Sunday, June 10, 2012

Momo celebrates

Hello to all the people who read my blog.  I don't know who you are but I am celebrating!  I now have 300 book reviews and there have been 30,000 hits on my site!  I love numbers (and reading too of course) so the neat synchronicity of this makes me smile.

I thought I might use this post to talk about the books I am reading right now and the books I plan to read soon.  I have been a little distracted recently because I bought an ipad and a Kindle.  This means I can read books electronically but I have also found these devices to be quite sinister just like the grey men in the novel Momo - stealing all my time.

As far as print books go I am reading Jay by Elizabeth Laird, Alison's camels by Christine Gregory (a visitor to my school library in recent weeks) and The true story of Lilli Stubeck by James Aldridge which is a old book from my bookshelves.

On my Kindle I am reading Nanberry by Jackie French and over the next few months while I travel I will read (or re-read) Outlaw by Michael Morpurgo, Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt, The Present takers by Aidan Chambers, Over sea under stone by Susan Cooper, The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood, Septimus Heap book one by Angie Sage and Dicey's song by Cynthia Voigt.

Finally this is a big thank you to my 16 followers and to all those other people who have dipped into my blog.  We read to know we are not alone and I blog to know I am not alone as a reader. It is great fun sharing books through my blog. I have set a target of 500 titles by the end of the year.  I probably won't reach this but I do plan to do heaps of reading in the next few months so keep visiting to find books you might like to read too.

The Blood Stone by Jamila Gavin

The blood stone is a diamond that becomes part of a fabulous jewel. “The whole effect must be white …he surrounded the diamond with white stones : white jade, white sapphire, crystal, moonstones and pearls interspersed, to emphasise its whiteness with contrasting tiny rubies, amber and emeralds, as if remnants of rainbows were trapped within the white water of the diamond.”

The maker of this marvelous pendant is Geronimo. He is the father of Flippo but in an odd twist of fate this father and son have not met. Flippo was born eight months and thirteen days after his father left for Hindustan. So now you should be able to guess this will be a story involving a quest.

Elisabetta, Carlo, Giuseppe, Sofia and Gabriella along with their mother Teodora are now living under the tyrannical rule of Bernado Pagliarin. Greed and power are his motivations so when he discovers Teodora has this fabulous jewel called The Ocean of the Moon his true nature rises and he will stop at nothing to own it. Pagliarin is, however, not the only man who wants to posses this exquisite diamond and so the chase is on. Flippo journeys from Venice to India and Afghanistan. He is taking The Ocean of the Moon to pay a ransom so his father will be freed from prison but carrying a jewel of such value is far to dangerous so Carlo arranges to have it sewn into his skull!

If you want to read another book with a similar flavour look for The Thief Lord by Zizou Corder. 

I am reading books by the authors who will speak at the IBBY Congress in London. I have already talked about one other book by Jamila Gavin but I must say The Blood Stone is even better. I think I almost held my breath through the whole book feeling so anxious for Flippo and all the danger he faces. Jamila Gavin gives you such rich insights in to the smells, scenes and tastes of all the exotic places we journey to in this book.  The words on the front cover are so true this is "a fabulous epic novel".  I recommend you grab this one quickly you will not be disappointed.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Oranges in no man's land by Elizabeth Laird

Recently a friend asked me for a novel where the main character is a hero.  I happened to be reading  Oranges in no man's land at that time and so was happy to make this connection.  Ayesha, the main character in this book is indeed a hero.  She takes an enormous risk travelling through check points with armed guards so she can get some precious medicine for her grandmother.

Elizabeth Laird once again takes her readers into countries and cultures they may never experience. Oranges in no man's land is set in Beirut during the Civil War. The story opens as bombs begin to fall once again on the ruined city.  Ayesha, Latif and Ahmed, her brothers, and their grandmother flee the house assured their mother is close behind.  "And a shell fell on our house, wiping out our little shack of a house, and everything in it.  I never saw Mama again."

Survival means taking refuge in a house once meant for a single family but now home to many.  The wonderful Mrs Zainab and her daughter Samar befriend and comfort them.  Daily life is hard but they learn to cope until one morning Ayesha sees her grandmother is very ill.  She has now run out of medicine.  Ayesha decides to travel through the dangerous city to find the doctor.  This doctor lives on the other side of the Green Line.

This is a very short novel but it contains a powerful story.  A few years ago I recommended this book to a young student and I was so happy when she came back to me and said it was the best book she had ever read!