My Most Anticipated June New Releases

The Mirror Chronicles: The Bell Between Worlds by Ian Johnstone

Half of your soul is missing. The lost part is in the mirror. And unless Sylas Tate can unite the two worlds, you will never be whole again. Sylas Tate leads a lonely existence since his mother died. But then the tolling of a giant bell draws him into another world known as the Other, where he discovers not only that he has an inborn talent for magic, but also that his mother might just have come from this strange parallel place. Meanwhile, evil forces are stirring, and an astounding revelation awaits Sylas: that the Other is a mirror of our world, and every person here has their counterpart there, known as a Glimmer. As violence looms and the stakes get higher, Sylas must seek out his Glimmer, and unite the two halves of his soul – otherwise the entire universe may fall.

Julius and the Watchmaker by Tim Hehir

A lost diary

A spinning pocketwatch

A gentleman wielding a deadly walking cane

And a boy who’s about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime

When Julius Higgins isn’t running from Crimper McCready and his gang of bullies he’s working in his grandfather’s bookshop in Ironmonger Lane.

Until Jack Springheel, a mysterious clock collector, turns up looking for the fabled diary of John Harrison—the greatest watchmaker of all time.

Before he knows it, Julius becomes a thief and a runaway and makes a deal with Springheel that he will live to regret. And all before he finds out that Harrison’s diary is really an instruction manual for making a time machine.

The Apprentices by Maile Meloy

The enthralling sequel to The Apothecary, Maile Meloy’s first book for young readers.

Two years have passed since Janie Scott last saw Benjamin Burrows, the mysterious apothecary’s son who stole her heart. She’s thrown herself into an ambitious chemistry project and, when it vanishes, she suspects the rich and powerful Magnusson of stealing it. And she knows she needs help to fight him.

On the other side of the world, Benjamin and the apothecary have been working in the war-torn jungles of Vietnam, using their elixirs to help the sick and wounded. But Benjamin has also been experimenting with a new formula that allows him to see into Janie’s world.

The friends are thrown into a whirlwind chase around the Pacific Ocean, trying to find each other and the truth behind what threatens them.

The Phoenix Files: Doomsday by Chris Morphew

After ninety-nine days of lock down, the annihilation of the human race is right on schedule. Luke and Jordan are fighting a losing battle. Peter has escaped, Bill has disappeared, and Co-operative Security are moments away from storming the Vattel Complex. As the battle rages on in town, an offer of help arrives from the last place anyone could have expected. But can it really be trusted, or is this just another one of Shackleton’s deceptions? And with murder still looming over Luke, will he even live long enough to find out? One way or another, it’s all coming to an end. The clock is still ticking. There are seventeen hours until the end of the world.

Loki’s Wolves by M.A. Marr and K.L. Armstrong

In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarok that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters – wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the seabeds – all bent on destroying the world. But the gods died a long time ago. Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history – because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt’s classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and kids – led by Matt – will stand in for the gods in the final battle, Matt can hardly believe it. Matt’s, Laurie’s, and Fen’s lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to stop the end of the world.

Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones


Wild Boy has been covered in hair since birth; he s the missing link, a monster, a sideshow spectacle. Condemned to life in a travelling freakshow, excluded from society and abused by his master, he takes refuge in watching people come and go at the fair – and develops a Sherlock Holmes style talent for observation and detection. But when there s a murder, suspicion turns on Wild Boy, and he and the feisty redhaired acrobat Clarissa Everett find themselves on the run from a London-wide manhunt. Together, the detective and the acrobat must solve clues to identify the real killer, confronting the sinister underside of scientific advancement and the darkness of Wild Boy s own nature.

Tall Tales from Pitch End by Nigel McDowell

Ruled by the Elders, policed by an unforgiving battalion of Enforcers and watched by hundreds of clockwork Sentries, Pitch End is a town where everybody knows their place. Soon-to-be fifteen-year-old Bruno Atlas still mourns the death of his Rebel father ten years ago, and treasures the book of stories he secretly uncovered: the Tall Tales from Pitch End. After discovering a chilling plot planned by the Elders, Bruno flees, escaping to the mountains where a bunch of disparate young Rebels are planning a final attack on Pitch End. With secrets and betrayal lying around every corner, Bruno will find himself fighting not only for his life, but the life of the town.

The Blue Lady Eleanor Hawken

Fourteen-year-old Frankie Ward is used to being the new girl at school, but even she is unprepared for life at St Mark’s College. Finding herself isolated from the rest of the girls, Frankie is drawn to flamboyant and dramatic Suzy, who captivates her with stories of ‘The Blue Lady’ – the ghost of an ex-St Mark’s pupil who died in mysterious and tragic circumstances. One night Suzy persuades Frankie to help her contact The Blue Lady via an Ouija Board – and the girls unleash a terrifying spirit who seems set on destroying not only their friendship but Suzy’s sanity. Determined to rescue her friend, Frankie enlists the help of Seb, a mysterious and alluring boy from sister-school St Hilda’s. Seb is as interested in St Mark’s past as Frankie – but does he have as many dark secrets as the school?

The Savages by Matt Whyman

Sasha Savage is in love with Jack Greenway – a handsome, charming, clever… vegetarian. Which would be acceptable if it weren’t for the fact that Sasha’s family are very much ‘carnivorous’, with strong views to boot. Behind the respectable family façade all is not as it seems. Sasha’s father Titus rules his clan with an iron fist, and although her mother Angelica never has a hair out of place, her credit card bills are shocking and her culinary skills are getting more… ‘adventurous’ by the day. As for Sasha’s demonic brother Ivan? Well, after accidentally decapitating a supermodel in their family bathroom his golden boy image is looking wobbly. To the outsider the Savages might look like the perfect family, but there is more to them than meets the eye. When the too-curious private detective Vernon English starts to dig for darker truths, this tight knit family starts to unravel – as does their sinister and predatory taste in human beings.

Dear Vincent by Mandy Hager (NZ)

17 year old Tara McClusky’s life is hard. She shares the care of her paralysed father with her domineering, difficult mother, forced to cut down on her hours at school to help support the family with a part-time rest home job. She’s very much alone, still grieving the loss of her older sister Van, who died five years before.

Her only source of consolation is her obsession with art — and painting in particular. Most especially she is enamoured with Vincent Van Gogh: she has read all his letters and finds many parallels between the tragic story of his life and her own.

Luckily she meets the intelligent, kindly Professor Max Stockhamer (a Jewish refugee and philosopher) and his grandson Johannes, and their support is crucial to her ability to survive this turbulent time.

The Freedom Merchants by Sherryl Jordan (NZ)

A riveting tale of piracy and slavery set in the early 1600s in Ireland and Northern Africa.
Twenty-five years ago, young Liam’s small fishing village on the Irish Coast was raided and its population decimated by brutal corsair pirates from the Barbary Coast who killed, plundered, and took a number of his people back to Northern Africa as slaves to Muslim masters. And now a pirate ship has been wrecked in Liam’s bay, and survivors are struggling ashore.

Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox (NZ)

When sixteen-year-old Canny of the Pacific island, Southland, sets out on a trip with her stepbrother and his girlfriend, she finds herself drawn into enchanting Zarene Valley where the mysterious but dark seventeen-year-old Ghislain helps her to figure out her origins.

2013 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards Finalists

The finalists in the 2013 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards were announced last week.  The LIANZA Children’s Book Awards are awarded annually by librarians for excellence in junior fiction, young adult fiction, illustration, non-fiction and te reo Maori.

There are some wonderful books on the list this year and it’s good to see some of those that missed out on a New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards nomination.  There are a couple that I’m surprised to see on the list but a lot of my favourites are there.

Congratulations to all the finalists!

LIANZA Junior Fiction Award – Esther Glen Medal

  • The Queen and the Nobody Boy: A tale of Fontania by Barbara Else, (GECKO Press)
  • Drover’s Quest by Susan Brocker, (HarperCollins Publishers (NZ) Ltd)
  • When Empire Calls by Ken Catran, (Scholastic NZ Ltd)
  • Red Rocks by Rachael King, (Random House New Zealand)
  • The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate de Goldi, (Random House New Zealand)
  • Lightening Strikes: The Slice by Rose Quilter, (Walker Books Australia)

LIANZA Young Adult Fiction Award

  • My Brother’s War by David Hill, (Penguin NZ)
  • The Nature of Ash by Mandy Hager, (Random House New Zealand)
  • Marked by Denis Martin, (Walker Books Australia)
  • Earth Dragon, Fire Hare by Ken Catran, (HarperCollins Publishers (NZ) Ltd)
  • Snakes and Ladders by Mary-anne Scott, (Scholastic NZ Ltd)

LIANZA Illustration Award – Russell Clark Award

  • The Dragon Hunters by James Russell, illustrated by Link Choi, (Dragon Brothers Books Ltd)
  • Mister Whistler by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Gavin Bishop, (Gecko Press)
  • Kiwi: The Real Story by Annemarie Florian, illustrated by Heather Hunt, (New Holland Publishers Ltd)
  • Blue Gnu by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Daron Parton, (Scholastic NZ Ltd)
  • Melu by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly, (Scholastic NZ Ltd)
  • A Great Cake by Tina Matthews, (Walker Books Australia)

LIANZA Non Fiction Award – Elsie Locke Medal

  • At the Beach: Explore & Discover the New Zealand Seashore by Ned Barraud and Gillian Candler, (Craig Potton Publishing)
  • Eruption! Discovering New Zealand Volcanoes by Maria Gill, (New Holland Publishers (NZ) Ltd)
  • 100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa by Simon Morton and Riria Hotere, (Te Papa Press)

Te Kura Pounamu (te reo Māori)

  • Hautipua Rererangi story by Julian Arahanga, illustrated by Andrew Burdan, (Huia)
  • Ngā Waituhi o Rēhua by Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira, (Huia)
  • Arohanui by Huia Publishers, illustrated Andrew Burdan, (Huia)
  • Ko Meru by Kyle Mewburn, translated by Ngaere Roberts, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly, (Scholastic)
  • Taea ngā whetū by Dawn McMillan, translated by Ngaere Roberts, illustrated by Keinyo White, (Scholastic)

You can follow the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards:

Facebook –
Twitter – #lianzacba

Win a Super Baddies prize pack

Super Baddies is the awesome new graphic novel series for younger readers from Hardie Grant Egmont.  To celebrate the release of the first two books in the series I’m giving away a Super Baddies prize pack.  The prize pack includes a copy of the first two books, Baddies vs. Goodies and When Robots Go Bad, as well as a block of chocolate (something that Goodies hate, but Baddies love!).

All you have to do to get in the draw is leave a comment (with your name and email address) telling me what would be a great name for a Super Baddie.  It could be absolutely anything you like.  If you can’t think of a name, tell me the name of your favourite baddie from a book or movie.  Competition closes Tuesday 26 March (NZ only).

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winner is Helen.

Make way for the Super Baddies!

Hardie Grant Egmont, the publishers that brought you the Go Girl and Zac Power series, has just released an exciting new graphic novel series for young readers.  Super Baddies is a comic-style series all about heroes and villains, but instead of being all about the goodies, these books are all about the baddies.  The first book, Baddies vs. Goodies introduces you to the characters and the world that they live in.  You meet Giant Boy, Scorcher, Sand Storm, Mean Streak, Frosty, Bad Mads, and my favourite, Piranha Face.  So far there are two books in the series, Baddies vs. Goodies and When Robots Go Bad, but there are more to come and each one focuses on a different Baddie.

They’re a great way to hook readers in to graphic novels, because they’re bright, fun, and easy to read. Simon Swingler’s cartoon-style illustrations will really appeal to young readers.  He doesn’t make the pages too busy, so it’s easy enough for younger children to follow the story.  Those kids that like Zac Power will surely love this series, and they’ll hook those kids that supposedly ‘hate reading.’  The covers are eye-catching and kids will be lining up to get their hands on them.  Baddies vs. Goodies even has the added extra of a super test you can take to figure out if you’re a Baddie or a Goodie.

Meet Scorcher, the Baddie featured in Baddies vs. Goodies:

Go out and grab the Super Baddies series for the little Baddie in your life. Book 1 and 2 are available now.

Enter my competition to win a Super Baddies Prize Pack.

Fast Five with Nic Brockelbank

  • Why did you want to be a writer?

To fundraise for charities.  My first hand-written cookbook I sold to raise money for the Christchurch Earthquake Relief Fund, and then I hand-wrote two books to raise money for the True Colours Charitable Trust in Hamilton.  “Nic’s Cookbook”, which has been published by Scholastic is raising money for the NZ Muscular Dystrophy Association.

  • What’s the best thing about being a writer?

The great experiences I have had, like meeting Simon Gault and Brett McGregor and going on “What Now” to do a cooking demonstration.

  • What’s your favourite New Zealand book?

Taste of a Traveller, by Brett McGregor.

  • What do you love most about New Zealand?

The great people that live here.  And luging in Rotorua.

  • What do you love most about libraries?

They are quiet and full of books.

Nic wrote Nic’s Cookbook, which was published last year by Scholastic, when Nic was ten years old.  You can check out and for details about Nic and his cookbook.

Exciting new series for younger readers

A couple of exciting new series for younger readers have arrived in my library recently.  I don’t read a lot of younger fiction but now and again a book or series will catch my attention.  You can read all about them below.

The Monster Hospital series by Gillian Johnson is about monsters of all shapes and sizes and the children who care for them.  It takes a monster to know a monster, so four naughty children get taken to work in the Monster Hospital to help sick monsters.  There are currently four books in the series and I’m sure there are more to come.  They’re perfect for 7-9 year olds, with lots of illustrations and sparce text.  With titles like The Big Fat Smelly Ogre, The Yucky Yodelling Yeti, The Disastrous Little Dragon, and The Awful Orphan Elf, kids are sure to gobble them up and be begging for more. Here’s the blurb for the first book, The Big Fat Smelly Ogre:

Frank the ogre has come to Monster Hospital with a tummy ache because he ate two nasty kids for breakfast. The four naughtiest children in the school are recruited by the mysterious Sister Winifred to be his doctors. Can these not-exactly friends help Frank without getting gobbled up or suffocating from the stupendous stink? It takes a monster to know a monster …


Young fans of adventure stories will love Justin D’Ath’s new series, Lost World Circus.  If you know children who love Justin’s other series, Mission Fox (Dolphin Rescue, Panda Chase and many more) and Extreme Adventures (Spider Bite, Shark Bait and many more), they’ll also love Lost World Circus. A circus, endangered animals, survival against the odds and adventure galore – what more could you ask for!  Justin even includes an endangered species quiz and animal facts in the back of each book.  The covers are pretty cool too.  The first two books, The Last Elephant and The Singing Ape are out now, with more coming in the series later this year.  Here’s the blurb for the first book, The Last Elephant:

Colt Lawless is on the run, suddenly famous, and more than a little superhuman. But can he save the last animals on earth?

Twelve years from now, rat flu has wiped out almost every animal and bird on the planet. The creatures in Captain Noah’s Lost World Circus are the last of their kind. But the Rat Cops are determined to shut down the circus, and Colt and his acrobat friend Birdy might be the only ones who can save it, starting with Lucy – the world’s last elephant.

Happy reading!


Seven Wonders: The Colossus Rises Book Trailer

The day after twelve-year-old Jack McKinley is told he has six months to live, he awakens on a mysterious island, where a secret organization promises to save his life – but with one condition. With his three friends, Jack must lead a mission to retrieve seven lost magical orbs, which, only when combined together, can save their lives. The challenge: the orbs have been missing for a thousand years, lost among the ruins and relics of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. With no one else to turn to and no escape in sight, the four friends have no choice but to undertake the quest. First stop: The Colossus of Rhodes … where they realise that there’s way more at stake than just their lives.


The Colossus Rises is the first book in Peter Lerangis’ action-packed new series called Seven Wonders. It has been described as ‘Percy Jackson meets Eragon’ and it sounds really exciting.  You might recognise Peter Lerangis as one of the authors of The 39 Clues series.

The Colossus Rises is due out in March from HarperCollins New Zealand, and watch out for your chance to win a copy of the  book here on the blog.

2012 Cybils Winners and My Favourite Finalists

It was an exciting week last week, with both International Book Giving Day and the announcement of the winners of the 2012 Cybils Awards on Thursday 14th February.  It’s always exciting to find out which books judges pick as the winners, and it was even more exciting for me as I got to help choose the winner of the Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy category.  You can find out about all the winners of each category on the Cybils website.

I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the Round 2 judges for the 2012 Cybils Awards.  My group of judges had the tough task of choosing our favourite YA science fiction and fantasy book from the 7 shortlisted titles (you can see them all here).  It was a really interesting and enjoyable experience, even though it was tough at times.  For someone like myself, who won’t finish a book if I’m not enjoying it, I had to push through a couple of the finalists and force myself to finish them.

We chose Seraphina by Rachel Hartman as our winner of the Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy category.  Seraphina was one of my top 3 books in the category, along with Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi and Every Day by David Levithan. I think these are three books that all high school libraries should have in their collection, and you can find out what I loved about these books below.


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina works as the music assistant to the royal court composer in Lavondaville. Her world is populated by humans and by dragons able to take human form, and for now there is an uneasy peace between them. In fact, the fortieth anniversary of the treaty between human and dragonkind is rapidly approaching. But then a member of the royal family is murdered, and the crime appears to have been committed by a dragon. The peace and treaty between both worlds is threatened.Seraphina is caught desperately in the middle of the tension. Her father is human, and her mother was a dragon in human form.She is unique, and completely illegal – and if she is found out, her life is in serious danger . . .

  • The world building was amazing and I really felt immersed in Seraphina’s world.  The history of the relationship between dragons and humans was explained well, without getting into lots of detail.
  • I connected with Seraphina right from the start and I found her voice interesting.  She’s a character that teen readers would relate well to and they would be routing for her.
  • The mystery and intrigue really hooked me in.  Sure, at times there wasn’t a lot of action, but trying to figure out different people and their motives kept me interested in the story.
  • It was an original dragon story.  I didn’t feel like Rachel had borrowed ideas from other fantasy stories.  Her dragons were captivating and I loved the way that they hoarded knowledge rather than gold.  I think that aspect kind of connected me to the dragon characters.  I also loved that the dragons could shape shift into human form and walk among us.

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

Two refugee children, Mahlia and Mouse, are known as ‘war maggots’: survivors who have barely managed to escape the unspeakable violence plaguing the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities. But their fragile safety is threatened when they discover a wounded half-man -a bioengineered war beast named Tool, who is hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers. When tragedy strikes, Mahlia is faced with an impossible decision: risk everything to save the boy who once saved her, or flee to her own safety.

  • Paolo’s real strength in this story is his world building.  He feeds you little details about why the Drowned Cities are the way they are and who the different factions are that are fighting for supremacy. The setting is definitely a character in itself and he describes the Drowned Cities in great detail.  Through his descriptions you know what it looks, feels, sounds and smells like and you wonder how people can survive here.
  • I loved the the characters of Tool, Mahlia and Mouse/Ghost.  If Paolo can make you feel for a killing machine that’s some powerful writing.  The way that Paolo chose to tell the story, switching between the three main characters, really helped to keep the story moving along and I was always wondering what was happening to the other characters.
  • The story is quite dark, but this is why I enjoyed it so much.  You’re delving into this world full of despair and routing for the characters to make it out into a world full of hope.  A lot of the characters are sinister and have been shaped by the world they live in, and you keep reading in the hope that they will get their comeuppance.

Every Day by David Levithan

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

And then A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

  • It’s completely different from anything I’ve ever read, because usually the narrator stays in one body throughout the story and they interact with the same characters.  In Every Day, A is in a different body each day, so it has to get used to being a different person (on the outside) and acting like that person.  One of the most interesting things about this book is the way that you look at the character of A.  Even though A doesn’t know if it is male or female, I imagined A as a male right from the start.  However, I think each reader will picture A differently.
  • Sometimes it can take you a while to put yourself in the main character’s shoes, but I immediately empathized with A and what it was going through.  You try to understand what it would be like to wake up each day as a different person, but you can’t really grasp how difficult it would be.
  • I loved the interactions between A (in its different bodies) and Rhiannon and you are hoping with all your heart that they can be together.
  • David Levithan’s ending to the story is absolutely perfect, and has to be my favourite ever ending of a book.

My International Book Giving Day

I’ve been looking forward to International Book Giving Day for weeks and it’s finally here! I knew as soon as I heard about it that I wanted to be a part of it.  A special day that aims to get books into the hands of children who needed them most is right up my alley.

As soon as I heard about International Book Giving Day I set out to get local authors, publishers, librarians, bloggers, and book lovers involved.  Some of our best authors pledged their support and the always wonderful HarperCollins New Zealand and Random House New Zealand sent a box of lovely new books to donate to children.  Both Duffy Books in Homes and KidsCan were very keen to be involved and agreed to be the recipients of the donated books.  The people of Christchurch also got on board and I received piles and piles of pre-loved books to send to Duffy and KidsCan.  They will both received 3 or 4 large boxes of new and second-hand books next week that will then be given to children around the country who need them the most.

2013-02-14 12.01.19

Along with my colleagues in my library, I bought some new picture books and board books to donate to the doctor and dental surgery in our community.  I know that they’ll be well loved and I’m going to try and refresh the books regularly.

I hope your International Book Giving Day was as awesome as mine.  Don’t forget to share your photos and your experience via Instagram or Twitter by adding the tag #giveabook. You can also email photos to amy dot broadmoore at gmail dot com, and they’ll be shared at International Book Giving Day’s website.

Win a Hobbit Prize Pack

Harper Collins New Zealand have just published a range of wonderful books to tie in with the first Hobbit film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  There are four books, including the Movie Storybook, The World of Hobbits, the Visual Companion and the Official Movie Guide.  You can read all about each of the books here on the blog.

To celebrate the release of these books and the world premier of An Unexpected Journey in Wellington this week, Harper Collins New Zealand have kindly donated some of these wonderful books to give away.  There are 2 different packs and you can enter the draw for either or both of them.  The 2 packs are:

  • Kid – a copy of the Movie Storybook, The World of Hobbits, and the original book by J.R.R Tolkien.
  • Teen/Adult – a copy of the Visual Companion, the Official Movie Guide, and the original book by J.R.R Tolkien.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  This competition is now closed.  The winners were Melanie and Lehman.