How to find Susan May

Susan May glassesSince I’e changed over to a private domain, my blog won’t RSS feed out to places where I live like my Amazon Page or my Good Reads author page. Until I can work this out (I’ve been trying for a year), I thought the best thing is to set up another blog at WordPress that will feed into other places as an advertisement. I’d transfer everything here, but I have almost 5 years invested in my Blogger blog.

So, latest blog post from my site is here: www.susanmaywriter.com
If you skip over there you will find film reviews and my book reviews, plus occasional giveaways. If you’d really like to hear about my books and enjoy freebies from me and other great authors join my Wonderful Readers Club:
Catch me at my fave social media hang out Good Reads: Good Reads Susan May
My books are available exclusively at Amazon. You can read them for FREE if you are enrolled in KINDLE PRIME or KINDLE UNLIMITED: Amazon Susan May
Please visit me at my website or other places where cool authors hang.
Advertisements

The Heiresses by Alison Rushby ★★★

Trust no one – especially your relatives

Reviewed by Katelyn (aged 13) Meet Katelyn.

In 1926 Thalia, Erato and Clio are summoned to London by Hestia, a long lost Aunt that none of the girls knew they had. When they arrive from their individual homes, the girls discover that they are triplets who were separated at birth. Hestia also informs them that they are heiresses to their mother’s fortune which is currently under the control of their greedy half-brother, Charles. The sisters move into their Aunt Hestia’s London house and begin their new lives together, while plotting to get their inheritance from the loathsome Charles.

While the girls are in London they realize something. Each of them is there for a reason:

Thalia is there to get away from her dark past.
Erato is there to achieve her dream.
Clio is there to help save the only mother she has ever known.

The girls realize that they must trust no-one; let alone each other.

The plot for this book is very good and witty. I would recommend this for thirteen year old to fifteen year old girls. 

Thank you to the kind people at Pan Macmillan for our review copy.

RELEASE Date:       May 2013
MORE information:     CLICK HERE  
READ an extract:        CLICK HERE   
AUTHOR’s Website:   http://allisonrushby.com/
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Having failed at becoming a ballerina with pierced ears (her childhood dream), Allison Rushby instead began a writing career as a journalism student at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Within a few months she slunk sideways into studying Russian, began writing her first novel and, most importantly, joined the Chocolate Appreciation Society. Over the past ten years, she has published five books for young adult readers and five for adult readers in the women’s fiction genre. She is originally from Brisbane, Australia, but spent 2011 and most of 2012 living in Cambridge, UK, where she mainly spent her days whingeing constantly about the weather.

 

Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger ★★★★ ½

FLIGHT OF BEAUTIFUL FANCY
           My ten and twelve year old boys are, sadly, at an age where they don’t want me to read to them anymore.  In fact, thanks to iPads, X-boxes and cable TV, they don’t even want to read themselves anymore.
            However, they both expressed interest in me reading them “Raven Girl”.  In the end, my hubby sat in and for several nights our family eagerly anticipated the next reading.  Reading this book with them was a wonderful experience.  First they wanted to read it; then they didn’t want me to stop. They loved the story and wanted it read again.  A miracle.

           “Once there was a Postman who fell in love with a Raven.” 

           The opening line in this modern-day, dark, fairy tale begins a marvelous tale of a postman who “thought he had seen just about everything Her Majesty’s Postal Service could offer in the way of danger and difficulty, hilarity and boredom”.  When he rescues a baby raven, which has fallen from her nest, they fall in love and eventually have a baby raven girl who has human form but speaks in raven.  Like any child, the raven girl is not happy with herself and seeks to be transformed.
            Niffenegger has collaborated with Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor to produce a ballet based on this book. It premiered at the Royal Opera House in London in May 2013.

                Audrey Niffenegger was on my list of beloved authors before this book.  Her first novel, “The Time Traveler’s Wife” was an international best-seller and her second book, a ghost story entitled “Her Fearful Symmetry”, is in my Top reads.

           Niffenegger puts words together from which spin magic.   She is also a talented artist. In “Raven Girl”, she not only wrote a charming tale, she also illustrated it beautifully using the 17th century technique of aquatint, which uses metal, acid, wax and rosin to achieve delicate tone and detailed images.
          Anyone, any age reading this will fall in love with the tale of the “Raven Girl”.  It is a book of exceptional beauty and one to treasure.
My review copy of RAVEN GIRL thanks to the hardworking people at RANDOM HOUSE Australia.
Release Dates: Australia and New Zealand: May 2013


Useful Links

For purchasing details and more information:   click here


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Audrey Niffenegger is an exceptionally creative writer and visual artist who has achieved enormous success in both worlds. Her debut novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife, has sold more than seven million copies worldwide and has been translated into forty languages. A Richard & Judy book club choice in the UK, it has been a huge bestseller all round the world. In the Daily Telegraph’s readers’ poll of the ‘Top 50 Books of All Time’ it appeared at no. 11. Niffenegger is also the author of two ‘novels-in-pictures’, The Three Incestuous Sisters(2005) and The Adventuress (2006), both published by Cape. Her graphic novel The Night Bookmobile was serialized in the Guardianand published on the Cape Graphic list.
A Chicago native, Niffenegger received her MFA in Printmaking and Drawing from Northwestern University. Her art has been widely exhibited in the United States and is in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress and Harvard University’s Houghton Library.

Devil in the Hole by Charles Salzberg ★★★★

Into the mind of a murderer
Reviewed by Tracy Harris
          James Kirkland is not your typical nosy neighbor. So, when he notices all of the lights blazing in his neighbors house, he’s curious but not curious enough to knock on the door and inquire after their health.  He is inquisitive enough to notice that the lights are slowly burning themselves out. 
          
         A phone call to the police results in the discovery of the gruesome murders of an entire family including the dog, minus one member. John Hartman, husband, son and father of three is missing and all evidence points to him as the prime suspect.

          We are given an unusual insight, discovering the story through the eyes of a cast of characters who have their own individual opinion on the man who is John Hartman. From the senior investigator who has become obsessed with apprehending Hartman, to his former mistress, to past work colleagues and even his postman.  Even Hartman’s side of the story is revealed through his viewpoint; a man who has committed the unthinkable crime and managed to elude authorities but not himself.

          Based on a true story, the John List murders, reading the first page to Devil in the Hole is like having just one potato chip. You simply must have more.

        Read this book if you want to treat yourself to a novel that is different, a novel not told from the traditional single viewpoint, but through multiple character’s viewpoints. I felt this allowed an opportunity to discover each individual’s opinion of Hartman, through their own distinct and unique interactions.  This way we have an opportunity to attempt to understand how such a horrendous crime impacts everyone.
Thank you to author Charles Salzberg who contacted us directly and supplied a copy of his novel. 

PURCHASING DETAILS:   Click here
IN AUSTRALIA: Click Here
                                                          
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

      Charles Salzberg is a New York-based novelist, journalist and acclaimed writing instructor.
          A celebrated and popular creative writing teacher, he has been a Visiting Professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and has taught writing at Sarah Lawrence College, Hunter College, the Writer’s Voice, and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is a Founding Member. He is a consulting editor at the webzine Ducts.org and co-host, with Jonathan Kravetz, of the reading series, Trumpet Fiction, at KGB in New York City.
          Visit Charles’ website here.

Weekly Film Review Round Up-July 28 2013

  THIS WEEK’S PREVIEWS

This is a catch up Film roundup.  I’ve been away for two weeks on a wonderful holiday in the Hunter Valley, a wine growing area of Australia, with a quick pop-in to Sydney to see the Manchester United football (soccer) match against the Aussie All Stars.  Manchester won 5 to 1 and it was interesting to see a stadium of almost 90,000 Australians barracking for an overseas team and booing their own countrymen.  Poor form I thought but then I am not a soccer fan (I was dragged along).
So, most of these films have been in your local popcorn distributor for a couple of weeks.  There is quite a choice at the moment and some good ones coming up over the next few weeks.  You should see my preview diary.  On one week there is five screenings.
(My movie Pick of the week)

This Is The End
★★★★

Opens in Australia: 18th July, 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
This is Seth Rogan all the way.  If you don’t like high school toilet humour, ala ‘Pineapple Express’ and ‘Superbad’, then you will probably wish for the end of the world whilst watching his latest outing, ‘This is The End’.
I am a fan despite not loving toilet and sex humour (some of it combined explicitly in the same scene in this) and yet there is something about the exuberance of Rogan I really love.  He is simply the coolest uncool guy in Hollywood.
Be warned, this is silly ridiculous but if you go along with the ride, you will find yourself chuckling and imagining the fun this bunch of Hollywood A-Listers had mocking their own celebrity.  It’s a long way from ‘The Breakfast Club’ but we’ve evolved haven’t we?  You will find every extreme in this, including actors peeing into their own mouths (yep, that’s right).  Don’t take the kiddies.
STUDIO BLURB
The comedy This Is The End follows six friends trapped in a house after a series of strange and catastrophic events devastate Los Angeles. As the world unravels outside, dwindling supplies and cabin fever threaten to tear apart the friendships inside. Eventually, they are forced to leave the house, facing their fate and the true meaning of friendship and redemption. (c) Sony
BEFORE MIDNIGHT ★★★★      
Opens in Australia: 18th July
Other Countries:
Release Information

Perth, Australia: See at Luna Cinemas 

OUR THOUGHTS
I’ve not seen the first two in this series, ‘Before Sunset’ and ‘Before Sunrise’.  However, after this one I am going out to find them. It’s a beautifully crafted piece that is so true to modern day romance, as opposed to the fluffy pieces we are constantly delivered, you will hear yourself saying, ‘I know that feeling’, ‘I’ve said those words.’  This is a film made with respect for the medium of film and, it is also a very true portrayal of adult love. It’s not about how beautiful is love, it is about how  true is love even though it is hard to maintain when life happens to you.
STUDIO BLURB
  It has been nine years since Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) reconnected on the streets of Paris in Before Sunset, having met on a train to Vienna nine years earlier in Before Sunrise. Now the parents of two children, the couple are vacationing with friends on the coast of Greece.
Director Richard Linklater continues his enchanting tale of a chance meeting between two strangers, bringing to it a nuanced perspective only gained by years lived. Life carries with it new responsibilities and attitudes, forcing the two dreamers to reassess what they each want next. Bolstered by an increasingly refined onscreen chemistry between lead actors Delpy and Hawke, Before Midnight is a fitting third chapter in one of the great love stories of American independent cinema.
THE WOLVERINE ★★★       
Opens in Australia: 25th July
Other Countries:
Release Information
OUR THOUGHTS
Reviewed by Tracy Harris
Director James Mangold returns us to the universe of the X-Men and one of their most popular characters, Wolverine.  Since his last appearance on film, Logan has hidden himself away in a remote part of Alaska, partially to lick his wounds after the death of his love, Jean Grey, but also to protect the world around him from the chaos that follows the beast that is Wolverine. After a slight altercation involving illegal hunters and a grizzly bear which Wolverine calls friend, Wolverine is reluctantly dragged out of his solitude by the striking Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who has been sent by a ghost from his past, Yashida, who wishes to see him once more before he dies. 
This sets in motion a plot which could ultimate cost Wolverine his life. Wolverine’s spends much of the film doing what Wolverine does best, fighting down and dirty through the streets of Tokyo.
The Wolverine is an enjoyable action film aimed at the fanboys (and girls) Hugh Jackman recreates Wolverine accurately, playing him as a world weary hero, surviving rather than living. One of the highlights is the character of Yukio, who lures Wolverine back into our world. She’s a strong, smart and sassy character, who seamlessly combines her modern life with that of traditional Japan, fights like a samurai and she can foretell death, the perfect sidekick for Wolverine.
As my fanboy brother said after viewing this film, “not even Wolverine’s healing powers can save some of this film.” And that’s a shame, because The Wolverine certainly had the potential to be so much more than this.
STUDIO BLURB
In modern day Japan, Wolverine is out of his depth in an unknown world as he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.

PACIFIC RIM ★★ ½
Opens in Australia: 11th July 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
Reviewed by Tracy Harris
Giant robots fighting giant alien monsters from another dimension. What more can one say?
It’s our not so distant future and the Earth is under attack by Kaijus, colossal monsters which are emerging from a portal to another dimension on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. The world has united in an attempt to fight these Kaijus by creating Jaegers, gigantic humanoid shaped robots, mind controlled by specially selected pilots. These Jaegers have successfully fought the Kaijus but the military have shut them down, instead focusing on building huge seawalls surrounding each continent.   This is a grand idea until the Kaijus break through and leave humanity’s fate in the hands of the last five operational Kaijus, their pilots and their support crews.
If you suspend your common sense, check reality at the door and ignore plot holes the size of a giant alien monster, then you’ll enjoy this film. It is squarely aimed at teenage boys.   See this if you love the 1998 Godzilla or the Transformers of 2000s, but remember, you have been warned.

STUDIO BLURB
When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes – a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi) – who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.

The Way, Way Back
★★★½

Opens in Australia: 25th July 2013
Other Countries: Release Information
Perth, Australia: See at Luna Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
Here is another ensemble Indie coming of age piece dissecting American family values.  This has wit and depth and a stellar cast.  I love the way Steve Carell takes opportunities to play dramatically against typecast.  He is quite unlikable in this.  Toni Collette is her usual solid self and Allison Janney is seriously brilliant providing great comedy.
When I received the preview invite I replied to the publicist, “You had me at Sam Rockwell.”  And it’s Rockwell, playing the cavalier manager of a water park, who lifts this out of mediocre territory. I didn’t love the ending but everything before was a real summer holiday.
STUDIO BLURB
THE WAY, WAY BACK is the funny and poignant coming of age story of 14-year-old Duncan’s (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), and his daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin). Having a rough time fitting in, the introverted Duncan finds an unexpected friend in gregarious Owen (Sam Rockwell), manager of the Water Wizz water park. Through his funny, clandestine friendship with Owen, Duncan slowly opens up to and begins to finally find his place in the world – all during a summer he will never forget. (c) Fox Searchlight

What have you seen this week? Did you find our comments helpful or do you disagree? Share your thoughts with us.

SHIFT by Hugh Howey ★ ★ ★★★

READ MY FASCINATING INTERVIEW WITH HUGH HOWEY: CLICK HERE

A MASTER STORYTELLER STRIKES AGAIN

The beautiful blue covered book that is SHIFT, prequel to Hugh Howey’s mega-hit WOOL, sat on my bedside table for a week; not because I didn’t want to read it but I was simply delaying gratification.  I knew once I started it, I would devour the 576 pages in a few days and then I would be forced to leave the world of Howey’s Silo and would have to wait months until the final book in the trilogy was released. 
It’s hard to find eloquent words to describe my love for the genius of Hugh Howey.  Reading his work reminds me of how I felt almost forty years ago when I first read Stephen King’s CARRIE.  For me, no author has ever measured against Master King’s writing. There are many great writers who have penned wonderful books but Howey and King have one thing in common. They are storytellers before they are writers.
Even more exciting is that Howey is one of the new breed of Indie Hybrid authors, self-publishing his e-books and licensing the paper-book distribution rights to  major publishers. So, he can write and deliver great reads quickly; no more waiting for the publishing world’s limit of one release a year.

SHIFT takes us back to the beginning before Wool; before the world was laid waste and toxic by something that happened sixty years ago, forcing the few thousand remaining human beings to live in two hundred storey silos.  The silos are layered with not only physical levels but political and social stratas and are governed under strict rule.  None of the Silo inhabitants remember what happened before. 
Whilst reading Wool, (which I recommend reading before Shift) there were what you could presume were plot-holes (as it turns out they were purposely there). These are resolved in Shift as we travel from the destruction of Earth to the monotonous existence of the inhabitants of Silo One who are cryogenically frozen and awakened for their shifts of varying lengths.
This new world and its progression through several hundred years is told through the stories of various characters: the engineer who unwittingly designed the silos, a shift worker who remembers fragments of another life, a courier who becomes embroiled in an uprising, a child trapped for years in a computer safe room.
It is science fiction work but it crosses genres ingeniously and the reason for Howey’s huge success is the human stories he tells. Through his wonderful and rich characters Howey challenges us to contemplate hope and humanity.   Just like King’s millions of loyal fans who read every book he releases, there will be few initiates to the Howey style who will not continue to follow him wherever he chooses to write. And that’s the kind of passion a good story-teller evokes.  

My review copy of Shift thanks to the hardworking people at RANDOM HOUSE Australia.

For more information please visit http://www.randomhouse.com.au
Release Dates: Australia and New Zealand: May 2013

To purchase:   click here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hugh Howey is the author of Wool, a bestselling novel that has appeared in the top 5 of science fiction on Amazon. He is also the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde Saga. He lives in Boone, N.C. with his wife Amber and their dog Bella.

Weekly Review Round Up 5/7/2013

There is a good pick this week (well this fortnight, I missed last week) of mostly solid Indie film releases. They’re those films that usually have something interesting to say with out all the bangs and whistles of the big buck studios.  For all the mainstream lovers, Epic 3D is pretty good animation for the holidays but sadly Man of Steel is a wretchedly boring overkill.  I am still cranky about them getting it so wrong.
(My movie Pick of the week)

In The House (Dans La Maison) ★★★★

Opens in Australia: 27th June, 2013
Perth, Australia: See at Luna Cinemas 
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS

Ooh La La.  This is a bit delicious.  It’s a fascinating mystery and you will be ducking and weaving with the twists and turns.  Is it real or just a wild story within a story?  This is why I love French Cinema. Their film-makers have a way of looking at ordinary lives and transforming them into art and mystery. Sometimes they’re crazy and sometimes they are amazing. This is both.  Loved it. 
STUDIO BLURB
A 16-year old boy, Claude, (Ernst Umhauer) insinuates himself into the house of a fellow high-school student, Rapha, (Bastien Ughetto) and writes about his family in essays that perversely blur the lines between reality and fiction for his jaded literature teacher, Germain (Fabrice Luchini). Intrigued by this gifted and unusual student, Germain rediscovers his taste for teaching, but the boy’s intrusion sparks a series of uncontrollable events. Kristin Scott-Thomas plays Germain’s wife, Jeanne, a contemporary art gallery director, who, alongside her husband, avidly follows Claude’s semi-imaginary escapades, while Emmanuelle Seigner plays Rapha’s mom, Claude’s object of desire. (c) Cohen Media

Man of Steel ★★
Opens in Australia: 27th June 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
No, no, no. This is not good what they have done to Superman.  And it is almost unforgivable that director, Zac Snyder (Sucker Punch, 300) managed to make Michael Shannon act badly. I thought that was impossible.  Its spot the ‘A’ list actor but that means nothing if they have nothing to work with. Something has gone terribly wrong in Hollywood when nobody tells Directors they have gone too far and repeated the same scene too many times.  Yes, there is a spectacular fight sequence but we don’t need two of them that drag the film out to 143 minutes.  And there are plot holes big enough for Superman to detonate some kind of weird bomb in.  Another reboot that needs another reboot.  Super-boring.
STUDIO BLURB
A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind. — (C) Warner Bros

Epic (3D)
★★★½

Opens in Australia: 4th July, 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
It’s charming and colourful and I feel a little sorry for ‘Epic’.  What animation release wants to go up against ‘Monster’s University’ or ‘Despicable Me 2’?  We needed ‘Epic’ last school holidays when there was a bunch of below par animations released. It would have rocked then.   It is a good, solid story, beautifully done and I think the wee littlies will enjoy it.  My twelve-year-old harsh critic enjoyed as did his tag-along mate, Alex, who wrote a full review here.  But I would see the other two superstar animations before this.
STUDIO BLURB
EPIC is a 3D CG adventure comedy that reveals a fantastical world unlike any other. From the creators of ICE AGE and RIO, EPIC tells the story of an ongoing battle between the forces of good, who keep the natural world alive, and the forces of evil, who wish to destroy it. When a teenage girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she teams up with an elite band of warriors and a crew of comical, larger-than-life figures, to save their world…and ours. — (C) Fox

The Look of Love ★★★½
Opens in Australia: 27th June 2013
Other Countries: Release Information
Perth, Australia: See at Luna Cinemas 

OUR THOUGHTS
The English do these bio-pics extremely well.  The Director, Michael Winterbottom (Trishna, The Killer Inside Me) does not mind confronting audiences.  ‘The Killer Inside Me’ is still one of the most violent and nasty films I have ever seen (and I didn’t like it).
In this film, we learn about the British smut King, Paul Raymond, who from this film we gather is the equivalent of Hugh Hefner or Larry Flynt.  You won’t feel a great deal of sympathy for Raymond enduring the tragedies of his life. 
It’s a well crafted, interesting film, albeit probably not on a person I really care to have this much detail.  In saying this it is interesting to see London in the swinging sixties and seventies.  Warning, there is a great deal of sexual content and nudity. 
STUDIO BLURB
The Look Of Love is the quite extraordinary true story of British entrepreneur and smut peddler Paul Raymond (played by Steve Coogan), who made his fortune opening some of Britain’s first strip clubs and financing other classically un-British pursuits to eventually become Britain’s richest man. The film follows Raymond’s life in humorous fashion before leading up to the darkest parts of his life when his daughter (played by Imogen Poots) and heir to his empire dies of a drug overdose.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
★★★
Opens in Australia: 4th July 2013
Other Countries: Release Information
Perth, Australia: See at Luna Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
After recently viewing ‘Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God’ produced and directed by Alex Gibney, I had high hopes for his latest documentary, ‘We Steal Secrets’. 
WikiLeaks is a fascinating story and in viewing ‘We Steal Secrets’ I’d hoped to  learn more about the headline-making, white-haired enigma Julian Assange.  However, whilst it was interesting, I don’t think there was anything here we didn’t already know.
There was some insight into Bradley Manning, the analyst who leaked the super secret military documents to WikiLeaks but instead of delving deeper into Assange and Manning, there was a lot of repetitive information which filled the film out to 130 minutes.
For documentary lovers who have been on another planet and know little of WikiLeaks it will be fascinating.  Although, smoothly done, afterwards I felt rather a little spun by a documentary exposition on the evils of ‘spin’.   
STUDIO BLURB

Acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) takes the reins for this no-holds-barred look at one of the most unusual phenomena of early 21st century media. In 2006, an Iceland-based outfit called The Sunshine Press launched the website WikiLeaks.org. As run by Australian Internet activist Julian Assange, the site’s mandate involved regularly publishing top-secret documents and covert information, often regarding governments and their respective military operations. As might be expected, this set off a firestorm between those who admired the organization’s bravado and resourcefulness, and those who argued, not unjustly, that the dissemination of data regarding such events as the U.S. war in Afghanistan could put untold numbers of lives at risk. In We Steal Secrets, Gibney relays the story of the WikiLeaks website from the inside, and moves beyond black and white to penetrate a complex network of activity guided by courage and idealism but also allegedly guilty of ethical insensitivity and hypocrisy. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi


Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike ★★★★

NOT JUST THE GOOD DIE YOUNG

Reviewed by Katelyn (aged 13) Meet Katelyn.

          Jeff doesn’t get a very good first impression of his new posh school. This impression goes from bad to worse when the drop-dead gorgeous Kimberlee Shaffer, who literally dropped dead last year  in the hallway of a Santa Monica High School, starts to pay him attention. After all, as he is the only person who can see her, he’s the perfect person to help her out, willingly or not.

    Unfortunately for Jeff, Kimberlee has some unfinished business. A lot of unfinished business. When Kimberlee was alive she was a kleptomaniac and she stole everything she could. Since she’s still on Earth she thinks by returning the things she stole she will be able to move on to wherever she is to go. So with Jeff helping her it should be easy.
       Rather than be stuck with Kimberlee until he graduates, Jeff reluctantly agrees to help her. Until he discovers it’s easier to steal something than to bring it back.
       This is a great book. I thought it was interesting and a bit weird, but in a good way. If it was me, I would have just dumped all the stuff at once and got the whole thing over and done with instead of returning the items one by one.     
         However, the story is about atonement and moving on with your life, or death, as Kimberlee finds out. The way Jeff and Kimberlee interact is fun, making this a great book for 12-16 year olds.

Thank you to the kind people at Harper Collins for our review copy.
RELEASE DATE: May 2013
For purchasing information on this book: CLICK HERE           

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Critically acclaimed, #1 New York Times best-selling author Aprilynne Pike has been spinning tales since she was a child with a hyper-active imagination. At the age of twenty she received her BA in Creative Writing from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. When not writing, Aprilynne can usually be found out running; she also enjoys singing, acting, reading, and working with pregnant moms as a childbirth educator and doula(labour coach). Aprilynne lives in Arizona with her husband and four kids; she is enjoying the sunshine.

Visit Aprilynne’s website here.

THE MIDWIFE’S TALE by Sam Thomas ★★★★

In the early 1600s, a woman’s role was easily categorised as that of being a wife and mother. Nothing more, nothing less.  Except in the case of twice widowed Lady Bridget Hodgson, who serves her community in the role of midwife, tending to ladies and maids and everyone in between.
York in 1644 is not a pleasant place, even for an educated and wealthy woman such as Bridget. A civil war is splitting the country in two, and Parliament’s forces are at the city’s walls.  In the midst of this uncertainty, one of Bridget’s friends is accused of murdering her husband, an act of petty treason. Esther Cooper begs Bridget to help prove her innocence and save her life.
Appalled at the way Esther’s trial is handled and at the attitude of the Lord Mayor, Bridget finds herself drawn towards proving Esther’s innocence, and her life, ably assisted by her new maid, Martha Hawkins. For a lady’s maid, Martha has an unusual skill set and understanding of the seedier side of life which comes in surprisingly useful in a city under siege, where unsavoury characters lurk around corners and danger comes in all shapes and sizes.
Samuel Thomas has captured his female protagonist with a realistic hand, keeping her wit and wisdom fresh and believable. His enthusiasm for Reformation history keeps the story flowing without becoming bogged down in dreary details. Samuel based his character Bridget on a midwife by the same name who practiced in York and whose Will can found online at the Borthwick Institute for Historical Research website.
However the most unique aspect of this book is its historical accuracy as far as midwifery. We are taken on a journey into a world that exists no longer, but was an integral and essential part of life in the 1600s. As a midwife, Bridget is not only responsible for bringing new life into her world, but for interrogating single mothers and ensuring the fathers’ of their children take responsibility for their actions.
A mystery with a unique setting, The Midwife’s Tale is certainly a novel worth exploring, if you like facts along with your fiction.


FOR PURCHASING INFORMATION: CLICK HERE
VISIT THESE SITES FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE AUTHOR:

Epic (3D) ★★★½


Reviewed by Alex (Aged 12)  Meet Alex
Opens in Australia: July 4, 2013  USA:  24th May, 2013  UK: 22nd May 2013
Other Countries: Release Information



Epic begins with the character of Bomba, a determined professor, who studies a civilization of tiny people who he has never seen. Mary Katherine (MK) is his 17 year old daughter who one day is magically transported to this microscopic world where there is a battle going on between leaf men (good) and Boggans (evil).  
Queen Tara passes on an important mission to MK which involves bringing the “chosen pod” to Nim Galuu, a wise caterpillar who can read ancient scrolls that hold the key to MK’s quest.  
MK is joined by Nod, a rebellious teen, Ronin, a courageous and selfless leader of the leafmen warriors, and Mug and Grub, a slug and snail, who are guardians of the pods. Pods are important as they are needed to keep the forest alive.
Trouble comes when Mandrake, a fierce and mean leader of the Boggans, believes the forest belongs to the darkness. He has the power to destroy anything he touches. Only the power of the “chosen pod” can stop him which is why MK and her heroic team need to protect the pod.
The quality of the animation was impressive, especially in 3D, as it made it feel like you were in their world. The battle scenes are entertaining and action packed but some parts of the film were too slow. Bomba was my least favourite character as he annoyingly slowed the pace down with his absent mindedness.  

“Ugly says what?” “what?” “nothing…(Mug and Grub arguing). ” Mug and Grub were my favourite characters as they brought laughter to the movie. I also liked the character of Queen Tara as she had awesome powers which allowed her to control nature.
Epic holds within it a couple of messages – be respectful of the environment, and never stop believing in something just because you can’t see it.
The story-line was like the usual good versus evil scenario and I found it easy to follow. Epic has action, adventure, comedy, villains and heroes. Something for everyone.