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)


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