Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce

About the Book

The first ever sequel to Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, written by bestselling author Frank Cottrell Boyce and endorsed by the Fleming family.

When the Tooting family find a vast abandoned engine and fit it to their camper van, they have no idea of the adventure that lies ahead. The engine used to belong to an extraordinary flying car – and it wants to be back on the road again . . . fast! The Tootings can haul on the steering wheel and pull the handbrake as hard as they like, but their camper van now has a mind of her own. It’s not long before they’re hurtling along on a turbocharged chase as Chitty tracks down her long-lost bodywork. But there are sinister forces at work too. When it comes to a car as special as Chitty, everybody wants a piece of her . . 

Published by Pan Macmillan UK


A book like this one stands out, not only because of its predecessor (Ian Fleming) but because it is a story that makes you realise why you started reading as a kid in the first place.

I remember being marched into my Gran’s lounge with my cousins, Terry & Sean.  My Gran lining us up on the carpet - her Maltese poodles scampering about - that smelt like crayons, the ones we dug into the carpet by accident, and a VHS (yup remember those!) slipped in.  This was my Gran’s distraction for us; keeping us out of the kitchen while she made her famous rock buns.  The movie was always Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and as we got older another famous Broadway Musical.  A whisperer of excitement with the opening credits and then 5 minutes in we were belting out the songs at the top of our voices...

Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Our fine four fendered friend. Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Our fine four fendered friend. Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, We love you.”

I cannot express the warmest of memories I have with this movie.  So when I saw the proof copy pop up I jumped and I literally begged to read it (ask Nicola).  So I did.  I read it before class, after class, in the voting lines and while making tea!  I have never travelled like I did in this book.  I went from England, Parked on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, sold pancakes in Cairo, jumped onto an estate that was a boat, got shipwrecked in Madagascar and then headed back to England.  *Wipes Brow* shoo!  I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you but this book ends on a cliff hanger that made me gasp!

Oh how I cannot wait for the next one!  Hurry up Frank!  Kelly loves reliving her childhood...

About the Author

Frank Cottrell Boyce is a successful British screenwriter whose film credits include Welcome to Sarajevo, Hilary and Jackie and 24 Hour Party People. Millions, his debut chidlren's novel, won the 2004 Carnegie Medal and was shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award. His second novel, Framed, was shortlisted for the 2005 Whitbread Children's Fiction Award and has also been shortlisted for the 2005 Carnegie Medal. His third novel, Cosmic, was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. Now Frank has jumped into the driving seat, writing a sensational sequel to the much-loved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Happy Reading ALL!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (23) Pure

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This weeks "MUST HAVE" selection is:

Pure by Julianna Baggot

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . . 
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . . 
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.
When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Published by Headline
Blurb from Goodreads

Why am I waiting for it...?

I am in the thrust of YA at the moment and this is the perfect course to feed my hunger.  Described by Headline as The Passage meets The Hunger Games, no doubt this book will keep me more than occupied during the December beach days!

What are you waiting for?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

About the Book

An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of Riding Lessons.

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

Beautifully written,
Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford.


The New York Times said "Water for Elephants begins violently and then veers into weirder terrain”
That line wouldn’t encompass such a delight of a novel!  Everyone who is anyone has wanted to join the circus at one time or another...
I remember clearly exclaiming to a line of friends in Grade 1 (I was 6) and with a bright-eyed expression, a high pitch excited voice I said “I want to swim with Dolphins”.  Not that I was a swimmer or even had seen a dolphin in real life, at that stage.  My 6 year old self was adamant that one I would swim with dolphins.
This book has it all, sweeping romance, unbreakable friendship, heart wrenching sadness and grandeur.  I haven’t read a book like this since Atonement by Ian McEwan.  Subtle, seductive and incredibly dream worthy.  Gruen has a way with atmosphere and that is what the circus is about.
Jacob Jankowski is a veterinarian student at Cornell University, recently orphaned; he jumps a train – which happens to be The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth circus train.  A turn of fate finds Jacob the circus’ animal man.  That isn’t all the circus has in store for Jacob, there is Marlena – wife of August, the Equestrian Director; Kinko, Jacob’s clown roommate and let’s not forget Rosie, an Elephant who steals the show almost as quickly as she steals the readers heart.
What a story! A book where the heroine weighs more than I do – FINALLY! Just fabulous and yes I could gush till the circus comes to town...
Life is the Most Spectacular Show on Earth

About the Author

Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants has become one of the most beloved and bestselling novels of our time. Readers fell in love with Water for Elephants and its story of Jacob, a young man tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, and Rosie, the untrainable elephant. This instant #1 New York Times bestseller is now available in 44 languages and has over 3 million copies in print worldwide.  The movie version is in the works, starring  Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz, and Robert Pattinson (2011 release).
Sara Gruen moved to the United States from Canada in 1999 for a technical writing job. When she got laid off two years later, she decided to try her hand at writing fiction. A devoted animal lover, her first novel, Riding Lessons, explored the intimate and often healing spaces between people and animals and was a USA Today bestseller. She wrote a second novel, Flying Changes, also about horses.

Thanks to Elmarie Stodart for the review copy!
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