Archive for September, 2013

Stay where you are & then leave
By John Boyne

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I was very fortunate to receive an ARC of this book from the Random House Road Show and being a fan of John Boyne’s work I devoured this. I recall when John Boyne was here in Christchurch some years ago to promote his book The boy in striped pyjamas that when I lined up to get my copy signed, I told him how cross I was at such a tragic ending. We discussed it briefly (the line was long) and I know there could not have been any other ending. The point of war is tragic.
Boyne makes a similar point in his latest novel but on a different level. Here, five year old Alfie knows there is a war. His father, after all has signed up willingly to fight and is on a secret mission hence the lack of contact. Letters arrived from his father in the trenches when war first started but then they stopped. War was supposed to be over by Christmas but no-one ever said “which Christmas”. Four years on and war is still going but still no letters. A sequence of coincidences prove too much for Alfie and he begins his own journey to find out about his father.
This is a moving, poignant tale of war and its impact on family life. Boyne weaves in different points of view from the people living in Damley Road where Alfie Summerfield lives. This book moves along subtley and then hits you with a punch that leaves you thinking about Alfie and his family, long after you have finished reading.
Oliver Jeffers has done a brilliant job on the cover of this book. So real in a retro way. Love it!

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Steelheart
By Brandon Sanderson

I love the cover of this book. It shouts out with a great big “pick me up and read me now” cover. And the trailer even though it is a short one is one of those that also stands out as having a lot of thought go into its production.

In the city, once known as Chicago there rules an Emperor, Steelheart. He is an Epic and is evil. He has the strength of ten men. He has the ability to control the elements and he is invincible.

It has been like this for ten years, ever since the explosion in the sky and nobody fights back . . . nobody except the Reckoners. They are a shadowy group of ordinary humans who spend all their time studying powerful Epics, finding their weaknesses and then assassinating them.

David Charleston isn’t a Reckoner, yet, but he intends to join them. He has something they need. He knows their secret! He has seen Steelheart bleed. Just released in the States but eagerly awaiting arrival in New Zealand.

The bone season
By Samantha Shannon

This is one of those crossover books that sits neatly on the adult fiction shelves but for many mature YA readers this will also be one to read and enjoy.

It is the year 2059 and Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London. It is part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. Paige scouts for information by breaking into other people’s minds. She is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.
Paige is caught and arrested and encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. The creatures want the voyants for soldiers in their army. Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper who must train her and keep her safe but who is also her natural enemy. In order to regain her freedom Paige must risk everything.

This is the first book in what is proposed to be a seven book deal. (Not sure I want to hook into a series that long as I’m not very patient waiting for books to be written especially if they are good but will find out after I’ve read the first one which has had great reviews and a great trailer).

The clockwork scarab : a Stoker & Holmes novel
By Colleen Gleason

Stoker & Holmes
What a quirky idea to mix historical characters in a murder mystery.

“Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate.”
The trailer is quirky too and I love the sound of the old fashioned typewriter tapping away in the background. It is of course 1889!
I think I may have to unsubscribe a few family members because I know they will want to get the e-book before I get my hands on the paperback and then they will have read it before me. Hmm!
If you check out the link above you can read an excerpt of the book. Great beginning and I love the language. It sounds so authentic.
It has a bit of everything with fantasy, mystery, steam punk and a bit of Egyptian mythology and I will definitely be looking out for this one – due this month!

Speed Freak
By Fleur Beale

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Archie Barrington is a 15 year old race kart driver and a pretty good one at that. He lives for the sport; the speed, smells and sounds of the track. He wants to win big but he also knows in order to win, sometimes you have to lose. Enough wins and he could gain a sponsorship to race in the Internationals in Portugal. Losing to his main rival Craig is not part of his plans but Craig has no plans to lose either. Game on!
Mum moved out years ago – reputedly because of his racing so Archie knows there is often a price to pay for his racing. Dad is totally supportive but not so his father’s new partner, Erica who has just moved in with her son. In fact she hates it so much she tries to keep the painfully shy Felix away from anything to do with Archie and racing.
As with all Fleur Beale’s books the story is very well written , moves along smoothly with characters who ring true. The more I read, the more I felt myself liking Archie and wanting desperately for him to win.
This is a great read for the guys and girls who love speed and oily rags.

Diamond
By Jacqueline Wilson

I don’t belieive it. It was only yesterday I was searching for any sign of this trailer knowing the book was coming out soon. No luck – couldn’t find it at all and then today on Facebook (thanks Random House) it was there. It pays to be connected if you want to know what is going on. Facebook and Twitter are great ways to keep up with things.

So here it is for all you Jacqueline Wilson fans and I know there are thousands of you.
Diamond is part of the Hetty Feather’s World series.

Diamond was a dainty, delicate daughter – and a bitter disappointment to her penniless parents who only wanted a boy!. Diamond discovers she has an amazing natural talent for acrobatics and tries to use her talent to earn a few pennies. Sadly this brings shame on her family and makes matters worse. Then a mysterious stranger spots her performing on the street. He makes a deal with her father and Diamond is sold. She is forced to become an acrobat at Tanglefield’s Travelling Circus by her wicked and greedy master. Will Diamond make friends or will life just be too dangerous and lonely?

Fortunately the milk
By Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has an extraordinary ability to write about anything and everything and writes it well.
One of my all time favourite books is his Graveyard book shown here in a previous post. A ghost story which is also a “feel good” story. Love it.
His sophisticated picture book Wolves in the wall is a little on the creepy but cool side and is always out of the library.
Stated on his website;
“This is quite possibly the most exciting adventure ever to be written about milk since Tolstoy’s epic novel War and Milk. Also it has aliens, pirates, dinosaurs and wumpires in it (but not the handsome, misunderstood kind), also a never-adequately-explained-bowl-of-piranhas, not to mention a Volcano God.”

I am really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of this book. The trailer is gorgeously funny.
There are two publications of this book (UK and USA) and I have to admit I am going for the one illustrated by Chris Riddell as I just adore his illustrations.

Noble conflict
By Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman is currently and very deservedly Britain’s Children’s Laureate. Her writing career deserves to be taken seriously and her latest book is no exception.
One of my favourites was Cloud busting which I read a few years back now. I love verse novels as they always have impact! You can’t waste words in verse novels. Blackman crosses many genres with her writing; from dsytopian and social realism and across readers too; younger ones and YA. Do check out her website for more info.

Noble Conflict
“Years after a violent war destroyed much of the world, Kaspar has grown up in a society based on peace and harmony. But beyond the city walls, a vicious band of rebels are plotting to tear this peace apart. It is up tothe Guardians – an elite peacekeeping force – to protect the city, without ever resorting to the brutal methods of their enemy.

When Kaspar joins the Guardians, he has a chance encounter with a rebel – a beautiful girl named Rhea. Haunted from that moment on by strange visions and memories – memories that could only belong to Rhea – he realises he hasn’t been told the truth about what the rebels really want, and what he’s really fighting for.”

Russian Roulette
Prequel to the Alex Rider series
By Anthony Horowitz

To everyone who loves the Alex Rider series this is going to be a must read. The trailer is fast-paced and the sound effects are high-end just like in the movies..
“An international contract killer has been given his orders. His next target is a fourteen-year-old spy … Alex Rider.
The man’s name is Yassen Gregorovich. He knows Alex well. The two of them share a secret from the past.
As he considers his next mission, Yassen remembers the forces that turned him from an ordinary schoolboy into a hired assassin. What is it that makes someone choose to do evil?
What would it take to make them kill?”
What a great blurb, straight from Anthony Horowitz’s own website which is well worth a visit. If you haven’t read any of the Alex Rider books then you really don’t know what you have been missing. They are always out from the library and hugely popular with both boys and girls. Great action books. I love them and can certainly recommend them very highly. Check out the Alex Rider links too for more info.

The fall of five
Book four of the Lorien Legacies
By Pittacus Lore

I popped in to the local mall the other day to grab a few groceries on my way home from work and stopped in my tracks. The fall of five stood on a shelf staring at out at me from the book shop and I could not resist. So much for getting groceries, I just had to buy the book. I am now convinced I am a bookaholic but I don’t need help. Just time to read the books I keep buying.
I have never really been a sci-fi fan but this series is different and I love it.
We have the Garde (good guys) and the Mogadorians (the bad). The Garde do have legacies (special abilities) though they are not strong enough yet and will it ever be enough to defend themselves against the vicious Mogadorians. How much longer can they survive, fight after fight?
There were nine Garde from the planet Lorien but only six remain.Their only hope is to find each other and beat the Mogadorians.
“John Smith—Number Four—thought that things would change once the Garde found each other. They would stop running. They would fight the Mogadorians. And they would win.
But he was wrong.”
The first three were killed and while some have found each other there is one missing. One they have to find before it is too late.
“Time is running out, and there’s only one thing we know for certain: we need to find Number Five before they do”.
If you enjoy a good fast-paced sci-fi series with heaps of action and just a little romance then do give this series a chance. I thoroughly enjoyed the pace of the first three books and can’t wait to get stuck in to this one.
I am number four Book 1
The power of six Book 2
The rise of nine Book 3

Goth girl and the ghost of a mouse
By Chris Riddell

This is absolutely gorgeous. It is a beautifully produced hardback aimed at those girls who first fell in love with Chris Riddell’s Ottoline books.
The edges are a shiny purple to match the cover. The end pages are shiny black with silver leaves and skulls. There is a black ribbon bookmark. There is also a delightfully small colour booklet in a pocket attached to the inside back cover. I have always loved books with pockets and envelopes and this is just the best gift for a young girl. I had just bought the book for school and it was on my desk for processing and the girls were all begging to reserve it. I told them they had to wait until I finished it but in the end I went out and bought my own personal copy simply because it is such a beautiful book to own.
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“Ada Goth is the only child of Lord Goth. The two live together in the enormous Ghastly-Gorm Hall. Lord Goth believes that children should be heard and not seen, so Ada has to wear large clumpy boots so that he can always hear her coming.” Her only friend is the ghost mouse Ishmael.
One day William and Emily Cabbage come to stay and a wonderful friendship begins. Together they discover a plot by the mysterious indoor gamekeeper, to create chaos. They must work together to foil the plan before it’s too late
Ada has had a number of nannies to look after her, including Hebe Poppins, who ran off with a chimney sweep and Jane Ear who was sent away after she tried to burn down the west wing. Great chance for those who love old classic literature to laugh over the characters.

This really is a delightful story full of weird and wonderful characters. A step up in terms of reading from the Ottoline series this is aimed at girls aged eight up through even 12 year old’s who will cackle over the humour. I really loved this book. It is quite simply, gorgeous.