Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox was probably one of the most interesting and unique books I have ever read, and that’s saying something. I have read quite a bit of fantasy, and love when fantasy books take place in our world. It makes me feel like my life can be just as fantastic as the characters who wander into a completely different world. This book follows a teenager named Canny, who goes on a camping trip with her brother to research a mine disaster in the mountains. While there, she discovers an interesting family that lives in the valley that seems to be keeping secrets from her. Read more
Sylvie The Second
Sylvie is invisible. Or, she may as well be. After Sylvie’s mess of an older sister attempts to overdose for “the kabillionth time”, it sets Sylvie’s family off into an explosive cycle, which persistently wears away her tolerance. Sick of being overshadowed by Calamity-Cate and her desperate actions, Sylvie decides to make some changes to her life: clothing, hair, personality. An obvious plea for attention, she makes drastic changes to her appearance. And though this doesn’t grasp the attention of her distraught mother, nor her dramatic father, it does attract interest from some unknown characters: Chris, the stereotypical popular jock, and Adam Allegro, the pizza delivery guy with the electric eyes. Read more
Penguin Random House
Wildboy is an autobiography in which the author writes about his 600 day journey all around New Zealand on foot. In each chapter of the book, he paints a very visual picture of his journey, be it Nelson to Karamea, or the final stretch of Whangarei to Cape Reinga. He describes his experiences of suffering hypothermia, almost dying, and living off the land. The book also shows that, no matter who you are and what upbringing or disability you have, you can accomplish anything.
A strong statement about the book’s central message and theme sets up the argument of the review
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Battlesaurus, written by author Brian Falkner, is an alternate history book focusing on a teenage boy named Willem, living in the French town of Gaillemarde, during the events surrounding the famous Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The alternate part of the history is the fact that dinosaurs, here known simply as “Saurs”, are alive and well on the European continent. But rather than being fearsome giants, they are treated as merely wild animals, because none found so far are much larger than a raptor. That all changes, however, as Napoleon Bonaparte, the exiled French emperor, has found himself in possession of a larger and much, much more dangerous Saur, a secret weapon which he intends to unleash during the Battle of Waterloo and claim victory. Read more
The Ghosts of Moonlight Creek
The Ghosts of Moonlight Creek, by Sue Copsey, is the third book in the Spooky Adventures series. I have not read the two other books in the series, The Ghosts of Young Nick’s Head and The Ghosts of Tarawera, and I suggest you read these books first so you get an understanding of what they all are about and get to know the characters and their personalities. This book is set in 2016 and follows Joe and his adventures with his friends around Moonlight Creek.
When Joe, Beckie (Joe’s sister), Eddie and Anastasia are asked to come to a movie set near Queenstown by Anastasia’s father, famous movie director Roberto Johnson, they think that it’s for a summer holiday on a movie set: but it’s not. Read more
Dig for Victory
Dig for Victory, by David Hair, is a novel that shows the different aspects of war and is told from the perspectives of Leith McArran and Tamati Baines in 1916. When war is rampant throughout Europe, Leith McArran joined “the great adventure” with his brother Callum. Yet their unit, the Otago Mounted Rifles, was shattered in Gallipoli and now must merge with the new Māori contingents to form a new battalion of “Pioneers” doing the behind-the-scenes work; but, “We are not happy – we want to fight not dig holes.”
The book shows a different side of war from Leith’s perspective, and this is the side that is hidden behind all the fighting and sacrifice: the unsung heroes digging the trenches in the dead of night with flooding, lice and poor hygiene to deal with. Read more
Lonesome When You Go
Meet Paige. At the age of 16, she plays bass in a high school rock band, Vox Pop. At the moment, they have only one goal in mind, to qualify for the regional music competition Rockfest. Paige’s role is to keep it steady, both in the band and with her friends. But, sometimes, it’s not that easy. Keeping the rhythm gets hard and you momentarily lose control. And, at times, it takes a while to get “back in time”.
Things this year have started off normally for Paige. The band is in reasonable gear, her friends are as jaunty as ever, and things at home seem to be going fine. Read more
The Year of Falling
Selina’s life seems perfect. She’s got the job of her dreams, she and her boyfriend have been together for a record 18 months, and she’s got her health under control. But then, a creepy doll shows up on her doorstep. And then she dumps her boyfriend for the intoxicating celebrity chef Randall Marshall – who also happens to be engaged to her boss. So begins her year of falling. The Year of Falling, poet and short story writer Janis Freegard’s first novel, is the story of how Selina falls and how forgiveness helps her get back up again. Read more
Shield, by Rachael Craw, is a 21st-century-based book that concludes the Spark trilogy. The young adult trilogy is told from Evie’s – a teenage girl’s – perspective and explains the many trials and challenges she faces as a government experiment, as well as with her love-life and complicated family.
As Stray left off with a traumatic event, Shield starts off with an insight into how Evie is coping with having lost loved ones, which includes therapy and avoiding certain people while in school. The story carries on in the Affinity headquarters, where training and orientation for Shields – one of the kinds of people affected by the experimentations – takes place. Read more
In Denis Wright’s second novel, Nanotech, we are introduced to Joe Baxter, who isn’t your average story hero. He’s happy to live life observing, to his own obsessive level. He states that he often thinks of his life as a movie, him being a bit-role. There are a few odd things about Joe, first being that he remembers nothing before the age of 10, when he had a major bike accident. Now, he doesn’t speak very often, and has trouble saying more than a few words at once. He also has “nothing moments”, when he remembers nothing to cover the incident from when he was 10 years old. Read more