Lily Max (3) – Sun, Surf, Action

Author – Jane Bloomfield

Illustrator – Guy Fisher

Age – 8+

Lily Max is looking forward to meeting her BFF Greer at the beach for the summer holidays. They have planned to hang out together the whole holiday at Way Wave Bay – surfing, sunbathing and having fun.

But things aren’t going to plan. The batch they hire has no view of the sea as advertised, the movie that Lily Max’s mum is supposed to be employed by is experiencing major delays, and Greer seems more interested in a boy called Ryder than hanging out with Lily Max.

She feels hurt by the snub, but tries to make the most of it, selling things at the local market, enjoying the sunshine, learning to surf with her surfie dad, and finding out more about the history of the Bay and the topic of the movie.

There is a lighthouse at the end of the Bay that is just asking to be explored. But everyone says it is dangerous and to keep away from it. It can’t be that bad can it? Lily Max has a plan to test Greer’s friendship once and for all.

I liked the character of Lily Max. She is believable, funky, funny, kind, and a design/fashion freak! She is always looking at what people are wearing and how they are wearing it. Her ideas for new styles or fashions are never ending, and I think any young, keen designers will gobble this story up and also get a mystery in the mix.

(Fashion, Style, Design, Series, Friendship, Jealousy, Movie)


After the Fire

Author – Will Hill33357614

Age – 13+

Moonbeam survived. She is full of grief and guilt that many of her brothers and sisters didn’t. Even Father John didn’t make it out, and he was their whole world for so long. But was he telling the truth about the outside?

The Holy Church of the Lord’s Legion has been Moonbeam’s home her entire life. She is promised to Father John as one of his future wives, which she once thought was a great honour.

But she’s not so sure anymore. Things are changing in the compound. Harsher rules and penalties are being dealt until Moonbeam can’t stand back with her head bowed any longer.

But the result is nothing like she could ever imagine.

From the talented Will Hill (Author of the Department 19 Series), After the Fire is completely different but just as intriguing. Moonbeam’s story is told in two different times. Before the fire that claimed many of her friend’s lives, and after as she is interviewed by the FBI and a psychiatrist. Loved it!

(Cult, Religion, Belief, Family, Blended family, Truth, Lies, Guilt)


Timeless – Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic

Author – Armand Baltazar23354816

Age – 9+

Imagine a world where all of Earth’s history is thrown together in a tumble of times. Victorian, Art Deco, Steam, Dinosaurs, Airships, the present and the future – all mixed up by a singe cosmic event. This is the world that Diego Ribera lives in.

His father Santiago Ribera is a brilliant mechanical engineer and for Diego’s 13th birthday he is given 3 gifts – one being the understanding of a mysterious inherited gift, and part of the reason for his father’s sought after skills.

When his father is kidnapped, Diego is determined to find him, especially after an argument between them. He is thrown into an adventure with dinosaurs, technology, pirates and three other teens in a quest to get his father and his engineering team back.

What results are the Rangers of the Vastlantic, four teens from different times, working together with their special skills to save the world as they now know it.

Bursting with sumptuous illustrations from the talented Armand Baltazar, who has worked for Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks as a director and artist. There is plenty of action, great character developments, steam gadgets, intrigue and mystery to keep any reader glued to the page – except the illustrations are so good, you want to stay looking at them! FANTASTIC!

(Action, Friendship, Steampunk, Kidnap, Pirates, Dinosaurs,




Author / Illustrator – Pam Smy28107168

Age – 10+

Thornhill is an eerie tale told in two ways:

One story is set in 1982 and told in text by a girl called Mary Baines. She lives in Thornhill with other foster kids (all girls) and keeps to herself after being bullied terribly by one of the other girls. The bullying intensifies and she can’t take it anymore. She plans her revenge. But when things don’t go to plan, she has another solution.

The other story is set in 2017 and told in pictures about a girl called Ella moving into a new house. She is alone a lot as her father often works late, and she’s intrigued by the big old house over the back fence – the derelict and abandoned Thornhill Institute for girls. When she sees another girl over there she goes to investigate, exploring the grounds and then the house.

The more she discovers the more she wants to know – will the girl be her friend?

Two girls – two stories, woven into each other. This was an intriguing way to tell a story about loneliness, bullying, revenge and friendship. The final pictures were a great twist!

(Girls, Foster kids, Eerie, Intriguing, Orphanage, Loneliness, Bullying, Bully, Friendship, Foster care, Mystery)




Author – Eion ColferIllegal

Illustrator – Andrew Donkin

Age – 10+

Ebo is only 12 when he is forced at gunpoint to sail with 13 others in a patched up inflatable dinghy designed for only 6. This is the journey he’s been waiting and working for since he was 10 years old when his brother Kwame left him behind.

But as we all know, these voyages of hope for a better life are nothing like the journey promised to them by money hungry people smugglers. Luckily Ebo has a wonderful voice and loves to sing, and his voice is something he can take on his journey, which ultimately helps him find all that he was looking for.

A full colour Graphic Novel about one boy’s hazardous journey to find a better life in Europe, across deserts, through dangerous streets of a city and out in the ocean on a sinking boat. A thought provoking book that shows young readers the truth behind these perilous journeys.

(Refugee, Boat people, Journey, Voyage, Sing, Poverty)

Hilda and The Black Hound (4)

Author / Illustrator – Luke PearsonHilda and the Black Hound (#4)

Age – 8+

Hilda has joined the Sparrow Scouts and wants to make her mum proud by achieving her first badges. But camping hasn’t turned out that well, and neither has insect collecting or any of the others that her fellow scouts are aiming for. Hilda has been spending all her time looking for a Nisse (a house spirit) that has been thrown out on the street for stealing.

But the Nisse denies it and suddenly other Nisses are in trouble too. Does it have anything to do with the huge black wolf that has been seen in Hilda’s city of Trolberg? Is everyone in danger or is everything just a big misunderstanding? Hilda is determined to find out.

This is my favourite out of Hilda’s four adventures so far. She is a determined, animal loving, feisty little girl who just wants the best for the Nisse – and maybe even the dreaded black wolf too. With fantastic muted colour illustrations and full graphic novel format, Hilda and the Black Hound might also explain where things go when they disappear down the back of the couch or behind a piece of furniture…

(Graphic Novel, Series, Magical Creatures, Scouts, Badges, Courage)

Aotearoa – The New Zealand

Author / Illustrator – Gavin Bishop36349503

Age – 6+

From before the age of dinosaurs to present day, this large scale sumptuous book tells the story of our country:
– Our Discoverers, our Names, Maori, Pakeha, Treaty, Wars, Transport, Employment, Housing, Education, Clothing and much, much more. It can be dipped into at random, gleaning facts and interesting notes right throughout, or read from cover to cover as I did, following our country’s journey through time.

By one of our most celebrated and award winning author/illustrators, this book can be looked at again and again. Fabulous!

(New Zealand, Kiwi, Award winning author, History, Non-Fiction)