Friday, April 15, 2016

Holiday Time

By: Degree of the state
Location: Wellington and Waiheke island
Genre: reading, sleeping, eating and family

Yes it is time for us in New Zealand to have two weeks off school and therefore two weeks off this blog! When I get back we will be celebrating a huge milestone- 100,000 hits on the blog (we are 99,960 at the moment!) Not bad for a little school in the bottom of the world.
AND when we come back we will have new carpet in our library!

What am  I reading in the holidays- the new Sebastian Faulks novel-
Where my Heart Used to Beat- its a bit of a heavy read, but well written is my pick, WW1 story about a doctor who is reflecting on his life and the life of his father.
‘A masterpiece… This is a terrific novel, humming with ideas, knowing asides, shafts of sunlight, shouts of laughter and moments of almost unbearable tragedy’ Sunday Telegraph 
Saint Mazie I am also going to read Saint Mazie as well, .The novel's protagonist, Mazie Phillips-Gordon is a little spitfire. She's tough, spunky, feisty, loving, sentimental, and most of all - generous. Through Mazie's diary entries, we see the world through her eyes during the Great Depression (New York City). Mazie helps the homeless (mostly men) anyway she can. For two decades Mazie is a ticket-taker at The Venice movie theater. Her devotion to the poor starts when she meets an alcoholic mother of starving children. Perhaps remembering her own childhood under an abusive father, she vows to do all she can for the down-and-out. This is historical fiction – but not as we’re accustomed to it.  A hard-nosed heroine with a heart of gold, Mazie will leave her mark on you.- lets see if I reckon it is as good as this review from Goodreads says it is!

And I will catch a few DVDs.  Our local DVD store has closed down and we have heaps of new DVDs in the library to now watch!. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016


By: Marisa Reichardt
Location: FIC REI
Genre: Youth Fiction that is real

'It turned out I wasn't dying on the outside. I was only dying on the inside, where nobody could see.'

1. Breathe
2. You are okay.
3. You are not dying.

Underwater focuses on Morgan who hasn't left her apartment for months. Instead of going to normal high school, she has spend most of the junior year taking online classes that allow her to stay inside in her pajamas. She has a rhythm - take classes, watch TV, eat tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches every day for lunch. Why does not Morgan go outside, you may ask? She is scared. She is afraid of losing control. She is terrified of the things that can happen to her if she leaves the protective walls of the apartment. She feels like danger lurks everywhere. No place is safe, expect her apartment. And going to a normal school, living normal life like she used to, feels like something she can never do again.

When Evan moves to the apartment next door, he brings with him the smell of ocean and sun. He reminds Morgan of the time before her life came crashing down. He gives her hope of maybe someday being okay again. But unlike Evan, Morgan cannot go outside, even if a part of her would want it. Morgan does not want to burden Evan with her reality, but at the same time she feels like Evan might be able to help her. And maybe Morgan can help Evan too, since she knows something about what happened to someone close to Evan. There's also wonderful family dynamics found from this novel. I loved the relationship between Morgan and her little brother who does not quite understand why Morgan is staying inside, but manages to provide her with support, love and distractions. The dynamic between Morgan and her mother is also extremely interesting, especially after Morgan's distant father is added to the mix.  
Though the subject matter of the book and the things Morgan goes through can get very dark, this novel has an incredible sense of hope and new changes that are up for grabs as soon as soon as Morgan feels like she's ready. Underwater is an incredibly promising, mind-blowingly good debut novel that makes me eagerly anticipate Reichardt's future as an author.   This  review  is by MILKA-

The Yearbook Committee

By: Sarah Ayoub
location: FIC AYO
Genre: Contemporary Youth Fcition

Five teenagers. Five lives. One final year.

The Yearbook Committee is being described as this generation’s The Breakfast Club and I can see why! The setting for this novel takes place in a private school. Five Year 12 students are thrown together onto the yearbook committee and we get to read about their progress over the entire school year.

The school captain: Ryan has it all … or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?

The newcomer: Charlie’s just moved interstate and she’s determined not to fit in. She’s just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends …

The loner: At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He’s been single-handedly holding things together since his mum’s breakdown, and he’s never felt so alone.

The popular girl: Well, the popular girl’s best friend … cool by association. Tammi’s always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?

The politician’s daughter: Gillian’s dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she’s learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.

Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Walled City

By: Ryan Graudin
Location: FIC GRA
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult, Dystopic

730. That's how many days I've been trapped.
18. That's how many days I have left to find a way out


 Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run. Dai traffics drugs for the most ruthless man in the Walled City. To find freedom, he needs help from someone who can be invisible...Jin Ling hides under the radar, evading the street gangs as she searches for her lost sister. Mei Yee survives trapped in a brothel, dreaming of escape while watching the girls who try fail and die. Damaged and betrayed, can these three find the faith to join forces and escape the stifling city walls? With a fantasy setting inspired by Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong, 

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible....

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister....

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She's about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window.....

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.
The Walled City is perhaps mistakenly labelled as "dystopian" when in fact it is based on a once very real place - Kowloon Walled City, an ungoverned settlement in New Kowloon, Hong Kong. 

The Walled City is an exciting mix of mystery, drama and action. Very well-written, and so entertaining. Definitely recommended!- TALLY

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Love Tanya

By: Tanya Burr
Location: NF 646.7 BUR
Genre: Life skills, lessons, guidance and tips for young woman

I reckon I would have bought this book for my daughter when she was at High School, it is useful, but meaningful, not demeaning to woman but empowering to them. It has life skills,  and  all manner of self care and relationship tips that probably I failed to impart! It is inclusive, it is real and it is genuine. It not only deals with outward appearance but also with inner strength and dignity and it is really well laid out, easy to read, great photography, awesome "top 10' lists, makeup tips, hair ideas, and ideas on how to make relationships hum and tips on how to relax and be happy with who you are!...
And  there are some great recipes as well!!

Hi everyone and welcome to Love, Tanya!
 This book is really close to my heart, because it's inspired by my journey to becoming confident and feeling happy about who I am. I wanted to write a book to share the things I've learnt with you - to reveal my top tips on fashion, beauty, love, friendship, YouTube... and loads more! Plus, there is room for you to list your hopes and dreams alongside mine - so get creative and get involved! I'd love it if this book became a keepsake that you can turn to whenever you need some guidance or even a little pick me up. I hope you enjoy it!


A Dog Named Jimmy

By: Rafael Mantesso
Location: probably all over the library
Genre: Dog photos x art x humor x real life!

This book is for anyone that likes dogs, photography and humor. This book is hilarious, I could just see us doing this to our foxy  Rex when we had him!! He would of been a blues singer and a bull fighter and a shark killer and a fireworks maestro... 
Why didn't we think of this....

During the summer of 2014, an adorable bull terrier went viral on the internet.

The owner, Brazilian visual artist Rafael Mantesso, was recently divorced and left with not much except his small unfurnished apartment with white walls and floor and his beloved five-year-old bull terrier, named by his fashion executive ex-wife after the famous shoe designer Jimmy Choo.

As Mantesso took up painting and drawing again, he found inspiration in his blank walls and floor and best friend, snapping iPhone photos of Jimmy Choo in various poses and costumes, often with added quirky line illustrations as backdrops.

The result? More than one hundred charming and cheeky images chronicling the owner and dog’s loving relationship and extraordinary adventures.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah

By: Erin Lange
Location: FIC LAN
Genre: Youth Ficiton

Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah is billed as a modern, high stakes reboot of the Breakfast Club.

The rebel: Andi, once a 'Barbie', now tattooed and dreadlocked wild child. ... And a bit of a kleptomaniac.
The bully: York, seemingly a heartless thug, but is there more to him than that? York torments everyone who crosses his path, especially his younger brother.
The geek: Boston, York's brother, SAT score near perfect, set to attend an Ivy League school.Tired of being bullied
The pariah: Our protagonist, Sam, the scars on her head serving as evidence for the struggles with her mother's drug addiction, she tries to make herself invisible to those around her.

When Andi, York, Boston, and Sam find themselves hiding in the woods after a party gets busted by the cops, they hop into the nearest car they see and take off—the first decision of many in a night that will change their lives forever. By the light of day, these four would never be caught dead together, but when their getaway takes a dangerously unpredictable turn, sticking together could be the only way to survive. 
 They find themselves in the wrong pace at the end of a party and decide to make a quick get-a-way. As they are trying to escape, they hit someone and think they have killed him. Then they find out the car they are in is an undercover police car filled with drugs. As they try to figure out what to do, they go on the run. Over the course of the next several hours they all learn that labels only tell a small portion of the story.
 A fun blend of adventure and realistic fiction.

By: Justine Larbalestier
Location: FIC Lar
Genre: Youth- psychological thrillers- Mental illness, Male POV

What if the most terrifying person you'd ever met was your ten-year old sister? 

Today is international Sibling Day- so here is a book about a brother and his sister! It is no ordinary story...

My Sister Rosa is a clever, creepy, and thought-provoking YA thriller. ingeniously constructed, charismatic and terrifying. The narrative wheedles into your brain, wrong-footing you, making you doubt yourself and triumphing over you in its beautifully constructed twists and turns. I. Could. Not. Resist. It.- Rachel

I promise,' said Rosa. 'I won't kill and I won't make anyone else kill.'

I can't see the loophole. Since the guinea pig there's been nothing. Months now without Rosa killing as much as a mosquito.

As far as I know.

Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control.
'You're going to have to look out for Rosa, you know,' Sally told me.
'Protect her from the world,' David said. 'You're her big brother.'
Protect the world from her, he didn't say.
Picture this: your baby sister is a psychopath, and you've known all along ... even if no one -- especially not your parents -- believes you when you warn them. You know it's only time before she breaks her promise to you and really hurt (if not kill) someone, and you're doing your best to protect her in the only way you know how. You want to hate her, but you can't bring yourself to. How can you, after all, when you are like everyone else who loves your charming little sister? 

Che's little sister Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che's convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn't hurt anyone yet, but he's certain it's just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world - and the world from Rosa?

Friday, April 8, 2016

Migrant Journeys: NZ Taxi drivers tell their stories

By: Adrienne Jansen and Liz Grant
Location: NF 920 JAN
Genre: As real as you can get Kiwi stories

I loved this book. I loved how I could connect to a story of me sitting in a taxi from the airport to my destination- knowing that my driver had a story, a journey and wanting to ask, but never knowing if I should.
Still don't know after reading this book- if I should.
They get sick of the question " so where are you from?" But it seems such a good question to ask. But maybe the answers are to hard, to awkward or to personal.
Cambodia and the Killing Fields
Iraq and the war
Serbia and the genocide
Afghanistan as refugees!
These are the stories of our taxi drivers, talented, intelligent, qualified, hard working now kiwis that have hopes and dreams, for themselves but more drivenly- for their kids. Why are so many of them taxi drivers when they could be my doctor, or my accountant? What is NZ really like- what are traditional kiwis really like, especially boozed ones? Are we all hidden racists and is that divulged when the booze kicks in? Can we be proud as a nation of how we care for and nurture our immigrant populations? Are we truly good to them, do we care if we are?
I read, I thought, I mulled, and I was convicted!
Today I fly to Christchurch- I may need a taxi- what will our conversation be? How brave will we both be to share our journeys?
Great book, great stories and this to me is why we write!

The Lost Airman

By: Seth Meyerowitz
Location: NF 940.544 MEY
Genre: For fans of Unbroken

Mr Peters loved this book- it inspired him and he devoured it! That means it is a pretty good yarn!

This is the remarkable, untold story of World War II American Air Force turret-gunner Staff Sergeant Arthur Meyerowitz, who was shot down over Nazi-occupied France and evaded Gestapo pursuers for more than six months before escaping to freedom.

Bronx-born top turret-gunner Arthur Meyerowitz was on his second mission when he was shot down in 1943. He was one of only two men on the B-24 Liberator known as “Harmful Lil Armful” who escaped death or immediate capture on the ground.
After fleeing the wreck, Arthur knocked on the door of an isolated farmhouse, whose owners hastily took him in. Fortunately, his hosts not only despised the Nazis but had a tight connection to the French resistance group Morhange and its founder, Marcel Taillandier. Arthur and Taillandier formed an improbable bond as the resistance leader arranged for Arthur’s transfers among safe houses in southern France, shielding him from the Gestapo. 
Based on recently declassified material, exclusive personal interviews, and extensive research into the French Resistance,The Lost Airman tells the tense and riveting story of Arthur’s trying months in Toulouse—masquerading as a deaf mute and working with a downed British pilot to evade the Nazis—and of his hair-raising journey to freedom involving a perilous trek over the Pyrenees and a voyage aboard a fishing boat with U-boats lurking below and Luftwaffe fighters looming above. With photographs and maps included, this is a never-before-told true story of endurance, perseverance, and escape during World War II.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Truth About Peacock Blue

By: Rosanne Hawke
Location: FIC HAW
Genre: Girls, Justice and fighting for what is right.

Think Malala, think any book about Pravana, think And the Mountains Echoed or In the Sea there Are Crocodiles. These are the books and stores that inspire me and infuriate me and some have even caused me change what I think and what I do and how I discuss the world I live in.These stories anger me, I hate injustice based on race, gender, religion or culture- I just don't get it!!

The storyline follows Aster, a Pakistani Christian girl who becomes the hope of her family after her brother dies. An opportunity at education that would never have otherwise been hers turns into a nightmare when a teacher accuses her of blaspheming the Prophet in a written exam. Arrested so quickly after the test is over that later investigators come to the conclusion the timing was too fast not to be suspicious, Aster is imprisoned. Her family has to go into hiding. Her village is abandoned for fear of retaliation.

Respected Muslim neighbours and lawyers try to intervene on her behalf but mob rule is the dominant force in the situation. Even when it is discovered that the teacher has destroyed Aster's exam paper, the accusation of blasphemy turns out to be of greater weight than the lack of evidence. In prison, Aster meets Muslim women who have been affected by the same 'black law': it is being used as a weapon to eliminate anyone who has incurred the hatred, or even displeasure, of family, neighbours or colleagues. The mere accusation has become a powerful tool of destruction in the hands of those who have the capacity to whip up mob frenzy.

In Australia, Aster's cousin organises a massive worldwide web petition to present to the Pakistani government. But will it make any difference? The lawyers and government officials who are working to change the law are systemically being assassinated. 

This bleak - and ultimately unresolved narrative - is based on the true life story of Asia Bibi -
Anne Hamilton- Goodreads.


By: Fiona Wood
Location: FIC WOO
Genre: Romance- Youth Fiction- Jane Eyre- Contemporary

“Never listen to fools who dis Jane Eyre as being a story about a girl who gets her mean man. This is a character who gets what she wants and lives on her own terms by having moral fortitude, intelligence, courage, imagination and a will of iron. And that is one hell of a checklist. Imagine Charlotte Brontë writing this book in 1847. What a powerful story for women living at that time!”

I have just read a book about immigrant taxi drivers in NZ, it has impacted me, it makes me see every immigrant as a carrier of a story, a journey that has led hurting people to a country that at times has not embraced them a it should. I will be so much more engaged and so much more understanding of these immigrants because of that book!

Cloudwish is a delightful, gentle young adult novel, that brings forward a female character who's non-Caucasian, so that alone was refreshing. 

Vân Uoc Phan is the Australian-born daughter of Vietnamese refugees. They're poor and live in a government-owned, high rise apartment in Melbourne, Australia.

Vân Uoc Phan, whose name means Cloudwish, has a scholarship at a prestigious, private high-school, where she makes herself inconspicuous as to not attract the unwanted attention of the rich, mean kids. She's a top student, excellent oboe player and a wanna-be artist, despite her parents' wishes that she'd become a successful/rich lawyer or doctor. 

From a distance, and in spite of her better judgment, she fancies Billy, top alpha, good looking male specimen, who's on the school's prestigious rowing team. She knows he's arrogant and a bit of a bully, but she's also seen a better side of him. She daydreams/wishes that Billy would fancy her and suddenly, out of nowhere, he starts falling for her, which she finds disconcerting. 

 Fiona Wood did a wonderful job describing Vân Uoc's struggles to fit in, while staying true to herself. But who was she? She felt caught in the middle between her Australian-ess and her Vietnamese heritage.

This book forward a very relevant and current issue/situation - that of refugees and of what is abysmally called by the disgraceful government, "boat people". Reading about Vân Uoc's situation and especially about her parents' horrific story was heartbreaking.

This was a very well written, enjoyable, yet compelling novel, that's got teenage angst relating to fitting in, achieving, making decisions and first love. On top of that, there are a few extra layers about class, about opportunities, about immigrants'/refugees' issues and about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

All the many Jane Eyre references and the fact that Vân Uoc considered her a role model of sorts is also a great layer to how this story is told.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


By: Fleur Ferris
location: FIC FER
Genre: Cyber safety and the ruination of lives

What happens on line, what can happen on line- it is horrifying!
This book is written by an ex policewoman and paramedic, they know, they have seen it.
The way in which our youth are drawn into this online world, when their real life world is full of angst and insecurities, it seems quite understandable at times that young people would feel safe meeting a person in real life whom they’ve met online. These predators buoy up those in need of attention, shower them with interest, and provide that much sought after feeling of being desired. Of course, it’s not only young people that engage in this behavior, but this story focuses on the issue of 16 year old high school student in suburban Melbourne, Australia.
Risk is a novel about a girl named Taylor, whose best friend, Sierra goes missing because she falls in love with a guy she met online. Sierra was perfectly comfortable talking to this stranger online, shares personal details with him, and eventually meets up with him in person. She never really knows who this guy is until it’s too late. Photos can be edited to look like somebody else, facts can be embellished or completely made up and the online persona can be completely different to the one in real life. Taylor spends most of Risk trying to come to terms with what happened to Sierra and strives to bring justice to the man behind the screen who took Sierra.
  While Risk is an excellent novel about online safety and sheds information on online predators, the heart and soul of this novel is really about friendship and grief. You feel the emotion in the writing and this book as a whole packs an emotional punch. 

Anger pulses through my veins, but it is not anger at Jacob Jones. It is anger at me. My stupidity and carelessness. I should have swallowed my pride and gone with Sierra.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Discovery Channel Sharkopedia: The Complete Guide to Everything Shark

By: Discovery
Location: NF 597.3 SHA
Genre: Sharks- not the rugby ones either!

My son and my sister in law follow sharks online. Yes I know- it seems weird. These sharks are tagged with microchips and you can see where they are swimming and follow there routes. They have names like Bruce the Shark or Phyllis, or Finn! You can become there friend.
Sadly it wont tell you how many cute fishes they have gobbled up or surfers they had scared the living daylights out off, but is a fun app anyway!
So if you are a shark lover and need to know more- this book is for you!

Discovery Sharkopedia, is the definitive visual guide to everything there is to know about sharks! With more than 400 incredible color photos of the world's most infamous sharks, including great white, bull, and tiger sharks, Sharkopedia explores the evolution of sharks-did you know sharks have been swimming in the world's oceans since before dinosaurs roamed the earth?-and introduces kids to almost 500 known shark species with close-up portraits of each and fun "fin facts" throughout.

Discover what makes sharks expert hunters with detailed sections about shark anatomy, habitats, life cycles, surprising behaviors, and more. Sharkopedia also provides shark conservation resources and offers suggestions for ways to help these amazing, often misunderstood, creatures continue to survive. 

The Outliners

By:Kimberly McCreight 
Location: FIC OUT
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Series:- The Outliers #1

“Why are the bad things always so much easier to believe? It shouldn't be that way but it is every single time, you're too sensitive, and too worried they say, you care too much about all the wrong things. One little whisper in your ear and the words tumble through your head like you're the one who thought them first. Hear them enough and pretty soon they're etched on the surface of your heart.” 

Imagine if you could see inside the minds of everyone around you – your best friend, your boyfriend, your enemies…? 
Imagine how valuable you'd be… 
Imagine how much danger you'd be in… 
Imagine being an Outlier.

The Outliers is a novel that sits somewhere between contemporary, mystery, and thriller, which makes it a unique beast. The story begins with Wylie, who in the wake of her mother’s death has been left deeply anxious and agoraphobic. She receives a text message from her estranged friend, Cassie, asking for help-- and not to tell her mother or police. The mystery mounts as Wylie makes her way out into the wilderness with Jasper, Cassie’s boyfriend, in the hopes to get Cassie out of whatever trouble she has landed herself in. But they have no idea what kind of danger they’re headed towards, and worse yet, Cassie's texts grow more frantic before going silent-- making Jasper and Wylie fear the worst. - Katie Carson