With lots of love from Georgia – New Zealand e-book month

Money can’t buy you love, but sometimes you find one when you think you need the other. Georgia’s fifteenth year starts in pursuit of money (for a trip to see her favourite band), and ends with an unexpected pay-off – first love.

A funny and engaging novel written in a playful, inventive style.

You can read With lots of love from Georgia as an e-book from our Overdrive collection.

With lots of love from Georgia is also available as a paper book.

Ben Sanders beats the odds

How can you put yourself through university without ending up with a debt? Answer – become a writer.

Bestselling New Zealand crime writer Ben Sanders began “writing a bit every day” and by the age of twenty one he had two crime novels published. His first book hit the New Zealand bestseller list.

His hard man and police detective Sean Devereaux inhabits the mean streets of Auckland. He and his equally hard case friend, security specialist John Hale, deal with murder, kidnapping, corruption and general mayhem with a traditional hero’s lack of respect for rules and authority, leaving a trail of blood and broken noses behind them.

Fast paced and well plotted, these are very readable noir novels. I would never have guessed that they were written by someone so young – but that being so, they hold the promise of even better things to come.

Keep them coming, Ben!

10 pm question – New Zealand e-book month

Frankie Parsons is twelve going on old man: an apparently sensible, talented Year 8 student with a drumbeat of worrying questions steadily gaining volume in his head: Are the smoke alarm batteries flat? Does the cat, and therefore the rest of the family, have worms? Is the kidney-shaped spot on his chest actually a galloping cancer? Most of the significant people in Frankie’s world – his father, his brother and sister, his great-aunts, his best friend Gigs – seem gloriously untroubled by worry.

Only Ma takes seriously his catalogue of persistent anxieties; only Ma listens patiently to his 10pm queries. But of course, it is Ma who is the cause of the most worrying question of all, the one that Frankie can never bring himself to ask. Then the new girl arrives at school and has questions of her own: relentless, unavoidable questions. So begins the unravelling of Frankie Parson’s carefully controlled world.

So begins the painful business of fronting up to the unpalatable: the ultimate 10pm question.

The 10pm Question is a novel which defies all age categories. It does so with a sparkling wit and an operatic cast of characters so delightful and maddening they become dear to us.

You can read 10 pm question as an e-book from our Overdrive collection and Wheelers collection.

10 pm question  is also available as a paper book and an audiobook.

When We Wake – New Zealand e-book month

In 2027, sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl–playing the guitar, falling in love, and protesting the wrongs of the world with her friends.

But then Tegan dies, waking up 100 years in the future as the unknowing first government guinea pig to be cryogenically frozen and successfully revived.

Appalling secrets about her new world come to light, and Tegan must choose to either keep her head down or fight for a better future.

You can read When We Wake as an e-book from our Overdrive collection.

When We Wake is also available as a paper book.

Reading Crusade: Picturing Canterbury

Reading Crusade prizegiving

Photo taken during the 2011 Reading Crusade. The Reading Crusade is on again for 2013 so get in amongst it.

Ebony Hill – New Zealand e-book month

It’s been two years since Ness and Dev escaped the Islanders of Dunnett, and Ness is struggling to find a place for herself in the city of Vidya where the community is struggling to rebuild itself.

Caught up in surprise attacks and ongoing land battles, and then working in the infirmary at Ebony Hill, Ness witnesses the realities of war and questions her commitment to this brave new society.

You can read Ebony Hill as an e-book from our Overdrive collection.

Ebony Hill  is also available as a paper book.

The owl that fell from the sky : stories of a museum curator – New Zealand e-book month

Natural history museums contain many thousands of zoological specimens and each has a tale to tell – often involving extraordinary people, daring explorations, unquenchable scientific curiosity, and strange coincidences. This perfectly presented book, with its engaging pictures, is rich in stories and unveils many secrets.

Read about: the fate of a tortoise given as a gift by Captain Cook; the epic international voyage of the biggest known moa egg; the admiration induced by an ape from the jungles of Borneo; the barn owl of mysterious origins; the unfortunate fate of an angry young elephant; the quest to discover how a New Zealand heron turned up in a Florence museum; the strange arrival of an Australian banjo frog and many other mind-boggling mysteries.

You can read The owl that fell from the sky as an e-book from our Overdrive collection.

The owl that fell from the sky is also available as a paper book.

A sad tale of the librarian who stopped reading New Zealand fiction

As New Zealand Book Month comes to an end and I read of the death of Barbara Anderson I have realised that I used to read a lot of New Zealand fiction with Barbara Anderson being one of my favourites, alongside Fiona Kidman, Barbara Else, Marilyn Duckworth, and Patricia Grace, and Shonagh Koea. They were all women writers and they were all writing about things that were meaningful for me at the time: home, family, relationships and children.  Every now and then I branched out into the male domain and enjoyed the likes of Witi Ihimaera, Owen Marshall and Jack Lasenby but would then scuttle back to my old favourites.

Over the years I have read and enjoyed Charlotte Grimshaw and Charlotte Randall but some of my early experiences with newer writers have not been so enjoyable. I have found them almost too clever and self-conscious, and sadly I have gradually given up.

So, here is the challenge!  Help me get back into reading New Zealand writers, get my literary juices flowing again and let me know who I just have to read.

Head over heels – New Zealand e-book month

Rushing from one crisis to another, Penny Rushmore has a name to live up to, coping with a demanding job and still adapting to life without her husband Steve. The first set-back comes when she hears that the glamorous young woman Steve took off with is pregnant. According to Charlotte, Penny’s daughter, Steve and Jacinta are head over heels about each other. According to Penny’s son, Charlotte is also head over heels – about her ageing university lecturer.

But is Penny head over heels about her new boyfriend or is she too frantic running between disasters to find out? And is her elderly father still head over heels about his wife or has her advanced dementia driven him over the edge? Funny and fast-paced, this is a candid and entertaining novel about finding some sort of balance in your life while being stuck in the Sandwich Generation – sandwiched between the demands of ageing parents, teenagers, a career and a badly behaved spaniel.

You can read Head over heels as an e-book from our Overdrive collection.

Head over heels  is also available as a paper book.

Inheritance – New Zealand e-book month

Elena catches a glimpse of her friend Jeanie Roper in a New Zealand art gallery. It is twenty-three years since Jeanie suddenly disappeared. They had been close when Jeanie lived in Samoa with her bullying husband and gentle father.

But why is Jeanie hiding her identity? Elena is intrigued to discover Jeanie has a daughter who is unaware of her Samoan ancestry. There are family secrets here – possibly dangerous ones – that Elena is determined to uncover.

Inheritance is a novel of contrasts: the tropical beauty and exuberance of Samoa in the 1960s; and the dark violence that arises from the conflict between truthfulness and love.

You can read Inheritance as an e-book from our Overdrive collection.

Inheritance  is also available as a paper book.