Hastings District Libraries

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovich

With the sixth novel in the PC Peter Grant series, author Aaronovich begins to draw on the threads that have been left loosely hanging in the first five books and further establishes this as one of the best fantasy series around, blending in police procedural and a hearty dose of humour.

PC Peter Grant, first apprentice wizard in seventy years, is called out to a drug overdose that on the surface shouldn’t involve him at all but one of the witnesses is the daughter of Lady Ty and he owes river goddess Tyburn a favour that she is seemingly calling in. Add to that mix, Reynard the Fox is holding an auction for a very rare book written by one Sir Isaac Newton, wizard and founder of The Folly - the institution that Peter and his boss, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale live and work out of. Then there's the reappearance of Peter’s former friend and ex-colleague, Lesley May, when he is still smarting over her betrayal of trust, and some other familiar faces last seen in earlier novels and altogether you have a seriously good read.

I highly recommend this entire series but start from book one, Rivers of London, to best enjoy it.

Posted by JMcC

Catalogue link: The Hanging Tree

Saturday, 18 February 2017

The New Avengers: Everything Is New & Standoff by Al Ewing

The Avengers have been around for a long time and have existed in many forms. In the old days they would have some crisis, a new team would emerge and it would carry on under the same title.

Now days, they reboot the team and call them the New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Young Avengers etc etc. This means fanboys/girls can collect the series from issue 1. (Issue 1 being a big thing for collectors.)

This collection of New Avengers appears to be a group of bit players who haven’t really been developed and in that lies the interest, like Squirrel Girl (has squirrel powers).

It also follows the current Marvel trend of making the heroes young and giving them young problems: to date or not to date? and also includes a gay couple in the team.

Also throw in Hawkeye trying to be the cool dad (he listens to The Clash on Vinyl) and it could be an interesting series. Lots of interaction with Shield and no doubt you will recognise bits from the Shield TV series.

If you are an Avengers fan you will get this anyway and as someone said, “this is not your parent’s Avengers”. Enjoy.

Posted by The Library Cat

Catalogue link: Everything Is New 
Catalogue link: Standoff

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriaty

What a great summer read!
Set in Sydney, Truly Madly Guilty gently pokes fun at modern society with some astute observations of human nature, both good and bad.

A suburban barbeque ends in an undisclosed tragedy, the details and history of which slowly unravels over the course of the book, from the different perspectives of the six adults involved.
Clementine is a professional cellist, wracked with self-doubt about an upcoming audition. Her husband Sam has just started a high-powered new job and they have two cute young daughters.
Clementine’s childhood friend Erica had a difficult home life growing up, and Clementine’s social worker mother encouraged the girls’ friendship, and opened her home to the serious and introverted Erica. As an adult Erica has few friends and dotes on Clementine’s children, as does her perfectionist husband Oliver. Her relationship with Clementine is at times spiky, so when a flashy and extroverted neighbourhood couple Tiffany and Vid throw out a last minute invitation to a barbecue, both couples accept.
The dynamics for everyone changes when tragedy strikes.

Moriarty has now had seven best-selling books and is at the top of her game.
Her successful template combines domestic fiction with touch of Girl on the Train-type psychological edge, and a sometimes dark satirical humour. Not a demanding read but intriguing and amusing, with an antipodean flavour.

Reviewed by Katrina

 Catalogue link:  Truly Madly Guilty


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Last Day in the Dynamite Factory by Annah Faulkner

I confess that nothing puts me off a book more than 'Book Prize Winner' stamped on the cover. Nonetheless I chose to ignore that this book was shortlisted for the Australian literary award The Miles Franklin as I was intrigued by its quirky title and divergent cover (the reason for both are revealed in the story).

From outward appearances the Brights are a normal Australian family. Christopher is a well-respected conservation architect with a devoted wife and two grown up children. On the death of his adoptive mother, Christopher uncovers long held secrets that threaten to spill over and dislodge Christopher’s own secrets as well as disrupt his seemingly contented life.

Although the Brights are not a seriously dysfunctional family the characters are flawed. Christopher, a middle aged man who mostly knows what he doesn’t want but is short of ideas on what his passions are; and Diane, his stoic and just a wee bit dreary wife appears incapable of showing her husband her true passions.

Characters that I don’t love or identify with usually mean I don’t enjoy the book. However this book is so well told it draws you into the Bright family and unlike some other prizewinning novels Last Day in the Dynamite Factory’s engaging style had me reading until every last secret was revealed even though, maybe, it was better not to reveal them at all.

I’ll let you be the judge.

Posted by Miss Moneypenny

Catalogue Link: Last Day at the Dynamite Factory

Monday, 13 February 2017

The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

Rachel and Becca haven’t seen each other since their much loved dad’s funeral, and as step-sisters who never got along, why would they need to? Rachel is busy making a go of her new business as a fitness instructor, and now a single parent of three since her messy divorce, has her hands full. A hint of a shocking secret about her mother sends Rachel to Manchester to ask more questions, but when she is mugged she wakes up in hospital unable to remember her address or phone number. What will happen to her children while she’s away?

Becca’s life has been a mess since her dad died. She has thrown in the towel on her jewellery business and is living in a dingy Birmingham flat, scratching a living in the hospitality industry. When her niece suggests to their baby-sitter that her aunt is the best option to look after them all, Becca makes her way to Hereford and her pristine sister’s house.

The result is a warm and funny read as Becca, unfit but very creative, helps keep her sister’s business afloat, and has to suddenly be a caregiver to her rebellious nieces and nephew. When Rachel gets home she’s not happy with having to depend so much on Becca, for whom she has a needling resentment. How the two overcome their differences and unearth the truth behind a couple of misconceptions drives much of the plot.

The characters of slap-dash, loud and undisciplined Becca and uptight, perfectionist Rachel are perhaps a little stereotyped if you look too closely. Better to just rattle through the story and enjoy the twists and turns and madcap humour. The minor characters of Rachel’s children and clients are more quirky and satisfying, however. The Secrets of Happiness is a light, diverting read perfect for the hammock or deck chair.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: The Secrets of Happiness

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Ever wanted to drive away from demanding domestic chaos?
Yep, we all have our moments and in Leave Me, Meribeth is overwhelmed with toddler twins, a demanding job and a husband who does not share the domestic load.
She is so busy juggling her life she ignores the symptoms of a heart attack which is only picked up by chance, and then she is sent home weak and unable to cope after bypass surgery.
Meribeth reaches breaking point; leaves, and makes a new life in which to recover and take stock of her situation and marriage.
She also begins to explore unresolved issues from her early life while making friends with a sympathetic doctor with issues of his own.
Gayle Forman has formerly written mostly Young Adult novels, including the very successful and movie-adapted If I Stay.

Reviewed by Katrina

Catalogue link:  If I Stay

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Graces by Laure Eve

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.


The Graces starts off familiar enough: small coastal town, rich, beautiful family that was simultaneously worshiped and hated by the townspeople, a gorgeous teenage son that was loved by most the female population of their small high school, and gossip of witchcraft and magic.

Enter the new girl ‘River’.

The book sounds like it should be one walking cliché (like Twilight, only with witches) but I found myself being sucked into the story. At first I thought I related most to the narrator River: she was new in town, had a single mother, not a lot of money, trouble making friends, etc… But honestly, she got pretty irritating, pretty fast. She’s like a pompous Bella Swan.

What aspect of the book that captured my attention was the Grace family, equal parts fascinating and horrible (like a grittier version of the ‘perfect’ Cullen’s). The character of Edward Cullen (OPPS I mean Fenris Grace) was the object of Rivers affection (and she was determined to be the girl that he gave up his Lothario ways for). However it was his sister Summer that I found the most interesting, who, instead of distancing herself from the magic and rumours that surrounded her family, embraced them wholeheartedly, more than happy to play the school witch. As River is taken into the fold by Summer, we get a peek behind the legend of the Grace family, and we see that not everything is as perfect and happy as it seems.

Don’t be fooled by the genre, YA books are selling so well for a reason – They are fast paced, shorter reads, and they can be a way to take us back to our own teenage years which were filled with strong emotions and often reckless decision making. Under the (at times obnoxious) one sided romance story, there is a whole cast of interesting characters with problems much more beyond Rivers ‘How do I make him notice me’ angst, and that’s where the story gets interesting.

Reviewed by Sas

Catalogue link: The Graces