Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Apparently the story behind this book is that the author was flicking between a game show and a war documentary where young people were fighting and dying - and the idea for this book just popped into her head.

And that's really it.  Although it's more of an impossible game show popcorn book than my intro might have you believe.  Think - "the running man" - with kids in an outdoor setting.  Very fast, very pacy and very readable, it's spawned a series of popular books .  Mocking Jay, the last book of the series  was a must on the Kids Christmas present list - so I'm no sure why it too me so long to read the first one - but I'm pleased I did. 

In some ways the whole thing is a bit like Emma Clayton's "The Roar" in that it's almost impossible to put down and it's almost universally liked despite the slight sci fi edge.  The pacing is great, there's always something happening and the kids are the only people who can take on the big selfish badies that run the world.  No matter how absurd it is, it's impossible not to be carried away and just enjoy this phenomenon.

It's a must for any self respecting officianado of the YA genre.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

John Horrocks' Something in the Waters was launched: Sunday 12 December

 The Launch of "Something in the Waters" was a lot of fun, and of course it didn't hurt that the book's original flavour and historical background was so fascinating.  John and Robert were great speakers and they kept us all entertained with stories about Rotorua in the old days and some of the remarkable history and pictures around the theme of waters and health that was the basis of the book. Believe me, it's like a fascinating potted history of the time, in clean verse.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

Just when you think Terry Pratchett is losing his touch, and wonder why you're still bothering to read discworld novels, Terry Pratchett puts out one of his best books for a long time.  So much for Alzheimer's, someone's got their eye on the ball.

The wizards at unseen academicals will lose a healthy inheritance/legacy if they don't play a game of football.  Only problem is the football played in Ankh Morepork is deadly.  With Lord Vetinari somewhat on their side, they have to make a game of it.  But there is more resting on the results than anybody originally dreamed.

The women are in the kitchen and the men are all playing dressups, so of course there's enough sexism to make anyone's teeth itch.  Enough double entedrers as well.  Not exactly something that usually shines through in a Discworld novel, but I guess with the fashion angle to match the equally vapid football angle the opportunities do rather overflow.  Which accounts for Terry's inimitable humour being back with a vengeance.  Probably though, the best thing about the book is the central character, Nutt.  He tries so very hard to fit in, to "have worth", but what he actually has is a legacy that is almost impossible to live down. 

review by Alicia Ponder


Monday, November 29, 2010

Twilight Robbery (or Fly Trap in America) by Frances Hardinge (sequel to the heavily acclaimed Fly by Night)

Please note, although I'm sure you can hardly wait Twilight Robbery is not coming out until the 4th of March 2011.

The story:

Trouble follows Mosca wherever she goes, and it doesn't much help that she hangs out with a lying, cheating, fraudster of no account, and a goose best described as homicidal.

Got that?  Good.  Because now you've got to hold on tight, through kidnapping, half a bizarre country, more gods than I could possibly name, and into a town that is in terrible peril, from itself. 

Will Mosca save the day?  Will she be able to help more than just herself, but all the people who are relying on her?  Hold on tight and get ready for to discover a world of danger and not so much enchantment.  It's not magic that has everyone enthralled so much as the brazen daring of Mosca, her companions - and of course the evil forces they are pitted against.  Men and women who are too self centred to care about the plight of their fellows.

Twilight Robbery is everything you'd expect from children's book.  It's gorgeous, loveable, dangerous, enchanting (without the magic), and there's lots of running both into and out of danger, as well as fast talking, and a fun, loveable and dangerous -- goose.  Now while I didn't much care for Gullstruck Island, and Verdigris Deep is so brilliant that I don't think any other fiction will ever compare -- this strikes a happy middle note that makes me wonder why on earth I didn't read Fly by Night earlier.  A mistake I will soon be fixing.

My advice is (and I did exactly this) lay your hands on a copy as soon as you can. And if you're a good reader and can cope with intricately wrought writing with big words, read Verdigris Deep and marvel about how it failed to win the awards it deserved.  My reveiw is here.

Fly by Night won the Branford Boase Award in 2006,and was listed in the School Library Journal's Best Books of 2006.  Review here.

Frances Hardinge's website is here  - fair warning though -as of this moment her sequel hasn't been posted yet.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe

"If Night Falls, All Fall"

"A richly told tale of strange magic, dark treachery, and conflicting loyalties, set in a well-realized world"—Robin Hobb
Heir of Night, young Malian is supposed to be kept safe at all times, and still she is out wandering in places she shouldn't go, heedless of the dangers all around her. After all, life in the garrison her family is pledged to uphold seems safe enough - until they are visited by their ancient enemy, the Swarm.  And that's when things suddenly get very interesting.

Standard fantasy stuff on one level, a young hero against forces apparently much stronger than herself.  Forces that could destroy everything she loves and holds dear - but it is the rich detail that makes this book too intriguing to put down.  Not everything is quite as it seems on the outside and Malian's greatest challenge is to recognise where the true danger lies, when treachery lies hidden at every step.

The writing is gorgeous, except for some of the older characters whose dialogue trips the line from old-fashioned to clunky.  The characters are great fun, good and evil alike.  And unlike the rather gorgeous Thornspell the main characters -- and I wont even say who the other main character is because it might ruin the suspense (although you'll probably guess)-- are dynamic and active, swimming in waters over their heads they still manage to direct the plot as they use all their resources and inner strength to try and survive.  Keeping the reader hooked from beginning to end.

The UK/NZ cover above and the US cover below (just because I love the US cover so much, and feel it's slightly more relevant to the story)

Visit The Heir of Night website here.  That way you will be able to keep an eye on what's happening and find out when the next book, "Gathering" will be out, because it's certainly not one I would want to miss.

Review by Alicia Ponder

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Maximum Ride by James Patterson

Buy from Rona Gallery
I'm deeply conflicted about this book.  It was a fast read, and rather fun.  My daughter LOVED it and went on to read the next four in quick succession.  So it was good.  But on the other hand - what was he thinking about calling the female lead "Maximum Ride?" and the story itself is similarly shallow. 

It's like he's writing by numbers, pushing all the buttons of an action packed book with fantasy overtones -- and most especially using the same techniques as the Percy Jackson series  in terms of trying to connect with the readers and instil a sense of impending doom and near danger -- it just didn't quite come off . Not for me anyway - but on the other hand I'm an adult and what I want from a book isn't always what a younger reader would want, and someone with a slightly less jaded "palette" would not be quite so sensitive to what seemed to me a certain soulessness that infected the book.

So maybe if this was an ordinary site and we gave out stars I would be tempted to give it only two - but that's not the whole story. And it's not really a fair evaluation because despite it's flaws it is highly readable and perfect for reluctant readers because of all those numbers - or buttons that are covered, kids - all alone, having to survive by their wits alone.  There's lots of action, lots of danger, lots of evil scientists and feats of bravery and wit.  So who am I to argue with the teens - for whom this book is written and give it any lower score than the four stars.

Review by Alicia Ponder.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Rona Gallery Top 10 Books for Adults, Teens, and Picture

This year we're not doing the Late Late awards, but we are celebrating some of our favourite books with our top tens for Adults Fiction, Non fiction, Teens and Picture.  Read one today and Enjoy. 

TOP 10 NOVELS FOR ADULTS (and yes SOMETIMES when it comes to things as important as books - counting isn't quite the skill that is sometimes emphasised in the classroom!)

1) The Distant Hours, by KateMoreton
2) Blossoms and Shadows, by Lian Hearn3) Hand Me Down World, by Lloyd Jones
4) Sex and Stravinsky, by Barbara Trapido
5) Hand Me Down World, by Lloyd Jones
6) Sex and Stravinsky, by Barbara Trapido
7) Inheritance, by Nicholas Shakespeare
8) Started Early, Took My Dog, by Kate Atkinson
9) Great House, by Nicole Krauss
10) Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
11) Widow’s Daughter, by Nicholas Edlin
12) Villa Pacifica, by Kapka Kassabova


1) Shortest History of Europe, by John Hirst
2) QI: The General Book of Ignorance (Bk2) by John Lloyd & John Murchison
3) The Fry Chronicles, by Stephen Fry
4) Katherine Mansfield -The Story Teller, by Kathleen Jones
5) All Blacks Don’t Cry by John Kirwin
6) Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of N.Z.Popular Music 1918-1964, by Chris Bourke
7) It’s Easier Than You Think, by Jo Seagar
8) Who’s Cooking Tonight, by Claire Gourley
9) Caught on Canvas, by Richard Ponder
10) Just my Type: A Book about Fonts, by Simon Garfield


1) Trash, by Andy Mulligan
2) Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins 3) Banquo’s Son & Bloodlines, by T.K.Roxborogh
4) The Moorehawke Trilogy, by Celine Kiernan
5) The Bone Tiki, by David Hair
6) Shadow, by Michael Morpugo
7) Fierce, September, by Fleur Black
8) The Guiness World Book of Records
9) Warriors, by Erin Hunter
10) Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare


1) The Fierce Little Woman and the Wicked Pirate, by Joy Cowley
2) It’s a Book, by Lane Smith 3) Legend of the Golden Snail, by Grahame Base
4) Ten Little Fingers, by Mem Fox and Helen Oxbury
5) Wind up Racing Cars, by Paul Nicholls
6) The First Christmas, by Jan Pienkowski
7) Christmas Journey, by Brian Wildsmith
8)  Tabby McTat, by Julia Donaldson
9) Eyes, Nose, Fingers & Toes, by Judy Hindley
10) Klutz Educational Games and Toys - always worth looking at, with  great ideas for activities and instructional manuals to go with it.

Visit us at our website here

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova, notes by Joanna

 quote.gifAn enchanting story and a deeply human experiencequote_1.gif 
 Mary F. Burns, Historical Novel Society

Kostova wrote the "Historian" an excellent book.  Swan Thieves is equally as good.  Psychiatrist Marlow has a disturbed artist as a patient who has been incarcerated.  The story unfolds as Marlow begins to unravel Robert Olner's story through contact with the woman in his life, and letters held by him from painters in the 1870's

This book is highly recommended reading, simply stunning.


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Young Sherlock Holmes, Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Great Concept -

"Two Dead  Bodies
One Unforgettable Hero
The Beginning of a Legend"

This is an "authorised" sequel - and it's pretty good. Lots of excitement, chases, escapes, daring sequences and clever deducing (although I don't believe the word deducing is ever used) I think kids will love it for the most part - but there are one or two pacing issues.  For me there were a couple of points in the story where it really slowed down.  Possibly part of the problem was I'd just read the original Sherlock Holmes.  Very short stories, very clipped and almost modern in their style, although maybe it's not fair (as Watson has not yet entered Sherlock's life) to expect such precision and effortless economy.

Fun aeroplane read for readers around 11-12+

Review by
Alicia Ponder

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, by M. T. Anderson

Joanna's quick notes on: 
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing
Book 1 Pox Party
Book 2 Traitor to the Nation

Truly Astonishing!!! An amazing story - told in the style of 18th Century Journal writing.  Story in first book revolves around Octavian and his mother.  Octavian, a studied child from birth, given a classical education.  Philosophers are ascertaining "the intelligence of the black races"  The nature of this study changes when the slave owners begin to fund it.

The second book focuses on the War of Independence. 

A must read. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer's sense of humour is becoming more finely developed and this really shines through when Artemis Fowl finally manages to turn good.  Personally I think the book is worth reading for that alone, but there is just one complaint - in a book that is really good - it's not quite as great as the others in the series - and for one reason.  Editor.  Yes, it would have been better if it had been shorter. 

I love this series and was really looking forward to this book,  everything about it is fantastic, the code to solve, the sense of humour, Artimis himself,  the fantastic writing, the sense of adventure, it's just a shame that it got a little wordier than the previous books. 

Review:  Alicia Ponder
Buy Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex for NZ $23

PS - and I didn't know this before the author's name is pronounced "Owen" because it says so on his website.  There's all sorts of crazy stuff here, but I think it's for people a little younger than me.

Disclaimer:  This book review is supposedly of fiction, and as such is subject to the "Artimis Fowl II" clause.  Artimis Fowl  is at liberty to deny everything.  Expecially fairies.  And also of having a mental illness.  It never happened.  There is no such thing as Atlantis complex anyway.  I am not being forced to write this by his bodyguard! And Artimis Fowl does not, most certainly and never would have a "Wicked world" at 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Inheritance, by Nicholas Shakespeare

A young, struggling editor inadvertently turns up at the wrong funeral - the story unfolds as the protagonist unravels the biography of the deceased multimillionaire.

Highly Recommended

Review by Joanna

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

This and that & "MockingJay" the fiinal hunger games book.

While I've been busy reading, "Sherlock Holmes" an old favourite from Penguin's "classics" section and deciding that anyone who knows anything about science and scientists really shouldn't read "Solar" by Ian McEwan.  The writing fine, but the characterisation of the scientist is downright wrong. On so many levels.  Anyway I know lots of our young readers loved the Hunger Game series and unlike the end of many trilogies, this book, from all accounts, is something special. 

 "Katniss, a teen, despite her limited point of view and adults expecting her to play a predetermined role, has agency. She has the power to change things in a world where adults are blind to their own patterns. Which is why the Hunger Games trilogy makes perfect YA." Quote concluding a well written review about the book by Faye Bi (link below)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

The creator of the very popular Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief branches away from Greek gods and into Egyptian mythology.

What's not to love in this book - the Egyptian mythology, the fast paced plot, the bickering brother and sister all make for a lot of fun. It's pretty mindless fun, an aeroplane read for kids and young adults, with a plot so fast they just wont want to put it down. I know mine didn't. And they love the little touches of "authenticity" through the book, the hieroglyphics and the arguing and the overall arch of the story.

As an adult though I found something a little missing. Yes, I love all the elements - the god of chaos being released, the animals - at least most of them, the plot etc. But the "chosen ones" underpinning jarred. Then this book wasn't written for jaded adults, it was written for teens and I think he's hit that demographic really well. Most especially teens that love mythology and animals and the idea that they could be caught in an epic struggle of good versus evil.

Review by Alicia

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith

Just when I thought I wasn't ever going to get wildly excited by another book. This crazy little number comes out. And it's quite wonderfully done.  The author states -

"I wanted as much real history in the book — as much of Lincoln’s real life — as possible."

And I really did feel like Lincoln's voice was coming out of the page, it was quite amazing. And so was Lincoln's life, from a harsh life on the fringes of American settlement, to his term his term as president, he was an amazing figure, still revered by American's today and you can easily see why.

But I think what really sold the book for me was the heart of it. The abhorrence of slavery, and the equating of slavers with vampires just rings true; slavers were people who fed off humanity, and because of that, the fantastical element of vampires somehow doesn't feel like it is going too far, but is used skilfully as a device to highlight man's inhumanity to man. I can't recommend it highly enough.

interested in finding out more

Video (this video is laugh out loud fun, and makes me wonder if they do make the movie, can it live up to this little trailer?)

Game ap (I don't give money for such things but apparently if you want to kill Booth, the guy who killed Lincoln this is your chance - BUT you must be 17 years old to download the app)

Rona Gallery Books can be bought at

Friday, July 30, 2010

NZ POETRY BOOKS – 30% plus off for National Poetry Day

30% off poetry books for poetry day - and one week after take advantage of this offer at RONA gallery or contact us through our website

Friday July 30 2010 and applies for a week following.
The discounted price is stated.

Selected Poems of James K Baxter, ed. Paul Millar, $28

$20 books
Fast Talking Pi, Selina Tusitala Marsh [with CD]
Painted Poems – One artist: 20 poets, Eion Stevens
Footfall, Brian Turner [HB]
Shards of Silver, Paul Thompson/NZ poets
The Victims of Lightning, Bill Manhire
Playing God, Glenn Colquhoun

The Tram Conductor’s Blue Cap, Michael Harlow
Just This, Brian Turner
The Lustre Jug, Bernadette Hall
Dear Sweet Harry, Lynn Jenner
The Moonmen, Anna Livesey
Good Business, Ian Wedde
The Worm in the Tequila, Geoff Cochrane
The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls, Kate Camp
The Blind Singer, Chris Price

$16.00 Books
Echolocation, Angela Andrews
Lifted, Bill Manhire
The Pop-up Book of Invasions, Fiona Farrell
After the Dance, Michele Amas
The Propaganda Poster Girl, Amy Brown
Mirabile Dictu, Michele Leggott
How to Survive the Morning, Kevin Ireland
Pocket Edition, Geoff Cochrane
The World’s Fastest Flower, Charlotte Simmonds
In Continents, Richard Reeve
Blame Vermeer, Vincent O’Sullivan
The Lakes of Mars, Chris Orsman
Dream Fish Floating, Karlo Mila
Incognito, Jessica le Bas
The End of Atlantic City, David Beach
Aloe, Diana Bridge
Making Lists for Frances Hodgkins, Paula Green
Walls to Kick and Hills to Sing From, Murray Edmond
How to Live beside the Sea, Lynn Davidson
Beauty Sleep, Kate Camp
When the Sun and Moon Collide, Briar Grace-Smith
Mr Maui’s Dialogues, Peter Bland

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The book everyone is talking about.
An experiment involving Death-Row inmates goes terribly wrong.  An epic disaster of John Wyndham scale hits the world. And then....

Richard read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it, comparing the first half favourably to the Day of the Triffords and one of his favourite authors, John Wyndham. The second half is an extension of the disaster plot, answering the question John Wyndham never did, "What happened next," in true action-adventure style.

Right now Rona Gallery is selling this book for $29.90 - that's ten dollars off.  So get your copy now and see what all the fuss is about.

The Passage by Justin Cronin at Rona Gallery
RRP $39.99 now $29.90

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Hyddenworld, Spring

Despite twisting fantasy with reality, despite all the hype, I eventually gave up on ever making my way through this piece of very unevenly plotted fantasy.

It's beautifully presented.  The mythology isn't all completely borrowed.  There is a plot, half of which is not too bad.  But I've read too many similar books to be blown away by any supposed originality here and I suspect despite that despite the fact that this is a "fantasy" book, it's not so much for fantasy readers.  Especially not sophisticated ones who dislike an entire chapter on the set-up of a city. 

I'm happy for anyone to contradict me.  Comment moderation has only been turned on because of the sheer quantity of spam this site has been generating, and I also apologise for the few blogs lately - blame it all on
Get great books for great prices
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Only 1$ postage
Tell us if you want a book and we don't have it on the web yet.  For example.  I didn't like this book so it's not going up. 

Life is short, read good books

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our Birthday Celebrations

Rona Gallery's 10th Birthday kicked off with an exhibition, then there were Peter Rabbit and Spot the Dog with a great story time pantomime just after lunch, and finally a readers and writers evening featuring Dame Fiona Kidman and twelve other poets -- hosted by Mary McCallum enjoyed by over seventy Eastbourne writers and readers.

Some Photos

Friday, June 11, 2010

Seeing Further, the Story of the Science of the Royal Society -- edited by Bill Bryson

The Royal Society was founded by curious scientists able to "see further" to change the world around them. Today it illuminates the vast achievements of modern science and continues to push back the frontiers of knowledge.

Sir David Attenborough

From it's humble beginnings in 1660 where a dozen men came to hear a lecture on astronomy from the young Christopher Wren, it became the most prestigious scientific institution on the world. Wherever you lived, whatever language you spoke, if you loved science this was where you wanted to be.

From the crazy, to the improbable to the downright they looked at everything, were fascinated by everything. Taking nothing for granted. Refusing to be bowed by external politics or wars. Recognising science and not just wealth - a big step in the 1600's - the royal society epitomises scientific thought and discovery.

This book has essays spanning not just the giants of Newton and Darwin, but the birth of modern science, and how this impacted on everything from "pure" maths, to bridge construction, from evolution to the Mars mission. The fascination and the passion and the much fought over methodology. Even the idea of the mad scientist is explored as a reaction to the almost magical way in which science not only changes the landscape, but changes the very perspective from which we see it.

22 authors provide 22 windows into this remarkable institution, from the dusty basements filled with 350 years worth of scientific discovery to the lofty individuals that strode through science turning the world in their wake.

Buy now NZ $49.90 Free postage in NZ

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

At the Gates of Darkness by Raymond E. Feist

There's a nasty demon thing trying to break through into Midkemia, and the intrepid characters are trying to stop it.

With Magician, Raymond E Feist created a stunning world rife with potential, but the latest instalment, "At the Gates of Darkness", takes about half a book just to get everyone up to date with all his characters. As a reader I don't need character arcs that are completely unrelated to the plot -- however cool they were the first time round.

Of course if you've read many, most or all of the previous books, this is a great re-union, and on the plus side it does star demon-fighting good guys with shady pasts. The elf brothers sneaking through demon country were great -- and if only Raymond had focussed more on them, and less on Pug and that cast of "old favourites", it would have been a better story. One of the reasons his collaboration "Daughter of the Empire" series with Janny Wurts worked so well, was that although some of Raymond's characters popped up on occasion, but they didn't get in the way of the plot, stomp all over it and.... no, I wont give away the ending, but you can probably guess.

It's also a shame that like many other long-running series, some of the simple charm struggling to break through the story is overwhelmed by the huge and unbelievable forces arrayed against the protagonists -- and the huge and unbelievable resources they have to fight back with.

Review by Alicia Ponder

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NZ Post Children's Book Awards

Congratulations to all the winners.
Of the short listed books my favourites were E3 Call Home,(non fiction) Banquo's Son and The Crossing.(young adult fiction) I would have been hard pressed to choose between the two young adult books if I had been a judge so as only one could win  I was happy with the judges decision.

The Crossing by Mandy Hager is set in an apocalyptic world where the elite set up a cult that  systematically abuses the followers.  Not for the faint-hearted, definitely a fourteen plus read.
However if you enjoy a novel with an historical theme then try TK Roxborough's Banquo's Son.

E3 Call Home, by Janet Hunt ticks all the boxes for a non--fiction picture book.  It tells a true story about two bar-tailed godwits, with beautiful photography, diagrams and accessible text.

As a minority of one I did not like "The Wonky Donkey," based as it was on an old drinking song, and a poor handicapped donkey that everyone can laugh at.  Unfortunately this did win children's choice, so check it out, you might love it! Just like Richard and Rhyna and not Alicia.

The overall winner Old Huhu is a beautifully presented book with charming pictures (except for the huhu beetles eyes) and was a popular choice. Click on To check out all the awards and runners up.

Review by Joanna Ponder

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White - Happy Birthday 40 years strong

You might wonder why I'm reviewing a book that's forty years old.  Mostly it's because, (for some reason probably the rather ho hum cover,) the Trumpet of the Swan has never received the recognition it deserved.

Sam Beaver discovers a swan's nest and has the opportunity to protect it from predators.  The swans trust him, and he gets to see the eggs hatching.  The last cygnet, Louie is born without a voice. This lack is sorely felt by his parents, but he goes to school with Sam to learn how to read and write.  This seems to work very well until Louie realizes it hasn't worked at all because unfortunately all the other swans don't know how to read and write...

The swamplands are well gorgeous, the school scenes are just delightful and so are the characters.  The book, with its sense of wilderness and wonder is a must for any child who loves nature, or any child you want to cultivate a love of nature in.  And as with, "Charlotte's Web"  and "Stewart Little,"  E.B. White's almost laconic style is a pleasure to read aloud.

I would mention some of the delightful touches of humour, but I wouldn't do them justice.  It's just brilliant.  My children and I believe this to be his best children's book, saving his best for last.  So all you E.B. White fans out there, now that you know this book exists it's time to make your collection complete.

Review by Alicia Ponder

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier

For all you romantics out there this is a beautifully written tale of an impossible love.

Young, beautiful, and abused scribe Caitrin is running from her past.  She finds both work and shelter with the chief of a village.  But this is no ordinary home, it is plagued by the past, a past she must delve into if she is to help the tortured chieftain, broken, crippled and horribly alone -- even while her own past is but a footstep behind.

Inspired, but not constrained by Beauty and the Beast, this gorgeous book was well worth the read.  Having not a romantic bone in my body, I still enjoyed it for the gorgeous writing and the wonderful sense of presence this writer has.  I can't wait to read Wildwood dancing!

And it's not jsut me that thinks she's well worth reading, Juliet Marillier has won quite a few awards for her historical fantasy novels:
Winner of the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel (2006)
Winner of the Beehive Book Award for Young Adult Fiction, sponsored by the Children's Literature Association of Utah and decided by popular vote (2009)
Best Children's Books of the Year, published by the Bank Street College of Education (2007)
A YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Best Book for Young Adults (2007)
A US Board of Books for Young People and Children’s Book Council Outstanding International Book (2008)

Review by Alicia Ponder of Rona Gallery and Bookshop, 151 Muritai Rd, Eastbourne, NZ. 

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Phoenix Files:Contact by Chris Morphew

With only 88 days until the end of the world, our three friends from "Arrival" must get the news out to the rest of the world -- or everybody outside of Phoenix will die.  But the phones are down, the roads are closed and it's miles to anywhere.   Somehow they must find a way -- but when they do, the three friends know they are walking into unbelievable danger that threatens not only themselves, but everyone they care about.

The story was another good fast paced read from an accomplished writer (Author of some of the Zac Power series).  Unfortunately though, I didn't like the change of the point of view character from Luke to Peter.  Mostly because for me Luke was a more empathetic character.  So while I was slightly, very very slightly dissapointed with "Contact" I'm looking forward to the sequel even more because "Contact" felt like it was building up for something big, without really being satisfying in and of itself.  Moreover it's going to be written from Jordan's point of viewm and she is the character I like the best and the one I most want to read about so I'm looking forward to the next book in the series "mutation," is coming out in August 2010 in Australia.  Hopefully it will be here not long after.  I will be on the edge of my seat and there will be 70 days until the end of the world.   
Review by Alicia Ponder


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