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1. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

cover artWhen I began reading The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua, I did something I usually don’t do. I posted how great the book is and how everyone needed to, right then and there, request a copy from the library or buy one of their own. Now that I have actually finished it, I still stand by that assertion.

The book is a graphic novel like no other I have read (which is more than some and less than a good many). Sure the stories are told with great black and white drawings, some of them very detailed like the visual explanation in the appendix of how the Analytical Engine would have worked if it were ever built. Wait, appendix? A graphic novel with an appendix? Yup. And that is just one way this book is different. It also has footnotes and endnotes. In fact, the graphic part of it is almost beside the point. To be sure, the graphics tell a story, but the real action, where all the fun and humor is, is in the footnotes and endnotes. Crazy!

Padua has clearly done extensive research, she even got a scholarly slam dunk by finding a letter in an obscure archive somewhere that settled a dispute about just how much Ada Lovelace had to do with Babbage and maths and the Analytical Engine and computer programming (a lot!). Booyah! And Padua clearly enjoys her subjects as well, expressing great knowledge and affection for them and all their quirks and foibles.

Since Lovelace died when was 36 and the Analytical Engine was never built, Padua takes liberties with the story, moving the pair to a pocket universe in which Ada lives and the Engine is built. Still, she remains true to certain biographical events, even quoting them directly at times in the stories. When she veers far off course there is a handy footnote to tell us so.

I say stories because that is what these are, short stories in graphic form. So we have a story about the Person from Porlock, one in which Lovelace and Babbage meet Queen Victoria and give her a demonstration of the Analytical Engine. Except the Engine crashes, (even when computers were only theoretical there were provisions for what to do when they crashed) and Ada runs off to fix it and save the day while Babbage bores the Queen with stories about how great he is. The Queen, not understanding why the Engine is a useful thing is losing interest until Lovelace’s programming produces a picture of a cat. Heh. Cats and computers belong together apparently. We meet George Boole whose Boolean logic will be familiar to both computer geeks and librarians. And there are often hilarious run-ins with many other famous personages.

One that a good many of you will be familiar with is George Eliot. She and Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Thomas Carlyle and others are summoned for a “mandatory spell-check” of their most recent manuscripts. Lovelace really did theorize that the Analytical Engine should be able to analyze symbols as well as crunch numbers. Eliot’s manuscript gets fed into the Engine but it being her only copy she immediately changes her mind. Thus follows a long pursuit through the workings of the Engine to try and get the manuscript back. But horror of horrors, the Engine uses “destructive analysis” and the manuscript gets ripped to shreds! And then it crashes the Engine. The huge joke at the end of this is that there had been a tussle at the beginning and Eliot and Carlyle got their manuscripts mixed up and it is actually Carlyle’s manuscript on the history of the French Revolution that is destroyed. In real life Carlyle’s manuscript was indeed destroyed. He had given it to his friend John Stewart Mill to read. The only copy. Mill left it sitting out and the servants thought it was waste paper and used it for starting fires. Oops. Carlyle had to rewrite the who book, but personally, from what I have actually read about the incident in other places, it was probably for the best because the rewrite by accounts was better than the original. Still, Carlyle was devastated and I don’t remember if he and Mill continued to be friends afterwards.

Anyway, this is a right fun book. Babbage and Lovelace were real characters even before they were fictionalized in a pocket universe. If you would like a taste of the book including a few stories that didn’t make it in, there is a website! The Science Museum of London also built Babbage’s Difference Engine, the precursor to the Analytical Engine, in 1991 and because of the magic of the internet, you can watch a video demonstration:

Is that thing ever loud!

If you are looking for something fun, geeky, madcap and sometimes just plain silly, you can’t go wrong with The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.


Filed under: Books, Graphic Novels, Reviews Tagged: Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, George Eliot, madcap adventures, Thomas Carlyle

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2. Giveaway: Paperweight by Meg Haston (US Only)

PAPERWEIGHT

by Meg Haston
 
Release Date: July 7, 2015

 

About the Book


In the vein of Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls, this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss.

Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert. Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at meal time, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she's worked so hard to avoid. Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn't plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh's death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she, too, will end her life.

Paperweight follows Stevie's journey as she struggles not only with this life-threatening eating disorder, but with the question of whether she can ever find absolution for the mistakes of her past…and whether she truly deserves to.


To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.
 

Pre-order Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound


b2ap3_thumbnail_MegHaston_by-Carolyn-Roberts.jpgAbout the Author

Meg Haston is the author of How to Rock Braces and Glasses and How to Rock Best Friends and Frenemies. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida, where she writes and works as a counselor in an independent school. Paperweight is her first young adult novel.

Learn more Twitter | Goodreads
 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post

Top Five Ways to Survive a Tough Time

In my novel PAPERWEIGHT, Stevie’s eating disorder requires intensive treatment. While not everyone experiences the struggle of eating disorders or mental illness, we all go through difficult times. Here are my top five ways to survive a tough time.

1.    Take a look in the (metaphorical) mirror.

Moving through a difficult time means having to take a long, hard, look at yourself—and the situation you want to change. Get honest about what you’re struggling with. This is so much harder than it sounds, but it’s a crucial first step. If you can’t get real, things can’t get better.

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2.    Decide what you want to (and can) change.

Once you’ve gotten real with yourself, decide what you want to change. What do you want for yourself? How to do you want things to be different? Set small, realistic goals and you’ll see your situation start to change.

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3.    Get by with a little help from your friends.

Make sure to lean on your friends. Having strong friendships makes it easier to get through the hard stuff, because you don’t have to carry the burden alone. Just make sure you’re leaning on people you can trust.

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4.    Treat yourself.

When you’re having a hard time, make sure to take time for fun. Do something to take your mind off of your problems. In short, Treat Yo Self.

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5.    Know when to ask for help.

Sometimes, all of the above isn’t enough, and you need a little something extra to make it through. That might be counseling, or it might be another kind of support. There’s no shame in asking for what you need, so speak up.
 

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Giveaway Details


3 winners will each receive a copy of PAPERWEIGHT. US only.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What do you think of the cover & synopsis?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

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3. Giveaway: Siren's Fury by Mary Weber (US Only)

Siren’s Fury

by Mary Weber

Release Date: June 2, 2015

 

About the Book


“I thrust my hand toward the sky as my voice begs the Elemental inside me to waken and rise. But it’s no use. The curse I’ve spent my entire life abhorring—the thing I trained so hard to control—no longer exists.”


Nym risked her life to save Faelen, her homeland, from a losing war, only to discover that the shapeshifter Draewulf has stolen everything she holds dear. But when the repulsive monster robs Nym of her storm-summoning abilities as well, the beautiful Elemental realizes her war is only just beginning.


Now powerless to control the elements that once emboldened her, Nym stows away on an airship traveling to the metallic kingdom of Bron. She must stop Draewulf. But the horrors he’s brought to life and the secrets of Bron are more than Nym bargained for. Then the disturbing Lord Myles tempts her with new powers that could destroy the monster, and Nym must decide whether she can compromise in the name of good even if it costs her very soul.
As she navigates the stark industrial cityscape of Bron, Nym is faced with an impossible choice: change the future with one slice of a blade . . . or sacrifice the entire kingdom for the one thing her heart just can’t let go.


To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.



About the Author


Mary Weber is a ridiculously uncoordinated girl plotting to take over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives.   
                                                                               
In her spare time, she feeds unicorns, sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California, which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean. 


Learn more Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 


Giveaway Details

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2 winners will each receive 1 small set of Jamberry Nail wraps good for one mani and 1 copy of Siren’s Fury. US only.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: If you lost your Elemental power (power to control weather), what superpower would you want to replace them?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

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4. Artist of the Day: Kelsey Borch

Discover the art of Kelsey Borch, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

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5. Jiggety jig

Oh, guys, I have GOT to get caught up. Here I’ve been back from the Deep Valley Homecoming since TUESDAY and haven’t written about it. And now Comic-Con is peering around the corner in the most alarming way! Next week! Good heavens! Or O di immortales, I should say—not yet having mentally emerged from Betsy-Tacy land.

I had such a wonderful time visiting the houses and connecting with members of the B-T crowd. (The Crowd, capital C, you say if you’ve read the books.) I thoroughly enjoyed the children’s author panel on Sunday, answering questions with fellow writers Pat Bauer and Eileen Beha; and my talk about the Betsy-Tacy publishing history went very well. Plus I got to hear the inestimable Kathy Baxter speak—she’s captivating.

This is how I feel whenever I'm with Kathy. Photo by Margaret Berns.

This is how I feel whenever I’m with Kathy. Photo by Margaret Berns in 2010.

Of course I had to reread as many of the Tomes as possible before and during the trip. Began with the high-school books this time around and made it through Betsy’s Wedding. Actually, I read Wedding twice—I always skip ahead to it straight from Betsy and Joe. I read Betsy and the Great World on the plane ride home and then tore through Betsy’s Wedding a second time that evening, happily back in my own bed.

I swear my children gained multiple inches during the three nights I was away.

Our author panel made the front page of the Minnesota Free Press:

mnfreepress

I have yet to see a panel photo of myself in which I’m not making a goofy face. And if you tied my hands I’m not sure I could speak…

Discussing our writing processes at Deep Valley Homecoming. Photo swiped from Nancy Piccone, with thanks!

Discussing our writing processes at Deep Valley Homecoming. Photo swiped from Nancy Piccione, with thanks!

I’m not doing justice to the Homecoming with this hasty post—I so enjoyed all the other talks and made some wonderful new friends. And on my first evening in Mankato, of course I had to walk all over town past Betsy and Tacy’s bench and Tib’s chocolate-colored house and Carney’s sleeping porch and Lincoln Park and the Carnegie Library, trying not to make a whole nother series of goofy faces. I am 100% fangirl at heart.

Major props to Julie Schrader and the rest of the organizers for hosting a perfectly marvelous event.

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6. Giveaway: The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson (US Only)

The Star Side of Bird Hill

by Naomi Jackson
 
Release Date: 6/30/15

 

About the Book

Summer, 1989: Sixteen-year-old Dionne Braithwaite and her younger sister Phaedra have just arrived in Bird Hill in Barbados. Sent from Brooklyn by their mother after she can no longer care from them, the sisters move into the home of their grandmother, Hyacinth, who has “Why worry?” in blue script above the front steps. Together, in Naomi Jackson’s lyrical debut novel THE STAR SIDE OF BIRD HILL (Penguin Press; on sale June 30, 2015), these three characters form an unforgettable matriarchal family buoyed by love and community and tested by heartbreak and betrayal.
 
Dionne, “sixteen going on a bitter, if beautiful, forty-five” and exasperated with her new setting, spends the summer in search of love, defying her grandmother’s rules, and wanting to return to Brooklyn. Ten-year-old Phaedra, who observes far more than anyone realizes, adjusts more readily and explores Bird Hill, where the family has lived for generations. And Hyacinth, a woman more than capable of standing upright in the face of the most difficult things, cares for them with equal parts patience and tough love.
 
Phaedra accompanies Hyacinth on her jobs as a midwife and practitioner of the local spiritual practice of obeah and learns about the life her grandmother has built—and survived—over the decades. Though far away in Brooklyn, the girls’ mother remains a vivid presence on the island, and slowly Dionne and Phaedra uncover stories of her spirited, complicated life there and why she left, vowing to never return. Jackson’s tautly paced coming-of-age story builds to a crisis when the father they barely know comes to Bird Hill to reclaim his daughters, and both Phaedra and Dionne must choose between the Brooklyn they once knew and loved, or the Barbados of their family.
 
Jackson was born and raised in Brooklyn by West Indian parents and is the recipient of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop’s Maytag Fellowship for Excellence in Fiction. Growing up, she spent her summers in Barbados and Antigua, and her real-life experiences there imbue Bird Hill with a vibrancy that is completely transporting. Jackson’s love for her characters, too, radiates off the page, as she explores issues of family, adolescence, mental illness, sexual awakening, and straddling cultures. Dionne, Phaedra, and Hyacinth will stay in your heart and mind long after turning the final page.


To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.
 


b2ap3_thumbnail_naomi.jpgAbout the Author


NAOMI JACKSON was born and raised in Brooklyn by West Indian parents. She studied fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was awarded the Maytag Fellowship for Excellence in Fiction to complete her first novel, The Star Side of Bird Hill. Jackson traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an MA in creative writing from the University of Cape Town. Jackson is a graduate of Williams College, and her work has appeared in literary journals and magazines in the United States and abroad.

Learn more Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
 


Giveaway Details


5 winners will receive a copy of the finished book. US only.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What do you think of the cover & synopsis?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

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7. Giveaway: Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Brambles (US & Canada Only)

Becoming Darkness

by Lindsay Brambles

Release Date: October 1, 2015

 

 

About the Book


Becoming Darkness is a dark, action-filled tale set in an alternate twenty-first century in which Hitler won World War II, our modern technologies never evolved, and the Nazis’ terrifying reign still continues.

A genre mash up of alternate history, dystopian, mystery, romance and gothic fiction, this story of a young woman coming into her own in a world of secrets, betrayals and conspiracies will appeal to readers looking for a fresh hybrid to sweep them away.

Like everyone else living in Haven, 17-year-old Sophie Harkness is an Immune in a world ruled by vampires. She is a carrier of the genetic mutation that protects her from the virus Hitler unleashed upon the world more than half a century ago. That virus wiped out most of humanity and turned 200 million people into vampires. After her best friend is brutally murdered and several attempts are made on her own life, Sophie becomes determined to find answers to what seems to be a conspiracy running generations deep. And when she questions the peace treaty that keeps her small community protected, Sophie begins to discover terrible truths about herself and what it means to be human in a world ruled by darkness.


To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.
 


About the Author


Lindsay Brambles was born in Ottawa, Canada, and spent a large part of his childhood and youth living and traveling overseas in countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Kenya, and Tanzania. Although he occasionally attended traditional schools, most of his education was gained through correspondence courses and the life experience of living amidst other cultures. As a child in Iran, Lindsay produced a weekly newspaper, which kindled what would become a lifelong interest in writing. In 1989, he won first prize in the Pine Cone II Science Fiction Convention writing contest for his novella Zero-Option. He has worked in a variety of fields, from construction to childcare while pursuing a vocation as an artist and writer. Lindsay is currently hard at work on several new projects, including the next book in the Becoming Darkness trilogy. www.lindsaybrambles.com/ or on Twitter at @LBrambles.


Learn more Publisher Facebook | Publisher Twitter | Goodreads | Author Twitter | Publisher Pinterest



Giveaway Details


4 winners will each receive an advanced reader copy of BECOMING DARKNESS. US and Canada only.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: Where does Sophie Harkness live?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

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8. Marvel’s Black Panther: We Know Who Is Definitely Not Directing

By Victor Van Scoit

ava-duvernay-katrina

We may know Marvel’s movie slate well into 2018, but there’s still some unknowns when it comes to their directors. While fans are waiting for confirmation on exactly who those directors will be, any information to minimize rumors can help quell the frenzy. Sometimes it’s just as significant to know exactly who that director won’t be.

Ava DuVernay (Selma) confirmed in an interview with Essence today that she will not be directing Marvel’s Black Panther. Apparently Ava did meet with Marvel executives to discuss the opportunity, so there was merit to the earlier rumors of her directing the property to feature actor Chadwick Boseman (Get On Up).

“I’m not signing on to direct Black Panther,” she added. “I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be. Marvel has a certain way of doing things and I think they’re fantastic and a lot of people love what they do. I loved that they reached out to me.”

“I loved meeting Chadwick and writers and all the Marvel execs,” said DuVernay. “In the end, it comes down to story and perspective. And we just didn’t see eye to eye. Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later.”

Seems like positive feelings on the part of Ava DuVernay regarding the experience. Kudos to her for peering far down the road and avoiding  a situation where Marvel needs to push their continuity agenda vs the director’s vision. That difference of ideas isn’t a new thing, what with Joss Whedon’s recent comments regarding Avengers: Age of Ultron, and directors exiting previous projects (Patty Jenkins on Thor 2, Edgar Wright on Ant-Man).  The MCU’s ever expanding continuity may end up creating more of these differences in vision, and influencing other directing prospects when it comes to not only Black Panther, but other MCU opportunities.

Abraham Riesman’s article over at Vulture, The Secret History of Ultimate Marvel, the Experiment That Changed Superheros Foreverprovides a little morsel that’s food for thought. Marvel’s Ultimate line of comics influenced the MCU we know today, but it had its own continuity issues as it grew in popularity.

If a new reader tried to digest an issue of an Ultimate comic in 2011, she’d run into the exact problem Ultimate Marvel was designed to combat: confusing continuity. Wait, why was Mr. Fantastic evil? What had happened four years ago in Ultimatum? Remind me how Dr. Doom died? As [Jonathan] Hickman put it: “I think maybe the lesson might be that continuity eventually swallows everything.” (Incidentally, now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is 11 movies deep, this is becoming a concern for Marvel Studios. It remains to be seen how Marvel’s movie producers might learn from the pitfalls of the Ultimate world.)

As for Ava DuVernay she still wishes Marvel all the best. Let’s hope that Marvel is also able to get the best (director).

“I love the character of Black Panther, the nation of Wakanda and all that that could be visually. I wish them well and will be first in line to see it.”

 

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9. Summer House with Swimming Pool

Creepy and disturbing, Koch's Summer House with Swimming Pool is the story of one family and their unraveling one summer. Staying with an insufferable actor at his summer home, Dr. Marc Schlosser's vacation choice for his family is a dire one. As things begin to degrade and then worsen to disaster, Dr. Schlosser begins to think [...]

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10. Library Loot: First Trip in July

New Loot:
  • A Duty to The Dead by Charles Todd
  • An Impartial Witness by Charles Todd
  • The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  • P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part II by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Lays of Beleriand by J.R.R. Tolkien 
  • Wish You Well by David Baldacci 
  • Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle Earth by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Fat Cat by Robin Brande
Leftover Loot:
  • Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for Your Spiritual Journey by Daniel Montgomery and Mike Cosper
  • Jesus > Religion: Why He is So Much Better than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough by Jefferson Bethke
  • Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
  • Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Book of Lost Tales, volume 1 by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Death and Mr. Pickwick by Stephen Jarvis
  • The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
  • The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah
  • Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
  • Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt
  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks
  • The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
  •  Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
  • Perfidia by James Ellroy
  • Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  • I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss
  • Mr. Brown Can Moon! Can You? by Dr. Seuss
  •  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Miles from Nowhere by Amy Clipston
  • Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt
  • To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas, translated by Richard Pevear
          Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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11. Company on the Way

The house is spic and span;
The food is all prepared,
The table set and primed
For good times to be shared.

The only thing to do
Is wait 'til they arrive.
They're somewhere on the road
In the middle of their drive.

The weather gods have smiled;
So far it's looking great.
You might as well relax -
Your guests will like be late.

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12. Big dim hero to the rescue

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13. 4 star review of Detour Trail (link)

 Brand new Detour Trail review: http://juliesbookreview.blogspot.com/

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14. Picture Book Secrets

Here are some suggestions (no magic secrets, unfortunately) about how to write picture books.

http://www.underdown.org/mf-picture-book-secrets.htm

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15. Giveaway: 5 Seconds of Summer: All Exposed by Mick O'Shea (US & Canada Only)

5 Seconds of Summer: All Exposed

by Mick O’Shea

Release Date: 10/07/2015

 

About the Book


They've toured with One Direction and scored international super-hits in more than 50 countries across the globe but 5 Seconds of Summer are more than just another boy band. Like the guitar gods they worship, Luke, Michael, Calum and Ashton play all their own instruments. Having rocketed into our hearts with the infectious pop-punk anthem,'She Looks So Perfect', this cheeky Aussie foursome seems set for a summer that never ends. Filled with more than 50 full-colour photos, this book traces the boys' incredible journey so far from schooldays back in Sydney, Australia, to the release of their all-conquering debut album (5 Seconds of Summer has sold in excess of 1.5 million copies already) and beyond.

With a fun profile devoted to each bandmate, it tells you all you need to know about 5SOS’s unstoppable rise to the top. With details of the first cover songs they ever posted on YouTube and all the gossip from their epic 2013/14 tour with One Direction (the Brit boys have been their friends and mentors from the beginning; naturally 5SOS opened for them on sold-out dates throughout the US and the UK), this is essential reading for all true 5SOSers


To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.
 


About the Author

Based in London, Mick O'Shea is also the author of Amy Winehouse: A Losing Game, Beyond District 12: The Stars of the Hunger Games and One Direction: No Limits.

Learn more Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr
 


Giveaway Details


3 winners will each receive a copy of the book. US & Canada only.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What do you think of the cover & synopsis?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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16. Giveaway: Wanted Series by Erin Johnson (US Only)

About the Books

 

WANTED: Grace and the Guiltless (Book 1)

by Erin Johnson

Release Date: August 1, 2014



As the first book in the new young-adult series Wanted, Grace and the Guiltless is an edge-of-your-seat, gripping thrill ride. Set in the Wild West, the book piggybacks on the success of the strong female character in “True Grit,” and presents Grace Milton, a character whose once-peaceful life on a horse ranch outside Tombstone, Arizona, is shattered in one devastating night.

Her family is brutally murdered by the notorious Guiltless Gang, leaving Grace the only survivor. Trekking into the wilderness on her stallion, Grace falls ill from the elements. A young man named Joe saves her life by taking her to an Apache camp where she learns about their way of life and begins to fall for Joe. When Grace encounters one of the Guiltless Gang, her strength will be tested. Can she survive as a bounty hunter, or will she fall into darkness again? This Western revenge epic will captivate teen readers with its ruthless spirit of suspense and adventure and a powerful central romance.

 

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WANTED: Her Cold Revenge (Book 2)     

by Erin Johnson

Release Date: August 1, 2015



The second book in the gripping Wanted series, this Western revenge epic is a must-read for teen readers who are fans of relentless action, wild horses and heart-wrenching romance.

Grace Milton has only one goal: bring to justice the Guiltless Gang, the outlaws who slaughtered her parents and siblings. That’s why she had to abandoned Joe and her Apache friends. She couldn’t afford any distractions. Now, she’s on her own making her living in Arizona as one of the only female bounty hunters in the Wild West, despite the doubts and protests of others. But when Joe shows up in town, Grace is torn. Feelings she thought she had left behind are rekindled, and the passion threatens to pull her away from her mission. But soon rumors surface that two members of the Guiltless Gang are nearby, planning a daring train robbery, and now Grace is faced with an impossible choice. Will she stay with Joe and forget her vendetta, or risk everything – her love, her life – to fulfill her all-consuming need for vengeance?


To learn more about these books and see our reviews, go HERE and HERE.
 


b2ap3_thumbnail_Erin_Johnson.jpgAbout the Author

Erin Johnson grew up watching classic western movies with her father, which fueled her lifelong love of horseback riding. She's always dreamed of being a fierce-talking cowgirl, but writing about one seemed like the next best thing. She loves to travel, paint, ride motorcycles and teach, and lives in North Carolina.


Learn more Publisher Facebook | Publisher Twitter | Book 1 on Goodreads | Order the Book | Book 2 on Goodreads | Order the Book | Wattpad
 


Giveaway Details


4 winners will each receive a finished copy of GRACE AND THE GUILTLESS & HER COLD REVENGE. US only.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What is Grace Milton’s chosen career?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

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17. Quintessentially American ?

       A fun exercise at the Literary Hub, where:

In a deeply unscientific survey of nearly 50 writers, editors, publishers, critics, and translators, representing 30 countries, we asked them to name three quintessentially American books, and tell us about their choices.
       The results are up at Quintessential American Fiction, According to the Rest of the World.
       Quite an interesting group of people they asked, and while there's lots of predictable stuff there are some interesting choices, too. Always interesting to see how foreigners see a national literature.

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18. Annecy 2015: Thoughts From a First-Time Attendee

Observations and tips from a first-time attendee of the world's largest animation festival.

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19. Animation Artists’ Union Reaches Agreement for 3-Year Deal with Studios

How smooth were negotiations? They began Monday and finished Wednesday.

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20. The Rape of Sukreni review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Balinese author Anak Agung Pandji Tisna's 1936 novel, The Rape of Sukreni, yet another in Lontar's Modern Library of Indonesia series.

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21. Airboy #2 criticized by GLAAD for transphobic storyline

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When creators James Robinson and Greg Hinkle showed me a copy of the first issue of Airboy back at NYCC last year, my jaw dropped. A fourth-wall breaking 8 1/2 storyline about two creators bringing back a Golden Age hero while engaging in all sorts of drug taking, alcohol abusing and balls-out (and shown) sexual experimentation…yep something to cause comment. While the first issue got some buzz going, the second issue, which went on sale this week, has unfortunately ignited a firestorm over a storyline that many have condemned as transphobic.

In the issue, Robinson and Hinkle (who are the stars of the comic) are out on a bender and take Airboy to a bar populated by many trans women. Robinson’s character uses the t-word many times, and then Robinson and Airboy go into bathroom stalls for oral sex with the trans women. Robinson has no regrets for drunken bathroom sex, but the old timey, naive Airboy is angered and confused when he finds out that that lady was no lady.

If this all sounds like typical bro-comedy…it is. And it’s also old and tired. And gross and possibly dangerous. Emma Houxbois was the first to criticize the storyline at the LGBTQ site The Rainbow Hub and was the first of many to call out the disconnect between Image’s rainbow twitter icon and ongoing public call for diversity and this transphobic storyline:

I mean, really. Image Comics has a rainbow background on their Twitter account right now. The day before they’re set to release a comic where one of their writers himself is drawn mercilessly and repeatedly using a transmisogynist slur, degrading trans women by portraying us both as sex objects and a carnival sideshow to be gawked at, and then topping it off by completely ungendering us. To what end? To use us as a symbol of the fall of western civilization to drive Airboy into a furious rage? To give Robinson the world weary asshole street cred he’s so desperate to peddle as an excuse for not having anything interesting to say? There’s no voice, no agency, no humanity to any of the trans women in this comic. Just an open mouth to fuck or a penis to gawk at. Robinson and Hinkle have clearly proven themselves to be worth about as much of my time as a pair of used condoms floating in a toilet. It’s a distraction to target and shame hacks like them who stoop to this level for a cheap thrill


The outrage spread from there. If your’e telling yourself this is just another tempest in a teapot, I think (the much missedfrom these pages) Laura Sneddon has a must read post that addresses many of the defenses of the issue, starting with the one that Robinson and Hinkle are portrayed in anything but a favorable light in the book:

First up, the characters of James and Greg are portrayed as complete assholes. A pair of idiots who stumble from one drug to the next with their dicks hanging out, literally.

In many works of fiction, asshole characters requires asshole behaviour. But in the case of Airboy this is not merely asshole behaviour, instead it is harmful behaviour. Trans folk are one of the most oppressed communities in our society today – and not only do they have to deal with hateful behaviour from cis people, but also from their LGB allies.

Not only do they have to deal with hate but the very real threat of violence and murder. I made the error of thinking that asshole characters excuse asshole behaviour and but that simply does not apply to transmisogynistic slurs/tropes. I  apologise for my wilful idiocy, and thank those that called me out. I don’t ever want to recommend something hurtful! Comics that hurt people, that perpetuate damaging tropes, should not be acceptable in this day and age. Thinking that it’s part of the characterisation or context presumes that everyone reading the comic is cis or that folk who are reminded of the fear they feel daily should just get over it. That slur is still all too commonly used (recently by John Barrowman for example) and nobody should have to deal with that in a comic.


If you have any doubts that this story is truly offensive and dangerous, even GLAAD took time to explain why and denounce it:

This trope is particularly dangerous, as trans women are often violently assaulted by men who feel they’ve been “deceived.” In the past six months, nine transgender women have been murdered in the United States.

Robinson’s previous work on Starman and Earth 2 has included multi-dimensional gay male characters. In fact, both received GLAAD Media Award nominations for Outstanding Comic Book. Not to mention that Image Comics is currently publishing at least two books with interesting trans characters: Wicked + Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, and Trees by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard.

It is disappointing that Robinson would create such a transphobic scene when he’s been an ally on gay issues. And even more disappointing that Image Comics would damage its own reputation for publishing strong trans characters by allowing this scene to appear in this issue.

“It’s shocking in 2015 that a publisher would allow this type of transphobic scene to be associated with its brand,” said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Programs, Transgender Media. “Robinson and Hinkle repeat the outdated, stereotypical attitudes toward transgender women that the rest of America is quickly leaving behind.”


The Mary Sue has TWO articles about Airboy up, including one by trans writer Marcy Cook that explains why this is dangerous:

Defending this comic as cool or a great story is an act of willful blindness, the constant abuse that trans people receive from media and from society is killing us. With a 41% suicide rate this is the literal truth. I’m sick of being a punching bag, of having to explain why things are bad all the time, of trotting out that suicide statistic. And I’m utterly sick of cisgender guys saying ‘Oh this isn’t bad, I don’t see what the fuss is about.’ You can go to Twitter now and see leading comic creators saying exactly that. This lack of empathy and an attitude of ‘I’m alright so you should be’ is wrong. It’s really sad to see it coming from comic professionals.

And Nick Hanover at Loser City decries the tired nature of the tropes:

Removing quality from the equation altogether, is Airboy’s “boys will be boys” story something that is in danger of disappearing from culture? Judd Apatow’s empire of films by and for man children behaving badly doesn’t seem to be hurting for sales, and Two and a Half Men remains one of the most successful television series in history. You don’t have to look very hard to find works like Airboy, but you would have to look much harder to find a comic or, hell, a work in any medium that treats trans culture fairly.


I reached out to Robinson for comment and he has yet to reply, however, he is working on one:

MEANWHILE, the most radical reaction of all came from another Beat comrade, Brett Schenker, who organized an action at Graphic Policy called for the book to bepulled from the shelves because of the transphobic elements that reinforce prejudice:

This is not a call for censorship. James Robinson and Greg Hinkle have a right to create whatever they’d like, and we have as much of a right to show our disdain for that. Speech doesn’t mean protection from consequences. Image has the right to exercise their speech and pull the comic, and actually show they believe in the words and beliefs they claim they uphold.


The Rainbow Hub also tweeted about the dangers:

So that’s where we’re at right now. Do I believe that Airboy #2 presents a tired, unnecessary storyline? I sure do. The idea of the old out of touch guy who has sex with a trans woman and then freaks out is right out of the aging sitcom playbook. This may have been a storyline that people once thought was edgy, but we’re in the midst of a huge consciousness raising about trans people, gender fluidity, and in general the non binary nature of sexual roles. Greater social acceptance for trans people is definitely a civil rights movement that’s growing quickly.

And it comes in the face of very troubling statistics for both murder and suicide of trans women, especially women of color. I am very sad to say that I am personally acquainted with this terrible toll. So the “recall” of Airboy #2 could be something like a recall for a faulty airbag…ignorance can kill in this case.

All that said, as a baby boomer, my hackles go up at any call for the removal of public art. We don’t know if violent media causes violence, but the media does reinforce dangerous beliefs and prejudice and these ideas need to be identified and called out. I personally don’t think Airboy #2 is hate speech —it’s more planned self loathing than anything—and Robinson’s character is actually fond of the woman he had sex with:
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So there is a bit more nuance than the previous stories might indicate and suggest the intent was not as harmful as the execution….but, once again, this does not outweigh the unfortunate transphobic elements of the story and the dangerous nature of these tropes.

And you know what, most importantly of all, as a cis woman, my opinion on this doesn’t really matter. It’s not my call to make. And the people who do matter have spoken.

After the Graphic Policy piece went up, people on twitter were using the words boycott, pull and ban interchangeably. They all mean different things, peeps. I PERSONALLY don’t support censorship of non hate speech, but if people want to boycott this book or Image Comics, they should. And we should all promote more education about trans issues and more talking about the POSITIVE treatment of trans people in comics. And more being kind to each other in general.

I’ll update this post when Robinson’s statement is released.

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22. Q & A with ... me

       In Punctum Vilis Kasims has a Q & A with ... me -- Pretī citai literatūrai (yes, it's in Latvian).

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23. Pete The Cat's Train Trip (2015)


Pete The Cat's Train Trip (I Can Read) James Dean. 2015. HarperCollins. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Pete the Cat is going to visit his grandma. He gets to ride on a train. Pete's mom buys three tickets. She gives one to Pete and one to his brother, Bob.

Premise/plot: Pete and his family (his mom and his brother) are on their way to visit Grandma. They are traveling by train, of course. Will Pete have a great time on the train?!

My thoughts: I do love Pete the Cat!!! And train books are always in demand it seems! So the combination should prove appealing. I certainly enjoyed it. Perhaps not as much as Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons or Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes. This book does not have a song like the earliest Pete the Cat books. But Pete is a lovable character that I still adore.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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24. Giveaway: The Princess & the Pony by Kate Beaton (US Only)

THE PRINCESS AND THE PONY

by Kate Beaton

In stores June 30th

 

About the Book


Princess Pinecone knows exactly what she wants for her birthday this year. A BIG horse. A STRONG horse. A horse fit for a WARRIOR PRINCESS! But when the day arrives, she doesn't quite get the horse of her dreams...
 
From the artist behind the comic phenomenon Hark! A Vagrant, The Princess and the Pony is a laugh-out-loud story of brave warriors, big surprises, and falling in love with one unforgettable little pony.


To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_kat.jpgAbout the Author

Kate Beaton is the author of Hark! A Vagrant, her #1 New York Times bestselling collection of comics which began as a webcomic in 2007. The Princess and the Pony is her first picture book. She is the recipient of multiple Harvey awards, and her work has been featured in the New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Best American Comics Anthology. Kate lives in Toronto, and you can find her online at www.beatontown.com and on Twitter as @beatonna.

Learn more Scholastic | Twitter | Website | #PonyTime
 

 


Giveaway Details

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SMALL, FAT, AND MIGHTY prize pack
One (1) winner receives:
·             A copy of The Princess and the Pony;
·             Plus a Kate Beaton-designed Pony t-shirt and “Small Fat and Mighty” coffee mug.


Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What do you think of the cover & synopsis?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

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25. Comics Friday: Mike's Place by Jack Baxter and Hand Drawn Jokes for Smart Attractive People by Matthew Diffee


From Goodreads:
There's a rule at Mike's Place: never, ever talk politics or religion. At this blues bar on the Tel Aviv beachfront, an international cast of characters mingles with the locals, and everyone is welcome to grab a beer and forget the conflict outside. At least, that's the story Jack and Joshua want to tell in their documentary. 
But less than a month after they begin filming, Mike's Place is the target of a deadly suicide bombing. Jack, Joshua, and the Mike's Place family survive the only way they know how-by keeping the camera rolling. 
Written by filmmakers Jack Baxter and Joshua Faudem and illustrated by award-winning cartoonist Koren Shadmi, Mike's Place chronicles the true story of an infamous terrorist attack in painstaking detail. Rarely has the slow build to tragedy, and the rebirth that follows, been captured with such a compassionate and unflinching eye.
This one is a must-read if you enjoy graphic non-fiction.  It would also make a great transition book for those who are fans of graphic novels but don't normally gravitate towards books about history or current events.  What I enjoyed most is that this is a story about the people who populate Mike's Place and their relationships before and after a terrorist attack.  It doesn't get into the politics of conflict in the Middle East.  At its heart it's a personal account of private lives that are affected by politics, but doesn't make a judgment or statement about those politics.  I'm now on the lookout for the documentary that the story is based on, Blues by the Beach.
 


 From Goodreads:
This collection contains Diffee’s funniest drawings and writings from the past decade as well as all-new cartoons and sketches organized into categories that will appeal to smart attractive people in all walks of life, based on profession and circumstance: smart attractive Medical Professionals, sharp and good-looking Old People; beautiful geniuses in Prison; brainy handsome Lumberjacks; and more. Are you an alluring well-read utensil user? Well, there’s a chapter just for you!

If you’re a fan of Demetri Martin and Jack Handey, or if you happen to be George Clooney or Natalie Portman, Hand Drawn Jokes for Smart Attractive People will leave you laughing your smart attractive ass off.
And on a totally different note, I also enjoyed this collection of cartoons from a prominent New Yorker cartoonist.  I liked Diffee's sense of humor and enjoyed it, but I wasn't just blown away.  I think it's pretty normal for me to only really "get" about three quarters of the jokes you find in the New Yorker, and the same could be said for this book.  Some parts just didn't resonate and I felt like I needed the joke explained.  But the jokes that I got were quite entertaining.  It wasn't a laugh out loud book for me, but it was worth the short time it took to read and made for great diversionary reading.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with copies of these books to review.

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