They say she’s cursed…

9781925324976Title: Black
Author: Fleur Ferris
Interest Level:  Year 8 +

Death follows Ebony Marshall. That’s what the whispers say anyway. Three of her best friends have died in tragic accidents. She’s not just bad luck; she’s cursed; she’s Black.

Once it bothered her, but now Black’s used to being on her own and she’s gotten very good at pushing people away. That is, until a new boy comes to school. He’s interesting and persistent, he won’t be pushed away. But after he’s rushed to hospital, the whispers get louder… Who or what is behind these deaths? Black doesn’t know who to trust and she can’t fight on her own anymore. Can she solve this mystery before death comes for her too? Or is she really cursed..?

A gripping read from start to finish, you’ll find that this thriller has teeth. Enter Black’s lonely world, set in the small Victorian town of Dainsfield, where a young girl’s hope of moving on becomes a fight for survival. In her second thrilling novel, Fleur Ferris grips her audience and causes you to question: who you really trust? If you’re a fan of thrillers or crime novels, then this fast-paced mystery will be perfect for you.

Highly Recommended: **** (ofr)

A beautifully written story with a dark edge

TITLE = THE BONE DRAGON

AUTHOR = ALEXIA CASALE

GENRE = FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS, REVENGE, DRAGONS, FANTASY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10-11

This is a genuinely spinechilling novel but cleverly crafted so that the chills literally creep up on you in unexpected ways. The novel’s cover looks magical but we soon realise there is a bleak layer beneath that surface appearance.

Evie is recovering from an operation which removed a fractured rib. From this rib she begins to carve a magical and beautiful dragon with whom she has night time rambles on the fens surrounding her home. There is beauty and magic in the descriptions of these nightly forays – darkness, mist and dampness suddenly look quite bewitching rather than scary  – when you have a dragon accompanying you. Dragon says he has come to protect Evie and his nightly rambles seem to help her sleep and recover more fully. But is there a darker reason for these adventures? We suspect that Evie has been badly treated by her mother and grandparents and part of the gripping feel of this book comes from our desire to learn the truth of Evie’s past. The more we guess, the more we pity her for what she has suffered and what she still suffers. For Evie is subjected to bullying from one of the lads at school – but this is where the first warning comes into the story … has Evie coirrectly interpreted events?

The reader will be on the edge of their seats as they turn the last few pages with equal amounts of awe and dread: the ending will stun and surprise and make you adjust your thoughts – not just about Evie but also about the ethics of revenge and the nature of evil. This is the true magic of this amazing and compelling novel by first time author, Alexia Casale; beautifully written but with a layer of darkness beneath each page.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

An exciting crime novel with a musical flavour

TITLE = KILL THE MUSIC

AUTHOR = NANSI KUNZE

GENRE = MYSTERY, THRILLER, FRIENDSHIP, FAMILY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8, 9

Lorna’s older brother, Flint, is not only her guardian he is also part of a super popular boy band. So Lorna has spent the last couple of years in the very unreal world of celebrities and rock stars. Taking a break from touring, the band has returned to Australia to work on their music so Lorna is excited about going to a normal school for a while and living a more normal life.

That is until she overhears someone threatening to kill her brother and his band. After seeking help from the police, Lorna is suddenly thrust into a world of detectives, crime and mysteries. Can she save the band and avoid being hurt herself? And is it possible amidst the rock band gigs and mystery-solving for Lorna to actually make some friends who aren’t just interested in her because she has a famous brother??

An entertaining and enjoyable mystery story set in a different (and almost credible) world of rock music celebrities.

Recommended (dma) ****    

A thriller set in a small Italian village

TITLE = I’M NOT SCARED

AUTHOR = NICCOLO AMMANITI

GENRE = GROWING UP, MYSTERY, FAMILY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10, 11

It is a long hot summer in the small village in Italy which young Michele calls home. There are only 4 dwellings in the village and the few children tend to roam around the surrounding hillsides for amusement. It is whilst out with his friends that Michele comes across a hole which appears to hold a body. Closer inspection by 9 yo Michele proves that the body is that of a young boy who is being kept captive.

Michele keeps his discovery a secret from his friends. But just as he is ready to turn to his parents for help, he discovers that they, and all the other adults in the village) are involved in the kidnapping of this boy.  With the introduction of other adults who are mean and bullies, Michele realises that his life is in danger, too, not just the hostage boys. Who can a 9 yo turn to for help .. or should he just forget about the youngster?? Is he wiling to risk his own life for the sake of a boy he barely knows??

A compelling drama with enough twists and turns in the plot to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Highly Recommended (dma)*****

Action packed new series is sure to be a hit

TITLE = THE DEBT: Catch the Zolt

AUTHOR = PHILLIP GWYNNE

GENRE = ACTION, ADVENTURE, THRILLER

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 10

 

 This is a fast-paced action series in 6 instalments. Credible adventure and nail-biting situations galore.

If you enjoyed “Conspiracy 365”, you will love this series – another race against time – and the stakes are very high for our hero, Dom.

Check out the book trailer below:

 

 

 

 

All images and music sourced from the Animoto site. Music: “Bass my brain” (Christopher Skinner; Emmanuel Kallis)

A nail biting adventure series begins

TITLE = THE POWER OF FIVE: Raven’s Gate

AUTHOR = ANTHONY HOROWITZ

GENRE = FANTASY, ACTION, ADVENTURE, ANCIENT CIVILISATIONS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7-10

When Matt Freeman is caught breaking and entering, he knows that his life will change, but he has no idea of the horrifying direction that it is about to take. At 14 yo, the authorities decide that Matt should become part of the LEAF project, which is meant to support his rehab but instead he finds himself locked into a world of drudgery on a farm. But worse still, it appears he is trapped here; trapped by a village determined that he will not escape, trapped by forces that wish him harm. Is he up against some kind of weird magic?

Who can he turn to for help? Who can he trust? As Matt does his best to flee, it seems that anyone who tries to help him gets killed, which only ramps up his fear & suspicion. When he seeks outside help from a local journalist he is mocked. Is all hope lost?? And why are these strange people after him anyway? Is it linked to the weird power that occasionally rises to the surface in Matt, a power he is unable to control.

Thriller action and eerie mystery are brilliantly woven together in this exciting book, the first in “The Power of Five”. As the mystery of Matt’s powers are gradually revealed it is clear that there is plenty more adventure and horror in store for both Matt and the reader. Four more titles await – with the action ramping up in each one.

Not to be missed. An exciting new series from the gifted author of “The Alex Rider series”, Anthony Horowitz. Read more about the series and the author.

Highly Highly Recommended (dma) *****    

Another action packed stage in the journey ….

TITLE = fallout

SERIES = THE PHOENIX FILES

AUTHOR = CHRIS MORPHEW

GENRE= ACTION, ADVENTURE, DYSTOPIAN FUTRUE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8, 9, 10

This is the fifth book in “The Phoenix Files” series and like its predecessors, the action is fast paced and almost unabated. The clock continues to count down at an alarming rate and as the story begins, there are only 14 days left. What is intriguing about this series (and this book) is that the clock is now ticking on more than one level: it is not just signalling the end of the world, it is also ticking down towards the birth of Jordan’s brother or sister as well as Luke’s likely murder. So the anxiety levels have been significantly raised for both the central characters and the readers. The main focus of concern is still the future of Phoenix, and the wider world, with the imminent release of Tabitha. But there remains the daily problem of survival especially whilst living at such close quarters in an underground shelter. As Jordan and Luke are all too aware, just because everyone in the shelter shares a common enemy, this does not mean their motives, or the actions they are willing to use, are similarly shared. There is a constant undercurrent of distrust among many in the underground forces, a constant fear of betrayal. Morphew’s sense of pace and his ability to provide a cliffhanger ending is to be celebrated because it has certainly produced an exciting series and this instalment is no exception.

Recommended (dma) ****

Heart racing reading

arrival the phoenix filesTITLE = Arrival

SERIES = The Phoenix Files

AUTHOR =Chris Morphew

GENRE =Action, Adventure

INTEREST LEVEL =Years 8 – 10

This is a brilliant, fast paced opening to an engaging new series. Luke’s parents have just separated and he has moved to Phoenix, a brand-new town miles from anywhere. He has barely arrived, however, before he begins to suspect that things are not as perfect as they seem to be on the surface. Before he knows it, Luke and his new friends, Jordan and Peter are in the midst of a very real, very scary and very dangerous adventure. It appears that they have stumbled upon a plot to destroy the world… and the clock is quite literally, ticking down. Can 3 teenagers change the future?

Readers will be unable to put this novel down – the action is fast and furious and the characters and their relationships are very believable, which makes the plot all too credible! Looking forward to the newly published, second instalment: “Contact” by author, Chris Morphew.

Highly recommended (dma) *****