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  • Books, Grimm, New

    Waiting on Wednesday

    23.05.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Waiting on Wednesday

    This week we look forward to: two books in which vampires are wrecking the future, and one about celebrity pregnant twins. Reserve them if they grab your interest!

    The Hunt, Andrew Fukuda – this sounds really interesting: it’s been described as like a vampire version of the Hunger Games. I know!

    “Seventeen-year-old Gene struggles to survive in a society where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. When Gene is chosen to participate in the government-sponsored hunt for the remaining humans, he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow hunters whose suspicions about his true human nature are growing… ” (author’s website)

    Thanks Steph for the recommendation! And on the subject of futuristic vampires:

    The Immortal Rules, Julie Kagawa – “In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked-and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters. Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad…” (from the Syndetics summary)

    Thumped, Megan McCafferty – the sequel to Bumped. “It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day! Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances. To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants. The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous: Tell the truth.” (author’s website)


  • Grimm, New

    Waiting on Wednesday

    22.02.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Waiting on Wednesday

    Here are some interesting titles we’ve ordered recently.

    15 Days Without a Head, Dave Cousins. Laurence lives with his six year old brother Jay, and his alcoholic mother. One day his mother doesn’t come home from work, and Laurence is left to care for himself and his brother, fearing that their predicament will be discovered, and they will be separated. Happily, Laurence discovers a friend in Mina, who is keen to help him track down his mum. The author’s blog is here.

    Starters, Lissa Price. Years ago (although still in the future) a killer bug (deliberately spread) wiped out anyone who was not vaccinated against it. Those who were were the very old and the very young. Callie and her younger brother have no grandparents to look after them, so they live life by their wits, on the run. Things seem to be looking up when they come across Prime Destinations, a group run by The Old Man: a potential income source. Prime Destinations organises for teenagers rent their bodies out to the older people who’d like to be young again (yes, we know, yuck, can you imagine?), using neurochip technology. When it’s Callie’s turn her neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in her wealthy renter’s life.

    Department 19: The Rising, Will Hill. The sequel to Department 19, which people said some touchingly lovely things about (such as “…plenty of high-octane action, groovy specialized vampire-fighting equipment, buckets of gore, intriguing historical side trips and even a little romance…” (from Amazon) which, let’s face it, if you were an author you’d be happy with).

    There is an active Facebook page (Department 19 exists!) with interactive elements. And a book trailer:


  • Books, New, Simon

    New Books – ‘spongy blades collapsing’

    22.12.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books – ‘spongy blades collapsing’

    You guys, here are some more new books!

    12 Things To Do Before You Crash and Burn, by James Proimos (121 pages) – Hercules Martino is 16, and the son of a recently deceased famous self-help guru who was no good as a dad. Staying with his uncle for Summer, Hercules is set twelve tasks that will ‘change the way he sees his past, present, and future.’ A book that is short, funny (as promised by Library Journals LLC) and in all likelihood a satisfying read.

    First lines: ‘The casket is close. It was a plane crash, after all.

    Light Beneath Ferns, by Anne Spollen (206 pages) – Here’s another not-so-long book; this time a ghost story, not a comedy. Elizah moves in with her mother, who is a caretaker at a cemetery. She finds a human jawbone by a river (!!!) and, at the cemetery, she meets Nathaniel, who is mysterious and, you know, maybe not all there. LITERALLY. Fans of supernatural romance probably won’t be disappointed.

    First lines: ‘This story does not teach a lesson. It does not explain gravity or the pack rituals of wolves or how the sun will explode one day and leave us all inside a gray welt of ice and famine.

    Down the Mysterly River, by Bill Willingham (333 pages) – Max “the Wolf” is a champion boy scout who – inexplicably! – wakes up in a strange forest with no memory of how he got there. With him is a badger, a bear, and a barn cat who are similarly clueless but can talk. They realise that they are being hunted, and it’s up to Max to solve the mystery of what’s what. This is by the writer of the Fables comics, with drawings by the comic artist throughout. ~the more you know~

    First line: ‘Max the Wolf was a wolf in exactly the same way that foothills are made up of real feet and a tiger shark is part tiger, which is to say, not at all.

    Vintage Veronica, by Erica S. Perl (279 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Veronica gets a summer job in the Clothing Bonanza, a second-hand clothing store. She is pretty happy about that! She loves fashion, and her job is to sort out the quality stuff from the rubbish, and she doesn’t have to deal with customers (she has low self-esteem). Two ‘outrageous yet charismatic’ salesgirls befriend her and encourage her to stalk the stock boy as a joke. Soon Veronica realises she will need to come out of her (proverbial! obviously) shell when romance blossoms.

    First lines: ‘I’m sure you don’t know me. But you’ve probably seen me around. I’m that fat girl. You know, the one who dresses funny. The one who wears those ridiculous poufy skirts from the fifties that look like she hacked off the top of an old prom dress (because actually, I did).

    How to Save a Life, by Sara Zarr (341 pages) – Here is the catalogue synopsis for what might be a little grim but ultimately uplifting book; ‘Told from their own viewpoints, seventeen-year-old Jill, in grief over the loss of her father, and Mandy, nearly nineteen, are thrown together when Jill’s mother agrees to adopt Mandy’s unborn child but nothing turns out as they had anticipated.’  

    First line: ‘Dad would want me to be here. There’s no other explanation for my presence.

    Kiss of Death, by Lauren Henderson (307 pages) – This is the final book in the series that began with Kiss Me Kill Me. Unfortunately we don’t seem to have the second and third books in the series! We will buy them. IN THE MEANTIME, here’s a brutal abridgement of the catalogue synopsis: ‘Scarlett [and] Taylor arrive in Scotland […] Old friends and enemies […] explore […] passages under Edinburgh […] [and] someone is out to get [Scarlett] […] and that person has deadly plans for her. Is it time to kiss our heroine goodbye?’

    First line: ‘This is absolutely the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

    The Espressologist, by Kristina Springer (184 pages) – Jane is seventeen and a barista  (someone who makes coffee). She has a theory that you can tell a lot about someone by the coffee they drink*, and she uses this to set people up on dates. She’s pretty good at it, so her boss develops it as an instore promotion. BUT she matches her best friend with Cam, which in hindsight was silly since she maybe is a little bit in love with him?
    *Probably wouldn’t work in NZ where we all drink flat whites, pretty much

    First line: ‘“Excuse me,” the customer says, stepping up to the counter. I quickly stop scribbling in my notebook and slide it onto the shelf under the espresso machine.

    The Warlock ‘s Shadow, by Stephen Deas (291 pages) – The follow-up to The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice. When the thief-taker is hired to protect a prince, Berren (the apprentice) is pleased to get away from the tedium at the temple. He meets a girl, who happens to be a Dragon Monk, the best sword fighters ever to wield a sword. But the prince needs protection for a reason – people want to kill him and anyone who stands in their way, including young Berren. Especially Berren! Maybe

    First line: ‘Kasmin didn’t see the three men come into the tavern but he knew they were there almost at once.

    Unleashed : Wolf Springs Chronicles, by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie (385 pages) – Katelyn moves to a new town, to live with her grandfather in the middle of a forest. Her new school is Wolf Springs High. Judging from the cover and the blurb on the back that says, ‘a dark exciting tale that will have you believing in werewolves,’ I am willing to bet this is about werewolves! Book one in a series

    First lines: ‘I can fly. Katelyn Claire McBride was the girl on the flying trapeze.

    Hunters : Phantom – The Vampire Diaries, not really by L. J. Smith (413 pages) – This is a brand-new VD story. Apparently it was written by a ghostwriter, since the publisher who holds the copyright fired L. J. Smith. That seems a bit strange actually! Anyway, Damon is dead, Elena and Stefan can be together, but Elena dreams of Damon. And she loves him a little too. A lot maybe! Soon everyone is threatened by a new darkness.

    First line: ‘Elena Gilbert stepped onto a smooth expanse of grass, the spongy blades collapsing beneath her feet.


  • Books, Grimm, New

    New Stuff on the Horizon

    21.07.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Stuff on the Horizon

    It’s time for a new batch of soon-to-be-published bestselling titles – reserve your preferred sequel / series continuer / riveting conclusion now, so you don’t have to wait!

    The Power of Six, Pittacus Lore. This is the next in the Lorien Legacies, after I Am Number Four (the DVD has arrived in the library recently), and it focuses on Number Seven (who’s got a bit more breathing room than Number Four). There’s an exclusive extract here, or you can become a follower of Lorien Legacies on Twitter for more tips and things.

    Crossed, Ally Condie (November/December 2011). Sequel to Matched, in which Cassia takes off to the Outer Provinces to track down Ky, which is a very basic straight forward summary of a mission that will be far from straight forward or basic. Have a look at the series website, or visit Ally Condie’s blog here.

    Bloodlines, Richelle Mead (August/September 2011). Vampire Academy fans will be pleased to hear that this is the first in a new series, a Vampire Academy spinoff series even, and so you’ll recognise the world of vampire princesses and their protectors, so thumbs up! Read more about it here.

    Inheritance, Christopher Paolini (November/December 2011). The final book in the Inheritance cycle will finally be here! Will Eragon and Saphira get the better of Galbatorix? You can read and excerpt here, watch some images of swords, dragon scales and eyes in the book trailer below, or catch up with more Inheritance news at Christopher Paolini’s website here.

    People’s Republic, Robert Muchamore (August/September 2011). Meet 12 year old Ryan, CHERUB’s new recruit. Has he got what it takes to take on the most ambitious CHERUB mission yet? In the mean time visit the CHERUB campus for more info.

    Silence, Becca Fitzpatrick (October/November 2011). The final in the Hush, Hush trilogy. There is an official Hush Hush fanclub – fallenarchangel. The site has FAQs, playlists, and more photos of and info about the famous cover model for Hush, Hush. There’s an official Silence countdown widget to be got at the author’s website here (perhaps the perfect gift for the reader who has everything?).

    The Fear, Charlie Higson (September/October 2011). The next in the Enemy series, in which everyone over the age of 14 has become a zombified predator. Dog Nut and his mates must travel across London in search of lost friends, avoiding the terrifying, blood-thirsty adults. You can read Charlie Higson’s blog post about the book here.

    The Clockwork Prince, Cassandra Clare (December 2011). This is the next in Cassandra Clare’s Victorian Steampunk with Shadowhunters series (the first being Clockwork Angel), and we will be ordering it next month!


  • Books, Fantasy, Horror, New, Simon

    New Books

    21.06.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Forgotten, by Cat Patrick (279 pages) – London (a girl) has a memory disorder; she can’t remember the past, but she know what the future will bring. She can not remember the boy she loves, and she can’t see him in her future, but she know that today she loves him. And also that there will be a car crash later today. Yikes!

    First lines: ‘Aren’t Fridays supposed to be good? This one started badly.

    Rockoholic, by C. J. Skuse (368 pages) – Jody is obsessed with the rock star Jackson Gatlin. At one of his concerts she is caught in a stampede and is carried backstage. Somehow she winds up kidnapping Jackson, as you do, but it soon becomes clear that he doesn’t really want to leave her garage. Someone on Amazon.co.uk says, “one of the funniest, most entertaining and highly original books I’ve read in a long time” so reserve it eh?

    First lines: ‘To our local newspaper, my grandad’s death was ‘a shocking accident that brought Bristol city centre to a standstill’. To my mum, it was humiliation beyond words and a week’s worth of whispers from her colleagues at the bank.

    The Last Summoner, by Sherryl Jordan (187 pages) – It is said that only men can summon dragons, but when the king needs help from the dragons when the land is under attack, Ari and her blind grandfather uncover the moondust mirror and travel to the swamp to summon them. Will the dragons answer Ari’s call?

    First line: ‘Alone, the girl crept through the gloomy swamp.’

    Heart Burn, by Anne Cassidy (215 pages) – Amazon’s product description says, ‘years ago, local bad boy, Tyler Harrington, did a favour for Ashley. Now Tyler has been beaten up and hospitalized, and he’s calling that favour in. Ashley must hide an envelope for him, but under no circumstances is she to look inside it When Tyler is abducted, Ashley opens the package. What she finds inside is the key to who is holding Tyler. But somebody else wants the envelope and, as long as Ashley has it, she is in mortal danger.’ 

    First line: ‘I was waiting for Beth outside Whitechapel tube station when I  heard what happened to Tyler Harrington.‘ 

    Wood Angel, by Erin Bow (270 pages) – Kate lives in a time when witches are burned at the stake. Because she lives with a cat and makes and sells lucky wooden charms, she is voted Most Likely To Be A Witch when her village falls on hard times. Terrified for her life, she flees with a stranger who ‘has a plan more dangerous than she could ever have dreamed.’

    First line: ‘A long time ago, in a market town by a looping river, there lived an orphan girl called Plain Kate.

    A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd (214 pages) – Allow me to copy and paste from the catalogue; ‘Thirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window, but not the one from the recurring nightmare that began when his mother became ill–an ancient, wild creature that wants him to face truth and loss.’ Siobhan Dowd died before this could be written, sadly, so Patrick Ness wrote the book. It is BEAUTIFULLY illustrated by Jim Kay.

    First lines: ‘The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.

    The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice, by Stephen Deas (282 pages) – Berren has been a thief all his short life, but when he is noticed by the thief-taker after trying to pinch his reward for the capture of some other thieves, Berren becomes the thief-taker’s apprentice. He thought he knew the city, but now he has to contend with all the political intrigue, corruption, and murder that lie in the shadows.

    First lines: ‘The crowd had come to watch three men die. Most of them had no idea who the three men were. Nor did they particularly care.’ 

    Long Reach : An Eddie Savage Thriller, by Peter Cocks (401 pages) – Eddie Savage finds out that his brother had been working uncover to infiltrate the Kelly family, a dangerous gang in London. He also discovers that his brother is dead, supposedly by suicide, but Eddie ain’t having none of it. Determined to uncover the truth, Eddie infiltrates the gang and is soon up to his neck in Kelly business. A ‘gritty, glamorous thriller with a heart-stopping, brutal conclusion.’

    First line: ‘Donnie gunned the Mercedes back across the Medway bridge.

    Akata Witch : A Novel, by Nnedi Okorafor (349 pages) – Sunny lives in Nigeria, although she was born in NYC. She is albino, and feels that she doesn’t fit in. She discovers that she – like two of her classmates – are in fact ‘free agents’, full of magical power, and she has a lot to learn. When the magical authorities ask her and her friends to track down a capture a ‘hard-core serial killer’ with powers greater than theirs, Sunny discovers that magic has a dark, dark side.

    First line: ‘The moment Sunny walked into the school yard, people started pointing.

    Viola in the Spotlight, by Adriana Trigiani (283 pages) – Catalogue! I choose you! ‘Back home in Brooklyn, fifteen-year-old Viola has big summer plans but with one best friend going to camp and the other not only working but experiencing her first crush, Viola is glad to be overworked as an unpaid lighting intern when her grandmother’s play goes to Broadway.’ This is the sequel to Viola in Reel Life.

    First lines: ‘There is no better place on Earth than right here on my stoop on 72nd Street in Bay Ridge. Borough of Brooklyn. City of New York. County of Kings. The Empire State.

    Teeth : Vampire tales, edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (452 pages) –  Do you like vampires? Do you like short stories? Do you like books? Do you like library books? Do you like reading? Books? Vampires? Vampire books? Reading them? Reading this? Well?

    First line of the first story: ‘As it turns out, if a person dies badly, sometimes the soul can’t escape the body and will have to feed off the living forever.

    Deadly Little Secret : A Touch Novel, by Laurie Faria Stolarz (252 pages) – Running out of tiiiiime, so here is the catalogue again; ‘When someone starts stalking high school junior Camelia, everyone at school assumes that it is Ben, who is new at school and rumored to have killed his previous girlfriend, but Camelia is nevertheless inexplicably drawn to him.’

    First line: ‘I could have died three months ago. Ever since, things haven’t quite been the same for me.


  • Books, Grimm, New, Simon

    New Books

    28.05.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    This post is MASSIVE. Lots of new books, you see.

    Thyla, by Kate Gordon (279 pages) – Amnesia, Tasmania, and identity; these are the three subject headings for this book which I think might have an element of the paranormal? Some girls are missing from a school, and it’s all a bit mysterious; the protaganist, Tessa, was found in the bush, living feral and without memory of who she was. Anyway!  It gets a glowing review on Amazon. And a sequel is on the way.

    First lines: ‘My name is Tessa. It was the one thing I knew for certain. the one word that stood lonely in my head when the lights were turned on.

    Cloaked, by Alex Finn (341 pages) – This is by the author of Beastly (recently released as a film) and, similarly, is a modern retelling of a fairy tale. Teenager Johnny, who repairs shoes in Miami, is asked by a princess (or someone named Princess? I need to research more) for help to find her brother who has been turned into a toad.  That’s like two fairy tales right there.

    First lines: ‘I’ve never seen a princess before. And it looks like I won’t be seeing one today either.

    Recovery Road, by Blake Nelson – A pair of teenaged addicts meet up in rehab, and form a relationship that they try to continue once they’re out again. Of course, both have inner demons and so their relationship is put to the test. Will it last? Will they stay on the wagon?

    First lines: ‘You can’t tell what Spring Meadow is from the road. The sign, nestled beneath a large oak tree, could be for a retirement village.’

    Phantoms in the Snow, by Kathleen Benner Duble (226 pages) – Newly orphaned Noah, whose parents raised him to be a pacifist, is sent to live with his uncle. He – the uncle – lives on an army base in Colorado, where a division of winter warfare soldiers train. They are called Phantoms, as you can’t see them in the snow. Oh and it’s 1944!  So Noah needs to ‘resolve his upbringing with the horrors of World War II’ while on an army base and on the front lines in Italy.

    First line: ‘Noah Garrett sat on the kitchen chair and listened to the rhythmic ticking of the hall clock echoing through the nearly empty rooms of his house and to the two lowered voices coming from behind the hastily shut door, the minister’s gentle and quiet, his neighbour’s shrill and determined.

    Throat, R. A. Nelson (453 pages) – Emma is seventeen and has epilepsy, and her seizures are unpredictable and often. She’s lost friends and can’t even legally drive. One unexpected benefit (I guess?) is that when she’s attacked by a vampire, a seizure prevents him from killing her, and she escapes. Now she has all the powers of a vampire but without having to avoid sunlight or drink blood. The original vampire is determined to make a meal of her, though, and Emma must prepare … for a fight to the death!

    First line: ‘When I was thirteen, I ran away from home because of a curse.

    Corsets & Clockwork : 13 Steampunk Romances, edited by Trisha Telep (437 pages) – Imagine the Victorian era, but with high tech and technomagical machinery, and ‘feisty heroines and genius inventors, supernatural outcasts and idealistic heroes’. Hold that image. Now, add a little romance, and there you have it! Steampunk romance.

    First line: ‘There are millions of stories in the Clockwork City; here are thirteen of them.

    Shadowspell, by Jenna Black (295 pages) – This is the second installment in the Faeriewalker series (the first is Glimmerglass). Aaaaaand here’s what the catalogue says; ‘on top of spending most of her time in a bunkerlike safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon.’ Uh oh!

    First line: ‘Going on a date with a bodyguard hanging over your shoulder sucks.

    Crossing the Tracks, by Barbara Stuber (258 pages) – Missouri, 1926, and fifteen-year-old Iris is hired out to be a companion and housekeeper for an elderly woman. Alone, and stuck in the ‘gritty rural’ country, where a nearby farmer is menacing everyone, she finds herself and learns to ‘trust, hope, and – ultimately – love’.

    First lines: ‘I’m under Mama’s coffin. My little house in the centre of the parlour has silky black curtain walls and a hard ceiling that I can touch with the top of my head if I sit cross-legged and stretch my neck.’

    Entwined, by Heather Dixon (472 pages) – After their mother dies, Princess Azalea and her 11 princess sisters are locked in a castle to mourn her death. Each night they join The Keeper for a dance in a magical silver forest, accessible via a magical passage. But soon they discover that he likes to keep things. The clue’s in the name, your highnesses!

    First line: ‘ An hour before Azalea’s first ball began, she paced the ballroom floor, tracing her toes in a waltz.

    Demonglass, by Rachel Hawkins (359 pages) – Sophie thought she was just a witch, but she is actually a demon, and her powers threaten everyone. SO she heads to London in an attempt to have her powers removed. The Eye, the organisation out to rid the world of ‘Prodigum’ (i.e. magic users, faeries, and shapeshifters) are also on her tail. Her pointy devil tail. (Made that up.)

    First line: ‘At a normal high school, having class outside on a gorgeous May day is usually pretty awesome.’

    What Happened to Goodbye, by Sarah Dessen (402 pages) – Mclean and her father are always on the move, going from town to town and from school to school. At each stop she reinvents herself, but now, at Lakeview, she’s trying to be just herself. Mclean. Not anyone else. Partly because she meets and falls for Colgate (just kidding! his name is Dave) and he falls for the real Mclean, whoever that is. Are your Mcleans showing?

    First line: ‘The table was sticky, there was a cloudy smudge on my water glass, and we’d been seated for ten minutes with no sign of a waitress.

    Bumped, by Megan McCafferty (232 pages) – It is the future! And all people over 18 are infertile. As a consequence, teen girls are paid to conceive and give birth to peoples’ kids, and teens become the most prized members of society. Twins Melody and Harmony, were separated at birth; Melody has an ‘enviable conception contract’ and Harmony believes ‘pregging for profit’ is a sin. But they soon find they have more in common than just DNA.

    First lines: ‘I’m sixteen. Pregnant. And the most important person on the planet.

    The Marbury Lens, by Andrew Smith (358 pages) – This seems complex! So here’s the catalogue summary; ‘Sixteen-year-old Jack is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.’

    (Fantastic!) first line: ‘I guess in the old days, in other places, boys like me usually ended up twisting and kicking in the empty air beneath gallows.

    Timeless, by Alexandra Monir (290 pages) – Michele’s parents die (lots of orphans this week!) and she is sent to live with her rich-but-distant grandparents in New York. She discovers a diary which transports her back to 1910. Literally!

    First line: ‘Michele stood alone in the centre of a hall of mirrors.

    Now over to Grimm for mooooooore new books.

    Keep Sweet, by Michele Dominguez Greene (215 pages) – Alva Jane’s family are Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, and it’s a rather large family: 29 brothers and sisters, and a father with seven wives. She doesn’t question her life, until she’s caught innocently kissing her crush and is forced into a marriage to a fifty year old man.

    First sentence: ‘I closed my eyes at the memory of Joseph John’s face, flushed with excitement as he whispered those words to me – the words that changed my life forever.’

    Stay, by Deb Caletti (313 pages) – Clara is caught in an unhealthy obsessive relationship with Christian, until she escapes and leaves town. Noone knows where she is, but she is still unable to feel safe, fearing he might find her.

    First sentence: ‘First off, I’ve never told this story to anyone.’

    Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance, by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin (229 pages) – Charlie and Fielding are stars of the show Jenna & Jonah’s How to Be a Rock Star, and it’s a raging hit. Part of the charm of the show is Charlie and Fielding’s “relationship”, so they are to hold hands and kiss and whatnot when they’re out in public. Trouble is, they hate each other. Then when a paparazzo gets hold of a rumour that could ruin everything for them and they have to lie low for a while they finally get to find out more about each other: will this be a good thing or an even worse thing?

    First sentence: ‘I will never like a boy like Fielding Withers (and, yes, I know I used the word “like” twice in one sentence, but meaning different things).’

    Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys (338 pages) – In 1941 in Lithuania Lina and her mother and brother are captured by Soviet guards and shipped off to Siberia, not knowing if they will see their father again (and it’s thousands and thousands of kilometres). The story is based on first hand accounts of survivors of the Siberian deportations.

    First sentence: ‘They took me in my nightgown.’

    The Ghoul Next Door, by Lisi Harrison (241 pages) – from the author of The Clique series, this is the first in the Monster High series. “Freak is the new chique” says the back cover! Cleopatra De Nile is used to being in charge at Merston High, but now there’s Frankie Stein and Melody Carver to contend with: her popularity is seriously in danger, but then Frankie and Melody have their own issues as well.

    First sentence: ‘The amber-infused air snapped with anxiety.’

    Livvie Owen Lived Here, by Sarah Dooley (229 pages) – Livvie is autistic and has frequent outbursts, causing trouble for her family: her destructive tendencies mean they’re constantly on the move. When they are faced again with eviction, Livvie decides to search out the house where she felt happy: “The problem is, Livvie burned down that house” says the cover.

    First sentence: ‘I heard the whistle blast at 9.15.’


  • Grimm, New

    New Books

    17.05.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    A Match Made in High School, Kristin Walker (278 pages) – some bright spark teacher at Fiona’s high school has decided to make her class do the mother of all social experiments/class projects called “Trying the Knot”: they have to be “married” for a year, and the mandatory pairings produce a story that is “laugh-out-loud funny, unpredictable, and fresh”, says Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

    First sentence: I should have known.

    The Sweet Life of Stella Madison, Lara M Zeises (228 pages) – read this if you like culinary things. Stella is the daughter of a famous chef (father) and restaurant owner (mother), but she’s more into food of the fast variety, so when she lands a summer job as a food writer she’s in for a challenge. But the summer also brings on other challenges of the relationship variety, with her own confused romances, and the lives of her separated parents.

    Last line: “So what’s for dinner?” I say. “I’m starving.”

    Leverage, Joshua C Cohen (425 pages) – the author is a gymnast and acrobat: the photo on the back cover proves it to be so. Anyhow Leverage is about the cauldron of high school sport, and the friendship between the school fullback (American football has fullbacks: Friday Night Lights taught me so) and a gymnast that grows out of the wake of what the book calls a “violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war”. [Edited to add: It’s not for the faint hearted.]

    First sentence: The high bar’s chalky bite threatens to rip the yellowed calluses right off my palms at the bottom of the swing, where the pull is heaviest.

    The Iron Witch, Karen Mahoney (289 pages) – Donna Underwood needs Harry Potter as a mentor! Practically an orphan after the fey attacked and killed her father and drove her mother mad, she’s left with injuries that are magically fixed, but her hands and arms are covered with iron tattoos. Which makes her a powerful weapon in the war between humans and fairies. So, when her best friend is abducted by wood elves, Donna must accept her fate in order to save her friend (with the help of the gorgeous Xan).

    First sentence: My father died saving my life when I was seven years old.

    Abandon, Meg Cabot (292 pages) – A new Meg Cabot series! Following an accident (and while being worked on by hospital staff) Pierce died briefly and visited the Underworld, where she met a mysterious boy. The following year, a mysterious boy shows up at her school: the same mysterious boy. He wants to take her back. You might learn something about Persephone and Greek mythology while reading.

    First sentence: Anything can happen in the blink of an eye.

    The Dark Flight Down, Marcus Sedgwick (234 pages) – the conclusion to The Book of Dead Days. Boy and Willow are held captive in the Emperor Frederick’s palace where they are in constant danger, and must follow a “deadly trail” that will lead them to the Phantom. A gothic fantasy thriller.

    First sentence: Midnight at the Imperial Court of Emperor Frederick III.

    Chime, Franny Billingsley (361 pages) – Briony is a witch, a fact that she keeps secret on pain of death. She thinks herself to be dark and evil, until Eldric arrives and refuses to believe there is anything bad about her. Can his faith in her save her from death or insanity? “A wild, haunting mystery and romance,” says the cover.

    First sentence: I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged.

    Afterlife, Claudia Gray (360 pages) – over to you, back cover: “Packed with romance, suspense and page-turning drama, Afterlife delivers a heart-stopping conclusion that won’t disappoint the many fans who have made the Evernight series such a runaway success.” So yes basically, if you’ve been reading Evernight you must read this one!

    First sentence: “Sunrise is coming,” Balthazar said.

    Still Sucks to be Me, Kimberly Pauley (374 pages) – Mina is a teen vampire, who has had to fake her own death in order to deal with the whole never-aging problem. Sensible! So, she’s had to move to a new town, without her bff and her boyfriend, where she finds herself in relationship tangles that even “vampire superstrength” can’t sort. The sequel to Sucks to be Me.

    First sentence: I, Mina Hamilton, am officially dead.

    Blink & Caution, Tim Wynne-Jones (342 pages) – cool cover (there are, like, bullet holes)! Blink and Caution are actually people, on the run (separately) until they run into each other, with Blink the unfortunate only witness to a crime and Caution escaping from her drug-dealer boyfriend. Can they work together to get out of their messes, and maybe perhaps begin an unlikely friendship?

    First sentence: Look up at the Plaza Regent, Blink, in the shivery morning light.


  • Grimm, New

    New Books

    29.04.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Some reclaiming of the vampire genre, some thrillers and a couple of popular urban fantasy series this week.

    Department Nineteen, Will Hill (540 pages) – It’s a vampire story but without the romance and that stuff (see cover). Department 19 is a secret government department dedicated to finding and destroying vampires, with whom humans have been at war since 1892, and the stakes are going to be raised, says the cover. In at least two ways, obvs.

    First sentence: Jamie Carpenter was watching TV in the living room when he heard the tires of his dad’s car crunch across the gravel driveway much, much earlier than usual.

    Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising, Jason Henderson (248 pages) – Van Helsing was the vampire hunter who was Dracula’s downfall (says the person who hasn’t read Dracula). Alex Van Helsing doesn’t know he’s related to the great man (ahem, Alex, the name), so when he starts at an exclusive academy on the shores of Lake Geneva and, hello, meets two vampires in his first couple of days, he’s in for an abrupt adjustment. There’s a deadly vampire known as Icemaker in the area, and Alex’s vampire hunting instincts must kick into action.

    First sentence: Alex Van Helsing ran.

    Blank Confession, Pete Hautman (170 pages) – Shayne Blank confesses to murder, but how could a sweet teenage boy do such a thing? His long statement to the police reveals all.

    First sentence: Five lousy minutes.

    The Golden Day, Ursula Dubosarsky (149 pages) – Set in Sydney in 1967, “about a group of schoolgirls whose teacher [Miss Renshaw] bizarrely goes missing on a school excursion, apparently murdered”, the author tells us. What really happened?

    First sentence: The year began with the hanging of one man, and ended with the drowning of another.

    City of Fallen Angels, Cassandra Clare (424 pages) – it’s here finally, 60-something people in Wellington will be pleased to hear. Everything in New York is happiness and light it seems, until someone starts murdering Valentine’s Shadowhunters, endangering the uneasy relationship between the Downworlders and Shadowhunters. Then Simon’s mother finds out the truth about him, he’s kicked out of home, and everyone (except his mother) wants him on their side. Oh, and Jace has gone all distant and Clary doesn’t know why.

    First sentence: “Just coffee, please.”

    Red Glove, Holly Black (325 pages) – the second book in the Curse Workers series (the first was White Cat). Cassel’s life is complicated and dangerous, he’s an in-demand curse worker, wanted by both the feds and the mob, who can see how valuable he could be. Plus he’s learned that Lila his girlfriend (who is no longer a white cat) only loves him because his mother cursed her. That’d take the gloss off.

    First sentence: I don’t know whether it’s day or night when the girl gets up to leave.

    Efrain’s Secret, Sofia Quintero (263 pages) – Efrain longs to get out of the South Bronx and attend an Ivy League school, but his family circumstances mean this is not likely to happen. So, Efrain becomes a drug dealer (while maintaining his grades and reputation as an excellent student) to raise the money (after all, this is what society expects boys from the South Bronx to do).

    First sentence: I type “SAT prep” into a search engine when Chingy yells, “Yes!” from the computer station next to me.

    XVI, Julia Karr (325 pages) – In this 22nd century dystopia, when girls turn sixteen they’re branded with an XVI on their wrist, proclaiming to the world that they are legal (if you know what we mean). Nina is fifteen, about to have her birthday, when her mother is brutally killed, and just before she dies reveals a shocking secret to Nina about her past that sends Nina on a dangerous quest to discover the truth about herself.

    First sentences: “Nina, look.” Sandy jabbed me in the ribs.

    Dangerously Placed, Nansi Kunze (274 pages) – Alex Thaler is doing work experience in a company that has a virtual office with workers from around the world. Pretty cool, except someone’s murdered and Alex is the prime suspect. She and her friends must find out who’s responsible before she takes the fall, or worse, becomes the next victim.


  • Grimm, New

    New Books

    04.04.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins (372 pages) – romantic tension in Paris, where Anna (against her will, go figure) goes to spend a year at school, leaving behind her almost-boyfriend and meeting the marvelous Etienne St Clair Smart who, problematically, has an actual-girlfriend.

    First sentence: Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amélie and Moulin Rouge.

    Across the Universe, Beth Revis (398 pages) – this one has an almost retro sci-fi type of cover (which you can’t tell much from the pic over there). Amy is cryogenically frozen, to wake 300 years into the future on a new planet, however her cryo chamber is unplugged and she’s stuck on her spaceship, Godspeed, with the scary Eldest and his son Elder, knowing that someone is trying to kill her.

    First sentence: Daddy said, ‘let Mom go first.’

    Matched, Ally Condie (366 pages) – The matching screen is a device used by society’s officials to determine who is matched with whom for life. Cassia’s best friend flashes up on the matching screen for her, perfect, she thinks, until she sees another face appear fleetingly. Cassia must choose between two lives, between “perfection and passion”.

    First sentence: Now that I’ve found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?

    Birth of a Killer, Darren Shan (253 pages) – a new series from the horror man! Larten is a young man all alone, until he meets Seba Nile, who teaches him all about being a vampire, but will Larten turn his back on being human and embrace this new world?

    First sentence: When Larten Crepsley awoke and yawned one grey Tuesday morning, he had no idea that by midday he would have become a killer.

    Into the Wild Nerd Yonder, Julie Halpern (245 pages) – Things are changing in Jessie’s world, her friends are getting cooler (she’s not), so she’s on the lookout for a new set of friends. But can she befriend the Dungeons and Dragons crowd without being tainted with their geekdom?

    First sentence: I so used to love the first day of school.

    The Radleys, Matt Haig (337 pages) – the humorous side of abstaining from being a vampire. The Radleys are a fairly average family (two parents, two kids) living in a fairly average British town, except for the one thing (they’re vampires, but they’re abstaining). Then Uncle Will arrives, the black sheep of the family, and he’s going to shake things up a bit.

    First sentence: It is a quiet place, especially at night.

    Yellowcake, Margo Lanagan (235 pages) – Ten short stories from one of Australia’s literary fantasy queens.

    First sentence (from ‘The Point of Roses’) – Billy flew into the kitchen.

    Angel, L A Weatherly (507 pagtes) – Willow doesn’t know what she is, just that she’s different. Alex does know what she is, and that they are enemies. An “epic tale of love, destiny and sacrifice.” With angels, obvs.

    First sentence: “Is that your car?” asked the girl at the 7-Eleven checkout counter.

    Not That Kind of Girl, Siobhan Vivian (322 pages) – Natalie is the good, bright girl in school, but she nearly gets expelled anyway, so what’s the point in being good? Is it better to be the bad girl?

    First sentence: On the first day of my senior year, I happened to walk past the auditorium during the freshman orientation assembly.

    Five Flavours of Dumb, Anthony John (338 pages) – Piper is in a band called Dumb, and her bandmates do indeed seem to be a bit that way, plus she’s deaf, which makes being in a band particularly interesting: she has no idea if they’re truly terrible or really good. This doesn’t stop her from determindely finding a gig for them, with some self-discovery along the way.

    First sentence: For the record, I wasn’t around the day they decided to become Dumb.


  • Books, Fantasy, Horror, News, Sci Fi, Simon

    Here are some new books!

    25.03.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on Here are some new books!

    Here they are! Exclaim!

    You, by Charles Benoit (223 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Kyle makes some choices that will come to haunt him. In a big way. You are Kyle, in that the book is in the second person, you know? Kyle is a bit of a thug who is turned into a ‘project’ by Zack, who has come from a private school and who may actually be quite sinister.

    First lines: ‘You’re surprised at all the blood.

    The Darlings Are Forever, by Melissa Kantor (328 pages) – The Darlings are some friends who have matching necklaces, a shared motto, and their own table at Ga Ga Noodle. Now they all are heading to different schools in New York City! Will they stay friends?!  I bet the Ga Ga Noodle people want them to.

    First line: ‘The Labor Day sun was scorching, and as Jane waited for the light to change,  she could practically hear her dark hair frizzing.

    You Against Me, by Jenny Downham (412 pages) – Mikey’s sister claims a boy assaulted her, and Ellie’s brother is charged with the offence. Mikey and Ellie are both caught up; he seeks revenge and she must defend her brother. “Brave and unflinching,” says the blurb, along with (the optimistic) “above all it’s a book about love.”

    First line: “Mikey couldn’t believe his life.”

    Darkest Mercy, by Melissa Marr (327 pages) – Here it is; the final Wicked Lovely book. ‘The political and romantic tensions that began when Aislin became Summer Queen threaten to boil over as the Faerie Courts brace against the threat of all-out war,’ says the Library of Congress cataloging-in-publication data summary, not incorrectly.

    First line: ‘Niall walked through the ruins of the tattoo shop.

    The Maya Brown Missions : Circle of Fire, by S. M. Hall (291 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Maya’s mum is an intelligence agent, and Maya can’t wait to be one herself. She enjoys assault courses and shooting ranges and maybe Spooks? Not sure on that. Anyway, her mother is kidnapped by terrorists, and Maya, alone, is determined to infiltrate the terrorist cell and rescue her.

    First line: ‘Maya opened her eyes to a room full of shadows.

    Eternal : More Love Stories with Bite, ed. P. C. Cast with Leah Wilson (215 pages) – Here’s a collection of love stories with people being bitten by vampires. The stories are by a who’s who of modern YA authors who write about the supernatural, like Nancy Holder, Rachel Caine and Claudie Gray. And the girl on the cover looks JUST LIKE Buffy to me, do you reckon? Say yes.

    6, by Karen Tayleur  (203 pages) – ‘One car. One after-party. Six people, six points of view. But only one outcome.’ The book ends with the outcome (which you might be able to guess) but has an ending that I read several times, it was so powerful. (I only read the ends of books.)

    First line: ‘A light drizzle falls upon a car.

    The Latte Rebellion, by Sarah Jamila Stevenson (328 pages) – Asha Jamison and her best friend sell t-shirts to help fund a post-graduation trip to London. The shirts promote the Latte Rebellion, a club that raises awareness of mixed-race students. But the club goes nationwide, and the peaceful underground movement ‘spins out of control’, and Asha’s ivy league dreams are subsequently threatened.

    First line: ‘The jeering male voice came from somewhere behind me, waking me up from a heatstroke-induced doze.

    Blood Ransom, by Sophie McKenzie (418 pages) – This is the sequel to Blood Ties, which was about cloning and genetic manipulation. This is also about cloning and genetic manipulation, it looks like! And missing persons. And ransoms of missing persons, who are clones. I wish I had a clone!

    First line: ‘It was a Saturday afternoon in early July and I was looking forward to the highlight of my week – the hour or so when Theo and I met online and everything else dropped away.

    All Just Glass, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (246 pages) – Sarah is from a family of vampire hunters. It is a family business! But when she is turned into a vampire by boy she loved (ironically!) she becomes the hunted. By her sister, Sarah, no less, who is made to by her mother. “Aww, mom.”

    First line: ‘Saturday, 5.53 a.m. The ringing in her ears was the sound of the world shattering.

    The Blending Time, by Michael Kinch (254 pages) – In a dystopian future, teenagers are made to perform ‘Global Assignment’ work assignments when the turn seventeen. Three such teens are given what they think is a cushy job; to repopulate and rebuild African, which has been devastated by a solar flare. But it’s not quite the stroll through the rose garden that they thought …

    First line: ‘Jaym stirred as morning light slanted across his cot.


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