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Tag: Adventure Page 1 of 2

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!

Chicken Soup for the Adventurous Soul

Exams are on the horizon, and some of you may be fighting the urge to run into the woods and never return. But fear not – Spring is in the air, and the world is full of wonderful things to distract you from study! Now is the perfect time to be daydreaming about those Summer roadies and camping trips, and what better way to prepare for the great outdoors than by popping down to your local library for a quick peruse of Bear Grylls’ collected works?

Whether you’re planning a quick day-trip through the bush, a few days camping with friends, or are fully committed to vanishing amongst the undergrowth and resurfacing only often enough that you become a haunting fixture of local folklore, our collection has something for you.

You can find more information about local hiking trails on the Wellington City Council website.

The young adventurer’s guide to (almost) everything : build a fort, camp like a champ, poop in the woods–45 action-packed outdoor activities / Hewitt, Ben
“[…] The Young Adventurer’s Guide will teach kids everything from how to walk like a fox and see like an owl to use the stars as their own personal GPS and even how to build the world’s coolest fort out of foraged sticks. This handbook for curious kids will empower them to explore the natural world and even the comfort of their own backyard through a whole new set of skills. Featuring 65 different skills in sections that include: Secrets of the Woods, The Best Camping Trip, Make Cool Stuff That’s Actually Useful and Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hiking & tramping in New Zealand / Bennett, Sarah
“Lonely Planet Hiking and Tramping in New Zealand is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Admire the dramatic peaks and valleys of Fiordland National Park, stroll past bays and beaches of the Abel Tasman Coast, or scale an active volcano on the North Island.” (Catalogue)

Survival handbook : an essential companion to the great outdoors / Sumerak, Marc
“This book includes crucial tips on exactly what you need to know to survive even the most unexpected circumstances. This illustrated guide shows you how to make a shelter, build a fire, locate clean water, forage for food, avoid deadly animals, protect yourself from bad weather, and find your way back home safely afterward. Whether you’re lost, hungry, burned, or buried, knowing essential emergency survival skills could literally mean the difference between life and death.” (Catalogue)

Day walks of Greater Wellington / Gavalas, Marios
“[…] With overviews of popular walking areas, each walk is given a track grade, approximate travel time, easy access details, notes on the track itself and points of interest to highlight the most memorable features. Illustrated with maps and plenty of photographs, this handy guide is the essential companion for anyone venturing into the region’s outdoors.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Camping / Grylls, Bear
“Ever wanted to be an adventurer like Bear Grylls? If you do, you will need to know all the skills required to survive camping in the wilderness! In this practical field guide readers will learn how to choose the best site, how to build shelters and how to make a solar shower – and much more. With full-colour illustrations throughout, this book will appeal to scout groups, as the topic coincides with scout badges.” (Catalogue)

A forager’s treasury / Knox, Johanna
“Features profiles of many edible plants commonly found in New Zealand, including advice on where to find them, how to harvest them and how best to use them”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)


The beginner’s guide to hunting + fishing in New Zealand / Adamson, Paul
“Includes information on the right equipment for the right species, hunting with dogs, and mountain safety and bushcraft essentials. With diagrams, fun facts, a glossary of hunting terms, helpful tips and even some recipes to try out at home … has an emphasis on safety and provides all budding hunters with the basic skills and knowledge for a lifetime of adventure in the great outdoors”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Survival for beginners : a step-by-step guide to camping and outdoor skills / Towell, Colin
“This essential survival guide for intrepid young explorers shows the skills and techniques you need for outdoor adventure, from maps and navigation to camping. Learn the basics – from picking the best campground to knowing how to build a shelter – with clear step-by-step illustrations […] So start packing your rucksack for an outdoor adventure and don’t forget to read Survival for Beginners.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bushcraft : outdoor skills for the New Zealand bush
“Bushcraft is an excellent resource for outdoor activities. It helps both novices and those with some experience to enjoy the NZ bush in greater safety. Provides up-to-date information on new techniques, new equipment, and new ideas. Chapters include trip planning, managing risk, food, equipment, shelter, tramping skills, weather, navigation, river safety, hazards, emergency procedures, and much more!” (Catalogue)

Curiosities and splendour
“Journey back in time with this collection of classic travel writing from great authors and adventurers. These extraordinary odysseys over land and sea captivated audiences and gave them a glimpse into countries, cities and cultures like never before. Tales include Robert Byron’s ten-month journey through Persia to Afghanistan in the early 30s; Jack London’s 1907 sailing adventure across the south Pacific; and Teddy Roosevelt’s scientific exploration of the Brazilian jungles exotic flora and fauna […] (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lost lore : a celebration of traditional wisdom, from foraging and festivals to seafaring and smoke signals / McGovern, Una
“An engaging introduction to traditional knowledge and forgotten wisdom” (Catalogue)

Home is not a country: new YA fiction

Nothing is better than the smell of new books in the morning, and we have new YA books coming to our libraries every day. We thought we’d share with you some of our favourite recent arrivals — there’s something here for everyone, so get placing those reserves and send ’em where you want ’em! Here they are, in no particular order (actually that’s a lie, of course we had to put it in alphabetical order by author surname) — we’ve got fantasy, sci-fi, adventures, rom coms, and a host of awesome diverse reads, featuring LGBTQ+ authors and titles as well as books from Sudanese, Bangladeshi, Asian-American, and British Jamaican authors.

Kate in waiting / Albertalli, Becky
“Best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker share a love of theater and crushes on the same guys, but when one of their long-distance crushes shows up at their school, real feelings might end their friendship.” (Catalogue)

Counting down with you / Bhuiyan, Tashie
“Karina Ahmed’s parents have a lot of rules, and for her it is worth it to follow those rules instead of her dreams. With her parents in Bangladesh for a month, she expects to relax those rules a bit, but when the guy she’s tutoring says she’s his girlfriend to cover up the fact that he’s getting help with his schoolwork, that breaks a major rule in a major way that she’s sure will end in disaster. A strict deadline — twenty-eight days — and payment in dozens of books changes her mind about the farce, but can Ace Clyde’s bad-boy charm end up changing her heart?” (Catalogue)

Way of the Argosi / De Castell, Sebastien
“Ten year old Ferius Parfax has a simple plan: kill every last inhabitant of the spell-gifted nation that destroyed her people, starting with the man who murdered her parents. Killing mages is a difficult business, of course, so Ferius undertakes to study the ways of the Argosi: the loosely-knit tribe of tricksters known for getting the better of even the most powerful of spellcasters. But the Argosi have a price for their teachings, and by the time Ferius learns what it is, it may be too late.” (Catalogue)

Home is not a country / Elhillo, Safia
“Nima doesn’t feel understood. By her mother, who grew up far away in a different land. By her suburban town, which makes her feel too much like an outsider to fit in and not enough like an outsider to feel like that she belongs somewhere else. At least she has her childhood friend Haitham, with whom she can let her guard down and be herself. Until she doesn’t. As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen, the name her parents didn’t give her at birth: Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might just be more real than Nima knows. And more hungry. And the life Nima has, the one she keeps wishing were someone else’s…she might have to fight for it with a fierceness she never knew she had.” (Catalogue)

The ones we’re meant to find / He, Joan
“It’s been three years since Cee woke up on the shore of an abandoned island, with no memories of life prior, or how she got there. All she knows is she has a sister– and is determined to find her. A world away, STEM prodigy Kasey is looking to escape from an eco-city– meant to be a sanctuary but now populated by people willing to do anything for refuge. After a series of man-made disasters rock the planet, Kasey must decide if she trusts science to help humanity. (Catalogue)

Tokyo ever after / Jean, Emiko
“It isn’t easy being Japanese American in a small, mostly white, northern California town, being raised by a single mother. When Izumi Tanaka discover her father is the Crown Prince of Japan, it means irreverent Izzy is literally a princess. She travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew– and discovers being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling bodyguard, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight. Back home she was never ‘American’ enough, here she must prove she is ‘Japanese’ enough.” (Catalogue)

The Block / Oliver, Ben
“In the second book of The Loop trilogy, Luka is trapped in a fate worse than death. In the Block, he must toggle between enduring an Energy Harvest for twelve hours of the day and surviving complete immobilization. The only semblance of relief is the Sane Zone, created to keep prisoners from going completely mad. In this virtual reality, the prisoners live out their fantasies of life outside. But for Luka, it’s different. Happy is determined to find out the location of his friends, who disappeared after the Battle of Midway Park. But can Luka battle the descent into madness long enough to stop Happy’s manipulation tactics and keep his friends’ location safe? Another prison break is the only chance to protect the Missing. And as reality becomes increasingly scrambled on the outside, it’ll take an army to stop Galen from carrying out his plans.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Infinity reaper / Silvera, Adam
“Emil and Brighton defied the odds. They beat the Blood Casters and escaped with their lives — or so they thought. When Brighton drank the Reaper’s Blood, he believed it would make him invincible, but instead the potion is killing him. In Emil’s race to find an antidote that will not only save his brother but also rid him of his own unwanted phoenix powers, he will have to dig deep into the very past lives he’s trying to outrun. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The outlaws Scarlett & Browne : being an account of their daring exploits and audacious crimes / Stroud, Jonathan
“England has been radically changed by a series of catastrophes, large cities have disappeared and London has been replaced by a lagoon. The surviving population exists in fortified towns where they cling to traditional ways, while strangely evolved beasts prowl the wilderness beyond. Conformity is rigidly enforced and those who fall foul of the rules are persecuted: some are killed, others are driven out into the wilds. Only a few fight back and two of these outlaws, Scarlett McCain and Albert Browne, display an audacity and talent that makes them legends.” (Catalogue)

Cane warriors / Wheatle, Alex
“Moa is fourteen. The only life he has ever known is toiling on the Frontier sugar cane plantation for endless hot days, fearing the vicious whips of the overseers. Then one night he learns of an uprising, led by the charismatic Tacky. Moa is to be a cane warrior, and fight for the freedom of all the enslaved people in the nearby plantations. But before they can escape, Moa and his friend Keverton must face their first great task: to kill their overseer, Misser Donaldson. Time is ticking, and the day of the uprising approaches.” (Catalogue)

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!

I don’t remember the title, but it’s BLUE.

Image thanks to Blue Willow Bookstore

In honor of this wonderful display at Blue Willow Bookstore in Texas, here’s a collection of books with blue covers.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Sky Inside, Clare B. Dunkle

Martin lives in a perfect world. Each year a new generation of genetically-engineered children is shipped out to meet their parents. Residents keep track of seasons by taking down the snow from their windows and replacing it with flowers. Every morning families gather to vote on matters of national importance. Today it is the colour of the president’s drapes. It’s business as usual, until a stranger comes to take away the smallest children, including Martin’s sister. No one’s talking about it, and Martin decides he has just two options – continue living in the unspoken looming danger zone, or leave the dubious safety of his home, HM1, and make his way through the supposed wasteland outside.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Six Rules of Maybe, Deb Caletti

Scarlett Hughes is very concerned with the lives of everyone around her all the time, and spends very little time thinking of herself. Out of the blue her sister Juliet comes home from school, pregnant and married to a man she seems to have no interest in, but who is completely besotted with her. Scarlett is prompted to think introspectively and consider the necessity of dreams and speaking the truth.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow To Steal A Car, Pete Hautman

Some girls act out by drinking, taking drugs, harming themselves, harming others. Kelleigh steals cars instead. In How to Steal a Car we are taken on a turbulent journey through Kelleigh’s day-to-day life, one car theft at a time.

(I like that this upends the ridiculous cars-are-for-boys trope!)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBait, Alex Sanchez

After Diego lands himself in probation for fighting, he doesn’t trust his probation officer, Mr. Vidas anymore. But Diego soon realises he needs Mr. Vidas’s help to keep his anger under control. To do that, he must confront the nightmares and memories he has been hiding from. But will anyone believe him, even if he does open up and tell the truth?

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNorth Child, Edith Pattou

It was clear Rose had a special fate from the day she was born. But her mother keeps the mysterious circumstances of Rose’s birth a secret, hoping to keep her from leaving home. But Rose’s nature can’t be denied forever. So when a great white bear turns up one cold autumn evening asking Rose to come away with it in exchange for health and prosperity for her family, she jumps at the chance. The bear takes Rose to an empty castle fortress, where she is joined nightly by a mysterious stranger. Slowly she begins to learn his identity, but in doing so she loses her heart and begins to realise her journey has only just begun.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChasing Brooklyn, Lisa Schroeder

Brooklyn can’t sleep. Her boyfriend Lucca died only a year ago, and her best friend Gabe recently died of an overdose. She is haunted by Gabe every time she closes her eyes, but she can’t fathom why Lucca doesn’t appear too. Nico can’t stop running, from the pain of the loss of his brother Lucca. But emotions run high when Lucca’s ghost starts leaving messages for Nico, telling him to reach out to Brooklyn. But neither will admit they’re being haunted, and until then, no one can rest.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFat Angie, e. E. Charlton-Trujillo (this one features in the display above!)

Angie is broken. By her mother, her bullies, and her own belief that her war-hero sister could still be alive, Angie struggles to get through each day. Hiding under a mountain of junk food doesn’t work and things are looking bleak, until the arrival of KC Romance, the kind of girl who doesn’t exist in Dryfalls, Ohio. She is the only one who doesn’t see Angie as “Fat Angie” and knows all too well that the package doesn’t always match what’s inside.

New Books

The blue covers edition:

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMe myself Milly, Penelope Bush (183 pages) – What happened to Milly last summer? She can’t talk about it. Instead, she’s writing her journal. About growing up in the shadow of her twin sister Lily. About the American boy who’s moved upstairs. Milly can’t keep her secret forever – can she?

First line: “This week at the counselling session, Mr Jessop – or Ted, as he keeps telling me to call him – suggested I write a journal.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOne Crow Alone, S. D. Crockett (310 pages) – The cold, bitter winters are getting longer, and a state of emergency has been declared across Europe. After the death of her grandmother and the evacuation of her small Polish village, sixteen-year-old Magda is running out of options. With the help of arrogant, yet resourceful Ivan, she smuggles her way to London. But London is nightmarish and far from welcoming. The pair will need all the cunning and know-how they possess to survive.

First lines: “Of course there were summers. But not then.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFinding Cherokee Brown, Siobhan Curham (331 pages) – When I decided to write a book about my life I thought I’d have to make loads of stuff up. I mean, who wants to read about someone like me? But as soon as I started writing, the weirdest thing happened. I found out I wasn’t who I thought I was. And I stopped being scared. Then everything went crazy! Best of all, I discovered that when you finally decide to be brave it’s like waving a wand over your life – the most magical things can happen.

First lines: “I’ve decided to write a novel. If I don’t write a novel I will kill somebody.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAnother Life, Keren David (340 pages) – Kicked out of yet another boarding school, Archie couldn’t be happier to find himself back in London with old friends and an exciting social life. But he’s worried about his cousin Ty, who is facing a sentence in a Young Offender Institution and doesn’t seem to be coping. And he’s finding that his old friends have moved on and it’s a struggle to keep up with their new lives. When he begins to learn surprising things about Ty, Archie goes on a mission to discover the truth about his cousin’s past.

First line: “There’s a matchbox of weed sitting on the headmaster’s desk – good quality Dutch skunk. I can smell it, sweet and strong, from my uncomfortably low chair.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInfinite Sky, C. J. Flood (271 pages) – No one should die the way he did. I think about him, in there, with all that space, and I want to stop them. I want to open the coffin and climb in with him. I can’t bear the thought of him being cold. And all the time the same question flails around my head, like a hawk moth round a light bulb. Is it possible to keep loving somebody when they kill someone you love? Sidenote: check out the seriously pretty cover!

First lines: “It was three months after Mum left that the gypsies moved in. They set up camp in the paddock one Sunday night while we were asleep.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsJepp, who defied the stars, Katherine Marsh (380 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Jepp’s life is changed forever the day he is whisked from the Dutch countryside to the court of the Spanish Infanta. However, Jepp’s happiness soon turns to misery as he discovers that humiliation and cruelty lurk beneath the court’s glittering facade. Jepp must draw on all his courage and charm to win the woman he loves, find his true identity and become the man he wishes to be.

First lines: “Being a court dwarf is no easy task. I know because I failed at it.”

Wild Night with Rhys Darby and also Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls is going to be in Wellington on the 30th of November, hosted by Rhys Darby.

If you’re a Bear fan, you might like to revisit some Man Versus Wild episodes in the mean time, including the New Zealand special, in which Bear eats a weta (I think – my cat tells me they don’t taste so good).

Bear’s live on stage website is here.

New Books

This week’s cornucopia of new books contains epic adventures, dark fairy tales, sky pirates, unforgettable, kickass characters, a shipwreck, and Joan of Arc!

Kill Me Softly, Sarah Cross (331 pages) – If you like the TV series Once Upon a Time and Grimm then you might like to read this! Mirabelle sneaks back to her birth town just before her sixteenth birthday, to find it’s a place where fairy tales are real. Trouble is (as you know) fairy tales aren’t lovely and sweet, and Mirabelle is drawn into one in particular, involving two brothers with fairy tale curses and “a dark secret”.

First sentence: Birthdays were wretched, delicious things when you lived in Beau Rivage.

Where It Began, Ann Redisch Stampler (369 pages) – This one reminded me of the Jenny Han books (e.g. The Summer I Turned Pretty) and then I saw that she’s written “unputdownable!” on the cover! Gabby has reinvented herself for her senior year, with some success, as she has a perfect boyfriend in Billy. But eight months in, she wakes up on the ground next to Billy’s wrecked BMW with no memory, with no sign of Billy. Putting her life back together may mean facing some unpleasant truths.

First sentence: This is how it starts: some hapless girl in a skanky tank top lying on her back in the wet grass somewhere in Hidden Hills.

Once Upon a River, Bonnie Jo Campbell (348 pages) – “Margo Crane, a beautiful and uncanny markswoman, takes to the Stark River after being complicit in the death of her father and embarks on an odyssey in search of her vanished mother.” (catalogue) This sounds intriguing! And the cover calls Margo “an unforgettable heroine”.

First sentence: The stark river flowed around the oxbow at Murrayville the way blood flowed through Margo Crane’s heart.

The Maid, Kimberly Cutter (287 pages) – The story of Joan of Arc! Jehanne d’Arc was a peasant girl, “whose sister was murdered by the English, who sought an escape from a violent father and a forced marriage, who taught herself to ride and fight, and who somehow found the courage and tenacity to persuade first one, then two, then thousands to follow her” (catalogue), in other words, she was awesome! Also, the cover painting is Joan of Arc, by Sir John Everett Millais.

First sentence: She awakes in darkness, curled on the cold stone floor of the tower.

Blind Sight, Meg Howrey (289 pages) – Luke Prescott has “spent a short lifetime swinging agreeably between the poles of Eastern mysticism and New England Puritanism” (cover), thanks to his mother and grandmother. You couldn’t blame him for being confused! But wait, there’s more: his father, a famous TV star, invites him to Los Angeles to spend time, so Luke finds himself in the elite world of celebrity, trying to figure out the difference between truth and belief.

First sentence: Names are just what we all agree to call things.

Losers in Space, John Barnes (433 pages) – “In 2129, hoping to bypass the exams and training that might lead to a comfortable life, Susan, her almost-boyfriend Derlock, and seven fellow students stow away on a ship to Mars, unaware that Derlock is a sociopath with bigger plans” (catalogue). They say that Susan is “kickass” though, so I have some hope for her against a sociopath!

First sentence: “This collection of losers and misfits will now come to order for a report from your activities chairman”.

There is no long distance now (very short stories), Naomi Shihab Nye (201 pages) – There are 40 stories in here! 40! The dust jacket says: “”In these forty life-altering, life-affirming, and extremely short short stories, the award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye proposes that no matter how great the divide between friends, siblings, life and death, classmates, enemies, happiness and misery, war and peace, breakfast and lunch, parent and child, country and city, there is, in fact, no long distance. Not anymore.”

First sentence: Jane’s father announced their moves as if they were dinner menus.

Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding (461 pages) – This is sky pirates, with steampunk. Darian Frey is the captain of Ketty Jay. When an attempt to steal a chest of gems goes horribly wrong, he finds himself the most wanted person in Vardia, on the run from bounty hunters, the Century Knights, and the “queen of the skies”, Trinica Dracken. The punishment seems to outweigh the crime: Frey and his crew must flee to the pirate town of Retribution Falls, and find out what’s really going on. It’s like Stardust meets Firefly!

First sentence: The smuggler held the bullet between thumb and forefinger, studying it in the weak light of the storeroom.

Thief’s Covenant, Ari Marmell (272 pages) – “Once she was Adrienne Sati, an orphan with a rags-to-riches story until a conspiracy of human and other forces stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder. Now she is Widdershins, a thief with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and help from the mystical god Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdenshins. But now something horrid, something dark, is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go.” (catalogue)

First sentence: The girl watched, helpless, as the world turned red beneath her.

Jamrach’s Menagerie, Carol Birch (295 pages) – In 19th Century London, Jaffy, a street urchin, is taken under the wing of the great Charles Jamrach, famed owner of exotic creatures (including the tiger that tried to kill Jaffy). Jaffy is recruited by Jamrach on a trip to the Dutch East Indies to catch a “fabled dragonlike creature”. The creature is caught, but is it bad luck? The fierce storm and resulting shipwreck seem to suggest so.

First sentences: I was born twice. First in a wooden room that jutted out over the black water of the Thames, and then again eight years later in the Highway, when the tiger took me in his mouth and everything truly began.

New Fiction

Some make-believe to counterbalance all the non-fiction. Lots and lots of fairies, plus a mermaid and one or two regular folk.

Beauty Queens, Libba Bray (390 pages) – <3 the cover. Don’t be fooled! This is not just a book about lipstick as ammunition, and aqua bikinis with little white dots. This is kind of beauty pageant meets Lost (the TV programme), complete with pirates and a few lessons in feminism. The premise: a plane carrying the fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant crashes on a deserted island, leaving them to fend for themselves: “welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness” (book cover.

First sentence: “Are you all right?”

Tempestuous, Lesley Livingston (361 pages) – the conclusion to the trilogy (Wondrous Strange and Darklight are the other two) in which Kelley Winslow discovers she is not only a Shakespearean actor but also a powerful fairy in a world she didn’t know existed. Kelley’s determined to get Sonny back, but she must also find out who’s trying to make the Janus Guards go over to the dark side, try and rebuild her theatre company, and not get distracted by the Fenrys Wolf (in a love triangle sort of way).

First sentence: The antique black carriage sped through the night, its tall spoked wheels whirring, skimming the surface of the river as though the spectral horse that pulled it followed a paved track.

The Secret Journeys of Jack London: The Wild, Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon (348 pages) – if you read and enjoyed The Call of the Wild and White Fang then this might interest you. It’s a fictionalised account of Jack London’s teenage life, where he finds himself heading for the Yukon in search of gold. What greets him is kidnapping, slavery and murder, and a supernatural twist. It’s also beautifully illustrated, in the style of a Jack London novel.

First sentence: Jack London stood on the deck of the Umatilla and looked out upon the docks of San Francisco, wondering how long it would be before he saw the city again.

Born at Midnight, C C Hunter (398 pages) – The first in a new supernatural series. After getting into trouble Kylie is sent to a camp for troubled teens, but it quickly becomes clear they’re not just ordinary teens. Plus: Kylie’s not a normal teen either. To complicate matters there’s Derek and Lucas.

First sentence: “This isn’t funny!” her father yelled.

The Dead I Know, Scot Gardner (208 pages) – scarily, Aaron is a sleepwalker. More so, he has weird unexplainable dreams and blanks where there should be memories. He must uncover the truth about his past in order to ensure his safe future. A gripping psychodrama.

First sentence: The office of JKB Funerals was a majestic orange-brick addition to a modest orange-brick house.

Illusions, Aprilynne Pike (375 pages) – following on from Wings and Spells. Laurel finds herself in a bind: “As her senior year of high school starts, Laurel is just beginning to adjust to Tamani’s absence when he suddenly reappears, telling her he must guard her against the returning threat of the trolls that pose a danger both to her and to Avalon.” (Library catalogue)

First sentence: The halls of Del Norte High buzzed with first-day-of-school chaos as Laurel wedged herself through a crowd of sophomores and spotted David’s broad shoulders.

Forgive My Fins, Tera Lynn Childs (293 pages) – Lily Sanderson is part human, part mermaid, and this has been the cause of much inner turmoil for her. Trying to find where she belongs, she’s enrolled (as a human) in Seaview High School and things are going well: there’s even Brody. Trouble is, mermaids bond for life, which isn’t necessarily the best scenario for high school, and to top it off, her efforts to win Brody’s heart without letting on who she really is are sure to get her into a large pickle.

First sentence: Water calms me.

The Iron Queen, Julie Kagawa (359 pages) – following on from The Iron King and The Iron Daughter. Meghan is half fairy, half human, and is being pulled into a conflict against the Iron Fey: a conflict she may not survive. All this while being torn from Ash, who seems to be quite special, judging by the rave reviews he’s been getting on the www.

First sentence: Eleven years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared.

Tales from the Tower, Volume 1: The Wilful Eye (302 pages) – six short stories by authors including Margaret Mahy, Margo Lanagan and Isobelle Carmody. The premise: each writer takes a classic fairytale and “casts their own spell upon it.” The results are stories for fairy tale enthusiasts who like their fairytales gritty and provocative, rather than happily ever after-ish.

First sentence (from ‘Catastrophic Disruption of the Head’ by Margo Lanagan): Who believes in his own death?

What I’ve been reading

I have just had three weeks off so finally a chance to lie on the beach and read through the pile of books that have been sitting on my must read list. These are the books that have stood out for me when reading the many reviews before making the decision to buy or not to buy.  It would be great to know what you think….

Trash, Andy Mulligan

In an unnamed third world country three young teens, Rat, Raphael, and Gardo live with thousands of other kids in a garbage dump. They dig through the rubbish looking for anything that could be profitable. One day Raphael unearths a leather bag containing a map, a wallet and a key. Keeping the discovery secret from the police the three boys soon find themselves in a mission involving a secret code, a corrupt politician and a search for six million dollars. The adventure is told through the voice of all characters, including their thoughts, feelings and perspective.

A gripping adventure story while also giving an insight into the lack of social justice that exists in parts of the world. If you enjoyed Slumdog millionaire give this a go.

 Unhooking the moon, Gregory Hughes

This is the author’s first novel and has won the Booktrust teenage prize!

It is a very unique story of two teenage orphans, Bob and his sister Marie Claire aka Rat who travel from Canada to New York in search of their uncle. Rat is a funny, football playing, singing, dancing and psychic ten year old and I was entranced.  Bob is her older brother and takes on the role of protector of his ‘crazy’ sister. The story follows the two through New York where they come across some very interesting characters including a drug dealer, up and coming rap-star and thieves. While the story itself is a page turner, for me this book was all about the characters. I would be keen to know what you think!

Boys don’t cry, Malorie Blackman

While Dante is waiting for his A level results he gets an unexpected visit from ex girlfriend, Melanie and her baby Emma. Her reason for the visit is to leave the baby in Dante’s care. All of a sudden Dante’s life is turned upside down as comes to grips with fatherhood at seventeen. As a sub plot Dante learns to accept his sixteen year old brother Adam’s homosexuality. This a genuinely moving story, that explores topics not widely covered in teen fiction.

Annexed, Sharon Dogar

Most of us know Anne Frank’s story, however this is a novel written from Peter’s point of view, who is also hiding in the annexe with his mother and father. When the story commences Peter is irritated by Anne but finds himself falling in love with her. As a result of his confinement Peter begins to question his religion, wondering why being Jewish has inspired such hatred. Anne’s diary ends in August 1944, however in ‘Annexed’ Peter’s story continues on beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi concentration camp.

While there has been controversy surrounding this book I found it powerful and engrossing.

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