Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ruby Red By Kerstin Gier

Ruby Red
By Kerstin Gier
Translated By Anthea Bell

Where to start with this one?
I Loved it!
I had planned on reading only a couple of pages before bed and then all of a sudden it was one in the morning and I had finished it. I discovered once I had devoured the whole thing that it is one in a trilogy YAY! BUT the second one “Sapphire Blue” is not due out to 2012 BOO! Even though the author has finished writing the whole trilogy, it is however currently being translated from German. So, I have about eighteen months to learn how to read German if I am feeling impatient. I have to say that the translator has done a wonderful job at translating this book so far, I would never have guessed it was first published in German. All the jokes and references make sense and everything flows wonderfully.

Now what is this book all about?
Time travel!
“Grooooan not Time Travel again Tenya!”
Sorry my groovy darlings but there will be many reviews of time travel books!


So! Gwyneth Shepherd lives with her odd, wealthy family in a large, beautiful home. Gwyneth’s ancestors are secretly known for being time travellers and her cousin Charlotte is the destined inheritor of this skill. One day as they are all waiting for Charlotte to have her first jump through time it is Gwyneth who is the one thrown back in time. Suddenly things start happening too quickly for Gwyneth; she is made a member of the guild of time travellers, sent on missions for the guild with barely any training with a partner who seems to prefer her cousin. However, behind the noble facade of the guild, something quite sinister is lurking and poor Gwyneth on her first mission is dropped in the thick of it.

As I say to all people about this book…GO READ IT NOW!!!

With bated breath for the next Five stars from me.

Keep and eye out for:
Sapphire Blue
Emerald Green

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Locket By Stacey Jay

I loooooove time travel, I will put up with anything for a good bit of time travel BUT “Locket” spent 28 days hopping round my house. By hopping, I mean I would pick it up and put it down in different spots. I just could not bring myself to read it. My long-suffering partner even tried a few times to start reading it to no avail. After 28 days I finally returned it to the library with the first couple of pages having been read a couple dozen times and nothing else.

Here is a bit about the story. SLIGHT SPOILERS!!!

Katie is in High school and reckons she has the perfect boyfriend but despite all this goes about snogging her best friend. Of course said perfect boyfriend finds out and dumps her in a flash (wouldn’t you?). Miraculously Katie for her birthday got a locket that she discovers helps her to travel in time. So no surprise here she travels back two weeks to try to fix her mistakes and of course, the whole butterfly effect thing happens.

This book would have been an awesome idea if it did not revolve around a shallow, harlot of a teenager. When ever I tried to read this book it made my teeth hurt. Perhaps you will have a better go at reading it than I did.

One star from me


Darkness becomes her by Kelly Keaton

Ari has spent most of her life in the foster system after her mother abandoned her for a mental hospital where she died from something Ari would never have expected - suicide.  Faced with the shocking fact that her mother took her own life, Ari is further shocked to discover a letter from her mother, a letter that apologises for the past and orders Ari to RUN.  Instead of running away, Ari runs to New 2 the city that remained after two devastating hurricanes flattened New Orleans.  In the ruins Ari begins to make connections to her past, connections that place her life at risk - and the lives of those around her because Ari carries a curse.  It turns out that even in New 2 she is a freak amongst freaks, standing out for more than just her white-silver hair and teal coloured eyes.  She has two choices, she can run and hide, or stand and fight against a family curse that once she knows about, will change her destiny forever.

Like so many other authors at the moment, Kelly Keaton has taken us into a future world where mythology has come to life in dark and deadly ways - and unlike some of those authors Kelly Keaton has done a fantastic job.  Without sounding too cliched from my own reviews, Keaton has taken diferent mythologies and bound them together to create a world that is wholey believable and drags you into the action kicking and screaming.  Ari is tough and determined, but also has a vulnerable side that peaks through the armour she has built around herself to survive.  The cast around her is not always as fleshed out as they could be, but the pace of the story is such that you don't really mind - and the promise of more books to come with probably flesh those characters out more anyway.  A fantastic read, and I can't wait for more in the series to see how the mythology develops further.

If you like this book then try:
  • The demon trappers' daughter by Jana Oliver
  • Percy Jackson and the lightning thief by Rick Riordan
  • Enclave by Ann Aguire

Reviewed by Brilla

Dead is the new black by Marlene Perez

Daisy is the normal teen in a family of psychics, a slow bloomer in every sense of the word.  When her mother asks her oldest sister Rose to help with the mysterious death of a teenage girl, Daisy decides that she has had enough of sitting on the sidelines and decides to help out - along with the cute boy next door who seems forever out of her reach.  But Daisy has bitten off more than she can chew, and the town of Nightshade will never seem the same again - especially once Daisy manages to join the cheerleader squad AND get the boy next door to notice her as some more than a friend.

This was another one of those books that I almost put down after reading a few pages because it just seems to be a light fluffy book without an intense storyline to get into - and then I realised that that was exactly what I needed, something to cleanse the palate after all those intense supernatural thrillers.  Daisy and her world are bouncy, fun, and just the thing for a light read on a dark and stormy night.

If you like this book then try:
  • Dead is a state of mind by Marlene Perez
  • Jinx by Meg Cabot
  • The princess diaries by Meg Cabot

Reviewed by Brilla

Monday, June 27, 2011

The demon trapper's daughter by Jana Oliver

Riley is seventeen years old and an apprentice demontrapper.  Her path is a hard one - she is the daughter of one of the best trappers around, his former apprentice is a real jerk when he's around, and she's a girl.  Riley makes the best of a bad situation though and works as hard as the boys, taking down the lower Grade demons, but somethings not right - the demons are working together (something that is not supposed to happen) and the demons are calling her by name (something that is not supposed to happen EVER). 

When her father is killed while trying to trap a relatively harmless demon with Beck, Riley finds things going from bad to worse.  She is apprenticed to a new Master who would love nothing more than to see her fail, necromancers are trying to steal her fathers body, and for some reason the tools of the trade that the demon trappers rely on are not working as well as they used to.  Riley has almost too many things to deal with, including the appearance of another apprentice who makes her feel a little weak at the knees.  As the danger builds Riley is going to have to figure out what is going on from the clues that her father left behind, and from the facts that seem too scary to be true.

This is the first book in a new series by author Jana Oliver and it is one of the best books I have read in this very specific section of the supernatural genre.  Like quite a few other novels The demon trapper's daughter is set in our world, but a little in the future when there has been a financial colapse in the city of Atlanta.  In this future world demons walk the earth ranging from little Grade Ones that are more annoying than dangerous, through to Grade Five's that can steal your soul before you know it is gone.  The mythology of this world is clear and well envisioned and has some wonderful little twists and surprises that keep you trapped in the story. 

Riley is a feisty heroine who is not afraid of danger and not afraid of standing up for herself - but she also knows when to keep her mouth shut and go with the flow.  The supporting cast (whether you love them or loath them) are well rounded and well defined.  Initially I have to confess that I almost gave up on this book as Beck was somewhat annoying - partly because of the Southern accent (I figured out he was Southern and didn't need all the y'alls to keep pointing it out).  I am really glad that I finished this book as it was one of the best I have read and look forward to reading more in the series - and I may try some of her adult novels as well to see what they are like.

If you like this book then try:
  • Rampant by Diana Peterfruend
  • The black tattoo by Sam Enthoven
  • Dead witch walking by Kim Harrison

Reviewed by Brilla

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Silence and stone by Kathleen Duey

Alida is a faerie child who has been locked in a cold stone tower for over 60 years.  She has le a lonely life, the only contact she has with people are the silent caregivers who leave her food each day - human food that does nothing for her.  One day she speaks to one of her caregivers, and he speaks back, beginning a friendship that will lead to her escape from Lord Dunraven's castle.  But the danger is not over, as Lord Dunraven has ordered that all faeries, unicorns, and dragons must leave his lands, and that no human is to talk to any faerie, or any faerie to talk to any human. 

Kathleen Duey is a master storyteller of short, intense reads for younger readers who want a little more from their stories, or for older readers who struggle a little with their reading but still want a good story.  This time the journey is into the world of faeries, but previously Duey has written about unicorns as well.  These are a fun read, and the illustrations have a lovely manga-ish feel that helps to bring the stories to life.

If you like this book then try:
  • Moonsilver by Kathleen Duey
  • Katie and the mustang by Kathleen Duey
  • The dragon of doom by Bruce Coville
  • The forests of silence by Emily Rodda
  • Enter the realm by Emily Rodda
  • Magic by moonlight by Linda Chapman
  • Circles in the stream by Shelly Roberts

Reviewed by Brilla

Friday, June 24, 2011

The stepsister scheme by Jim C. Hines.

So, Cinderella’s prince finds her at last and they live happily ever after. Ditto with Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Well, those are the stories we’re told.
In this book we find out the truth.

You think Cinderella – aka Danielle – stepsisters stopped their plotting and scheming once the Cinderwench is happily married? Yeah. Right.
After Danielle’s stepsister Charlotte tries to kill her, the three princesses head off on a mission to rescue Danielle’s kidnapped princely husband. For years Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and Snow (White) have worked as secret agents of the queen.

There’s violence a-plenty as the women fight their way through Fairytown to rescue Armand (the prince). There’s also evil curses, mad witches, and another showdown (or two) between Snow and her mother.
An entertaining read that puts the tale back into fairytale and lifts the lid on ‘happily ever after’. 

For more in this series, look for:
  • The mermaid’s madness.
  • Red Hood’s revenge.
  • The Snow Queen’s shadow.

If you like this book, then try:
  • Deerskin by Robin McKinley.
  • The night dance by Suzanne Weyn.
  • Silver Birch, Blood Moon edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (and other anthologies by these two).
  • Tender morsels by Margo Lanagan.
  • Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede.
  • The fairy godmother by Mercedes Lackey.
  • Watching the roses by Adele Geras.
  • Briar Rose by Jane Yolen.
  • The Changeover by Margaret Mahy.

~ Reviewed by Thalia.

One funky monkey by Stacey McCleary, illustrated by Sue Degennaro

What can I say? This is one cute counting book! From one funky monkey to ten elegant elephants, a conga line of animal toys dance and jive their way around a top shop at night.
The illustrations are delightful, as the animals are spotlighted by the monkey’s torch. Great to read aloud to small and large groups.

If you like this book then try:
  • Dinosaur dig! by Penny Dale.
  • One lonely kakapo by Sandra Morris.
  • One dragon’s dream by Peter Pavey.
  • One is a snail ten is a crab by April Pulley Sayre & Jeff Sayre; illus Randy Cecil.

Reviewed by Thalia.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Born at midnight by C.C. Hunter

Kylie is an average teenager - she likes hanging out with her bestfriend Sara, and her parents are getting a divorce.  Her father is moving out, leaving her with her mother the Ice Queen, so to let loose one night she goes to a party and ends up in more trouble than she has ever been and gets shipped off to a camp for troubled teens.  But the teens at the camp are not your average teens - they're werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters, faeries, and maybe even a few related to the gods.  Kylie is convinced that she is not one of the freaks (although she tries not to think of them that way) even though it is hard to ignore that things are different when she finds herself rooming with a witch and a vampire. 

The boys at camp are interesting, and some of them are more than a little tempting, but things are very complicated and between her personal life and her potential lovelife Kylie is already stretched thin - when you add in the fact that she has no idea what she is or how she fits in with the other supernaturals, Kylie is one short step away from a nervous breakdown.  Then things at the camp take a darker turn and it is all she can do to keep her head above water, rather than drowning in the hidden dangers of her new world.

There are so many books about supernatural beings floating around at the moment that it can be difficult to find something that makes a book unique, something special.  The remarkable thing about this book (the first in a series) is that C.C. Hunter has taken all the mythology out there and created a world that is genuine and believable.  It becomes so easy to believe that there really are vampires and witches out there, and that people like Kylie really can see ghosts. 

Without ruining too much of the storyline for people who want to read this awesome book, Kylie and her new world had the potential to become just another same-old-sam-old read, but I had the guilty pleasure of reading this book as fast as I could to get to the end as fast as I could.  I felt almost guilty reading this book because there are so many books out there that fail to meet the high standard of this first novel, yet the cover looks like every other supernatural book out there so I was getting those looks from co-workers when they saw the sparkly cover.  This was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I look forward to reading more books by this author and hopefully the rest of the series keeps to this same high standard.

If you like this book then try:
  • The unidentified by Rae Mariz
  • Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
  • Hex hall by Rachel Hawkins
  • Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
  • Deception by Lee Nichols

Reviewed by Brilla

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

Jane is in hospital after an epic party the victim of a hit-and-run car crash that left her crumpled and broken in a rosebush.  As she lies in her bed unable to talk or move she relives part of the accident, but not enough to put together the events of the night and what really happened.  Over the coming days as her condition improves in small and unusual ways Jane finds herself doubting what she remembers of that night, what her friends tell her, and what is really going on around her.  Was it really an accident, or is there something more sinister going on.  As the memories of the accident begin to return Jane also finds herself remembering events from the past, events that affect not only her.

Michele Jaffe is the author of several teen novels and has a deft touch with her storytelling, and she has chosen a difficult storytelling tool with the use of the flashback as a main part of her novel.  Too often novels that rely on the flashback fail because the author is too heavy handed or unrealistic - but Jaffe handles it well, although there is the odd time where I have to admit I went "huh?" but it soon settled back into the story.  

This was an addictive read, and the events unfold in a rapid setting and just as rapidly you are dragged into the "perfect" world of Jane and her friends.  Quite quickly the perfectness wears off and you realise how much of an act Jane's life is, and how quickly she also realises that she (and things) need to change.  A very engaging read that is quite different from the humour sprinkled novels that Jaffe has written before.  An excellent and recommended read for those who love novels about cliques, about mysteries, and about the perfectness of teen life before it all comes crashing back down to earth.

If you like this book then try:
  • Bad kitty by Michele Jaffe
  • Jinx by Meg Cabot
  • The kidnapping of Christine Lattimore by Joan Lowery Nixon
  • I am the cheese by Robert Cormier
  • The lying game by Sara Shepard

Reviewed by Brilla

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Welcome to the future - a future that could be just around the corner, or decades away.  In this future world Girl15 is about to become an adult, and during her naming ceremony she becomes Deuce and joins the ranks of the hunters who find the food that feeds her people and defends the enclave from the Freaks that patrol the tunnels eating anything and anyone they can bring down.  It is a world of strictly enforced rules and harsh penalties, where those who defy the elders are exiled from the enclave to wander for the rest of their (very short) lives in the wild areas beyond the safety of the barricades.  As a huntress Deuce is paired with Fade, an outsider who has been accepted into the enclave for the skills that he brings, but who has never been accepted as a true part of their society.  On their first real trip beyond the barricades of their enclave Deuce makes a discovery that will change her life forever.

Deuce has always followed the rules without question - when you die before you turn 30 life is very short, and you don't have time to fight for change.  In a short space of time Deuce realises that if she is to survive she must start making her own decisions, and choose the way she wants to live her life.  With Fade by her side she embarks on a journey that will change her life forever, opening doors to new possibilities that she never dreamed existed, and introduce her to new dangers and new threats.  How safe can her world and her future be when the Freaks are becoming smarter, more organised, and more dangerous - and the elders who are supposed to be protecting them think they are crazy.

This was a fast-paced read that appealed because it was a fresh take on the whole zombie/dystpia theme that has been in several novels over the past few years.  Ann Aguirre is an engaging author who has written a solid and thoroughly enjoyable read - the only complaint being that the ending felt a little rushed, like she was trying to stay under a word limit and chose to end somewhat abruptly rather than trim words from somewhere else.  Deuce is a great main character ad lacks the whiny edge that some of the heroines/heroes have had in other similar novels, you want to stand with her rather than slap her across the back of the head and tell her to get over herself.  A thoroughly enjoyable read and hopefully Aguirre will write more books for teenagers - particularly ones as well researched as this was.

If you like this book then try:
  • Rot and ruin by Jonathan Maberry
  • The hunger games by Suzanne Collins
  • The enemy by Charlie Higson
  • The Marbury lens by Andre Smith
  • The crossing by Mandy Hager

Reviewed by Brilla

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Inside out by Maria V. Snyder

Welcome to the Inside, the only world that Trella has ever known.  Trella is a scrub, she lives in the Lower levels and along with a multitude of other scrubs she helps to keep the Inside running for the scrubs and the lucky people who live in the Upper Levels.  The Uppers are a place that scrubs can only dream of, where there is plenty of space and everything is just so much better.  In the Lower levels everyone works in ten hour shifts of their assigned tasks, cooking, cleaning, recycling, and washing in a never ending stream of work.  Scrubs have no families, they are raised in groups of ten under a Care mother who raises them until they are of age to be assigned their future careers and then they move into the adult world of neverneding work.  Everything is controlled by the Pop Cops who keep check on their health, their lives, and their children.  It is an oppressive world that Trella escapes every chance she can get, mostly by hiding and sleeping in the pipes that she maintains - earning herself the nickname of Queen of the Pipes.

That nickname makes her the focus of interest from the latest Prophet to arrive in the Lower levels.  Trella never trusts the Prophets because they are sent by the Pop Cops to feed people dreams, ideas, and hopes to keep them inline, but the Broken Man is not like other Prophets.  Drawn into a dangerous conspiracy, Trella soon finds herself over her head as a simple act leads to dangerous and rapidly spreading consequences.  The dream of Gateway, a near-mythical exit from the world of Inside, is a powerful drawcard for a lot of the scrubs and even some of the Uppers who are not what Trella was expecting.  Drawn deeper and deeper into the conspiracy, Trella risks not only her life, but also the lives of those around her as she races against time to solve the mystery of the Gateway and the secret of what lies Outside.

This is the first of at least two books, and although the beginning was a bit odd/almost slow, the momentum builds throughout the first chapters and becomes almost impossible to put down.  The dystopia theme is very popular at the moment for young adult novels, and while it seems at first as though this may just  be one amongst many, it soon becomes clear that this is not your run of the mill dystopian novel.  Trella is a strong character, and she is supported by a cast of characters that you love and/or hate with a passion.  Hidden amongst the pages are some twists that I didn't see coming, and I won't ruin the surprise by talking about them as it may impact somewhat on your enjoyment of this fantastic novel.  I can't wait to read the sequel, Outside in.

If you like this book then try:
  • The roar by Emma Clayton
  • The sky village by Monk Ashland and Nigel Ashland
  • Because we were the travellers by Jack Lasenby
  • Arrival by Chris Morphew
  • The lab by Jack Heath

Reviewed by Brilla

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Solomon crocodile by Catherine Rayner

Solomon crocodile is full of mischief and having loads of fin bugging all the other animals on the banks of an African river - until he comes up against a rather large and annoyed Hippo who tells him off.  But that is not the end of the story as there is something or someone else bothering the frogs, the dragonflies and the storks.  A fun and delightful book with gorgeous illustrations that are full of energy and bounce - just like Solomon.  A funny read for younger readers listening to their favourite big person read aloud to them, and a great read for slightly older children who are exploring the wonders of reading for themselves.  I love this book and now want to see what else this author has written - and if she hasn't written anything else yet, then I hope she does write more with the same energy and fun of this one.

If you like this book then try:
  • Don't let the pigeon drive the bus by Mo Willems
  • I'm the biggest thing in the ocean by Kevion Sherry
  • Cushie Butterfield (she's a little cow) by Colin McNaughton
  • Giggle, giggle, quack by Doreen Cronin

Reviewed by Brilla

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Z.Rex by Steve Cole

Adam Adlar is living with his dad in Santa Fe over the holidays, while his dad works on his Ultra-Reality (U-R) gaming console.  If his dad can get it to work properly, it will be the biggest thing ever - no more controllers or gamepads, the game will be able to work directly from the players mind.  Adam is his dads favourite (and only) test subject, and together they are making the system work.  They are in a race against time though, as the research is expensive and the funding is always close to running out.  When an opportuntiy comes up for a distraction Adam's dad takes it, but the gone for a few days quickly turns into missing for lots of days and Adam is getting worried.  When things take an even more dangerous turn, Adam finds himself in the company of a genetically created dinosaur named Z.Rex and it seems hell-bent on finding his father - but for what purpose?

This is the first book in The hunting series and starts the series with a bang.  One of the best things about this books is that it is fast moving, has a gripping story, but also avoids using lots of complicated language which makes it accessible to younger readers who want to extend their reading, but also allows teenagers who are struggling a little with their reading to enjoy a really good read without feeling like they are being talked down to.  I really enjoyed this book because it was surprisingly complex, even though the language was not heavy with technical words or vocabluary building words it didn't feel like the story was brought down to a younger level - instead it felt as though the author really knows his audience and is trying to include as many people in the telling as possible.

If you like this book then try:
  • Serpents of Arakesh by V.M.Jones
  • Raptor by Paul Zindel
  • The lost castle by Michael Pryor
  • Star split by Kathryn Lasky
  • Hex by Rhiannon Lassiter
  • Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Reviewed by Brilla

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

Welcome to the city of Chicago in the year 2150.  It is a civilised city of the future where every teenage girl receives a XVI tattoo on her 16th birthday - a clear sign to everyone that she is now ready and legal to have sex.  Some girls embrace the sex-teen culture, learning all the skills and tricks to attract a man, any man, so they can experience sex for the first time, and as often as they like once they have their tattoo.  But not everyone believes the hype, the propaganda that sex is something that every girl should want as soon as she has her tattoo. 

One of those girls is Nina Oberon, who dreads turning sixteen, getting her tattoo, and becoming a target for every sexed up guy who sees her as fair game.  Her mothing Ginnie has always supported her, always made sure that she can make up her own mind, but sometimes that isn't enough.  Nina has never wanted her tattoo, but her best friend Sandy is like a walking advertisement for everything that the GC wants teenage girls to be - sexed up and ready to go.  When her mother is murdered, Nina suddenly finds herself in a very vulnerable position, she is without her mother and without a lot of the answers that could keep her safe.  She is finding new friends and new supporters, but there is a dangerous enemy working against her and if they win she could lose her family, her beliefs, and even her life.

Dystopian novels are a growing genre for teenagers at the moment, and at first it seemed as though this may have been just another one amongst many, but as I read further I became more and more addicted to the story and the wealth of information within the story.  Unlike other authors in the same genre, Julia Karr has really fleshed out her world, giving it a depth and breadth that is sometimes missing - it felt like a real time and place rather than just somewhere that was created by somebody.  I hope that there are more books of a similar calibre from this author as this is an amazing book regardless of the fact that it includes a lot of reference to sex - there is no actual sex in the book, and all references to sex are handled within context rather than thrown in your face.  Highly recommended, although you may find the first few chapters a bit odd to get into to, definitely worth the read.

If you like this book then try:
  • The barcode tattoo by Suzanne Weyn
  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • The limit by Kristin Landon 
  • Witch and wizard by James Patterson
  • Hunger games by Suzanne Collins
  • The unidentified by Rae Mariz

Reviewed by Brilla

Sunday, June 5, 2011

River marked by Patricia Briggs

For the first time ever I feel the need to include a SPOILER ALERT with a review - if you have not read the rest of the series and are not up-to-date with the life and trials of Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson then do not read past this point as you may end up learning more about the earlier books than is good for you.

Okay, now that is out of the way I can say without doubt that the Mercy series is still going strong with this sixth book in the series.  From the start Mercy has been a strong, independent almost anti-hero who makes mistakes, has her flaws (did I mentions she can be really stubborn yet), and has this amazing ability to end up in the wrong place at the right time.  Over the past five novels Mercy has fallen into more trouble than is humanly possible, but as she is not human but a Walker who can turn into a coyote, then maybe that explains it.  This time around Mercy and Adam have left on their honeymoon, and they are camping in a very flash RV in a campground that wont be open to the public for some time to come.  But it turns out the honeymoon comes with Mercy's own special brand of complications, and Mercy and Adam soon find themselves caught up in the mystery of a river monster that is killing tourists and locals alike. 

For the first time you really get a blending of Native American mythology and magic from Mercy's ancestry in the story, and as I am not from America and don't have a sound knowledge of what is real with Native American culture and what is just for TV and novels I can only say that it appears to have been handled with respect, but I can say it answered a lot of questions and made the story so much more because it added to the general mythology of mercy's world and built on a world view of what it is like to live in a world with vampires, werewolves, walkers, the fae - and now some other things entirely (don't want to spoil things for you too much). 

I love this series, and one of the things I love best about it is the seamless way that Patricia Briggs blends together the real world that we know, with a fantasy world that blends magic, monsters, and the fae into a world that you think is just around the corner.  Other authors have tackled this "urban fantasy" genre before with varying success, and some series that started strong have become less readable over time, but the Mercy Thompson novels just keep getting better and better, and the companion Alpha and Omega series is just as addictive.

If you like this book then try:
  • Cry wolf by Patricia Briggs
  • Knight of ghosts and shadows by Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon
  • Burning water by Mercedes Lackey
  • Blood price by Tanya Huff
  • Dead witch walking by Kim Harrison
  • Guilty pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

Reviewed by Brilla

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Town possum, outback possum by Yvonne Morrison; illustrated by Heath McKenzie

Many readers will be familiar with the story of the town mouse and the country mouse - and this re-telling of the old story is both familiar and new at the same time.  For most New Zealanders possums are a pest species that must be removed at all costs (no matter how cute and fluffy they may appear), but to Australians they are a species that should be cared for and protected.  So putting aside the whole pest thing, and concentrating instead on the cute-appeal of possums, I thoroughly enjoyed this updated version of the classic story. 

Jessie the city possum, complete with bring purple suitcase, visits her cousin Jack in the country.  After a few days Jessie is bored out of her (Jack's) tree and convinces Jack to come to the big city to see where she lives instead.  The trip to the city is not what Jack expected, and when he has the chance to scamper back to his home in the country he takes it. 

This book has a delighful Australian flavour (though as a Kiwi maybe I shouldn't admit that), and the illustrations are highly engaging.  It wil be interesting to see if more re-told traditional stories come from this team.

If you liked this book then try:
  • Cindy and the lost jandal by Chris Gurney & illustrated by Ross Kinnaird
  • Little Red and the cunning kuri by Chris Gurney & illustrated by Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson
  • The ugly hatchling by Yvonne Morrison & illustrated by Dave Gunson
  • There was an old lady who swallowed a mozzie by P. Crumble & illustrated by Louis Shea

Reviewed by Brilla

The important things by Peter Carnavas

Helping young children cope with the death of a loved one, particularly a parent, is never easy.  Reading and sharing picture books and novels about losing a loved one can help, but too often those stories come across as fake or condescending.  The important things is a real treasure, a book that appeals for lots of different reasons.

Christopher and his mother have a strong relationship, with Christopher's mother almost seeming like superwoman with all the different things that she does - watering the garden, cooking breakfast, painting the house, building things out of blocks - all because Christopher's father has died.  One day his mother cleans up the small, old, and unimportant things that had belonged to his father and packs them into a box which they take to a second-hand store in the city.  Over the next few days and week the things begin to reappear - and one night Chrisopher's mother finds out why.

This is a charming book that is lovely to share, even with children who have not lost a loved one.  It neatly sidesteps the usual pitfalls of being too emotional, or too much "it will be alright", or "we know exactly how you feel".  I loved this book and hope that it will bring comfort to children who have lost someone dear to them.

If you liked this book then try:
  • The sunshine cat by Miriam Moss & illustrated by Lisa Flather
  • Always and forever by Alan Durant & illustrated by Debi Gliori
  • Old Hu-Hu by Kyle Mewburn & illustrated by Rachel Driscoll
  • The grandad tree by Trish Cooke & illustrated by Sharon Wilson
Reviewed by Brilla