Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Best Day of My Life

The Best Day of My Life – Deborah Ellis

‘The best day of my life was the day I found out I was all alone in the world.’

So begins Valli’s journey. Living in Jharia, picking up coal for a living, she soon discovers that she has no family. Her ‘aunt’ is simply a woman paid to look after her. With no regrets she leaves, journeys to Kolkata to begin a new life.

Not that this life is any easier. Being resourceful Valli takes to living on the streets. Sleeping in cemeteries or door fronts, picking food left behind on tables in shopping malls. When she meets a doctor willing to give her answers to why she feels no pain in her feet, offering to cure her, Valli must decide whether she can trust her or not.  Decide whether to begin a new journey, this time with a future she can’t yet see.

Set in modern India, this novel looks at subjects most of us turn away from.  Poverty. Leprosy.  Yet Valli takes us into her world, whether we are willing to or not, to discover one girl’s strength and how ‘monsters’ are not all that they appear.

Vicki @ Pak.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Playground by 50 Cent (Musician)

Once I began reading 'Playground', I found it hard to put down. Based on true events in the life of the rapper Curtis '50Cent' Jackson, this teen novel explores bullying from the point of view of thirteen year old 'Butterball' (not his real name).

The story begins with Butterball's visit to his shrink. He is far from impressed to be there. Her office smells like week old chicken, the paintings in her office are ugly, and he thinks the whole thing is a waste of time.

We gradually learn the reasons for Butterball's twice weekly counselling sessions. Butterball has committed a violent act on his one and only friend.

Butterball's parents have recently separated and Butterball and his mother have moved to a new location. Butterball is transferred to a different school and is feeling isolated and out of place.

He idolizes his father but as the novel progresses it becomes clear that Butterball's father is irresponsible and lawless, for instance helping Butterball steal a brand new pair of sneakers.

At his new school, members of the cool gang in the school ask him to settle scores on their behalf.
Does Butterball have the insight to see how he is being manipulated? And what can he do in this situation?
Very entertaining read.


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Dave Aude Remix

Thanks to Xin, a work experience student at Hampton Park Library, for this song review.

Dave Aude - featuring Lena Katina- Never Forget Remix. 

Most people would have heard Lena as part of the band t.A.T.u in 2003 when they ruled the music world.

Now her new single Never Forget is is a number one hit. Its a catchy dance song full of emotion. Written for ex-band mate Julia Volkova, it talks about their 10 years together.

An excellent song with awesome music and fantastic vocals. It ranges from electro to progressive and is a great song for parties and clubs.

Thanks Xin.  And whilst we're at it, why not check out our CDs featuring Dave Aude.


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Holier than Thou

It was with great anticipation that I read 'Holier than Thou' by Laura Buzo.

This is her second novel. Her first - 'Good Oil' received several awards, including being shortlisted for the 2010 Prime Minister's Literary Award.

The central character in 'Holier than Thou' is Holly, who is at a crossroads in her life. Her university days are behind her and a challenging and often confronting career as a social worker has just begun : a career where she is expected to deal with suicide and human tragedy as a matter of course. Holly begins her new job determined to maintain her university friends and lifestyle. But the demands of busy careers, work locations and life in general stand in the way. Nothing stays the same forever.

Holly lives with her boyfriend who is part of her university circle, but she is increasingly attracted to one of her colleagues, a dreadlocked, circus performer by the name of Nick.

Loss is a major theme in this novel, which switches between Holly's life as a fifteen year old where her father is terminally ill, to her life as a 23 year old.

A major friend from her adolescence is cool, emotionally aloof Liam. Unlike Holly, however, Liam cuts ties with his old friends and Holly finds this very distressing.

Characters are believable and uncontrived.

Another fine novel by Laura Buzo.


Friday, 4 May 2012

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs is known for her Temperance Brennan novels for adults and the Bones TV show.  She has now turned her hand to Young Adult novels.  The resulting books Virals and Seizure are fantastic.

Victoria (Tory) Brennan goes to live with a father she has never met when her mother is killed by a drink driver.  Christopher (Kit) Howard is a biologist working at Loggerhead Island Research Institute (LIRI) near Charleston South Carolina.

In Virals Tory and her mates; Ben, Hiram and Shelton, rescue a puppy being experimented on.  In the process they discover illegal experiments, are exposed to a genetically modified virus and a plot to sell off the Island to developers.

Can the friends save the island while at the same time coming to terms with what the virus has done to them?

In Seizure, LIRI is in danger of being closed and the friends being separated.  It is imperative that they stay together to work out what is happening to them and to protect each other.  Where can they get the money needed to save their parent’s jobs?

Legend has it that Anne Bonny; a pirate from the 1700s buried her treasure on one of the islands.  Is it possible that Tory and her friends can find the treasure that has eluded treasure hunters for 300 years?

On top of all of this Whitney, Kit’s girlfriend wants Tory to be part of cotillion and make her debut into ‘polite’ society.  Can things get any worse for Tory?


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The declaration by Gemma Malley

I have just finished reading a fantastic trilogy by Gemma Malley

Imagine that there is now a drug that can renew cells, cure disease and illness.  With Longevity, death is now a thing of the past.

What happens to the world’s population and resources?
What happens to society when there is no renewal, no young people?
Can Nature be denied?

Gemma explores these themes and what it is to be a Surplus, an illegal child who has no right to life.

Anna has lived in a Surplus House since the Catchers caught her at age 2.  She has been taught that she has to earn the right to the air she breathes, the food she eats, the space she takes up.

Can mankind survive?


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