Archive for November, 2018

A moving novel about learning to find happiness in the face of uncertainty and discovering a love that transcends the boundary between life and death.

Seventeen-year-old Alex Byrd is about to have the worst day of her life, and the best. A routine blood test that will reveal her leukaemia has returned, but she also meets Jamie Orange.

Some people believe in love at first sight, and some don’t.
I believe in love in four days.
I believe in falling.
Both teenagers have big dreams, but also big obstacles to overcome.

‘Promise me you won’t try to die,’ I said. ‘Ever.’
‘Promise me you won’t either,’ he countered.
‘It’s not really something I can control.’

Catch me when you fall

Eileen Merriman

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Maree

Alex is 17, her leukaemia has returned, and she is falling in love with Jamie Orange. Set in Christchurch, this is a young adult novel of first love. cancer and bi polar disorder.

Yes Alex and Jamie fall in love fast, not only are they teenagers with a teen sense of living in the moment but they don’t have time for a long drawn out romance. Really they ….don’t.

Which makes this book all the more poignant. When you could be dead tomorrow, plus you are a teenager, plus you battle depression; all life becomes one explosive powder keg!

Such a moving story.  I emptied a box of tissues but am glad I read it.  It’s very well written and deals with mental illness sensitively and honestly.

Children are being hunted in the streets and their parents’ hearts frozen into glass.  Brannon and his team of “unusual crimes” investigators are still reeling from the aftermath of Risen in Kalanon, but now they must face a new monster on the loose.
Tensions between Kalanon and Nilar are on the rise once more as Ylani and the King clash.  Meanwhile, Taran’s past haunts him and the church may not be the sanctuary it once was.  Monsters come in many forms and Taran knows this better than most. Once you’ve been a Child of Starlight,can you ever truly be free?
Failing to solve this new string of murders could cost the missing children their lives, Kalanon its future, and one of their team his sanity
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Starlight’s Children: Agents of Kalanon Book 2

Darian Smith

Wooden Tiger

Purchased at Conclave 3

Reviewed by Jacqui Smith

The fantasy mystery is a rare and difficult thing to write. The reader must quickly gain an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of magic and technology in the world the writer is taking them to, or else the mystery does not work as a mystery. Thus, if teleportation is possible, then locked rooms aren’t a challenge. This necessitates meticulous and detailed world-building, and I’m not entirely sure that has been achieved in this novel. There are no maps, and locations seems sprinkled about with little apparent regard to geography. But what really bugged me was the casual mention of an alchemist using a Bunsen burner… Does the author have any idea of the technology and infrastructure needed for Bunsen burners to work? He lost this reader right there.

That said, there is much to commend here. The book is well-enough written, and the plot (in both senses of the word) thickens enough to be interesting. Children are disappearing, their care-givers turning up dead in grisly fashion, their hearts turned “black and hard like glass”. Is this the work of the Frost Wolf, a monster thought to be mythical? And then there’s the King’s missing gold shipment. And a collection of disputed swords. It is all more-or-less connected of course, and the novel comes to an entertaining climax appropriate to both genres, the villains of the piece getting their just desserts. However, I couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed. This was the book that won the SJV for best novel. But I think it could have been much improved with more work in the underpinnings.

The official playscript of the original West End production of HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play received its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two (Special Rehearsal Edition): The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production

Jack Thorne and based on an original new story by Thorne, J. K. Rowling, and John Tiffany

Little & Brown

Supplied by Hatchette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui Smith

First things first. It is indeed a brand-new Harry Potter story, but it is a play and not a novel. I hadn’t actually read a play for years, and I have to admit that I found the format a bit jarring at first. It also wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling, although the underlying story is hers. These factors combine to make the resulting book much more tightly written than any of the later novels in the Harry Potter series, and in my opinion that’s an improvement. I’ve been saying for a while that the first Harry Potter books, written before J.K. got too big for her editor, were considerably better than the later ones.

The story is set primarily in the present day, with the central characters being Harry’s second son, Albus Potter; and Draco Malfoy’s son, Scorpius. The boys are talked into stealing a time-turner and returning into the past to prevent the death of Cedric Diggory in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Predictably, when meddling with time, it all goes horribly wrong. And it has to be fixed… with a clever little twist.

There are definitely shades of Back to the Future here, with perhaps a dose of Dr Who. It doesn’t add much that is new to the wizarding world, except for fleshing out the characters of some of the offspring of characters in the earlier novels. Scorpius Malfoy, in particular, turns out to be a strong character and a surprisingly likeable person.

If you don’t like time travel books, you won’t like this one, and I’d definitely not recommend it to someone who was not familiar with the other stories; especially Goblet of Fire. But if you are a Potter fan, you’ll certainly want to read it, and most probably you’ll enjoy it. I did, and I confess I’m curious about the play. It must be truly spectacular.

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?

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?

Enders: Starters #2

Lissa Price

Random House

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Maree

There has been a horrible war where the US has fell victim to a terrible biological attack, where only the elderly and young have been vaccinated. Callie is forced to make some tough decisions when an offer to rent her young body to an elderly person for a short time comes across the table. This money could save her little brother’s life.

In the sequel the body bank, Prime Destinations, has been destroyed but the chip inside Callie’s head can still be used to manipulate her. Someone doesn’t want Starters and Enders to work together.

Having to protect her brother Tyler and with time running out to find her Father, Callie doesn’t know who she can trust. Especially when anyone could be acting with another’s body, seeing through their eyes.

An interesting read that is well-written and chilling creepy.  I’m not sure I want to read the previous book though, as I am a wuss.