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Halloween Movies to Make You Feel Young Again

Halloween has arrived and Wellington City Libraries has some spooktacular DVDs in the collection for your viewing pleasure and frightful night in.

Relive your childhood Halloween movie-watching ways with some of our favourite picks from our movie collection below. To complete the experience we recommend a plenitude of popcorn and a whole bunch of blankets to hide under. Even better if you can find your old teddy that used to bring you comfort in the dead of the night.

Let the scare fest begin!

image courtesy of amazon.com1. Tim Burton’s The nightmare before Christmas.

“Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and is so taken with the idea of Christmas that he tries to get the resident bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloween town to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween — but alas, they can’t get it quite right.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com2. Corpse bride.

“Set in a 19th century European village, this stop-motion animation feature follows the story of Victor, a young man whicked away to the underworld and wed to a mysterious corpse bride, while his real bride Victoria waits bereft in the land of the living. Though life and the Land of the Dead proves to be a lot more colourful than his strict upbringing, Victor learns that there is nothing in this world – or the next – that can keep him away from his one true love. It’s a tale of optimism, romace and a very lively afterlife, told in classic Burton style.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com3. Paranorman.

“From the makers of Coraline comes the story of Norman, a boy who must use his special powers to save his town from a centuries-old curse. In addition to spooky zombies, he’ll also have to take on unpredictable ghosts, wily witches, and, worst of all, clueless grown-ups. But this young ghoul whisperer will soon find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.comimage courtesy of amazon.com4. Gremlins 1 and 2.

“Billy Peltzer’s father buys him a new cuddly pet. But heed these three warnings: Don’t ever get him wet. Keep him away from bright light. And the most important thing, the one thing you must never forget: no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs…never, never feed him after midnight.” (Catalogue). In the sequel, “A Gremlin is captured by a mad scientist, who not only helps it multiply, but gives it the ability to talk.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com5. Addams Family Values.

“It’s love at first fright when Gomez and Morticia welcome a new addition to the Addams household – Pubert, their soft, cuddly, mustachioed boy. As Fester falls hard for voluptuous nanny Debbie Jilinsky, Wednesday and Pugsley discover she’s a black-widow murderess who plans to add Fester to her collection of dead husbands. The family’s future grows even bleaker when the no-good nanny marries Fester and has the kids shipped off to summer camp. But Wednesday still has a Thing or two up her sleeve.” (Catalogue)

6. The Witches (1989) and (2020). image courtesy of amazon.com

In the 1989 version, “Nine-year-old Luke finds that saving the world from witches is a tall order for a boy who has been turned into a mouse.” (Catalogue). In the 2021 version, “The darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks him away to a seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world₂s Grand High Witch has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe, undercover, to carry out her nefarious plans.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com7. Ghostbusters 1 and 2. 

“The original “Ghostbusters” and its sequel teamed comedians Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis with director Ivan Reitman, to tell the story of a trio of paranormal investigators who must save the world from the evil clutches of the supernatural.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com8. The Goonies.

Another oldie but a goodie! Join the Goonies on a swashbuckling adventures! Following a mysterious treasure map into a spectacular underground realm of twisting passages, outrageous booby-traps and a long-lost pirate ship full of golden doubloons, the kids race to stay one step ahead of bumbling bad guys… and a mild-mannered monster with a face only a mother could love. A family adventure classic from start to buccaneering finish.

image courtesy of amazon.com

9. Labyrinth.

“When young Sarah cavalierly wishes that goblins would take her crying baby brother away, she gets her wish. Now, she must confront Gareth – ruler of a mystical world one step removed from reality, master of the goblins who abducted her brother… and creator of the treacherous labyrinth that Sarah must solve in order to make things right.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of amazon.com10. Coraline.

“A young girl walks through a secret door that she has found in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life, but much better. When her adventure turns dangerous, and her counterfeit parents, including the Other Mother, try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home – and save her family.” (Catalogue).

Extra challenge… from beyond the grave!

Get into the Halloween spirit and dance your socks off zombie-style to Thriller by the late but talented Michael Jackson! Hmmm, I wonder if he would be keen to accept the vacancy of Wellington City Libraries’ library ghost?

Did you know? Wellington City Libraries’  Nao Robots, Frank and Stein, (formally known as Red and Blue) can whip out their own dance moves to to Thriller by Michael Jackson. Read more about them here.

Have a safe and happy halloween!

Star Wars Day: A New Hope for us all?

Attention all Jedi, Bounty Hunters and Rebels! Star Wars Day is happening again on May the Fourth, which is observed and celebrated by fans of the Star Wars franchise.  
image courtesy of starwarsnewsnet
This year, you can celebrate by visiting your local library, relive and check out fiction, (as well as non fictioncomics and movies) all related to anything and everything from the Star Wars universe!

Read the following fiction:

image courtesy of syndeticsForce collector.

“In this Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker young adult novel set just before The Force Awakens, a restless teenager sets out to discover what connection his mysterious Force powers have to the fabled Jedi and what the Force has in store for him.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsLeia, Princess of Alderaan.

“The story of how Leia Organa comes to join the Rebellion. Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia has been taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control so that she becomes formally named heir to the throne of Alderaan. When her parents begin acting strange, sixteen-year-old Princes Leia sets out to uncover their secrets, putting her in the path of the watchful Empire. She finds herself facing the choice of dedicating herself to the people of Alderaan, including the man she loves, or to the galaxy at large which is in desperate need of a rebel hero.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsAhsoka.

“Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance.” (Catalogue)


Read the following non fiction:

image courtesy of syndeticsHow Star Wars conquered the universe : the past, present, and future of a multibillion dollar franchise.

“Why do most people know what an Ewok is, even if they haven’t seen Return of the Jedi? How have Star Wars action figures come to outnumber human beings? How did ‘Jedi’ become an officially recognised religion? When did the films’ merchandising revenue manage to rival the GDP of a small country? Tracing the birth, death and rebirth of the epic universe built by George Lucas and hundreds of writers, artists, producers, and marketers, Chris Taylor jousts with modern-day Jedi, tinkers with droid builders, and gets inside Boba Fett’s helmet, all to find out how STAR WARS has attracted and inspired so many fans for so long.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe making of Star Wars : the definitive story behind the original film : based on the lost interviews from the official Lucasfilm archives.

“After the 1973 success of American Graffiti, filmmaker George Lucas made the fateful decision to pursue a longtime dream project: a space fantasy movie unlike any ever produced. Lucas envisioned a swashbuckling science fiction saga inspired by the Flash Gordon serials of the thirties, classic American westerns, the epic cinema of Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa, and mythological heroes. Its original title: The Star Wars. The rest is history, and how it was made is a story as entertaining and exciting as the movie that has enthralled millions for thirty years – a story that has never been told as it was meant to be. Until now.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsStar Wars encyclopedia.

“This comprehensive guide to the Star Wars series of films follows on from the re-release of the first three films. Everything from the smugglers’ spaceport on Abregado-Rae and technical explanations of the Millennium Falcon’s acceleration compensator is covered.” (Catalogue).

Watch the films: The nine-part Skywalker saga!

Original trilogy:

image courtesy of amazon.com.image courtesy of amazon.comimage courtesy of amazon.com

Star Wars [original trilogy]

Relive the exhilarating action, spectacular battles and ultimate triumph of good over evil that make Star Wars the greatest space fantasy adventure of all time – and the ultimate entertainment experience for every family. The Star Wars original trilogy episodes continue the saga with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo leading the rebel Alliance to claim victory over the Empire and win freedom for the galaxy.

A New Hope: “In a galaxy far, far away, a psychopathic emperor and his most trusted servant – a former Jedi Knight known as Darth Vader – are ruling a universe with fear. They have built a horrifying weapon known as the Death Star, a giant battle station capable of annihilating a world in less than a second. When the Death Star’s master plans are captured by the fledgling Rebel Alliance, Vader starts a pursuit of the ship carrying them…”

The Empire Strikes Back: “Darth Vader is helping the Empire crush the rebellion determined to end the Empire’s domination of the universe. The rebels are based on Hoth, and when troops arrive to wipe them out, Han Solo and Princess Leia flee to Cloud City. Luke Skywalker, in a bid to strengthen his knowledge of the force, finds Yoda, one of the finest Jedis ever. Will they be able to get back together and halt the Empires progress?”

Return of the Jedi: “As the Emperor himself oversees the construction of the new Death Star by Lord Darth Vader and the evil Galactic Empire, smuggler Han Solo is rescued from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt by his friends, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Chewbacca. Leaving Skywalker Jedi training with Yoda, Solo returns to the Rebel Fleet to prepare for to complete his battle with the Empire itself. During the ensuing fighting the newly returned Skywalker is captured by Vader. Can the Rebels, and their new found friends, the Ewoks, help restore freedom to the Galaxy?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Prequel trilogy:

image courtesy of amazon.com

Star Wars [prequel trilogy].

Relive the nonstop excitement, thrilling discoveries and ultimate triumph of good over evil that make Star Wars the greatest space fantasy adventure of all time – and the ultimate entertainment experience for every family. The Star Wars prequel trilogy episodes begin the saga with young Anakin Skywalker’s descent to the dark side as he transforms from child slave to Jedi apprentice to Darth Vader, the most feared villian in the galaxy!

Phantom Menace: “Set thirty years before the original Star Wars film, Episode I introduces Anakin Skywalker, a boy with special powers, unaware that the journey he is beginning will transform him into the evil Darth Vader.”

Attack of the Clones: “Set 10 years after the events of The phantom menace and the galaxy has undergone significant change, as have Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padme.”

Revenge of the Sith: “Torn between loyalty to his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the seductive powers of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker ultimately turns his back on the Jedi, thus completing his journey to the dark side and his transformation into Darth Vader.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sequel trilogy:

image courtesy of amazon.comThe Force Awakens:

“As Kylo Ren and the sinister First Order rise from the ashes of the Empire, Luke Skywalker is missing when the galaxy needs him most. It’s up to Rey, a desert scavenger, and Finn, a defecting stormtrooper, to join forces with Han Solo and Chewbacca in a desperate search for the one hope of restoring peace to the galaxy.” (Catalogue)


image courtesy of amazon.comThe Last Jedi.

“The Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure. Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.” (Catalogue)


image courtesy of amazon.comThe Rise of Skywalker.

“When it’s discovered that the evil Emperor Palpatine did not die at the hands of Darth Vader, the rebels must race against the clock to find out his whereabouts. Finn and Poe lead the Resistance to put a stop to the First Order’s plans to form a new Empire, while Rey anticipates her inevitable confrontation with Kylo Ren.” (Catalogue)


Check out the official trailer for Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which arrives on the Disney channel on May 4th, as well as the trailer for popular Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, which  follows the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.



Enjoy!… and May the Fourth be with you!

Recent DVD releases

We have some really awesome films in the library collection, and a bunch of these sit right among our very own YA section. There are comedies, mysteries, sci-fis and award winners all tucked away amongst the stacks. Here are my picks of our newest additions to the shelves:

From Up On Poppy Hill
This is one of the newest DVDs we have from Studio Ghibli, who have brought us so many other amazing films such as Howl’s Moving Castle, The Cat Returns and Spirited Away. From Up On Poppy Hill is set in Japan, 1963. Umi is a high school girl living in a boarding house. She meets Shun, a member of the school’s newspaper club and together they decide to clean up the club’s vast and sprawling clubhouse. However Tokumaru, a businessman as well as the high school chairman intends to tear down the clubhouse for redevelopment. Umi and Shun must work together to convince Tokumaru that the clubhouse should remain standing.

The Bling Ring
Based on the Vanity Fair article titled “The Suspects Wore Loboutins” The Bling Ring follows a group of Hollywood Hills teens who are mostly rich and all bored. One night they discover Paris Hilton is on the other side of the country partying so they figure they could break into her home, because why not? They find that it’s not exactly hard to get inside and they steal countless items from a slew of celebrities, whose wealth and possessions are so vast they don’t even notice things are missing for several weeks. The ring can only keep up the game for so long before they are caught though, and the defence statements of the teens after they’re arrested are pretty hilarious (and accurate, taken from police records!). Well worth the watch from the directorial wonder Sofia Coppolla, not to mention it has a killer soundtrack.

Legend of Korra Book One: Air
If you’ve seen the original Avatar series (nothing to do with blue people) then you’ve got to see Korra. If you haven’t seen the original, it doesn’t matter, you’ve got to see Korra anyway. Among water-, earth-, fire- and air-benders, the Avatar is the only one who can master all four elements and keep peace with the world. Korra is the successor to Aang, the Avatar from the previous series of the show. In Korra, technology has progressed to a steampunk-like level of technology, drawing inspirations from metropolitan cities of the 1920s. Korra is still coming to terms with her Avatar responsibilities, and travels into the city to live and train with a master waterbender. But everything is not as peaceful as it first appears in the city, and Korra faces an enemy in the Equalist movement leader Amon. Amon plans to rid the world of elemental bending powers forever, and it’s up to Korra to stop him!

Paranorman
From the same animation company that brought us button-eyed Coraline comes Paranorman. Norman loves ghosts, ghouls, mummies, monsters and just about anything scary that lives under your bed. His schoolmates and even his family make him feel like an outsider for his interests, but when he awakens a ghoul from a long hibernation, Norman’s supernatural know-how could be the key to defeating the curse dispelled by the ancient ghost.

Pacific Rim
I name this the action movie of 2013! And in a year full of them, that’s high praise. It’s the near future and Earth is being attacked again and again from an interdimensional portal in the center of the planet by huge dinosaur-like monsters called kaiju. The current defence involves giant humanoid kaiju-punching mecha robots, each piloted by a team of two people. Raleigh Beckett is a washed-up Jaeger pilot, called out of retirement to team up with rookie Jaeger pilot Mako Mori in a last ditch attempt to overcome the kaiju attacks. Pacific Rim is full of cool martial arts, robots punching giant dinosaurs and amazing robot CGI that Transformers could only dream of. This is one of my picks of the whole year of 2013 so I hope you like it!

Looking forward to:

A bit of this, bit of that:

The Gladiator series by Simon Scarrow. The series is (so far): Fight for Freedom, Street Fighter, and Son of Spartacus. They tell the story of Marcus Cornelius Primus, a young gladiator determined to find justice for the crimes against his family. Julius Caesar makes an appearance also. Have to say, Roman names are awesome.

   

The Prey, Andrew Fukuda (February/March) – “For Gene and the remaining humans – or hepers – death is just a heartbeat away. On the run and hunted by society, they must find a way to survive in The Vast… and avoid the hungry predators tracking them in the dark. But they’re not the only things following Gene. He’s haunted by the girl he left behind and his burgeoning feelings for Sissy, the human girl at his side. When they discover a refuge of exiled humans living high in the mountains, Gene and his friends think they’re finally safe. Led by a group of intensely secretive elders, the civilisation begins to raise more questions than answers. A strict code of behaviour is the rule, harsh punishments are meted out, young men are nowhere to be found – and Gene begins to wonder if the world they’ve entered is just as evil as the one they left behind. As life at the refuge grows more perilous, he and Sissy only grow closer. In an increasingly violent world, all they have is each other… if they can only stay alive.” (goodreads.com)

The Eternity Cure, Julie Kagawa (April) – sequel to The Immortal Rules. “Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning – New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally. Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.” (goodreads.com)

The 2012 LIANZA Book Awards

LIANZA is the professional association of people working in library and information-related fields in New Zealand. Each year they give awards for excellence in New Zealand literature, including a young adult section. This year the YA finalists are all about thrillers, suspense, action, and a bit of horror.

The Shattering, Karen Healey – “Summerton is perfect: gorgeous weather, stunning scenery, cute out-of-towners to meet. But sharp-tongued Keri has been left shattered with grief by her older brother’s suicide. She discovers her other frineds have also lost brothers in suspicious circumstances. Does Summerton hold dark secrets?” (catalogue)

Read more about The Shattering on the author’s website.

Pyre of Queens, David Hair – “Mandore, India, 769 AD: An evil sorcerer king has devised a deadly secret ritual: he and his seven queens will burn on his funeral pyre and he will rise again with the powers of the demon king, Ravana. But things go wrong when one queen, the beautiful, spirited Darya, escapes with the help of the court poet. Jodhphur, India, 2010: At the site of ancient Mandore, four teenagers meet and realise that the deathless king and his ghostly brides are hunting them down. As vicious forces from the past come alive, they need to unlock truths that have been hidden for centuries and fight an ancient battle… one more time.” (catalogue)

This is the first book in the Return of Ravana series, from the author of The Bone Tiki.

Dirt Bomb, Fleur Beale – “Jake’s life is sweet and he wouldn’t change a thing. He’s got no money and doesn’t have a mobile, but he’s got two best mates; Buzz and Robbie. Buzz is generous and doesn’t mind buying stuff for his mates. Robbie has the idea of rescuing an old wreck from a ditch and making it into a paddock basher. Buzz, however, puts a spanner in the works by saying he’s not paying for it all, it’s even stevens or no deal. Robbie gets a job, but Jake refuses. It’s just not his style to work for a boss. But he desperately wants to drive that car, and the others are going to go ahead without him.” (catalogue)

Fleur Beale won the Young Adult award last year for Fierce September, and is the author of the New Zealand young adult classic I Am Not Esther.

The Bridge, Jane Higgins – “The city is at war. Southside, the hostiles live in squalor and desperation. They’re hungry to cross the river. Cityside, ISIS is in charge, the brains behind the war. Its job—keep the hostiles at bay. ISIS only recruits the best for its elite command. Nik is smart. Very smart. So why does ISIS reject him? Before he can find out, his school is bombed. The hostiles take the bridges, and they’ve kidnapped Fyffe’s brother Sol. Now Nik is on the run. And Fyffe is going with him. Across the bridge.” (author’s website)

There’s more information about the book (including a map) at the author’s website.

Recon Team Angel: Assault, Brian Falkner – “It is 2030, and the world is at war with an alien race. The Bzadians. The battleground: Earth. Recon Team Angel, made up of teenagers from around the world, has been training for years. They have learned Bzadian languages. Learned how to operate their weapons. How to work, eat, and think like them. Now it is time to act. Six recon soldiers must slip behind enemy lines, right into the top-secret alien facility inside Uluru/Ayers Rock. But what they discover will shock not just them, but all of humanity.” (author’s website)

Brian Falkner is the author of the hugely popular Brainjack.

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.

Separated at Birth: More Title Twins

Spud, John van de Ruit. Hilarity at an exclusive boarding school with Nelson Mandella’s release from prison in 1990 as a backdrop. A runaway bestseller in South Africa (and now consequently being made into a film). Spud’s real (fictitious) name is John.

Sprout, Dale Peck. More hilarity. A coming of age story about a teenage boy whose real (fictitious) name is Daniel and whose hair is green thanks to a dyeing episode. People rave about the memorable characters.

Spray, Harry Edge. Less hilarity (the black sheep of the family). Five teenagers sign up for an assassination, street-fighting game organised by a mysterious “gamekeeper” whose intentions seem a bit dodgy.

Read These New Books

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

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

First sentence: “Ah, and it’s a bonny, bonny bride ye shall be, Jacky.”
fishhookfishhookfishhook

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

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

First sentence: “I know you’re out there.”
fishhookfishhookfishhook

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

First sentence: Fifty years ago every American girl wanted to be a European princess.
fishhookfishhook

Battleground, Chris Ryan (305 pages) – the SAS supremo writer is back again, this time with the story of 14 year old Ben who finds himself kidnapped in Afghanistan. Which sounds bad, but worse is the fact that he discovers they’ve got a nuclear weapon on them.

First sentence: “Ambush!”
fishhookfishhook

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

First sentence: The steady chug of the diesel engine drew closer, and eventually the salvage boat emerged from the mist, a blank grey shape steering a middle course between the ghostly lines of chimney stacks that rose from the water.
fishhookfishhookfishhook

Destiny’s Path, Frewin Jones (329 pages) – book two in the Warrior Princess series, good news if you’ve already read the first one. Branwen is still uncomfortable with the idea of being the Chosen One, but then she’s shown a vision of life if she abandons her destiny, and it’s pretty bleak.

First sentence: Branwen Ap Griffith pulled back on the reins and her weary horse gradually came to a halt, snorting softly and shaking its mane.
fishhookfishhook

Ash, Malinda Lo (264 pages) – A fairy tale; Ash, recovering from the death of her father, dreams that the fairies will “steal her away” then meets Sidhean (a fairy). Because stories need a complication to work (truly they do), she also meets Kaisa (not a fairy) who teaches her to hunt and with whom she becomes friends. The result? A literary tug of war.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very briefly:

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

FOUR NEW THINGS TO PUT IN A DVD PLAYER

We have four new DVDs to issue, watch and enjoy. Here they are …

First up is Speed Racer, which is about a young man who races speedily. Based on the catroon of the same name (remember that? It had a top theme tune) Speed Racer is a high-octane, turbo-charged joyride. It really revs my engine, ok, I’ll stop with the punning.

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is based on the books by Louise Rennison and is directed by Gurinder Chadha, who also did Bend It Like Beckham. File under coming-of-age chick flick comedy.

In Hellboy II: Golden Army our hero is once again charged with saving the world by shooting, punching, looking tough etc. Will he and his band of misfits save the day? Probably until the next sequel at least.

Lastly we have a new David Attenborough doco titled The First Eden. It examines the Mediterranean in the pleasing style we have come to expect from David and the BBC. <3 Edutainment <3

New Books for the new year

This is the first New Book list for 2009. And there are lots of new books! Momentous.

Dangerous Angels : The Weetzie Bat Books, by Francesca Lia Block (478 pages) – Not really a new book, but this is a new collection of all five Weetzie Bat books. Which are absolutely brilliant, if a little controversial. Lia Block’s writing style is lush and lyrical.

First sentence: ‘The reason Weetzie Bat hated high school was because no one understood.’

Numbers, by David A. Poulson (230 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Andy Crockett’s new teacher is pretty cool, and Andy tries his darnest to impress Mr. Retzlaff. Untill it become apparent that Mr. R’s views on the Holocaust are insidious and dangerous, and to ace the class comes at a cost Andy is not willing to pay.

The Smile, Donna Jo Napoli (260 pages) – The smile in the title here refers to Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile, which has intrigued people for centuries. Lisa (short for Elisabetta) is fifteen, and her father’s friend, Leonardo da Vinci, insists he will one day paint her portrait. He also sets her up with the Medici family, which is probably a bad move.

First sentence: ‘“Elisabetta, where are you going?”

Caught Between the Pages, by Marlene Carvell (230 pages) – P. J. Barnes’ English teacher, Mrs. Jordon, is the only teacher who doesn’t ignore P. J.’s indifference to schoolwork. He finds her personal journal and sees an opportunity to get back at her – but when he reads it, it ‘slams him with unexpected family secrets that hold the keys to his past, and possibly his future’.

First sentences: ‘“Barnes,” a voice hollered from the end of the hall. “You’re headed in the wrong direction.”

Blondetourage, by Allison Rushby (239pages) – Rich Girls is a reality show about two rich girls (obviously) who shop and party all around the planet. The blondetourage is the crew of people who have to follow them about. Elli Adamson dislikes Rich Girls and its two stars, but when her mother lands the job of cooking for them she finds herself part of the blondetourage.

First sentences: ‘“Okay. I can handle this. I can. I can, I can, I can. No, wait a second. I so can’t. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I …”

Twister, by Chris Ryan (274 pages) – Ben Tracey is not only on a plane that’s crashed after getting highjacked; he needs to stop an explosion at an oil refinery. There’s also a killer tornado coming, and there’s a traitor in their midst! More action that you can shake a stick at.

First (and only action-free) sentence: ‘It was the evenings that Ben Tracey liked most of all.

The Shepherd’s Granddaughter, by Anne Laurel Carter (224 pages) – Palestinian girl Amani’s family have always been shepherds, and she dreams of becoming one herself. Her family’s land is in danger of disappearing, and while her uncle and brother are tempted by militancy, Amani finds help from unexpected quarters, including a rabbi, and the son of a settler.

First sentence: ‘The first day Amani grazed sheep on her grandfather’s mountaintop was nearly her last.

Flora’s Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa From a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room), by Ysabeau S. Wilce (511 pages) – Is that not the best title ever? This is a continuation of Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog, perhaps the second best title ever. Awarding-winning fantasy. And it has a giant squid.

First sentence: ‘1. Do not trust banished Butlers who promise they will do your chores but are actually tricking you into giving them all your Will so that you start fading into Nothing.

Ryan. Chris Ryan.

Some interesting facts about Chris Ryan, author of the Alpha Force series:

8 The number of days Chris Ryan spent in the Iraqi desert with no food and little water after the Bravo Two Zero mission went wrong during the first Gulf War in 1991

800,000 The number of copies sold of his book The One That Got Away, his account of the mission and his escape from enemy forces

5 million The total number of books he has sold in several genres

16 The age at which he unsuccessfully tried to join the Army

10 The number of years he spent in the SAS, completing both covert and overt missions

15 The number of spiders that crawled out of a wound he sustained during jungle training in Brunei

(If only a single spider crawled out of a wound I sustained I probably wouldn’t be here today – but then I’m not in the SAS.) Read the rest of the article about Chris Ryan.