Ah, it’s that time of year again when you’ve been charmed into the Secret Santa yearly exchange. It can be quite difficult thinking of gifts for good friends, co-workers and casual acquaintances alike. What’s more appropriate than a book, it’s small, smart and within your budget! Are you stuck for ideas for your Secret Santa? If so, we’ve picked out six books that are so universally pleasing and will be loved by anyone and everyone on your nice list.
Tim Grimshaw has just found out that not only are extra-terrestrials real but they walk amongst us. They have come from all across the galaxy, travelled across the vastness of space to come to Earth for one reason only:
To mess with Tim's life.
Now armed with this information and aided by a clueless alien, Tim is on a mission that he will either succeed at or die trying - to get them to stop using their damn stun guns on him.
Red Wine and White Lies
After years of being married to a man that spends his time drinking and camped out on the sofa watching T.V., Serena Rose doesn't feel special anymore. Then one day her car breaks down and the man who fixes it enters her life and makes her feel alive again. Ricardo Bello seems perfect: uncomplicated and devoted to her. So, when Serena's job takes her on a business trip to Ricardo's home country of Puerto Rico, they finally get to spend some quality time together. But on her arrival back home, Serena is in for a nasty shock.
Meanwhile Kevin, Serena's husband, has been acting even more strangely than usual. Secret conversations on the telephone that end as soon as she walks in the house make her wonder what he has been up to. And it looks like whatever it is might not be legal. Things turn dangerous as the company Kevin has been keeping, along with his growing hatred of his wife, mean that Serena and Ricardo's affair could cost them more than they bargained for.
Xander is sixteen. He lives in a crumbling building in the Estate with a small group of others. As far as they know, they are the only survivors. Xander and his best friend Vicky are Scavengers - they have to scavenge simply to stay alive in the unforgiving heat and the bleak landscape.
Xander has an urgent desire to explore the endless desert Wastelands in the distance. He manages to persuade Kyle, their leader, to mount an expedition into the unknown territory. What have they got to lose?
What follows will severely test the bonds of friendship between Xander and Vicky, but this is not the greatest challenge they will face.
Their new home in the Wastelands is not all that it seems, and a far more lethal danger lurks outside...
Nicole Maharaj is a writer with a wonderful imagination and has given us a riveting tale for young readers which will, in turn, stretch their imaginations.
The main characters, including Marcus and Hunter Moon, take turns to be the narrator so we see the unfolding drama from their perspective.
We meet a broad cast of witches, werewolves, vampires and mermaids set in a supernatural world. Predictably, therefore, they have supernatural abilities. Hunter Moon, for example, is a werewolf and can move seamlessly in and out of his wolf form. He was born on an especially powerful autumn solstice and is thus the perfect candidate to undo a long-standing curse on a clan of witches. This curse compels them to live forever, aging but not dying, definitely not a pleasant destiny. Since Hunter's soul needs to be sacrificed in order to break this curse, it is understandable that he attempts to escape this fate! He has some sticky moments, however.
Meanwhile, there is a unique plant, the mortal bloom. The slightest contact with this plant has an irreversible effect concerning mortality and immortality and thus requires a secret guardianship not easy to achieve.
The action moves swiftly from one scene to the next, assisted by the supernatural abilities of the characters. Werewolf or witch they may be, but their very ‘human' friendships, strengths and failings are the ingredients which engage us all too human readers and create a bond of sympathy between us.
Shadows and Fire
Jenny never felt at home anywhere. Not at her house, not at school...
Not even in her own mind.
However, one fateful night she wakes with a jolt, surprised to find herself in the bathroom, with every part of her warning her to get out of there.
But the human mind is cursed with curiosity, and Jenny stays for one second too long.
Jenny is dragged into what she hopes to be a bad dream, but is in fact a new reality she wants no part of.
A new reality where she has to adapt fast, or she'll die.
Or maybe the people with all the secrets will just kill her instead?
Shadows and Fire is a book where the unimaginable suddenly becomes possible. Where two opposites, magic and science, walk hand in hand.
Is magic just a construct of the human mind, or is it perhaps a suppressed reality, ready to be revealed?
But be careful, the human mind can only handle so much truth. When the veil of lies which surrounds us dissolves, we are forced to look at ourselves, and we might not like what we see.
Facing Fearful Odds
It is 1914, and Victoria Standish returns home to find her brother, Max, keen to join the impending war in Europe as a Light Horseman. Australia is far away from the conflict, but Victoria is thrilled at the prospect of nursing beyond the safe confines of her local community.
In London, the Earl and Countess of Hadleigh are also preparing for war. Their son, Gerald, is commissioned in the Coldstream Guards and their younger son, Guy, is desperate to join up. Their daughter, Lady Julia, and their housemaid, Violet, will bravely join the Voluntary Aid Detachment as nursing assistants.
Facing Fearful Odds chronicles a turbulent time in history, through the lives of nurses and the soldiers they were destined to meet.
War will draw them together and create unbreakable bonds of friendship and love that will see them through the catastrophic battles in Gallipoli and the Somme. The conflict will shatter the established barriers of class and culture and change their lives forever...
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