Note:

Email notifications have now been restored for items coming due (and overdue) and reserves available for pick up. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Teen Blog

Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Tag: Witches

Rick Riordan Presents… Some Seriously Good Stories

If you’re a fan of the Percy Jackson universe, or any one of Rick Riordan’s intertwining demi-god fantasy worlds, you’ll know that what he specialises in is taking a mythology (Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian…) and putting it in the contemporary world. Cue heroes, gods, teens with powers and some excellent action sequences. He’s a well known writer and he’s written a lot. A whole lot, I just Googled it and it’s over 40 books at least, yikes.

Here’s something I just found out about him: he is also involved in Rick Riordan Presents which is a publishing project under the Disney-Hyperion umbrella. These books involve the mythologies (in a broad sense) of a range of underrepresented cultures and backgrounds and are written by authors with the cultures and backgrounds they are writing about. It is an amazing way for Riordan to use his platform to get voices, who might otherwise be unheard, into the mainstream.  As his website says: it’s about letting people tell their own stories. Riordan acts as an editor for these works but they are entirely the property of and ideas of each individual author. How cool would it be to be a young/up-and-coming author and have your work picked up by Riordan?!

In fact the Korean NZ author Graci Kim is having a book published through Rick Riordan Presents next year that centres on a clan of Korean-American witches living in LA!  This will be Kim’s debut novel (first book). It sounds amazing, read the blurb here so you can get all hyped about it before it comes out next year in May.

A few things about the Rick Riordan Presents books: NO they are not set in the Percy Jackson world. YES they feature mythology and action in the same way that Riordan’s books do!

Rick Riordan reckons you’ll like them and so do I. The library has many of these books available in hard copy and also some online from one of our book borrowing apps called OverDrive.

Dragon Pearl / Lee, Yoon Ha
“A sci-fi adventure about a girl who stows away on a battle cruiser to solve the mystery of her missing brother. Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Yoon Ha Lee’s space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits.
But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times.
Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.
When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.
Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.
This sci-fi adventure with the underpinnings of Korean mythology will transport you to a world far beyond your imagination.” (Catalogue)

The storm runner / Cervantes, Jennifer
“A contemporary adventure based on Maya mythology from Rick Riordan Presents! Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents J.C. Cervantes’ contemporary adventure based on Maya mythology.
Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He’d much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno–for his one good leg.
What Zane doesn’t know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy. A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he’s destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in–unless she can find and remove it first.
Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane.
When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father. To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can’t even walk well without a cane?” (Catalogue)

Aru Shah and the song of death / Chokshi, Roshani
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling author Roshani Chokshi and her sequel to Aru Shah and the End of Time.
Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies.
If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good.
But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone. Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.” (Catalogue)

Upcoming March Fiction

I thought to end the year with a couple of fantasy-type novels that are the third in a series, which is sort of where the similarity ends. Apart from the stories both being excellent!

Half Lost, Sally Green. This is the last book in the Half Bad trilogy. “Nathan Byrn is running again. The Alliance of Free Witches has been all but destroyed. Scattered and demoralized, constantly pursued by the Council’s Hunters, only a bold new strategy can save the rebels from total defeat. They need the missing half of Gabriel’s amulet – an ancient artifact with the power to render its bearer invincible in battle. But the amulet’s guardian – the reclusive and awesomely powerful witch Ledger – has her own agenda. To win her trust, Nathan must travel to America and persuade her to give him the amulet. Combined with the Gifts he has inherited from Marcus, the amulet might just be enough to turn the tide for the Alliance and end the bloody civil war between Black and White witches once and for all…” (goodreads.com)

A Tangle of Gold, Jaclyn Moriarty. This is the third book in the crazy and cool Colours of Madeleine series, which began with A Corner of White. “Cello is in crisis. Princess Ko’s deception of her people has emerged and the Kingdom is outraged: The Jagged Edge Elite have taken control, placing the Princess and two members of the Royal Youth Alliance under arrest and ordering their execution; the King’s attempts to negotiate their release have failed. Color storms are rampant, and nobody has heard the Cello wind blowing in months. Meanwhile, Madeleine fears she’s about to lose the Kingdom of Cello forever. Plans are in place to bring the remaining Royals home, and after that, all communication between Cello and the World will cease. That means she’ll also lose Elliot, now back in Cello and being held captive by a branch of Hostiles. And there’s nothing he can do to help his friends unless he can escape the Hostile compound. Worlds apart and with time running out, Madeleine and Elliot find themselves on a collision course to save the Kingdom they love, and maybe even save each other.” (goodreads.com)

Some good books I’ve read lately

I’ve not done any reviews for a while, so here are four quick ones:

The Cracks in the Kingdom, Jaclyn Moriarty – the sequel to A Corner of White, and the middle book of the Colours of Madeleine trilogy, so I’ll try not to give too much away. Elliot lives in the kingdom of Cello, where colours rage across the country with very little warning, causing various degrees of havoc, and where the royal family have mysteriously and secretively disappeared (save for Princess Ko, who is keeping up appearances so that Cello doesn’t fall apart). Madeleine lives in the world, and communicates with Elliot through a parking meter. Princess Ko is convinced that the royal family have been moved into the world, and enlists Elliot’s (and Madeleine’s) help to track them down; the clock is ticking.

This is a really original, fantastic story, written really well. It’s sometimes hilarious, sad, surprising and always entertaining.

Half Bad, Sally Green – this is the first in a new trilogy and it’s been touted as the next big thing by some people. Nathan lives in a world of witches, black ones and white ones; he’s half and half, and because of this he worries the white witches (black witches are, apparently, inherently evil, so will he be?). At the start of the book Nathan lives in a cage in the Scottish countryside, watched over by a white witch prison guard. He needs to track down his father – the mysterious, über-cruel black witch Marcus – before the gifting ceremony on his 17th birthday or face death.

I didn’t find this as Harry Potter-ish as some reviewers (people said Harry Potter was lots of ish also – it’s tough being truly original), and it was an intriguing start to a new series.

Cress, Marissa Meyer – this is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles (Cinder is the first), and they’re very good – don’t let the book covers put you off, they’re not really that girly. They are all cyborg-sci-fi reworkings of fairytales, and Cress is Rapunzel. Cress has been imprisoned on a remote satelite by the Lunar queen, effectively her spy in the sky. Her job is to find Cinder for the Queen, but she might be more intent on rescue. In the mean time, Scarlet and Wolf are also on the run in France. (The next one, Winter, which is Snow White, will be published next year, which is a while away.)

The reason I mention the book covers is these books are action-packed and the female characters aren’t afraid of, well, getting involved in it. They aren’t really the high-heel types. Maybe the covers are subversive? Certainly, having lots of hair is more impractical than glamorous. Anyway! They’re a great read.

We’ve also got this as a book on CD.

Steelheart, Brandon Sanderson – this was published last year, but it’s so cool I thought it was worth mentioning. Epics are humans who have incredible superpowers, some of them are obscure and not so useful, some of them devastating for non-Epics. They also have a fatal weakness (again, some weaknesses are obscure, some devastating), and exploiting this is the only way to destroy an Epic. Steelheart, Chicago’s self-appointed overlord, is one of the worst. Ever since he saw Steelheart bleed (and then kill his father), David has wanted to join the Reckoners, a group who assassinate Epics. He thinks he can kill Steelheart, if he can figure out what made him bleed.

It’s a long wait for the second book in this series, Firefight (due for publication in 2015). Plenty of time to read Steelheart, which is awesome.

We’ve also got this as a book on CD.

Waiting on Wednesday

Here are a couple of titles we’ve recently ordered which might take your fancy:

The Fire, James Patterson (Witch & Wizard number 3, due soon). Being further adventures of Whit and Wisty Allgood, in which The One has executed the final member of their family, and Wisty realises it is time for her to confront The One. But in doing so, is she only going to lend more power to The One, or can she and Whit somehow overcome the seemingly all-conquering evil?

This is, I think, the conclusion to the trilogy (famous last words!).

How to save a life, Sara Zarr (soon also). Mandy is pregnant and looking for someone to adopt her baby. Jill lost her dad a year ago, and now her mother is seemingly trying to replace him by looking to adopt a baby. Needless to say, she is unimpressed with her mother’s actions, and suspicious of Mandy’s motives. Another thought-provoking offering from the author of Sweethearts, and Once Was Lost.

More New Books

Here’s an interesting collection of fiction: werewolves, monsters, scary trees, space cowboys, debutantes, God as a teenage boy (imagine), and a couple of pretty fetching first sentences.

Low Red Moon, Ivy Devlin (244 pages) – a star-crossed supernatural love story. Avery Hood’s parents died when she was young, mysteriously. So when she falls for Ben, the new boy in town, only to discover he triggers a disturbing memory, she must find out what really happened. The cover says this is “part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance” which sounds fab.

First sentence: I was covered in blood when the police found me.

Black Hole Sun, David MacInnis Gill (340 pages) – a science fiction dystopian novel with space cowboys! Durango is a mercenary living on Mars who is hired by miners to protect their mine from the evil, mutant Draeu, but while doing his job Durango discovers the secret reason why the Draeu are so intent on attacking the mine. The author has a suggested playlist for his novel which you can see at largehearted boy here.

First sentence: Now come the mousies nosing out their hole, thinks Kuhru as he wipes fresh bone marrow from his snout.

fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook

The Dead Boys, Royce Buckingham (201 pages) – a horror/mystery, especially horrific if you think trees are creepy. Teddy Mathews, new in town, is disturbed to find all the boys he befriends disappear mysteriously. He’s determined to find out what’s going on, but nobody will believe him when he says he thinks the freaky great tree outside his house has something to do with it. We believe you Teddy!

First sentence: In its early years, the sycamore tree stretched its branches up toward the light, reaching for the desert sun and its life-giving energy.

The Magnolia League, Katie Crouch (348 pages) – another mystery, this time around the intrigue of a southern debutante society. After her mother dies, Alexandria must move from the West Coast of the United States to Savannah, and start a new life with her grandmother. This life involves the Magnolia League, said debutante society, which Alexandria becomes involved with, discovering a sinister secret pact between the Magnolias and the Buzzards, a hoodoo family.

First sentences: You know what I hate? Sweet tea.

The Miracle Stealer, Neil Connelly (230 pages) – Andi’s six year old brother Daniel is touted as a miracle worker: they say he can cure the sick and bring the dead back to life. People flock to town to see him, and when one of the pilgrims turns out to be some sort of dangerous stalker, Andi knows she must put an end to the madness.

First sentence: I needed to save Daniel.

The Ruby Notebook, Laura Resau (365 pages) – Zeeta and her English teacher mother travel around the globe together, each year moving to a different country. This year it’s Aix in France, which sounds ideal, but not so much when the love of your life – Wendell – doesn’t live there too. To complicate things, Zeeta starts receiving mystery notes from a secret admirer, and forms a strong connection with Jean-Claude, a street performer. When Wendell comes to visit Zeeta feels they are drifting apart, until a mystery forces them together again. But but: who is the secret admirer?

First sentences: It’s true. There’s something about the light here.

The Julian Game, Adele Griffin (200 pages) – Raye is the new girl at an exclusive academy, struggling to fit in. So when the opportunity arise for her to get involved in a game to help Ella get revenge on her ex Julian, Raye sees the chance to become accepted. But then she falls for Julian, and unleashes the enraged, nasty Ella, and things get a whole lot worse.

First sentence: “This is the craziest idea you ever had,” said Natalya.

The Things a Brother Knows, Dana Reinhardt (242 pages) – Levi’s brother Boaz returns from a tour of duty withdrawn, not himself. Levi knows something is up, so he follows him on a walk from Boston to Washington, determined to find out what’s wrong, and discover the truth about his brother, and a little bit about himself too perhaps.

First sentence: I used to love my brother.

Teenage Waistland, Lynn Biederman & Lisa Pazer (307 pages) – Three obese teenagers tell the story of their involvement in a clinical trial for a new surgery. They must meet weekly over the course of a year, learning to live a healthy life, but also learning a devastating secret that will also alter their lives.

First sentence: Marcie Mandlebaum here: sixteen years old and sporting the collective girth of the Tenafly High cheerleading squad – this according to their captain, my twitorexic stepsister, Liselle.

Wicked Girls, Stephanie Hemphill (389 pages) – a novel in verse about the Salem witch trials in the 17th century. The novel explores the lives of three girls living in Salem who accuse members of the community of witchcraft after a series of unexplained illnesses.

First sentence: Silent, not even the twitter / of insects.

There Is No Dog, Meg Rosoff (243 pages) – Imagine God is a teenage boy (Bob). He is “lazy, careless, self-obsessed, sex-mad” says the cover. So, when Lucy prays to fall in love and Bob decides to answer her prayer personally, things could get really ugly.

First sentences: Oh glorious, most glorious glorious! And yet again glorious!

fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook

The Curse of the Wendigo, Rick Yancey (424 pages) – sequel to The Monstrumologist. When Dr Warthrop’s mentor Dr von Helrung says he wants to prove the existence of the Wendigo, known as “He Who Devours All Mankind”, Will and Dr Warthrop find themselves in northern Canada in search of this terrible creature, and in the process unearth a truth “far more terrifying than even they could have ever imagined” (book cover) which, since their business is the study of monsters, must be pretty terrifying.

First sentence: The reader was a retired middle school English teacher whose mother had come to live at the facility in 2001.

New Books

Forgotten, by Cat Patrick (279 pages) – London (a girl) has a memory disorder; she can’t remember the past, but she know what the future will bring. She can not remember the boy she loves, and she can’t see him in her future, but she know that today she loves him. And also that there will be a car crash later today. Yikes!

First lines: ‘Aren’t Fridays supposed to be good? This one started badly.

Rockoholic, by C. J. Skuse (368 pages) – Jody is obsessed with the rock star Jackson Gatlin. At one of his concerts she is caught in a stampede and is carried backstage. Somehow she winds up kidnapping Jackson, as you do, but it soon becomes clear that he doesn’t really want to leave her garage. Someone on Amazon.co.uk says, “one of the funniest, most entertaining and highly original books I’ve read in a long time” so reserve it eh?

First lines: ‘To our local newspaper, my grandad’s death was ‘a shocking accident that brought Bristol city centre to a standstill’. To my mum, it was humiliation beyond words and a week’s worth of whispers from her colleagues at the bank.

The Last Summoner, by Sherryl Jordan (187 pages) – It is said that only men can summon dragons, but when the king needs help from the dragons when the land is under attack, Ari and her blind grandfather uncover the moondust mirror and travel to the swamp to summon them. Will the dragons answer Ari’s call?

First line: ‘Alone, the girl crept through the gloomy swamp.’

Heart Burn, by Anne Cassidy (215 pages) – Amazon’s product description says, ‘years ago, local bad boy, Tyler Harrington, did a favour for Ashley. Now Tyler has been beaten up and hospitalized, and he’s calling that favour in. Ashley must hide an envelope for him, but under no circumstances is she to look inside it When Tyler is abducted, Ashley opens the package. What she finds inside is the key to who is holding Tyler. But somebody else wants the envelope and, as long as Ashley has it, she is in mortal danger.’ 

First line: ‘I was waiting for Beth outside Whitechapel tube station when I  heard what happened to Tyler Harrington.‘ 

Wood Angel, by Erin Bow (270 pages) – Kate lives in a time when witches are burned at the stake. Because she lives with a cat and makes and sells lucky wooden charms, she is voted Most Likely To Be A Witch when her village falls on hard times. Terrified for her life, she flees with a stranger who ‘has a plan more dangerous than she could ever have dreamed.’

First line: ‘A long time ago, in a market town by a looping river, there lived an orphan girl called Plain Kate.

A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd (214 pages) – Allow me to copy and paste from the catalogue; ‘Thirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window, but not the one from the recurring nightmare that began when his mother became ill–an ancient, wild creature that wants him to face truth and loss.’ Siobhan Dowd died before this could be written, sadly, so Patrick Ness wrote the book. It is BEAUTIFULLY illustrated by Jim Kay.

First lines: ‘The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.

The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice, by Stephen Deas (282 pages) – Berren has been a thief all his short life, but when he is noticed by the thief-taker after trying to pinch his reward for the capture of some other thieves, Berren becomes the thief-taker’s apprentice. He thought he knew the city, but now he has to contend with all the political intrigue, corruption, and murder that lie in the shadows.

First lines: ‘The crowd had come to watch three men die. Most of them had no idea who the three men were. Nor did they particularly care.’ 

Long Reach : An Eddie Savage Thriller, by Peter Cocks (401 pages) – Eddie Savage finds out that his brother had been working uncover to infiltrate the Kelly family, a dangerous gang in London. He also discovers that his brother is dead, supposedly by suicide, but Eddie ain’t having none of it. Determined to uncover the truth, Eddie infiltrates the gang and is soon up to his neck in Kelly business. A ‘gritty, glamorous thriller with a heart-stopping, brutal conclusion.’

First line: ‘Donnie gunned the Mercedes back across the Medway bridge.

Akata Witch : A Novel, by Nnedi Okorafor (349 pages) – Sunny lives in Nigeria, although she was born in NYC. She is albino, and feels that she doesn’t fit in. She discovers that she – like two of her classmates – are in fact ‘free agents’, full of magical power, and she has a lot to learn. When the magical authorities ask her and her friends to track down a capture a ‘hard-core serial killer’ with powers greater than theirs, Sunny discovers that magic has a dark, dark side.

First line: ‘The moment Sunny walked into the school yard, people started pointing.

Viola in the Spotlight, by Adriana Trigiani (283 pages) – Catalogue! I choose you! ‘Back home in Brooklyn, fifteen-year-old Viola has big summer plans but with one best friend going to camp and the other not only working but experiencing her first crush, Viola is glad to be overworked as an unpaid lighting intern when her grandmother’s play goes to Broadway.’ This is the sequel to Viola in Reel Life.

First lines: ‘There is no better place on Earth than right here on my stoop on 72nd Street in Bay Ridge. Borough of Brooklyn. City of New York. County of Kings. The Empire State.

Teeth : Vampire tales, edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (452 pages) –  Do you like vampires? Do you like short stories? Do you like books? Do you like library books? Do you like reading? Books? Vampires? Vampire books? Reading them? Reading this? Well?

First line of the first story: ‘As it turns out, if a person dies badly, sometimes the soul can’t escape the body and will have to feed off the living forever.

Deadly Little Secret : A Touch Novel, by Laurie Faria Stolarz (252 pages) – Running out of tiiiiime, so here is the catalogue again; ‘When someone starts stalking high school junior Camelia, everyone at school assumes that it is Ben, who is new at school and rumored to have killed his previous girlfriend, but Camelia is nevertheless inexplicably drawn to him.’

First line: ‘I could have died three months ago. Ever since, things haven’t quite been the same for me.

New Books

This post is MASSIVE. Lots of new books, you see.

Thyla, by Kate Gordon (279 pages) – Amnesia, Tasmania, and identity; these are the three subject headings for this book which I think might have an element of the paranormal? Some girls are missing from a school, and it’s all a bit mysterious; the protaganist, Tessa, was found in the bush, living feral and without memory of who she was. Anyway!  It gets a glowing review on Amazon. And a sequel is on the way.

First lines: ‘My name is Tessa. It was the one thing I knew for certain. the one word that stood lonely in my head when the lights were turned on.

Cloaked, by Alex Finn (341 pages) – This is by the author of Beastly (recently released as a film) and, similarly, is a modern retelling of a fairy tale. Teenager Johnny, who repairs shoes in Miami, is asked by a princess (or someone named Princess? I need to research more) for help to find her brother who has been turned into a toad.  That’s like two fairy tales right there.

First lines: ‘I’ve never seen a princess before. And it looks like I won’t be seeing one today either.

Recovery Road, by Blake Nelson – A pair of teenaged addicts meet up in rehab, and form a relationship that they try to continue once they’re out again. Of course, both have inner demons and so their relationship is put to the test. Will it last? Will they stay on the wagon?

First lines: ‘You can’t tell what Spring Meadow is from the road. The sign, nestled beneath a large oak tree, could be for a retirement village.’

Phantoms in the Snow, by Kathleen Benner Duble (226 pages) – Newly orphaned Noah, whose parents raised him to be a pacifist, is sent to live with his uncle. He – the uncle – lives on an army base in Colorado, where a division of winter warfare soldiers train. They are called Phantoms, as you can’t see them in the snow. Oh and it’s 1944!  So Noah needs to ‘resolve his upbringing with the horrors of World War II’ while on an army base and on the front lines in Italy.

First line: ‘Noah Garrett sat on the kitchen chair and listened to the rhythmic ticking of the hall clock echoing through the nearly empty rooms of his house and to the two lowered voices coming from behind the hastily shut door, the minister’s gentle and quiet, his neighbour’s shrill and determined.

Throat, R. A. Nelson (453 pages) – Emma is seventeen and has epilepsy, and her seizures are unpredictable and often. She’s lost friends and can’t even legally drive. One unexpected benefit (I guess?) is that when she’s attacked by a vampire, a seizure prevents him from killing her, and she escapes. Now she has all the powers of a vampire but without having to avoid sunlight or drink blood. The original vampire is determined to make a meal of her, though, and Emma must prepare … for a fight to the death!

First line: ‘When I was thirteen, I ran away from home because of a curse.

Corsets & Clockwork : 13 Steampunk Romances, edited by Trisha Telep (437 pages) – Imagine the Victorian era, but with high tech and technomagical machinery, and ‘feisty heroines and genius inventors, supernatural outcasts and idealistic heroes’. Hold that image. Now, add a little romance, and there you have it! Steampunk romance.

First line: ‘There are millions of stories in the Clockwork City; here are thirteen of them.

Shadowspell, by Jenna Black (295 pages) – This is the second installment in the Faeriewalker series (the first is Glimmerglass). Aaaaaand here’s what the catalogue says; ‘on top of spending most of her time in a bunkerlike safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon.’ Uh oh!

First line: ‘Going on a date with a bodyguard hanging over your shoulder sucks.

Crossing the Tracks, by Barbara Stuber (258 pages) – Missouri, 1926, and fifteen-year-old Iris is hired out to be a companion and housekeeper for an elderly woman. Alone, and stuck in the ‘gritty rural’ country, where a nearby farmer is menacing everyone, she finds herself and learns to ‘trust, hope, and – ultimately – love’.

First lines: ‘I’m under Mama’s coffin. My little house in the centre of the parlour has silky black curtain walls and a hard ceiling that I can touch with the top of my head if I sit cross-legged and stretch my neck.’

Entwined, by Heather Dixon (472 pages) – After their mother dies, Princess Azalea and her 11 princess sisters are locked in a castle to mourn her death. Each night they join The Keeper for a dance in a magical silver forest, accessible via a magical passage. But soon they discover that he likes to keep things. The clue’s in the name, your highnesses!

First line: ‘ An hour before Azalea’s first ball began, she paced the ballroom floor, tracing her toes in a waltz.

Demonglass, by Rachel Hawkins (359 pages) – Sophie thought she was just a witch, but she is actually a demon, and her powers threaten everyone. SO she heads to London in an attempt to have her powers removed. The Eye, the organisation out to rid the world of ‘Prodigum’ (i.e. magic users, faeries, and shapeshifters) are also on her tail. Her pointy devil tail. (Made that up.)

First line: ‘At a normal high school, having class outside on a gorgeous May day is usually pretty awesome.’

What Happened to Goodbye, by Sarah Dessen (402 pages) – Mclean and her father are always on the move, going from town to town and from school to school. At each stop she reinvents herself, but now, at Lakeview, she’s trying to be just herself. Mclean. Not anyone else. Partly because she meets and falls for Colgate (just kidding! his name is Dave) and he falls for the real Mclean, whoever that is. Are your Mcleans showing?

First line: ‘The table was sticky, there was a cloudy smudge on my water glass, and we’d been seated for ten minutes with no sign of a waitress.

Bumped, by Megan McCafferty (232 pages) – It is the future! And all people over 18 are infertile. As a consequence, teen girls are paid to conceive and give birth to peoples’ kids, and teens become the most prized members of society. Twins Melody and Harmony, were separated at birth; Melody has an ‘enviable conception contract’ and Harmony believes ‘pregging for profit’ is a sin. But they soon find they have more in common than just DNA.

First lines: ‘I’m sixteen. Pregnant. And the most important person on the planet.

The Marbury Lens, by Andrew Smith (358 pages) – This seems complex! So here’s the catalogue summary; ‘Sixteen-year-old Jack is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.’

(Fantastic!) first line: ‘I guess in the old days, in other places, boys like me usually ended up twisting and kicking in the empty air beneath gallows.

Timeless, by Alexandra Monir (290 pages) – Michele’s parents die (lots of orphans this week!) and she is sent to live with her rich-but-distant grandparents in New York. She discovers a diary which transports her back to 1910. Literally!

First line: ‘Michele stood alone in the centre of a hall of mirrors.

Now over to Grimm for mooooooore new books.

Keep Sweet, by Michele Dominguez Greene (215 pages) – Alva Jane’s family are Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, and it’s a rather large family: 29 brothers and sisters, and a father with seven wives. She doesn’t question her life, until she’s caught innocently kissing her crush and is forced into a marriage to a fifty year old man.

First sentence: ‘I closed my eyes at the memory of Joseph John’s face, flushed with excitement as he whispered those words to me – the words that changed my life forever.’

Stay, by Deb Caletti (313 pages) – Clara is caught in an unhealthy obsessive relationship with Christian, until she escapes and leaves town. Noone knows where she is, but she is still unable to feel safe, fearing he might find her.

First sentence: ‘First off, I’ve never told this story to anyone.’

Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance, by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin (229 pages) – Charlie and Fielding are stars of the show Jenna & Jonah’s How to Be a Rock Star, and it’s a raging hit. Part of the charm of the show is Charlie and Fielding’s “relationship”, so they are to hold hands and kiss and whatnot when they’re out in public. Trouble is, they hate each other. Then when a paparazzo gets hold of a rumour that could ruin everything for them and they have to lie low for a while they finally get to find out more about each other: will this be a good thing or an even worse thing?

First sentence: ‘I will never like a boy like Fielding Withers (and, yes, I know I used the word “like” twice in one sentence, but meaning different things).’

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys (338 pages) – In 1941 in Lithuania Lina and her mother and brother are captured by Soviet guards and shipped off to Siberia, not knowing if they will see their father again (and it’s thousands and thousands of kilometres). The story is based on first hand accounts of survivors of the Siberian deportations.

First sentence: ‘They took me in my nightgown.’

The Ghoul Next Door, by Lisi Harrison (241 pages) – from the author of The Clique series, this is the first in the Monster High series. “Freak is the new chique” says the back cover! Cleopatra De Nile is used to being in charge at Merston High, but now there’s Frankie Stein and Melody Carver to contend with: her popularity is seriously in danger, but then Frankie and Melody have their own issues as well.

First sentence: ‘The amber-infused air snapped with anxiety.’

Livvie Owen Lived Here, by Sarah Dooley (229 pages) – Livvie is autistic and has frequent outbursts, causing trouble for her family: her destructive tendencies mean they’re constantly on the move. When they are faced again with eviction, Livvie decides to search out the house where she felt happy: “The problem is, Livvie burned down that house” says the cover.

First sentence: ‘I heard the whistle blast at 9.15.’

New Books

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

First line: ‘Same same, but different.

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

First line: ‘I believe in ghosts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read These New Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First sentence: “Ambush!”
fishhookfishhook

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

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

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

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

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

First sentence: Aisling’s mother died at midsummer.
fishhookfishhookfishhook

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

First sentence: Here’s the thing: I was probably gonna write a book when I got older anyways.
fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook

Taken, Nora McClintock (165 pages) – stress extreme. As mentioned in this post, Stephanie is captured by a serial killer then escapes (good for her) and must survive in the middle of nowhere (bad for her).

First sentence: My stomach clenched as the bus rumbled across the county line.
fishhookfishhook

Once a Witch, Carolyn MacCullough (292 pages) – Tamsin pretends to be her talented witchy older sister, which might seem like a good idea at the time, but one thing leads to another… this book contains it all; fantasy, romance, witchcraft and time travel.

First sentence: I was born on the night of Samhain, when the barrier between the worlds is whisper thin adn when magic, old magic, sings its heady and sweet song to anyone who cares to hear it.
fishhookfishhookfishhook

Ghost Town, Richard Jennings (165 pages) – I’ve filched this from the catalogue because it’s way to complex for me to explain: “Thirteen-year-old Spencer Honesty and his imaginary friend, an Indian called Chief Leopard Frog, improbably achieve fame and riches in the abandoned town of Paisley, Kansas, when Spencer begins taking photographs with his deceased father’s ancient camera and Chief Leopard Frog has his poems published by a shady businessman in the Cayman Islands.”

First sentence: “Well, I guess that makes it official,” I said to Chief Leopard Frog.
fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook

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

First sentence (sort of): We stand at the edge.
fishhookfishhookfishhook

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

First sentence: I read somewhere that when astronauts come back to Earth after floating around in space they get sick to their stomachs because of the air here smells like rotting meat to them.
fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook

My Vicksburg, Ann Rinaldi (149 pages) – set during the American civil war. Claire Louise is forced to make a difficult choice between saving a friend’s life and being loyal to family (and state).

First sentence: The only reason we came back to town, and stayed during that terrible nightmare of a time, those forty-seven days of confusion and heartbreak that made up the siege of Vicksburg, was because of Sammy the cat.
fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook

I Lost My Mobile at the Mall: Teenager on the Edge of  Technological Breakdown, Wendy Harmer (319 pages) – the mobile in question even has a photo of Elly’s friend standing next to Hugh Jackman, no less, so it really is a big deal!

First sentences: My name is Elly Pickering. I’ve lost my mobile phone at the mall and am now facing certain death.
fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook

Changeling: Dark Moon, Steve Feasey (325 pages) – Trey Laporte is back, which is just as well since Lucien is lying in a coma and Trey can save him. The back of the book says it so much better: “… to succeed he must face his biggest challenge yet: a portal to the Netherworld, an Icelandic zombie, an evil sorceress, and Trey’s nemesis, the dark vampire Caliban.” All zombies should be Icelandic.

First sentence: The vampire Lucien Charron lay motionless on a high-sided bed in his Docklands apartment.
fishhookfishhook

Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical (199 pages plus a small graphic short story) – Some famous YA authors contribute to this collection, including Annette Curtis Klause (Blood and Chocolate), Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels), David Almond (Skellig) and Cynthia Leitich Smith (Tantalize).

First sentence (Aimee Bender): Mom bought me the razor when I was thirteen.
fishhookfishhook

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

Very briefly:

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

New Books

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, by Beth Fantaskey (354 pages) –  Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess, according to new exchange student, Lucius Vladescu. So now Jessica must transform herself from ‘average American teenager to a glam European vampire princess’. It sure ain’t easy.

First line: ‘The first time I saw him, a heavy, gray fog clung to the cornfields, tails of mist slithering between the dying stalks.
fishhookfishhookfishhook

Witch and Wizard, by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet (329 pages) – This is the first in Patterson’s latest series. Whit and Wisty Allgood are accused of witchcraft and are thrown into prison, along with thousands of other young people. The New Order are out to get all users of magic and crush all expressions of art and liberty. It’s 1984 meets Harry Potter! At last!

First line: ‘It’s overwhelming.’
fishhookfishhook

Homestretch, by Paul Volponi (151 pages) – Seventeen-year-old Gas runs away from his abusive father and finds work on a racetrack in Arkansas. His new job challenges his racism and he also becomes a jockey! He is short.

First line: ‘I’ve always been small – the shortest kid in my class, from kindergarten through the end of my junior year in high school.
fishhookfishhookfishhook

The Chosen One, by Carol Lynch Williams (213 pages) – Kyra is thirteen, and lives in a religious community where men have lots of wives. She’s been told she will have to marry a 60-year-old who already has six wives. She’s been reading forbidden books (from a library! yay, libraries) and knows she’s got to get out. But how?

First line: ‘“If I was going to kill the Prophet,” I say, not even keeping my voice low, “I’d do it in Africa.”
fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook

Fire, by Kristin Cashore (491 pages) – A companion book to Graceling (there is one common character). So! If you liked that you will like this, according to Grimm. ‘Cool cover,’ she adds.

First line: ‘Larch often thought that if it had not been for his newborn son, he would never have survived his wife Mikra’s death.
fishhookfishhookfishhook

Cupid’s Arrow, by Isabelle Merlin (336 pages) – Fleur’s mother inherits a ‘magnificant’ library that belonged to a famous French author, so they head to the ancient French town of Avallon. That sounds like the best thing ever! Mais non! ‘Fleur’s nightmare is just about to begin …’

First lines: ‘I’m running. Running very fast. Running for my life.
fishhookfishhook

Secrets at St Jude’s : Jealous Girl, by Carmen Reid (226 pages) – Gina is from L.A. and spends her time in pools, malls, and so on. But she also has to go to school in Scotland, where it rains and is probably a little less glamorous although there are castles and the Edinburgh festival, surely?  But it’s all good, and Gina has loads of friends at St Jude’s.

First line: ‘”Gina, you can NOT go back there! You just can NOT leave us again!” Ria was lying back on a lilo in the pool, dangling a tanned arm into the cool turquoise-blue water.
fishhookfishhook

Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld (440 pages) – This sounds pretty great, I think! ‘In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.’ The book has terrific illustrations throughout.

First line: ‘The Austrian horses glinted in the moonlight, their riders standing tall in the saddle, swords raised.
fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook

Exam Stress? No Worries, by Su Dorland (254 pages) – Here’s a guide to overcoming the anxiety that many feel before exams. There are techniques you can use to relax, and – AND! – it comes with a CD with ‘visualisation and relaxation tracks to help you stay calm and focused, and sleep well at exam time.’ Very timely.