Bones of Fairy by Janni Lee Simmer

Bones of Faerie

Bones of Faerie

Liza lives with her father in a village surrounded by restless and often deadly forest. The corn can turn viscous. Vines and trees can capture and imprison you and shadows are no longer safe. Life in the village is lived by very strict rules – all things magic are destroyed – even her own baby sister, born with faerie-pale hair, is left out on a hillside to die. Then Liza’s mother disappears and she is at the mercy of her cruel and rigid father as her own gifts and magic begin to manifest. She cannot stay – but can she survive to find her mother and a chance to heal not only her own world, but Faerie as well?

With help from Matthew, who shape shifts into a wolf, Allie, a young healer and Tallow her old cat, Liza travels the dangerous wilds and battles her gifts and a world gone crazy.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Great for middle to older Primary aged children, even younger Secondary students would find the story very readable and relate to the themes and ideas of friendship, family, trust and loyalty.

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

The Emerald Atlas

The Emerald Atlas

Three orphans, Kate, Michael and Emma P. are orphaned under unusual and difficult circumstances… and then over the course of ten years, are shunted from orphanage to orphanage until finally they end up at the strangest orphanage of all at Cambridge Falls!

While exploring their new home, they discover an old leather book, which when Kate places an old photo on one of it’s pages, transports them back to the time and place of the photo. A time and place where all children are prisoners of an evil but gorgeous witch who will stop at nothing to possess the old leather book!

The Leather book is actually the Emerald Atlas of the title, one of three powerful artifacts which were hidden, thought destroyed hundreds of years ago, and are now being sought by forces of evil. The three twins are each very different and lead by Kate, the eldest, they strive to understand the suddenly magical world they find themselves in, save the children and adults of Cambridge Falls, help the Dwarves,  keep the Atlas out of  the hands of the Wicked Countess, understand the mysterious hints and plots of Doctor Pym as well as stay together as a family and find their parents!

I enjoyed this book greatly, but found the start a little cumbersome! Suitable for mid to late Primary students.

Troubletwisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

Troubletwiters

Troubletwisters

Jack and Jaide are twins. They are sent to live with their Grandmother, Grandma X, when their hose explodes, their father disappears and their mother needs to work to get the money together to rebuild their lives!

They have never been to their Grandmother’s house in the small town of Portland. They are not comfortable with their Grandmother at all! Especially when Grandma X and her house turn out to be quite eccentric and not a little disturbing! Then there are the strange things that happen around the town… talking cats, disappearing and reappearing doors, swarms of insects, including cockroaches, hot chocolate that makes you forget what just happened, tornadoes inside… and then things get really messy!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The story is told from two points of view, with each twin taking turns to be the narrator. The stories overlap nicely with each child having a distinct voice and often differing opinions on what is happening! Grandma X is quite annoying as she constantly tries to divert the children from their questions and basically just confuses the issues… but all for good reason… can’t say too much more without giving the whole thing away – but destiny, family traits, abilities and inheritance play a big part in the adventure as the twins battle to keep together and understand the changes taking place around them – all while evil lurks around the corner and tries to kidnap or hijack them!

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Reynie Muldoon is a singular child. He is an orphan with an astonishing intellect. He, with the assistance of his tutor and friend, Ms Perumal, answers an add in the paper looking for exceptional children and after a gruelling round of tests and several strange min adventures,is one of only four children chosen by the mysterious Mr Benedict to help him save the world! Each of the children are orphans or runaways. Each has some gift, either intellectual or physical which makes them unique… and they all are strong minded and almost obsessed with the truth!

An interesting idea with some great characters, but a bit hard to get started! All of the children are geniuses in their own rights, and each has their own flaws and faults, but when put together they need to work together as a team to stop the evil plan of Mr Curtain to use brain washing techniques and mind sweeping machines to dominate and ultimately control the whole world!

A lot of time is spent introducing the characters and the main premise behind the plot. Once the children are sent to the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, the pace picks up and the story begins to become clearer!

A good read for Year 3-6 students who like a bit of a challenge and aren’t afraid to stick with a book beyond the first few slow chapters!

Too Small to Fail by Morris Gleitzman

Too Small to Fail

Too Small to Fail

Oliver Newton’s parents own their own bank. They are rich and important people. They are very busy people. They are about to become victims of the Global Financial Crisis, taking many of their investors both small and large with them!

Oliver is a small, naive Year 5 boy who misses his parents and desperately wants their approval and attention. He also desperately wants a dog.

The story begins with Oliver, the boy who has every toy and gadget known to man mournfully trying to befriend a small dog (whom he has called Barclay) through the glass window of the local pet shop. Oliver is banned from entering the pet shop as the staff know he is not allowed to buy a dog. This is where Nancy steps in, buys the dog from under his nose, entices Oliver into her car and then threatens to kill the dog!

Nancy turns out to be one of the many housekeepers/nannies Oliver has been cared for over the course of his short life. She is also an investor with his parents’ bank who cannot now get her money and is in desperate need of assistance.

There is a lot of desperation going around in this book! Oliver’s parents are desperate to not lose everything, escape from their investors and in the case of Owen, Oliver’s Dad, start a new bank in Europe. Nancy and her daughter Rose are desperate to save their camels from dying of thirst by getting their investment money back from the Newtons and perhaps get a bit of closure for the death of Tim, Nancy’s husband. Hayden, who works at the bank desperately wants his new BMW. Erik desperately wants any money he can get by simply threatening to kill Barclay. The kid’s at Oliver’s exclusive school desperately want to double their money overnight… the list goes on.

There is a lot of desperation in this book and most of it revolves around money. Oliver’s simplistic and often misguided attempts to please everybody, help Nancy, rescue Barclay and impress his parents leave him further and further out of his depth and more and more stressed! Yet somehow, Oliver’s staunch belief in doing the right thing, no matter how difficult or how expensive eventually rubs off on Nancy, Rose and eventually his mother.

Right and wrong are rarely black and white, and as Oliver struggles to come to grips with Maths in general and his parents’ world of high finance in particular, the lines become even more blurred. Only Oliver seems to see the difference between greed and selfishness compared to compassion and selflessness. All his care is given to others.

Morris Gleitzman has produced a very topical book, at a time when many students struggle to understand the financial woes being reported around them. This book does not set out to explain or clarify the situation, but it does make it clear that it is the way we treat each other, not how much money we have that is important!

The Poison Apples by Lily Archer

The Poison Apples

The Poison Apples

“Bad Stepmothers be warned.”

Told from the point of view of three 16 year old girls, each having recently acquired a not so sympathetic step mother through not so happy circumstances… the story follows the advent of the step mothers, each of the girl’s arrival at an expensive boarding school, the initial non friendship of the three, followed by the revelation of the step mothers and almost instant friendhisp, revenge plans, painful revelations and stronger friendship as the girls grow through the experience!

A quick read with an easy flow to the story. The characters are quite likable, but tend to be self centered (what teenage girl isn’t?).

Enjoyable and not too deep and meaningful, unless you look a bit closer!

Rose by Holly Webb

Rose

Rose

Rose is an orphan. Found in a fish basket at the foot of a war memorial, Rose has no hope of her parents descending on the orphanage to rescue her… she must make her own luck! So when the chance comes to go into service in the house of famous magician, Mr Fountain, she jumps at the chance and her life is turned upside down. None of the other servants seem to notice the strange behaviour of the house and it’s occupants. Rose however can’t walk down the stairs without feeling the house moving. As for the magic…

What a beautiful story! Rose is so human, with her sudden bursts of strength and insight and her self doubt and fear. The other characters are equally believable and likable. The stench of evil is at first barely noticeable, slowly escalating until more and more evidence of wrongness builds up and others notice. The Family is under threat and it is up to Rose and her new friends to save the day!

Great story, lovable characters and beautiful writing! Love it!

The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester

This book is thoroughly enjoyable! I loved the characters and the situations described in the book.

The Girl Who Could Fly

The Girl Who Could Fly

Piper McCloud is a young girl who isn’t quite what her parents expected… or what anyone else expected for that matter. From the time she was born, strange things happened, and when she finally takes the unusual step of flying in front of the whole town, she is whisked away to a top secret, maximum security school for kids with exceptional abilities… except all is not as it seems.

Piper is such an upbeat, caring and responsive child, you can’t help liking her. She is naive at times and yet oddly perceptive for a young person with such a sheltered background at others.

Of course, the students rebel with devastating results, but you can’t keep a good girl down (on the ground)…

There is quite a bit of thought provoking delving into the characters, especially Piper, Conrad (a super genius) and the Director of the school, Dr Hellion (a surprisingly suitable name). I found the book to flow well, especially once Piper is banned from flying and takes matters into her own hands.

Love the characters and the whole idea of ‘exceptional abilities’. Great book!

Apologies

It’s been a long time between visits… and it’s not as if I haven’t been reading!!!

So this post is going to be quite long. I’m not going to go into as much detail as usual, but I am going to use this as an opportunity to share my readings (briefly)!

The Battle of the Sun

The Battle of the Sun

The Battle of the Sun by Jeanette Winterson.

Took a little bit of reading to get into – a very different style of writing. Not a lot of description and tends to be abrupt (in my opinion), but once I got the hang of it, thoroughly enjoyable.

Very different characters, with one character, Silver, crossing over from a previous book. I liked Jack’s never give up attitude, and of course… the dragon!

Twilight the graphic novel - volume 1

Twilight the graphic novel - volume 1

Twilight the graphic novel, volume 1 by Stephanie Meyer, Art and Adaptation by Young Kim.

Loved this – especially since the characters are closer to my imaginings than the actors!

Of course it is shorter than the original novel (being volume 1)and leaves out some things, however the emotion and underlying themes of the novel are beautifully captured.

Looking forward to volume 2!

Worm in the blood

Worm in the blood

Worm in the Blood by Thomas Bloor

An unusual book. I was sucked in from the beginning, but took a while to be able to predict the course of events. I was mystified and intrigued.

Sam is fantastic! His curse is an unusual take on dragons – love it!

ghostgirl

ghostgirl

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

I found this book very hard to get into – the main character, Charlotte Usher, is not likable nor sympathetic. Not a character I could relate to, or wanted to relate to. I had many other books screaming for my attention that I would rather have been reading…

I was a bit naughty and kept putting Ghostgirl down to read other books, but eventually I found something in there to relate to! I’m not saying it’s not a good book – it is, but not my cup of tea!

Wolven

Wolven

Wolven by Di Toft

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Wolves have always been a favourite of mine, along with dragons (and more recently vampires and fallen angels). Wolven are different again!

A cross between family dog and werewolf, Nat Carver’s new dog, Woody, turns out to be more than anyone bargained for.

The characters are well drawn and enjoyable and the villain is deliciously revolting – very easy to dislike intensely!

I recommend this for boys!

When you reach me

When you reach me

When you reach me by Rebecca Stead

Newbery Medal winner for 2010, this book is delightful, bringing back memories of my own adventures with Madeleine L’Engle and a wrinkle in time (as well as all her other books).

Time travel is alive and well and just as confusing and abstract as it ever was.

Miranda is the main character and totally likable. Her struggles with friendships and understanding the world around her, her mother’s obsession with a TV game show and the crazy homeless guy who lives uner the postbox on the corner are believable and entertaining. I loved this book!

Tantalize

Tantalize

Tantalize – predator or prey? by Cynthia Leitich Smith

I got this book to read after thoroughly enjoying Eternal by the same author.

This book involves werewolves, vampires, cooking and evil.

I didn’t get the same kick out of this book as Eternal, but still an enjoyable read.

Need

Need

Need by Carrie Jones

Pixies are alive and well in Maine. Zara White is shipped off to live with her Grandmother in Maine, when she doesn’t cope with her fathers death. Things do not go smoothly. Boys are disappearing, blizzards keep blowing up out of nowhere and her new best friends are werewolves…

My kind of book!

Peeps

Peeps

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld is fast becoming a favourite of mine. I loved this book – couldn’t put it down!

A very unusual take on vampires, with great characters and plenty of action!

The story follows Cal, who has been infected by the parasite, but is only a carrier… this means he has infected all his girlfriends, who he now must track down and neutralise.  Full of informative and totally gross facts about parasites, the book is highly enjoyable!

Blue Bloods

Blue Bloods

Masquerade

Masquerade

Blue Bloods and Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz

Gossip girl just went vamp!

Schuyler Van Allen attends an exclusive Manhattan school. She never quite fit in, but wasn’t too fazed, until one of her schoolmates dies and the most popular boy in school starts to show a sudden interest in her.

Of course there is much more to the story – the vampires are actually angels fallen from heaven…. two of my new favourite themes in one!

Grave Sight

Grave Sight

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

Harper Connolly can see dead people.  She was struck by lightening when she was young and ever since has been able to locate dead bodies by following their ghosts.

Not as enjoyable as the Sookie Stackhouse books, but still not a bad read.

A Kiss of Shadows

A Kiss of Shadows

A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton

Faeries are real and living amongst us. Meredith Gentry (Merry for short) is not what she seems. Working for a detective agency in LA, she deals with the abnormal – until she is outed for what she really is… a faerie princess.

Now her identity is revealed, she has to go home and deal with her Aunt – the Queen of the Dark Sithe, with a thirst for pain and an appetite for the erotic…

Moon Called

Moon Called

Blood Bound

Blood Bound

Iron Kissed

Iron Kissed

Bone Crossed

Bone Crossed

Moon Called, Blood Bound, Iron Kissed and Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

I enjoyed these books so much, I read the whole set!!!

Werewolves, vampires and the Fey – what more could you ask for? Mercedes Thompson (Mercy) is actually a shifter – changing at will into a coyote. Called a Walker, her special talent protects her form some magic and her gumption, loyalty and caring nature make her a very likable character. Being pursued by two gorgeous werewolves is just an added bonus!

Changeless

Changeless

Changeless by Gail Carriger

A novel of vampires, werewolves and dirigibles!

The sequel to Souless follows the adventures of Alexia Maccon, the Lady of Woolsey and her husband as they investigate and upend exorcised ghosts, vampire politics and werewolf pack dynamics.

I loved this book as much as the first in the series, and given the shock ending – can’t wait for the next installment!!

My pile is now down to just 3 book – and I’m starving! I’ll try to make sure I don’t leave things as long this time!!!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Harry Pottera nd the Deathly Hallows

Harry Pottera nd the Deathly Hallows

I’m not going to say too much about Deathly Hallows – I reread this when not feeling to well, which would probably affect how I did or didn’t enjoy the book.

The last installment of the Harry Potter franchise, Deathly Hallows pulls everything together, eventually, and after an epic battle, where Harry finally works out what Dumbledore has been trying to get him to work out for himself, the happy ending everyone wanted, sort of arrives. There are, however some notable absences at the end of the book. I won’t detail them – just in case you haven’t read the book yourself yet, but the deaths of some characters do dampen the triumph somewhat, which I believe was deliberate on the part of J.K. Rowling. Yes, Harry won, but at what cost?!

Often slow moving – the book does cover a lot of ground and angst as well as a lot of soul searching and agonising.

I did enjoy the book, despite what my comments above may sound like, and I’m definitely looking forward to the movie in November!