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Tag: History Page 1 of 2

Prime Minister Muldoon vs. Aliens

New Zealand Prime Minister Rob Muldoon might be most remembered for drunkenly announcing a snap election in 1984 (which he lost). But have you heard the story of the time that PM Muldoon demanded that the NZ Defence Force get to the bottom of an apparent case of … UFOs?

The scene: the late 70s, a time of economic inflation, energy crisis and copious moustaches. On a fateful night in December 1978, a few cargo pilots would have an experience they would never forget.

In the skies high over the Kaikōura Ranges, the crew on a freight run by Safe Air Ltd Cargo noticed lights dancing around their Armstrong Whitworth aircraft. Some of the lights seemed to follow the same trajectory as their own aircraft, for several minutes. Captain Powell also picked up an object moving towards him travelling at more than 10,000 miles an hour! The lights varied in size, and some were allegedly as large as a house. These objects even appeared on air traffic control radar in Wellington!

Raising the stakes even higher, a TV news crew from Australia promptly joined the action, and boarded another flight on the 30th December 1978, equipped with cameras – and they got results on film! In a world first, these lights were recorded on film and monitored by Wellington air traffic control. Journalist Quentin Forgarty described seeing “…this string of lights, it started as a small pinpoint of light then grew into this large pulsating globe with tinges of orange and red.”

At this point, Prime Minister Muldoon took a strong personal interest in the lights watched by many witnesses and thousands more people on television. The ‘ Kaikōura Lights’ were to be the first – and only – UFO sighting in New Zealand that lead to a full investigation. An air force Orion was sent on a reconnaissance mission and a Skyhawk jet fighter was put on stand-by to investigate any further sightings. The air force prepared a detailed document, but, alas, the mysterious lights were chalked up to lights from a Japanese squid fleet, the glow of the planet Venus or apparently even moonlight bouncing off cabbages. The radar detections in Wellington were blamed on atmospheric disturbances.

I for one and not entirely convinced by these banal explanations… perhaps you might want to do some further UFO investigation with these items from our collection and local resources👽

What to do if you see a UFO | The Spinoff

josie_UFOA comprehensive guide from The Spinoff, which even includes a link to the 1978 Kaikōura footage!

How UFOs conquered the world : the history of a modern myth / Clarke, David
“A history of the various manifestations and shifting meaning of the Twentieth Century’s single great contribution to mythology: the UFO. Neither a credulous work of conspiracy theory nor a sceptical debunking of belief in ‘flying saucers’, How UFOs Changed the World explores the origins of UFOs in the build-up to the First World War and how reports of them have changed in tandem with world events, science and culture. The book will also explore the overlaps between UFO belief and religion and superstition.” (Catalogue)

The UFO files the inside story of real-life sightings / Clarke, David
“Original records newly released by the Ministry of Defence and now held at The National Archives in Kew reveal how British Intelligence and the CIA investigated many Cold War sightings. This title presents the story of over 200 years of UFO sightings drawing on the formerly secret reports from the Ministry of Defence.” (Catalogue)

Fake news : separating truth from fiction / Miller, Michael
“This title explores journalistic and fact-checking standards, Constitutional protections, and real-world case studies, helping readers identify the mechanics, perpetrators, motives, and psychology of fake news. A final chapter explores methods for assessing and avoiding the spread of fake news.” (Catalogue)

The NZ files : UFOs in New Zealand / Hassall, Peter
“New Zealand has had its share of mysterious happenings and unidentified flying objects, and this attempts a history of UFOs in New Zealand. There have been hundreds of recorded sightings this century and possibly thousands more not recorded.” (Catalogue)

“The most misunderstood of English villains”: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot

image courtesy of wikipedia.org

This black-and-white drawing of Guy Fawkes was actually created over 200 years after his death by illustrator George Cruikshank! Image: Public Domain

Prepare to blow up… your mind with a veritable treasure trove of information about a gunpowder plot gone wrong. Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Night is on this horizon this very evening, November 5th, as an annual celebration with bonfires and fireworks in remembrance of the failed plot to kill the British Government and King James VI and I.

Why do we celebrate Guy Fawkes? Guy Fawkes and a group of men were part of a plot to blow up British Parliament to kill the King of England on the 5th of November. However, the government found out about the plot before the attack could take place. The government arrested Guy Fawkes and his conspirators, who were then convicted of treason. To celebrate the survival of the Parliament, they announced a national day, now known as Guy Fawkes Day. The first celebration was held on November 5, 1606. Today, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated with feasts, bonfires, and fireworks.

For more information, check out:

If you’d like to read more about the history and alternative stories about Guy Fawkes,  here’s a selection of books at the library:

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Gunpowder Plot : terror in Shakespeare’s England.

“The Gunpowder Plot is perhaps the most famous and well-documented event in British Early Modern History. This means the story can be told through original dialogue recorded at the time to a greater extent than any other of the period. This expert retelling of the Gunpowder Plot brings seventeenth-century voices fresh to the page. It shows the complex motivations of the principal figures involved, including the plotters themselves, and tells the story of the plot without the benefit of hindsight.  Today, ‘Guido Fawkes’ has become the face of political disaffection, thanks to his popularity as a mask for protestors. And in a modern world of religious terrorism, this books lets us understand what drove the participants in British history’s biggest home-grown plot.”(Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsPity for the Guy : a biography of Guy Fawkes.

“The first fully-rounded portrait of the man behind the Gunpowder Plot for hundreds of years Guy Fawkes has been portrayed as perhaps too extreme a figure — a rabid, bloodthirsty Catholic who not only tried to bomb British Parliament but threatened the English way of life. This biography reveals that he was much more than an evil, shadowy conspirator with an axe to grind. John Paul Davis delves into the evidence and makes a convincing case for new thinking on one of English history’s greatest enigmas. Not only is the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 thrillingly retold, but Guy Fawkes can now be seen as a multi-faceted figure — husband, soldier, lover, adventurer, spy, and possibly the most misunderstood of English villains.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Gunpowder Plot : terror & faith in 1605.

“A bestselling historian’s account of the Gunpowder Plot – ‘History as it should be written’ – Roy Strong.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsRemember, remember the fifth of November : Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot.

“Guy Fawkes is one of the most celebrated figures in English history – but how did a failed Catholic plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 inspire a religious festival, anti-Catholic riots, political protests, novels and pantomimes, and a 60 million annual spend on fireworks?” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsFawkes.

“Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Suffrage and the White Camellia

Suffrage Day  is a special  day in New Zealand’s history. Sunday 19 September 2021 is Suffrage Day / White Camellia Day.

Why is Suffrage Day celebrated?

On the 19th of September 1893, New Zealand became the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote. This year marks the 126 anniversary of women winning the right to vote in New Zealand. The white camellia was the symbol of the suffragists.

Did you know? November 28th 1893 was the day New Zealand women voted for first time.

What is Suffrage Day?

Suffrage Day provides an opportunity for people to celebrate New Zealand’s suffrage achievements and look for ways to benefit women.

How do we commemorate this day?

  • Wearing a white camellia. Why? These flowers were worn by people supporting women’s right to vote in New Zealand.
  • Wear a The Suffrage 125 symbolWhy? The symbol draws on historical colours and icons adopted by women’s suffrage petitioners and presents them in a contemporary form. 
    image courtesy of women.govt.nz

Where can I find information about the suffragettes and and Suffrage Day?

image courtesy of syndeticsHindsight : pivotal moments in New Zealand history.

Four pivotal events in New Zealands history, (Women’s suffrage, Springbok tour, Dawn raids  and Rainbow warrior), are examined through a variety of source materials and commentary that enlivens the event and describes its impact on our society and growth as a nation. Hindsight is a resource for all schools and libraries. These topics are linked to the social sciences and history syllabus Years 7-11. An authoritative and engaging text, with high visual appeal. Buyers will be given access to download resources from our website, that will be updated as required. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe book of gutsy women : favourite stories of courage and resilience.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, share the stories of the gutsy women who have inspired them–women with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done. Ensuring the rights and opportunities of women and girls remains a big piece of the unfinished business of the twenty-first century. While there’s a lot of work to do, we know that throughout history and around the globe women have overcome the toughest resistance imaginable to win victories that have made progress possible for all of us. That is the achievement of each of the women in this book. So how did they do it? The answers are as unique as the women themselves. […] Edie Windsor, Diana Nyad, Rachel Carson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mary Beard, Wangari Maathai, Harriet Tubman, Malala Yousafzai — to us, they are all gutsy women — leaders with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done. (Adapted from Catalogue). Also available as an eBook

image courtesy of syndeticsSuffragettes : the fight for votes for women.

‘Queen Victoria is most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad wicked folly of women’s rights, with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor sex is bent’. 1870. It was a bloody and dangerous war lasting several decades, won finally by sheer will and determination in 1928. Drawing on extracts from diaries, newspapers, letters, journals and books, Joyce Marlow has pieced together this inspiring, poignant and exciting history using the voices of the women themselves. Some of the people and events are well-known, but Marlow has gone beyond the obvious, particularly beyond London, to show us the ordinary women – middle and working-class, who had the breathtaking courage to stand up and be counted – or just as likely hectored, or pelted with eggs. These women were clever and determined, knew the power of humour and surprise and exhibited ‘unladylike’ passion and bravery. Joyce Marlow’s anthology is lively, comprehensive, surprising and triumphant.’ (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsHidden heroines : the forgotten suffragettes.

The story of the struggle for women’s suffrage is not just that of the Pankhursts and Emily Davison. Thousands of others were involved in peaceful protest–and sometimes more militant activity–and they includes women from all walks of life. This book presents the lives of 48 less well-known women who tirelessly campaigned for the vote, from all parts of Great Britain and Ireland, risking ridicule and condemnation from family and friends. They were the hidden heroines who paved the way for women to gain greater equality in Britain. (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsRise up, women! : the remarkable lives of the suffragettes.

“Between the death of Queen Victoria and the outbreak of the First World War, while the patriarchs of the Liberal and Tory parties vied for supremacy in parliament, the campaign for women’s suffrage was fought with great flair and imagination in the public arena. Led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia, the suffragettes and their actions would come to define protest movements for generations to come. From their marches on Parliament and 10 Downing Street, to the selling of their paper, Votes for Women, through to the more militant activities of the Women’s Social and Political Union, whose slogan ‘Deeds Not Words!’ resided over bombed pillar-boxes, acts of arson and the slashing of great works of art, the women who participated in the movement endured police brutality, assault, imprisonment and force-feeding, all in the relentless pursuit of one goal: the right to vote. A hundred years on, Diane Atkinson celebrates the lives of the women who answered the call to ‘Rise Up’; a richly diverse group that spanned the divides of class and country, women of all ages who were determined to fight for what had been so long denied. Actresses to mill-workers, teachers to doctors, seamstresses to scientists, clerks, boot-makers and sweated workers, Irish, Welsh, Scottish and English; a wealth of women’s lives are brought together for the first time, in this meticulously researched, vividly rendered and truly defining biography of a movement.”–Dust jacket cover. Also available as an eAudiobook.

Click here for more books about suffragettes.

Why the Oxford English Dictionary is actually super cool

Let me introduce you to the wonder that is the Oxford English Dictionary Online. And I mean that! The OED online really is a thing of wonder, a remarkable resource, a superb site, and you have full access to it through us here at Wellington City Libraries!

To get into the OED online, just go to the eLibrary tab at the top of our website, select ‘By name’, then look under ‘O’ for ‘Oxford’. Or you could just click here.

Now you’re in, but maybe you’re not sure how it works. Luckily, that’s what I’m here for.

One of the simplest uses for the OED online is to look up a word you don’t know how to pronounce.

You know how it is, you’re reading a book, you learn a new word, you’ve never heard it said aloud, and English can be an awful language for guessing the proper pronunciation. How are you meant to know how it’s said?

Ah, how could I forget the hilarity that ensued when one of my friends foolishly and confidently and in front of me mispronounced the word ‘entrepreneurs’. She said ‘on-tray-pruners’, I laughed, and I have never forgotten it. But you can avoid such foolishness by going to the OED, searching this new addition to your vocabulary, and listening to the handy recording the OED provides for every word. See, here’s the entry for ‘entrepreneur’, with several handy blue play buttons that you can click on to listen to and never embarrass yourself with foolish pronunciation again!

Screenshot of the OED entry for Entrepreneur. It reads: Title: entrepreneur, n. Then pronunciation each with an IPA transcription and blue play button for each different pronunciaiton.Origin: a borrowing from French. Etymology" French entrepreneur person who owns a business.

Another really rad thing about the OED online is all the historical and etymological information they provide. If you’re a word nerd or just like knowing cool facts about cool stuff it can be fascinating to read through the entries and discover how meanings have changed over the years.

Did-you-know-for-example that the work ‘lemony’ used to have another meaning in NZ slang? See, it’s all written here with several examples of this older usage:

Screenshot of a dictionary entry. Text reads b. Australian and New Zealand slang. Irritated, angry, esp. in to go lemony at: to become angry with (someone).

If, like me, you ever find yourself in ferocious debate with your friends over the meaning, etymology, or older spelling of a word then this is the place to go to get your proof. And hopefully your friend won’t go lemony at you when you prove them wrong!

There are other cool things to explore too, such as this interactive explanation of how a word enters the OED, or you can discover which words are the same age as you, or even submit your own word!

You can search for certain words, or browse by the date a word was added, or search for words that originated in a certain location, or look through all the sources the OED uses for historical evidence of what words used to mean. If you think any of this could be useful for a project at school then they do have a page with a bit more information on it for you.

If not for the OED online I would never have been looking through quotations from my old favourite Beowulf and I would never have discovered that Beowulf has the first recorded evidence of the word ‘blonk’! A blonk is, of course, one of those four-legged animals that goes ‘neigh’. Now, alas, this word is obsolete and we use another word to refer to this animal. But ‘elf’ was also first used in Beowulf, and we still use that word!

Anyway, I hope I’ve managed to get you even just a little bit excited in the Oxford English Dictionary Online. Now you have all you need to go and learn all about archaic meanings, obsolete words, and much more!

What’s On for Wellington Pride?

Wellington Pride Festival logo, dark field, rainbow design surrounding

Join us for the Wellington Pride Festival 2021!

This month, from 13-27 March, is the Wellington Pride Festival | Tū Whakahīhī e te Whanganui-ā-Tara. As New Zealand’s longest-running Pride festival, Wellington Pride is the annual celebration of rainbow pride in our city, featuring LGBTQIA+ performers, historians, writers, artists, musicians, and — of course — librarians doing their thing for the community. Wellington City Libraries always joins in on the fun, and this year we have a selection of awesome events that you might be interested in coming along to. Check out the deets below!


Queer Stories: Discovering LGBTQIA+ History at the Library
Friday 19 March, 5.00 – 7.30pm
Newtown Library

Join some very cool librarians as they trace how LGBTQIA+ stories are told through the library’s collections in print, online, and on film. The event will conclude with a free screening of a queer film from our collection, and we anticipate rainbow cupcakes will be consumed voraciously!


The Queer History of Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Thursday 18 March, 5.30 – 7.00pm
Te Awe Library

Join us for an evening of sharing Wellington’s queer and takatāpui oral history. We’ll being hearing kōrero from historians Will Hansen and Roger Swanson, both involved in the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand (LAGANZ), as well as Kay’la Rian representing Tīwhanawhana celebrating the organizations 20th anniversary. More speakers to be announced!


Queer Experience and Expression
Thursday 25 March, 5.30 – 7.00pm
Te Awe Library

Hear from a variety of local queer and takatāpui artists about their experiences through their unique form of artistic expression. Celebrate the LGBTQI+ perspective that comes through in all varieties of expression. We’ll be hearing from illustrator Sam Orchard, Wellington-based artist and musician Olga Lapin, and Dr Elizabeth Kerekere — artist, LGBTQ+ activist, scholar and NZ politician with the Green Party.


Rainbow Storytimes with Hugo Grrrl and Friends
Sunday 14 March, 2 – 3pm at Johnsonville Library
Monday 15 March, 11am – 12pm at Karori Library
Saturday 20 March, 2 – 3pm at Kilbirnie Library
Sunday 21 March, 2 – 3pm at Te Awe Library

Okay, okay, I know if you’re reading this you’re probably not a kid, and you’re probably thinking these events are for kids. And they are! But they’re also for you. Come along for a most enchanting hour of stories, songs and games with some of Wellington’s most excellent drag performers, including Hugo Grrrl, Harlie Lux, Amy Thurst, and many more. So wholesome, so fabulous, so great — even if you’re not a kid, you’ll dig it! And if you’re an aspiring drag artist yourself, you should come along to see how it’s done!


Out in the City
Sunday 27 March, 11am – 5pm
Michael Fowler Centre, 2nd floor

Yes, your favourite library again has a stall at your favourite LGBTQIA+ community event of the year — Out in the City (it used to be called Out in the Park if the name sounds a little unfamiliar). We’ll be there all day handing out our signature queer literary icon badges (as well as the usual rainbow library ones!), and talking about LGBTQIA+ books, movies, online resources and more. Come and say hi!

Making Sense of the World Around Us

Well, we’re a fortnight into 2021 and hoo mama what a time it has been.  It’s full on for anybody right now looking around at what is going on in the world, particularly in America, and trying to just understand what on earth it all means.  In times like these, I turn books to get answers, but I know there are so many dry and dull books out there that just make the whole topic all that more confusing!  So I thought I’d put together a bit of a list of some that are interesting and topical to help you get some answers and perspective on the events of the world around us.

Eyes wide open : going behind the environmental headlines / Fleischman, Paul

This book is an excellent explainer for the position we find our world in environmentally.  It takes a deep dive into capitalism, world politics, consumerism and our everyday lives to look at just how we got here, and how we can think about moving forward.

Hope was here / Bauer, Joan

A powerful story about a young woman finding her place in a new society and how her everyday choices draw her further into local politics.

 

 

Legacy / Hereaka, Whiti

“Seventeen-year-old Riki is worried about school and the future, but mostly about his girlfriend, Gemma, who has suddenly stopped seeing or texting him. But on his way to see her, hes hit by a bus and his life radically changes. Riki wakes up one hundred years earlier in Egypt, in 1915, and finds hes living through his great-great-grandfathers experiences in the Maori Contingent. At the same time that Riki tries to make sense of whats happening and find a way home, we go back in time and read transcripts of interviews Rikis great-great-grandfather gave in 1975 about his experiences in this war and its impact on their family. Gradually we realise the fates of Riki and his great-great-grandfather are intertwined.” (Catalogue)

Saints and misfits : a novel / Ali, S. K

Janna divides the world around her into three categories – saints, misfits and monsters, to try to make sense of the events happening in her life.  She is trying to fit into her community and deal with a recent traumatic event that she has been through.

 

The tyrant’s daughter / Carleson, J. C.

“When her father is killed in a coup, Laila and her mother and brother leave their war-torn homeland for a fresh start in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. At her new high school, Laila makes mistakes, makes friends, and even meets a boy who catches her eye. But this new life brings unsettling facts to light. The American newspapers call her father a brutal dictator and suggest that her family’s privilege came at the expense of innocent lives. Meanwhile, her mother would like nothing more than to avenge his death, and she’ll go to great lengths to regain their position of power. As an international crisis takes shape around her, Laila is pulled in one direction, then another, but there’s no time to sort out her feelings. She has to pick a side now, and her decision will affect not just her own life, but countless others. . . . Inspired by the author’s experience as a CIA officer in Iraq and Syria, this book is as timely as it is relevant.” (Catalogue)

The dharma punks / Sang, Anthony

“Auckland, New Zealand, 1994. A group of anarchist punks have hatched a plan to sabotage the opening of a multi-national fast-food restaurant by blowing it sky-high come opening day. Chopstick has been given the unenviable task of setting the bomb in the restaurant the night before the opening, but when he is separated from his accomplice, Tracy, the night takes the first of many unexpected turns. Chance encounters and events from his past conspire against him, forcing Chopstick to deal with more than just the mission at hand. Still reeling after the death of a close friend, and struggling to reconcile his spiritual path with his political actions, Chopstick’s journey is a meditation on life, love, friendship and blowing things up!” (Catalogue)

Bernie Sanders guide to political revolution / Sanders, Bernard

“Adapted for young readers from Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, from political revolutionary and cultural icon Bernie Sanders comes an inspiring teen guide to engaging with and shaping the world–a perfect gift and an important read. Adapted for young readers from “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, ” this inspiring teen guide to engaging with and shaping the world is from political revolutionary and cultural icon Senator Sanders.” (Catalogue)

She takes a stand : 16 fearless activists who have changed the world / Ross, Michael Elsohn

“She Takes a Stand offers a realistic look at the game-changing decisions, high stakes, and bold actions of women and girls around the world working to improve their personal situations and the lives of others.

This inspiring collection of short biographies features the stories of extraordinary figures past and present who have dedicated their lives to fighting for human rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, reproductive rights, and world peace. Budding activists will be inspired by antilynching crusader and writerIda B. Wells, birth control educator and activist Margaret Sanger, girls-education activist Malala Yousafzai, Gulabi Gang founder Sampat Pal Devi, who fights violence against Indian women, Dana Edell, who works against the sexualization of women and girls in the media, and many others.” (Catalogue)

Dawn Raid / Smith, Pauline

“Like many 13-year-old girls, Sofia’s main worries are how to get some groovy go-go boots, and how not to die of embarrassment giving a speech at school! But when her older brother Lenny starts talking about marches and protests and overstayers, and how Pacific Islanders are being bullied by the police for their passports and papers, a shadow is cast over Sofia’s sunny teenage days. Through her heartfelt diary entries, we witness the terror of being dawn-raided and gain an insight into the courageous and tireless work of the Polynesian Panthers in the 1970s as they encourage immigrant families across New Zealand to stand up for their rights.” (Catalogue)

The rise of the Nazis / Tonge, Neil

Learn about the Nazi occupation through visually stimulating primary sources taken from the War era; readers will be engaged as they discover authentic newspapers, broadcasts, propaganda, letters, and diary entries.

 

Persepolis / Satrapi, Marjane

“The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-grandaughter of Iran’s last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Amidst the tragedy, Marjane’s child’s eye view adds immediacy and humour, and her story of a childhood at once outrageous and ordinary, beset by the unthinkable and yet buffered by an extraordinary and loving family, is immensely moving. It is also very beautiful; Satrapi’s drawings have the power of the very best woodcuts.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hindsight : pivotal moments in New Zealand history / Hager, Mandy

Hindsight is a good look at four key moments in New Zealand history and how they affected our society as a nation.

 

Fighting off the boredom with PapersPast

Are you really, incredibly, horrendously and hyperbolically bored? I know. Me too. Lockdown is still, absolutely, the right thing to be doing but that doesn’t mean it’s easy or fun or not boring.

This is just a teeny blog post but the resource I’m highlighting here can provide hours of interesting scrolling. There is a site called PapersPast that anyone can access for FREE and it is a digitised and readable form of hundreds of the newspapers and magazines from Aotearoa/New Zealand’s past. It’s a resource from the National Library of New Zealand and is a great example of how informative and interesting archival material can be.

This site is for you if:

  • You want to learn more about local history.
  • You’ve got really hooked on researching genealogy, what with ancestry.com being available from home at the moment and all!
  • You want to read newspapers but are, sensibly, limiting yourself to current news intake as there is only so much news it is healthy to consume at this time.
  • You’re bored and want something to do.
  • You’ve become increasingly interested in news and the media and the role it plays in the world through seeing the impact that is has at a time like this.
  • You’re studying history at school and you need to find some primary sources for a project.

NOTE: Old school newspapers may not be quite what you expect. Back in the day they were such a foundational and unique resource that people and communities put all sorts of stuff in there. Sometimes they feel more like blogs or Facebook feeds than they do contemporary print media. If someone loses their favourite knitted beanie ...they probably didn’t call them beanies back then… where does the word beanie even come from?...  on Cuba street back in the early 1900s, everybody knows about it! That kinda thing. It’s weird and fascinating. We’re keen to see what kind of stuff you’re able to find!

Check Your History with Bridget Williams Books

You know those little white books with coloured spines you see by the counter at bookshops?  -back in the day when you were allowed to leave your house to go to bookshops and libraries, two weeks and a different world ago- Well, those little books are some of the amazing books published by Bridget Williams Books (BWB).

I think that lots of people never really think about the people who are involved in editing and publication.  They slip under the radar a lot. We think about the person or people who wrote the book and who end up reading it but the truth is that a LOT happens to the book between someone writing it and you reading it! If you’re a creative writer or do much writing for school you’ll probably know that it is an entirely different headspace and process between writing and editing. I wrote a very rough draft of this blog post in a scrappy old paper book before I ever touched the keys.

Bridget Williams has been publishing in Aotearoa/New Zealand since 1976. If you’ve ever read or seen The Oxford History of New Zealand, Tangata Whenua:  An Illustrated History or A History of New Zealand Women, she has been involved in all of these. These days she is the director and publisher of BWB and continues to be part of the creation of some of the most important local writing that’s being made.

BWB has a focus on telling stories from this country and puts emphasis on publishing with and for Māori. They are interested in exploring the experience of people who live on these islands and being a platform for voices that have historically not had a platform to speak from.

(Side note: Try looking at all the books on your/anyone’s bookshelf and count how many of them are: written by someone from Aotearoa/New Zealand, written by women or genderqueer people, written by indigenous people, published in New Zealand, have an LGBTQ+ author or content … Also how many different languages are on your bookshelf?)

As you can’t run down to the library right now (even though I know you really really want to) and check out these books in person, what you do have access to is their  amazing online resources. If you’ve got a research project for school, or are just looking for some words to fill the extra time you’ve got at home, these are awesome resources to explore: just plug in your library card number and your PIN and you’re good to go!

Bridget Williams Books – Text Collection: for all your bookish needs — we all know you have them!

Bridget Williams Books – The NZ History Collection: for all your historical needs.

Bridget Williams Books – Treaty of Waitangi Collection: for all your Te Tiriti needs.

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe forgotten book, Mechthild Gläser

Emma is used to things going her way. Her father is headmaster of her prestigious boarding school, her friends take her advice as gospel, and she’s convinced that a relationship with her long-time crush is on the horizon. As it turns out, Emma hasn’t seen anything yet. When she finds an old book in an abandoned library, things really start going Emma’s way: anything she writes in the book comes true. But the power of the book is not without consequences, and Emma soon realizes that she isn’t the only one who knows about it. Someone is determined to take it from her–and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.A new boy in school–the arrogant, aloof, and irritatingly handsome Darcy de Winter–becomes Emma’s unlikely ally as secrets are revealed and danger creeps ever closer. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNow a major motion picture, Cori McCarthy

Iris Thorne wants to blaze her own path. That’s easier said than done when you’re the granddaughter of M. E. Thorne, famous author of the Elementia series, hailed as the feminist response to J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. And with a major motion picture adaptation of her grandmother’s books in the works, Iris can say goodbye to her dream of making her own way in the music industry. So when Iris and her brother get invited to the film set in Ireland, she’s pretty sure the trip will be a nightmare. Except Iris can’t deny the rugged beauty of the Irish countryside. And brushing shoulders with the hot, young cast isn’t awful, especially the infuriatingly charming lead, Eamon O’Brien. Iris even finds the impassioned female director inspiring. But when the filming falls into jeopardy, everything Iris thought she knew about Elementia–and herself–is in question. Will making a film for the big screen help Iris to see the big picture? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLizard radio, Pat Schmatz

In a futuristic society run by an all-powerful Gov, a bender teen on the cusp of adulthood has choices to make that will change her life–and maybe the world. Fifteen-year-old bender Kivali has had a rough time in a gender-rigid culture. Abandoned as a baby and raised by Sheila, an ardent nonconformist, Kivali has always been surrounded by uncertainty. Where did she come from? Is it true what Sheila says, that she was deposited on Earth by the mysterious saurians? What are you? people ask, and Kivali isn’t sure. Boy/girl? Human/lizard? Both/neither? Now she’s in CropCamp, with all of its schedules and regs, and the first real friends she’s ever had. Strange occurrences and complicated relationships raise questions Kivali has never before had to consider. But she has a gift–the power to enter a trancelike state to harness the “knowings” inside her. She has Lizard Radio. Will it be enough to save her? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLight as a feather, Zoe Aarsen

Junior year is shaping up to be the best of McKenna Brady’s life. After a transformative summer, McKenna is welcomed into the elite group of popular girls at Weeping Willow High, led by the gorgeous Olivia Richmond. For the first time in a long time, things are looking up. But everything changes the night of Olivia’s Sweet Sixteen sleepover. Violet, the mysterious new girl in town, suggests the girls play a game during which Violet makes up elaborate, creepily specific stories about the violent ways the friends will die. Though it unsettles McKenna, it all seems harmless at the time.Until a week later, when Olivia dies…exactly as Violet predicted. As Violet rises to popularity and steps into the life Olivia left unfinished, McKenna becomes convinced Olivia’s death wasn’t just a coincidence, especially when a ghost haunting her bedroom keeps leaving clues that point to Violet. With the help of her cute neighbor, Trey, McKenna pledges to get to the bottom of Violet’s secrets and true intentions before it’s too late. Because it’s only a matter of time before more lives are lost. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis is kind of an epic love story, Kheryn Callender

Film buff and aspiring screenwriter Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings since his father died and his mom began to unravel. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And that someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLosers bracket, Chris Crutcher

When it comes to family, Annie is in the losers bracket. While her foster parents are great (mostly), her birth family would not have been her first pick. And no matter how many times Annie tries to write them out of her life, she always gets sucked back into their drama. Love is like that. But when a family argument breaks out at Annie’s swim meet and her nephew goes missing, Annie might be the only one who can get him back. With help from her friends, her foster brother, and her social service worker, Annie puts the pieces of the puzzle together, determined to find her nephew and finally get him into a safe home. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAll these beautiful strangers, Elizabeth Klehfoth

One summer day, Grace Fairchild, the beautiful young wife of real estate mogul Alistair Calloway, vanished from the family’s lake house without a trace, leaving behind her seven-year old daughter, Charlie, and a slew of unanswered questions. Years later, seventeen-year-old Charlie still struggles with the dark legacy of her family name and the mystery surrounding her mother. Determined to finally let go of the past, she throws herself into life at Knollwood, the prestigious New England school she attends. Charlie quickly becomes friends with Knollwood’s “it” crowd. Charlie has also been tapped by the A’s–the school’s elite secret society well known for terrorizing the faculty, administration, and their enemies. To become a member of the A’s, Charlie must play The Game, a semester-long, diabolical high-stakes scavenger hunt that will jeopardize her friendships, her reputation, even her place at Knollwood. As the dark events of past and present converge, Charlie begins to fear that she may not survive the terrible truth about her family, her school, and her own life. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Light between worlds, Laura E. Weymouth

Five years ago, Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell cowered from air strikes in a London bomb shelter… and were transported to another realm called the Woodlands. In a forest kingdom populated by creatures out of myth and legend, they found temporary refuge. When they finally returned to London, nothing had changed — except themselves. Overcome with longing, Ev is desperate to return no matter what it takes. Philippa is determined to find a place in this world, and moves to America to escape the memory of what was. When Evelyn goes missing, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLet’s talk about love, Claire Kann

Alice’s last girlfriend, Margo, ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual. Now Alice is sure she’s done with dating … and then she meets Takumi. She can’t stop thinking about him or the rom-com-grade romance feelings she did not ask for. When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library-employee badge, Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated– or understood. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLittle white lies, Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Eighteen-year-old auto mechanic Sawyer Taft did not expect her estranged grandmother to show up at her apartment door and offer her a six-figure contract to participate in debutante season. And she definitely never imagined she would accept. But when she realizes that immersing herself in her grandmother’s “society” might mean discovering the answer to the biggest mystery of her life-her father’s identity-she signs on the dotted line and braces herself for a year of makeovers, big dresses, bigger egos, and a whole lot of bless your heart . The one thing she doesn’t expect to find is friendship, but as she’s drawn into a group of debutantes with scandalous, dangerous secrets of their own, Sawyer quickly discovers that her family isn’t the only mainstay of high society with skeletons in their closet. There are people in her grandmother’s glittering world who are not what they appear, and no one wants Sawyer poking her nose into the past. As she navigates the twisted relationships between her new friends and their powerful parents, Sawyer’s search for the truth about her own origins is just the beginning. (Publisher summary)

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOtherearth, Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

After discovering terrifying information about Otherworld, the Company’s high-tech VR gaming experience, Simon and his friends are on the run, searching for Simon’s old roommate. He may just be the key to shutting the Company down, although if they don’t find him in time, it may be too late for not only them, but for all of humanity. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn another time, Caroline Leech

It’s 1942 and Maisie McCall is in the Scottish Highlands doing her bit for the war effort in the Women’s Timber Corps. As Maisie fells trees alongside the enigmatic John Lindsay, she can’t help but feel their friendship has the spark of something more to it. But it’s not until Maisie rescues John from a terrible logging accident that he begins to open up to her about the truth of his past – and the pain he’s been hiding. Suddenly everything is more complicated than Maisie expected. As she helps John untangle his shattered history, she must decide if she’s willing to risk her heart to help heal his. But, in a world devastated by war, love might be the only thing left that can begin to fix what’s broken. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDistortion, Victor Dixen

Six girls, six boys: looking for glory and romance on Mars. They thought they were masters of their destiny.They are the twelve pioneers of the Genesis program.They thought they were taking part in the most extraordinary of missions.In fact, they are the victims of the cruelest of plots.Leonor was looking for glory – and love – on Mars.She thought she would be able to open her heart there.But what she has done is open up a Pandora’s box of her past… (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhite rabbit, red wolf, Tom Pollock

Peter Blankman is afraid of everything but must confront truly unimaginable terror when his mother is attacked. Seventeen-year-old Peter Blankman is a maths prodigy. He also suffers from severe panic attacks. Afraid of everything, he finds solace in the orderly and logical world of mathematics and in the love of his family: his scientist mum and his tough twin sister Bel, as well as Ingrid, his only friend. However, when his mother is found stabbed before an award ceremony and his sister is nowhere to be found, Pete is dragged into a world of espionage and violence where state and family secrets intertwine. Armed only with his extraordinary analytical skills, Peter may just discover that his biggest weakness is his greatest strength. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDogchild, Kevin Brooks

Jeet was raised by a pack of wild dogs. Recaptured and ‘rehumanised’, Jeet now lives with the last of his people in an ancient walled town in the vast expanse of the Deathlands, besieged by a much larger enemy clan. They are preparing for the final battle and it’s Jeet’s task to record the events. But Jeet is struggling to come to terms with his half-human, half-dog identity. Can the impending conflict, and his relationship with another rehumanised dogchild, shed any light on what it takes to be a survivor? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis cruel design, Emily Suvada

Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben. Desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity, Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns. When a new case of the Hydra virus is found, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert, could also hold the answers about Cat’s past. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis splintered silence, Kayla Olson

Lindley Hamilton has been the leader of the space station Lusca since every first generation crew member on board, including her mother, the commander, was killed by a deadly virus. Lindley always assumed she’d captain the Lusca one day, but she never thought that day would come so soon. And she never thought it would be like this–struggling to survive every day, learning how to keep the Lusca running, figuring out how to communicate with Earth, making sure they don’t run out of food. When a member of the surviving second generation dies from symptoms that look just like the deadly virus, though, Lindley feels her world shrinking even smaller. And as more people die, Lindley must face the terrifying reality–that either the virus has mutated, or one of their own is a killer”. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPulp, Robin Talley

In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself–and Marie–to a danger all too real. Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject: classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity. The story of two young women connected across generations through the power of words. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsToxic, Lydia Kang

Hana isn’t supposed to exist. She’s grown up hidden by her mother in a secret room of the bioship Cyclo until the day her mother is simply gone–along with the entire crew. Cyclo tells her she was abandoned, but she’s certain her mother wouldn’t leave her there to die. And Hana isn’t ready to die yet. She’s never really had a chance to live. Fenn is supposed to die. He and a crew of hired mercenaries are there to monitor Cyclo as she expires, and the payment for the suicide mission will mean Fenn’s sister is able to live. But when he meets Hana, he’s not sure how to save them both. As Cyclo grows sicker by the day, they unearth more secrets about the ship and the crew. But the more time they spend together, the more Hana and Fenn realize that falling for each other is what could ultimately kill them both. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTiger’s dream, Colleen Houck

A tiger left behind. A goddess in need of an ally. Stranded in a time and place he never wished for, Kishan Rajaram struggles to forget the girl he loves and the brother who stole her away as he fulfills his divine role-that of assisting the beautiful, yet extremely irritable, goddess Durga. When the wily shaman Phet appears and tells Kishan that Kelsey needs him, he jumps at the chance to see her again, but in saving Kelsey, he discovers that the curse he thought was over, is just beginning. As time unravels around him, Kishan realizes that the fates of all those he holds dear, lie in hands. With the power of the goddess hanging in the balance, Kishan must sacrifice the unthinkable to fight the dark forces swirling around the woman he’s charged to defend. As he does, he discovers that love and loyalty create their own magic and accepts that he must decide his destiny once and for all. Tiger’s Dream is the conclusion to the epic Tiger’s Curse fantasy romance series that left you breathless. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis lie will kill you, Chelsea Pitcher

One year ago, there was a party. At the party, someone died. Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth. But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late. Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago. Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free? Or will their lies destroy them all? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPacifica, Kirsten Simmons

Blue skies. Green grass. Clear ocean water. An island paradise like the ones that existed before the Melt. A lucky five hundred lottery winners will be the first to go, the first to leave their polluted, dilapidated homes behind and start a new life. It sounds perfect. Like a dream. The only problem? Marin Carey spent her childhood on those seas and knows there’s no island paradise out there. She’s corsario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him, and she knows a con when she sees one. So where are the First Five Hundred really going? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsYou may now kill the bride, R.L Stine

Two Fear family weddings, decades apart. Each bride will find that the ancient curse that haunts the Fears lives on. It feeds off the evil that courses through their blood. It takes its toll in unexpected ways, and allows dark history to repeat itself. In 1923, Ruth-Ann is planning to marry Peter–until Rebecca stepped in. And the two sisters plunged off the cliff on the day of the wedding. In the present, Marissa disappears on the day of her wedding to Doug. As her sister Harmony searches for her, will saving her mean finding a way to stop a disaster almost one-hundred-years old? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe darkest star, Jennifer L. Armentrout

Seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher knows firsthand the devastating consequences of humanity’s war with the aliens. When she’s caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen…but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she’d only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head… (Publisher summary)

Girl in Red

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Images via the National Media Museum

The styles in today’s Fashion Friday are 100 years old… true story!!

These images were taken in Dorset, England in 1913 by Mervyn O’Gorman, an author and electrical engineer whose hobby was photography. He had the cunning idea of using potato starch to create colour prints, at a time when prints were only in black and white, which has given us this amazingly colourful peek into the fashion of 1913. His daughter Christina is his model in the shots and quite frankly, they are beautiful! Check them all out here.

New Books

another time, another place:

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Laura Line, Crystal Allen (326 pages) – Thirteen-year-old Laura Dyson wants two things in life: to be accepted by her classmates and to be noticed by ultra-cute baseball star Troy Bailey. But everyone at school makes fun of her for being overweight, and Troy won’t give her a second glance. But a school assignment changes that. Laura is forced to learn the history of the slave shack on her grandmother’s property, and she discovers she comes from a line of strong African-American women. Through understanding her roots, Laura finds the self-esteem she’s been missing.

First lines: “Sweet Mother of Teen Vogue magazine, I’m model-marvelous in this new outfit! And when the doors of the bus open like stage curtains, I pooch my lips, raise my chin, and use the school sidewalk as my runway.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA Moment Comes, Jennifer Bradbury (266 pages) – While the rest of India anxiously awaits the upcoming partition that will divide the country into two sovereign nations, eighteen-year-old Tariq focuses on his own goal: to study at Oxford. He simply must find a way in, to fulfill his grandfather’s dreams, and his own. But for a Muslim born and raised in India, there is no obvious path to England – until Tariq is offered a job, translating for one of the British cartographers stationed in India and tasked with establishing the new borders. In a flash he accepts the position, determined to use this new contact as his way to Oxford.

First lines: “”I know you will make us proud, Tariq,” Master Ahmed calls out to me as I step onto the dusty sidewalk outside the school gates. I lift my palm to my face, fingertips to my forehead, bow. “Khuda hafiz.””

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMy name is Parvana, Deborah Ellis (201 pages) – On a military base in post-Taliban Afghanistan, American authorities have just imprisoned a teenaged girl found in a bombed-out school. The army major thinks she may be a terrorist working with the Taliban. The girl does not respond to questions in any language and remains silent, even when she is threatened, harassed and mistreated over several days. The only clue to her identity is a tattered shoulder bag containing papers that refer to people named Shauzia, Nooria, Leila, Asif, Hassan — and Parvana. In this long-awaited sequel to The Breadwinner Trilogy, Parvana is now fifteen years old. As she waits for foreign military forces to determine her fate, she remembers the past four years of her life. Reunited with her mother and sisters, she has been living in a village where her mother has finally managed to open a school for girls. But even though the Taliban has been driven from the government, the country is still at war, and many continue to view the education and freedom of girls and women with suspicion and fear.

First lines: “”Is your name Parvana?” The girl in the dusty blue chador gave no response. She sat without moving on the hard metal chair and kept her eyes lowered. The cloth of the chador covered the lower half of her face.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Caged Graves, Dianne K. Salerni (326 pages) – 17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumours of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out … or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted.

First lines: “Even facing probable death, Private Silas Clayton couldn’t stop thinking about that leather satchel. Screams and gunfire echoed off the mountain walls in the distance. Light from burning homesteads flickered through the trees, and smoke hung over the valley, obscuring the stars.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGolden Boy, Tara Sullivan (340 pages) – Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different— light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists. Habo is strange and alone. His father, unable to accept Habo, abandons the family; his mother can scarcely look at him. His brothers are cruel and the other children never invite him to play. Only his sister Asu loves him well. But even Asu can’t take the sting away when the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, and Habo knows he is to blame.

First lines: “I am sitting under the acacia tree on the ridge when I first see them: three men, in nice clothes, coming toward our house. Their shoulders are straight and their fat bellies strain against their belts when they walk. They are the image of power.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Language Inside, Holly Thompson (517 pages) – Emma Karas was raised in Japan; it’s the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma’s family moves to a town outside Lowell, Massachusetts, to stay with Emma’s grandmother while her mom undergoes treatment. Emma feels out of place in the United States, and longs to be back in Japan. At her grandmother’s urging, she volunteers in a long-term care center to help Zena, a patient with locked-in syndrome, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang, another volunteer, who assists elderly Cambodian refugees. Weekly visits to the care center, Zena’s poems, dance, and noodle soup bring Emma and Samnang closer, until Emma must make a painful choice: stay in Massachusetts, or return home early to Japan.

First lines: “third time it happens / I’m crossing the bridge / over a brown-green race of water / that slides through town / on my way to a long-term care center / to start volunteering”

New Books

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFat Angie, e. E. Charlton-Trujillo (263 pages) – Angie is broken — by her can’t-be-bothered mother, by her high-school tormenters, and by being the only one who thinks her varsity-athlete-turned-war-hero sister is still alive. Hiding under a mountain of junk food hasn’t kept the pain (or the shouts of “crazy mad cow!”) away. Having failed to kill herself — in front of a gym full of kids — she’s back at high school just trying to make it through each day. That is, until the arrival of KC Romance, the kind of girl who doesn’t exist in Dryfalls, Ohio. But can the daring new girl really change anything?

First lines: “This was the beginning. Angie bit the end of her thumbnail awaiting the result. She had – unwittingly – found a rival.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRevenge of the girl with the great personality, Elizabeth Eulberg (261 pages) – Everybody loves Lexi. She’s popular, smart, funny…but she’s never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup). Lexi’s sick of it. She’s sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them, of being ignored by her longtime crush, of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom and she’s sick of having all her family’s money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection. The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren’t going to know what hit them. Because Lexi’s going to play the beauty game – and she’s in it to win it.

First line: “Applying butt glue to my sister’s backside is, without question, not the first way I’d choose to spend a weekend.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInheritance, Lisa Forrest (376 pages) – Tallulah has always know she was different. She can communicate without speaking, a secret she shares only with her childhood nanny, Irena, who warns Tallulah that gifts like hers are not always welcome. When Tallulah begins training at the prestigious Cirque d’Avenir school, it soon becomes clear the troupe is not all that it seems. As Tallulah is drawn deeper into a world of dark, ancient powers and centuries-old greed, she must call on the skills Irena taught her – and on the protection of the mysterious cuff Irena gave her for safekeeping.

First line: “Tallulah Thomson could feel an insistent press on her shoulder but she was too exhausted to move; the muggy warmth that hovered on the edge of her consciousness promised no relief from the battle she’d been caught up in.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDiva, Jillian Larkin, (280 pages) – This is the third in the Flappers series which finds the girls spending the last glorious days of summer sunbathing with socialites at Forrest Hamilton’s swanky villa. But Gloria Carmody is hiding an oh-so-scandalous secret while Clara Knowles is left heartbroken and depressed after Marcus leaves her for another girl. Lorraine Dyer thinks it will be a loveless marriage however and decides to save Marcus from it.

First lines: “All his life, Jerome had dreamed of crowds screaming his name. But this wasn’t what he’d had in mind.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNobody’s secret, Michaela MacColl (240 pages) – It’s 1846, and for fifteen-year-old Emily Dickenson, every day follows the same pattern: chores, chores, and more chores. A flirtation with mysterious, handsome young man therefore is a welcome distraction. Even if he playfully won’t tell her his name. That is, until he turns up dead in her family’s pond. Stricken with guilt, Emily sets out to discover who this enigmatic stranger was before he’s condemned to be buried in an anonymous grave. Her investigation takes her deep into town secrets, blossoming romance, and deadly danger.

First lines: “Emily lay perfectly still, hidden in the tall grass, her eyes closed tight. A chain of wildflowers lay wilted around her neck. But no matter how quiet she was, the bee would not land on her nose.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe lost girl, Sangu Mandanna (390 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Eva is the ultimate insurance policy: she’s an echo, created by the “Weavers” to be an exact replica of her original, an Indian girl named Amarra. Eva’s entire life has been dedicated to studying Amarra’s life; should Amarra die, Eva will replace her, with only Amarra’s family the wiser. Shortly after Eva and Amarra turn 16, Eva is ripped from everything and everyone she holds dear to move from England to India, where echoes are illegal (meaning her death if she is found out), to fulfill her purpose.

First lines: “I remember being in town with Mina Ma. I must have been about ten. She wanted to buy a lottery ticket and I stood outside the newsagent’s and looked in the window of the toyshop next door.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe originals, Cat Patrick (293 pages) – Lizzie is a clone, one of three 16-year-old “sisters,” raised under the strict supervision of their scientist mother. Everyone outside the house thinks Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey are the same person, Elizabeth Best, since their mother has the girls living in shifts but the girls are growing increasingly resistant to this arrangement, especially after Lizzie and Ella fall for two different boys at school. While the cloning isn’t really explored, it serves as a tool to explore themes of identity, sisterhood, and family.

First lines: “My part is first half. I go to student government, chemistry, trigonometry, psychology, and history at school, then do the rest of the day at home.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis is what happy looks like, Jennifer E. Smith (404 pages) – Perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O’Neill meet online when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an e-mail about his pet pig, Wilbur. The two 17-year-olds strike up an e-mail relationship from opposite sides of the country and don’t even know each other’s first names. What’s more, Ellie doesn’t know Graham is a famous actor, and Graham doesn’t know about the big secret in Ellie’s family tree. When the relationship goes from online to in-person, they find out whether their relationship can be the real thing.

First lines: “Hey, we’re running pretty behind here. Any chance you could walk Wilbur for me tonight?”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMind Games, Kiersten White (241 pages) – from the same author who brought you the Paranormalcy trilogy comes a new novel about two sisters, bound by impossible choices but who are determined to protect each other no matter the cost. Seventeen-year-old Fia and her sister, Annie, are trapped in a school that uses young female psychics and mind readers as tools for corporate espionage – and if Fia doesn’t play by the rules of their deadly game, Annie will be killed.

First lines: “My dress is black and itchy and I hate it. I want to peel it off and I want to kick Aunt Ellen for making me wear it.”

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Lucy variations, Sara Zarr (304 pages) – Sixteen-year-old San Franciscan Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. Her chance at a career has passed, and she decides to help her ten-year-old piano prodigy brother, Gus, map out his own future, even as she explores why she enjoyed piano in the first place.

First lines: “Try harder, Lucy. Lucy stared down at Madame Temnikova’s face. Which seemed incredibly gray. Try. Harder. Lucy.”

Ngā Pukapuka Hou

Justice and Utu, by David Hair (320 pages) – This is the third book in Hair’s Aotearoa series, and the sequel to The Lost Tohunga; thrilling young-adult fantasy novels drawn from the mythology and history of New Zealand.’ They have all won or been nominated for awards, and you can read the first chapter of the latest book on the author’s official website. Or the first few sentences of the prologue, here, on this ol’ weblog.

First lines: ‘Twelve-year-old Evie van Zelle loved cards and games, and knew dozens of card tricks. She’d been superstitious all her life: wouldn’t cross the path of a black cat, go under a ladder or step on cracks.

Slated, by Teri Terry (438 pages) – Kyla may or may not have been a terrorist, but whatever happened she’s been ‘slated’: her memory has been wiped and her personality reset. She even gets a new family. It is sort of a second chance for hardened criminals, such as herself (maybe).  But she still recalls faints memories of what she once was, and it seems that maybe someone is lying to her. A thriller.

First lines: ‘Weird. All right, I haven’t got much experience on which to bas this judgement. I may be sixteen and I’m not slow or backward and haven’t been locked in a cupboard since birth – so far as I know – but Slating does that to you.

Among Others, by Jo Walton (302 pages) – Morwenna grows up in Wales, reading sci-fi and playing with fairies. Her mother, a sorceress, tries to bend the spirits to dark ends (she’s up to no good), Morwenna has to battle her, resulting in her twin sister’s death. Now, sent to a boarding school in non-magical England by her remote father, her magic attracts her mother – who’s looking for her, and Morwenna won’t be able to escape. Aren’t you glad your mum isn’t an evil sorceress?

First line: ‘The Phurnacite factory in Abercwmboi killed all the trees for two miles around.

Invisible Sun, by David MacInnis Gill (370 pages) – This is the companion to Black Hole Sun. Durango is a sixteen-year-old mercenary who, with his girlfriend, live on the wild frontier that is newly colonised Mars. The first chapter starts in Christchurch, the Capital City of the Zealand Perfecture, and is the largest city on Mars, so we must do something right in the future, I guess?

First line: ‘Vienne points the gun, squeezes the trigger, and fires a live round square into my chest.

Illuminate, by Aimee Agresti (514 pages) – High-school student Haven Terra gets an amazing job as an intern to Aurelia Brown, a rich, powerful A-lister who owns the fabulous Chicago hotel Haven gets to live in. She is lucky! But is she really. No, probably not. Aurelia and her circle of minions, the Outfit, are in the business of buying souls, and does Haven want anything to do with that? What does her destiny hold? The first in the Gilded Wings trilogy.

First line: ‘Up until that point, English class had been unremarkable.

A Waste of Good Paper, by Sean Taylor (293 pages) – Jason’s been given a diary to write in by Pete, a teacher at the school for boys with behaviour difficulties where Jason has been sent. Because he’s good at writing, if a little reluctant to actually fill in the pages. But things worth recording happen! And so his diary isn’t the waste of good paper Jason initially thought it would be. 

First line: ‘Friday the 6th of March – Pete says this is a writing boook that he’s only giving me and he says it’s called JASON’S JOURNAL.‘.

Little Sister, by Aimee Said (301 pages) – Allison can’t wait for her older sister, Larrie, to leave their (Australian, if it matters? just setting the scene) high school so that she can make her mark, for her older sister is super-popular and smart. But when a rumour about Larrie surfaces online, Allison finds that she is in the spotlight for unwanted reasons. Also there is a boy she likes.

First lines: ‘Monday morning: Whitlam High School assembly hall. Welcome to another week of mind-numbing boredom higher education.

Love Notes from Vinegar House, by Karen Tayleur (250 pages) – Going to copy this off the book cover: ‘Freya Jackson Kramer has done some stupid things before, but this is the first time they’ve been splashed across Facebook. When she escapes to Vinegar House for the holidays, she thinks she’s leaving her troubles behind. But Freya’s troubles are just beginning. How will she deal with her manipulative cousin, Rumer? How can she avoid the ex-love of her life, Luke Hart? And what secrets lie in the locked attic?’ Also; ghosts.

First line: ‘There are three things you should know about me if we’re ever going to be friends.

The Lost Crown, by Sarah Miller (412 pages) – There have been several YA books lately about the last Tsar of Russia and his family; this one focuses on his daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. History tells us how it all ends (pretty tragically!), but The Lost Crown ‘recounts the days of Imperial Russia with lyricism, criticism, and true compassion.’ Quite a grim epilogue you can be sure.

First lines: ‘Our luggage is packed and we’ve said our good-byes. The palace is as dark and still as a museum at midnight, but it’s been hours and the train still isn’t here.

Incarnate, by Jodi Meadows (374 pages) – In Range, a million people have been reincarnated for thousands of years, each time able to remember their past lives. Until Ana comes along; she is a new soul, and is subsequently distrusted and feared by people. But not Sam, who develops a relationship with Ana. Romance! Fantasy! Thrills! Book one in a planned trilogy!

First lines: ‘I wasn’t reborn. I was five when I first realized how different that made me.

New Books

Battle Dress, by Amy Efaw (290 pages) – West Point is a really, really old school in New York for officer cadets in the US Army. It is steeped in tradition! But don’t just take my word for it; check wikipedia! Seventeen-year-old Andrea Davis has been accepted, which gives her the chance to escape her dysfunctional family and to ‘prove to herself that she has what it takes’. But is she prepared for what the training (which is called “Beast” by the cadets, so presumably it’s far from easy). Battle Dress is based on the author’s own experiences.

4First line: ‘The morning I left for West Point, nobody showed up at my house to say good-bye.

Family, by Micol Ostow (376 pages) – Melinda Jensen is seventeen, and flees to San Francisco to escape her abusive home life. She falls in with Henry, a charismatic leader of a cultish ‘family’ of people. It is the seventies! Henry is a bit Charlie Manson-ish! This book is written in the form of episodic verse (poems).

First line: ‘I have always been broken

Purple Daze, by Sherry Shahan (207 pages) – 1965, and the times were changing very quickly! Riots, assassinations, wars, and all the kinds of other social upheavals that made the decade famous. For those things. You know what I mean. This group of high school friends live through it all, and their stories are told via letters, diaries, notes, and poems. Mainly poems, for it is written in the form of episodic verse.

First line: ‘We’re slumped on the front seat of a low-slung Pontiac, cherry paint job.

Long Lankin, by Lindsey Barraclough (454 pages) – Long Lankin is a very old folk song about a man who murders his lord’s wife and infant son when he’s not paid for some work he did on the lord’s castle. I didn’t say it was a happy song! Grim were the days before Fair Go, haha. ANYWAY, this book is about two girls who go to stay with their great-aunt who lives in ye olde house, Guerdon Hall. The aunt isn’t too happy they’re there; the last time two young girls were there her life was ‘devasted’. And now an old evil presence has been awakened …

First line: ‘There’s too much sky, and the further out of London we go, the more of it there is.

Venomous, by Christopher Krovatin (323 pages) – High-school junior Locke Vinetti has a problem with his anger. He can not control it, and he calls it ‘the venom’. Now he’s a bit of a loner! He meets Renee, the ‘beautiful, messed-up goth girl of his dreams’. But can he get rid of the venom also? This book is interspersed with comic-style illustrations! 

First line: ‘The city is absolutely gray today.

Rampart, by Diana Peterfreund (402 pages) – Astrid Llewelyn’s boyfriend is rendered unable to take her to the prom when he is attacked by a killer unicorn. Astrid had always ignored her mother’s belief in killer unicorns (can you blame her) and now she’s off to Rome to train as a killer unicorn hunter at the ancient Cloisters, for she is descended from one of the greatest killer unicorn hunters that ever hunted. Killer unicorns!

First lines: ‘“‘I will never really leave,’ said the unicorn. Diamond sparkles floated from the tip of its glittering silver horn. ‘I will always live in your heart.'” I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and forced myself to continue reading.

Crusade, by Linda Press Wulf (245 pages) – A boy atop a white charger rides into Georgette’s village. He is surrounded by other children, and he wants more to join his Crusade to the Holy Lands. It is a journey of great danger and peril! And one that may have happened, and most likely failed disastrously. (Another book set during the Children’s Crusade is Angel Fish, by Lili Wilkinson.)

First lines: ‘Foundling. Orphan. Parish child. All these names belonged to him but he didn’t want to belong to them.

Steel, by Carrie Vaughn (294 pages) – Jill is sixteen and a master fencer. She goes on holiday with her family to the Bahamas and finds a old, broken, piece of a rapier blade. It transports her back it time, and she winds up on the deck of a seventeenth-century pirate ship. Luckily she can use a sword! ‘Time travel, swordplay, and romance’, says the blurb, accurately.

First lines: ‘Jill shook her legs out one at a time. Rolled her shoulders. Rearanged her hold on her weapon once again, curling gloved fingers around the grip.

Shine, by Lauren Myracle (359 pages) – When sixteen-year-old Cat’s former best friend, Patrick, is founded nearly beaten to death for being gay, she swears vengeance on the attackers. She doesn’t believe the sherriff, who reckons it was done by out-of-towners, but Cat is sure it was someone in their isolated rural community. ‘Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone in the name of justice.’

First lines: ‘Patrick’s house was a ghost. Dust coated the windows, the petunias in the flower boxes bowed their heads, and spiderwebs clotted the eaves of the porch.

Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier (330 pages) – Gwen is a normal teenaged girl living in an exclusive part of London. Her family haven’t told her about the ability some of the women have to time travel, since it seems that the gene skipped over her. But! When she started time travelling she doesn’t know what’s going on, and so goes on a crash course in time travel, secret societies, living in the olden days, and Gideon, a gorgeous fellow time traveller.

First lines: ‘Hyde Park, London: 8 April 1912. As she fell to her knees and burst into tears, he looked all around the park. Just as he’d expected, it was empty at this early hour.

Through Her Eyes, by Jennifer Archer (377 pages) – Tansy Piper moves to a tiny Texan town with her mother. They move into an old, spooky house, and Tansy finds some things that belonged to Henry, a mysterious and troubled man who lived (and died!) there long ago. She can visit his world through the lens of her camera and soon she becomes more involved with his life than the real life of the present. oOooOo ghoooooosts oOooOo

First line: ‘I died on a bitter, cold night.

New Books

Thai-riffic!, by Oliver Phommavanh (190 pages) – Lengy’s parents run a Thai restaurant, but Lengy’s favourite food is pizza of all things. Lengy has a new high school to go to, with new friends, teachers, and adventures. Also! He comes to grips with his Thai heritage and perhaps lays off the pizza.

First line: ‘Same same, but different.

Morpheus Road : The Light, by D. J. Machale (341 pages) – This is the first book in a trilogy by the author of the fairly popular Pendragon series of books. Teen Marsh Seaver finds that he is being stalked by the Gravedigger, a skeletal horror that he had created in his sketchbook. His best friend disappears and his sister joins with Marsh to find him. “Spooky and fraught with peril”!

First line: ‘I believe in ghosts.

The Last Words of Will Wolfkin, by Steven Knight (373 pages) – Toby Walsgrove has been paralyzed since birth, and spends his life in a Carmelite convent in London. When his cat tells him that he is, in fact, the descendent of a great king and must travel to Iceland, oh and now he can talk and walk, Toby is off on a great adventure. BUT is he dreaming?

First line: ‘My name is Toby Walsgrove, and before I begin to tell you my story, I should give you a short explanation of who I am.

Virals, by Kathy Reichs (454 pages) – No cover to embed for this one, so allow me to describe it! It’s a girl running away from something. She is in a jungle, or maybe a forest, or even a gardening centre (probably not). Tory Brennan and her pals have grown up near the Loggerhead Research Institute and when they are bitten by a stray wolfdog pup from the lab, they are all altered on a DNA level, making them super-powered.

First line: ‘A gunshot is the loudest sound in the universe.

The Legend of the King : The Squire’s Tale, by Gerald Morris (295 pages) – Here it is, the tenth and final installment in The Squire’s Tale series. Sir Terence is now a knight of the Round Table, and Camelot is under attack by dark magic. Will King Arthur and his knights defeat the forces of darkness? Well now, that would be telling. Great first line;

First line: ‘Sir Dinadan of Camelot, knight of Fellowship of King Arthur’s Round Table, emissary of Emporer Alis of Constantinople to the Seljuk Turks, sniffed cautiously at his left armpit.

The Web of Titan, by Dom Testa (255 pages) – A bunch of teens are sent off in the starship Galahad. Their mission is to colonise a distant planet, as Earth’s population is decimated by a virus that wipes out adults. This is the second in a series (the first is The Comet’s Curse) and they encounter alien (?) weirdness in the rings of Saturn.

First line: ‘The storm raged quietly along the surface, a swirl of colors colliding, mixing, weaving.

The Ghost and the Goth, by Stacey Kade (281 pages) – A misunderstood goth boy is haunted by a dead homecoming queen (she was hit by a bus full of ‘geeks’). He doesn’t want to help her because she was a pain when alive, which is fair enough I guess. A supernatural romance! Colleague Lauren is going to read it and write a review. She promised. The cover is a goth and a ghost, perhaps just as you’d expect.

First line: ‘Dying should have been the worst moment in my life.

Blindsided, by Priscilla Cummings (226 pages) – Fourteen-year-old Natalie learns that she is rapidly going blind, and is faced with two options; to hope for a miracle that mightn’t come, or learn the skills that she needs to adapt to blindness.

First line: ‘Like so many of Natalie’s early memories, this one is full of color: the fresh yellow  straw, the red blood that was pooling way too fast, the silver bucket kicked aside, the damp, quivering brown fur.

Wicked Girls : A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials, by Stephanie Hemphill (408 pages) – A fictionalised telling of the Salem Witch Trials, which took place in the 1600s in America. Everyone in the town of Salem went a hysterical and started accusing people of being witches, which, at that time, carried the death penalty. Nineteen people were hanged and one especially unlucky man was crushed to death. Anyway, here’s a novel about it. It’s written in poems.

Is it Night or Day?, by Fern Schumer Chapman (205 pages) – Edith travels from her small German town – where Nazi anti-Semitism is in full swing – to Chicago, in the US, as part of the ‘One Thousand Children’ project. She can not go with her parents, who remain behind. Edith is only twelve, and has lost everything. Based on the author’s mother’s life.

First line: ‘The first long train trip I ever took in Germany was my last.

Crescendo, by Becca Fitzpatrick (427 pages) – This is the sequel to Hush, Hush. Nora’s ‘gorgeous guardian angel’, Patch, is spending too much time with her enemy, Marcie, and Nora finds she is drawn to Scott, an old family friend. But he is hiding something! And she is haunted by images of her murdered father.

First line: ‘The fingers of the thorn-apple tree clawed at the windowpane behind Harrison Grey, and he dog-eared his page, no longer able to read through the racket.

Me And Death : An Afterlife Adventure, by Richard Scrimger (187 pages) – Fourteen-year-old amateur gangster Jim is hit by a car and dies. He experiences a ‘hilarious, bleak, and ultimately hopeful visit’ to the afterworld. Then! He gets a chance to come back to Earth.

First line: ‘I was walking up Roncesvalles, the big street in my neighborhood.

The Interrogation of Gabriel James, by Charlie Price (170 pages) – In this murder-mystery, teen Gabe witnesses two murders and recounts what he saw to the police. The mysteries start to stack up and Gabe takes it upon himself to discover the truth.

First line: ‘I stood at the back of a small crowd in a bleak cemetary north of the Yellowstone River, the second funeral I had attended this week.

Center Field, by Robert Lipsyte (280 pages) – “Mike lives for baseball and hopes to follow his idol into the major leagues one day, but he is distracted by a new player who might take his place in center field, an ankle injury, problems at home, and a growing awareness that something sinister is happening at school.” ~ Library of Congress summary.

First line: ‘Mike backed up a the ping of the ball against the metal bat, sensing a long, high fly.

Sleepless, by Cyn Balog (215 pages) – Eron is a Sandman, a supernatural being who sends people to sleep. He is not supposed to communicate to his charges but feels drawn to recently bereaved Julia, who is at unknowingly at risk from dangers she doesn’t recognise. Basically he’s in love with her but it’s against the rules.

First line: ‘Griffin Colburn knew something was wrong the moment he slid into the driver’s seat.

Golden Web, by Barbara Quick (266 pages) – A fictional retelling of the life of Alessandra Giliani, who has a very interesting story! She was the first woman anatomist (she was born in 1307) and developed a method of draining blood from a corpse and replacing it with a dye. All before the age of 19!

First lines: ‘Nicco was scared. His tutor was going to burst through the door at any moment, and Alessandra was nowhere to be found.

Exit Strategy, by Ryan Potter (303 pages) – Zach is desperate to leave his ‘dump’ of  a town, Blaine, Michegan, with his wrestler best friend Tank and Ivy League-destined Sarah, Tank’s twin sister. When he discovers Tank’s being given steroids by his coach, the ensuing scandal somehow diminish his chances of leaving the place.

First line: ‘If I have any advice after everything that’s happened it’s this: never fall for you best friend’s twin sister, especially when her brother is an overprotective psycho who also happens to be a three-time state champion wrestler.

Shadow, by Jenny Moss (377 pages) – Shadow is tasked with watching the princess, whose death was prophecised to occur when she turns sixteen. Unfortunately for Shadow (and the princess) the prophecy comes true, and Shadow must run for her life with a young knight, Sir Kenway. As the kingdom falls, romance blossoms.

First lines: ‘I stood at the queen’s tall arched window. A blast of cold wind chilled my face, but I kept looking.

Flash, by Michael Cadnum (235 pages) – Take it away, Library of Congress summary: “Relates one momentous day in the lives of five young people in the San Francisco Bay Area, including two teenaged bank robbers, a witness [who is legally blind] and a wounded military policeman just back from Iraq.

First lines: ‘“When will you show them the gun?” asked Milton? He and his brother were sitting in lawn chairs in back of the house.

Fever Season, by Eric Zweig (254 pages) – David is orphaned by the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 (which killed 15 million people). To escape the orphanage he needs to find his uncle, who he thinks lives in Seattle. Fortunately David gets a job with the ice hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens, and travels west with them to Seattle.

First line: ‘“Put your coat on,” David Saifert’s mother said.

Yes You Can Play Great Rock Guitar : Jam, Shred and Riff in 10 Foolproof Lessons, by Phil Capone and Paul Copperwaite (192 pages) – Can you play the rock guitar? Yes, you can! Accompanied by a CD.

Lots of New Books

Yes. There are lots of new books! Read them all, that’s my challenge.

Legacies : A Shadow Grail Novel, by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill (320 pages) – This is the first book in the Shadow Grail series, about a teen girl named Spirit White, whose family die and she’s shipped off to Oakhurst Academy. Everyone there is some sort of magic user! Students start disappearing, and a mystery has got to be solved.

First lines: ‘Someone was moaning. Spirit wished whoever it was would be quiet.

Dark Life, by Kat Falls (297 pages) – The oceans have risen, and people either live on the tiny pieces of land or deep under the ocean. The ocean is a rough, dangerous place to live! Ty and Gemma find themselves venturing into this underwater frontier (for noble reasons!) and discover some dark secrets.

First lines: ‘I peered into the deep-sea canyon, hoping to spot qa toppled skyscraper. Maybe even the Statue of Liberty.

Juggling Fire, Joanne Bell (171 pages) – Rachel grew up in the mountains in Yukon, but she has to move to the city. Then her father disappears, and Rachel – wanting to know why – hikes back through the mountains, where she must confront danger (bears!) and the past.

First line: ‘Mom doesn’t cry when I heave the packs from the pickup; she only blinks hard, squeezes my shoulders and whirls around, like she has to get away from me fast.

Crawlers, by Same Enthoven (261 pages) – Nine kids go to the theatre to see a play and in one evening of sheer horror they encounter some sinister and disgusting mind-controlling hairless, blubbery spidery-octopus things. I will never eat takoyaki again!

First line: ‘In the dark pit that had been my prison for almost three hundred and fifty years, Steadman’s latest victim was regaining consciousness.

Indigo Blues, by Danielle Joseph (231 pages) – Adam is an indie music sensation, and Indigo is the girl who dumped him. He subsequently wrote a song about her, and now she is almost as famous as he is. She’s not too pleased! And he’s still calling her, and she’s like, no way.

First line: ‘When I found out that “Indigo Blues” hit number one on the Billboard charts this morning, I ran to the bathroom and threw up.

The Alchemist and the Angel, by Joanne Owen (224 pages) – It is the 16th century, and Jan, an alchemist’s apprentice, is searching for the elixir of life. He travels to Prague, a city rich with alchemy and corruption, and while there he meets a mysterious girl (the ‘Angel of the Ghetto’). This book is beautifully illustrated!

First line: ‘Emperor Rudolf II – Ruler of the World, Aficionado of Alchemy, Collector of Curiosities – shifted in his throne.’

My Rocky Romance Diary by Kelly Ann, (really) by Liz Rettig (313 pages) – The saga of Kelly Ann’s romantic life continues in this, the fourth of her diaries.

First line: ‘First day of term and Mum woke me up at eight but I’d two free periods first thing so I mumbled ‘Leavemealoneandgoaway’.

Reality Check, by Jen Calonita (277 pages) – Catalogue says, ‘When a television executive signs Long Island sixteen-year-old Charlie and her three best friends to be the stars of a new reality television show, their lives are suddenly not the same.’

First line: ‘It’s only 3:47 PM. How can that be? It feels like I’ve been here for hours, not just forty-seven minutes.’

The Fire Opal, by Regina McBride (293 pages) – ‘While invading English soldiers do battle in sixteenth-century Ireland, Maeve grows up with a mystical connection to a queen who, centuries before, faced enemies of her own.’ Thanks, Catalogue!

First line: ‘When I was seven years old, my mother and I spent a July afternoon on the foreshore collecting kelp, which we planned to dry and burn for summer fires.

Notes From The Dog, by Gary Paulsen (133 pages) – Okay, this is from the Catalogue again: ‘When Johanna shows up at the beginning of summer to house-sit next door to Finn, he has no idea of the profound effect she will have on his life by the time summer vacation is over.’

First line: ‘Sometimes having company is not all it’s cracked up to be.’

So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), by Micol Ostow (Art by David Ostow) (246 pages) – Ari Abramson’s band, made up of four teens from a wealthy Jewish school, suddenly become popular overnight. They now must navigate the ‘minefield of inflated egos, misplaced romance, and the shallowness of indie-rock elitism.’ Comedy!

First line: ‘There are many things that Jonas Fein does well.

Freak Magnet, by Andrew Auseon (297 pages) – Gloria is a ‘freak magnet’, and in fact keeps a record of all the weirdos who talk to her. Charlie is a freak, so it’s only a matter of time before he ends up in her Freak Folio. However! They’re both burdened by grief and loss*, and so form a connection.

* 🙁

First line: ‘When the world’s most beautiful woman walks into the room, it’s hard to keep from throwing up.

Runaway Storm, by D. E. Knobbe (223 pages) – This is the first in a series (there’s an excerpt of the next book included). Nate has stolen a kayak and has run (paddled?) away from home to some remote Canadian island. He encounters smugglers, real runaways, and a massive, deadly storm.

First lines: ‘Nate slouched out of the elevator and crossed the lobby of the apartment building. The apartment, this building, New York – they had never felt like home.

Beyond Evie, by Rebecca Burton (200 pages) – Charlotte’s life is pretty swell, apart from having lost her father and later falling in love (obsessively!) with Evie, who breaks her heart. ‘Perceptive,’ ‘powerful,’ and ‘psychologically intense’ (yet ‘optimistic’ also!).

First lines: ‘You, Evie, told me I was beautiful. I thought you meant you liked me, but I was wrong.

Two Good Thieves, by Daniel Finn (386 pages) – In the Third World slums in a city somewhere in South America, Demi and Baz fight for a better life in a ‘city of thieves’ in this fast-pace, gritty thriller. (It’s also published as She Thief, which we have as a new book this week.)

First lines: ‘The city’s burning. The city is always burning.

Tripwire, by Steve Cole and Chris Hunter (238 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Felix Smith is a soldier, a spy, and a covert bomb disposal expert. He works for ATLAS, who use teenagers for military operations (the enemy don’t expect teenagers!).

First line: ‘Got you. The sight of the bomb hit Felix like a punch in the guts.

Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto, by Eric Luper (293 pages) – Seth’s girlfriend dumps him and his father is spotted out on a date with a woman who is not Seth’s mother. So Seth begins an anonymous podcast about the mysteries of love. Soon his life is picking up – he holds a job, makes new friends, and tracks down his father’s mystery date.

First lines: ‘“Come on Seth. Say something.” Veronica stares at me like I’m the one who should be doing the explaining – like I’m the one who just turned everything upside down.

Rush, by Jonathan Friesen (295 pages) – Jake loves taking risks, just to feel the rush. He’s offered a job with a group of firefighters who rappel into wildfires. Very risky! His friend and secret crush, Salome, gets caught up in taking risks also, and the consequences are devastating.

First lines: ‘“Pure insanity.” I whisper at the sky as sheets of rain sting my face.

Sea : A Novel, by Heidi R. Kling (327 pages) – A romance set in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia. Sienna Jones travels with her father to Asia to help with an internation relief team, and she meets the ‘most handsome boy she’s ever seen,’ Deni. He though his father died in the disaster but he learns that mightn’t be the case; together, they make the heartbreaking journey to the epicentre of the tsunami’s destruction.

First line: ‘I’m sitting alone on the other side of the world talking to a sea turtle that might be my mom.

The Six Rules of Maybe, by Deb Caletti (321 pages) – Scarlet spends all her time worrying about others, and trying to help them and fix their lives. Often when it means ignoring her own needs! But then she falls in love with her newly pregnant sister’s husband, and finds herself at the centre of a drama (and then some!) for the first time.

First line: ‘You could tell something was different about Juliet the moment she stepped out of the truck.

Smiling Jack, by Ken Catran (271 pages) – Robert’s well-respected father and uncle are killed in a road accident. He finds a defaced playing-card Jack at the accident site. Soon more people are dying, and the same card is found near each death. A murder mystery with a startling and unexpected twist!

First line: ‘Smiling Jack came into my life about ten-thirty, one November night.

Lies : A Gone Novel, by Michael Grant (447 pages) – This is the follow up to Gone and Hunger, about a world where all adults disappear and the remaining kids get all Lord of the Flies/Mad Max on one another. They also have powers! There are mutants, and dark supernatural forces.

First line: ‘Obscene graffiti. Smashed windows. Human Crew tags, their logo, along with warnings to freaks to get out.

Daniel X : Demons and Druids, by James Patterson and Adam Sadler (243 pages) – Alien hunter Daniel X travels to England with his friends to find Beta, an outlaw that takes the form of fire and who killed Daniels parents when he was a wee toddler. Daniel can create anything, has superspeed, can shapechange, and has superstrength! He travels through time as well, and meet Merlin.

First lines: ‘I bet I can see London from here, I was thinking. I was literally 150 feet in the air above a grassy field, outside a charming little village called Whaddon.

Classy : Be a Lady, Not a Tramp, by Derek Blasburg (230 pages) – This is a manual for older teen girls who want to be a classy; how to dress, etiquette to adopt, even what to read and watch. A modern Miss Manners!

Here are the latest magazines:

Entertainment Weekly #1115 – Always good for a twenty-minute read, for it is Quite Interesting.
XBox 360 : Official Australian Magazine #58 – Mafia II | Mortal Kombat | Loads of other games | Wouldn’t it be cool if we had games?
Seventeen September 2010 – Beauty Master Class | Secrets to the Best Date Ever! | 823 (!) Fashion and Beauty Ideas
Girlfriend September 2010 – perfumes | prints | Perry | Patterson | pin-ups

New Books (with bonus New Magazines 7/8/10)

We Hear The Dead, by Dianne K. Salerni (422 pages) – The Fox sisters – Maggie and Kate – became famous in the 19th century for their ability to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Of course, they were really faking it! But as their fame increased, the burden of lies becomes a, well, burden. A true story!

First lines: ‘My earliest memories always include Kate. With three years between us, there must have been a time when she was a toddling child in infant’s clothes and I an independent youngster, but I do not remember this.’

Restoring Harmony, by Joelle Anthony (307 pages) – It is 2041; oil, food, and law and order are all in short supply.  Sixteen-year-old Molly must leave the safety of her remote farm in Canada and travel through the U.S., which has fallen into chaos. Also, there is romance.

First line: ‘When the plane’s engine took on a whining roar, my grip tightened on my fiddle case.

Tell Us We’re Home, by Marina Budhos (297 pages) – Three best friends – Jaya, Maria, and Lola – are all daughters of maids and nannies. They go to the same school as their mothers’ employers’ kids, and when Jaya’s mother is accused of stealing, things turn nasty.

First line: ‘Meadowbrook, New Jersey, looks like it’s right out of an old-time postcard.

Whisper, by Phoebe Kitanidis (281 pages) – Joy and her sister, Jessica, can hear ‘Whispers’, or the thoughts of other people. Joy uses her ability to make people happy, whereas Jessica uses her power to make others miserable. Joy hears Jessica thinking about ending it all and – being the nice sister! – she sets out to save her from herself. Also, there might be romance.

First lines: ‘My sister showed me how to Hear a Whisper when I was three. “All you have to do,” she said, “is touch somebody else, and if you don’t Hear one right away, just hold on.“‘

The Water Seeker, by Kimberly Willis Holt (309 pages) – Amos, born in 1833, is the son of a trapper and dowser (someone who tries to locate water with sticks). His mother dies in childbirth, which is only the beginning of a hard life ‘filled with losses, adversity, and adventure’. And finding water!

First lines: ‘Jake Kincaid was known as the dowser. With a forked branch, he’d made his way from the Arkansas Territory to Missouri, stopping at farms to find water for new well.

Oracle : Ancient Greece, An Acrobat Brother and a Sister with the Gift of Truth, by Jackie French (342 pages) – Thetis can only tell the truth, and after she and her brother, Nikko, awe the Mycenaean court, Thetis puts a damper on things when she tells the King something about his future he doesn’t want to hear. She’s sent to Delphi, and Nikko and the horse dance, Euridice, travel across Greece to find her.

First line: ‘The wind smelled of rock and ice the night their father took Nikko’s sister out to die.

Somebody Everybody Listens To : A Novel, by Suzanne Supplee (245 pages) – Retta Lee Jones leaves high school dreaming of becoming a country music star. She has the name for it, I guess! She goes to Nashville, and begins to ‘forge her own path’.

First line: ‘Even on graduation day, the Starling High School gymnasium smelled just like it always did – a combination of old sweat and dust masked somewhat by cherry-scented disenfectant and floor polish.’

Zen and Xander Undone, by Amy Kathleen Ryan (212 pages) – Zen and Xander are sisters; Zen is a karate blackbelt, and Xander is a scientific genius, who is going off the tracks a bit and Zen can only protect her for so long. Their mother died a year ago! And they go on a road trip to try to solve a mystery.

First lines: ‘My sister, Xander, causes a scandel practically everywhere she goes. Even funeral receptions, I now know.

Fen Runners, by John Gordon (136 pages) – A long time ago, when Jenny’s grandfather was a boy, he fell through the ice and into the icey black water of the fens. He returned without a skate and with nightmares of something down there. Now Jenny too feels haunted, and when her friend Kit feels a presence there they decide to unravel the (frankly quite spooky!) mystery.

First line: ‘They stood with their toes curled over the edge of the bridge and looked briefly into the distance.

Crown of Acorns, by Catherine Fisher (281 pages) – No synopsis seems to be available, so here’s what the back cover says: ‘Who can escape their past, in a place where it curves and comes up behind you? The Circle is the oldest magic. Three lives exho in a ring of stone …’

First lines: ‘Stop now. To go further is dangerous. The circle is the oldest magic. If you enter it it will enfold you.

Fifteen Candles : an Amigas novel, by Veronica Chambers (187 pages) – This is the first in a new series written by Veronica Chambers, created by Jane Startz, and inspired by Jennifer Lopez. It is set in Miami and is ‘a warm celebration of Latin culture, especially the traditional quinceañera,’ (a kind of big coming-of-age party for girls).

First line: ‘Alicia Cruz has the good fortune of being born into wealth, but not spoiled by it.‘ 

Linger, by Maggie Stiefvater (362 pages) – The much-awaited follow-up to Shiver; ‘As Grace hides the vast depth of her love for Sam from her parents and Sam struggles to release his werewolf past and claim a human future, a new wolf named Cole wins Isabel’s heart but his own past threatens to destroy the whole pack.’

First line: ‘This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.

Here are the New Magazines for the week fortnight month! This is the best new books post ever!

Entertainment Weekly #1112 – Ryan Reynolds is as GREEN LANTERN | Tron! | Thor! | New Buffy?!
Transworld Skateboarding August 2010 – Cab backtail bigspin | Frontside feeble | Fakie hardflip! | Cab to backside lipslide! | Backside tailslide frontside shove-it out!
XBox 360 : Official Australian Magazine #56 – Gears of War 3 | The Force Unleashed 2 | a whole lot of other games reviewed/previewed
Playstation August 2010 – Grand Turismo 5 | 18 page E3 coverage | games reviewed/previewed
Girlfriend August 2010 – ‘The pretty myth’ | Can you spot a bully? | ‘What his gaming style says about him’
Creme September 2010 – 10 ways to boots your self-confidence and happiness | What does your hair say about you?
Seventeen August 2010 – Fitness insert, ‘Get your best body’ | Ultimate jeans guide | Dude drama

Today in History

There is to be a big display about the architecture of the Parthenon and Acropolis* called “Masks of Time” on the first floor of the Central Library. It will run from Monday, the 15th of March to the 25th of March, and will have large models of the buildings, models of reliefs from the temples, and information panels. And and heaps more. AND it will coincide with Greek National Day on the 25th, which celebrates Greece’s independence.

*The Acropolis is the name given to the small ‘city’ in Athens built in during the height of the Classical period in Greece, about 2,500 years ago. The Parthenon is the famous temple that sits atop the Acropolis.

Again with the new books

We’ve been on holiday, so not a lot has been written on this blog! But we’re back (yay) and so are a bunch of new books.

On The Edge : My Story, by Richard Hammond (248 pages) [Non-fiction] – Richard Hammond is one of the presenters of Top Gear, a show popular with car fans and Men of a Certain Age. This is his biography (‘abridged for younger readers’) in which he writes about his near-fatal car accident a few years ago, and his recovery.

Frannie In Pieces, by Delia Ephron (374 pages) – Shortly after Frannie’s dad dies she discovers a wooden jigsaw puzzle he made shortly before his death. The puzzle helps her come to terms with her grief, which is pretty immense, I shouldn’t wonder. In a touch of magic realism* the puzzle transports her to another world.

* We’ll send out a prize to anyone (with a Wellington City Libraries YA membership) who can explain ‘magic realism’ in the comments before midnight, Friday the 31st of November October!

Dusssie, by Nancy Springer (166 pages) – Dusie wakes up one morning to find that her head is growing snakes, and that her mother is, in fact, a gorgon (like Medusa, Dusie’s aunt and namesake). What is a girl to do? Besides wear a hat all the time. She does get the ability to turn people into stone, which is pretty handy.

Wolf Island, by Darren Shan (222 pages) – This is the eighth book in the Demonata series. Just in time for Hallowe’en! It has one of the freakiest covers I’ve ever seen, though Slawter‘s cover still weirds me out. As the title suggests, Wolf Island is about werewolves.

Bewitching Season, by Marissa Doyle (346 pages) – Persephone and Penelope are the young daughters of viscounts (pronounced vye-counts, interestingly) whose governess in magic is kidnapped as part of a plot to gain control of Queen Victoria (for it is 1837). It’s up to them to sort out in this mix of romance, history and magic.

Good Enough, by Paula Yoo (322 pages) – From the catalogue: ‘A Korean American teenager tries to please her parents by getting into an Ivy League college, but a new guy in school and her love of the violin tempt her in new directions.’ Online reviews of Good Enough call it an absolute must-read.

Hamlet : A Novel, by John Marsden (228 pages) – This is a re-imagining of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, turned into a novel. Very handy if you’re studying the play and need an idea of the tragedy (and if it’s anything it’s tragic).

More new books, briefly:

Word of Honour : The Third Volume of The Laws of Magic, by Michael Pryor (433 pages)
The Changeling, by Sean Williams (176 pages)
Give Me Truth, by Bill Condon (190 pages)
Outside Beauty, by Cynthia Kadohata (265 pages)
Paper Towns, by John Green (305 pages)
Spud – The Madness Continues …, by John van de Ruit (337 pages)
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (374 pages)

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