Friday, February 28, 2014

Curtsies and Consiracies

This book trailer is stunning, so  I have to pop it in as well, see review below!

Ettiquette and Espionage, Curties and Conspiracies

By: Gail Carriger
Location: FIC CAR
Genre: Refined murder by refined young ladies.  

OK- Last in my series reviews on " Schools for Crims or Crim Busters" this series is my favourite. Refined murder by refined young ladies, it is so couth, so exquisitly ladylike, so improper and unbecoming.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.
And check out this awesome trailer.

How to lead a life of crime

By: Kirsten Miller
Location: FIC MIL
Genre: Violent, bad language, crime, murder, rape and other criminal stuff

This book is the opposite of the Gallagher Girls from my reviews yesterday. Instead of going to a school to learn to be a criminal fighter, they go to school to learn to be a criminal. How to Lead a Life of Crime -  if  Dead Poet's Society and Hunger Games had a baby, this would be their love child... 

Jessica on said this about this book
1) The use of the word "f--" seriously, as in they couldn't print the word but couldn't come up with a suitable replacement. The weirdest form of censorship. What The f---  If you won't print the word, don't have your characters say it.
2) Boring characters with inconsistent motivations.
3) Unremarkable relationships.
4) Violence for the sake of plot. Deaths because the protagonist needs a reason to be angry. But we don't really care about the victims.
5) No underlying sense of morality. In fact the author seemed to enjoy describing sadism. And while our hero is fighting against the psychopaths, he doesn't seem any better than them.
6) Lack of realism removed any value this book may have had.
7) So derivative. When Flick calls the school for criminals a "Hogwarts for Hoodlums" it tells you everything about the structure of the story. Wacky classes, unusual teachers, inter school competitions.

The weird thing some people love this book, reckon it is gritty and has a clever synopsis, Steph from Goodreads said this:
This is the first novel that I've read from this author and I have to say that I am very impressed. I don't usually seek out crime, mystery or thriller/suspense novels, but I'm really glad I had an opportunity to read this one. There aren't many books where I can say I have almost nothing to complain about. And even though I've finished the book weeks ago, I still have nothing but high praises for it. Simply put, How to Lead a Life of Crime had fantastic writing, realistic characters and old fashion, damn good plotting.

Two reviews- totally different, what do you reckon?
Dont say I did not warn you and for our younger students, sorry guys, you going to have to wait a couple of years until you can read this one from here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gallagher GIRLS

By: Ally Carter
Location: FIC CAR
Genre: Chicks who are really spies

I have a gutsy daughter, she plays rugby, she bikes in insane places- like Delhi, she can beat up her two brothers- with one hand, she can out wit anyone with words and she can rock climb a sheer rock wall, she is smart, good looking and actually just like her mother!
She would make a great spy and she could be in the Gallagher Academy.
We had the first two books in the series in here and a student begged me to get the others, so I have, we now have all six. I need to watch this student , she may also be a spy, which would account for her wearing sunnies and playing with her cell phone behind a book cover..hmmmm

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but she's on her most dangerous mission-falling in love

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Promise of Blood

By: Brian McClellan
Location: FIC MCC
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Series: Power Mage Trilogy: One

George Martin, Scott Orson Card, Brent Weeks, and Brandon Sanderson fans... this new trilogy is for you. Then again with the "Age of the Kings" in its blurb, it sounds really Tolkien.
This book was stolen from my office before I had a chance to process it, then it got stolen again... it is hot and the Yr 12-13 boys are desperate for the second in the triolgy. When they beg, I know it is good!!

'The Age of Kings is dead. And I have killed it.'
Field Marshal Tamas's coup against his king sends corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brings bread to the starving. But it also provokes war in the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics and greedy scrambling for money and power by Tamas's supposed allies: the Church, workers' unions and mercenary forces.
Stretched to his limit, Tamas relies heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be Tamas's estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty will be tested to its limit.
Now, amid the chaos, a whispered rumour is spreading. A rumour about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods returning to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. . .
But perhaps they should.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Gregor the Overlander

By: Suzanne Collins
Location: FIC COL
Genre: Fantasy and Collins

Cockroaches, we have a few in the library, I hate it when I lift something and there it is. Big, brown, scathing and unkillable. I yell at the cleaner if she is in, and she then attacks it with the vacuum cleaner -  sucked in!
Rats and mice- I must confess we also have a pet mouse in the library, I call it "LitRATure" or Litty for short. Every morning he leaves me a present of tiny licorice logs, the caretaker wants to leave Litty a present of peanut butter.
In the daylight I can handle Litty and the roaches, but if I was underground, in another world and they were four feet tall and could speak- yeah- na!!!
 In this first book of the Underland Chronicles by the writer of the Hunger Games we see Gregor, an eleven year old boy and his two year old sister Boots get sucked from the laundry room in their New York apartment building into The Underland. The Underland has regular-ish humans, along with giant bats, roaches, rats, and spiders. According to an Underland prophecy, Gregor is the one who will lead them in their battle against the rats. Gregor's only goal is to retrieve his father, who fell down the hole two plus years ago and is now the rats' prisoner.  The speaking huge cockroaches enters the story here and it really rocks along.
 There are lots of great characters in the story. The wise elders. The snooty queen-in-training. The giant cockroaches, Tick and Temp. Yes, wonderful, loyal, sweet cockroaches. The giant rat Ripred. is he a spy, a traitor, should they trust him, do they have any choice?
Of course there's Gregor, who learns the obligatory lessons about himself and the world around him. But best of all is Boots. She greets everything in her life with joy. She has no fear. No prejudices. She treats everyone equally, teaching just about everyone a thing or two.  Everyone loves Boots!
This is a great story, it does not have the hype of its famous cousins by the same author, but most reviews reckon it is a better yarn....
Time for me to go home now and let Litty visit my desk....

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Quake Dogs

By: Laura Sessions and Craig Bullock
Genre: Heart warming stories..
Location: 636.7 SES

I had a bit of a weird day today. I was doing a 'Topic Box" about earthquakes for a YR 10 class today, andf it made me think of my home town Christchurch and the day - 22 February 2011-  the quake hit. I decided to look at my sons photos of that day when he was right in the centre of the carnage in the middle of the city. He turned on his camera immediately after the quake hit... everytime I hear it, I shudder and I tear up, he was far far to close to the falling everything. Being the amazing young man he is, he raced into town and spent three hours on the worst hit spot, the CTV building, helping with the rescue efforts.
But he was not the only one helping, and this  beautiful book tells the story of the USAR dogs that rescued trapped victims. It also tells the stories of the dogs that were rescued, and those dogs that stayed by the side of the owners until help arrived.
On the eve of the 3rd anniversary, this book is a great one to add to the collection of those published about the quakes. We are weary of shuddering, of the sadness, this book is about heros, it is about love, it will make you cry, but it make you chuckle, and the centre stage of it all are dogs.
The photos are stunning, and it is full of the best doggy photos ever, but bigger than that, is the stunning stories those photos represent.
 So I am going to be bold, and post my sons video of when the quake hit...

Friday, February 14, 2014

More then this - Book Trailer

By: Patrick Ness

Review of this book is below

So they say this is the best book trailer ever....

Do you agree

More than this

By: Patrick Ness
Location: FIC NES
Genre: Ness at his best- Life, Death and everything inbetween

When a Monster Calls was one of the most heart wrenching, depictions of the reality of death I have read, and now am watching. Ness can write- from the guts! and it hurts your heart and blows your mind! This book is the same, if you want nice happy themes, easily solved issues and niceness go read something else!

“He wanted something, he realizes now. Wanted an answer other than the ones he’d been given. Wanted to find out this whole world had some purpose, some particular purpose. For him.”
Patrick Ness, More Than This

Emily May reviews it this way..

More Than This is a compelling read with a wonderful and diverse set of characters. It's creative and different.

This book is about existentialism. It's about those old questions: what is the meaning of life, the universe and everything? What is "reality"? Is there a pattern amid this chaos or can it all really be random? And, of course, is there something more than this? Ness is a genius and I love what he does here. I love the message. I love that every answer opens up five more questions. I love that every time you and the characters think you know what's going on, he throws another surprise into the philosophical pot and stirs up this crazy story a bit more. And what it all comes down to, what this whole book is really doing, is answering that question above all questions: do any of the answers really matter anyway?

Ness also finds himself back in familiar territory when telling the story of unlikely friendships blooming in the most unexpected places. He isn't the kind of author who wastes secondary characters and he delivers small pieces of heart-breaking humanity to even the most fleeting glimpses of those we never see again.
Ness just writes about things we all feel or worry about or obsess over. And he writes about it beautifully.
"Haven't you ever felt like there has to be more? Like there's more out there somewhere, just beyond your grasp, if you could only get to it..."

"People see stories everywhere," Regine says. "That's what my father used to say. We take random events and we put them together in a pattern so we can comfort ourselves with a story, no matter how much it obviously isn't true. We have to lie to ourselves to live. Otherwise, we'd go crazy."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

By: John Green and David Levithan
Location: FIC GRE with all the other John Greens, but you wont find them cause they are always out!!!
Genre: Hmm this is an interesting one.. Youth Fiction and LGBT

Just been to India, actually this book has hardly any cultural connection to India except I bought it there, have not seen it in New Zealand - ever. It cost 350 rupees- $6.70NZ- a total bargain.
I did not expect the plot to evolve the way it did and I get annoyed that LGBT literature hides itself, why cant they simply state what the book is really about! It is a great asset to the genre so why hide it?
It is about two guys- both called Will Grayson and it is written by two amazing Youth Fiction Authors, and it deals with two big youth issues- depression and being a teenager who is gay.
Arlene from Goodreads says it better than I can..
Wow! What did I just finish reading? I don't know whether to cringe, cry, walk away baffled, or sing from the top of the mountain in a musical-esque crescendo BRILLIANT! The writing was refreshing, edgy, raw, and offensive at times but never off the mark.
  Truly a honest and thought-provoking portrayal of two very confused and angsty teenage boys, both named Will Grayson who are just trying to figure out who they are and ultimately crossing paths in the least likely of scenarios. I started laughing from the first page and continued to laugh out loud throughout the story, but not without its occasional but constant tangents of sad and revealing moments and ultimate heart changing conclusion. This book covered the gamut of teenage struggles, including homosexuality, depression, love, loss, true friendship and painful self-revelation.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Pomegranite Soup

By: Marsha Mehran
Location: FIC MEH
Genre: Food Lit with a bit of Ireland and Iran chucked in.

Its a big genre at the moment, the food and ethnic thing. The biggest last year was Jodi Picoults The Storyteller, which I read over summer as well as this book. They are right up my alley, and then there is Tomorrow there will be Apricots, which is ths same deal, but I am picking on Pomegranate Soup for my review on this genre. Why?
I reckon it will appeal more to you guys, it has a couple of powerful love stories, one with a 15 year old girl and it contrasts that with a long love of an elderly Italian couple. New love vs old, there is power in both. There is also some great threads of real history that helps us understand people of other nations that come to live in our lands. They come to us- hurt!
So this is an immigrant story that tells the struggle of three sisters moving from the violence and hated of the Iran revolution to the sheltered and bigoted village in sea-coast Ireland. Except some of the villagers are not bigots, they are bigger than than that...
It has great recipes,  great character development, and my new found favourite food of summer- pomegranates, I love how they explode in your mouth with a burst of freshness, a bit like three sisters arriving in a small town that needs new life.
Great read and if any of you are older than me and read The little World of Don Camillio
 - you will love this book! Oh - there is a recipe for pomegranate soup- just have to try it, it looks delicious!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

William Shakespeare's STAR WARS

By: Ian Doescher, Shakespeare and Yoda
Genre: Verily a new hope..
Location: Is is 813.6, or is it in the 400's or do I just leave it lying around.. so it be.

Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying...pretty much everything.

Click to watch this video
HAN: Pray tell, what shall the cargo be?

OBI-WAN: -Myself
The boy, two droids, and ne're a question ask'd.

HAN 'Tis what, a touch of local trouble here?

OBI-WAN Nay, let us simply say it thus: we would
Imperial entanglements avoid

HAN Aye, there's the rub, so shalt though further pay.
Ten thousand is the cost, and ev'ry bit
Shalt though deliver ere we leave the dock.

LUKE Ten thousand? Fie! We could our own ship buy
For such a sum as this.

HAN -A goodly jest!
For who should pilot such a ship -- shouldst thou?

LUKE Thou knave, I could indeed!.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fault in our Stars

Location: At the movies...
By John Green
Genre: Tear Jerker

This movie is going to launch mega stars, make you weep, and be huge, get ready for this one!
Nope it wont make you weep, it will make you sob- uncontrollably... dont say I did not warn you!!! And boys- you are not immune!!!

Prince of Mist

By: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Location: ZAF
Genre: Mystical

Over summer I read a range of books, and sadly when I examine the list they are all kind of similar, Jodi Picoults Storyteller, Sarah's Key, Pomegranate Soup, Tomorrow there will be Apricots... they all have a cultural or historical base and all have woman as the protagonist.
Then I went to India and found Prince of Mist. Books are cheap in India, it is a constant fear , the excess luggage fine, I have a SonyE Reader, I can get these books electronically, but you know what, a book in the hand, that is cheap. is so irresistible, especially when you have never seen it in New Zealand. I bought 6 book home.
Prince of Mist was my favourite, not a genre I read often, it is youth fiction, it is mystical, it is very clever.  It is stunningly beautifully written.... The prose is perfect.

“Age makes you notice certain things. For example, I now know that a man’s life is broadly divided into three periods. During the first, it doesn’t even occur to us that one day we will grow old, we don’t think that time passes or that from the day we are born we’re all walking toward a common end. After the first years of youth comes the second period, in which a person becomes aware of the fragility of life and what begins like a simple niggling doubt rises inside you like a flood of uncertainties that will stay with you for the rest of your days. Finally, toward the end of life, the period of acceptance begins, and, consequently, of resignation, a time of waiting.”

“He lay awake, dreading the dawn when he would have to say good-bye to the small universe he had built for himself over the years.”

“Now he knew that any memories he might cherish during the last years of his life would be only fictions from a biography he'd never lived.” 

Max is a stunning lad, his story and that of his sister and their new friend, of circuses, statues, mist and wind, of good men, bad men and a family struggling to survive in the war years- is a mystical gem. Please get to know Max, you will not regret it....

Yes we are back...

The summer holidays in New Zealand are over, the books are read, the beach visited , the ukulele learnt, and now we are back to work, school and BOOKS!!!!
I am looking forward to an awesome year, with plenty of new initiatives and lots of book reviews to be had. I hope you all enjoy the journey 2014 will be for us on this blog.