Hastings District Libraries

Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

This book is pure silliness. Seriously, don’t go in to it expecting too much and you’ll be just fine. Squirrel Girl is ‘nutty’ and ‘upbeat’ (not my words – that’s how the comic describes her), but she is also a whole lot of fun. The artwork is cute, the whole tone is light-hearted cheese, and honestly, I have no idea how a girl whose power is being able to communicate with squirrels could possibly make her a ‘superhero’, but the comic is silly enough that I just don’t care.

Plus, most of the leading ladies in comics are far too serious most of the time (Wonder Woman I’m looking at you), so it’s nice when there is one on the complete opposite side of the scale, even if she is so quirky and optimistic that I would probably punch her in real life if I ever had to have a conversation with her before my morning coffee.

But embrace the nuttiness and you’ll do just fine. Seriously, there are times when it is just plain ridiculous. But in a totally fun way. All you really need to know going in to the comic is this - Squirrel Girl: ‘Eats Nuts, Kicks Butts’.

Posted by Sas

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Quiet Spectacular by Laurence Fearnley

The Quiet Spectacular is Laurence Fearnley's seventh book; she is the author of some great novels such as Edwin + Matilda and The Hut Builder.

A hidden hut complete with a James Bond cutout and flowers serves as a refuge, and eventual meeting place, for three women trying to find meaning and direction in their very different lives.
Chance is a troubled creative teenager with a controlling mother, who finds solace in her school library.
Riva is a successful business woman, trying to fulfill a promise to her dying sister to save a local wetlands.
Loretta is a harried school librarian, researching dangerous women while trying to find courage in her home and work life.

The Quiet Spectacular is a gentle well crafted read with lovely prose.
However, if I am honest I didn't love it.  I certainly didn't hate it either.
Maybe the clue is in the title, which relates to the characters, plot and landscape.
The problem is I did love Edwin + Matilda and The Hut Builder - both such excellent reads; so perhaps I had overly high expectations.

Reviewed by Katrina

Catalogue link:  The Quiet Spectacular

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

It is the summer of ’76 and a heat wave grips Britain. In their small Midlands town, ten year olds Grace and Tilly are determined to discover what has happened to their popular neighbour, Mrs Creasy, who has vanished still wearing her slippers. Mr Creasy is lost without her, wandering into the street every time the bus is due to see if she has returned, while other neighbours fear foul play.

At the local pub, there are mutterings about Walter Bishop, the weird loner who lives a few doors down, while the temperature sours and thoughts drift back to a terrible event that happened in 1969. Mrs Creasy had a talent for inspiring confidences. Had she discovered a secret that needed silencing?

Part mystery, part psychological drama, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep explores the dynamics of a neighbourhood where everyone looks out for everyone, but sometimes prejudice rears its ugly head. It is a warm and humorous novel which, with its similar themes and frequent use of a child narrator, reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Author Joanna Cannon has taken a pause in her busy career as a doctor to write fiction, and I hope she won’t follow the example of Harper Lee, and resist publishing another book for decades, because The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is utterly brilliant.

Posted by JAM

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Written (and drawn) by Noelle Stevenson (google her fan art – she is brilliant), her first book centres around Nimona, a magical shape shifter, with a mysterious past and a love of trouble.

With a passion for mischief and mayhem Nimona decides (against his wishes) to become the sidekick of Lord Ballister Blackheart (possibly one of the most useless villains ever). The two become close (not that either of them would admit it) and together they embark on a crime spree that ends up getting way out of hand.

It is fun, it is sweet, and if you’re anything like me then the ending will hit you right in the feels (but no spoilers!) Definitely worth checking out from our YA Graphic Novel section. It’s a quick read, but definitely not lacking in plot or character development.

Posted by Sas

Catalogue link: Nimona

Saturday, 3 December 2016

November Reading at Book Chat

In the Land of Milk and Honey by Jane Jensen
A fatal illness takes hold of a hard-working Amish community in Pennsylvania, and soon its members are talking about a curse. When an entire family is found dead, ex-NYPD  homicide detective, Elizabeth Harris, suspects a more sinister cause. A high body count, but well written nevertheless.

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan
Margot is a teacher who also writes the ‘Dear Amy’ agony aunt column for a local paper. When a school girl goes missing, Amy starts getting letters from a girl who went missing twenty years before. Plenty of suspense and an original plot make this psychological thriller an absolute page-turner.

The Dry by Jane Harper
The harsh Australian outback is the setting for this murder story about a small town and its secrets. When Aaron Falk returns home for the funeral of an old friend and his family, the assumption is that it is a case of murder-suicide. Only Aaron is not so sure. A taut and riveting read with an unpredictable ending.

The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Cabani
A betrayal drives Elena from her family home in Italy to Paris where she can use her rare gift for being able to decipher the ingredients of perfume. But perfume is more than just the components of a scent; it is about memory, emotion and even the truth. A delightful, romantic and memorable novel, a best-seller in Italy.

The Hotel on Mulberry Bay by Melissa Hill
Returning to the family business – a hotel on picturesque Mulberry Bay – two sisters reunite to face a crisis and deal with a surprising revelation by their father. Everything rests on the girls’ ability to save their hotel. Quirky characters, a charming Irish setting and community spirit get this story home.

Dead to Me by Lesley Pearse
Ruby and Verity are from the opposite sides of the tracks, yet are friends, even when their fortunes are reversed. As Britain is rocked by the threat of war, an event threatens to tear their friendship apart. Will they be able to survive the war in order to put things right? This is a compelling read that you will devour in a day.

Posted by Flaxmere Library Book Chat

Friday, 2 December 2016

What Jessica Watched: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

A Girl Walks Home at Night is technically a vampire movie. And it totally has a creep element, and obviously vampires, but I feel like that’s not the stand out feature. It’s Persian (in language only sadly; it’s shot in California!), it’s black and white and it’s moody, with the added bonus of an amazing soundtrack. Full of singularly stunning scenes that come together as an airy, seductive dream, I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it.

If you’re into artsy black and white films (the awe of some shots left me reminiscing about Control, the movie about Joy Division’s Ian Curtis), or slow moving “nothing much happens” type movies, you will definitely be into this. But also, if you’re into a sneaky vampire film that strays away from the obvious, give it a shot.

This is predominantly beautiful rather than action packed, which is not to say there’s no plot. There’s some romance, some family drama and a bit of violence (obviously…vampires, guys - come on!), which is all interesting and great, but it’s not in your face; rather it’s the consideration of the cinematography, costume (picture female vampire gliding atop a skateboard wearing Breton style top, trainers and traditional Islamic veil worn as a cape) and music that catches one's attention. All this to say I highly recommend; it’s a fun watch with memorable moments and fantastic music.

My rating: 4
If you liked this, you might like: Control, Only Lovers Left Alive, Slacker, Let the Right One In

Posted by Jessica

Catalogue link

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

What with this popular story recently arriving in cinemas, I thought it was about time for a comparison: book, film, and graphic novel. The story is about Jacob, a teenage boy who, after the death of his grandfather, travels to a small island off Wales in search of an old orphanage full of children with incredible gifts. Only problem is, Jacob is not the only person searching the orphanage. Well, I say person… more a sort of twisted, invisible, tentacled monster that will give you nightmares.

Ransom Riggs is a lover of photograph illusions, using them as a basis for most of his characters. They are very old, coming from various collectors and most of them, obviously, fake. But to look at how the ‘tricks’ inspired such lovable characters is truly incredible.

While the graphic novel is a closer visual representation to the original, there were a lot of differences in the new movie. Book fans will greatly nit-pick about the swapping of powers between the characters and a few confusing things added in. But if you want to enjoy the purity of a good edge-of-your seat, “holy crud, what the heck is that thing?!” type of book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is for you.

Posted by Rhiannon

Catalogue link