Friday 30 November 2012

335. Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagon

Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon
Published September 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:
Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side. Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa's talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation threatens his life. But what Noa and Peter don't realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who'd stop at nothing to silence her for good. Filled with action, suspense, and romance, this first book in a new trilogy offers readers nonstop thrills.

The blurb on this book likens it to Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for teens, there are definitely elements of it in this book, but it also really reminds me of a book called Being by Kevin Brooks.  As I was reading I also found the style similar to that of the adult author Harlan Coban, when I read the author info I found out that Michelle Gagnon is a well known adult writer, so that explains the more adult feel of the book.  Saying that, it is absolutely a teenage fiction title, a really good thriller which we are seeing more and more of in the YA world.

Thursday 29 November 2012

334. The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb

The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
Published December 2012 Macmillan

From the publisher:
The breathtakingly beautiful story of one little girl and her six paper dolls. A string of paper dolls go on a fantastical adventure through the house and out into the garden. They soon escape the clutches of the toy dinosaur and the snapping jaws of the oven-glove crocodile, but then a very real pair of scissors threatens.

Fans of Julia Donaldson will rejoice that she has a new book out, a great book to share with the little people in your life. It’s a story about imagination and memories and the joys of being young.  It’s a book that will make parents and adults think back to the things that made them happy when they were young.  I am also a fan of Rebecca Cobb, after reading her wonderful Missing Mummy and Lunchtime (which I didn’t write about), so the pairing of two stars is a real treat for me.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

333. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Published August 2012 Pufffin

From the publisher:
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight Judge Judy - loving best friend riding shotgun - but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.

After reading Fault in Our Stars earlier his year, I have been dying to read another John Green novel.  Happily for me, this edition came out in August, so it fills my ‘must be published in 2012’ criteria.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

332. Four Children and It by Jacqueline Wilson

Four Children and It by Jacqueline Wilson
Published November 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:
Rosalind and Robbie don't want to spend the summer stuck in their dad's new house with irritating Smash and her glamorous mum.

Dad's biggest wish is for everyone to get along. So when he suggests a picnic in some nearby woods the children grudgingly agree.

That afternoon, in a golden sandpit, Rosalind makes a wish of her own and something extraordinary happens. It just might change their summer from weeks of bickering into the best holiday Rosalind, Robbie, Smash and their little sister Maudie have ever had . . .

This book could, at first glance, be called a complete rip off, of the book Five Children and It.  A closer look, and having read the book, it comes to light that what this book really is, is a celebration of a classic.  In true Jacqueline Wilson style, this book is about family, it just so happens that the girl in this story is an avid reader whose favourite book of the moment is Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit.  Imagine their surprise when a picnic in the woods reveals the one and only Psammead, buried in a sandpit in the woods.

Monday 26 November 2012

331. I Made Lattes for a Love God by Wendy Harmer

I Made Lattes for a Love God by Wendy Harmer
Published November 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:
Elly Pickering has a juicy secret. A secret her PR mum won't let her tell anyone because if the kids at Oldcastle High knew that mega-star Jake Blake (yes, THE Jake Blake, teen sensation and all round heart-throb) was coming to Oldcastle to film his latest movie, they might just explode with excitement.
Elly is determined to get on set and to get more than a glimpse of her Hollywood crush. But now thanks to an unfortunate incident involving a car, a red handbag and the paparazzi, it looks like Elly's lost a lot more than her opportunity to be close to Hollywood royalty. She's lost her dignity, her job and her best friend. How can she get everything back to normal?

For those of you that loved Harmer’s first foray into teenage fiction I Lost My Mobile at the Mall, you will be very happy to know that this new book continues the adventures and sagas of the one and only Elly Pickering.  This book will appeal to teenage girls everywhere, because who hasn’t wished that the teenage screen idol of the day would one day be filming in their town, which will of course lead to meeting him and then him falling in love with you!?

Sunday 25 November 2012

330. Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Watts

Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Watts
Published November 2012 Candlewick Press

From the publisher:
Taking things in stride is not easy for Kizzy Ann, but with her stalwart border collie, Shag, at her side, she sets out to live a life as sweet as syrup on cornbread.
In 1963, as Kizzy Ann prepares for her first year at an integrated school, she worries about the color of her skin, the scar running from the corner of her right eye to the tip of her smile, and whether anyone at the white school will like her. She writes letters to her new teacher in a clear, insistent voice, stating her troubles and asking questions with startling honesty. The new teacher is supportive, but not everyone feels the same, so there is a lot to write about. Her brother, James, is having a far less positive school experience than she is, and the annoying white neighbor boy won't leave her alone. But Shag, her border collie, is her refuge. Even so, opportunity clashes with obstacle. Kizzy Ann knows she and Shag could compete well in the dog trials, but will she be able to enter? From newcomer Jeri Watts comes an inspiring middle-grade novel about opening your mind to the troubles and scars we all must bear-and facing life with hope and trust.

I read a review for this in Magpies magazine, and I downloaded the eBook straight away (That is one of the best things about digital books).  The book is only out in hardback in Australia, but it really is a stand out, so try and get your hands on it one way or another.  Most of us would be aware of, and many of  us would have read the book, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, this book is a child’s eye view of the same time in history, the American South in the early 1960s.

Saturday 24 November 2012

329. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 7: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 7: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney
Published November 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:

In The Third Wheel, love is in the air—but what does that mean for Greg Heffley? A Valentine's Day dance at Greg's middle school has turned his world upside down. As Greg scrambles to find a date, he's worried he'll be left out in the cold on the big night. His best friend, Rowley, doesn't have any prospects either, but that's a small consolation. Then an unexpected twist gives Greg a partner for the dance and leaves Rowley the odd man out. But a lot can happen in one night, and in the end, you never know who's going to be lucky in love.

Now is probably the time to admit that this is the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book I have ever read.  I have read a couple of books in the same style this year, so I was looking forward to see what Greg Heffley had in store for me!

Friday 23 November 2012

328. Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Published November 2012 Doubleday

From the publisher:
Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet. Why would they? Anna is sixteen in 1995, fiercely determined to leave her quiet town and finally travel the world. Bennett's seventeen in 2012, living in San Francisco and trying to control his ability to travel through time - an incredible gift, but also an unpredictable curse, which constantly threatens to separate him from the people he loves.

When Bennett suddenly finds himself in Anna's world, they are inescapably drawn to one another - it's almost as if they have met before. But they both know, deep down, that it can never last. For no matter how desperate Bennett is to stay with Anna, his condition will inevitably knock him right back to where he belongs - and Anna will be left to pick up the pieces.

It's funny, as I was reading this book I thought to myself, if I had to choose one ability, I would choose time travel.  When I read the little author bio at the start of the book, the author thought exactly the same thing, and that his how this book came about.  This book is unashamedly a romance novel.  I say that with no disrespect, as I find so many dark books, deep and meaningful books, and depressing  books for teens, that I feel there is a lack of something that is just a great pieces of escapist reading.

Thursday 22 November 2012

327. Ruby Red Shoes by Kate Knapp

Ruby Red Shoes by Kate Knapp
Published November 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:

Ruby Red Shoes lives in a colourful caravan with her grandmother. Ruby is gentle and kind and cares for all living things, including plants and trees, animals and people.
Ruby is also particularly fond of strawberry jam and peppermint tea.

This book would be the perfect choice for little girls who think they are too old for picture books (although we know you are NEVER too old for picture books).  It’s half way between the size of a novel and a picture book,  but it feels more like a novel as it is longer than a picture book, with, 48 pages but it still has coloured pictures on every page.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

326. International Rescue: Feather’s In the Wind by Sally Grindley

International Rescue: Feather’s In the Wind by Sally Grindley
Published November 2012 Bloomsbury Childrens

From the publisher:
When the Brook family travel to India for the annual kite festival in Ahmedabad, Joe can't wait to buy his own kite at the night-time bazaar and get involved with the locals' celebrations. However, the festivities have a little-known darker side - the strings of fighter kites are glazed with shards of glass (so that they can cut down other kites) and these kite strings injure many birds as they become entangled in them. Joe's mother will be working day and night at a rescue centre as she aims to save every single injured bird, particularly the endangered vultures. Can Joe and Aesha pull off a daring rescue attempt of their own on the day of the festival?

This is the third book in the International Rescue series, and the second one I have read.  This time Joe and his sister Aesha are off to India, where his Mum, Binti, will be working with the local Animal Aid Service.  There area lot of animal facts to be found throughout the story about vultures, their habitat and threats, in the rescue centre there are also owls, monkeys, fruit bats and there’s even a cobra.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

325. Eric Vale, Epic Fail by Michael Gerard Bauer illustrated by Joe Bauer

Eric Vale, Epic Fail by Michael Gerard Bauer illustrated by Joe Bauer
Published November 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:
Ever had a STUPID nickname? A ROTTEN run of bad luck? A BEST friend who just looks on the BRIGHT side-even when the bright side looks BLACK? Well, Eric Vale's got all three, and they're pushing him towards the EPIC-EST of all EPIC FAILS!

We have been blessed with Greg Heffley (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Big Nate, Tom Gates and most recently Duane (My Totally Awesome Story), characters who grace the pages of books that have a huge appeal to boys ( and plenty of girls), books with a mix of text and illustration, all sharing the common theme of humour, usually at the expense of the main character!  Now we have another book to keep these boys reading, meet Eric Vale, who has managed to score himself the worst nickname of all time, Eric Vale, Epic Fail.

Monday 19 November 2012

324. This Is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell

This I Not a Drill by Beck McDowell
Published November 2012 Hardie Grant

From the publisher:
The door swings open and a man walks in like he owns the place. He raises his fist. Gripping a handgun. Aimed directly at the teacher. Emery finds it awkward as hell tutoring a bunch of grade-one kids with her ex-boyfriend. It's not easy for Jake either - he knows Emery thinks he's useless, especially after what he did to her. But when a boy's father turns up at school with a gun, a bad situation for Emery and Jake suddenly turns deadly. The boy's father - a soldier home from Iraq - says he just wants to spend time with his kid. But resistance from the teacher has deadly consequences. The man isn't afraid of opening fire, even in front of the children. And one way or another, he's not leaving without his son.

Imagine you are a 16 year old girl, who has recently broken up with her boyfriend, he is not your favourite person.  Imagine then that you have been partnered with him to teach French to grade one kids.  That is not the way you want to spend three mornings a week.   When that grade one class is held at gunpoint by an angry ex military father of one of the students, well that ex-boyfriend turns out to be the only person you can turn to.

Sunday 18 November 2012

323. Junior Gourmet by Elizabeth Long

Junior Gourmet by Elizabeth Long
Published September 2012 Five Mile Press

From the publisher:
Take your tastebuds on a trip around the world and learn to cook these authentic, simple and delicious recipes. Explore the signature dishes and cooking techniques from Morocco to Mexico and many places in between!

To be honest, I have wanted to include a children’s cookbook all year.  It does feel a bit like cheating, because obviously there’s less reading involved, and it’s a different kind of reading.  As soon as I saw this one, I couldn’t resist.  The cover got, me and as soon as I looked inside, I knew I had to use this one.

Saturday 17 November 2012

322. And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst

And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst 
Published October 2012 Andrea K. Höst (self published)

From the publisher:
Come for the apocalypse.
Stay for cupcakes.
Die for love.

Madeleine Cost is working to become the youngest person ever to win the Archibald Prize for portraiture. Her elusive cousin Tyler is the perfect subject: androgynous, beautiful, and famous. All she needs to do is pin him down for the sittings.

None of her plans factored in the Spires: featureless, impossible, spearing into the hearts of cities across the world – and spraying clouds of sparkling dust into the wind.

Is it an alien invasion? Germ warfare? They are questions everyone on Earth would like answered, but Madeleine has a more immediate problem. At Ground Zero of the Sydney Spire, beneath the collapsed ruin of St James Station, she must make it to the surface before she can hope to find out if the world is ending.

This is another book that I read based on a review from Book Smugglers, it's not out here (in Australia), so I read this one as an eBook.  The author was born in Sweden but grew up, and still lives in Australia.  

Friday 16 November 2012

321. Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Published November 2012 Bloomsbury

From the publisher:
Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die. Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from? A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.

To me Breathe takes me back to great stories like Lake at the End of the World by Caroline MacDonald, Z for Zachariah by Robert C O’Brien and more recently The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

Thursday 15 November 2012

320. Twelve Days of Christmas by Laurel Long

Twelve Days of Christmas by Laurel Long
Published September 2012

From the publisher:
Feast your eyes on a sumptuous reimagining of the Christmas carol beloved around the world. Each day brings a new gift, and just like the verses of the song, all of the earlier gifts are repeated – and hidden on every page. Search for golden rings, turtle doves, and all the rest, secretly tucked into the breathtaking artwork. Look closely. Can you find them all?

Laurel Long's magnificent style makes this exquisite volume a Christmas treasure that will be cherished by the whole family for years to come.

Here in Adelaide we have had the Christmas Pageant, and that means it’s not too early for a Christmas book.  I have been wanting to have a rave about this book since I first saw it a couple of months ago, but it felt wrong to start talking Christmas in September.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

319. Truly Tan by Jen Storer illustrated by Claire Robertson

Truly Tan by Jen Storer illustrated by Claire Robertson
Published November 2012 ABC Books

From the publisher:

Meet Tan. She′s funny. She′s lively. She has the mind of a Great Detective ...

Dear Diary
It′s official. Our whole family has moved to the country. The pets are disturbed and restless. My sisters are disturbed and restless -- although that′s normal. What is not normal is a cursed fox and a haunted clubhouse. That is definitely unnormal.
At least the country people now have an expert in their midst. Someone with a cool head and a sharp eye. Someone who can solve intriguing mysteries and knows how to keep detailed Secret Spy Files.
Really, it′s lucky I came along when I did.


Tan is the youngest of four girls in her family.  Her sisters are referred to as the traffic lights, or lollipops, due to the colourful nature of their names, Ruby , Emerald and Amber.  Their father is a vet and their mother a foodie journalist, and they are moving to the country with their menagerie of animals.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

318. Time Riders Book 6: City of Shadows by Alex Scarrow

Time Riders Book 6: City of Shadows by Alex Scarrow
Published October 2012 Penguin (Puffin)

From the publisher:
Liam O'Connor should have died at sea in 1912.
Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010.
Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026.

But all three have been given a second chance - to work for an agency that no one knows exists. Its purpose: to prevent time travel destroying history . . . 

Hunted by cyborg assassins from the future, the Time Riders must abandon New York and go on the run. 

They escape to Victorian London and the streets where Jack the Ripper roams. But, before they can establish their new base, they make their most shattering discovery yet - and it will change everything . . .

This is probably the best Time Riders book I have read, it is also the one that I can't say too much about.  So many things come to light in this book, none of which I can share with you, as I wouldn't want to spoil it for you.

Monday 12 November 2012

317. Zoe Letting Go by Nora Price

Zoe Letting Go by Nora Price
Published October 2012 Razorbill

From the publisher:

Zoe knows she doesn't belong in a hospital so why is she in one?
Twin Birch isn't just any hospital. It's a strange mansion populated by unnerving staff and glassy-eyed patients. It's a place for girls with serious problems; skinny, spindly girls who have a penchant for harming themselves.
Zoe isn't like them. And she can't figure out why she was sent here.
Writing letters to her best friend Elise keeps her sane, grounded in the memories of her past-but mired in them, too.
Elise never writes back.
Zoe is lost without her, unsure of how to navigate tenuous new friendships and bizarre rules without Elise by her side. But as her letters intertwine with journal entries chronicling her mysterious life at Twin Birch, another narrative unfolds. The hidden story of a complicated friendship; of the choices we make, the truths we tell others, and the lies we tell ourselves. The story of a friendship that has the potential to both save-and damage beyond repair. And Zoe finds she must confront the truth about her past once and for all, before she can finally let go.
I am not sure if there is an official stand on books about anorexia in school libraries.  I know that there is a belief that schools should not have books on suicide or ‘cutting’ on their shelves, but I haven’t heard the same thing about anorexia.  This little ramble leads me to today’s book which is about anorexia.

Sunday 11 November 2012

316. Little White Duck: A Childhood in China by Na Liu and illustrated by Andres Vera Martin

Little White Duck: A Childhood in China by Na Liu and illustrated by Andres Vera Martin
Published October 2012 Lerner Publishing: Graphic Universe

From the publisher:
The world is changing for two girls in China in the 1970s. Da Qin Big Piano and her younger sister, Xiao Qin Little Piano live in the city of Wuhan with their parents. For decades, China's government had kept the country separated from the rest of the world. When their country's leader, Chairman Mao, dies, new opportunities begin to emerge. Da Qin and Xiao Qin soon learn that their childhood will be much different than the upbringing their parents experienced. Eight short stories based on the author's own life give readers a unique look at what it was like to grow up in China during this important time in history.

The first thing I thought of when I started this book, was another book, Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin.  It’s a completely different format, this is a graphic novel, but it looks at a similar time in China’s not so distant history.  This book is a collection of stories form the author’s childhood, beginning with the death of Chairman Mao.  We also see what her parent’s life was like, and her father’s childhood is much like that of Li Cunxin’s.

Saturday 10 November 2012

315. Falling to Ash by Karen Mahoney

Falling to Ash by Karen Mahoney
Published September 2012 Random House

From the publisher:
Being a vampire is for life -- not just a lifestyle. A brand-new series from the author of The Iron Witch Marie 'Moth' O'Neal is an eternal teenager, cursed to live out her life as an eighteen-year-old vampire and shunned by her strictly religious family. Her Maker, Theo, prizes her as his best Retriever and sends her on increasingly difficult missions. That's how Moth finds herself investigating the suspicious deaths plaguing a group of Otherkin kids in Boston. The 'kin like to live the vampire lifestyle, but they've managed to attract the attention of a dark force that's slowly picking them off one by one. Then the dead teenagers start to rise again-as something other than vamps. Who knew that zombies actually existed? Now Moth has to infiltrate the Otherkin without them figuring out that she's the Real Deal, find out who or what is transforming them into the walking dead, all while keeping resident vampire hunter Jason Murdoch from shooting anything that doesn't breathe. It doesn't help that she and Jace have a history, and the sexy young hunter feels he has a lot to prove-and a score to settle...

I thought I was just about done with vampire books, but here I am.  To be honest, it was the cover that drew me to the book before I even knew what it was about.  There’s a bit of Buffy and Angel about this book, a vampire and vampire hunter thrown together, but it’s more of a murder mystery that just happens to have vampires in it.

Friday 9 November 2012

314. Wolfie by Emma Barnes and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

Wolfie by Emma Barnes illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
Published September 2012 Strident Publishing

From the publisher:
Lucie has always longed for a dog. But not one this big. Or with such sharp teeth. Or with such a hungry look in its eyes. Lucie realises her new pet is not a dog...but a wolf. Not only that, but a wolf with magical powers. A talking wolf is not an easy thing to hide from your family and friends. Or from the bully next door. And as Lucie grows to love Wolfie, she also realises that her new companion is in terrible danger…

This book tickled me right from the get go.  Who wouldn’t love a story that starts like this: little girl, waiting for her favourite Uncle to visit, she loves visits from this uncle because he always brings her a present.  Imagine her surprise when he turns up with a wolf!  When Lucie exclaims that this 'dog' is in fact a wolf, the adults tell her she's just being silly, 'as if I would give you a wolf for a pet' says her Uncle, 'it's one of those dogs that looks like a wolf' says Dad, 'it's a German Shepherd, that's what it is' says Mum. She can’t quite believe that everyone is adamant that this creature on the doorstep is just a dog, when it is quite clearly...a wolf. And so the story begins of how Lucie, ended up with a wolf as a pet.

Thursday 8 November 2012

313. Footsteps through the Fog by Margaret Mahy illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Footsteps through the Fog by Margaret Mahy illustrated by Gavin Bishop
Published October 2012 Puffin

From the publisher:
Unlike her brothers and sisters, Anthea cannot see, so when they all go to the beach one day, their mother tells them to take care of her.  While they are all playing on the sand, a thick fog rolls in from the ocean. Suddenly it's up to Anthea to get everyone home safely Written by the legendary Margaret Mahy and with artwork by master illustrator Gavin Bishop, this is a beautifully told story that will give readers young and old a new perspective on blindness.
Mahy and Bishop have both donated their royalties for this project to the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.

This book is just wonderful, but I wouldn't have expected anything less from Margaret Mahy.  Through this book we can experience a world where, without sight, we can 'see' the world in a completely different way.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

312. Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Published October 2012 Young Arrow Fiction

From the publisher:

TANDY ANGEL is a whip-smart fifteen-year-old detective . . .
and the last person to see her parents alive.
Is she also a murderer?
HARRISON ANGEL is her artistic twin brother and a concert pianist . . .
who was always a disappointment to their parents.
Is he also a murderer?
HUGO ANGEL is their super-strong ten-year-old brother . . .
and their parents pushed him as hard as the rest of them.
Is he also a murderer?
MATTHEW ANGEL is their famous big brother, an all-American football star
who has more than one very good reason to hate his parents.
Is he also a murderer?
From the creator of the bestselling Maximum Ride and Witch & Wizard series comes a teen detective on a mission to bring her parents' killer to justice, even if it means uncovering her family's darkest secrets - and confessing some of her own.
James Patterson is obviously a well known adult writer, who has had many of his novels made into films.  In the last few years he has also become an extremely popular writer for teenagers, with series like Daniel X , Maximum Ride and Witch and Wizard.  I think his popularity has a lot to do with the visual way the books read, and this book is no exception, reading it feels like you are watching a film.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

311. Underworld: Exploring the Secret World Beneath Your Feet by Jane Price and illustrated by James Gulliver Hancock

Underworld: Exploring the Secret World Beneath Your Feet by Jane Price and illustrated by James Gulliver HancockPublished September 2012  Weldon Owen Publishing
From the publisher:Just what, exactly, lies underground?
Let this book take you on a journey into the world beneath earth's surface.
  • Under Paris, Under Rome, in the Valley of the Kings
  • The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland
  • Limestone caves and underwater sea caverns
  • Catacombs, oubliettes, burial pits, treasure troves

The subtitle of this book is very important, without it there could be many disappointed readers who were expecting a book about crime.  So if you’re not wanting a book about the criminal underworld, stick with me because this book might be for you! This is book looks at everything that is going on beneath our feet.  It starts with the science, looking into the centre of the earth, volcanoes and fossils, then it looks at animals that live underground and then it goes into mining and also what goes on underground in some of the big cities around the world.

Monday 5 November 2012

310. Poppy Fields Mystery #10: The Will to Live by Tanya Landman

Poppy Fields Murder Mystery Book 10: The Will to Live by Tanya Landman
Published October 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:
Tenth in the brilliantly addictive series of murder mysteries by an acclaimed and popular writer.
Poppy and Graham are staying in a grand country house for the weekend to help at a family christening party, but they're seriously unimpressed. Dull, dull, dull! Not to mention the fact that baby Marmaduke has taken a shine to Graham and won't let him out of his sight without shrieking the place down. Then events take a mysterious turn when a filthy tramp turns up in the churchyard ... dead. It isn't long before Poppy and Graham realize that his death is suspicious - as are all the others that follow.

I know the Poppy Fields books, and they have been quite popular.  I personally think the covers had something to do with that.  They looked just bloody and gory enough to attract the readers.  When I saw this book, I didn’t even recognise it as a Poppy Fields Mystery, as the cover is completely different.  See the pic to the right for Book 9, that will give you an idea how they used to look.

Sunday 4 November 2012

309. Burning Blue by Paul Griffin

Burning Blue by Paul Griffin
Published October 2012 Text Publishing

From the publisher:
When Nicole Castro, the most popular girl at her high school, has her face splashed with acid, her classmate, loner and brilliant hacker, Jay Nazarro, does more than just gawk at her. He decides to find out who did it.  The deeper he digs, though, the more he falls for Nicole…and the more danger he’s in. Everyone is a suspect—even Nicole herself—and whoever did it seems ready to strike again.  Burning Blue is a high-stakes, soulful mystery that explores just how far love, or the other side of love, will take us.

Burning Blue wasn’t what I was expecting, I thought it would read like a thriller, and that the main part of the story would be how this once beautiful teenager copes with the new reality, but there’s a whole lot more to this story.  This book manages to be both a gripping thriller, and a more profound emotional story all at the same time. 

The burning takes place in the first few pages, and figure in a hoodie squirts Nicole in the face with battery acid, and her life is changed.  There is a brief description about the damage done, but Nicole stays bandaged up for the rest of the story, and for me it isn’t the focus of the story.

Jay is a great character, a computer genius (hacker), good looking, but a loner.  His acceptance by the general population at school is hindered by the fact that Jay suffers from a form of epilepsy, and a seizure in front of the whole school, where he lost control of his bladder, has made him quite the target.  In fact the humiliation was so bad, that he convinced his father to let him be home schooled for a year.

Jay is just returning to school, while Nicole is still at home recuperating.  Their paths cross outside the school councillors office, and while their situations are totally different, each has some understanding of what the other is going through.

The thread that runs through the whole story is of Jay’s mission to find Nicole’s attacker. Using his skills as a hacker, as well as some old fashioned detective work he is determined solve the case.  As with any good mystery, the suspect list is long, and Jay works through it eliminating as he goes, there is even a possibility that Nicole may have done this to herself.

As well as this we also have Jay’s more emotional story, that looks at the death of his mother, and the complicated relationship he has with his father.  The funny thing about Jay is that his physical appearance is not really described, apart form the fact that he refuses to get his hair cut.  The loner personality and his penchant for computers made me pigeon hole him as an ordinary looking geeky guy.  It’s not until the story develops and we see more of his personality come through, and we start to see him through other peoples eyes that he’s described as ‘hot’, and the way he deals with the local detective we see he’s more than a little bit charming.

The story is told in alternate chapters, so while this book may look quite girly from the cover I think it will appeal to teenage boys just as much as teenage girls, and that’s quite a rare thing in books for teens.

Who will like this book: Boys and Girls age 15+
Read it if you like: Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt

Saturday 3 November 2012

308. Judy Moody and the Bad Luck Charm by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter Reynolds

Judy Moody and the Bad Luck Charm by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter Reynolds
Published November 2012 Candlewick Press

From the publisher:

Will Judy's lucky penny lead her to the nation's capital or to third-grade C-A-L-A-M-I-T-Y? And what do her spelling-bee nemesis and a pot-bellied pig have to do with it?
The lucky penny in Judy Moody's pocket sure does seem to be working. She can't stop winning-at bowling, spelling, the unbeatable Prize Claw, everything! For sure and absolute positive, she'll ride that wave of good fortune all the way to Washington, D.C. Watch out, District of Cool, here comes Judy Moody, the luckiest kid ever, until ... oh, no! Her lucky penny just did a belly flop into a porcelain bowl of yucky, blucky UN-luck. Has the coin's magic gone kerflooey? Are some people, like Jessica Finch or Stink, destined to have all the luck, while she, Judy Moody, gets stuck with a yard full of three-not-four-leaf clovers, a squealing pot-bellied pig in an elevator, and a squashed penny with cooties? ROAR!

The ever popular Judy Moody is back, and this book is all about luck.  Is there such a thing as a lucky penny?  Or do we create our own luck?  You will have to find out.

Friday 2 November 2012

307. Devilish by Maureen Johnson

Devilish by Maureen Johnson
Published October 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:
Ally and Jane may not be that popular but they′re good friends...that is until they each get allocated a freshman, a ′little′ to show the the ropes to at school.
Cracks begin to show as Ally changes into a whole different person, literally overnight. She′s dressed better, making new friends, and ditching Jane more and more.
But Ally′s transformation has its price. And it′s up to Jane to save her former BF from a ponytail-wearing, cupcake-nibbling devil in disguise!

Not surprising given the title, that this is a wickedly good read.  Have you ever wondered how the cool kids in High School got to be so cool and confident, why did they never spill food on their clothes, or trip over in front of a whole school assembly?  The answer to that may well be answered within the pages of this book.

Thursday 1 November 2012

306. Nighttime Ninja by Barbara Da Costa with art by Ed Young

Nighttime Ninja by Barbara Da Costa with art by Ed Young
Published October 2012 Little Brown
From the publisher:
Late at night, when all is quiet and everyone is asleep, a ninja creeps silently through the house in search of treasure. Soon he reaches his ultimate goal...and gets a big surprise! Will the nighttime ninja complete his mission With spare text and lush illustrations, Nighttime Ninja is a fun, adventure-filled story about the power of play and imagination.
I know we probably shouldn’t say that certain books are good for boys, and certain books are good for girls.  All books are for everyone, regardless of gender.  That’s a good theory, but when a pink sparkly picture book is published, there is no doubt as to its intended audience.  I find that there are few picture books that are real 'boy' books, and that’s one of the reasons I like Nighttime Ninja so much.

2 months to go...

November is upon me, and I only have 61 books to go.  I still find that people are surprised to hear that I am still going.  Do they not wonder why they haven’t heard a peep from me this year?  My life is pretty much work, reading and blogging.  I have no idea what is going on the world, but I have been told that’s probably a good thing!

As I am nearing the end of this challenge, I have been asked what I will do next year.  Well... I won’t be reading and writing about a book a day, but I have enjoyed this year, so I will write another blog, but maybe only limit it to the real WOW books that I read.

I haven’t decided on a name for the new blog yet, but I will post details here for anyone interested.

But…the year is not over, so let’s look at a sample of what's in my reading pile for this month.