Author Archive

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

September 29, 2020 Comments off

Avery Kylie Grambs is 17 years old, she lives in her car, her mother is dead, she has nothing to do with her father and she has a sister who is in a dysfunctional relationship with her boyfriend. She is positive in her attitude to life but the future doesn’t look hopeful.

Then she is visited by a lawyer who tells her she is a beneficiary in a will left by an eccentric billionaire Tobias Hawthorne who has four sons of similar age to Avery. When the will is read Avery has inherited $46 billion and the rest of the Hawthorne family are left scraps. Why?

The terms of the will are iron tight and if the family challenge it, they get nothing. Avery is taken by the family lawyers to Hawthorne Mansion, a fabulous house with a theatre, bowling ally and a thousand rooms, plus staff. Avery is advised by a lawyer and has a bodyguard who was same for Tobias Hawthorne.

The family are hostile and the terms of the will mean she has to stay in the house for a year in order to inherit what has been left her. She fears for her life and rightly so.

The paparazzi are all over the place and everybody wants to know who this Avery is. She has to relate to the four sons two of which she is attracted to.

The old man Hawthorne was a game player. He liked mysteries and promoted competition and games amongst his sons. The biggest mystery is Why Avery? She doesn’t know herself. The rest of the novel is spent working out the mysteries that the Old Man has set.

This novel is written in 91 short chapters that will keep you in the book long after you want to stop reading. It is compelling and very clever. I loved it you will too.

The Great Realisation by Tomos Roberts, illus. Nomoco.

September 20, 2020 Comments off

This without doubt is the picture book of the year, possibly the decade.

It is an inspiring, hopeful and inciteful poem told by a father, sometime in the future, to his son at bedtime.

It looks at the world pre Covid and shows it to be a soulless place with people who get instant gratification with a click. The people became disconnected from each other and the Planet became polluted until the virus hit.

Then people became connected again while in lock down and people saw that the new World was better than the one left behind. It was called the Great Realisation.

Nomoco’s water colour illustrations tell the story in pictures and enhance Tomos Roberts written poetic text.

Don’t miss this it is brilliant.

Nikau’s Escape by Kate S. Richards. Pub. Green Room House 2020.

September 17, 2020 Comments off

This is the third book in a series about Jabu a black African from South Africa who lived pre Nelson Mandela when Sth Africa was under Apartheid.

In this novel for teens Jabu comes to New Zealand to snow board in the volcanic area of the central North Island. There he meets Pania and her brother Nikau and becomes quite fond of Pania.

Pania and Nikau had an abusive father who has been in prison for 10 years but is now released. Nikau has fantasised about his father and imagines having a cool but meaningful relationship with him. Nikau is being drawn into the world of drugs and crime and his sister Pania is determined to save him from it. Nikau has other ideas but when his father turns up Nikau rapidly learns that his criminal and drug life is not for him

Things come to a head at a skiing and snowboard trip to Ruapehu when the volcano erupts sending out a lahar and it is a question of survival.

An easy to read book with good values and plenty of action.

Categories: Uncategorized

My Little Book of Bugs. Pub. Te Papa Press 2020.

September 14, 2020 Comments off

My Little Book of Bugs. Pub. Te Papa Press 2020.

This bilingual board book in English and Maori is for pre schoolers.

It talks about all the bugs children will see in their environment from bee to weta in alphabetical order.

Butterflies have wings covered with thousands of tiny scales and cockroaches can live for a long time without food and water. Wetas wave these spiky legs to frighten enemies.

The Maori text follows the English and gives readers an appreciation that there are two major languages in New Zealand plus sign language of course.

being a board book it is very hardy and can be chewed and thrown without damage. A valuable

Categories: Uncategorized

Kylo Kitty moves to the City by Chantal Venter. illus. Katerina Kalinichenko.

September 14, 2020 Comments off

Kylo Kitty moves to the City by Chantal Venter. illus. Katerina Kalinichenko. Pub. KyloKitty Books, 2020.

Kylo kitty has moved to the city and is looking for friends. He gets up early and goes looking.

He meets Anthony Ant and kiwi Karl but they are not unfriendly but don’t need a friend. A white tail appears and disappears then white paws are seen. What or who can it be?

He meets the owner of these things and his name is Spooky. read it and find out who it is.

Well Illustrated with Kylo well characterised with dark coat and big green eyes. The text is rhyming and great for reading aloud to pre schoolers and juniors.

It comes with a sheet of stickers too.

Red Edge by Des Hunt

September 8, 2020 Comments off

Red Edge by Des Hunt. Pub. Scholastic 2020.

This eco adventure novel for middle school readers is one of Des Hunt’s better novels. It is easy to read, contains lots of tech talk with drones and K4 cameras and it concentrates on the smuggling and exploitation of New Zealand’s endangered species particurlaly the weta and the gecko.

Cassi lives on the edge of the Red Zone, near the Avon river in Christchurch. She runs through the Red Zone every day and forms a friendly relationship with an ex journalist and whitebaiter, Jim. Jim knows everything that goes on in the area and Cassi wants to know about an abandoned earthquake damaged house.

A mysterious woman called Raven Black is up to mischief in the house and a man called Lou Watling with his yellow Ferrari is acting furtively.

At school Cassi meets a fat boy named Quinn who is bullied and has few friends but he has a great knowledge of technology and plays a key role in trying to find out what is going on. At school Cassi befriends three girls Kaylin, Emma and Harmony all of whom are to play parts in the mystery.

The climax comes in earthquake ravage Kaikoura where a trap is set by Cassi and Co to catch the culprits who are trapping weta for export. A thrilling climax with drones heavily involved.

Excellent reading and adventure with good values, plus the descriptive passages of the Red Zone and Kaikoura are superb.

I Love Bugs by Elspeth Alix Batt.

September 3, 2020 Comments off

I Love Bugs by Elspeth Alix Batt. Pub. OneTree House, 2020.

Any illustrator that can put a smile on the face of an earwig is OK by me.

This energetic and poetic picture book about bugs is a total delight. In it are grubs that are wrinkly and wriggly, spiders that are jumpy and jiggly, crickets that are pleasingly prickly but I couldn’t find any feelings for the mosquitos that are wily and whiny, although they certainly are.

Then there is the gecko. Check this superb picture book out and see what happens.

The illustrations are first class with each bug given a suitable character within it’s habitat.

In the back there is a list of the bugs shown with an accurate profile.

A good read-a-loud for juniors and introduction to the world of bugs.

Great humour.

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Rona Moon. Ko Rona Mahina by Tim Tipene, illus Theresa Reihana.

September 2, 2020 Comments off

Rona-Moon-Cover-LRRona Moon. Ko Rona Mahina by Tim Tipene, illus Theresa Reihana. Pub. Oratia, 2020.

Maori myths and legends are as good as any culture on the planet but like many old stories they can do with a revamp to make them more relevant to today’s world and today’s children. That is exactly what this new version delivers. Written in English and Maori.

Rona acts like a spoilt brat. She is defiant, angry, unreasonable and all her whanau suffer from her actions. She pout she stamps,  she hits her brother, rolls her eyes and says whatever to any request to behave.

Then one dark night when the moon is high she is swept up to the moon and meets Whaea Rona, the woman on the moon. Whaea Rona urges Rona to use her anger to create change not to attack others. Love and kindness is the way. Great message.

The star of this picture book for juniors and primary student are the illustrations. The moon and Earth look great, Rona is the perfect brat with her pouting lip, her nana, father and brother are beautifully drawn. Check out the brother’s facials when Rona smiles.

An excellent publication with a place in every household with children and in the school library. Legends don’t come better told than this. Great cover.

Space Maps. Your tour of the Universe by Lara Albanese & Tommaso Vidus Rosin.

August 31, 2020 Comments off

space mapsSpace Maps. Your tour of the Universe by Lara Albanese & Tommaso Vidus Rosin. Pub. Oratia Publishing 2020.

If you go to the Noerthern hemisphere in a place like the Sahara Desert and you look up into the heavens you see a multitude of stars. It seems more than from the Southern hemisphere but probably not.

The beauty of this large sized book is that it contains maps of both hemispheres of Earth plus maps of all sides of all the planets, some of their moons and looks ar space ships, space stations, asteroids and everything that is in space.

The information is in easy to read chunks and it shows just how small we humans really are in comparison to the size of the Universe.

All the illustrations are outstanding and if i could just have one book in my library about the universe this would be it. For primary and intermediate student but older students would get a lot from this publication. Compares very favourably from Internet resources.


Loveless by Alice Oseman.

August 27, 2020 Comments off

lovelessLoveless by Alice Oseman. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020.

This 430 page novel for high school students and young adults is about sexuality and romance. How do we know who we are attracted too? What is the spark that turns attraction into love? How important is sex and romance in peoples lives? Does everybody have erotic dreams? What happens if you don’t feel attracted to anybody? What if you don’t feel attracted to boys, girls,¬† both or neither?

Georgia is 18 years old and has just finished High school. She has never kissed anyone and is still a virgin. She doesn’t know if she is gay or straight because she feels revulsion at any sexual contact at all and she is worried that she will never have a partner and love a normal life.

She has two friends – Pip who is an attractive Latino girl who knows she is a lesbian and makes no bones about it, and Jason a shy boy who is attracted to Georgia but she doesn’t know it. All three are off to Durham University and all three are into acting and drama especially Shakespeare. Georgia hopes that the questions about her sexuality will be answered at university.

While at University she is paired with a girl named Rooney in a flat. Rooney is totally out there. She goes clubbing, mixes well, has sex because she likes it and is everything that Georgia wants to be. All four characters form a Shakespeare club and plan to put on scenes from Shakespeare’s plays that are key scenes. But the sexuality question gets well and truly in the way. Read it and find out how.

I read this book in small chunks but it was compelling reading and I was sorry when it was finished. It is really addressing  asexuality or aromanticism. Some scenes are hilarious some down right embarrassing but always right on the nail. Everybody is interested in the subjects discussed here and to do so with a good story is brilliant.

The Shakespeare scenes are superb. My YA book of the year.