The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz.

December 22, 2017 Comments off

the rainsThe Rains by Gregg Hurwitz. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2018.

I like zombie novels but this is one that differs from other zombie novels because it appears the zombies are controlled by something else. You will have to read the novel to find out what.

The novel is written in diary entries by 15 year old Chance Rain. He warns the reader to take notice as “your life depends on it”.

On a clear night an asteroid slams into the Creeks’s Cause valley and a week later stalks grow to maturity and spout pollen into the air in a process Chance calls the Dusting. The spores attack the frontal brain lobe of everybody over the age of 18 years, lasering their eyes out so that membrane covered clear holes appear in their heads. These former humans then attack and capture all kids and put them in cages.

The male zombies are the lumbering kind with immense strength, while the females  are rapid moving cat like creatures that lunge like lions and tigers. Both types are called Hosts as it appears they are the host of a zombie spore. The action involving the zombies is thrilling.

Chance Rain, his older brother Patrick and his girlfriend Alex escape the zombie hordes and shack up in the locked school complex. Meanwhile the zombies rove the towns and appear to have a mission about them. What is it? Is the valley the only victim of this spore attack? Patrick is only a week away from turning the magic age of 18 years. Will he turn into a zombie?

Then the surviving group find out some stunning information. Read it and find out what.

A stunning ending that will leave the reader with questions but have no fear a sequel titled Last chance is published at the same time. Watch this space.

Harry Potter. A Journey Through A History of Magic.

December 18, 2017 Comments off

potter magicHarry Potter. A Journey Through A History of Magic. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

For enthusiastic readers who want to know all about the magic in the Harry Potter Series.

This well illustrated and very informative book has the original synopsis of the Harry Potter series that was sent to Bloomsbury and the rest is the history of magic throughout history that formed the basis of the magic curricula of Hogwarts as taught to Harry and his fellow students.

References to the text of the 7 books are illustrated by the roots of the magic from Leonardo da Vinci to the earliest atlas of the stars and the magical creatures.

Potions and Alchemy, Herbology, Charms and Defence against the dark Arts are covered. Does a mandrake root really scream when you pull it out of the ground? Is there a potion that can make you fall in love or tell the truth? When was the beginning of Palm reading.

The highlight for me was the original hand written scripts in JK Rowling’s own handwriting with alterations and some which never made it into the books.

Totally fascinating.

Catch me When You fall by Eileen Merriman

December 15, 2017 Comments off

catch me when i fallCatch me When You fall by Eileen Merriman. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2018.

This tear jerker of a novel for teenagers and young adults is set in my home town of Christchurch and will be released for publication on 3 January 2018. I have the privilege of reading it early and know I shouldn’t write an early review but I can’t hold it in, so here goes.

Alex went into remission for Leukemia when she was thirteen and now on the eve of a check up when she is sixteen she meets Jamie. He is an extrovert, an actor, takes lithium every day and is bipolar.

They fall in love in four days as Alex finds her leukemia has come back with a vengeance and goes through the tortuous treatment to rid her body of this cruel disease. In between time Alex and Jamie fall in love and all those around them including the brilliant parents and sister go through the daily agonies of Alex’s treatment.

I learnt more about leukemia from this novel than I could have from a medical journal. This is the power of fiction. Personalising this condition has for the want of better words given leukemia life.

Very well written and structured and will appeal to all those that like Fault in the Stars by John Green and similar novels. Give yourself plenty of space when reading this novel, it is powerful.

 

 

 

 

 

Viola Vincent reporting…Underdog by Anna Kenna

December 13, 2017 Comments off

UnderdogViola Vincent reporting…Underdog by Anna Kenna. Pub. Tiromoana Publishing, 2017.

If you are an animal lover this novel is heart rending stuff but even if you are not the treatment of dogs in puppy rearing farms will stir your stomach. It is a world wide problem and is alive and well in New Zealand too.

A string of sausages around a boy’s neck for a wearable arts school competition leads to an attack by a gentle labrador seeking food and brings 13 year old Caitlin alias Viola Vincent in contact with the puppy rearing industry.

With the help of a journalist friend Megan, Caitlin first helps with the labrador and then discovers the horror of the puppy farm in her area.

The plight of Sissy, a young dog who is held captive in appalling conditions with the sole purpose of producing puppies for sale, comes to Caitlin’s notice and she goes on the prowl to expose the ratbags who are mistreating dogs so badly.

Easy to read with alternate chapters in the puppy factory showing the horror of it all. Fortunately there is a happy ending.

For primary and intermediate readers. A worthwhile read from a former 20/20 TV journalist.

The Mud by Mick Stone

December 8, 2017 Comments off

mudThe Mud by Mick Stone. Pub. BMS Books, 2017

The coast around Whakakatane has sandy beaches and muddy estuaries and these form the backdrop to this rather disturbing story of 17 year old Emily Lewis who has been abused by the man she knows as father for much of her life.

Emily has been taken off a boat she has drifted around the estuary in, talking to her yet unborn baby, while her mother’s house has become a crime scene after she was stabbed in the back. Are all these events linked?

Emily is cautioned and taken to the cells, moved around the court and psychiatric circuit which she is well adept at handling and it is she who narrates the story. I liked Emily, she is clearly able academically but her life has virtually been snuffed out by adults who clearly need to be dealt to under the law.

Emily  has the opinion that “there is nothing you or anyone else can do about me”. Adults all the way down the line have failed her. How very sad. This story is only 105 pages long and is a short sharp punch in the guts. It is written to assist others who are in the same predicament as her.

Secondary and young adult

Lucky Button by Michael Morpurgo. Illus. Michael Foreman.

December 4, 2017 Comments off

lucky buttonLucky Button by Michael Morpurgo. Illus. Michael Foreman. pub. walker books, 2017.

There is always something gentle yet powerful about a Michael Morpurgo novel and so it is with this one. Similarly he often uses a story within a story to link a past event with a present day situation and he does it again in this novel.

Jonah looks after his mother who is house bound and has stopped playing music that Jonah loved so much. Jonah gives up much of his school life to look after his mother and is bullied at school.

After an attack he retreats to the school chapel where he finds a brass button that brought the original owner a lot of luck. The owner called Nathaniel Hogarth was a foundling at an orphanage with connections to the composer Handel.  Nathaniel appears before Jonah as a ghost and tells him an amazing story about becoming friends with Mozart and his sister.

Will the lucky button give some badly needed luck to Jonah and his mum? Read it and find out. It is fascinating and based on true events although this is not a true story.

Superbly illustrated by Michael Foreman’s colour illustrations as always.

Primary and middle school readers will devour it.

Bad Dad by David Walliams. Illus. Tony Ross

December 2, 2017 Comments off

bad dadBad Dad by David Walliams. Illus. Tony Ross. Pub. HarperCollins, 2017.

You don’t need to advertise these novels kids all know about them as soon as they are out.

The usual smattering of silliness which you wish was true, with goodies taking on baddies and winning. This time we have a bad dad who isn’t bad, a vicar without a congregation, a mini called Queenie, an aunt who can’t write poetry and three villains-Mr Big, Fingers and Thumbs who are just classic and right out of a Jimmy Cagney movie.

The down trodden are 11 year old Frank and his stockcar driving father Gilbert who losses a leg, a wife and his self respect but not the love of his son.

The minor characters are a treat especially the local copper Sergeant Scoff and perennial newsagent and all round good guy if a little mingy, Raj.

Great for anyone with a silly sense of humour and especially for reluctant readers. As usual Tony Ross’s illustrations are superb.

I loved it. But wait there’s more. We have a gay relationship to ponder and it will make you happy.