Friday, October 31, 2014

After The End

By: Amy Plum
Location: FIC PLU
Genre:  crime-mystery, dystopian, paranormal-fantasy-science-fiction, thriller-suspense, young-adult .

So Russia and the West are having a spat, ISIS is scaring the heck out the world with its insanity in the name of a religion it has twisted and redefined, Ebola is running rampant as we scramble to contain its poison. What if a World War breaks out, then what if a bunch of people go isolate themselves from the uncontrollable carnage's of this age- but what if it is all a lie, a fabrication! What if we have all been sucked in down here in Godzone New Zealand?

She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.
World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.
At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.
When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.
Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.
“Life is easier in black and white. It's the ambiguity of a world defined in grays that has stripped me of my confidence and left me powerless.”
Amy Plum, After the End 

Pink Sari Revolution

By: Amana Fontanella-Khan
Location: NF 920 FON
Genre: Social Justice in real life

India's struggle with justice for women in the 21st century is becoming one of the most prominent news stories of the moment. In the last few months, another terrible gang rape hit the headlines. Women's collectives are growing up all over the country and beginning to fight back. The most prominent and potent is the Pink Sari Gang. This is their story. 
 From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:

I have been to India and seen the appalling way girls and woman are treated. I have watched how the caste system minimizes and offers no hope to those who are born into it. I have seen and heard the stores of those wanting love marriages but being forced into an unwanted arranged marriage at a ridiculous age. I have seen young girls beg and woman siting on the pavement with a death look in their eyes.
It is awesome that a bunch of woman are saying - this is enough, we will stand together and we will fight this.

Sampat Pal is an uneducated grandmother who fights against the social injustices embedded in her society. The practice of child brides, shunning love marriages, gang rapes, corrupt police officers, power hungry politicians, and the use of acid in domestics disputes has emboldened the the former child bride to unite a throng of abused women into the Pink Gang. Together, the Pink Gang is strong; faced with death threats, bandwagoning family and followers, Sampat Pal is determined to help women and men understand their rights in Uttar Pradesh region in India. A place where reported rape has climbed 792% in the past 4 decades, with conviction rates steadily dropping, and where domestic abuse has climbed 30% in the same time period.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Traitors Blade

By: Sebastien De Castell
Location: Fic  DEC
Genre: Epic Fantasy

" A wild dance of fights, treachery and jaw dropping surprises"
Dave Duncan

"One hell of a good book" Conn Iggulden.

There is nothing like a good swashbuckling.  I love the movie Princess Bride- it is full of good ol swashbuckling.
swash·buck·ler (swshbklr, sw├┤sh-) n. 1. A flamboyant swordsman or adventurer. 

But mix that with fantasy and history and you have a potent combo!

n Traitor’s Blade, Sebastien de Castell has succeeded in deftly crafting a sword and sorcery delight that harkens back to a simpler time when grimdark did not rule the shelves and fantasy readers expected to be entertained with humor as well as action. Here, the characters’ playful banter and sword fighting flare is near equal to the legendary Three Musketeers and makes this a debut novel that should not be missed by any true fan of action and adventure tales. The simple fact is that Traitor’s Blade is a swashbuckling adventure that brings the fun back to epic fantasy!

The story itself follows Falcio, friend of the former king, and his companions. This group of Trattari, or “tatter-cloaks” were once members of the legendary "Greatcoats", who traveled the land enforcing the king's justice, and dealing out punishment to those who dared oppress the weak. It was a glorious life, which filled Falcio, First Cantor of the Greatcoats, with a sense of accomplishment as he tried to right the wrongs that he himself had experienced so well when the old king had caused the murder of his wife. But all dreams come to an end, and so to did the dream of the Greatcoats when the Dukes of the land united and executed the king.
there are a few times when our light, witty swashbuckling adventure turns dark and grim with a torture scene or an over-the-top villainess or even some bad flashbacks for Falcio or an all-knowing benefactor, but none of these “issues” ever overshadowed the brilliance of this book. From first page to last, Traitor’s Blade is exactly what it sets out to be: an exciting, witty adventure that any fantasy aficionado will adore.
Wendall from

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The movie is on its way. Tell me - why do all amazing books need to be made into movies- why cant they let them be!!!
Well I guess this great story will be at least seen by those who cannot be bothered to read it!!

Half a man

By: Michael Morpurgo
Location: PIC MOR
Genre: The War

Some books resonate. Some books make you inspired, others make you reflect, and some like this one make you be still.
I had a great uncle who went to war. He was a bit scary, very quiet, he had hidden worlds, untold stories, a depth you could not touch. We were told never- ever- talk to Uncle Ray about the war. Funny thing- in his 80's he published his story, I bet he was waiting for someone to pierce his darkness, they never did, so he wrote about it. He was a POW in Nazi Germany- twice! I read his story, but I wish I had heard it.
 We lose much by being silent, the healing we can give but can't because there are things "never to be told"- is a lost gift.
In this story a grandson is banned from ever, never asking about his grandfathers face, his burns, his scars. He had hidden worlds that were forbidden to be pierced- except his grandson did, he entered the story of his grandfather and the healing of worlds began.

This is a powerful tale, of endless pain of loss, redemption, the horrors of war, the psychological  torment, the physical scars and a families brokenness   and one boys journey to know that there is never such thing as 'Half a man"!

Maybe my Uncle Ray had more to say than we ever knew!! We just never heard him, we never asked, we weren't allowed too and that was wrong! That is why when  I read this story, I needed to be still.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


By: Robert Dinsdale
Location: FIC DIN
Genre: History x Fairy Story

Fairy tale and history, wilderness and civilisation collide in this brilliant and magical new novel.
In the depths of winter in the land of Belarus, where ancient forests straddle modern country borders, an orphaned boy and his grandfather go to scatter his mother’s ashes in the woodlands. Her last request to rest where she grew up will be fulfilled.

But the driving snow, which masks the tracks of forest life, also hides a frozen history of long-buried secrets. And as man and boy travel deeper among the trees, grandfather’s tales begin to interweave with the shocking reality of his own past, until soon the boy’s unbreakable promise to mama is tested in unimaginable ways.

This a beautifully crafted book, its word images alone were enough to keep me turning pages. Meanwhile the story was totally absorbing. I felt suspended in its world, and putting the book down was like making myself wake up from a dream. It drew on a fairytale style, interwoven with cruel histories and intolerable realities. I suppose this is the dark and complex human stuff most fairytales deal with - loss, grief, injustice, peril, horror, ambivalence, companionship, loyalty, love, courage, hope. Children without mothers or protection. Damaged people who lose sight of their humanity. The wildness of the natural world, and questions about what it means both to be part of it, and to be truly human. These questions are deepened in this novel by the stories of people fleeing to the wild to escape the inhuman terrors of so called 'civilised' society. Jo-

So it was, and I read!

This blog has been a bit quiet of late, that is because you cannot access the  Internet in Magugu.
Magugu is in Tanzania and for three weeks I was privileged to be there and work in the Joshua Foundation School. The cool thing is that we are setting up three libraries , two in Magugu and one in Arusha. Soon the kids there will know the joy of choosing and reading a book. I am sure they will never read this blog, in many ways it will be meaningless to them, what they need, what they want- is books with paper pages to turn. Stories to get lost in, stories to expand their world. Working with the teachers in the Joshua School was a wonderful experience and watching the kids reading was stunning. So sorry for not being here, but it was fantastic being with them!
I read a bit myself when I was away, the best book was called -A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman, it is a stunning story of community building in Sweden, which is as far away from Magugu as you can get, but the essence of building a community of people transcends race and culture.
I also read 'We need new names " by NoViolet Bulawayo. It was like reading a book that was actually living outside the guest house door.  I loved it!!!
So now I am back in New Zealand with nice new shiny books to review for you, remember there are kids all over the world who value books like treasure. They know that books and the ability to read, and to speak English is there ticket to a life that provides food, clothing and shelter. Why is it we forget that....