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Tag: Mysteries 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)

Your reading guide on how NOT to get murdered

This is a blog post NOT for the faint hearted. This is NOT a blog post full of hearts, flowers and romantic embellishments.  What you’re about to read is raw, gritty, deadly, but could very well save your life and may help you avoid getting murdered. This is a post for teens addicted to true crime stories/podcasts and interested in fiction, on ‘how NOT to get murdered,’  inspired by A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson.

Here are some basic tips on how NOT to get murdered?

  • Read the following books as cautionary tales that may prompt you to follow the advice above.

image courtesy of syndeticsA good girl’s guide to murder.

“The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it. But having grown up in the small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final-year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?” (Catalogue). Also available as an

image courtesy of syndeticsGood girl, bad blood.

“Pip Fitz-Amobi is not a detective anymore. Her true crime podcast about the murder case she solved last year has gone viral. Yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her. But she will have to back on her word when some close to her goes missing and the police can’t do anything about it.” Also available as an eAudiobook.

image courtesy of syndeticsThey wish they were us.

The lives of Jill Newman and her friends look perfect, but nothing is as it seems. Jill’s best friend, the brilliant, dazzling Shaila, was killed by her boyfriend, but suddenly Jill starts getting texts proclaiming his innocence. But digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe murder game.

“Luke Chase’s roommate Oscar convinces him to sneak out of their boarding school dorm to meet up with a couple of girls in the forest, have a good time, and no one will ever know. When the wife of one of their teachers is found dead in the woods the next morning, the group decides to solve the murder on their own. Will they be able to catch the killer before the killer catches them? — adapted from back cover.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook.

image courtesy of syndeticsWhite rabbit, red wolf.

“A gripping and gloriously treacherous thriller without guide ropes or safety nets. Leave all certainties by the door.” Frances Hardinge A taut thriller about murder, maths and the mind. 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.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe boyband murder mystery.

“When frontman Frankie is arrested on suspicion of murdering his oldest friend Evan, Harri feels like her world’s about to fall apart. But quickly she realises that she – and all the other Half Light superfans out there – know and understand much more about these boys than any detective ever could. Now she’s rallying a fangirl army to prove Frankie’s innocence – and to show the world that you should never underestimate a teenage girl with a passion.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsPride and premeditation.

“Perfect for fans of the Lady Janies and Stalking Jack the Ripper, the first book in the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries series is a clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice that reimagines the iconic settings, characters, and romances in a thrilling and high-stakes whodunit. When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates. Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case-and her feelings for Darcy-become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook and an eAudiobook. 

image courtesy of syndetics#MurderTrending.

“In the near future, citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the prison island Alcatraz 2.0. Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, about to be the next victim of the app, found guilty of murdering her stepsister. But Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, needs to prove she’s innocent before she ends up murdered for the world to see. That’s if The Postman’s cast of executioners don’t kill them off one by one, first.” — Adapted from jacket. Available as an eBook.

image courtesy of syndetics#MurderFunding.

“WELCOME TO WHO WANTS TO BE A PAINIAC?, the latest reality TV show on the hunt for the next big-hit serial killer. But don’t worry-no one is actually going to murder anyone, as real as the fake gore and pretend murder may appear . . . uh, right? Seventeen-year-old Becca Martinello is about to find out. When her perfectly normal soccer mom dies in a car crash, a strange girl named Stef appears and lets Becca know that her deceased mom was none other than one of Alcatraz 2.0’s most popular serial killers-Molly Mauler. Soon, Becca ends up on Who Wants to Be a Painiac? to learn the truth about her mom’s connection to Molly Mauler, but things turn sinister when people are murdered IRL. Will Becca uncover dark secrets and make it out of the deadly reality show alive? Or will she get cut?” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsTwo can keep a secret.

“The New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying is back with an all-new, page-turning mystery perfect for fans of Riverdale! Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows. The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing. Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.” (Catalogue).

For more reading guides on how NOT to get murdered, click here.

 

Upcoming Fiction

Introducing a mystery, some futuristic suspense, and an old/new book from the queen of book covers with spectacular dresses.

The Siren, Kiera Cass (January 2016). This is a re-release of a novel the author wrote before the best selling Selection series. “‘You must never do anything that might expose our secret. This means that, in general, you cannot form close bonds with humans. You can speak to us, and you can always commune with the Ocean, but you are deadly to humans. You are, essentially, a weapon. A very beautiful weapon. I won’t lie to you, it can be a lonely existence, but once you are done, you get to live. All you have to give, for now, is obedience and time…’ The same speech has been given hundreds of times to hundreds of beautiful girls who enter the sisterhood of sirens. Kahlen has lived by these rules for years now, patiently waiting for the life she can call her own. But when Akinli, a human, enters her world, she can’t bring herself to live by the rules anymore. Suddenly the life she’s been waiting for doesn’t seem nearly as important as the one she’s living now.” (goodreads.com)

These Shallow Graves, Jennifer Donnelly. “Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.” (goodreads.com)

The Game of Lives, James Dashner. “Michael used to live to game, but the games he was playing have become all too real. Only weeks ago, sinking into the Sleep was fun. The VirtNet combined the most cutting-edge technology and the most sophisticated gaming for a full mind-body experience. And it was Michael’s passion. But now every time Michael sinks, he risks his life. The games are over. The VirtNet has become a world of deadly consequences, and Kaine grows stronger by the day. The Mortality Doctrine—Kaine’s master plan—has nearly been realized, and little by little the line separating the virtual from the real is blurring. If Kaine succeeds, it will mean worldwide cyber domination. And it looks like Michael and his friends are the only ones who can put the monster back in the box—if Michael can figure out who his friends really are.” (goodreads.com)

Looking forward to:

Time travel (maybe?), a gritty fairy tale, and the Big Easy.

Back to Blackbrick, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald (February/March). “Cosmo’s brother Brian died when he was ten years old. His mum hides her grief by working all the hours God sends and Cosmo lives with his grandparents. They’ve been carefree days as Granddad buys him a horse called John and teaches him all he knows about horses. But the good times have to come to an end and although he doesn’t want to admit it, Cosmo knows his Granddad is losing his mind. So on one of the rare occasions when Granddad seems to recognise him, Cosmo is bemused that he gives him a key to Blackbrick Abbey and urges him to go there. Cosmo shrugs it off, but gradually Blackbrick draws him in… Cosmo arrives there, scared and lonely, and is dropped off at the crumbling gates of a huge house. As he goes in, the gates close, and when he turns to look, they’re rusty and padlocked as if they haven’t been opened in years. Cosmo finds himself face to face with his grandfather as a young man, and questions begin to form in his mind: can Cosmo change the course of his family’s future?” (goodreads.com

Teeth, Hannah Moskowitz (February). “Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house. Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.” (goodreads.com) This is described as a “gritty, romantic modern fairytale”.

Out of The Easy, Ruta Sepetys (February/March). Ruta Sepetys wrote the best-selling and award-winning Between Shades of Gray, about a Lithuanian teenager’s struggle for life during World War II. Here she turns her attention to the French Quarter of New Orleans in the 1950s. “Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.” (goodreads.com)

New Books

Bound, by Erica O’Rourke (353 pages) – This is the third book in the Torn series. Wow have you ever thought that there are so many series in teen fiction? This one is about mortals and magic, and Mo Fitzgerald, who has to choose between the two worlds or else lose everything and everyone.

First lines: ‘The problem with terrible ideas is that the people who have them don’t recognize how truly awful they are until it’s too late. After all, nobody deliberately chooses the worst possible course of action.

Stormdancer : The Lotus War book one, by Jay Kristoff (324 pages) – Well here it is! Feudal Japanese steampunk. Yukiko, the book’s heroine, and her flightless griffin pal must take on the Shogun and his empire. There are also chainsaw swords in this book, a little blurb tells me.

First line: ‘As the iron war club scythed toward her head, Yukiko could help wishing she’d listened to her father. She rolled aside as her cover was smashed to kindling, azalea petals drifting over the oni’s shoulders like perfumed snowflakes.

Bitter Blood : The Morganville Vampires book 13, by Rachel Caine (538 pages) – For ages vampires and humans have co-existed in Morganville, getting up to at least twelve books-worth of adventure and intrigue. Now that the draug – the creatures that kept the vampires in check – have been defeated, the vampires are becoming a little excessive, and the humans want to fight back! Also a reality television show threatens to reveal all to the world.

First lines: ‘Morganville, Texas, isn’t like other towns. Oh, it’s small, dusty, and ordinary, in most ways, but the thing is, there are these – well, let’s not be shy about it. Vampires.’

Break My Heart 1,000 Times, by Daniel Waters (342 pages) – After the Event, everyone could see ghosts. Creepy! Man. Veronica sees the ghost of a teenaged boy in her mirror each morning, but isn’t too worried. However, the ghosts seem to becoming more powerful, and Veronica and chum Kirk uncover a creepier plot of their teacher, whose dead daughter hasn’t come back; he’s now convinced that by killing a living host (i.e., Veronica) his kid might resurface.

First lines: ‘I walk through walls. I whisper at the window when I watch her leave our home. I flicker at the edges of my own memory.

Rivals and Retribution : A 13 to Life Novel, by Shannon Delany (308 pages) – This is the conclusion (and book number five) to the 13 to Life series, about two werewolf families battling it out for the town of Junction. It receives what they call ‘mixed reviews’ on Goodreads, now accessible directly through the library catalogue! Handy

First line: ‘The girl enters the barn, slipping between hay bales and a stack of buckets.

Butter, by Erin Jade Lange (296 pages) – Sixteen-year-old Butter is morbidly obese, and feels alone. So he gets a website – butterslastmeal.com – and decides that he will broadcast his own death by over-eating. As he carries out his (somewhat macabre) plan he discovers that the attention he receiving, though not exactly positive, feels like popularity, and as the deadline approaches, does he still want to go through with it? Very tense with an amazing character is what I distill from the reviews I just read.

First lines: ‘Most people would say the website is where this wild ride began. But for me is started two days earlier, on a Tuesday night in front of the TV in my living room.

Passenger, by Andrew Smith (465 pages) – This is a sequel to The Marbury Lens, about a pair of boys who run away to London and find a lens that transports them to an war-stricken alternate reality. Now they try to destroy the lens, but there is an evil that won’t let them run away so easily, especially when it has their friends. Full of coolness.

First lines: ‘This is it. Of course it wasn’t over. Things like this never end. It has been two and a half months since Freddie Horvath kidnapped some dumb kid who was too drunk to find his way home.

Unwholly, by Neal Shusterman (402 pages) – Book one of the Unwind trilogy. Here is book one! Teens can be harvested – ‘unwound’ – for body parts, which is of course not ideal, but it is the future and it is dystopian. Thrilling, affecting, and really good, I reckon, after skimming through Goodreads.

First line: ‘He’s fighting a nightmare when they come for him. A great flood is swallowing the world, and in the middle of the it all, he’s being mauled by a bear.

For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund (407 pages) – This is a sci-fi post-apocalyptic romance strongly inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion. FINALLY. Elliot North reunites with Kai, the boy she loved but refused to elope with, when she’s forced to rent land from the mysterious Cloud Feet group to which he now belongs. He’s got secrets! He’s also kind of unpleasant, but it’s justified (because of the secrets).

First lines: ‘Elliot North raced across the pasture, leaving a scar of green in the silver, dew-encrusted grass. Jeff followed, tripping a bit as his feet slid inside his too-big shoes.

Ashen Winter, by Mike Mullin (576 pages) – This is set in the US, six months after the Yellowstone Supervolcano erupted, as depicted in the first book, Ashfall. (You know that part in that film 2012 when Yellowstone explodes? Well there actually is a supervolcano there! There is one under Taupo and 26,000 years ago it plunged the earth into a volcanic winter and invented pumice.) So in this book, Yellowstone has gone up and the country is pretty post-apocalyptic; protaganist Alex must return to Iowa to find his parents.

First line: ‘Ten months had passed since I’d last seen the sun. The rich blue of that final August sky was fading from my memory.

Son, by Lois Lowry (393 pages) – The conclusion the series begun in The Giver. It is a utopian future! But, sadly, it comes with a heavy cost; a society where regimented eugenics dictates almost every aspect of interpersonal interactions. In this book, Claire, who’d been a Vessel, can not forget her son. She is desperate to get him back, and will stop at nothing to do so.

First lines: ‘The young girl cringed when the buckled the eyeless leather mask around the upper half of her face and blinded her. It felt grotesque and unnecessary, but she didn’t object. It was the procedure.‘ 

Vessel, by Sarah Beth Durst (424 pages) – Liyana’s reason to be is to become the vessel for her tribe’s goddess; she will dance and summon the goddess, who will then bring the rain that her people desperately need. However! It doesn’t work, and Liyana is exiled. She meets a boy reportedly possessed by the trickster god, Korbyn, who seeks Liyana’s help to find five other vessels; the gods are going missing, and they’re needed.

First lines: ‘On the day she was to die, Liyana walked out of her family’s tent to see the dawn. She buried her toes in the sand, cold from the night, and she wrapped her father’s goatskin cloak tight around her shoulders.

New Books

Pirate Cinema, by Cory Doctorow (384 pages) – In near-future England, the law has become really tight with digital downloads. If you’re caught three times your household’s internet is blocked for a year. Which is actually not too dissimilar to NZ, actually. Anyway, sixteen-year-old Trent, moviemaker and downloader, gets banned, nearly destroying his family – they all rely on the internet for work. He runs away to London and joins up with like-minded people who are fighting the wealthy media conglomerates that control the government.

First line: ‘I will never forget the day my family got cut off from the Internet, I was hiding in my room as I usually did after school let out, holed up with a laptop I’d bought thirdhand and that I nursed to health with parts from here and there and a lot of cursing and sweat.

Burning Blue, by Paul Griffin (293 pages) – Rich, popular, and pretty Nicole is attacked by someone who throws acid on her face, disfiguring her. Quiet hacker Jay, who goes to her school, decides that he will find out who it was that attacked Nicole, and in the process he begins to fall for Nicole, whose personality is pretty attractive also, evidently.

First lines: ‘I was at the cemetery when it happened. I didn’t even know Nicole at the time. Well, I knew of her. Everybody did.

All You Never Wanted, by Adele Griffin (225 pages) – Alex is super-pretty, and her parents are rich, so she lives the life. Her sister, Thea, doesn’t quite have the looks, however, and she’s jealous of Alex’s boyfriend, Joshua. They have the house to themselves one weekend and plan a party; Thea also plans to sabotage Alex’s relationship, and she will do anything to get the life that Alex wants. ANYTHING

First line: ‘She gets into the car and then she can’t drive it. Can’t even start the engine for the gift of the air conditioner. She is a living corpse roasting in sun-warmed leather.

The Blood Keeper, by Tessa Gratton (422 pages) – Mab Prowd is a blood witch, and spends her time practising blood magic on the remote Kansas farm where she and other blood witches hang out, doing their thing (i.e., blood magic) and avoiding non-blood magic studies. Mab accidently activates a long-dead and powerful curse, which messes with her magic. It does result in her meeting Will Sanger, a local boy, for whom she develops an attachment. Ooooh

First line: ‘The last thing the Deacon said to me before he died was “Destroy those roses.”

The Lost Prince, by Julie Kagawa (395 pages) – This is book five of The Iron Fey series. It’s about fairies! But not Rainbow Magic fairies, that’s for sure. In this volume Ethan Chase, whose dislike of the Faery realm is such that he ignores them all, has to break his own rules when the Fey start to disappear and his family is endangered.

First lines: ‘My name is Ethan Chase. And I doubt I’ll live to see my eighteenth birthday. That’s not me being dramatic; it just is.

Illumination, by Karen Brooks (664 pages) – This is book III of The Curse of the Bond Riders, following on from Tallow and Votive. Now Tallow ‘sets in motion forces beyond her control. From Serenissima to Farrowfare, enemies – as well as those she has always trusted – plot to ensure her compliance and, ultimately, destruction. But in doing so, they make a fatal mistake – they underestimate her and the power she can wield.’ Yes I just copied and pasted that

First lines: ‘Dawn infused the glade with a sickly light. In the distance, an owl gave a tired hoot and a gentle wind stirred the trees.

The Assassin’s Curse, by Cassandra Rose Clarke (298 pages) – Ananna is told that she has to marry some dude from another pirate clan. She’s not keen so abandons ship, only to have an assassin sent after her. She accidently misuses her magic, cursing them both – her and the assassin – and binding them together. To break the curse they must complete three tasks, and soon romance blossoms betwixt them, yarrr.

First line: ‘I ain’t never been one to trust beautiful people, and Tarrin of the Hariri was the most beautiful man I ever saw.

99 Flavours of Suck, by Tania Hutley (237 pages) – Kane’s mother is a dog-whisperer with her own television show, and together they track down a sheep-killing dog for her show. He gets bitten and transforms into some kind of werewolf, which results in nonstop itching (among other things). The only way to break the curse is a kiss from his soulmate, Pippa, who unfortunately hates his guts.

First line: ‘On my babe-scale, Pippa Jensen shoots past infinity.

The Dark Unwinding, by Sharon Cameron (318 pages) – Katherine is told to sort out her uncle, who is reportedly insane and squandering the family fortune. However, she finds that he’s a genius with clockwork who has employed an entire village of people rescued from London workhouses, and his apprentice is hot. She’s torn between the family she’s part of, the people he’s helping, and the hot apprentice in this romantic gothic adventure.

First lines: ‘Warm sun and robin’s-egg skies were inappropriate conditions for sending one’s uncle to a lunatic asylum. I had settled this point four hours earlier, while miles of road slipped beneath the carriage wheels.

Regine’s Book : A Teen Girl’s Last Words, by Regine Stokke (329 pages) – Regine Stokke was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008, and started a blog in which she  wrote about the last year of her life (she died a year later). This book is reproduction of her blog and many of the comments she received from the hundreds of followers she had, and is full of photos, and you might need a box of tissues with you when you read it.

First line: ‘Tuesday, Nov 4 2008 – Disclaimer; I’ve decided to start a blog about what it’s like to get a life-threatening disease. Some of the content will therefore be too heavy for some people.

The Shadow Society, by Marie Rutkoski (408 pages) – At the age of five, Darcy Jones was abandoned outside a firestation in Chicago. She doesn’t remember much but the new boy – Conn – at her high school awakens old memories. She discovers that she’s in fact from an alternate timeline where the Great Chicago Fire never happened and where Shades prey on humans. She must infiltrate the Shadow Society to reveals what the Shades have planned.

First line: ‘Knowing what I know now, I’d say my foster mother had her reasons for throwing a kitchen knife at me.

Game Changer, by Margaret Peterson Haddix (250 pages) – KT Sutton is the star pitcher of her softball team, and so her life is pretty much softball-centred. However, she blacks out during a game and awakens in a world where sports and academia have reversed roles. Sports is taught all day long, with hours of tedious practice, while everyone obsesses over after-school academic competition.

First lines: ‘KT Sutton swung her arm in a phantom arc. Her hand released a phantom ball. The perfect pitch.

New Books!

I am typing this in Wadestown library! Sort of like New Books on Tour. Haha. Haaa.

Blink Once, by Cylin Busby (290 pages) – West wakes up in a hospital bed, strapped down. He is paralyzed. The girl in the neighbouring bed, Olivia, is the only one who can communicate to him. But why? Why is she in hospital? How is she connected to all his nightmares? What is going on here, guys.  Publishers Weekly says that readers rush to the end to answer these questions, and ‘they won’t be disappointed by what they discover’, which is frankly very appealing.

First lines: ‘Someone is crying. A girl. Not a pretty kind of crying, like actresses do, tears delicately streaming down a beautiful face. This is sobbing, sniffling, gasping for air.

The Demon Catchers of Milan, by Kat Beyer (278 pages) – Mia’s distant family from Italy have come to visit. Just in the nick of time! As she has been possessed by a powerful demon, and they are actually all demon hunters. Once her cousins have exorcised her, she heads back to Italy with them to learn Italian, get more involved with the family business (i.e. killing demons) and fall in love with Italians. Not her cousins though! I don’t know.

First line: ‘I used to be the kind of girl who would check under the bed and in the closet every night before going to sleep.

Embers & Echoes, by Karsten Knight (461 pages) – This is the follow-up to Wildefire, about a bunch of gods who have reincarnated as teens. Ashline Wilde is the reincarnation of Pele, a Polynesian volcano goddess, and when her sister is taken by some evil gods she must join up with Wes, a reincarnated Aztec god, who has his own vendetta to hash out. ‘More X-Men than Clash of the Titans,’ says the Library School Journal, which is really quite a compliment.

First line: ‘Ashline Wilde lay battered on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway and watched her boyfriend emerge from the fiery car wreck, back from the dead.

Unfed, by Kirsty McKay (307 pages) – This follows on from Undead, about a zombie apocalypse during Bobby’s school trip. She survived it! Unfortunately, he best pal is missing and it’s up to her to find him in the zombie-infected wastelands AND and find an antidote before it’s all over for the human race. ‘Hysterically funny,’ says The Times.

First line: ‘When you’re staring into the jaws of death at the age of fifteen, there’s not a whole lot of life to flash before your eyes.

So Close To You, by Rachel Carter (313 pages) – Lydia’s great-grandfather disappeared, along with others, it is rumoured, because of some weird army experiment called the Montauk Project which occurred at the spooky abandoned military base near her home. When a portal opens up and takes her back to 1945, six days before her great-grandad disappears, she becomes part of the experiment. The first in a planned trilogy.

First line: ‘The bonfire in the clearing spits out flames and smoke. Red, yellow, orange sparks fly up into the night sky.

Tiger Lily, by Jodi Lynn Anderson (292 pages) – Before Peter Pan met Wendy there was Tiger Lily, who faced all kinds of hurdles to be with Peter (and not this guy her family and tribe wanted her to marry). And then of course Wendy comes along to Neverland on an English boat and things get messy. A clever retelling of the Peter Pan story, as narrated by Tinkerbell. ‘Perplexing’ to those familiar only with the Disney version, which of course doesn’t include any Teen Blog readers.

First line: ‘She stands on the cliffs, near the old crumbling stone house. There’s nothing left in the house but an upturned table, a ladle, and a clay bowl.

What’s Left of Me : The Hybrid Chronicles, by Kat Zhang (343 pages) – Eva and Addie were born in the same body, but are two distinct souls, or hybrids. However in this alternate reality, hybrids are against the law, so they must keep their dual existence a secret from the government and their family. Reviews say this is very well written, with a great ending, so go on reserve it why don’t you.

First lines: ‘Addie and I were born into the same body, our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath.

Don’t Turn Around, by Michelle Gagnon (310 pages) – Noa, a rebellious teen orphan, has woken on an operating table with no memory. She joins with Peter, a computer hacker from a wealthy background, to take down a large and evil corporation. ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens’, a reviewer writes, if that’s a good thing?

First line: ‘When Noa Torson woke up, the first thing she noticed was that her feet were cold. Odd, since she always wore socks to bed.

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo (358 pages) – Gonna let the catalogue describe this one – ‘Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become the protegé of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elite in the belief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.’

First line: ‘The servants called the malenchki, little ghosts, because the haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.

The Broken Lands, by Kate Milford (455 pages) – This is the prequel to steampunky The Boneshaker, and is set in New York, 1877. Two teenaged orphans – Sam and a pyromaniac girl named Jim – must battle ancient dark forces from turning the city into Hell.

First line: ‘A crossroads can be a place of gerat power; this should not come as any surprise. It is a place of choosing, of testing, of transition, and there is power in all of those things.

New books

Only a handful of new books. There are lots more! But this has been a draft for a week.

Social Suicide, by Gemma Halliday (277 pages) – This is the second book in the Deadly Cool series.  It looks like it’s a kind of murder-mystery series, set in a highschool. Hartley Featherstone, jouralist, blogger, and detective finds the body of the person – apparently electrocuted while reading Twitter! – she’s meant to interview. It’s pleasing that there’s a new series that isn’t about the supernatural, actually!

First line: ‘You had to be incredibly stupid to get caught cheating in Mr. Tipkin’s class, but then again, Sydney Sanders was known for bet the only brunette blonder than Paris Hilton.

Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls, by Mary Downing Hahn (330 pages) – Based on actual events experienced by the author, this is about the murders of two girl in 1950s Baltimore. The story is told from several points of view, and while the subject matter might be a little dark, the book’s ending is very satisfying.

First lines: ‘He opens his eyes. It’s still dark, way before dawn. He’d willed himself to wake at three a.m., and he’s done it.

Send Simon Savage : Return of the Black Death, by Stephen Measday (312 pages) – This is the second Simon Savage book (the first is here). Besides having the best of all names, Simon has the perfect DNA for work as a ‘temponaut’; a time-traveller working for The Time Bureau. He’s lost his family, and has to find them. And someone has transported the plague through time to the present, risking a pandemic of the Black Death.

First line: ‘1348, a harbour in Venice – Simon Savage had never seen so many rats in his life.

The Poison Diaries : Nightshade, by Maryrose Wood and the Duchess of Northumberland (279 pages) – This is the second book in a gothic-style trilogy set in the 18th Century. The books are inspired by the real Poison Garden that the Duchess of Northumberland herself has created and maintains in her castle. Anyway, in part 2 Jessamine learns that her true love, Weed (that’s his name), is still alive and maybe her father has something to do with it. She will do whatever she can to get him back! Especially with her new-found powers of horticulture and propogation.

First line: ‘I wake, as I usually do, to the sound of Weed’s voice.’

Never Fall Down, by Patricia McCormick (216 pages) – This is a fictionalised account of the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, who grew up in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge’s nightmarish rule of the country. He manages to survive by pretending to be able to play an instrument and then, later ordered to fight. After all the horror he witnessed he became an advocate for human rights and peace.

First lines: ‘At night in our town, it’s music everywhere. Rich house. Poor house. Doesn’t matter.

Waiting on Wednesday

This week: the beginning of a new supernatural series and the end of another. Reserve yours today!

The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater (September). This book is the beginning of a new series which has been receiving a lot of attention (the next big thing). That being said, I very much enjoyed The Scorpio Races (flesh-eating horses).

Blue Sargent is the daughter of the town pyschic and has been told all her life that if she kisses her true love he will die (is this just a parently ploy? Would you risk it?). Blue’s not too cut up about this, sensibly staying away from the boys who go to Aglionby (the local exclusive academy) also known as the Raven Boys. (The Raven Boys are trouble.) But then on St Mark’s Eve, when she and her mother see the spirits of those who will die within the next twelve months, Blue sees Gansey (Raven Boy). Gansey and his friends are on a quest to discover the burial place of Owain Glendower, a legendary Welsh noble people say has been sleeping for centuries, waiting to grant his waker a favour.

A supernatural mystery/thriller! Note to Blue: don’t kiss Gansey in the next twelve months. Just in case!

Finale, Becca Fitzpatrick (October). The end of Hush, Hush! “Fates unfurl in the gripping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Hush, Hush saga. Nora is more certain than ever that she is in love with Patch. Fallen Angel or no, he is the one for her. Her heritage and destiny may mean that they will always be enemies, but there is no turning her back on him. And yet their biggest challenge lies ahead. Can their love survive a seemingly insurmountable divide? The lines are drawn, but it’s unclear which sides have been taken. And in the end, will there be enough trust left to rebuild what has been broken?” (goodreads.com)

New Books

Here are some new books! Now Grimm won’t have an excuse to kill me.

The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa (504 pages) – It is the future (I think!) and vampires treat humans like cattle, farming them for blood. Allison lives on the fringes of a vampire city, surviving as a scavenger; she is turned into a vampire, so becoming what she hates the most. Just to make things worse she has to pretend to not be a vampire so her new friends – a ragged band of humands seeking an end to vampirism – don’t kill her.

First lines: ‘They hung the Unregistered in the old warehouse district; it was a public execution, so everyone went to see.

Fated : The Soul Seekers, by Alyson Noel (325 pages) – This is the first book in a series by the author of the Immortals series. Daire Santos is seeing things and everything is generally pretty weird. Her mother send her to live with her grandmother, who realises that Daire is, in fact, a Soul Seeker, someone who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead, flavoured with Native American mysticism. Also she meets a guy.

First lines: ‘First came the crows. An entire murder of them. Circling the graveyard in strict formation, their dark beady eyes watching, relentlessly watching, their sleek black bodies buffeted by the wind.

The Girl in the Park, by Mariah Fredericks (217 pages) – A haunting psychological thriller about a girl – the school ‘party girl’ – whose murdered body is found in NYC’s Central Park. Her childhood friend, Rain, is determined to untangle the gossip and rumour from the truth and subsequently find the killer.

First lines: ‘In my dream, everyone talks except me. It’s a party, and I’m surrounded by voices.

The Selection, by Kiera Cass (327 pages) – It is the future! America has had a war and is now a dystopian monarchy (called Illea) with a fairly strict caste system. Thirty-five girls are selected and must compete in a televised selection to win the heart of Illea’s prince. America Singer is selected to compete, but she really just wants to be with Aspen, her true love, who happens to be a caste below her. Sooooo I reckon you might like this if you like The Hunger Games but weren’t so keen on all the killing? 

First lines: ‘When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic. She had already decided that all our problems were solved, gone forever.‘ 

Dying to Know You, by Aidan Chambers (275 pages) – Karl is in love with Fiorella, and because is very smart and literate, she insists that he writes her a letter to express his love for her. However! Karl isn’t sure that he can write well enough at all, so he convinces Fiorella’s favourite author to write the letter on his behalf. He agrees! Setting off a chain of events that transforms all their lives.

First lines: ‘“Could I talk to you?”
“Why?”
“You’re a writer?”
“And?”
“I need your help.”

Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse, by Lucas Klauss (403 pages) – Phillip meets and falls for the girl of his dream, Rebekah, who happens to belong to a super-evangelical church, as mainly found in the US. He starts to get involved with the religion in an effort to get to know Rebekah more; or is it because his mother died recently? Anyway. I don’t think an actual apocalypse takes place.

First lines: ‘Ow. Ow. Ow. Pain cuts through my foot each time it hits the pavement. I hobble and curse, and then I stumble onto a nearby lawn.

Everneath, by Brodi Ashton (370 pages) – Nikki gets snatched into the underworld, or the Everneath, and has to spend six months there and six months on Earth with her loved ones. It is like the myth of Persephone, brought into the present! Cole, the smouldering immortal from Everneath, wants Nikki for his Queen, but Nikki just wants to stay with her boyfriend Jack. Cole, Jack. Jack, Cole. Everneath, Earth. Earth, Everneath.

First line: ‘I was picturing his face – a boy with floppy brown hair and brown eyes – when the Feed ended.’

The Haunting of Tabitha Grey, by Vanessa Curtis (295 pages) – Tabitha and her family move into Weston Manor, and soon things start behaving unnaturally. Sounds, smells, and ghostly crying, and soon Tabitha is getting haunted. Like the title says! ‘A classic ghost story with a stunning twist’ says the book cover – correctly, for I read the ending and it’s very good and chilling.

First line: ‘When Dad first crunches the car up the semi-circular gravel drive outside Weston Manor I don’t take much notice.

Red Rocks, by Rachel King (255 pages) – Jessie inadvertedly unleashes a curse on his family by stealing a sealskin he finds at Red Rocks. Wellington’s Red Rocks! He is staying with his father … in Owhiro Bay! Yay Wellington

First line: ‘Waves battered the beach, chattering to the stones as the receded. Jake stood still, watching the rocks, waiting for a movement.

Pretty Crooked, by Elisa Ludwig (360 pages) – Willa takes from all the rich kids – who are ostensibly her ‘friends’ – at her school and gives it to the poorer scholarship kids. Soon the cops get involved and Willa’s noble efforts might get her in trouble, but maybe help comes from the most unlikely people. The first in an ‘adventurous teen caper series’ filled with active social reform mystery and humour.

First line: ‘Go go go go go go! The chant was in my head, because I didn’t have enough breath in my lungs to make sound.

AND NOW here is a list of books that are either sequels or parts of continuing series. Have you read a book that you liked so much that you thought, man, where’s that sequel? WELL it might be here. Who knows.

Angel Fire, by L. A. Weatherly (sequel to Angel)
Alice On Board, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (part of the immensely long Alice series)
The Savage Grace, by Bree Despain (sequel to Lost Saint and part of the Dark Divine series)
Flora’s Fury, by Ysabeau S. Wilce (sequel to Flora’s Dare and Flora Segunda)
Surrender, by Elena Johnson (sequel to Possession)
The Nightmare Garden, by Caitlin Kittredge (sequel to The Iron Thorn)
Thumped, by Megan McCafferty (sequel to Bumped)
Taken at Dusk : A Shadow Falls Novel, by C. C. Hunter
Balthazar, by Claudia Gray (part of the Evernight series)
Until I Die, by Amy Plum (sequel to Die For Me)
Spell Bound : A Hex Hall Novel, by Rachel Hawkins
Freax and Rejex, by Robin Jarvis (sequel to Dancing Jax)

Great Read – So Yesterday: a novel

So Yesterday: a novel by Scott Westerfeld

Some things are in fashion, and everyone knows. But where do these trends start? Someone did it first, before it was cool/trendy/whatever term you like, and then somehow everyone else followed. Hunter doesn’t start these things – he’s the next step, a trendsetter, he gets paid to find and identify things that are actually cool and not just weird. His boss then sells these things onto various companies who sell the “cool” product to consumers everywhere. It’s a good deal for Hunter until he meets Jen, an innovator who designs shoelaces. Together they have to find Hunter’s boss who disappears amidst a brief sighting of the most fantastic shoes Jen and Hunter have ever seen.

A mystery story which is still secondary to the fact that Scott Westerfeld has somehow come up with a (scarily possible) explanation for how trends are started and then spread. Great read, recommended if you like any of his other books or Unidentified by Rae Mariz.

Super Sleuths

The Edgar Awards are given annually for excellent pieces of fiction in the mystery genre. There’s a young adult category! So, if you like a good mystery, Edgar says these are top in 2012*:

Shelter, Harlan Coben

The Name of the Star, Maureen Johnson

The Silence of Murder, Dandi Daley Mackall

The Girl is Murder, Kathryn Miller Haines

Kill You Last, Todd Strasser

* winners will be announced in April.

New! Books!

A selection of new fiction (good for reading while drinking hot cocoa, if you’ve got some left after learning about language and colour) which covers a bit of everything: there’s road trips (huzzah!), romance, spooky thrillers, conclusions to trilogies, and some serious subject matter for readers who want food for thought.

Blood Red Road, Moira Young (492 pages) – a dystopian road trip! Saba lives in Silverlake, a bleak wasteland. After the black-robed riders take Saba’s brother Lugh, Saba must set off on a dangerous journey in pursuit, with the help of  a clever crow, the dashing, mysterious Jack, and a group of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks.

First sentences: Lugh got born first. On Midwinter Day when the sun hangs low in the sky.

The Shattering, Karen Healey (302 pages) – Summerton is the perfect place to live, but is it? When Keri, grieving after the suicide of her brother, starts spending more time with a couple of friends she discovers that their brothers have also died, in suspicious circumstances. Is there something dark and terrible going on in Summerton?

First sentence: The first time I broke my arm I was ready for it.

Other Words for Love, Lorraine Zago Rosenthal (354 pages) – Ari lives in the shadow of her vibrant friend Summer, but when an inheritance means she is able to attend an elite prep school she starts to come out of her shell, making new friends, and falling for Blake. Swept up in in her romance, Ari doesn’t agree with her friends that this is infatuation – knowing that instead it is true love – but when Blake starts distancing himself after family troubles, Ari comes to learn what love really means.

First sentence: In 1985 just about everyone I knew was afraid of two things: a nuclear attack by the Russians and a gruesome death from the AIDS virus, which allegedly thrived on the mouthpieces of New York City public telephones.

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Bitter End, Jennifer Brown (359 pages) – Alex is blissfully in love with gorgeous, sporty Cole, but things gradually turn nightmarish, first with Cole becoming jealous of her best friend Alex, then putting her down, then threatening her, until she is “forced to choose – between her ‘true love’ and herself.”

First sentence: If I had to describe my best friend, Bethany, in one word, it would be persistent.

In the Sea There Are Crocodiles, Fabio Geda (211 pages) – Based on the true story of 10 year old Afghan boy Enaiatollah’s five year journey from Afghanistan to Italy, and the harrowing events that took place along the way.

First sentence: The thing is, I really wasn’t expecting her to go.

Forever, Maggie Stiefvater (390 pages) – the conclusion to the story of the wolves of Mercy Falls that started with Shiver and continued with Linger. Isabel’s father is intent on getting rid of the wolves once and for all, and he’s making alarming headway with his plans: can Sam save them before it’s too late? Can he save Grace, who is now shifting between wolf and human form? Can Cole St Clair get to the bottom of the disease that causes the changes? So many questions!

First sentence: I can be so, so quiet.

Winter’s Shadow, M J Hearle (424 pages) – Winter is consumed by Blake Duchamp, the dark, brooding stranger she met at Pilgrim’s Lament. But Blake has a dark, dangerous secret – one that Winter seems to be be unwittingly doing her best to distract him from.

First sentence: Madeleine Bonnaire fled beneath the flickering street lamps of Rue Descartes.

I Am J, Chris Beam (326 pages) – J goes on a journey of self discovery working through the issues surrounding the fact that he’s always known he is a boy in a girl’s body.

First sentence: J could smell the hostility, the pretense, the utter fakeness of it all before they even climbed the last set of stairs.

The Demon’s Surrender, Sarah Rees Brennan (387 pages) – the conclusion to the trilogy that began with The Demon’s Lexicon. Sin and Mae are in competition for leadership of the Goblin Market and the Aventurine Circle is a threat to the survival of the market – and people generally – but can they be stopped? Also, can Sin get over her dislike of Alan so they can work together to defeat the magicians, and does Jamie really have control over Nick? This can’t be good, since he’s decided turn against the market and join the magicians.

First sentence: Magic was like a special guest in Sin’s life.

Life: An Exploded Diagram, Mal Peet (413 pages) – Set in Norfolk (UK) in 1962, when the Cold War means the world thinks it’s going to be annihilated by a nuclear bomb. Against this backdrop, Clem and Frankie are in a secret, furtive relationship (from opposite sides of the track, as it were). You can read Meg Rosoff’s review on the Guardian here.

First sentence: Ruth Ackroyd was in the garden checking the rhubarb when the RAF Spitfire accidentally shot her chimney-pot to bits.

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The Dead of Winter, Chris Priestley (218 pages) – The dust jacket makes this sound spooky: “When Michael Vyner goes to spend the Christmas holidays with his distant and aloof guardian, he finds himself in a dark and desolate East Anglian [UK] house – a house that harbours a terrible secret which it will fight to retain. Michael’s lonely task soon becomes clear as he is haunted not just by a solitary woman in the mists but by the terrible reason behind her death.”

First sentence: My name is Michael: Michael Vyner.

Votive, Karen Brooks (617 pages) – the sequel to Tallow. Set in the republic of Venice – La Serenissima. Tallow has lost everything, so in order to survive she takes on a new persona, and poses as a courtesan to move among the Serenissian nobility. But evil looms in the form of her enemies, who have something up their sleeves that could ruin her.

First sentence: ‘By the gods! Stop!’

More New Books

Rose Sees Red, Cecil Castellucci (197 pages) – It is 1982 in New York and Rose is a ballet dancer who attends the High School of Performing Arts. Yrena is Rose’s neighbour, a visiting Russian dancer who, due to the Cold War between USSR and the United States, is all but a prisoner in her apartment. One night Yrena, intent on experiencing New York life, escapes through Rose’s apartment window, and the two hit the town for a wild night of adventure.

First sentence: I was black inside so I took everything black.

The Children of the Lost, David Whitley (357 pages) – the second book in the Agora trilogy that began with The Midnight Charter. Mark and Lily are exiled from the city of Agora, and find refuge in a small nearby village. Lily is happy, but Mark longs to return to Agora to take revenge and find answers.

First sentence: Gradually, Lily became aware that she was being watched.

Kick, Walter Dean Myers and Ross Workman (197 pages) – Ross Workman wrote to Walter Dean Myers saying he was a fan of his books and Walter Dean Myers replied saying let’s write a book together, so they did. True story. Kick is about a troubled boy who’s an excellent football (soccer) player, on his way to the state cup final, until he ends up in jail. Can he and his mentor, a policeman called Sergeant Brown, turn his life around?

First sentence: Bill Kelly and I had been friends since we played high school basketball together.

I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend, Cora Harrison (342 pages) – Jenny Cooper is Jane’s cousin, and goes to live with the Austens, which is an education in the world of balls, beautiful dresses, turns about the room, gossip, and other such things. When she (Jenny) falls in love, Jane is there to help her out.

First sentence: It’s a terrible thing to write: Jane looks like she could die – but it’s even worse to have the thought jumping into your mind every few minutes.

Pathfinder, Orson Scott Card (657 pages) – Rigg is able to see into people’s paths, a secret he shares only with his father. When his father dies, Rigg learns that he’s been keeping a whole lot of other secrets, about Rigg and his family. Rigg has other powers…

First sentence: Rigg and Father usually set the traps together, because it was Rigg who had the knack of seeing the paths that the animals they wanted were still using.

Firespell, Chloe Neill (278 pages) – Lily is a new girl at an exclusive academy and she doesn’t fit in and has no friends apart from her roommate Scout. When she discovers that Scout has magical powers and protects the city from supernatural monsters, Lily is keen to help, but can she, if she has no powers of her own?

First sentence: They were gathered around a conference table in a high-rise, eight men and women, no one under the age of sixty-five, all of them wealthy beyond measure.

The Body at the Tower, Y S Lee (344 pages) – the second book in the Agency Victorian detective series (the first is A Spy in the House). Mary Quinn, under cover, investigates the mysterious scandals surrounding the building of the Houses of Parliament, but there are distractions (suspicious workmates, past secrets, and the return of James Easton).

First sentence: A sobbing man huddles on a narrow ledge, clawing at his eyes to shield them from the horror far below.

The Doomsday Box, Herbie Brennan (328 pages) – a Shadow Project book. Time travel is possible, trouble is someone (secret codename Cobra) has used it to transport the black plague into the 21st Century. The supernatural teen spies of the Shadow Project must avert disaster, while also averting their own disaster, on the run from the KGB in Moscow in the 1960s.

First sentence: Opal fastened the strap around her ankle and stood up to admire her new shoes.

Zora and Me, Victoria Bond and T R Simon (170 pages) – based on events in the life of author Zora Neale Hurston. When a young man’s body is found on train tracks in a small Florida town Zora thinks she knows who did it, so she and her friends set out to prove her theory and search for the truth. Narrated by Zora’s best friend Carrie, hence the title.

First sentence: It’s funny how you can be in a story but not realise until the end that you were in one.

The False Princess, Eilis O’Neal (319 pages) – Nalia believes herself to be princess of Thorvaldor, but discovers she’s actually a stand in. She’s cast out, called Sinda, and sent to live with her unwelcoming aunt in a village where she (Sinda) learns she has magic, which is Sinda’s ticket out, albeit a dangerous ticket. This one is called “A dazzling first novel” and “an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance”, which sounds great.

First sentence: The day they came to tell me, I was in one of the gardens with Kiernan, trying to decipher a three-hundred-year-old map of the palace grounds.

Fallout, Ellen Hopkins (663 pages) – the companion to Crank and Glass. About Kristina’s three oldest children, who must climb out from under their mother’s meth addiction and the hold it has over the family. Novel in verse form.

First sentence: That life was good / before she / met / the monster, / but those page flips / went down before / our collective / cognition.

Accomplice, Eireann  Corrigan (259 pages) – Two friends stage a kidnapping as a joke and in order to gain notoreity. Of course this is going to be a very bad idea indeed.

First sentence: The picture they usually use is one from the Activities spread of the yearbook.

Pride, Robin Wasserman (231 pages) – one in the Seven Deadly Sins series, and we have the complete set.

Some New Books

Revolution, Jennifer Donnelly (472 pages) – Andi, musical genius, New Yorker, sullen pillar of her falling apart family, unwillingly goes to Paris to get her educational life back together. While researching a relatively obscure 18th century French composer for guitar (like, you know, I hadn’t heard of him) she stumbles across the diary of Alexandrine, who may have been the companion of Louis-Charles (son of Marie Antoinette) in his last days, with whom she has a strange connection. Music students and fans may particularly get something out of this, as will people who like Courtney Summers.

First sentences: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, deejay.

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group, Catherine Jinks (380 pages) – to think that five years ago nobody knew that “lycanthrope” was a word. This must surely be a companion to the popular Reformed Vampire Support Group? Toby discovers he has a rare and dangerous condition, and is adopted by an oddball group of people, keen to help him.

First sentences: You’ve probably heard of me. I’m the guy they found in a dingo pen at Featherdale Wildlife Park.

Extraordinary, Nancy Werlin (390 pages) – the follow up to Impossible. Phoebe is drawn to the mysterious Mallory and her brother Ryland, which may be a very bad thing for Phoebe, as they expect her to pay an “age old debt”.

First sentence: Phoebe Gutle Rothschild met Mallory Tolliver in seventh grade, during the second week of the new school year, in homeroom.

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots, Abby McDonald (293 pages) – Jenna is an urban environmentalist who has the opportunity to spend the summer with her hippie godmother in rural parts, where her urban environmentalism comes up against the locals’ pragmatic ruralism. Plus there’s romance maybe.

First sentences: “Re-use! Re-duce! Re-cycle!”

Everlasting, Angie Frazier (329 pages) – In the 19th century Camille must choose between marrying rich and securing her and her father’s future, or the high seas on her father’s ship, even if this means a storm in the Tasman (!) Sea (bad) and Oscar, a “handsome young sailor” (good). But wait, there’s more: a quest through the Australian outback for an enchanted stone, murder, lies and intrigue. Action-packed adventure.

First sentence: Camille clicked the latches down on her trunk and glanced out her bedroom window.

Life, After, Sarah Darer Littman (278 pages) – Dani’s life in Argentina is blown to bits after a terrorist attack kills her aunt. Moving to the United States means a fresh start, although also troubles like speaking a different language, being a stranger, until she meets some new friends that help her pick up the pieces.

First sentence: Normal kids were happy when the bell rang at the end of the school day.

Love Drugged, James Klise (304 pages) – Jamie is semi-outed at school and does all he can to push the rabbit back into the hat, including taking drugs that will “cure” him and dating the most beautiful girl in school. But is it possible to live a life that’s basically a whole bunch of lies (and side-effects)?

First sentence: Judging by the angry mail we get, a lot of people consider me to be the villain of this story.

The Sorcerer of Sainte Felice, Ann Finnin (353 pages) – set in 15th Century France, Michael de Lorraine is rescued from execution and given refuge at a Benedictine monastery which, he discovers, contains “renegade monk-sorcerers” (how fab is that?) and a secret that could spell the end for the Abbot who rescued him. Oh, and the church (but not the renegade monk-sorcerers) still wants him dead.

First sentences: I was only an apprentice. I swear it.

13 to Life, Shannon Delany (308 pages) – Small time life has changed irrevocably for Jessie after the death of her mother, and then there’s the hot new stranger with the cool accent and a teeny little dangerous secret which the Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication Data, like, totally gives away (don’t read the copyright info).

First sentence: Rio stiffened beneath my touch, striking a glossy hoof against the floor.

Boys Don’t Cry, Malorie Blackman (302 pages) – When the doorbell rings Dante expects the postie with his university exam results, not his ex-girlfriend with his baby.

First sentences: Good luck today. Hope you get what you want and need. 🙂

Paranormalcy, Kiersten White (335 pages) – Evie lives in a world populated with every supernatural being you can imagine, and she can see through their glamours. Trouble is, she can also dream prophetic dreams, and she fears she’s responsible for the recent spate of unexplained paranormal deaths.

First sentence: “Wait – did you – you just yawned!”

The Space Between Trees, Katie Williams (274 pages) – Evie (again! – different Evie) is in the wrong place at the wrong time when the body of her childhood playmate is discovered, which leads to lies, a hunt for the killer, and danger. Cool cover.

First sentence: I’m in Hokepe Woods this morning, like I am every Sunday, delivering papers and keeping an eye out for Jonah Luks.

How They Met and Other Stories, David Levithan (244 pages) – Love in all its guises is explored in 18 stories by bestselling author (Boy Meets Boy, Nick and Norah…) and much successful editor, David Levithan.

First sentence (‘Starbucks Boy’) – It was my aunt who pimped me out.

Unhooking the Moon, Gregory Hughes (374 pages) – This book won the Booktrust Teenage Prize this year. This is what the Guardian said (which I like): “Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes is an extraordinary story of two orphaned siblings, the precocious, fascinating and infuriating 10-year-old Rat and her older brother Bob, who take a road trip from Canada to New York to look for their uncle on the strength of knowing his name and that he is a ‘drug dealer’.”

First sentence: Marymount Manhattan is a small cosy college on the East Side of New York.

My Name is Mina, David Almond (300 pages) – the prequel to the classic Skellig, in which you are privy to Mina’s journal, before she meets Skellig and Michael. Marcus Sedgwick (My Swordhand is Singing) loved it. Indeed, in the Guardian (again) he said,  “My Name Is Mina is a wonderful book in its own right, perhaps an even better one than Skellig. It is joyous. Thank you, David Almond; I cannot remember when a book last filled me with such claminosity.” Claminosity sounds like fun.

First sentence: My name is Mina and I love the night.

Also some continued series:

The Chamber of Shadows, Justin Richards (419 pages) – more from Eddie, George, Liz and Sir William in another horror murder mystery (so much more horrific when set in 19th Century London).

Possession, Chris Humphreys (360 pages) – book three in the Runestone saga.

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.

Some hot new books

Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare (476 pages) – the first in the Infernal Devices series and featuring a couple of characters that you know and love from Mortal Instruments, Clockwork Angel introduces the shadowhunters of Victorian London (think grey, foreboding, Sherlock Holmes-ian) where an evil someone is scheming and creating, well, infernal devices.

First sentence: The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.

Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins (390 pages) – brace yourself to the conclusion of the Hunger Games. Will Katniss save Panem from the evil Capitol and President Snow? Will there be another games? Who will rise from the ashes? Can you stop yourself from skipping to the end while reading?

First sentence: I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather.

Thirst No. 2, Christopher Pike (581 pages) – this includes Phantom, Evil Thirst and Creatures of Forever, being books 4 to 6 of the Last Vampire series first published in the mid 1990s (so kind of school mates of The Vampire Diaries in a way). Alisa, a five thousand year old vampire, has become human, but can she reconcile her past with her future?

First sentence (Phantom): Someone knocks at the door of the Las Vegas home where I stand.

One Night That Changes Everything, Lauren Barnholdt (242 pages) – Eliza’s ex-boyfriend Cooper has stolen her notebook in which she writes about everything she wants but is too afraid to do, and now he and his friends are blackmailing her, giving her one night to perform all the tasks listed in the notebook, or they’ll publish. So Eliza gets the gloves out.

First sentence: I lose everything.

Sisters Red, Jackson Pearce (344 pages) – this one has good reviews! The story of Scarlett and Rosie, who hunt the werewolves who are killing the young girls of their town. Indeed, werewolves are responsible for killing their grandmother and leaving Scarlett with terrible scars, so fair enough. Silas, an axe-wielding woodsman, helps them, and maybe causes some complications in their tight relationship. Cool cover.

First sentence: Strangers never walk down this road, the sisters thought in unison as the man trudged towards them.

I Know It’s Over, C K Kelly Martin (244 pages) – the story of Nick, who must come to terms with the news that the girl he’s just broken up with, Sasha, is pregnant. One reviewer says, “teen boys will especially applaud this portrayal of a devastated and conflicted young man who makes the right decisions, but still finds that his mistakes have repercussions”.

First sentence: The first time Sasha lay spread across my bed, I felt like the world had changed.

Bone by Bone by Bone, Tony Johnston (184 pages) – Set in Tennessee in 1950. David is living up to his father’s wishes to become a doctor, but his friendship with a black boy called Malcolm doesn’t please his father at all. So when his father’s assertion that he will kill Malcolm if he comes into the house is tested by the boys he pulls out his shotgun. Ellipsis.

First sentence: The ghost possessed the liveliest eyes I had ever seen.

Rules of Attraction, Simone Elkeles (324 pages) – written by the author of Perfect ChemistryRules of Attraction follows the story of Alex’s brother Carlos. Alex forces Carlos to come and live with him in Boulder, Colorado, away from his Mexican gang. So Carlos ends up in the home of one of Alex’s professors, in close proximity to the professor’s daughter, Kiara.

First sentence: I want to live life on my own terms.

Five Minutes More, Darlene Ryan (212 pages) – D’Arcy’s dad told her that everyone can survive for five minutes more, so when he dies in a car crash she hopes it was an accident. D’Arcy struggles to cope with his loss, with the help of her maths tutor, Seth, but Seth’s own issues surface and complicate things more.

First sentence: I play the Five Minutes More game.

Summer: Beautiful Dead, Eden Maguire (274 pages) – following from Jonas and Arizona. Darina turns her attention to the murder of Summer Madison, a singer-songwriter, posing as her agent in order to track down her killer.

First sentence: Who decides what’s normal and what’s not?

Fifteen Minute Bob, Catherine Forde (244 pages) – Rory’s life gets turned upside down when his struggling muso father releases a music viral with two musician friends.

First sentence: Imagine this, okay?: It’s your Sixth Form Parents’ Night.

Secrets of my Hollywood Life, Jen Calonita (242 pages) – the cover says, “At last… What it’s really like to be a celebrity ‘It’ girl.” Kaitlin is a 16 year old actress who just wants to be normal, so she assumes a secret identity and enrolls in the local high school. So, exclusive academies in reverse.

First sentence: I’m going to let you in on a little Hollywood Secret: movie stars don’t always get along.

Also briefly:

Soft Targets, Harry Edge – book one of Kite Identity

Bright Angel, Isabelle Merlin – from the author of Three Wishes, Pop Princess and Cupid’s Arrow

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

Some Random News

From the newsdesk:

If you have an iPhone and you’re into Choose Your Own Adventures (or you were when you were a kid), then you might be very pleased to hear that you can get a CYO iPhone app. Most excellent. We of course have heaps of the old fashioned book-thingies in the library. How very luddite of us.

More on book covers – people are getting sick of pink! (After all, thanks to paranormal romances, black is the new pink.) Not sick of pink cars, though: pink cars are handy to have if you don’t want your car stolen.

For Artemis Fowl fans: Eoin Colfer is definitely winding up the happenings of the teenage evil genius, apparently (maybe because things got kissy with Holly?). The latest (and second to last) in the series, Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex is available for borrowing now.

There having been six-ish short months between the movies New Moon and Eclipse, we were surprised to hear that the world will wait one whole year between Breaking Dawn 1 and Breaking Dawn 2. How will the world cope? In the mean time, The short second life of Bree Tanner gets a thumbs up from our buyers/reviewers (reserve a copy, it’s a quick read so you might not have to wait too long).

More on the City Of books by Cassandra Clare: having originally thought that these were a trilogy, and that she’d moved on to the Infernal Devices trilogy (the first of which, Clockwork Angel, is due out in a couple of months)… and then that she was writing just one more City Of book (City of Fallen Angels, April 2011), … we were surprised (but not too much) to hear that, actually, now Clary and Jace and co will be going strong for a few years yet: there’s more, or more more – two more to be exact.

And finally, two YA books are finalists for the nicely-titled Gold Dagger Award (for mystery writing, see?), including Blacklands by Belinda Bauer, which we’ve got.

New Books

The Glass Demon, by Helen Grant (409 pages) – Lin Fox finds a corpse, and nearby there is broken glass. There are more deaths, and more broken glass. A sinister thriller, set in Germany, and sort of based on a true story.

First line: ‘If anyone were to ask me, ‘What is the root of all evil?’ I would say not ‘Money’ but ‘Food’.’

Gimme a Call, by Sarah Mlynowski (327 pages) – Devi Banks can use her cellular to talk to herself – from the future! Future Devi tries to stop Present Devi from falling in love with some guy who breaks her heart. Which is reasonable (I would have a LIST of things to tell my younger self), but changing the past mightn’t be so easy.

First line: ‘I should just return Bryan’s watch to Nordstrom and go home.

Gentlemen, by Michael Northrop (234 pages) – Three boys suspect their English teacher has something to do with their friend’s disappearance, and to find him they must ‘navigate a maze of assorted clues, fraying friendships, violence, and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment before learning the truth.’

The River, by Mary Jane Beaufrand (215 pages) – Another chiller/mystery (with an awesome first line). Veronica moves from the city to the country with her parents, and befriends a younger girl whose body is found on the banks of the river that runs through Veronica’s backyard. She become obsessed with solving the girl’s death and its connection to the river.

First line: ‘I suppose there are worse things than being soggy and dateless and shoveling bunny carcasses into a garbage bin on Valentine’s Day, but if there are, I can’t think of any.

Wanted : A Pretty Little Liars Novel, by Sara Shepard (259 pages) – This is volume eight in the series about some popular girls who were befriended and tormented by uber-popular-but-missing Alison. It is also the conclusion of the series! Will it end happily?

First lines: ‘They say a picture’s worth a thousand words.

Lucy Zeezou’s Glamour Game, by Liz Deep-Jones (319 pages) – This is the follow-up to Lucy Zeezou’s Goal. Lucy ‘Zeezou’ Zoffi is mad for football, but her father – a former Italian soccer star – is against girls playing professional sports. Also, she is a model. This time her parents might be splitting up, and she has to go to Milan.

First line: ‘A barrage of lights flashed in our faces, blinding us, while relentless clicking and snapping sounds polluted the air.

She’s So Dead to Us, by Kieran Scott* (278 pages) – Ally Ryan grew up rich, but her father lost all his money and almost bankrupted many others. Now Ally’s back in the swanky Orchard Hill, two years after the event, and all her ex-friends hate her so much and are determined to ruin her chances with dreamy and rich Jake.

*Kieran Scott is Kate Brian’s real name

First lines: ‘“So? What do you think?” Hmm. What did I think? I had to take a moment to sort out an answer to that one. Here’s what I came up with.

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