Monthly Archives: December 2012

My Most Anticipated Books of 2013

Here is a selection of the books that I can’t wait to read in 2013.  I love being able to discover new authors and read new books by debut authors, but I also love reading the next book in my favourite series.  My list is a mixture of both.  I’ve been lucky enough to read a couple of them already, and just judging by these I know it’s going to be an awesome year of amazing books.

ScarletScarlet by Melissa Meyer

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

shades-of-earthShades of Earth by Beth Revis

Godspeed was once fueled by lies. Ruled by chaos. Now it’s time to come home. But life on Centauri-Earth is far from perfect. Threats from the planet and from within the colony are tearing them apart, although Elder and Amy do all they can to keep it together. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed–friends, family, life on Earth–will have been meaningless.

Maleficent SevenThe Maleficent Seven by Derek Landy

Tanith Low, now possessed by a remnant, recruits a gang of villains – many of whom will be familiar from previous Skulduggery adventures – in order to track down and steal the four God-Killer level weapons that could hurt Darquesse when she eventually emerges. Also on the trail of the weapons is a secret group of Sanctuary sorcerers, and doing his best to keep up and keep Tanith alive is one Mister Ghastly Bespoke.

When the villains around her are lying and scheming and plotting, Tanith needs to stay two steps ahead of her teammates and her enemies. After all, she’s got her own double-crosses to plan – and she’s a villain herself.

Watcher in the ShadowsWatcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A mysterious toymaker who lives as a recluse in an old mansion, surrounded by the mechanical beings he has created …an enigma surrounding strange lights that shine through the mists that envelop the small island on which the old lighthouse stands…a shadowy creature that hides deep in the woods…these are the elements of a mystery that bind will bind 14-year-old Irene to Ismael during one magical summer spent in the Blue Bay. He mother has taken a job as a housekeeper for the toymaker, Lazarus, but his house contains more secrets than Irene and Ishmael have bargained for.

life-in-outer-spaceLife in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls.

Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it.

Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies … but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones.

Night School LegacyNight School: Legacy by C.J. Daugherty

In the last year, Allie’s survived three arrests, two breakups and one family breakdown. The only bright point has been her new life at Cimmeria Academy. It’s the one place she’s felt she belongs. And the fact that it’s brought the dreamy Carter West into her life hasn’t hurt…But far from being a safe haven, the cloistered walls of Cimmeria are proving more dangerous than Allie could’ve imagined. The students, and faculty, are under threat and Allie’s family – from her mysterious grandma to her runaway brother – are at the centre of the storm. Allie is going to have to choose between protecting her family and trusting her friends. But secrets have a way of ripping even the strongest relationships apart.

Book of DoomThe Book of Doom by Barry Hutchison

There’s panic up in Heaven. They have mislaid the BOOK OF DOOM – the most important object in existence. Oopsy.

They think Satan might have stolen it, the sneaky little devil, so to save the world – plus, you know, quite a lot of embarrassment, fifteen year old Adam and his angelic guide Angelo are sent to retrieve it.

Sadly directions aren’t Angelo’s strong point and they soon find themselves just as lost as the book, wandering through Afterworlds such as Valhalla and Hades and encountering some colourful characters along the way…

Can the hapless pair make it to Hell and back?

EndersEnders by Lissa Price

With the Prime Destinations body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save Callie’s life – but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too …and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?

LightLight by Michael Grant

It’s been more than a year since every person over the age of fourteen disappeared from the town of Perdido Beach, California. In that time, countless battles have been fought: Battles against hunger and lies and plagues and worse, battles of good against evil, and kid against kid. Allegiances have been won, lost, betrayed, and won again; ideologies have been shattered and created anew, and the kids of the FAYZ have begun to believe that their new society is the only life they’ll ever know. But now that the Darkness has found a way to be reborn, the tenuous existence they‘ve established is likely to be shattered for good. Will the kids of Perdido Beach even survive?

AcidAcid by Emma Pass

In Jenna’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule with an iron fist. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

But Jenna’s violent prison has taught her a thing or two about survival. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead.

HysteriaHysteria by Megan Miranda

Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can’t remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn’t charged. But Mallory still feels Brian’s presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others.

Department 19 Battle LineDepartment 19: Battle Lines by Will Hill

Secret government unit Department 19 is recovering from evil vampire Valeri Rusmanov’s deadly attack on their base. The Department’s newest member, teenage operator Jamie Carpenter, is tasked with training up a new squad, as his friends and colleagues desperately search for ways to try to stop what is coming.

The timing couldn’t be worse for a coordinated, global attack on a number of maximum security prisons and hospitals—with the already-dangerous inmates now on the loose and turned into vampires. One of the escapees has a deep connection to one of the darkest moments in the history of Department 19 and embarks on a quest that threatens to expose the existence of vampires to the public. And with each day that passes, the regenerated Dracula gets stronger, bringing Zero Hour closer.

PF6_doomsdayDoomsday by Chris Morphew

The annihilation of the human race is scheduled for five o’clock this afternoon, and Luke and Jordan are running out of options.

As the battle rages on in town, an offer of help arrives from last place anyone could have expected. But can it really be trusted, or is this all just another one of Shackleton’s deceptions? And with murder still looming over Luke, will he even live long enough to find out?

One way or another, all of this is coming to an end.

And the clock is still ticking.

There are 17 hours until the end of the world.

OriginalsThe Originals by Cat Patrick

17-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets… until they discovered a shocking family secret. They’re actually closer than sisters, they’re clones. Hiding from a government agency that would expose them, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, attending social engagements, and a group mindset has always been a de facto part of life…

Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, a guy who seems to see into her very soul. As their relationship develops, Lizzie realizes that she’s not a carbon copy of her sisters; she’s an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created.

FracturedFractured by Teri Terry

Kyla’s memory has been erased, her personality wiped blank, her memories lost for ever.

Or so she thought.

Kyla shouldn’t be able to remember anything. But she can – and she’s beginning to realise that there are a lot of dark secrets locked away in her memories. When a mysterious man from her past comes back into her life, she thinks she’s on her way to finding the truth. But the more she learns about her history, the more confusing her future becomes…

Boonie by Richard Masson

JD’s father has been burnt alive by the Silver Men. His mother has run away. Lost in the desert without water, JD meets a strange old man whose mouth has been sewn shut. That man’s secret will save his life. The search for his mother leads JD to the City, where he must face the true horrors of life under the Silver Men. Trapped inside the Pits of enslaved children scraping for water, he must risk everything and everyone he has ever loved in order to survive. BOONIE is a story of bravery, friendship, loss and hope that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.

Clockwise to Titan by Elon Dann

Mo, Harete and Moth are on the run. Chased by the tyrannical forces of the Institute, they follow a line of pylons towards the Other country and the hope of freedom.

Winter tightens its grip and escape seems impossible. As the children weave together stories from their past, present and imaginations, the truth becomes harder and harder to bear. Chased by rabid dogs, hounded by Marshals with guns, and hiding from military helicopters, only the long line of wires and the lure of another way of life pulls them towards their goal.

The Great Galloon by Tom Banks

The Great Galloon is an enormous airship, built by Captain Meredith Anstruther and manned by his crew, who might seem like a bit of a motley bunch but who are able to fight off invading marauders whilst drinking tea and sweeping floors!

Captain Anstruther is preparing to marry the beautiful Lady Isabella, but disaster strikes when his evil younger brother comes aboard for the wedding and steals Isabella away onto his underwater Sumbaroon.

Stanley, a clever boy with a small horn, and Rasmussen, a reluctant countess-to-be, are busy waiting for an adventure to begin. Instead they have to fight off BeheMoths, avoid enormous Seagles, encounter the terrifying (but nice really) Brunt and save the Galloon from sinking. How will they ever find the Captain’s bride when nothing’s happening?

THE GREAT GALLOON is a humorous CAPTAIN PUGWASH meets MONTY PYTHON adventure perfect for reading aloud and for growing readers looking for a silly, funny book.

The Spin by Rebecca Lisle

Stormy is an orphan and a kitchen skivvy. He tends the compost, he scrubs the floors, and watches feasts make their way up the mountain as he survives on bread and water. A skivvy is all that Stormy can hope to be. But Stormy has a secret. He wants to be a sky-rider, to soar amongst the clouds on spitfyres: flying horses that spit fire and smoke, and answer only to their riders. A chance meeting with an escaped convict turns Stormy’s life upside down. Sent up to the Academy he uncovers a web of lies, deceits and neglect, at the centre of which lies the mysterious thirteenth horse. Can Stormy save Thirteen, defeat the dark forces at work within the Academy and prove himself worthy as a sky-rider?

Plus these exciting books that don’t have a blurb or cover yet…

  • More Than This by Patrick Ness (September)
  • Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts, winner of the 2012 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing
  • Book 5 in Richard Newsome’s Billionaire Series
  • Hopefully Book 2 in Michael Grant’s BZRK series
  • Hopefully a new book from Vikki Wakefield, author of All I Ever Wanted and Friday Brown
  • Hopefully Book 2 in Michael Pryor’s The Extraordinaires series

What are your most anticipated books of 2013? 

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Win a Margaret Mahy DVD Pack

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed two wonderful new DVDs about Margaret Mahy.   Margaret Mahy’s Rumbustifications takes us inside Margaret’s home in Governor’s Bay as she reads 5 of her stories and 11 of her favourite poems to her grandchildren and pets, and A Tall Long Faced Tale is an incredibly interesting and detailed documentary about Margaret Mahy that’s aimed at adults.

Thanks to Production Shed.TV I have a copy of both DVDs to give away.  All you have to do to get in the draw is enter your name and email address in the form below.  The competition closes on Wednesday 19 December (NZ only).

Thanks to everyone who entered.  This competition is now closed.

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Kiwi activity books to keep kids entertained

Whether you’re going off on holiday this Summer or just staying around home, kids need lots of things to do to keep them entertained.  If the weather is great they can get outside and enjoy the sun, but Christmas weather isn’t always so reliable so it’s good to have something up your sleeve.  There are lots of different activity books around, but here are a few great ones with a Kiwi flavour.

 

The Great Kiwi Swimming Puzzle Book by Annette Barry and John Bennett

DIVE IN to these Great Kiwi Swimming Puzzles!

44 puzzles to keep kids entertained for hours: crosswords, dot-to-dot, drawing activities, code breakers and more! PLUS tips from Water Safety New Zealand about how to stay safe in the water.

 

The Little Yellow Digger Activity Book

Little Yellow Digger Activity BookCelebrating 20 years of The Little Yellow Digger, The Little Yellow Digger Activity Book is packed with fun activities!

Full of fun and charm, this activity book will keep kids amused for hours with puzzles, things to make and colouring pages, including:

  • Spot the difference
  • Join the dots
  • Make your own diggers’ chains
  • Colouring in
  • Mud pie cookies recipe

 

New Zealand Garden Wildlife to Read, Colour and Keep by Dave Gunson

New Zealand Garden WildlifeThe natural world of our backyards includes many fascinating native and introduced species, from fungi, butterflies and moths, spiders and weta to reptiles and beautiful birds. Just as children enjoy encounters with garden wildlife, they’ll love learning about it as they colour in the simple, bold illustrations in this book, the latest in the ‘read, colour and keep’ series from Dave Gunson.

Read: Each page carries a sentence or two of introductory text alongside a traceable black-and-white line illustration ready to be coloured in.

Colour: An A4 double-page colour insert will guide children on realistic colour and markings.

Keep: Every illustration page is perforated to enable the completed drawing to be taken out of the book for display.

 

The Looky Book by Donovan Bixley

The Looky Book is a puzzle book with 11 different puzzles, all with colourful New Zealand landscapes, birds and animals.  There are heaps of things to find in each picture, like find the numbers with the crazy All Black lambs, spot the difference with the mischievous keas, find the animals hidden deep in the bush, and match the farmers to their animals.   There are hours of fun for kids and adults, and when you’ve solved all the puzzles, you can go back and find the tui and the grumpy garden gnome on each page.

 

All of these books are available throughout the country, so wherever you go these holidays, grab one for the Kiwi kids in your life.  These books are great for the whole family so you can join in and help too.

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Cover reveal: The Maleficent Seven by Derek Landy

Derek Landy has just revealed the spectacular cover for his Tanith Low novella, as created by the brilliant Tom Percival.  Check out the cover and the synopsis below…

This time, the bad guys take the stage.

Tanith Low, now possessed by a remnant, recruits a gang of villains – many of whom will be familiar from previous Skulduggery adventures – in order to track down and steal the four God-Killer level weapons that could hurt Darquesse when she eventually emerges. Also on the trail of the weapons is a secret group of Sanctuary sorcerers, and doing his best to keep up and keep Tanith alive is one Mister Ghastly Bespoke.

When the villains around her are lying and scheming and plotting, Tanith needs to stay two steps ahead of her teammates and her enemies. After all, she’s got her own double-crosses to plan – and she’s a villain herself…

The Maleficent Seven is a stand alone novel set in the Skulduggery Pleasant world, starring Tanith Low. Its due out on 28th March, 2013, so for those crazy Skulduggery Pleasant fans like me you don’t have too long to wait.

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My Top 10 New Zealand Books for Kids & Teens in 2012

We have so many great authors and illustrators in New Zealand and I love shouting about them.  There have been a bumper crop of books from NZ authors and illustrators this year and there are strong contenders for the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.  Some of these books have been included in my other Top 10 of 2012 lists but I wanted to do a separate list to highlight these spectacular NZ books.

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My Top 10 Young Adult Fiction of 2012

I’ve read so many amazing young adult novels this year!  Out of all the books I read throughout the year, young adult novels dominated, and it was so difficult to choose just 10 favourites for this list.  Here is my Top 10 Young Adult Fiction of 2012.  You can read my reviews of each book here on the blog.

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My Top 10 Middle Grade Fiction of 2012

There have been so many middle grade fiction books published this year, both here in New Zealand and overseas.  It was difficult to pick my absolute favourites but here they are, my Top 10 Middle Grade Fiction of 2012.  If you want to know more about these books you can read my reviews here on the blog.

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My Top 10 Picture Books of 2012

It’s that time of the year when we all start to think about our favourite books that we’ve read during the year.  Throughout this week I’ll be posting my lists of my Top 10 Picture Books, Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, and New Zealand Books of 2012.  Here are my Top 10 Picture Books of 2012 (if you want to know more about the books you can read my reviews of most books on the blog).

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