July 31, 2009

Wings #1

WINGS:
Wings by Aprilynne Pike

'Hell Of A First Zit'


Laurel is just your average teenage girl; ok, so she has the looks of a model, the grace of a bird, is up with the sun and has weird (healthy) eating habits, but she's still normal. Right?

One morning Laurel wakes to find a zit, her first zit, right in the middle of her back. Although a bit disgusted she's also a little relieved, it was normal for teenagers to get zits. But as the days go by the zit does not disappear, instead it is growing bigger. At some stage Laurel has to admit that this is no normal zit, its something else. At first Laurel is convinced it is a tumour; she has cancer. But as the thing gets bigger and finally reveals itself, Laurel now knows it is not a tumour. But she is not so sure that this is any better.

With the help of her friend David, Laurel is about to learn a lot more about herself then she ever knew before. Laurel is not human, she is a fairy. And she is not the only one. There is a whole other world that Laurel is about to learn about, a world of magic and beauty, but also of danger and old enemies. Laurel must learn to live between two worlds, the world of humans and the world of fairies. This is highlighted by her feeling of being torn between her two friends, a human David and a fairy Tamani; the two boys for whom Laurel has feelings for.

Wings is a story of fairies as you've never seen them before, full of charm, mystery, adventure and excitement. An entertaining book that stirs the imagination and leaves you with a sense of wonder. This is the first of four books to be published in this new series. I loved this story and not just because it's about fairies. It is a beautiful and warm story that manages to remain innocent despite its violence. A highly recommended read and a stunning debut novel.
On sale: 01 August 2009
Price (AU): $19.99
ISBN: 9780007319732
Recommended age: 10+
In a word: Wings
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: yes
Star rating: four out of five
xx

July 28, 2009

The Nature Of ice

The Nature Of ice by Robyn Mundy

Hearts In ice!


Freya Jorgensen is on her way to Antarctica. She has obtained a grant to produce a photographic expedition of Antarctica, incorporating not only her own pictures that she will take while there, but also the pictures taken by her 'hero' Frank Hurley, a photographer on one of the first expeditions to Antarctica.

But this story is not Freya's alone, as Freya is forced to share her time and her experiences in Antarctica with Chad McGonigal. And it is their story together that allows Freya to explore the intriguing and mysterious landscape of Antarctica while exploring her own nature. Out on the ice, in a harsh and revealing land, Freya is forced to see herself as she truly is, a side of her that has been hidden deep within her.

This story also mixes history with the present. Freya is not the only one to find a true understanding her own nature, and the importance of love reflected in the ice. Douglas Mawson, who explored the Antarctic about a hundred years before Freya steps foot there, also learns the revealing and raw nature of ice.

The story of Douglas and his men, including the photographer Frank Hurly, and his relationship with them and those he has left back home, his fiance Paquita, is interwoven throughout Freya's story highlighting the impact the Antarctic has had on the human spirit and undying belief in love.

The Nature Of ice is a story well worth reading. As it chops and changes from the past to the present, it offers an interesting and touching perspective on friendship, hope and love, and the nature of ice which is as strong and fragile as the enduring nature of the human spirit. Although slow to get into, due to the constant chopping and changing from the past to the present and between present characters, it would not be as deep a story without the connection with the past. However, I think it would have been a bit better had it focused more on the single present character of Freya.
Robyn Mundy @ Allen & Unwin
On sale: 01 September 2009
Price (AU): $26.99
ISBN: 9781741755763
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Ice
Re-read it: possibly
Recommend: possibly
Star rating: three out of five
xx

July 25, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse #6

SOOKIE STACKHOUSE:
Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

It's All In The Blood!


Sookie is once again called away from her little home town of Bon Temps on account of a vampire. Only this time it is to the city of New Orleans, and the vampire is her cousin, Hadley. Actually I should say 'was', for as we found out in the short story One Word Answer, Hadley had been killed, and Sookie is off to New Orleans to clean out Hadley's apartment and close out her estate.

But before Sookie can leave Bon Temps there is plenty to keep her occupied. Her ability is called upon to help a co-worker, and there are new people in Sookie's life. One is a new co-worker that Sookie is suspicious off, one is a new worker at Fangtasia, a vampire, who Sookie takes a liking too, and one is a man that Sookie takes a real liking too.

Once Sookie arives in New Orleans, things don't go as smoothly as Sookie hopes. There are surprises awaiting Sookie in Hadley's apartment. There are friends, and enemies, new and old. Kings and Queens, killers and kidnappers. There are obligations, revelations, allegations, confrontations, confessions, broken hearts, broken bodies and fancy dresses.

Sookie is shown New Orleans in all its forms, from the bright lights of the city, to the grand old Garden District, to the dark and damp swamps and bayous, whether she wanted to see it or not.

Sookie is learning more and more about the supernatural community everyday, and so too are we. Every moment brings new excitement and new challenges, this book will keep you on your toes and keep you guessing. I recommend reading the short story One Word Answer by Charlaine Harris, found in the book Bite, before reading this book as it provides a lot of background for this story, although I should say it is not entirely necessary.
On sale: 01 April 2007
Price (US): $7.99
ISBN: 9780441014910
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Heart
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: to those reading the series
Star rating: four out of five
xx

July 22, 2009

Coraline

Coraline (Film tie-in edition) by Neil Gaiman

Enter If You Dare!


Coraline is a girl, small for her age, alone with no siblings, and surrounded by adults too busy to play with her. But there is one person desperate for Coraline to play to with them forever, and ever, and ever...

When Coraline and her parents move into a new home, Coraline decides to explore. Coraline loves to explore and what she finds is a door, in a wall, that leads to nowhere. That's because it's bricked up. Disappointed, Coraline decides to explore the garden. But as the rain settles in she is forced once again indoors.

Strange noises and shadows in the night cause Coraline to become curious. Obscure and ominous warnings are given to Coraline, but still her curiosity gets the better of her. Once again she is drawn to the door, in the wall. Only this time the bricks are gone. Eager to explore Coraline enters.

What Coarline finds is a world not unlike her own, with a few differences. The home is almost identical to her own and there are parents here too who are almost exactly the same as her real parents, only with one small difference. Their eyes. The 'other' mother and 'other' father have no eyes, only shiny black buttons where theirs should be.

Scared, Coraline tries to return home, but home is not the same anymore. The 'other' mother of this strange world has decided she wants to keep Coaline, and never let her go. She's decided Coraline should have shiny black buttons where her eyes should be. Is Coraline brave enough to find a way to save herself and find a way back home, or will she be trapped, with black buttoned eyes, with her 'other' mother forever?

What a great story. Neil Gaiman is an excellent writer and has delivered yet another fascinating and eerie tale, with dark humour and an intriguing plot. Coraline is such a likable character and she is surrounded with such a quirky and strange cast of characters that you can't help but enjoy this book.

I know it's a children's book but I enjoy a good book no matter the target age. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down.
On sale: 01 July 2009
Price (AU): $15.95
ISBN: 9780747597308
Recommended age: 10-18
In a word: Button
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: yes
Star rating: three out of five
xx

July 19, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse - Tacky

SOOKIE STACKHOUSE: 
Tacky by Charlaine Harris

Everybody Loves A Wedding!


Tacky is a short story in the Sookie Stackhouse universe that has been published in the book My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding. A book of short stories about supernatural weddings from a number of different authors.

Sookie Stackhouse does not feature in this story.
Here we are introduced to Dahlia, Dahlia's best friend Taffy is getting married. To a Werewolf. No one seems to be pleased about this union except Taffy and her future husband, the Werewolf packmaster Don. Despite her feelings, Dahlia is going to do all she can as bridesmaid to make sure the wedding is a success. Oh, did I mention that Dahlia and Taffy are vampires.

Even before the big day there are problems, attempted murders. And it's not just the supernatural community that feels that this wedding is unnatural. Should a wedding between a vampire and a Werewolf be permitted? Will it go on without a hitch? Or will the body count mount up?

It's a quirky little, short story with a feel good, fairytale, 'happily ever after' ending. As long as you have read the first Sookie Stackhouse novel you will have a basic understanding of the background to this story.
On sale: 03 October 2006
ISBN: 9780312343606
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Weddings
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: to those reading the series
Star rating: three out of five
xx

Sookie Stackhouse - One Word Answer

SOOKIE STACKHOUSE:
One Word Answer by Charlaine Harris

In A Word, Yes!


One Word Answer is a short story in the Sookie Stackhouse universe that has been published in the book Bite. A book of short stories about dark seduction and vampires from a number of different authors.

Sookie is at home raking up her yard, at midnight, with the vampire Bubba. Just your ordinary night. When something unordinary happened. A limousine turned into Sookie's drive. A limousine would not turn up at Sookie's unless it was deliberate, no one turned up unless it was deliberate, that's how far out of the way Sookie's house was.

As a large gentleman emerged from the limousine, Sookie is left alone to face him, and from what she can 'hear' he isn't human. What could he possibly want from her, and what has all this to do with her long estranged cousin Hadley?

The large gentleman has not come alone; he has come with vampires in tow. Just as things start to look ominous for Sookie help arrives. But is it enough to save her from the task that has been bestowed upon her? Has she just made a powerful enemy? and will she survive another attack on her life?

A great little story offering an intriguing extra insight into the world of Sookie Stackhouse and its character. I strongly recommend reading the first five Sookie Stackhouse novels before you read this. This short story sets the background for what is to come in book six, Definitely Dead.
On sale: 01 January 2005
ISBN: 9780515139709
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: 'Yes'
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: to those reading the series
Star rating: three out of five
xx

July 18, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse #5

SOOKIE STACKHOUSE:
Dead As A Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Working With The Enemy!


Sookie has noticed changes in her brother. If it was uncertain before, its curtain now. Jason would never be the same again. At least not at the full moon. Jason had been bitten by a shapeshifter, a werepanther, and now at every full moon he would change into a werepanther, well a half-man half-panther. Jason seemed to be fitting into the werepanther community at Hotshot quite well. That is until a sniper appears.

A sniper is targeting the shapeshifters of Bon Temps, and some of them seen to think Jason may be the shooter. If Sookie can't find the truth before the next full moon the shifters may take matters into there own hands. Will Sookie loose Jason, the only family she has left?

But that's just the beginning of Sookie's problems. There is yet another attempt on Sookie's life, well several attempts to be accurate. The ex-boyfriend to deal with, a number of suitors to contend with, a fire, a beating, a friend in need, a fight to the death, and supernatural politics that Sookie somehow got dragged into.

Another intriguing fast paced story that is impossible to put down. A great mystery that will keep you guessing till the last page. A very enjoyable read.
On sale: 01 April 2006
Price (US): $7.99
ISBN: 9780441013333
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Sniper
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: to those reading the series
Star rating: four out of five
xx

July 17, 2009

Ruby The Red Fairy - FREE

Ruby The Red Fairy by Daisy Meadows

'I Always Believed In Fairies'


Rachel Walker was on her way to Rainspell Island to spend a week's holiday with her parents. On the ferry Rachel meets Kirsty Tate, and the two quickly become friends.

Once on the island Rachel and Kirsty decide to explore, a rainbow that they spotted from the ferry that seems to end not too far away and the two friends set off to see if there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Rachel and Kirsty are surprised when they actually find a pot at the end of the rainbow, but were even more surprised to find what was inside.

Trapped inside an old upturned pot is a tiny winged girl.
A fairy.

Ruby the Red Fairy has lost her sisters, banished from Fairyland until they can be reunited; Rachel and Kirsty agree to help Ruby find her sisters so they might be able to return home to Fairyland.

Rechel and Kirsty now only have six days to find six fairies; will they find all of Ruby's sisters before their holidays come to an end?
The adventure continues in book two Amber The Orange Fairy.

A cute story that any little girl can enjoy. The only problem is that you need all seven books in the series to fully enjoy the story. It was a bit of a letdown that the story is not able to standalone.

This book arrived FREE today in the mail and anyone, in Australia, is able to get a copy.
Click HERE to see a list of participating booksellers where you are able to pick up a free copy of this book.
Or alternatively click on the fairy below to fill in a form to have a free copy sent to you.
This offer ends 30th September 2009.
On sale: 19 September 2008
ISBN: 9781408305072
Recommended age: 6-9
In a word: Red
Re-read it: possibly
Recommend: to children, girls
Star rating: two out of five
xx

July 15, 2009

The I Believe Bunny

The I Believe Bunny by Tish Rabe,
illustrated by Frank Endersby

You Just Have To Believe!


On a rainy spring day The I Believe Bunny happens upon a small mouse caught up in the river. The small mouse can not swim, and there is no one else about to help. The I Believe Bunny does all that he can but fears that he is too small to help the drowning mouse. But no matter how scared The I Believe Bunny is, he never gives up. He continues to try his best to save the mouse while reaching out for help, and his prayers are answered when his friends come to his aid in saving the small mouse.

The I Believe Bunny is a lovely children's story of faith, of belief in oneself and of friendship. The story is one that both girls and boys will enjoy and teaches that you are never alone as long as you believe.

The I Believe Bunny is the first book in The I Believe Bunny Series by Tish Rabe, well known for her work with the Dr. Seuss books. The rhyming story is captivating, creating a lovely flow to the story that children will enjoy. Equally enjoyable are the beautiful and bright illustrations that compliment this sweet story.

On sale: 01 July 2009
Price (US): $9.99
ISBN: 9781400314768
Recommended age: 4-8
In a word: Believe
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: to children
Star rating: four out of five
xx

July 13, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse - Dracula Night

SOOKIE STACKHOUSE:
Dracula Night by Charlaine Harris

Nothing Says Happy Birthday Like A Sharp Pointy Stick!


Dracula Night is a short story in the Sookie Stackhouse universe that has been published in the book Many Bloody Returns. A book of short stories about vampires and birthdays from a number of different authors.

Sookie is on her way to work when she is collecting her mail. Bills, bills, bills, and an expensive, fancy looking invitation. It's a birthday invitation from Eric. No, its not Eric's birthday, its Dracula's. To celebrate Eric has planed a lavish party. Every vampire celebrates the birthday of Dracula, and even some hope against hope that Dracula himself may one day appear at their party. Although this is highly unlikely Eric is blindly hopeful that this year Dracula will chose to celebrate at Fangtasia.

At the party there are scarce few humans, Colonel Flood and Calvin Norris are present but neither can be called true human, with one a werewolf and the other a werepanther. There are also a number of vampires present that Sookie has never met before, out of towners passing through who have doped by for the celebration.

At midnight every one present is holding their breath as Dracula appears, or has he? There is some confusion and a lot of disbelief, and Sookie as one of the only humans is placed in a precarious position. While Colonel Flood and Calvin Norris try vainly to assist Sookie, and Eric seems temporarily unable or unwilling to, it is Pam that places Sookie salvation in Sookie's own hands. But is Sookie able to save herself? And what of the consequences of such action?

A fun and enlightening story in the Sookie Stackhouse universe that takes place before Dead As A Doornail.
On sale: 01 September 2007
ISBN: 9780441015221
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Birthday
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: to those reading the series
Star rating: three out of five
xx

July 11, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse - Fairy Dust

SOOKIE STACKHOUSE:
Fairy Dust by Charlaine Harris

Lemons Are A Killer!


Fairy Dust is a short story in the Sookie Stackhouse universe that has been published in the book Powers of Detection. A book of short stories about fantasy and mystery from a number of different authors.

Sookie is at work, and not in a good mood. Something that is not helped by the newest customer to walk into the bar. Claudine. A six foot tall, long black haired, gorgeous fairy. And she's not come to socialise. She needs Sookie's help, something Sookie is none too pleased about, but lucky for Claudine, Sookie needs the money.

Sookie agrees to help and soon finds herself at the home of Claudine and her brother. There are also three other humans in the house, all are gagged and bound until Sookie is able to 'listen' to them. One of them is guilty of murder. A fairy is dead and Sookie must find out who the killer is, and she has precious little time to accomplish this.

I love fairies, I and really enjoyed the twist to the fairies in this short story. Six feet tall, a high allergy to citric fruits, and possibly enjoy eating humans? And when I say short story I mean short; sixteen pages in total.

A lot of story packed in to a few pages, but I recommend reading the first four Sookie Stackhouse novels before you read this. It will give you a better grasp of the characters, with Claudine being introduced in the fourth book, Dead To The World.
On sale: 01 January 2007
ISBN: 9780441014644
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Fairies
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: to those reading the series
Star rating: four out of five
xx

Sookie Stackhouse #4

SOOKIE STACKHOUSE:
Dead To The World by Charlaine Harris

This Means War!


Sookie and Bill are taking some time apart. Far apart. To Peru, apart. Its looking as though this separation may be permanent.

It's New Years Eve and Sookie has just finished work. She was expecting to arrive home to an empty house, expecting to spend the next few hours sleeping in her safe warm bed. What she wasn't expecting was to see a naked man running down the road as she dove home. A naked dead man. It was the vampire, Eric.

Eric has lost his memory. He is as helpless as a puppy, a puppy with very sharp fangs, and will trust no one but Sookie. Sookie now finds herself the babysitter to a very dangerous vampire who can't remember a thing, and not to mention has a number of very dangerous people out looking for her 'baby'.

And this is just the beginning of Sookie's problems. Her brother has disappeared, a new threat has moved into neighbourhood, and there is the law to deal with. Sookie is left to deal with this all on her own as all the men in her life seem to have left her in some way or other.

But Sookie isn't the only one with problems, the vampires and the Weres are dealing with a new enemy that will see them go to war, unfortunately for Sookie she seems to be right in the middle of it. Will Sookie be able to avoid becoming involved in the bloodshed, not to mention the attempts on her life? And will her brother be found, alive?

But it's not all bad for Sookie though, there is a marriage proposal of sorts, two in fact, not to mention a large sum of cash for her trouble.

Another well written, actioned packed mystery full of twists, dangers and new supernatural beings. Best of the series so far.
On sale: 01 May 2005
Price (US): $7.99
ISBN: 9780441012183
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: War
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: to those reading the series
Star rating: four out of five
xx

July 9, 2009

PiNK

PiNK by Lili Wilkinson

'PiNK Is For Girls'


Ava is a teenager trying to please everyone, by the grades she gets, the clothes she wears, even the food she eats. But is this really what she wants? Or who she is?

Ava isn't so sure, at least not anymore. She isn't sure about a lot of things in her life, but one thing she is sure about is that it's time for a change; new friends, new experiences, a new school, and maybe even a new Ava. But will she be able to hold on to her old life while creating a new one?

Confused and on a mission to find herself, to find who she really is, Ava strives to reinvent herself. All she wanted was to be normal, be like everyone else and to fit in, to belong. But was this too much to ask; was she so different that she couldn't fit in anywhere? and has she reinvented herself so much that instead of finding herself, she has lost who she is in a web of new clothes and lies? Or is it possible that through all the secrets shared and mistakes made that Ava is able to learn about life, love and herself.

This book is a great read for any teenager girl. It is both clever and humorous, and at times embarrassingly honest. It deals with the question of identity and show its alright to be unsure; that life is never simple and neat, but messy and screwed up. It is not afraid to show the important issues faced by teens; that of family, friendships, relationships, sexuality, peer pressure, drugs and the need for acceptance.
On sale: 01 August 2009
Price (AU): $17.99
ISBN: 9781741758344
Recommended age: 14-18
In a word: Pink
Re-read it: possibly
Recommend: to teenage girls
Star rating: three out of five
xx

July 7, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse #3

SOOKIE STACKHOUSE:
Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

If You Think Computers Are A Pain In The Ass,
Imagine The Pain Of A Sharp Pointy Stick In Your Side!


Sookie is asked once again to use her gifts to help the vampires find one of their own who has been kidnapped. Yes another kidnapping; only this time it is her own vampire Bill that has been taken. Or has he?

Is it possible Bill has decided to leave Sookie for another woman, another dead woman. Either way Bill has disappeared and Sookie has decided that no matter how or why he left her, she was going to find him. Whether she would wrap her arms about him in a loving embrace, or to tear his throat out with her bare hands, she wasn't sure. But she was sure she had to find him.

In the mean time there was a new temptation for Sookie. A very tall, green eyed, good looking temptation. Not to mention the ever increasingly persistent Eric. Would Sookie leave Bill? Can their relationship survive temptations, secrets, unfaithfulness, torture, attempted murder, actual murder, rape, abuse, and just a good old fashioned beating? Only time will tell, as Sookie's gonna need some time to heal her many wounds, not to mention her heart, before she can decide if Bill is still the one she wants to be with, or if its all over for good.

Another fast paced, entertaining and action packed book to sink your teeth into.
On sale: 01 May 2003
Price (US): $7.99
ISBN: 9780441010516
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Temptation
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: to those reading the series
Star rating: four out of five
xx

July 4, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse #2

 SOOKIE STACKHOUSE:
Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris 

You Scratch My Back, And I'll Scratch Yours!


Sookie and Bill are set for their next adventure. After the unexplained murders of a number of women in the small town of Bon Temps in Louisiana had been solved by Sookie, she finally hoped that things might settle back down to normal. Well, as normal as you can get with a vampire for a boyfriend. But with the discovery of a new dead body and a promise to keep, things were going to be far from normal.

A body has been found, dead, and its not just any body, it's a friend of Sookie's, and she's determined to use all her skills, her telepathy, to find out who the murderer is. But there is little time to dwell on this matter as Sookie must fulfil a promise to the vampires, a promise that leads her to Dallas, to kidnapers, murderers, traitors and sadists. And that's just the humans.

As with the first book it’s enjoyable and light, however it does seem to lose its way. The books start and ending dealing with the murder seems somewhat tacked on to the bulk of the book as an extra or afterthought. The intrigue and mystery of the initial murder is overshadowed, and then lost, as this murder is quickly forgotten about in favour of a new story line in Dallas, and although the murder is well thought out and terribly interesting, it feels out of place with the main story.
On sale: 01 March 2002
Price (US): $7.99
ISBN: 9780441009237
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Murder/Kidnapping?
Re-read it: possibly
Recommend: to those reading the series
Star rating: three out of five
xx

July 2, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse #1

SOOKIE STACKHOUSE:
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

All The Good One's Are Dead!


Welcome to the small town of Bon Temps in Louisiana, where a mid twenty, blonde, blue-eyed waitress named Sookie Stackhouse calls home. But she's no ordinary waitress, she has a disability. She's a telepath. This makes life a little difficult for Sookie, particularly the dating part. Imagine ‘hearing’ all your dates thoughts, not always a desirable thing, especially if there scrutinizing you.

Then one day a stranger arrives in town. He is tall, dark and handsome. And the best part is that, unlike everyone else, Sookie cannot hear his thoughts. But he is not perfect; he is pale, fanged and dead. Enter Bill Compton, vampire.

What follows is a fun and entertaining story, mixing romance, mystery and vampires, as Sookie and Bill begin a relationship, attempt to solve a number of murders that have coincidently occurred with the arrival of Bill into town, not to mention land her brother in jail, and also begins for her a new, and somewhat unwanted, career with the vampires of Louisiana.

It’s an enjoyable and effortless read, a book you can easily lose yourself in.
On sale: 01 September 2008
Price (US): $7.99
ISBN: 9780441016990
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Vampires
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: yes
Star rating: four out of five
xx