The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain

Author – Julie LambThe Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain

Age – 8+

Summer Rain is a laugh a minute – at least the boys at school think so. She’s always cracking a joke or laughing stuff off. It’s her way of fitting in and dealing with things at home. Not that it’s bad or anything, it’s just… embarrassing. When her dad is away during the week for his work, Summer stays with her fun, a little crazy and a whole lot stingy Pop. The thing is, Pop isn’t poor, Summer has seen a bunch of bank statements to prove it.

Now 12, Summer is feeling like she’d like to change from the tom-boy she is – just a little? A popular girl at school starts showing an interest in her, which confuses Summer, but she begins to enjoy some ‘girl stuff’ for a change.

Things are just fine until a woman starts to show an interest in Pop. Surely she’ll be gone again as soon as she realises how crazy-stingy Pop is? Summer is suspicious, and digs a little deeper into this woman’s past. She doesn’t like what she finds, but Pop just won’t listen!

All is revealed in the end, with the reason for the girl’s interest, Pop’s solution and Summer being just who she wants to be.

This story may be set in NZ, but girls everywhere (especially tom-boys, like I once was), will really enjoy the trials of Summer at school, home around her small town. This book won the Best 1st Book of the Year Award in the NZ Children’s Book Awards 2017. And it definitely deserved it. Loved it!

(New Zealand, NZ, Kiwi, Funny, Humour, Tom-boy, Friends, Award)


Fire Colour One


Author – Jenny Valentine

Age – 13+

‘We’re back.’ These are the first words Iris’s mother speaks to her father (over the phone), after 12 years of being in California.

Her father wants to see her. At 16, Iris can’t remember him, only that he abandoned them when she was very young. At least that’s what her mother Hannah has always told her.

But Hannah is good at telling lies, and along with her boyfriend Lowell, they have done nothing but chase the good life – fame, money and all that goes with it.

Even when Iris’s father (Ernest) tells them he is dying, Hannah only agrees to take Iris to see him if there is something in it for her. She knows his house is full of priceless art, and his bank account full – just what her and Lowell need, so she takes Iris back to where she spent the first four years of her life.

As Hannah and Lowell wait for him to die, Iris gets to know the father she didn’t remember. Along the way she not only learns about his life, but her past, her present and the truth about her mother.

And just as Hannah believes she finally has a grip on the wealth she was after all along – she discovers Ernest had other ideas.

I really liked this story. It proves again you can’t judge a book by its cover. The writing was fantastic, the characters were wonderful and the revenge was sweet…

(Family, Grief, Greed, Art, Lies, Revenge)

Tarzan – The Savage Lands


Author – Andy Briggs

Age – 9+

The third in The New Adventures of Tarzan series, the story of Tarzan continues. William Greystoke has travelled to their (illegal) logging camp promising untold riches if they can help him find the plane his uncle and aunt (Tarzan’s parents) crashed in. What he’s really after, is the lost city of Opar and all the riches it holds. Clark and Archie see a way out of their hard life in the jungle and are pleased to help. But Robbie and Jane want to warn Tarzan. Meanwhile Tarzan is fighting off the Targani (intelligent albino chimps) who are hassling his family. An action packed read results when the two groups collide.

Excellent read for lovers of jungle action!

(Series, Action, Relationship, Jungle, Battle, Family, Series, Guilt, Greed, Logging, Guilt)

Toby Alone

Author – Timothee de Fombell

Age – 12+

Toby Lolness is 1.5mm tall and lives in an oak tree. His father is a great scientist but refuses to tell the Great Tree Council how his new energy making invention works, in fear of the tree they live in being exploited.

Their family is banished to the Lower Branches, where it is much colder (away from the sun) and there aren’t many of their kind. But he makes a new friend – Elisha. When they are invited back up the tree, they refuse to give the energy secret and are sentenced to death. Will they escape? Will Elisha come to their aid? And who are the strange people at the bottom of the tree?

This story was told with flashbacks which could confuse some readers. The world built around the tree is fantastic, making me realise how different life would be if you were 1.5mm tall and how scary an ant would be!

(Environment, Tree, Scientist, Friendship, Family, Greed, Courage)