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Posts tagged ‘Family’

Gap Year in Ghost Town

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By: Michael Pryor

Anton Marin has ghost-sight, it runs in his family, even though his father doesn’t have it. It is their job to send the ghosts out of this world. Their’s is a gentler approach to many of the others who pursue the same calling. Into his uncertain world crashes Rani Cross, her method involves a lot more slashing and sword work, needless to say they don’t see eye to eye. This is a moot point however when it becomes clear something is going on causing a massive spike in ghostly manifestations. In order to get the the bottom of things they need to find a way to work together. As things become more violent and crazy Anton needs to somehow find the time in this his gap year, to decide if this is the career he really wants.

In this book it is the girl who is more physical and this makes for a delightful extra dimension in the buddy hunting theme. Anton is a torn character, he knows ghost hunting is a family thing, and if he has the gift he should probably use it, however it is so not really what he wants to do with his life. He also doesn’t want to disappoint his dad. This story is not only intriguing and entertaining, it delves into some real family issues that people feel growing up and that makes Anton easy to identify with, even if his choices are beyond the bounds of what us normal folk experience. Anton and Rani balance each other well and keep the story moving at a good pace. A fun read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Published: 26th July 2017

Key Words: Ghosts, Ghost Hunting, Family, Intrigue

ISBN: 9781760292768

More Than One Way to be a Girl

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By: Dyan Sheldon

This book was sent to me by the publisher

Loretta Reynolds and Giselle Abruzzio somehow became best friends. Somehow because the two girls could not have been more opposite in everything. This difference though drives them towards what seems like a silly bet but quickly becomes something far more. Who knew one bet could be so life changing. Loretta has to embrace the feminine side of herself, that part that she has kept hidden because she believes there is more to a girl than what she looks like. Giselle has to give up the make up and fashion, dress down and act smarter. The girls learn so much over the course of the summer.

This isn’t a book I would automatically be drawn to, having said that I was curious to see how it would play out, who would be the victor in this battle of gender stereotypes. I was wonderfully engaged and totally drawn into this social experiment. Witty, fun and achingly real, Sheldon’s telling of this story from both points of view was a great decision. Seeing things from both sides gives equal weight and emphasises the the fact of the title, there is ‘more than one way to be a girl’. This is the sort of book that will hopefully encourage people to see things from more than their own limited perspective. This for me was a delightful surprise. I don’t want to say anything else for fear of spoiling the fun.

Recommended.

Publisher: Walker Books

Published: 1st September 2017

Key Words: Friends, Family, Relationships, Gender Stereotypes

ISBN: 9781406363036

A Monster Calls – Movie Review

a-monster-calls.jpgMovies of books, don’t always go so well and I firmly fit into the category of person who believes mostly books do it better. I like the way I create a movie in my head as I read and sometimes the films, for the sake of action and time, change things up that are, to a reader, just wrong.

Having said that, I really enjoyed this movie. Patrick Ness, the writer of the source material, had a hand in the film and I think that showed, not just in the storytelling but also in the tone.

As a book it was moving, intense as you would expect from the subject matter; broken family, mother critically ill, bullying. The whole tale is about some of the dark places life can take us and ways to cope through them. The film echoed that.

It is not a faced paced film, it is slow as it weaves a story in several parts; Conor’s real life, the interactions with the monster (voiced with gravitas that only Liam Neeson can bring), and the stories the Monster tells. It is an emotional tale, filled with painful truths, bought to life in a touching and very real way.

The cast did an amazing job. Lewis MacDougall (Conor) is vulnerable, defiant, broken and ultimately finds strength though the journey the ancient tree monster takes him on in the search of truth, Conor’s truth. Felicity Jones does a great job of playing a mother who knows she is ill but struggles to hide it from her son, whilst giving him the love he needs. Conor’s Grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) is stern, distanced from him but tries as she understands they are all each other has, she delicately plays that balance of love, sadness and frustration.

It is a film that pulls at the heartstrings. As a mother I identified on many levels. As someone who has intimate knowledge of bullying, it strums a note. As a reader who loved the source material it is a film that doesn’t disappoint.

If you get the chance go see the film, even if you don’t pick up a copy of the book, I highly recommend it.

 

The Dark Prophecy

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By: Rick Riordan

Apollo is still a human, still Lester and has to find the second oracle. This one has a strong personal connection to him, one he is reluctant to look too closely at. This oracle is not only part of Apollo’s dark past, it also has the potential to drive him, or anyone who uses it, mad. To make matters worse this Oracle is guarded by the second member of the Triumvirate, a mad emperor who also belongs in the darker parts of Apollo’s past.

Accompanied by Leo and Calypso they find themselves at the Waystation, a place of refuge run by two ex-hunters of Artemis. Apollo has not just one thing to do in order to find the Oracle, he has several mini quests that need to be undertaken, one is rescuing a young girl who may be family. Along the way he reconnects with Meg and even though she betrayed him, it is clear the two are destined to continue forward together.

The action as always is swift and fun. Apollo himself gets a bit annoying for me, there is only so many times he can say how great is or was as a god, when really he was a bit of an idiot. Other characters do a great job of balancing him out. Leo is brash, like Apollo though he isn’t as pompous and is therefore more appealing. The relationship between Leo and Calypso is hesitant and lovely. Emmie and Jo who run the Waystation add weight to the story, that being told through Apollo’s eyes has a tendency to become rather flippant. These two characters weave humanity, love and family through the adventure. Meg is the perfect foil for Apollo’s pomposity. These books are a lot of fun, but I find Apollo a much harder character to enjoy following than either Jason or Percy.

All Fall Down

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By: Ally Carter

An Embassy Row Novel

Grace Blakely is back in Adria, where her Grandfather is US Ambassador and her mother grew up. Her mother is why she is back, and there are so many memories. And memories are a big part of the problem, because Grace knows three things with certainty; that she isn’t crazy, that her mother was murdered and she is determined to find the killer and make them pay. No-one else believes her. Her issues mean she has no-one to trust.

Into this comes Noah, her new self-proclaimed best friend, he simply won’t take no for an answer when he pushes his way into her life. To complicate matters, Alexei the Russian, has promised to keep an eye on her because her brother has asked him to. Then she sees the man she swears killed her mother. Who can she get to help to prove it? It’s all more complicated because everyone on Embassy Row has to constantly be aware of scandal and international implications of what happens between them. Every move, every little action can have big ramifications, even going through the wrong door can cause an international incident. How will she convince people she is not losing it?

Carter has created a city with a story centred on the complexities of growing up in a truly international street. The gravitas provided by the knowledge everything that happens could have impact outside of the small contained world these characters live in, gives the story a whole other dimension. Grace is a damaged character and whilst it is good to see things such as anxiety and the like represented I find the extremes a little too intense. The brief moments of relief somehow don’t seem long enough, even though it does make sense eventually. Even though I did have a few niggles with Grace herself the story was entertaining and I went straight onto the second book.

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 1st February 2015

Key Words: Politics, Family, Conspiracy, Thriller

ISBN: 9781743628942

The Peculiars

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By: Stefan Bachmann

Bartholomew Kettle and his sister are different. They are Peculiars, that is they are half human, half faery. They live by the words, ‘Don’t get yourself noticed and you won’t get yourself hanged’. Bartholomew wants more, he doesn’t always listen to his mother, he tries to summon a house faery just to start. It gets worse though because Bartholomew sees a strange lady mysteriously disappear with the boy across they way, that is when he forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.

This tale takes the idea of the the fae, the not always nice creatures who have, in this world taken a place in it and in it’s politics. The world is complex with a very Victorian feel about it. Bartholomew is likeable enough and loyal beyond measure when something happens to his sister. The world is gritty and layered, nice little touches like mechanical creatures make for nice accents. The fae are as varied as humans can be so their is the element of the familiar mixed in with the different.

A good choice for those who like grittier tales and old mixed with new.

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: 1st October 2012

Key Words: Faery, Steampunk, Family, Loyalty

ISBN: 9780007498857

 

Figgy in the World

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By: Tamsin Janu

Figgy is a determined young girl who has two very big problems. The first is her name, there is no one else in the whole country that has Figgy for a name, unfortunately that is a problem she can do nothing about. The second problem and the worst one is that her Grandmother is very sick and needs special medicine. Figgy thinks there might be something she can do about that. In America they have the medicine that will help her Grandma, so she sets out to get herself and her goat to America. She doesn’t really know how to go about it but that isn’t going to stop her. It turns out getting to America isn’t so easy and many things happen along the way.

Figgy is a wonderful, determined and loyal girl. She sets her mind to something and goes about trying to do it the best way she can. Life though is something that happens whilst you are doing things and for Figgy it becomes the most incredible adventure filled with loss and gain. Nana comes into her life and fills it in a way Figgy hadn’t expected, he opens his life to her and his actions tug at her loyalty strings. Figgy’s bravery speaks to those who come in contact with her and you cannot help but champion her along her way. A wonderful read set in a world of poverty and lack that many will have limited understanding of, this though gives the chance to open dialogue about things that really matter, or you can just read and be swept up into Figgy’s world.

Recommended

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 1st June 2014

Key Words: Life, Adventure, Friendship, Family, Hardship, Ghana

ISBN: 9781742990453

 

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