Friday, June 28, 2013

Kissing Booth

By: Beth Reekless
Location: FIC REE
Genre: Love... really???

My blogs have been a bit serious, so one for the weekend to lighten things up.
Its fluffy and girly and written by a 17 year old. Good on you Beth, you have written a story that 13-15 year old girls will love and they will love it because you understand them. I won't because I am a boring old lady (na not really) but kissing booths??

Meet Rochelle Evans: pretty, popular--and never been kissed. Meet Noah Flynn: badass, volatile--and a total player. And also Elle's best friend's older brother...

When Elle decides to run a kissing booth for the school's Spring Carnival, she locks lips with Noah and her life is turned upside down. Her head says to keep away, but her heart wants to draw closer--this romance seems far from fairy tale and headed for heartbreak.

But will Elle get her happily ever after!!

The unlikely pilgimage of Harold Fry

By: Rachel Joyce
Location: FIC JOY
Genre:  A Journey. Drama.

I saw this book first in the airport in HongKong - and the title got me, so I bought it- so much for my new E Reader!
I was not disappointed, even though I don't fit into the age bracket of the couple this story retells, it could fit into its journey.
It is a journey of discovery, of finding out what has been lost and what still can be gained. It is about redemption, and the determination to correct a wrong, it is a story filled with bitter regret and a growing sense of self belief, it is a story of relationships rotting into oblivion, and the places those relationships go. It is about  Harold and his trek from the south of England- up to the north, it is about the country and the power of the green to heal the brokenness of life.
It resonated, it inspired and it made me determined to make sure that my life keeps real, keep shifting, keeps growing, keeps unpredictable.
Mind you a stroll in the fields for a few months with a bunch of pilgrims sounds bloomin good to me as well!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nelson Mandela

We have many books in here about Nelson Mandela respectfully known as Madiba.
It is not very often I blog about anything other than books here, but today I am going too. Not only because The Long Road to Freedom was one of the most inspirational books I have read, or the wisdom we can glean from Mandela's Way: Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage by Richard Stengel. These are books- but the story is Mandela's life.
I have spent a lot of time in CapeTown  mostly in Khayelitsha and the Cape Flats, and there are many people I know there who will be utterly devastated at the loss of Nelson Mandela. I have a friend called Clinton, he was a "coloured" under that evil regime, he took me once to a spot near a beach. He sat in silence and looked. He looked out to sea, to Robben Island and he quietly and reverently said that he used to go there and think, and do all he could to send Mandela his deep respect and honour. He said by sitting there he gained courage, he gained strength and he gained  a spirit of gentleness instead of a spirit of retribution.
Mandela is  the greatest man in my life span and of one the greatest of all time. Without his determination to lead South Africa out of apartheid in peace and dignity, nothing less than a full scale civil war would have erupted. He protected that nation from that disgrace and he replaced it instead with a nation that had hopes and dreams for equality, freedom and hope for all. He had every reason to become bitter, angry and lead his nation into armed combat, but he was bigger than that, he had a far better vision- a united South Africa where all are equal- is was and still is a long road to freedom, but he led it and I know Clinton, Hazel, Jack, Jeroma, Alphonzo and even baby Limontha will forever thank this great man for being the man for his time. My heart and thoughts go to my CapeTown family- endure your loss, celebrate a great life and be determined to keep the journey going that he started.

Mila 2.0

By: Debra Driza
Location: FIC DRI
Genre: Sci-fi thriller

She's not like all the other girls- she is an outsider.

Outsiders- people who dont belong, either because their skin colour is different, their cultural heritage stops them from connecting with their present world, they speak differently, act differently, look different. We are so shallow as a people, we protect our knowns and avoid the edges, those things that challenge our snug worlds. That is what makes us shallow because there is so much power is being with the outsiders, so much depth and learning, we learn courage and we learn to let go of self and care about others. The thing is, outsiders hurt, they dont want to be marginalised, they want to be understood. Mila is one of these she is a scientist creation, she is not like the other girls!

"There is so much fun to be had reading Debra Driza's thoroughly interesting and original debut, MILA 2.0. Brimmed to the top with incredibly fun action scenes, likable characters, believable conflicts, and awesome technological abilities, MILA 2.0 is not a novel to be missed by anyone looking for their next great sci-fi read--and especially those looking for an awesome android novel, which there, unfortunately, seems to be a massive shortage of.  " Blythe

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Janie Series

By: Caroline B. Cooney
Location: FIC COO
Genre: Family Drama

This series starts with the book The Face on the Milk cartoon and ends with Janie Face to Face, with three other books in the series in between.
I have seen milk cartoons with photos of lost people on them, I guess everyone buys milk, so it is a
good place to put photos of lost people on it. Scary if you recognise a photo, scarier if you recognise yourself. That's what Janie did. She saw herself , she was on the milk cartoon and she was kidnapped. The 5 books travel through Janie's journey of self discovery, it is a riveting and emotional thriller-romance series . At the end all will be revealed as readers find out if Janie and Reeve’s love has endured, and whether or not the person who brought Janie and her family so much emotional pain and suffering is brought to justice.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Second Wind and You Changed my Life

By: Phillippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou
Location- NF 920 BOR and NF 920 SEL
Genre: The Intouchables

I loved the movie "Intouchables" the question is why do I always watch these kinds of movies on a flight, I feel kind of compelled to hide my emotions in a tube full of 250 people. I watched Finding Neverland on a flight and was a sobbing blubbering mess, but I always pick the deep ones for flights.
This is a great story and I have intentionally bought both books- written by the two men- so we can enter both minds, both worlds.
It is about an unlikely friendship between an unemployed Algerian immigrant and a Count. Abdel and Phillippe. It is about two worlds colliding and instead of judgement, and suspicion, there grows understanding and trust. It is about living, living with plenty, living with little. It is about the marginalised- someone who is disabled and "untouchable" and another who is a scam artist, a petty thief an unwanted immigrant. Two men, both with a sense of somehow not belonging, that journey together to enable each man to belong to their worlds again. It is a story of mutual redemption.
If only this story, in its micro form, could be outstretched and extended into communities, into countries, into our worlds family, where we put aside our labels. get over our stigma's and get on with living, caring and being the difference we want to see in the world.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bodyguard: Hostage

By: Chris Bradford
Location: FIC BRA
Genre: Action

Move over the Young Samurai- Chris Bradford has a new series out.

Assess the Threat
Counter the danger
Escape the killzone

Connor Reeves is a body guard, a martial arts expert, an expert in surveillance, hostage survival and unarmed combat. Not bad for a Yr 10 young man. His job is a bit better than a Warehouse or Countdown check out boy- nope- his job is to be the body guard for the Presidents daughter, not that she actually wants one. What she does not know, is that a terrorist cell wants to kidnap her, so Connor the bodyguard might actually matter.The other twist is this- she does not know that Connor is her bodyguard..

Friday, June 21, 2013


By: Sharon Penman
Location: FIC PEN
Genre: Historical Fiction

Passion, intrigue, war and deceit.

This books is about a Crusader and I love the Crusaders. Richie, Dan, Keiran- all top blokes and great rugby players. But the Crusader this book is all about has nothing to do with Rugby.

If you said “Lionheart” to someone today, they would probably know you were talking about King Richard the First of England, the epitome of the Crusader and medieval superman.

Lionheart- the brave, the defender of the faith, the freer of Jerusalem from the infidel, the fighter against Saladin and the Sacaran's, the unjust merciless killing of innocent victims from all sides in the name of God who is love, but they forgot that.
I have been to Jerusalem- was told NOT to wear any symbols of the cross in jewellery because it is associated with the frightful Crusades- how seriously sad is that.
If you want to get to the heart of why that is- read Lionheart, read about the battles, the disease, the violence, the betrayals and the loves.
You can feel the heat, taste the exotic drinks and foods, suffer the sea and other sicknesses and wince at the cures. This book manages to present both religions as striving to fight for what they believed, even as their charismatic leaders understood what was at stake.  Karen-

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fairytales for Wilde Girls

By: Allyse Near
Genre: Fantasy
Location: FIC NEA

Sam- our most avid reader in the library, is going to review this book, well I am going to reword what Sam said to me about this book that she loved. She gives it **** out of *****

" This book is about fairies and ghosts, its above love and fantasy and mystery. It is about Isola, she is a kind of a girl who goes into her own world and does not enter other peoples, even though she cares about them. She has 7 brothers, they are ghosts and they come all from different era's of time. Her brothers are all over 18 and they protect her from evil that tries to harm her, they love Isola fiercely. This harm is a a dead girl who comes to haunt Isola as a ghost, and Isola has to find out how this young girl dies as she is  crazy with grief for her.
This books says Sam, is a great read, as it has love, mythology, fantasy, history, humor all wrapped in between the covers- this book has it all."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Interworld Series

By: Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves
Location: FIC GAI
Genre: Sci Fi

Joey Harker isn't a hero. Begs the question- what is a hero?  Jaimee who works in our library reckons a hero is defined by the characteristics someone shows when they are under stress. He reckons how they think, act and what they do when under duress determines if they are a hero or not. He also says people can do heroic things and still not be a hero, but there are many also who do heroic things but would never consider themselves to be one. Just ask anyone in Christchurch on Feb 4th 2011.
 Joey Harker is sure he is not a hero, he bumbles, absent minded, is last to be picked for any sports teams, and is just not popular.  He always gets lost, he would get lost in a paper bag, so how can someone so directionally senseless and so awkward ever be a hero- unless they can travel between parallel worlds and different dimensions. Ah- maybe that would make them a hero. Joey Harker walks straight out of this world and into another. At first confused, then scared, Joey learns that this is a battleground between forces of magic and science struggling to control the multiple worlds. He joins in the battle, using his powers as a "walker" to go from dimension to dimension . There is a war going on between  the two disciplines for control of the entire Multiverse. So Joey and several of his other-world selves are recruited by InterWorld, a group who is working to rein in the extremist forces of both magic and science so that the healthy balance can be maintained.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Reaching Out- Messages of hope

By: Stacks of famous people.
Genre: World Peace
Location: FIC REA
Inspired by: Mariah Kennedy

This is my kind of book, anything that has Leunig in- is. This book is full of stories, stories of hope, stories of conviction. It is dedicated to all the children that suffer and all the children who have the power to change things. I believe they do- I have seen it. Children who are dalits, who refuse to be beaten into a mould and declare steadfastly that they will be educated and they will soar. Children whose mothers have died of HIV aids, who are bundled into homeless shelters, raped and made to live in poverty- I know this child, her name is Hazel- today she works in a bank, parenting her gorgeous baby proving that circumstances are not the determiner of fate. She is my hero.
There is a story in this book by Morris Gleitzman called " Give peas a chance" and in it is a great line " This is crazy, Ben" said his mother. "People can't change the world even if they want to. Not unless they are Bono or the bloke that invented the iPod. You'll feel different in the morning. Have an early night, there's a good boy".
Why oh why do we limit the Mariah Kennedy's of this world, why do we say we can't make a difference, we can This site is one I am strongly connected too- it is about training untrained teachers in Africa and India to make Hazel and Priya soar. Oh yes we can make a difference, we can, you  can only eat an elephant one bite at a time, you can throw one star fish back and by doing so- we have changed the world of one. There is huge power in one.

The stories collated in here are moving, funny, striking, deep and challenging. Deborah Ellis, Andy Griffiths, Michael Morpurgo, Graeme Base, Anna Snoekstra....

Read- be inspired and all power to Mariah, you have rocked your world and you probably deserve to eat plate fulls of vegetables!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The big over easy

By: Jasper FForde
Location: FIC FFO
Genre: Nursery Crime

I always knew Humpty was a hapless victim . I mean Humpty is an egg with funny trousers, he is sure to get bullied. Was it Georgio Porgia, or do the three little pigs  commit the murder?
If you love Terry Pratchett you will love Fforde.
"A cascade of puns, plays on words, surrealism, satire and verbal virtuosity...Astonishingly he stays funny for 400 pages" The Times.

I just want poor Mr Humpty's case to be saved, he needs justice, this crime needs to be cracked! All white!

"Jasper Fforde does it again with a dazzling new series starring Inspector Jack Spratt, head of the Nursery Crime Division.
 In The Big Over Easy, Fforde takes a break from classic literature and tumbles into the seedy underbelly of nursery crime. Meet Inspector Jack Spratt, family man and head of the Nursery Crime Division. He’s investigating the murder of ovoid D-class nursery celebrity Humpty Dumpty, found shattered to death beneath a wall in a shabby area of town. Yes, the big egg is down, and all those brittle pieces sitting in the morgue point to foul play."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The body in the library

By: Agatha Christie
Location: FIC CHR
Genre: Who dun it...

Some of you know.. we had a body in our library, yep it is true. A dead one!! Prostrate on the floor, murdered. It was a bad day, it was our Princapal. Sad. But then - amazingly- he came alive again. The thing is though we have to figure out why the body was there, who did it and why? The Cambridge High School forensic team is working overtime figuring out the clues, and CSI is making video footage to shed light on our murder, our body in the library.

If only Agatha Christie and Miss Marple could help us.... maybe if you come and read the four titles we have, it might help you solve our own "body in the library" mystery!

Emily on

Reasons I love Miss Marples stories:
1. She treats murder/crime like a breach of etiquette that needs to be corrected post haste.
2. She is adorable in her cover as a delicate old knitting lady.
3. Gossip is serious detecting business, not to be trifled with by the likes of official people.
4. The murderer is always the VERY LAST person you suspect. In fact, if at the end you don't roll your eyes heaven-ward and wonder what THAT was all about, I don't think we could be friends

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dear Vincent

By: Mandy Hagar
Location: FIC HAG
Genre: Coming of age; Suicide

What do I know about Vincent Van Gogh? He was a Dutch man, a genius, he painted Starry Night and Sunflowers. He was tormented, a past preacher man nic-named "Christ of the Coal Mines". In his distress he cut off his ear, nearly dying of blood loss. He only ever sold one painting in his life, he committed suicide after years of inner turmoil and rejection, he died a pauper. However now at auction his painting last sold for 82.5 USD.
So why would Tara in this book find solace in a man who was so broken, so filled with despair himself ? Maybe Tara can see in Van Gogh what was happening in her sister, before she also committed suicide, maybe her love of art and the bleak place her life has taken her makes Van Gogh someone she can empathise with. Maybe facing the guilt she feels about her sisters suicide is somehow justified by understanding Vincent Van Gogh.
  "Dear Vincent is  a novel about the power of love, and how the acquisition of inner peace  requires forgiveness of ourselves and others. 17 year old Tara McClusky’s life is hard. She shares the care of her paralysed father with her domineering, difficult mother, forced to cut down on her hours at school to help support the family with a part-time rest home job. She’s very much alone, still grieving the loss of her older sister Van, who died five years before. Her only source of consolation is her obsession with art — and painting in particular. Most especially she is enamoured with Vincent Van Gogh: she has read all his letters and finds many parallels between the tragic story of his life and her own. 
NZ Post Award-wining author Mandy Hager tackles the difficult topic of suicide fearlessly, with a novel that's not afraid to go to the dark places but which resolves its story beautifully. It's uplifting and positive. " The Children's Bookshop Wellington Ltd

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Life of Pi- the DVD

As you know we have a great DVD collection in the library, it is for students use to make sure that they can access all they need for the "Connections" for NCEA. I therefore need to watch these DVDs so I can recommend them- actually that is an excuse, I just want to watch them. This weekend with the miserable rain, the sick body and my lethargic mentality I had a good time sprawled out on my comfy chair, my warm blankie and the DVD remote control, The Life of Pi was my first viewing.
So what did I think, well I knew it won 4 Oscars, and I know the book is good. I have been to India a few times so I was expecting to love the scenes shot there, and I did, made me smile! I found the boat sequences predictable, the storms, the calm, the ship wreck, the sharks but the relationship between David Parker and Pi was compelling. The monologues were great, yet I had the feeling that I was being asked more of myself than I wanted to give, it is evangelical in a way that was disturbing.
I cried- I always do, I chuckled, and I pondered, so I guess David Parker and Pi did its thing, but why did it make me still feel hollow somehow?

The 5th Wave

By: Rick Yancey
Location: FIC YAN
Genre: Dystopian or post-apocalyptic

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

James one of our prolific readers describes this book as hard core, somewhat violent with the message that if people are going to die it will be only the  strong  that survives- he recommends it, but maybe not to me!

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Yes, Chef; A Memoir

By: Marcus Samuelsson
Location:920 SAM
Genre: Food and Cheffing

New York Times Best Seller

This book is a love letter to food and family in all its manifestations

An orphan from Ethiopia, adopted and raised in Sweden, living in America and cooking for Presidents- not a bad story line- and it is all true.
Food and travel, it is a magical combination, for me travel is food, not just the eating of interesting new things, experiencing different taste sensations, discovering fruits I did not know existed, it is more partaking in a cultural ritual with new friends around their table. It is rocking up to a Tandoori BBQ outdoor restaurant in Arusha- Tanzania that in the day time is a bustling garage. It is eating Tibetan food from refugee's in the foothills of the Himalaya's in India, it is talking over a nations story, while gobbling up their delicacies. It is sitting with the poor, eating rice and beans- laughing because we eat together, it is eating with the rich in flash restaurants we would never go to as we discover Tartare Meat in the Champ Elysees with an ophthalmologist from Algeria.
Yes food is a joiner, it is a place of meeting, it is a leveller and whether you are an orphan from Ethiopia or a creator of meals for a family- you partake in enhancing the culture of togetherness.
Marcus Samuelsson story is about that, it is about how food, eating it, making it and sharing it- can and does change your life.

Private Berlin

By: James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
Location: Fic PAT
Genre: Who dun it

James Patterson, how many books do you write a year? You are amazing and the thing is- they are great! Our students LOVE them, the Daily Mail calls this one" breakneck fast, brutally good, a page turner".
This one is about a murder, did you know we had a murder in our library a few weeks back- the dead was miraculously resurrected though, he was the school Principal and the students are still trying to figure out, who did it, why  and how.
Maybe if they read this book they will pick up some clues to help them solve our own mystery.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Kingdom Series

By: Robert Low
Location: FIC LOW
Genre: Historical Novel aka Braveheart.

"We come here with no peaceful intent, but ready for battle, determined to avenge our wrongs and set our country free. Let your masters come and attack us: we are ready to meet them beard to beard. " William Wallace

Braveheart, the classic movie of the power, strength, guts and glory of William Wallace. Now he is a guy that really deserves to be called Will.I.Am. He fought for Scottish sovereignty, he fought against  England's Edward 1st in the Scottish First War of Independence and like so many wars, it started with a love affair.William Wallace is a rebel, a patriot, dying a martyr to the cause  and a hero and in this "Kingdom Series"-  The Lion Wakes and The Lion at Bay, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce's stories are told by a brilliant historical fiction writer. These books are Braveheart on paper!!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Smart Girls Get What They Want

By: Sarah Strohmeyer
Location: FIC STR
Genre: Coming of Age

Get Smart
Get Everything

Overachievers: Who are they, they are the ones who get top of the class, even in physics, they then go play sport and end up captain of their chosen sport with rep colours wrapped around their shoulders, they make the student leadership forums, they look nice, sound nice, act nice and are smart, athletic and generally are the school pinup students.  They may not be hot popular, but they don't care, they know that a degree from a good uni will set them up and then real life will begin.
In this book the overachievers Gigi, Bea and Neerja decide to come out of the classroom and decide to join the spotlight, so they make a pact to take on a challenge and show their world that they can rock it. Smart girls can get what they want, smart girls can bust a few boundaries and smart girls also can get more attention than they really want!!

"A fresh funny book full of likable characters, drama and plenty of romance that kept me turning the pages until late into the night" Meg Cabot

Survival Squad- Series

By: Jonathan Rock
Location: FIC ROC
Genre: Adventure

The great outdoors- got to love it. I spent the weekend with a bunch of outdoor adrenalin nutters, the things these guys do for fun is slightly crazy. This weekend it included canyoning, jumping of a ten metre waterfall into the pool below, abseiling down a 30 metre rock wall with water bubbling all over your face, cold, wet, tiring yet fun. Others went surf kayaking and yet more went mountain biking, dodging trees, avoiding cliffs and skidding into bracken. Some of us did a leisurely stroll in the forest and down onto the beach. Our ages- from 6 months to those in there 60's. The outdoors is cathargic- emotionally purging, there is something that happens in the soul when you set foot into the outdoors. I reckon it is the combo of adventure- taking a risk and then letting nature enter into a space we crowd out with noise, with technology, with business, with life's garbage. The outdoors sooths those things and when we engage in the outdoors in the adventure mode- it makes us feel fully alive- stuffed, tired, but fully alive.
These four books are about Tiger Patrol a group of scouts who encounter the outdoors to solve mysteries and to survive the turmoils of the outdoors, but being Scouts they have the skills to deal with what is thrown at them and with Bear Grylls as Mr Scout- they have will be fine.
But maybe what these stories are really about is not kayaking and mountain biking and snow shelters, it is really about boys being made into men and it is about the cathargic power of getting out of the lounge and into the great wide open spaces of the outdoors. If you live in New Zealand you have no excuses!!!