November 30, 2009

Harper Connelly #2

HARPER CONNELLY:
Grave Surprise
by Charlaine Harris

Its Never To Late ... !


Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver have been invited to Memphis to give a demonstration. Dr Nunley, who teaches an unorthodox class at Bingham College, has it in mind to expose Harper as a fraud. But when Harper makes a surprising discovery at the old cemetery, even Dr Nunley is left speechless.

Harper had finally found Tabitha Morgenstern who had disappeared eighteen months ago in Nashville; only its months later and in the wrong city. Something about all this was not quite right, and when a new body turns up Harper and Tolliver decide its time they did some investigating of their own.

However, Harper finds herself distracted with prophecies, and ghosts and other things... Harper is accused of having more then one suitor. But is it the teenager Victor who is so obviously hiding a secret or two? the black leathered, white haired, pierced all over Manfred who so obviously has feelings for Harper? or is it the last person Harper expected, who will capture her affections?

Harper is gifted, strangely so, but despite her unique talent and association with death she is still very human and very likeable. As a character Harper is attainable and full of personality, her story highly imaginative while still remaining grounded. A thrilling mystery and a great read.
On sale: 01 September 2008
Price (AU): $19.99
ISBN: 9780575082878
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Mystery
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: to those reading the series
Star rating: four out of five
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November 27, 2009

I could be a Superhero!

I Could Be A Superhero! by Chris Hornsey
illustrated by Gwyn Perkins

When I Grow Up...!


Murphy is a little dog with big ideas; he has many dreams of the future and imagines himself as all sorts of wonderful things, from a teacher, a pop star, and a magician, to a dinosaur hunter, a superhero and many more.

What little boy or girl doesn't have BiG dreams for when they grow up. Murphy embodies all the ideas and possibilities that children dream up about their future and the possibilities available to them through their imaginations.

Ultimately Murphy learns he could be marvellous just being himself, just as children learn that they too can be great just by being themselves. A charming and creative book that sparks the imagination, children will be delighted with the possibilities presented within these pages.
On sale: 01 September 2009
Price (AU): $14.99
ISBN: 9781921541186
Recommended age: 3+
In a word: Imagine
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: to children
Star rating: four out of five
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November 26, 2009

Meeting Fairies

Meeting Fairies by R. Ogilvie Crombie

Fairies Are All Around!


Robert Ogilvie Crombie, or Roc as he was sometimes known, led a full and fascinating life. Roc was a trained musician, had studied science, was a self-taught spiritualist, and was interested in mythology, psychology, nature and all things 'occult'. In short he was a man with many interests, and a man who many described as being magical.

One day, late in his life, while visiting the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh Roc made a wondrous friendship with a most unique being. A faun. It was not long after this that Roc was introduced to Pan, a magical nature god, and through him a whole new world of fairies, nature and spirituality was open to him.

Over the remainder of his life Roc met and became aware of numerous fairies, nature spirits and elementals, and used his experiences to enlighten others. Roc found he was not the only one to feel a shift in the collective consciousness that was to spark a widespread interest in spirituality, and of cause fairies.

According to Roc most fairies are beings of light and energy, and are given form by the human imagination that perceives them. Roc is not the only one to see fairies as such. Below is Brian Froud's impression of a fairy made of light and energy. Next to that is Cicely Mary Barker's impression of a fairy made with the human imagination.


Meeting Fairies is a book that's part autobiography, part gardening tips, part spiritual guide, and part science text. But it is also a book that is all about fairies and all about love. For anyone who loves fairies, or has an interest in spirituality this is the perfect book.
On sale: 01 November 2009
Price (AU): $29.99
ISBN: 9781741759907
Recommended age: 16+
In a word: Fairies
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: yes
Star rating: five out of five
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November 23, 2009

Harper Connelly #1

HARPER CONNELLY:
Grave Sight
by Charlaine Harris

A Gift From God, A Servant Of The Devil,
A Product Of Lightning!


Harper Connelly is not your average girl, she has a 'gift'. She can find the dead. She can't talk to them or see them, only find their bodies after their life has expired. Harper makes her living using the gift god, and a lighting bolt, gave her; and not everyone likes that.

Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver have entered the town of Sarne, or as Harper likes to think of it Hell, for nothing seems to go right from the moment they enter the town. It was supposed to be a simple job, a quick in and a quick out. Unfortunately someone has murder on the mind, and Harper and Tolliver have just been dragged along for the ride.

Even in small towns there are secrets, some more deadly then others and someone will stop at nothing to keep the truth, and a few bodies, buried. Harper's gift has unwittingly brought a whole lot trouble down on the residents of Sarne, and in turn trouble has hit Harper and Tolliver, hard. Harper has sworn that she will never again set foot in Sarne, if only she can live long enough to leave.

Charlaine Harris has created yet another strong, intriguing and unique heroin in Harper Connelly. Grave Surprise is a murder mystery with a twist; where the paranormal meets the everyday. Every character in this story has their own history and quirks making them substantial and instantly familiar. A murder mystery that is exciting, fast paced and full of surprises.
On sale: 01 November 2007
Price (AU): $12.95
ISBN: 9780575079236
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Murder
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: yes
Star rating: three out of five
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November 21, 2009

Duck

Duck by Janet A. Holmes
illustrated by Jonathan Bentley

'Duck Is Where The Heart Is...'


A little boy introduces us to Duck. Duck is yellow and raggedy, smells like a blanket, feels soft and woolly, and can do nothing without the little boy. The little boy is Duck's hero.

One day the little boy discovers Duck is missing. The little boy looks everywhere for Duck, he asks all over town, even asking the dog next door, but still Duck could not be found. The little boy is so upset he is no longer able to do anything, not eat his dinner or splash in the bath.

Later as the little boy curled up in the corner between the cushions, he makes a discovery, Duck is hidden deep beneath the cushions. The little boy is so happy, he missed Duck so much and now that Duck is back he can do anything again. Duck is the little boy's hero.

Duck is a simple yet heartfelt story of friendship and love. It demonstrates that sometimes we don't appreciate what we have until it's gone, or just how much we care about someone till they are no longer there. Duck shows us that we need others as much as they need us, and that its no fun doing things on your own. A truly beautiful story to share with those you love.

On sale: 01 April 2009
Price (AU): $24.99
ISBN: 9781921272875
Recommended age: 3+
In a word: Duck
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: to children
Star rating: five out of five
xx

November 20, 2009

Zombie Blondes

Zombie Blondes by Brian James

Its Dead Easy Being Popular!


Hannah and her father have just arrived in a new town; it's a new start. Hannah is used to new towns and new starts, she has had to experience both numerous times, but she still does not like it.

On first impressions Maplecrest is just like any other small town you find anywhere, the same sparse shops in the main street, the same popular kids you find at every school. Hannah is sure she has this town figured out and, if she plays it right, this time she just may be in with the popular group.

However not all is as it seems, there are strange stories and warnings from Lukas, a nice but odd boy who developed a crush on Hannah, and then there is Diana, a wannabe that is interested in Hannah only if she succeeds in being popular. But will Hannah forget them both in her bid to become popular? and is it worth being popular if you wont live to enjoy it?

This is your typical story of adolescence with your everyday trials of acceptance and identity. The familiar story of the new kid at school is used to highlight the themes of friendship and belonging; and zombies... As a young adult book about adolescent themes it falls a little short. As a fictional book about zombies it doesn't quite make it for me.
On sale: 01 October 2009
Price (AU): $16.99
ISBN: 9780312573751
Recommended age: 12+
In a word: Zombies
Re-read it: possibly
Recommend: possibly
Star rating: two out of five
xx

November 17, 2009

The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy Book 2 - Prequel

THE SEVEN KINGDOMS TRILOGY:
Fire
by Kristin Cashore

Everybody Loves A Monster!


Fire is a monster. Not because of who she is or what she's done, but because of what she is, and what her father was. Monsters are not uncommon in the Dells, all being bright and beautiful and unnaturally coloured, what is uncommon is a human monster; and Fire is the last.

However, not all monsters are distinguished by their bright vibrant rainbow of colours. Some are the most unassuming of people, others are greedy and hateful men, and others still are dark memories that refuse to rest. In a world on the edge of disaster, is Fire the one to fear as the bringer of destruction, or will she be the only chance of survival?

Fire must make a choice, between what she was born to be, and what she wants to be. There is a war coming, enemies at every turn and murder on everyone's mind. Everybody has a secret, and the past is fast catching up with the present. Not everyone will survive and those that do will have blood on their hands. But not all is lost, for one way or the other the war will end, and with that ending there will be a new beginning.

In Graceling we are introduced to stories and rumours of rainbow coloured monsters in the land beyond the seven kingdoms. In Fire we learn that these stories are true. Fire may have been born a monster, but she is more human then most. And as Fire discovers, some of the scariest monsters were born human.

Fire is a story that draws you in, taking you on a journey that is full of twist and turns and surprises. It is both intriguing and insightful as death, loss and heartache are experienced. But this fast paced and entertaining story also holds hope, love and new life. Fire is a strong and powerful character that has also the ability for vulnerability. Despite her monsterness and great beauty she is warm and relatable; a stunning heroine.

The Dells and Pikkia - map
On sale: 01 October 2009
Price (AU): $32.99
ISBN: 9780575085121
Recommended age: 14+
In a word: Fire
Re-read it: possibly
Recommend: to those reading the series
Star rating: five out of five
xx

November 13, 2009

Ultra-Violet Catastrophe

Ultra-Violet Catastrophe!
or The Unexpected Walk with Great-Uncle Magnus Pringle
by Margaret Mahy
illustrated by Brian Froud

A Short Walk, A Long Adventure!


It all started with a visit to Aunt Anne Pringle's home, where for the first time Sally met her Great-Uncle Magnus Pringle. It was suggested that Sally and her Great-Uncle Magnus go for a walk. A walk seemed innocent enough; after all how much trouble can you get into on a walk...

Apparently a walk can be a very dangerous and adventurous thing. There are hedges and mud puddles, tree pirates and dams, and a large brown-and-white cow that chased them through a barbed-wire fence.

Sally and Great-Uncle Magnus ended up wet, muddy, stained and torn. But despite all they had a wonderful adventure that was simply 'Horrible Stumper' and 'Ultra-Violet Catastrophe'.

I love this book, it is delightful and engaging, and leaves you with a smile on your face. A warm hearted story that is beautifully illustrated and will always be cherished by young and old readers alike.

On sale: 1975
ISBN: 9780819307484
Recommended age: 6+
In a word: Adventure
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: yes
Star rating: five out of five
xx

November 10, 2009

Fairest of All

Fairest of All
A Tale of the Wicked Queen
by Serena Valentino

Once Upon A Time...!


We all know the story of Snow White; a beautiful princess, a wicked stepmother, a hunter and a poisoned apple. But what is the real story? Is Snow White really as innocent as all that, and is the Queen really that evil? Well yes, and yes. But what it not known is why...

Snow White's stepmother, the Wicked Queen, was not always wicked; she was once young, and beautiful, and loving. But something had changed, she had changed, she traded her grief for vanity and once she started there was no going back.

The Queen had suffered a lot during her life, and when she was at her lowest there he was, the man in the mirror. After that she was never the same again, and not even the gentle and beautiful stepdaughter could save her from herself, or the man in the magic mirror.

This story takes you beyond the fairytale to tell the real story of the Wicked Queen, and how she became capable of the unspeakable act of attempting to murder a stepdaughter that she had once loved as her own. It is a beautifully presented book with a dark yet fun story that is full of insights. If you like fairytales or dark fiction, then this book is for you.

Fairest of All - covers
On sale: 01 August 2009
Price (US): $15.99
ISBN: 9781423106296
Recommended age: 9-12
In a word: Mirror, Mirror
Re-read it: possibly
Recommend: possibly
Star rating: three out of five
xx

November 7, 2009

Where The Streets Had A Name

Where The Streets Had A Name
by Randa Abdel-Fattah

A Dream Of The Past, A Dream For The Future!


Hayaat is not your average thirteen year old; she will break laws and risk her life, and all for her ill grandmother.

Hayaat has grown up in Bethlehem but it is not where she was born. She is a Muslin and also a Palestinian, but most importantly she is a girl, a child living under occupation in the West Bank. Her life is a mixture of good days; going to school or skipping it to spend time with her friend Samy, and bad days; being locked in her home during curfew with her family for days on end.

The past is a scary place for many, filled with loss and heartache, and Hayaat has not been spared from this; she carries the scares of the past with her. People cling to their memories and to each other to survive, but despite all there is love and life, shopping and gossip. Although for many the future seems bleak and devoid of hope, life goes on, and so does their dream for freedom.

This is a story that is not often told. It is about more then just survival, it's about hope, and courage, and the enduring human spirit. A simple yet beautifully written story that is incredibly moving and passionately honest.
On sale: 01 October 2009
Price (AU): $16.99
ISBN: 9780330425261
Recommended age: 13+
In a word: Hope
Re-read it: possibly
Recommend: yes
Star rating: three out of five
xx

November 4, 2009

spellcrackers.com - Book 1

spellcrackers.com:
The Sweet Scent Of Blood
by Suzanne McLeod

Sidhe Is A Sucker!


In an alternate world, vampires have come out of the coffin to become the most sort-after of celebrities, but they're not the only ones out in the open, witches are a foot, goblins roam the streets, trolls wear the badges of law, and faeries take paid employment.

Genny is a fae living in London and working for the witch company Spellcrackers.com, it's a job she enjoys for she is good with magic, well with finding it anyway. But suddenly Genny has found herself to be in demand, and not just for her magical spell abilities. But as she keeps explaining to everyone, she is not a detective, and definitely not anyone's slave.

Many secrets from Genny's past emerge and are fast returning to haunt her, but Genny has many other secrets of her own that are placing her in danger; she has more then just fae blood running through her veins. There are also romantic complications at work, blackmail, murder, and confused identities.

In this fast paced, action packed, mystery we are given complex characters wrapped in a complicated and intriguing plot. The Sweet Scent Of Blood is imaginative, entertaining and full of surprises; Genny being one of the most original and unique characters around. I can not wait to read more...
On sale: 01 June 2009
Price (AU): $19.99
ISBN: 9780575086142
Recommended age: 18+
In a word: Fae/Fangs
Re-read it: yes
Recommend: yes
Star rating: four out of five
xx

November 2, 2009

The Tallest of Smalls

The Tallest of Smalls by Max Lucado,
illustrated by Maria Monescillo

You're As Tall As You Believe You Are!


Ollie is a Too Small of Stiltsville. Only the special in Stiltsville are chosen to walk about on tall stilts, but Ollie was not special, or clever, or funny, or cool. So for a long time Ollie felt unwanted, unworthy and unhappy. One day, however, Ollie was chosen to own stilts, and it was the happiest day of his life. That is until he tried to walk on the silts. When he fell none of the other stilt walkers were there for him, but someone else was. Ollie learnt that it doesn't matter how tall you are, all that matters is being yourself.

The Tallest of Smalls is a charming children's story of acceptance and of belief in oneself. It is also a story of Jesus and faith, but no matter if you believe in several gods, or one god, or in no gods, the message in this story is one everyone can appreciate. The story is one that both girls and boys will enjoy and teaches that you are special because you are who you are.

The Tallest of Smalls is a parable from Max Lucado's novel Fearless . 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 fun and poignant story.
On sale: 03 November 2009
Price (US): $16.99
ISBN: 9781400315147
Recommended age: 4-8
In a word: Acceptance
Re-read it: probably
Recommend: to children
Star rating: three out of five
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