Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Book of Doom is here!

Today in the UK it’s the book birthday for The Book of Doom by one of my absolute favourite authors, Barry Hutchison.  Sadly we have to wait until 21 March to get it here in NZ, but it’s well worth the wait.  I was lucky enough to be one of the very first people to read The Book of Doom back in September last year, when Barry was fine-tuning the story.  Not only did I get to read the book early, but Barry also named the main character in the book after me!  As you can imagine, I was incredibly excited about this (lots of jumping around the room and telling everyone I knew).

The Book of Doom is a hilarious story that takes you from Heaven to Hell.  I’ll be reviewing it here on the blog very soon and you’ll also have a chance to win a copy.  In the mean time, check out these wonderful videos that Barry made to promote The Book of Doom.

 

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Phantom of Terawhiti by Des Hunt

Des Hunt is one of my favourite New Zealand authors because he writes action-packed adventure stories set in New Zealand.  The setting is always so important in his stories and Des has introduced Kiwi kids to parts our beautiful country that are both familiar and unexplored territory for them. In his latest book, Phantom of Terawhiti, Des takes us to Wellington’s wild southwest coast and introduces us to Zac, who stumbles on an interesting discovery.

It’s the school holidays and Zac thinks he might go crazy with boredom. He’s living in exile with his disgraced father on the remote Terawhiti Station on Wellington’s wild southwest coast. Then Zac and his dad witness a boat sink during a storm. Investigating further, Zac finds a set of unusual animal prints on the beach. Whose boat is it? And what creature could have made the prints? Soon armed men are prowling the coast, and threatening Zac, his friends and his family. He must do all he can to protect the Phantom of Terawhiti from those intent on hunting it down.

Phantom of Terawhiti is an action-packed adventure story, packed with mystery,  armed and angry Russians, brainless hunters, wild weather, a car chase, and a race against time.  Des Hunt is a gifted storyteller who never fails to write a story that grips readers and makes you keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.  In Phantom of Terawhiti there are plenty of heart-stopping moments, especially when Zac and Jess clash with the Russians.  The mystery of the ‘Phantom of Terawhiti’ draws you in and, even when the creature is revealed, you wonder how it will survive in the wild with the hunters trying to track it down.

Like the main characters in his other books, Zac and Jess are just normal Kiwi kids, who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (or maybe the right place at the right time).  Zac gets dragged by his dad to come and live on the remote Terawhiti Station, and it’s while he’s here that he discovers the wreck of the yacht and the paw prints in the sand.  When they discover the Phantom of Terawhiti, Zac and Jess know that they must do everything they can to protect it.  Kiwi kids will relate to Zac and Jess and will imagine themselves in their shoes.

Phantom of Terawhiti is one of Des Hunt’s best books so far and I can’t wait to see where in the country he will take us to next.

4 out of 5 stars

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Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis

Meet Timmy Failure.  He’s the founder, president, and CEO of the detective agency he had named after himself: Total Failure Inc., ‘the best detective agency in town, probably the state. Perhaps the nation.’ His business partner (and idiot best friend) is a 1500 pound polar bear, named Total, who is often not very helpful, and gets paid in chicken nuggets. There is no case too big or two small for Total Failure Inc., whether it’s solving the mystery of the missing Halloween candy or discovering who stole his mother’s Segway.  Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is the first book in the hilarious new series by Stephan Pastis.

Take eleven-year-old Timmy Failure – the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of the best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation. Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large polar bear named Total. Throw in the Failuremobile – Timmy s mom s Segway – and what you have is Total Failure, Inc., a global enterprise destined to make Timmy so rich his mother won t have to stress out about the bills anymore. Of course, Timmy’s plan does not include the four-foot-tall female whose name shall not be uttered. And it doesn t include Rollo Tookus, who is so obsessed with getting into “Stanfurd” that he can t carry out a no-brain spy mission.

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is the funniest book for kids that I’ve read in a long time.  The text by itself is funny, but add in Stephan’s cartoons and you get a book that has you laughing out loud.  The funniest parts of the book are when Timmy is explaining something and then he draws a picture to show you what happened.  There is a part when Timmy visits Molly Moskins’ house and he meets Molly’s cat, Senor Burrito, that made me laugh so hard (you’ll have to read the book to find out why).  Stephan’s illustrations of Total made me laugh every time too, because you wondered what he was going to get up to next or what Timmy would make him do. Reading this book is like watching a comedian with the best comedic timing.  It’s the combination of the text and the cartoons that will appeal to children, especially fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.  I think Timmy Failure would even be great for those younger children (7-9 year olds) who might not be quite ready for Wimpy Kid yet.

One thing I loved about this book was the weird and wacky cast of characters.  First of all you’ve got Timmy, who is the one who is supposed to be looking for clues, but he’s completely clueless himself.  Readers will pick up the clues and solve the mystery way almost straight away, whereas Timmy has a completely different theory and tries to nab someone else for the crime.  He speaks like a detective and is always trying to convince his mother that his detective agency needs to upgrade their offices or get an administrative assistant to handle the paperwork.  Jimmy’s best friend, Total, doesn’t talk (because he’s a polar bear), but he provides some of the funniest moments of the story through his antics.  Molly Moskins is the weird girl that has a crush on Timmy who has mismatched pupils and a tendancy to use words that do not exist (like ‘wondermarvelously splendiferous’).  Then there is the ‘Evil One,’ Timmy’s nemesis and fellow detective, Corrina Corrina.

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is only the first book in Stephan Pastis’ new series and I hope there will be many more to come.  I guarantee that your children will laugh out loud at least once while reading this book (I certainly did and got some weird looks for doing so).  I recommend it for anyone 7+ who likes a good laugh and quirky characters.

5 out of 5 stars

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Celebrate our best authors and illustrators in New Zealand Book Month

NZBM green logo rgb smNew Zealand Book Month officially starts this Friday and runs for the whole month of March.  It’s the month where we celebrate all the wonderful authors and illustrators that we have in New Zealand.  Here on My Best Friends Are Books there will be lots of cool things happening, including:

  • Fast Five Questions with NZ children’s and young adult authors and illustrators, including David Hill, Sherryl Jordan, Diana Noonan and Donovan Bixley.
  • Guest blog posts from Melinda Szymanik and Barbara Else.
  • Lots of NZ book reviews and promotions.
  • NZ book giveaways.

Make sure you check back in March to help celebrate New Zealand books, authors and illustrators.  You can also check the NZ Book Month website to see what is happening around the country throughout the month.

Don’t forget to pick up or download your $5-off voucher that you can put towards any book you buy in March.  For more info see the NZ Book Month website.

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Beautiful Creatures Movie

The Beautiful Creatures movie, based on the first book in the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, is out in New Zealand now.  I haven’t read the books but I went to the movie today and loved it so much that I immediately want to go and get all the books in the series.  The cast and the story was great so I highly recommend the movie.

I’d be interested to know, if you’ve read the books and seen the movie, how do they compare?

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Neil Gaiman introduces Fortunately, The Milk

You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back.
Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.

How awesome does Neil Gaiman’s book sound? Neil Gaiman + Chris Riddell = TOTALLY AWESOME!  He says at the end of the video to go out and buy 2 copies of the book, but I think I’ll be buying a few more.

Fortunately, The Milk will be published in New Zealand in October by Bloomsbury.

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Join the International Book Giving Day Blog Hop

We invite those of you with blogs to share stories of how you celebrated International Book Giving Day via our International Book Giving Day blog hop!

Last week I celebrated International Book Giving Day by sending donated books off to KidsCan and Duffy Books in Homes, as well as donating some lovely new picture books to the doctor and dental surgery in my community. You can read all about it here on the blog.

One of the things that makes International Book Giving Day special is connecting with others from around the world who are giving books to kids! This blog hop offers one way for people from around the world to connect and share stories of how they celebrated International Book Giving Day.

To participate:

1. Write a post describing how you celebrated International Book Giving Day! A short and sweet post (e.g. a photo of you or your child leaving a book in a waiting room) is welcome!

2. On February 21st or shortly after, add a link to your post to our blog hop at any of our host blogs:

The entire collection of links to stories about how people celebrated International Book Giving Day will be available at each of these blogs. The blog hop will remain live through March 21st. If you’ve got a blog post about International Book Giving Day to share, all you need to do is use the linky (the blue button, “Add your link”) below to input the URL of your blog post about what you did for International Book Giving Day.



For those of you without blogs:

We invite you to share photos via Instagram or Twitter by adding the tag #giveabook. You are also invited to email photos to amy dot broadmoore at gmail dot com, and we will share them here at International Book Giving Day’s website.

You can see how others around the world are celebrating International Book Giving Day by 1. following Instagram photos and tweets tagged #giveabook, 2. looking at the photos and stories that we share here at International Book Giving Day’s website, and 3. reading stories shared by bloggers as part of the International Book Giving Day blog hop.

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Win a signed Spook’s Apprentice book

2013-02-21 07.40.17We were lucky enough to have Spook’s Apprentice author, Joseph Delaney, visit us in Christchurch this week.  I’ve been a huge fan of Joseph’s ever since the very first book in the series was released in 2004 so it was great to hear all about the series from the man himself.  It was great to watch the children in the audience reacting to Joseph’s stories and the creepy pictures from his books.

Thanks to Random House New Zealand and Joseph Delaney I have 4 signed Spook’s books to give away.  Four lucky readers will win a signed book each.  All you have to do to get in the draw is enter your name and email address, and answer this question: Who is your favourite character or creature of the dark in the Spook’s series? Competition closes Thursday 28 February (NZ only).

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winners are Ali, Loraine, Julia and Tokhuor.

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Introducing Timmy Failure and Total Failure, Inc.

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis is the funniest book you’ll read this year.  With its mix of text and hilarious cartoons it’s sure to be a hit with Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans.  This book should come with a guarantee – “If you don’t laugh out loud at least once we’ll give you your money back!” It’s due out in March and you can watch these very funny videos below to meet Timmy Failure, his friends and his enemies.  There is also a really cool Timmy Failure website you can visit to find out more about the book and the author – www.timmyfailure.com

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My Most Anticipated March New Releases

A Necklace of Souls by R.L. Stedman (NZ)

In the Kingdom of the Rose only the power of the Guardian’s necklace can keep the people safe from the forces threatening to destroy it. In a hidden kingdom a mysterious Guardian protects her people with the help of a magical necklace. But evil forces are also seeking the power of the necklace, and as the Guardian grows weaker these forces threaten to destroy the kingdom. With the help of her best friend, Will, and the enigmatic N’tombe, Dana, the rightful heir, must claim the power of the necklace and save her people. But the necklace takes a terrible toll on whoever wears it – a toll that Dana may not be prepared to face. A NECKLACE OF SOULS was the winner of the Storylines Tessa Duder Award for unpublished young adult fiction in 2012.

Seven Wonders: The Colossus Rises

The day after twelve-year-old Jack McKinley is told he has six months to live, he awakens on a mysterious island, where a secret organization promises to save his life – but with one condition. With his three friends, Jack must lead a mission to retrieve seven lost magical orbs, which, only when combined together, can save their lives. The challenge: the orbs have been missing for a thousand years, lost among the ruins and relics of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. With no one else to turn to and no escape in sight, the four friends have no choice but to undertake the quest. First stop: The Colossus of Rhodes … where they realise that there’s way more at stake than just their lives.

The Book of Doom by Barry Hutchison

Heaven has lost the most important object in existence and getting it back is gonna be Hell … The second hilarious book in Barry’s AFTERWORLDS sequence – comic fantasy perfect for fans of Pratchett and Douglas Adams. 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?

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis

Take eleven-year-old Timmy Failure – the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of the best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation. Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large
polar bear named Total. Throw in the Failuremobile – Timmy’s mom’s Segway – and what you have is Total Failure, Inc., a global enterprise destined to make Timmy so rich his mother won’t have to stress out about the bills anymore.

Fearless by Cornelia Funke

After saving his brother, Jacob Reckless faces death from the fairy’s curse burning in his heart. In search of a cure he returns to the Mirrorworld, where he is reunited with Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting girl. He has one more chance: a golden crossbow, with the power to both save and destroy life, buried in a dead king’s tomb beneath an invisible palace. Jacob must cross continents, face monsters and men – including a dangerous rival – and learn what it means to stay alive.

A Winter’s Day in 1939 by Melinda Szymanik (NZ)

Taken from their home, forced to leave their country, put to work in labour camps, frozen and starved, Adam and his family doubt that they will ever make it out alive. Even if they were to get away, they might freeze to death, or starve, or the bears might get them. For the Polish refugees, the whole of the USSR becomes a prison from which there is seemingly no escape.

Zom-B City by Darren Shan

How many survived the zombie apocalypse?
Where do the living hide in a city of the dead?
Who controls the streets of London?
B Smith is setting out to explore…

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