Over the holidays I completed the trilogy of Chaos Walking. I really enjoyed them, though I have to admit my interest started to flag in the third book.

Holidays are coming so time to think about holiday reading. I have taken the series of books by Patrick Ness. These come highly recommended so I am looking forward to settling into the sofa and getting into them.

Theknife.jpg knife of never letting go. Chaos Walking Book 1

I love this book. It reminds me of The Hunger games, The outcast and The wind singer. It is set in the future on what could be Earth or could be another planet, I am a little unsure of this, but it doesn't detract from the story. In this future there are no women, just a group of men living together and able to hear each other's thoughts all the time. There are no secrets. Todd, the main character and narrator, is the youngest member of this community and eagerly awaiting his 13th birthday when he will formally become a man. On the outskirts of the town, he discovers a silence, something quite unknown to him as he is used to the constant noise of the thoughts of all those around him. Just finding this silence puts him in danger and he must flee for safety to the unknown.

It is a gripping story. It has drama, suspense, danger and excitement. The reader is constantly thinking and putting things together to understand just what is going on. The book finishes on a cliff hanger and luckily volumes two and three are available - I am half way through the second book and still gripped with the suspense.


I am trying to get someone to read a really funny book. Maybe it's only funny because I am no longer fifteen, but I think it a book that would be liked by anyone who feels a little bit awkward, actually likes school work, and is just trying to be a normal person. The book is called Loving Richard Feynman, it is at the desk waiting for a reader!

Richard Feynman was a real person and the books that the main character talks about actually exist. so there you go, a sort of biographical novel...

Murder at Mansfield Park by Lyn Shepherd

mansfield.jpgOne for lovers of Jane Austen. This is a mystery story set in Mansfield Park, the house which is the setting for Jane Austen's novel of the same name. However, whilst the characters have the same names, their relationships and personalities are quite different to those that Jane gave them. Fanny Price is not the quiet, self effacing, prim and proper lady. She is a vicious imp with a large fortune, firm ideas and a very sharp tongue. It is a good read, I didn't guess the murderer, though there are plenty of clues (and red herrings).

I am busy reading the titles for year 7 literature circles at the moment - Bridie's fire is a favourite. I also like the verse novels Make lemonade and Almost forever.

With Readers Cup for Years 7 and 8 nearly complete, we can start to think about the Regional competition. New books to read. It will be great to see what teams can come up with. Stay tuned for Term 3!

OK, I just managed to delete all my work! So here are my new recommendations for Mrs Bodin's Year 9 English class. This is a mix of historical and futuristic reading - be daring! Love, passion, intrigue and human nature exists beyond the constraints of time.

April 2010

external image books?id=_WKfOwAACAAJ&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=5&sig=ACfU3U3hU8gZOoZ3WXeDh-knLLpLUPsLDQ&h=120The Red Necklace and The Silver Blade by Sally Gardner

Editorial Review
School Library Journal vol. 54 iss. 5 p. 124 (c) 05/01/2008

Gr 7–10— As the first embers of the French Revolution begin to burn, Yann Margoza, a 14-year-old voice thrower and mind reader, watches his simple life as a magician's assistant disappear before his eyes. During one fateful midnight performance at the chateau of an overindulgent, debt-ridden marquis, a string of irreversible events unfurls. Jolted from the only world he's known, Yann becomes inextricably intertwined with the marquis's 12-year-old daughter and lecherous, treacherous Count Kalliovski. Yann struggles to make the right choices while coming to terms with his origins and unique abilities in order to save those he loves. Gardner deftly plays out the same brand of intrigue, romance, and murky intentions beautifully rendered in recent period magician films, The Prestige and The Illusionist . Readers will root for Yann and Sido as they struggle toward adulthood amid the political and social turmoil surrounding and sometimes endangering them. The sequel to this book is The Silver Blade. Both books have it all - touching romance, adventure, mystery and horror. Not overdone, just exciting!

external image books?id=Eo-BPgAACAAJ&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=5&sig=ACfU3U3qEobJ1DcCWpO0d5BpNt8tl7ktZg&h=120

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick Editorial Review - Kirkus Reviews Copyright (c) 10/13/2009 VNU Business Media, Inc. When Coach changes the biology-class seating chart, e-zine reporter Nora Grey finds herself instantly attracted to yet fearful of her new dark, sexy, bad-boy partner, Patch. She also becomes acquainted with good-looking transfer student Elliot, the key suspect in a murder-ruled-suicide at his former prep school. While putting her journalist skills to the test researching the backgrounds of both mysterious guys, Nora experiences terrifying hallucinations, saves her best friend from an attack meant for her and discovers that Patch is a fallen angel who wants to become human—at any cost. In a thrilling debut with an attention-grabbing cover, this game of revenge among fallen angels with Nora caught in the middle

has too many coincidences to move the plot along and an uneven, rushed ending. Twilight readers will either squeal over the forbidden romance between Nora and Patch and the steamy scenes they generate or sigh over another helpless young woman torn between sexuality and fear and threatened and manipulated by males who play with her vulnerability. (Supernatural thriller. YA)

The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Year of wonders: a novel of the plague
Year of wonders: a novel of the plague

This historical novel is based on the true story of Eyam, the "Plague Village", in the rugged mountain spine of England. In 1666, a tainted bolt of cloth from London carries the plague into this isolated settlement of shepherds and lead miners. A young preacher convinces the villagers to seal themselves off to prevent the spread of disease. The story is told through the eyes of eighteen-year-old Anna Frith, the vicar's maid, as she confronts the loss of her family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of a dangerous and illicit love. As the death toll rises and people turn from prayers and herbal cures to sorcery and murderous witch-hunting, Anna emerges as an unlikely and courageous heroine in the village's desperate fight to save itself.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

==Editorial Review
- Kirkus Reviews Copyright (c) VNU Business Media, Inc.
The Alaska of the title is a maddening, fascinating, vivid girl seen through the eyes of Pudge (Miles only to his parents), who meets Alaska at boarding school in Alabama. Pudge is a skinny thoughtful kid who collects and memorizes famous people's last words. The Colonel, Takumi, Alaska and a Romanian girl named Lara are an utterly real gaggle of young persons, full of false starts, school pranks, moments of genuine exhilaration in learning and rather too many cigarettes and cheap bottles of wine. Their engine and centre is Alaska. Her centre is a woeful family tragedy, and when Alaska herself is lost, her friends find their own ways out of the labyrinth, in part by pulling a last, hilarious school prank in her name. Beautifully told, a two hanky story! (Fiction. YA)==

Old magic by Marianne Curley

Front Cover
Front Cover

Editorial Review - Cahners Business Information (c) 2002
When Jarrod Thornton walks into the classroom, Kate Warren instantly senses that he is as different as she is. In anger, he unknowingly unleashes a storm in the science lab and Kate realizes that he has exceptional paranormal abilities that exceed her own. As an uneasy friendship forms, she helps Jarrod confront and internalize his talents. With her grandmother's help, the teens journey back to the Middle Ages and break the curse that has controlled the Thornton family for generations. On one level, this is a story about paranormal abilities, curses, and time travel. Deeper, it's an account of feeling different, friendship, and acceptance. The story is much like a train ride. The plot is fast and smooth and the characters' developing friendship is akin to the train's slowing and coming to a station stop. However, the language derails it until readers become used to the "Aussie-isms" throughout the text. It is obvious that Curley researched the architecture, peoples, and customs of the Middle Ages, and she skillfully integrates this information into the story. The characters are believable. While the message that it's all right to be different and to accept yourself for who you are is evident throughout, it's not overly dominant.

The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In this futuristic story, young people are pitted against each other in a battle to the death. The battles, the Hunger Games are televised live to the general population. The viewers can barrack for their favourite contestants and provide them with extra provisions to help them in the battle. Katniss, the main character, becomes the unlikely heroine of the games, but she may be putting herself in more danger than she realises. Gripping, exciting and pulling no punches, it is fantastic but almost believable! The sequel is Catching fire and the third in the triology, Mockingjay, is due any day!

Phillipa Gregory - any of her titles!

Another writer of historical fiction, Philippa manages to recreate the historic events in a way that makes them readable. You feel part of the every day life, the intrigue, the loves. Some of her works have been made into movies, a recent one is the Other Boleyn Girl.

When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her familys ambitious plots as the kings interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king, and take her fate into her own hands.
A rich and compelling tale of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe and survived by following her own heart.

​Oh boy, I have not added anything for a while, but please dear reader, I have been reading still. Just don't think to automatically add to this list.

As usual I have been reading lots of crime novels. Iam working my way through the Swedish crime novels at my local library. I can recommend Henning Mankell, who would be familar to some, but also Van Nesser, his book The Lady with the birthmark was particularly good and started me on a journey with this author. Then I found the Max Beck series. These were written in the 1960s, so it is interesting to see crime detection without the technology we take for granted now - no mobile phones, computer databases, etc. It is very suspenseful as the police try to get somewhere and they don't have mobile phones to get a message to someone in danger! I would also recommend the Icelandic crime stories by Arnaldur Indridason. I agree with Ian Rankin who said that if you want to find out about a country, read their crime fiction.

I recently completed The Devil's staircase by Helen Fitzgerald. This book was definitely not what I expected. Given the title, I expected a scary story, something for adolescents. It is a slim hardback, so looks like a reputable, solid, young adult novel. The blurb placed the characters as late teenage; Aussies in Londaon doing the overseas thing. I assumed it was a young adult novel, incorrectly. It is definitely something I would not recommend to younger readers. It is particularly violent and graphic in its description. And even though I enjoy reading crime novels, this was on a different level. I am not sure of its intended audience - older teenagers or adults? I think it will get lost somewhere between the two categories.

I am enjoying Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a good one to recommend to those who have enjoyed Twilight etc, with its romantic theme of girl meets wolf who is also a werewolf. I can see it will have wide appeal. I like the short chapters, with the narration switching between the two main characters, their different perspectives and the interplay between them.

I finished the Hunger games trilogy, so must return that for the next reader! Loved it, very visual story.

As I prepare for my trip to San Francisco, I should be reading some novels from that city. I am reminded of Al Capone does my shirts (Gennifer Choldenko) that is set in Alcatraz, but I will have to investigate some other writers as well.