Thursday, February 28, 2013

Something like Normal

By: Trish Doller
Location: FIC DOL
Genre:  War scars!

This book is not about love, it is about recovering from being a soldier. It is about seeing your mate blown to pieces and then coming home to try and deal with it, it is then about the power of love to heal, or try too.

More USA soldiers have died in suicide on return to the USA than they have in actual combat.
A total of 247 U.S. army personnel are believed to have taken their own lives between January and September this year, army data shows. This compares to 222 deaths from 'hostile causes' in Afghanistan.
Around one in five veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is believed to suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
An online posting from a returned soldier...
You think so? You really think so? Or is it just that unwinnable wars mess with your head? Killing people needlessly gets you down? War is hell and kills your soul? A lot of people making assumptions without ever setting foot in a war zone. This has nothing to do with it. Plain and simple. it's tough turning it off. It's difficult coming to grips with the fact that you're not in a war zone any more. You become used to a life full of constant stress and risk, that when you get home, you feel empty without it. You begin to miss it because you don't know how to function in normal life anymore. You look around at all the civilians and think to yourself "They have no idea just how good they have it". That's the gist of it. And that's not even counting the ones who simply saw their friends blown up in front of them and cant shake the image.

When We Wake

By: Karen Healey
Location: FIC HEA
Genre: SciFi and a bit of love

Tegan is happy, great school, family, boyfriend, prospect- untils she dies, the government takes her body, freezes it and then 100 years later she is defrosted. What do you do about that?

Tom Gates- Genius Ideas- mostly

By: L. Pichon
Location: FIC PIC
Genre: Humour

Is it a Graphic Novel? Is it a cartoon book? No- its a doodle book, full of drawings doodled everywhere that link to the story. Even the actual words are written in a font or sketch to express the meaning of the word- it is really clever.
 A reviewer in - Teresa Majura says this.
A quick laugh out loud read which will provide much needed entertainment in between more serious novels. Fans of the Wimpy Kid series will find Tom Gates just as unputdownable.

 I just love the doodles- wish I could write with pictures.

Food Safari

By: Maeve O'Maera
Location: NF 641.5 OME
Genre: Cooking and food and the world!

I love food, I love foreign food, I adore curry and make it regularly. The best thing about Travel is the food, even though I am recuperating from a bout of a nasty little bug, who is my friend, that I picked up in India! It was worth it- YES those Momos were worth it!!!
This book has recipes from Croatia, Sri Lanka, Persia, Lebanon, India ( goody!!) and Africa. I am pleased it has African recipes as I go there a lot and as yet have only fallen in love with their fruit- their food is not a big hit for me yet. This book tells me that Ghana has a recipe called Shitto! Must order that when I go there next! "Can I have Shitto please". Jollof Rice is good though .
This book has lots of culture in it as well, and great proverbs.
"Don't entrust money to a man with a flat stomach"
" The best curries are cooked in old pots".
It also outlines the history and development of national dishes. Actually I am in love with this book and might just steal it and it will be forever "overdue".

Life in Outerspace

By: Melissa Keil
Location: Fic KEI
Genre: Nerd Love

Sam Kinnison is a geek- and he is totally fine with that. He is obsessed with horror movies  and World of Warcraft. Enter the girl!! Camilla, she is beautiful and friendly and completely irrelevant to Sam's life. Camilla though has decided Sam is going to be part of her life!
Does watching movies all day long prepare Sam for the real thing of love and connecting with Camilla- nope!

"Full of energy, wit and tenderness; this is one big-hearted and unique book" Leanne Hall

Monday, February 25, 2013

The terrible thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket

By: John Boyne ( he wrote Boy in Stripped PJ's as well)
Location: FIC BOY
Genre: A fable

OK its official- John Boyne can now stand beside the great Roald Dahl , shake is hand, and look Dahl in the eye and say to him- ' I am getting closer and closer Roald to being just as good as you". Except Roald Dahl is dead so he cant , but if he was alive- John Boyne could do that!!
I love The Boy in Stripped Pajamas, except it made me weep, come on, who did not shed a tear in that book. I also loved Noah Barleywater, it was a bit more reflective and fable-ish, but  I reflected on it for days. This story is about Barnaby, and he is born into a "normal" family, one that cannot stand the fact Barnaby can't stand, he floats.. so they kick him out of home. Barnaby then afraid, lonely and betrayed floats off into the world...and discovers it, and himself!! His magical journey begins.


Edited by: Kelly Link and Gavin Grant
Location: FIC STE
Genre: Steampunk - of course

So what is Steampunk then- "The Urban Dictionary" puts it this way...
Steampunk is a sub genre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan "What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner." It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes.
It is an alternate universe where romance and technology reign. A world of automatons, ornate clockworks and time travel, where scientists and dreamers, intrepid orphans and schoolgirls, solve dastardly crimes, escape monstrous predicaments and hover over volcanoes in steam powered airships, what more could you ask for?:
This collection of stories has Cassandra Clare, Libby Bray, Garth Nix, Holly Black and heaps of others. It will be great for short text study and yippee- we have another genre that is NOT dystopian!!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Guilty One

By: Lisa Ballantyne
Location: FIC BAL
Genre: Family and Law!

The International Phenomenon.

"The soul in darkness sins, but the real sinner is he who caused the darkenss" Victor Hugo

A little boy is found dead in a child's playground...
Daniel Hunter- a solicitor is introduced to Sebastian, an eleven year old boy, accussed of murdering the innocent boy.
This book is about Sebastian's troubled home life, it is about Daniels own childhood as a foster boy,  it is about justice, it is about hope and it has been talked about all year as a book that is deeply suspenseful and psychological! Not a light read, but one that will make me think through my foster brothers life and how did we as a family and us as a Nation journey with him? I think I will get him to read it as well- could be a harrowing discussion afterwards! But isnt that why read books- to take us to these places of self discovery and reflection and so we can figure stuff out? I wonder what Daniel Hunter finally figures out  for himself and in defending Sebastian?


This movie should win some Oscars tonight, and I love that. As soon as it is out on DVD, we will get it as it will fit so many NCEA standards- until then, enjoy the taster.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


By: A whole stack of people
Location: 613.6 ULT
Genre: Survival

This book covers it all, it is like all Bear Grylls Man vs Wild episodes crammed into one book. I watched Man Vs Wild the other day- he  was going to eat a rat, from an abandoned building, that is not OK. I just got a bug called Blastocytsis in India- cool name for a tummy bug I reckon, so the thought of rat eating is not one I savour. This book deals with cold, hot, hunger, thirst, fires- making them and putting them out, knots, floods, kayaking and hiking. It tells you how to survive a plane crash, a sinking boat, a city full of thugs.. it tells you everything you need to know about how to survive anything!!!
If you are dystopian- you need this book... had no zombie chapter though?

The Debt

By:Phillip  Gwynne
Location: FIC GWY
Genre: Adventure

 These books forms a series of six, the first book Catch the Zolt and the second one, Turn off the Lights, are now in the library.

It is I hope a worthy replacement for Cherub Series. Yes I know- that could be impossible, but I am trying to do my best to stop the craving for more Cherub books and give you something else while you wait.
Here is the plot for book one..
Dom Silvagni, indifferent student and elite middle-distance runner, is turning fifteen.
But Instead of cake and candles, Dom Silvagni is presented with the most unlikely gift for
his birthday: an ancient family debt to an organisation so secretive and powerful,
they are only known as The Debt. The Debt's terms are not negotiable: Dom must
perform six Herculean tasks or they'll take a pound of flesh.
Before long Dom has his first instalment - Catch The Zolt—the seventeen-year-old
Facebook Bandit with a penchant for stealing light aircraft. But getting close to The Zolt means being nice to the smug, self-obsessed Tristan, and involving Imogen, the only girl close to Dom's heart.
The more Dom discovers, the less he seems to know. Meanwhile The Debt
want their payment ... now!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The New Recruit

By: Andy McNabb
Location: Fic MCN
Genre: War

So a bunch of Kiwi soldiers are going to remain in Afghanistan, to carry on the work we started as a kind of a respect to the 10 New Zealand soldiers who have perished there while rebuilding communities and protecting them from Taliban insurgents. I wonder what it is like being a soldier there, is it like this book maybe?

It is a thrilling action-adventure produced with assistance from real recruits.
What if your prank killed your best friend. Could you live with yourself?
You try to forget and move on; you enroll in Army training, you want to make something of your life. The training is tough and it almost breaks you. But you survive; you know you’ll make a good soldier.
Finally, when you’re out in Afghanistan, under enemy fire, you come face-to-face with your best friend’s brother. He still blames you for his brother’s death. You now have more to fear than just enemy soldiers.

Just One Day

By: Gayle Forman
Location: FIC FOR
Genre: Looove

"A heartbreakingly romantic story"
"Read it and weep"
" A story of love, loss and learning to live again"

'We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day.'
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Back to Blackbrick

By: Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Location: FIC FIT
Genre: Is it family, or is it Time Travel, or is it Illness

I have a good friend whose Mum has Alzheimer's. It is a horrible disease, it is like a death of a person, their being, yet they are still alive. The character and personality that you knew has perished but the body functions. The mouth speaks in a voice you know, but what they say is not who they are. You grieve the loss of the person you know and love while they are still hugging you.
Cosmo spends a lot of his time with his grandfather, this is because his mother doesn't and because his grandfather loves horses. But as his grandfather looses his mind, Cosmo goes into denial, then in a lucid moment his grandfather gives Cosmo an instruction to get a key and visit Blackbrick Abbey. As Cosmo follows this weird instruction he collides with his grandfather- this time as a young man...
This book is heartbreaking, but it is also very clever and at times very funny. This makes this book a great read- it gets 4.73 stars on Goodreads, one of the highest ratings I have seen.


By: Simon Mayo
Genre: Adventure and Science!!!
Location: FIC MAY

If Anthony Horowitz says " A great debut. You'll be itching to read more"  -you know this is going to be good!!!  If you love science and and page turning, gripping stories - then you will be in your element!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ibarajo Road

By: Harry Allen
Location: FIC ALL
Genre: Bad boy makes good!

This book is a lot like the "Worlds Strictest Parents" thing, where a rich spoilt boy does really stupid things and they are given the chance to redeem themselves, grow up, and become a real man.  I know the impact the third world can have on people, it kind of changes them for a normal life. They become aware and  alive, what matters in nice little Cambridge New Zealand has no meaning in Magugu  or Njahouta. What chick you date or you think is hot, what clothes you wear, what wheels you own and how you can tick your parents off, fades into a big nothing when you become mates with someone who does not have any idea what he will eat tonight, or if he can ever go to school, or how long his Mum will live now she has HIV Aids. Yip engaging in that world, messes up your other world- and it is a good thing.  This is what Charlie discovers, in Ibarajo Road,  when he is sent to work in a refuge ofr orphnas, the sick and the homeless. I know it will change him, because such a place has forever changed me.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Miracle Stealer

By: Neil Connelly
Location: FIC CON
Genre: Faith and family

This is a BRAVE BOOK.  It deals with miracles, faith and God. Authors run from these topics as a genre for Youth Fiction. It is easier to write about angels and vampires. Less disturbing to the soul and to any form of self reflection. But this book faces up to how faith impacts people, families and how it can be used, misused and corrupted.
Daniel has a gift, it is the gift of healing, and people come to him begging for miracles, they want him to pray for them. Daniels sister- Andi, hates the manipulation, hates how is mother is misusing Daniels gift, is angry with God, angry her dad left. She wants her brothers exploitation to stop.  She wants to protect Daniel from what she calls  Holy Roller Nutjobs. So she devises a plan, an anti miracle plan, problem is the plan goes wrong and Andi is left wondering...
I think I can be bold here and say that I believe in miracles, I believe in God, but I have also seen the power that the abuse of faith has, I have seen people destroyed by something that should give hope and meaning. This book throws those two things in the balance. I wonder if Connelly get the balance right?

The Testament of Jessie Lamb

By: Jane Rogers
Location: FIC ROG
Genre: Love and Sci Fi

Longlisted for Booker Prize 2011. Winner of Arthur C Clarke award.

One Choice. One chance to make a difference.

Melissa for reviews it this way - with 5 STARS

This book was thoroughly thought provoking. The premise is unsettling and was well presented by Jane Rogers. Jessie Lamb is a normal girl growing up in a world that is changing. Women can get pregnant, but they die. The babies too. Scientists are trying to figure out what is going on and how to stop it, but at what cost? Girls. Girls are either volunteering or being coerced into becoming "sleeping beauties" and thus basically killing themselves for the good of human kind.

This book brought up so many questions in my mind as I read along. Jessie Lamb starts to doubt her world and grown ups in general. Why should she go to school and be a doctor if humans are on the way out? Why should the world keep going in the same direction? What can young people do to stop it? Why are women always punished for man's faults? This is what I mean by thought provoking.

I am so very glad that I read this book and got a chance to read it. It's stark and intense, but in the end there is hope. Even if it's just a little spark of hope. It's still there.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


By: Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs
Location: FIC REI
Genre: Mystery
Series: Virals

 Finally, about time- Geocaching has hit youth fiction. Had to happen. I live with people addicted to geocaching, it has intrigue, techno geeks and adventurers written all over it. Geocaching is where you use your GPS to locate hidden treasure in remote, famous or noteworthy places.  I have been known to be secretly diving into flax bushes, at night, to find this mysterious box of nothing much. What if... there was a secret code in the box, what if I was being watched by a international gangsters bent on destruction. I thought geocaching was hazardous, the Virals in this book certainly found that out! Note to self- take more care out there with the GPS.
Now what was that code????

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


By: Andre Brink
Location: FIC BRI
Genre: Historical

Those of you that are regular blog readers here will know about my connections in CapeTown- I am not South African- I am a visitor to her shores. Some say it is the nicest city in the world- some parts of it are. Camps Bay is stunning, Kirstenbosch Gardens are breath taking, the town of Simontown lulls by the sea in a mesmerising way, even Observatory has its bohemian charm. BUT- and its a big but these places are sometimes bereft of heart and soul- they took it from themselves. If you want soul- go to Khylelitsha, or Mufalani, if you want music go to Mitchell's Plain. Sure many of these people live in shacks, many are living of nothing, many depend on the love and goodwill of friends and neighbours to survive, and yes- there is crime, and nasty horrid crime. I wonder though- is it as a big of a crime as the slavery that encamped there in the first place. Is all the violence so talked about and experienced any worse than what Philida in this book, had to live through in 1832 or the slavery of apartheid this century. I have been to the Slave Museum in Capetown- at the time it also had a display about Biko- same story, different century. It is a place you go to and then say nothing for a long time.
I am pleased we finally have an Andre Brink in the library and I know this story will be a real challenge- slavery always is. My mates in Mitchells Plain will be cheering Philida on, me too actually, maybe just maybe I know her grandchildren,  they will be singing, they will be determining their own destiny, or trying too, and Philida would be well pleased.
Mia Carla, Clinton Johnston and Family, Pastor Jack Mahoney, Leo Jason and his wonderful Mum, my girl Hazel and Limontha:), Averill and Alphonso- I read this book for you!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013


By: Jessica Warman
Location: FIC WAR
Genre: Mystery

Between what I wonder?  What I do like is that this mystery murder ghost story has an 18 year old female protagonist and that is not  common. It has a mix of genres and deals with some pretty meaty issues of adult drug use and eating disorders.
Elizabeth Valchar-pretty, popular, and perfect-wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday party on her family's yacht, where she'd been celebrating with her six closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, what she finds will change everything she thought she knew about her life, her friends, and everything in between. As Liz begins to unravel the circumstances surrounding her birthday night, she will find that no one around her, least of all Liz herself, was perfect-or innocent. Critically acclaimed author Jessica Warman brings readers along on a roller-coaster ride of a mystery, one that is also a heartbreaking character study, a touching romance, and ultimately a hopeful tale of redemption, love, and letting go. ( From Goodreads.Com)

Mythbusters: Confirm or Bust

By: Samantha Margles
Location: Myth would have it, that it is in the Science section, but I think you should discover this for yourself.
Genre: Science

OK- I confess I am a huge fan of Mythbusters. In fact last night my son and I watched two episodes on DVD, we collect the series. I love their wild curiosity, I love their insane personal love affair with experiments- I mean last night watching Adam slide down that crazy water slide and spidermanning into the lake was hilarious, then watching them freak out walking over a duct tape bridge all in the name of science- was pure entertainment. I have heard Barack Obama say the Mythbusters have done more for science in education the USA than any other promotional programme and he thanked them.  I agree, I love history, I play with words, I hated science at school, these guys have changed that, they have made science sexy, they have spiced it up, and I reckon it is all about chemistry! yep- the chemistry of the presenters and the passion they have for blowing things up, going fast and truly being crazy. So I had to get the book and in case you don't know Mythbusters, check this out. It is from the Discovery Channel advertising the Ninja series!

The Paladin Prophecy

By: Mark Frost
Location: FIC FRO
Genre: is it SciFi, Fantasy or Mystery thriller- or all three in one maybe?

Had a riot in the library today, students were fighting, scrapping- over this book. Finally it is ready, and they want to read it!!
 It is dedicated to "The lost and lonely ones" and its opening quote is by Emerson.
Every crime is punished,
Every virtue rewarded,
Every wrong redressed,
In silence and certainty.
That quote got me- then I found out that Mark Frost was the screen writer of Fantastic Four!! This book is going to be hot.

Friday, February 8, 2013

My Brother Simple

By: Marie-Aude Murail
Location: FIC MUR
Genre: Family- brothers!

 "Its Ok, you can talk- he's a retard."
I - di- ot," Simple corrected.

At the beginning of the year boxes of books come into the library and we get to chose what we want to buy and what we send back. Some of the titles are a bit blah and do nothing for you- others grab you shake you and they say READ ME!! My Brother Simple was one of those... I get the feeling a movie wont be far behind and being French- it will be brilliant. I think it grabbed me because I love the idea that these brothers are so connected despite Simple- having severe learning difficulties. Kleber who is just 17 cannot handle Simple who is 22, being stuck inside an institution and so he takes care of him, living together in an apartment.
I also have learned that it is often the marginalised and the despised that have the greatest things in life to teach us, anyone who read this books will soon see why!

Miriam in Goodreads says this..
My Brother Simple is a book about how hard and unfair, and beautiful and wonderful and full of love life can be. It is about decisions, good ones and bad ones, about family and friendship and love. Above all, it's really love in all its different ways.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


By: Niall Leonard
Genre: Murder mystery
Location: FIC LEO

Niall Leonard was given a challenge- to write a book better than his partner- who just happens to be the author of Fifty Shades of Gray- in my view not much of a challenge, but the stats would prove me wrong. So Leonard came up with a "fast paced thriller with real heart" - it is a Youth Fiction murder mystery The reviews tell me  his writing is credible and engaging, reviewers on Goodreads give it 3.4 stars. Maybe this challenge has launched a new author that will get you guys reading something a bit different from fantasy and Dystopia - and that is good. Check out the Book Trailer

Friday, February 1, 2013

Summer Holidays are over

By: Glenys Bichan
Genre: Work
Location: Library Office

Well our New Zealand summer holidays are over and I am back in my office writting blogs, and good it is too. We have a great year planned for thr library, some murderous displays, the introduction of EBooks and a library Moodle page. Bring it on!! Over the holidays I read the old, the new and the favourites. I thought it somewhat criminal a school librarian had not read "Tomorrow when the War Began" so I nailed that book- I would love to see it re-written with a new spin of modern technology- how would that look in Hell I wondered. Also kind of related to farmer girl Ellie and could see her attraction to Lee, but then I was raised in a strong Christian culture so got a bit of Fi in my makeup as well. Great book- can see why it is so popular.
So Cambridge High Students- come and bug me, I would love you to disturb the peace in our office with all your ideas and comments, thoughts, recommendations and YES- I still have lollies in the little white jar- could be useful if WWIII hits and I need to escape to hell!