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Tag: holocaust

Newly Ordered Books

This week, a historical fantasy from a Christchurch-based author, two short stories from a popular series, a moving novel about grief and loss, and a holocaust story of survival.

Awakening, Natalie King (New Zealand writer) – “When Zelie Taylor pulls a lost necklace out of the icy waters of the lake, she has no idea what the consequences will be. At first the pendant is just freezing cold – unnaturally so – but then she hears a voice inside her head and Zelie thinks she must be going mad. She’s not. Seventeen-year-old Tamas’ soul has been trapped in the silver necklace since 1918. His body is nearby, sleeping, and Zelie must help him awaken. At first Zelie would like nothing better than for Tamas’ moody, enigmatic presence to be out of her life, but after a while she isn’t so sure. And what is waiting for Tamas when he does emerge? It seems that the sinister force that trapped him all those years ago has returned and is growing more powerful. A hundred-year-old mystery steeped in dark magic will make Zelie question everything she thought she knew.” (goodreads.com)

Tales from the Half-Continent, D M Cornish – this is number 3.5 in the Monster Blood Tattoo series, and it’s really two short/long stories: ‘The Corsers’ Hinge’ and ‘The Fuller and the Bogle’. “Bunting Faukes has a debt and no way to repay it – times are tough for grave robbers. But a way out is presented in the person of Atticus Wells, a sleuth with strange eyes that see into everything — Virtue Bland is alone in the world. Packed off to Brandenbrass to serve the household of her late father’s employer, she has only her old pa’s olfactologue to remember him by. But with it she can smell monsters.” (goodreads.com)

The Year of the Rat, Clare Furniss. “The world can tip at any moment … a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mum dies after giving birth to her baby sister. Told across the year following her mother’s death, Pearl’s story is full of bittersweet humour and heartbreaking honesty about how you deal with grief that cuts you to the bone, as she tries not only to come to terms with losing her mum, but also the fact that her sister – The Rat – is a constant reminder of why her mum is no longer around…” (goodreads.com)

Alexander Altmann A10567, Suzy Zail. “Fourteen-year-old Alexander Altmann doesn’t need to look at the number tattooed on his arm. A10567; he knows it by heart. He also knows to survive Auschwitz, he must toughen up. Being soft will get him killed. Alexander will take any chance he’s given – and when that chance is caring for the German officers’ horses he grabs it. He just can’t let them know he’s scared.” (goodreads.com)

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.

New Books

As promised, here are some more new books. Maybe all of them. There are many! If there was an earthquake right now they would fall on me, perhaps injuring me slightly.

Nevermore, by Kelly Creagh (543 pages) – Isobel falls in lurve with the aloof and sarky (and gorgeous) Varen, whose dream world – based on the not-at-all-jolly stories of Edgar Allan Poe – have come to life. She must rescue him before his nightmares devour him!

First line: ‘By the end of fourth period, Isobel’s espresso buzz from that morning’s venti latte had long since worn off.

Annexed, by Sharon Dogar (329 pages) – Peter van Pels and his family went into hiding with Anne Frank, and there, in this (imagined) story, he finds himself falling in love with her. As history documents, it’s not a happy love story, and Peter’s experience continues into and beyond the Nazi death camps.

First lines: ‘I think I’m still alive. But I’m not sure.

The FitzOsbornes in Exile : The Montmaray Journals Book Two, by Michelle Cooper (451 pages) – Diary-writer Sophie and her family’s home, an island kingdom!, has been overrun by the Nazis, and they all find themselves trying to navigate the English aristocracy while pretty much penniless and/or mad. A sequel (obviously!) to this book.

First line: ‘I write this sitting at an exquisite little Louis the Fifteenth secretaire in the White Drawing Room, using a gold fountain pen borrowed from the King of Montmaray and a bottle of ink provided by one of the footmen.

Demon Princess : Reign Check, by Michelle Rowan (292 pages) – Nikki is half human, and half demon, and ‘has had a lot to deal with’. A faery king enrols at her high school to investigate her potential for destroying the world, and Nikki is summoned to the Underworld to appear before a demon council for some reason. And! She’s also madly in love with her Shadow Creature servant, Michael, but it’s forbidden. 🙁

First line: ‘Act normal, I told myself as I pushed through the front doors of Erin Heights High School.

The Hunt : A Dark Touch Novel, by Amy Meredith (262 pages) – Another supernatural romance, the genre du jour. Demons are on the hunt and Eve must use her powers to fight them. She’s also mad keen on ‘gorgeous’ Luke, who may or may not be something more as well. Do they have a future together? Do they have a future at all? Will anyone have a future?

First line: ‘“Dude, have you decided to give up showering?” Dave Perry called after practice on Monday.

Trash, by Andy Mulligan (215 pages) – Everyone seems to be reserving this book! It’s about three friends who live in a dumpsite somewhere in the third world,, making a living from trash. They find something – a deady secret – and shortly afterwards they are ‘hunted without mercy.’ But it has a happy ending; it is ‘utterly original and universal, it will touch the world.’

First line: ‘My name is Raphael Fernandez and I am a dumpsite boy.

Kiss Me Deadly : Tales of Paranormal Romance, edited by Trisha Telep (430 pages) -Thirteen stories of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, shapeshifters, fallen angels, zombies (ugh) and other instances of supernatural love. Actually really good even if you’re no fan of supernatural romance; Maggie Stiefvater’s The Hounds of Ulster is a cracking story.

Beautiful Darkness, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (503 pages) – Going to copy and paste this synopsis; ‘In a small southern town with a secret world hidden in plain sight, sixteen-year-old Lena, who possesses supernatural powers and faces a life-altering decision, draws away from her true love, Ethan, a mortal with frightening visions.’

First line: ‘I used to think our town, buried in the South Carolina back woods, stuck in the muddy bottom of the Santee River valley, was the middle of nowhere.

Yes, I Know the Monkey Man, by Dori Hillestad Butler (196 pages) – When T. J.’s dad is injured she discovers that she was kidnapped by her father 10 years ago. Not only does she have a mother and a step-father, but also a twin sister. This book also arguably has the best title of any book, ever.

First line: ‘The little red light on our answering machine was blinking on and off when I wandered into the kitchen.

Mutation : The Phoenix Files, by Chris Morphew (311 pages) – This is the third book in the Phoenix Files series. We reviewed the first book a while ago. There were 100 days left before the world ends; now there are only 63 days left and (in addition to the whole major catastrophe thing) something weird is happening to the people of Phoenix.

First line: ‘My fists clenched in my lap as Shackletone approached the podium, a hint of his sick, grandfatherly smile still pulling at his lips.‘ 

Love Sucks!, by Melissa Francis (285 pages) – a sequel to Bite Me!, and if there’s a third book what do you think it will be called? Stake Out! maybe. Pass The Grave-y! probably not. Love at First Bite! Jack reckons. Vampire teen A. J. still suffers being in love with her gorgeous step-brother, and maybe her vampire trainer, who is also gorgeous, and her father wants to take over the world, AND she has to plan the prom.

First line: ‘My mother’s baby shower.

The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting (329 pages) – Violet has the cheery ability to psychically detect dead bodies, as well as the imprint that remains on their killers. So now that a serial killer is stalking her small town, she realises that she’s the only one who can find the killer (and she’s being haunted quite a bit). She teams up with best friend Jay, who she’s developing feelings for (he is gorgeous).

First line: ‘Violet Ambrose wandered away from the safety of her father as she listened to the harmony of  sounds weaving delicately around her.

The Secret To Lying, by Todd Mitchell (328 pages) – James was a nerd at his old school, but now that he’s been enrolled in an exclusive academy for mathletes he can easily be the ‘cool guy’ – he makes up a tough background for himself and soon is lying about everything. Unfortunately there are consequences, and in his case they are quite destructive.

First line: ‘I was the guy no one noticed.

Once Dead, Twice Shy, by Kim Harrison (232 pages) – More supernatural romance. This one’s particular hook is dead teen Madison, who, with the help of a magic amulet, affects the illusion of a live body, and is involved in the battle between light and dark reapers. There’s also her cute crush, and a guardian angel. A sequel is in the works!

First lines: ‘Everyone does it. Dies, I mean.

The Project, by Brian Falkner (343 pages) – Falkner’s last book, Brainjack, won this year’s NZ Post Children’s Book Award in the YA fiction category. So this book should be quite good! It’s about a book (the ‘most boring book in the world’) that hides a terrible secret; when it’s revealed the world may never be the same again.

First line: ‘“I reckon we would have got away with it if it wasn’t for that drunken chipmunk.”

Before We Say Goodbye, by Gabriella Ambrosio (144 pages) – Two cousins – Dima and Myriam – are Palestinians living in Jerusalem. Myriam is hopeful of visiting America with Dima, but Dima has no dreams of the future; she has ‘already accepted her destiny: today she will die.’

First line: ‘It was technically springtime on the day that Dima got up from her mattress after a long yet strangely brief and confused night.

Girl Saves Boy, by Steph Bowe (280 pages) – A romance, but not supernatural (refreshingly!). Sacha has a terminal disease, his mother has died, and his father is seeing his art teacher. He attempts to drown himself! But luckily is rescued by Jewel Valentine, and it’s all uphill from there.

First line: ‘My brother’s last word was: “Polo.”

The Runaway Dragon, by Kate Coombs (292 pages) – The sequel to The Runaway Princess, in which Princess Meg finds a baby dragon. Laddy, the dragon, runs away from home, so the Princess, her friends, and a group of guardsmen go on a quest to find him.

First line: ‘At first Meg visited Laddy a lot, riding her horse from the castle through the Witch’s Wood to Hookhorn Farm, where her friend Cam’s sister lived.

Token of Darkness, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (197 pages) – Gorgeous football hero, Cooper, has a car accident, and when he awakens he starts seeing a ghost. Samantha (the ghost) is attractive but is, you know, a ghost, so their relationship is going to be a bit out of the ordinary. Delilah, a clairvoyant cheerleader, and telepathic Brent realise that Cooper’s in trouble. Awoooh.

First line: ‘The darkness was a alive, and it was hungry.

There is also a new book about Glee, called 100% Gleek : The Unofficial Guide to Glee!, and a comic version of Anthony Horowitz’s Raven’s Gate called, well, The Power of Five. Book One, Raven’s Gate : The Graphic Novel.

A Book Review

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, or seen the movie then be warned!

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne

This story tells the tale of the unlikely friendship of two boys. It is set in Germany during the war and gives an insight into the circumstances of the holocaust. Bruno’s father is one of Hitler’s high ranking officials, but Bruno is unaware of exactly what his father’s job entails. He accidentally comes across a prisoner of war compound and befriends a Jewish boy. Eventually he makes a plan to sneak in under the fence to help his new friend look for his father, who seems to have mysteriously disappeared somewhere within the ‘camp’. During the course of his search Bruno and his friend find themselves herded into a giant shed along with hundreds of other people. The big steel doors clang shut. Outside, Bruno’s parents discover he is missing. They see the plumes of smoke rise from the tall chimneys at the compound and the terrible realisation of what has happened hits them…

~ Lynda

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