The Dragon Defenders (1)

Author – James Russell34884189

Animations – Yongtao Zhang

Age – 7+

Paddy & his older brother live on an island with their parents and little sister Ada. They have never seen a cellphone, tv, computer or even electricity, and spend their time hunting, climbing, running, digging, making things or adventuring. When they see a boat moored just off the island, they wonder who it could be?

The owners of the boat are after dragons and will do anything to get them. Can the boys stop them and protect their family too?

Chocka full of action, adventure and it also comes with an exciting ‘AR Reads’ app that can be downloaded which brings the story alive digitally too. Read traditionally or with ‘the app, this story is a fabulous follow-on for the Dragon Brothers Picture Book Series.

(Series, Fantasy, Family, Animals, Courage, Dragons, Action)

Goodly and Grave in a bad case of kidnap

ER WIN33956337

Author – Justine Windsor

Illustrator – Becka Moor

Age – 7+

Lucy and her parents are gamblers and they have something that ensures they always win when they need to. But someone has figured them out and suddenly Lucy is part of a bet and they lose!

She is taken to a grand house by Lord Grave and is to be his boot girl. She is used to a grander life and balks at her new one, but is soon caught up in a scheme of magical proportions. Flying horses, tears in time, missing children and black panthers – not to mention an evil witch and a farting cat.

Lucy’s gambling skills are quickly forgotten as she discovers her magical ones. Who are the goodies and who are the villains? The plot swings one way and then the other, drawing the reader into the story. Full of action, magic and mystery, this is a rollicking read.

(Historical, Mystery, Magic, Fantasy, Friendship, Abduction, Courage)


Author – Patrick Ness31194576

Age – 16+

Adam Thorn is looking forward to the going away party of a friend. But first he has a list of stuff to do. Get a run in before his shift at work, then a visit to his boyfriend Linus before helping his pastor father set up the church for weekend services. Little does Adam know that each of these jobs before the party will reveal a life changing event for him, altering his well planned future for himself.

These events help Adam find the courage to finally speak out against his controlled upbringing by his christian parents, his unsavoury employer and to finally realise what love truly is. This is a story of self doubt and self realisation, all while an entity has risen up out of the town lake inside a murdered girl. This entity wants revenge and will stop at nothing to get it.

Brilliant, effortless, wonderful writing with a strange supernatural element woven through the background.

(Gay, Homosexual, Sexual Identity, Love, Self doubt, Murder, Family)

Maybe a Fox

Authors – Kathi Appelt & Alison McGhee31581480

Age – 10+

What happens when you die? Maybe you turn into the wind. Maybe you become a shooting star. Maybe a fox?

When Jules loses her older sister Sylvie to a forbidden place in the woods, she is left with Dad and ‘Life After Sylvie.’ She’s angry at Sylvie’s incessant need to run faster. If only she hadn’t run off into the woods that day. If only she’d grabbed Sylvie’s hand tighter?

But if onlys don’t make things any easier, for Jules or their neighbour who has his own if onlys. But a fox called Senna is growing up nearby, and she is drawn to Jules. She knows she has to help this young human full of sadness.

Maybe a Fox is a story of grief, sisterhood and wishing rocks. Some that have worked and some that haven’t.  Jules and Senna become closer throughout the story and then an event links them forever just as Jules learns the reason for her sister’s need to run faster….


(Fox, Animals, Secret, Catamount, Wishes, Friendship, Loss, Grief)

The Call

TEEN – OGU31567282

Author – Peadar O’Guilin

Age – 14+

Children have to face a terrible truth at the age of 10. Their parents might have kept all knowledge of The Call from them, to try and give them some childhood, but the inevitable may be just around the corner….

Set in Ireland, all children at the age of 10 are sent to one of the many survival schools that train them to try and stay alive. Many years before, humankind banished creatures to a terrible grey land. But they now have taken their revenge, calling every child to their land at random. They have to survive one day in this land filled with horrific creatures sculptured out of humans they have slayed and kept. They can fight, hide, or die.

The survival skills teach them the language of the Sidhe and how they fight, live, act and kill. It was once recorded that only 1 in 100 survived this day, but with the school’s intensive training and the testimonies of the survivors pored over for every detail of the grey lands, the odds are now 1 in 10 of survival.

Nessa is a beautiful girl, strong, determined and brave, but her legs are twisted, preventing her from walking very fast or running at all. When she is in a training session or an organised hunt through school, she fashions crutches out of anything she can, giving her the freedom of movement her legs never have.

They may be called at any time of day, day or night, and although they are in the grey land for a day, they are only missing from current time for 3 minutes and 4 seconds. When they vanish, leaving their clothes behind, the wait for their friends, teachers or loved ones is excruciating as most return dead. If they somehow do survive they are often disfigured, burnt, bleeding and/or changed physically and mentally.

This was a quick read, with a fascinating story line, tense relationships and the threat of ‘The Call’ at any moment. Each time one of the characters was called, it caught me by surprise. There is the kick-ass girl character, her risk taker friend, the ‘jock’ who likes her but will never admit it, and his followers who believe every word he breathes, until….

Think Hunger Games, with every kid forced to enter, at random, with no warning, and little chance of survival. The Call is brutal, violent but captivating.

(Violence, Hell, Creatures, Fight, Fear, Determination, Horror)

The Song from Somewhere Else

(Not in Napier/Taradale Libraries)Image result

Author – A F Harrold

Illustrator – Levi Pinfold

Age – 10+

Frank (Francesca)has been bullied for months, but she can’t bring herself to tell anyone about it. When Nick Underbridge saves her from the bullies in the park one day, she’s grateful but did it have to be weird Nick from school? Everyone said he’s smelly and has fleas.

But to her surprise, he not only rescues her and keeps her secret, she finds she enjoys his company. Sure he’s bigger than most kids his age and is definitely different, but she soon learns why he keeps to himself, trying not to attract attention. He has a secret of his own. When Frank hears beautiful music that makes her feel better than she has in months coming from his cellar, she just has to investigate….

A wonderful story about friendship, secrets, bullying, and how our universe connects with another with terrible consequences. The exquisite black & white illustrations and shadowy edges to many of the pages add so much to this story. Simply gorgeous!

(Alternate Universe, Music, Bullying, Friendship, Secrets)

The Severed Land

ER – GEE32867597

Author – Maurice Gee

Age – 9+

Fliss lives in a severed land – split by an invisible wall made by an ancient people to save their lands from a group of tyranical families wanting land, slaves and power.

But the wall is under threat. Soldiers are attacking it with cannon fire daily and the only thing keeping the wall intact is a very old bedridden man Fliss calls The Old One. He is the last of The People who built the wall with their minds, and he needs Fliss’ help.

She is sent on a quest with a boy from the other side of the wall to free the only person who can help save their lands and way of life. But will the boy agree?

A new novel from one of NZ’s most celebrated authors, The Severed Land is a fantasy quest that requires courage and determination. Fliss is a brave character, drawing on her skills learnt as a young child living on the streets. She has to face soldiers, sailors, murder, and a blood thirsty crowd to achieve their goal and complete their journey home.

(NZ Author, Fantasy, Courage, Determination, Power, Wall)