Monthly Archives: February 2011

Scare yourself silly with the Invisible Fiends

Did you have an invisible friend when you were younger?  If you did you probably can’t remember what they looked like now.  Kyle had an invisible friend when he was younger whose name was Mr Mumbles.  Mr Mumbles lived in the loft and would come and tap on Kyle’s bedroom window when he wanted to play.  Kyle had completely forgotten about him until, one night, Kyle hears the tapping on his window.  This time though, Mr Mumbles doesn’t want to play, he wants to kill Kyle and he’ll stop at nothing to do so.  With the help of a mysterious girl called Ameena, Kyle races to escape his invisible fiend.  Kyle realizes that the only way to defeat Mr Mumbles is to use the thing that created him – his imagination.

Mr Mumbles is the first in the series of Invisible Fiends books by Barry Hutchison.  The second book, Raggy Maggie is also out, with the third book due soon.  These books are great for anyone who likes creepy horror stories, especially fans of Skulduggery Pleasant.  They’re creepy, gruesome, suspenseful and action-packed.  Invisible Fiends is definitely my new favourite series!   Recommended for 9+ DON’T READ AFTER DARK! 10 out of 10

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Farewell to Brian Jacques and Redwall

I was sad to learn today that the author of the Redwall series, Brian Jacques, died on 5 February 2011. Brian has written many books in the Redwall series, including Rakkety Tam, The Legend of Luke, Marlfox, and The Pearls of Lutra, as well as the fantastic Flying Dutchman series. Here’s some interesting facts about Brian Jacques:

  • He was caned by a teacher, who could not believe a 10-year-old could write so well, when he wrote a short story about a bird who cleaned a crocodile’s teeth.
  • He left school at 15 and traveled the world as a merchant seaman.
  • He wrote his first story, Redwall, for children at Royal Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool. Because the children were blind, he made his writing as descriptive as possible, painting pictures with words so that they could see them in their imaginations.
  • He has worked as a railway fireman, a longshoreman, a long-distance truck driver, a bus driver, a boxer, a bobby (Police Constable), a postmaster, and a stand-up comic.
  • He has sold over 20 million books worldwide and they have been translated into 29 languages.

What’s your favourite Brian Jacques book?

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Shaolin Burning by Ant Sang

Shaolin Burning is the fantastic graphic novel  by award-winning New Zealand cartoonist, Ant Sang.  It’s a mix of kung fu legend and Chinese history, and it’s totally cool.  You might recognize his illustrations because he was one of the creators of NZ TV series, bro’ Town.  Check out this great book trailer by publishers, HarperCollins NZ.

You can also check out an interview with him from TV3′s Nightline programme.

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Julian Smith’s I’m reading a book! music video

My workmate showed me this.  Check it out, it’s hilarious!

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Department 19 book trailer

 

Two quite different trailers for Will Hall’s new book, Department 19.  It looks fantastic and I can’t wait to read it.

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Teen vs. society – rise of dystopian fiction

My first couple of reads for the year have been dystopian novels and this looks to be a growing trend in Young Adult fiction. Personally I love dystopian novels.  I love the imaginations of these authors who build a society that could easily exist in the not-too-distant future.  They take a small piece of today’s society, such as social networking or consumerism, and ask ‘what if this got totally out of control?’

CoverIn Rae Mariz’ debut novel The Unidentified, 15 year-old Katey (AKA Kid) goes to school in the Game, an alternative education system run by corporations.  These ‘Games’ have been set up in disused shopping malls, so where there used to be shops, there are different spaces that students can go to try new products and participate in activities to increase their ‘score.’

The students vie with each other to be noticed and sponsored (or ‘branded’) by the corporations, thereby giving them celebrity status and financial freedom.  Students each have iPad-like devices that they use to update their profile pages and live streams. When Kid witnesses a mock suicide staged by an anonymous group called the Unidentified, she begins to doubt the system. The story will strike a chord with teens and they’ll be able to really relate to Kid and the suffocating world she lives in.

If you’re a fan of  YA dystopian fiction there are plenty of titles to choose from.  Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy is the most obvious choice (and the most popular) but here are a few others I recommend:

  • The Maze Runner and the sequel, The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  • The Ship Builder by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis

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Interview with Beth Revis

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