Magisterium Book 2: The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare.

August 27, 2015 Comments off

copper gauntletMagisterium Book 2: The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare. Pub.Penguin Random House 2015.

Callum and his fellow students Aaron and Tamara are now Mages in their second or Copper year. This is the year that they work on mastery of the elements Earth Air Fire Water and Chaos. Aaron has become a Mage leader or Makar and there is a growing unease that the forces of darkness or Chaos are trying to get him.

Callum has his problems too as he is ridden with self doubt and fears he has the soul of Constantine Madden the Enemy of Death. He agonises that is to become an Evil Overlord like Constantine Madden the former Magisterium student and friend of his father Alastair who killed Callum’s mother in the third Mage War.

Callum is still accompanied by his best friend the Chaos Ridden wolf Havoc and is staying home with his father during the school holidays. he discovers  Havoc chained up in his father’s garage and chains on the wall fit for a boy like him. He fears his father is going to use an alkahest or copper gauntlet to push the Chaos controlling power of the Makar and destroy the magisterium.

I can’t tell you any more. If you read the first book which is reviewed on this blog you will want to get your eyeballs around this novel. Lots of magic and good versus evil and of course the school action and gossip.

Intermediate and secondary students will love this. Once again Holly Black and Cassandra Clare write a gripping novel but it helps to have read the first part. If I have to be honest in a very positive way I would have to say there is a Harry Potter feel about this series and it may be a good place for these readers to go.

Afterlight by Rebecca Lim.

August 25, 2015 Comments off

afterlightAfterlight by Rebecca Lim. Pub. Text Publishing Melbourne, 2015.

This novel for teens and Young Adults is on the weird side but is compelling reading.

Sophie’s father was a biker and her mother an ex dancer and stripper. They completely changed their lives and gave Sophie all the love she needed. When Sophie began her last year at high school her mother and father were killed in a motorcycle accident and she went to live with her Gran who owns a pub outside Melbourne.

Sophie changes schools for a new start in life and she takes her 1.83 meter frame with a mess of red hair to Ivy Street school where she becomes known as Storkie. She also meest and becomesa attracted to Jordan a hot boy all the girls want to make it with.

When she was 5 years old Sophie had a dream in which a heavily tattooed brute of a man stood over her and she never forgot it. Now after a heavily publicised murder of a girl , by a biker gang, who had a similar life to her mother appears before Sophie as a ghost, her life is to take a startling change of direction.

A  series of incidents based on information given to Sophie by the ghost she calls Eve, makes Sophie a celebrity. The heart throb of a boy, Jordan, sees the same ghost as Sophie but knows her as Monica. You will have to read the novel to find out what happens.

Sophie and Jordan are a captivating couple and their relationship binds the reader to the gripping story which becomes not only a mystery and a ghost story but also a romance. Beautifully written with imagery that will startle you with  thrilling action right up to the last page. The ending is up for you to decipher.

Being Magdalene by Fleur Beale.

August 22, 2015 Comments off

Being MagdaleneBeing Magdalene by Fleur Beale. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2015.

There needed to be a positive ending to this story of the Pilgrim Family that started with I am Not Esther and continued with I am Rebecca and this is it.

Caleb  and Naomi Pilgrim had 8 children and brought them up in the Children of the Faith religious Community headed by the despotic Elder Stephen. Their lives were dictated to by The Rule which Elder Stephen said was the word of god told through him. Chortle if you want.

The Rule rankled with all the Pilgrim children and divided their parents as it restricted freedom of choice and was an infringement on basic human rights particularly for girls and those who wanted to be educated. The Rule also proclaimed all who left the Faith to be dead and those who opposed the Rule would be damned and their mortal soul condemned in hell.

Needless to say the children were scared out of their wits but none more so than 12 year old Magdalene. She feels the pressure of the expulsion of brothe Daniel, sisters Miriam, Rebecca and cousin Esther real name Kirby. Now brothers Abraham and Luke are criticising The Rule but of greater concern is younger sister 7 year old Zillah who is a firebrand. Zillah says what she likes and tells Magdalene that she will run away and pleads for Magdalene to come with her. Will this happen? You will have to read the novel to find out.

Superbly written by Fleur Beale who keeps the tension on for the whole novel. Watching a family disintegrate is disturbing but the ending will bring tears to your eyes.

For readers of all ages from primary to high school. You will not forget this novel in a hurry. I do not often mention the cover of a novel but this one is superb.

Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix.

August 19, 2015 Comments off

Newt's emeraldNewt’s Emerald by Garth Nix. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2015.

Eighteen year old Lady Truthful Newington is about to come out for her first season in London. She is a beautiful redhead who has had a rough and tumble childhood with her three male cousins who were older than her.

On the day of her birthday she is shown the Newington Emerald that she will inherit. It is a legendary stone that grants power over all four elements, earth air fire and water. The stone is stolen under their noses after a conjoured storm and the race is on to find it.

Lady Truthful goes to London to stay with her great Aunt Badgery and disguised as a man seeks evidence of the Emerald in the shifty side of London. She meets the dashing  Major Harnett as a man, and ends up tied back to back with him inside a large brandy barrel in a rollicking  adventure.

The villain is the magical Lady Plathenden who seeks the Emerald because of it’s magic powers. The adventure culminates at a masquerade party at Brighton by the sea.

A ripping magical yarn set in Regency England after Waterloo and the imprisonment of Napoleon under the Rock of Gibraltar. It is a romance and i will leave you with this thought from the novel. When a young woman hovers between “wanting to see a man again” and “never wanting to see him again” I know where my money is on.

Superbly written by Garth Nix, some magical creations of Regency parlour room escapades and riveting adventure plus the romance.

Secondary students but try keeping this away from intermediate girls.

New Zealand Children and YA Book Awards 2015.

August 16, 2015 Comments off

scan0001New Zealand Children and YA Book Awards 2015.

All the books listed below were winners in the Book Awards this year. They are all outstanding and have been reviewed elsewhere on this blog.

Take a look

Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and winner of Best Young Adult Fiction category

Singing Home the Whale, by Mandy Hager (Penguin Random House NZ)

Best Picture Book
Jim’s Letters, by Glyn Harper, illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Penguin Random House NZ (Puffin))

Best Non-Fiction
Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill, by Debbie McCauley and Tamati Waaka (translation) (Mauāo Press)

Best Junior Fiction
Monkey Boy, by Donovan Bixley (Scholastic NZ)

Māori Language Award
Ngā Kī, translation by Kawata Teepa (Ngai Tuhoe, Te Arawa) of Keys by Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan (Huia Publishers)

Best First Book
Māori Art for Kids, by Julie Noanoa (Potton & Burton)


Categories: Uncategorized

Molly and Pim and the Million Stars by Martine Murray.

August 12, 2015 Comments off

molly & PimMolly and Pim and the Million Stars by Martine Murray. Pub.Text Publishing, 2015.

A novel for primary/intermediate students that is very different indeed. I suppose the correct word is alternative as Molly’s mother is into herbs and potions and gathering plants in the woods. She has a herbal remedy for everything but one day she gets it terribly wrong.

Molly and her mum have neighbours from hell who clearly misunderstand Molly and her mother. They are called Grimshaw and we first meet him thundering down the hill to complain about their rooster like a boulder rolling downhill. The rooster know as the Gentleman celebrates every dawn and the Grimshaw’s are driven to distraction. How Molly and her mother solve this problem is extraordinary.

Molly has a friend named Ellen who has a mum who gives her apricot bars wrapped in plastic for her lunch. Molly wishes she had an ordinary life too. Then Molly meets Pim, a different boy who has quirky but positive behaviour.

It is Pim that Molly turns to after her mother inadvertently changes into a tree while trying to block the Grimshaws out of their sight. Can they get mother back?

Molly has an obedient dog and a cat who should have staff named Martine. When things go wrong they are there but are they helpful?

Lovely language, short easy to read chapters and a great theme of difference.

Stray by Rachael Craw

August 3, 2015 Comments off

strayStray by Rachael Craw. Pub. Walker Books, 2015.

If you liked the first part of this trilogy Spark then you are going to go for this novel too. I did.

In Spark teenager Evie found out a lot of disturbing things about herself. She was the product of a genetic experiment by a group called the Affinity Project which gave her heightened senses, reflexes and an impressive pair of boobs. She had the power to harvest memories from other people and to sense where like people were. She was what is known as a Shield and is protective to certain people to the extent that she will kill in order to protect them.

Evie also found out the the woman she knew as her mother wasn’t and discovered she had a twin brother, Aiden, who also has genetic modifications but is a Stray and a psychopathic killer. After Aiden attacks Evie’s friend Kitty he is captured put in a psychiatric ward but shows signs that he has lost the worst part of his genetic mutation.

The Affinity Project detect Evie’s existence, tag her and want to take her in for training, but Evie wants to free her twin as he faces death if detected by the Affinity Project. She frees Aiden in some exciting action, and goes on the run. Can she show the Project that Aiden is no longer a danger? What of her own status? What will become of the love relationship between Evie and the hunky Jamie? You will have to read this novel to find out.

The plot is believable and the medical ethics of it all horrifying but the descriptive language of Rachael Craw really impresses. It’s as if she is in Evie’s place. Very sensual language, emotional dialogue and thrilling action. At times the action is harrowing especially when Evie is in Re Prog. Not for the faint of heart. This novel sets up part 3 Shield  which is coming soon.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 243 other followers