

    1. My Most Excellent Year, Steve Kluger
    2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Green & David Levithan
    3. Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan
    4. Fly on the Wall, E Lockhart
    5. Dairy Queen, Catherine Gilbert Murdock
    6. I’ll Be There, Holly Goldberg Sloan
    7. How to Save a Life, Sara Zarr
    8. One Whole and Perfect Day, Judith Clarke
    9. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
    10. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen


  • Grimm, Top 10

    Top 10: Tearjerkers

    21.02.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Top 10: Tearjerkers

    Do you like a really good sad story? We do. Here’s some.

    1. The Fault in our Stars, John Green. Not wanting to give too much away: here’s an excellent reader review.
    2. Before I Die, Jenny Downham. Tessa is terminally ill. Deciding to make the most of the time she’s got left, she creates a List of Things to Do, but not of the “book appointment at the dentist” and “flea the cat” variety.
    3. Looking for Alaska, John Green. John Green, king of the weepies apparently. Looking for Alaska was his first novel, and it promptly won a very prestigious award. The chapters in the first half count down ominously (like, “one hundred thirty-six days before”), but you’re still not prepared for day 0.
    4. If I Stay, Gayle Forman. Mia and her family are in a truly horrific car accident, which only Mia survives – just. Hovering in a coma in hospital, she must choose between fighting for her life and letting go to be with her family.
    5. The Outsiders, S E Hinton. Stay gold, Ponyboy. This is a classic story of gang rivalry. Ponyboy is a Greaser, from the wrong side of the tracks: the Socs are from the right side, and they know it. The rivalry between the two is heated, and boils over into an act of violence that changes everything.
    6. Th1rteen R3asons Why, Jay Asher. Clay receives thirteen cassette tapes in the post from a classmate who recently killed herself. These tapes send him on a heartbreaking tour around town, as Hannah describes events that led up to her decision to end her life.
    7. Sweethearts, Sara Zarr. Once upon a time Jennifer and Cameron were best friends and social outcasts, until Cameron and his family leave town suddenly. Now, years later, Jennifer has transformed into Jenna, one of the popular girls in school. When Cameron makes a surprise reappearance Jenna’s life is turned on its head.
    8. The Sky is Everywhere, Jandy Nelson. Lennie is withdrawn and reserved. Her sister, Bailey, was the opposite: a shining light until her sudden death. The Sky is Everywhere captures Lennie’s passage through grief and self-discovery as she confronts her life of confusing relationships in the wake of personal tragedy.
    9. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak. In World War 2 Germany, Death narrates the story Liesel, a young girl with an irresistible urge to steal books. There are sad bits of course.
    10. Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson. This one is in the children’s fiction collection, but it’s a real howling sad story, so it’s here, in this list. Then you can graduate to the movie, with a large box of tissues.


  • Grimm, Top 10

    Top 10: Victoriana

    04.02.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Top 10: Victoriana

    Queen VictoriaThe nineteenth century: mystery, adventure, magic, the supernatural, orphans, the industrial age of machinery and steam; all good stuff. Here’s a selection of fiction set in Victorian times (strictly speaking 1837 to 1901), mostly in London.

    1. The Hunchback Assignments, by Arthur Slade. Steampunk mystery! The catalogue says: “In Victorian London, fourteen-year-old Modo, a shape-changing hunchback, becomes a secret agent for the Permanent Association, which strives to protect the world from the evil machinations of the Clockwork Guild.”
    2. Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare. Speaking of steampunk, Cassandra Clare brings her world of shadowhunters and Magnus Bane to 19th century London, complete with automatons.
    3. The Agency series, Y S Lee. Speaking of mystery. Mary Quinn is an orphan rescued from death by hanging and set to work for a detective agency (masquerading as Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls) as an undercover agent, investigating mysterious deaths. Which is a much better fate.
    4. The Monstrumologist, Rick Yancey. The monstrumologist is Doctor Pellinore Warthrop, and 12 year old Will Henry is his apprentice. Together they hunt and study monsters, epic and mythic and horrible. The sequel is The Curse of the Wendigo and – stop press! – The Isle of Blood has recently arrived.
    5. Everlasting, Angie Frazier. Described as part romance, part adventure, Everlasting tells the story of Camille, who travels from San Francisco to Australia on her father’s ship, only to have the ship founder, and to discover a letter from her supposedly dead mother (complete with treasure map to a magic stone that holds the secret to immortality). The first mate is where the romance comes in.
    6. A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray. A fantastical, magical adventure story (again, with some romance), in which Gemma Doyle arrives in England after the violent death of her mother in India, and becomes aware of a frightening and wonderful spiritual realm, and her own considerable magical power.
    7. Whisper My Name, Jane Eagland. Set in 1885, Whisper my name is a Victorian mystery with a backdrop of séances and mediums – the author says on her website: “A fascination with the world of Victorian spiritualism, the British in India, nineteenth century theatre and science all form part of the mix.”
    8. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens. It wouldn’t do not to include the king of Victorian fiction.
    9. Bewitching Season, Marissa Doyle. More intrigue: “In 1837, as seventeen-year-old twins, Persephone and Penelope, are starting their first London Season they find that their beloved governess, who has taught them everything they know about magic, has disappeared.” (catalogue)
    10. Folly, Marthe Jocelyn. “In a parallel narrative set in late nineteenth-century England, teenaged country girl Mary Finn relates the unhappy conclusion to her experiences as a young servant in an aristocratic London household while, years later, young James Nelligan describes how he comes to leave his beloved foster family to live and be educated at London’s famous Foundling Hospital.” (catalogue)


  • Books, Grimm, Music, Top 10

    Top 10: books and CDs from 1991

    10.12.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on Top 10: books and CDs from 1991

    It is the central library’s 20th birthday today.  To celebrate, we thought a Top 10 list was in order, so here are five books and five CDs that first appeared in 1991. You might not have realised they were so vintage.

    1. The Juniper Game, Sherryl Jordan (New Zealand) – “Juniper, a fifteen-year-old girl with telepathic powers, convinces her best friend Dylan to experiment with her powers.” (catalogue description)
    2. Out Walked Mel, Paula Boock (New Zealand) – “Mel never knows when to keep her mouth shut and when she storms out of school she sees it as an escape – from a past and present too messy to deal with. But running to her self-centered father or her boyfriend aren’t easy answers either.” (Syndetics summary)
    3. The River (the sequel to Hatchet), Gary Paulsen – “Because of his success surviving alone in the wilderness for fifty-four days, fifteen-year-old Brian, profoundly changed by his time in the wild, is asked to undergo a similar experience to help scientists learn more about the psychology of survival.” (catalogue)
    4. The Awakening (the first Vampire Diaries book), L J Smith – yes, way before Twilight there were the Vampire Diaries. The Awakening is the one in which Elena first meets Stefan, while the town of Fells Church is the repeated victim of vicious animal attacks.
    5. Letters from the Inside, John Marsden – “Two teenage girls become penpals and over a period of time seem to get to know each other – but do they?” (catalogue)
    6. Nevermind, Nirvana – ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ — ‘Come as You Are’ — ‘Lithium’ — ‘In Bloom’ etc etc etc. Pretty brilliant.
    7. Gish, Smashing Pumpkins – this was the Pumpkins’ debut album.
    8. Blue Lines, Massive Attack – possibly best known for ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ which was a rather large hit.
    9. Metallica, Metallica – the tracks on Metallica average out to be about 5.1 minutes each, Metallica being fans of the long song.
    10. Ten, Pearl Jam (adult CD – we ran out!) – Another dirty great long list of classic tracks. I like ‘Release’ the best.


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