Man, I need to read this series. (ESPECIALLY considering how much I love the Bloodlines spin-off series.)Add a Comment
Man, I need to read this series. (ESPECIALLY considering how much I love the Bloodlines spin-off series.)Add a Comment
Who is your favourite character from the Harry Potter universe?
This is like trying to choose your favourite record, it changes all the time. I have a soft spot for Neville, particularly because of his awkwardness, but you have to admire Hermione, because she puts the hours in at the library, she's the cement really that holds it all together, well, it would be a different story without her. I want to know more about Severus, there's so much depth there. Visually, though, it has to be Hagrid; he's got a wonderful heart, clothed in an enormous, shabby body. Hagrid's hut is, for me, like an extension of his physique: it makes him a part of Hogwarts, but keeps him at a distance too.
More (including a picture of Hogwarts) here.Add a Comment
I get that it is a compliment, to tell authors that you cry. And I get that we want books that make us cry. I do, anyway. Just not necessarily in front of dozens of strangers.
This is why I am proposing a new literary award. It is to be called the SNOT award. Given to STORIES NOT to be read ON TRANSIT, the SNOT shall honor and mark books that will make you ugly-cry while on a crowded cross-town bus.
The SNOT sticker will be gold and embossed, and will stand as both a ringing endorsement and a useful warning.
AND IT SHOULD HAVE TAGGLE ON IT.Add a Comment
PS. And yes, Neville was included. Thank goodness.
PPS. I hadn't realized that Daniel Radcliffe was only seventeen when he was on Extras. Somehow that makes his Jackassery-Unchained performance ALL THE MORE IMPRESSIVE.Add a Comment
Bria Quinlan is rounding up a list of books that are no longer in the running for the YA RITA (since the category was canceled):
Add a Comment
I hope everyone has something that catches their eye. New books are like new worlds: You never know where you’re going to find them.
I feel like I should shout VIVA LA YA here.
Howard’s descriptions of Wonderland—Alyssa and Co. don’t actually spend much time there in this installment, but it makes its way into our world—play off Carroll in creative, often unexpected ways, and the result is lush and vivid and dark and dangerous and weirdly attractive. Alyssa’s growing affection for Wonderland and her ultimate acceptance of her birthright is a long, sometimes annoying journey, but the beauty she sees in it—even amid the occasionally macabre and sometimes downright horrifying—is undoubtedly there.
HAS ANYONE ELSE READ IT? Because I have some things I'D LIKE TO DISCUSS.
Let me know in the comments, and I'll let fly.Add a Comment
The list, from Quill & Quire:
Add a Comment
Namesake, by Sue MacLeod
Sorrow's Knot, by Erin Bow
The Night Before Christmas, written by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Barbara Reid
Lasso the Wind: Aurelia’s Verses and other Poems, written by George Elliott Clarke, illustrated by Susan Tooke
The Great Bear Sea—Exploring the Marine Life of a Pacific Paradise, by Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read
...have been announced, and they are:
Charm & Strange, by Stephanie Kuehn
Sex & Violence, by Carrie Mesrobian
Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, by Evan Roskos
Belle Epoque, by Elizabeth Ross
In the Shadow of Blackbirds, by Cat Winters
I've read Belle Epoque and In the Shadow of Blackbirds, but (surprise!) haven't written about either (that seems to be the Name of My Game this year, sigh).
Belle Epoque, I enjoyed very much—it's an atmospheric historical about the rather hideous practice of hiring "ugly" girls to stand around and make their patrons look more attractive by comparison. Blackbirds, though, I... just didn't get the hoopla. The book has a lovely design, and the story has lots of cool factors—it's set during the Spanish influenza pandemic, and deals with WWI, shell shock and Spiritualism—but the mystery wasn't remotely mysterious, and most of the character interactions just fell flat for me. But maybe I read it on an off day.
Anyway! I shall have to read the other three!Add a Comment
Add a Comment
At the Guardian:
I am so glad that first-rate children's literature was there for my own children. I would not have wanted them – at 11, 12 or 13 – to confront the complexity and banality of evil. It's quite right that they wanted to read about worlds where evil was uniformly evil and good people were constantly good. In contrast, adulthood means learning that SS officers or drone pilots do go home and kiss their wives, without a thought of belonging to the "dark side".
Wow. If this essayist truly thinks—as opposed to deliberately writing clickbait, which is certainly possible—that children's and YA fiction depicts the world in black-and-white, then he can't be particularly well-versed in either category.Add a Comment
Due to the failure to obtain the minimum number of entries (5 percent of total contest entries) required by the contest entry deadline, the Young Adult Romance category of the 2014 RITA® Contest has been canceled.
Other than a LOT of chatter on Twitter and FB, that's the only link I've seen so far that directly quoted the RWA letter that broke the news.
I have no doubt there will be more information forthcoming.
In the meantime, though: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. The idea that there somehow weren't enough YA romances to fill the category* is rife with ridiculousity, and fills me with sadnosity as well as a bit of indignosity.
*Category criteria: "Novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship between two adolescents. These novels are marketed to adolescents and young adults." So is the issue that if a book is a combination of multiple genres—say, Dark Triumph, which is a historical-fantasy-adventure-romance—it doesn't count? I'm rather at a loss here, because in that example, sure, there's a lot going on... but the romance is TOTALLY INTEGRAL to the main character's growth, healing, and happiness. I dunno. Thoughts and/or insight?Add a Comment
The YA Fiction list is as follows:
Add a Comment
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Paperboy by Vince Vawter
Reality Boy by A.S. King
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Winger by Andrew Smith
Universal Pictures has chosen a director for the studio’s adaptation of the Laini Taylor YA fantasy novel Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Heat Vision reports that commercials director Michael Gracey will take the helm of the project, which revolves around a 17-year-old art student whose father sends her all over the world collecting human teeth for a mysterious purpose. The young woman soon realizes that she’s part of an ancient struggle between angels and demons, and finds herself in a love affair with a warrior angel. Stuart Beattie (Collateral) initially penned the screenplay with subsequent rewrites by Taylor, and Joe Roth (Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Huntsman) will produce.
(via Chrissy)Add a Comment
Well, I totally missed this kerfuffle!
From the Guardian:
It was all started by Richard Cooper (@RichardHCooper), a University of Kent graduate who was considering taking a creative writing course there. But he was troubled by a statement on their site.
"We love great literature," it said. "We are excited by writing that changes the reader, and ultimately – even if it is in a very small way – the world. We love writing that is full of ideas, but that is also playful, funny and affecting. You won't write mass-market thrillers or children's fiction on our programmes. You'll be encouraged to look deep inside yourself for your own truth and your own experiences, and also outside yourself at the contemporary world around you. Then you'll work out how to turn what you find into writing that has depth, risk and originality but is always compelling and readable."
*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*Add a Comment
Almost entirely Usual Suspects on this list: Winger, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Fangirl, Two Boys Kissing, The 5th Wave, Just One Year, The Moon and More, Eleanor & Park, The Waking Dark, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.
I've read The 5th Wave (love) and Fangirl (double-mega love), The Waking Dark (over-the-moon love) and The Moon and More (It's Sarah Dessen. Love. Obvs.).
But I just snagged Coldest Girl in Coldtown off of the library shelf, so now I feel slightly less losery.Add a Comment
Add a Comment
Titles I've read from Chronicle's Spring 2014 catalog:
Nobody's Secret, by Michaela MacColl:
It’s possible that it could have worked as short fiction, but there’s so little story here that 230 pages feels really, really long. It’s clear that the author has an appreciation for her subject both as a person and a poet, but the characters—including Emily, which is especially unfortunate—never make the shift from two-dimensional characters into three-dimensional people.
The Clockwork Scarab, by Colleen Gleason:
It’s fun, it’s smart, and despite the familiar components, it’s a solidly entertaining steampunk adventure. Most notably, it has a much stronger focus on the relationship between the girls than on any of the various romantic entanglements, and there’s a thought-provoking thread about feminism, and about cultural assumptions about gender roles: how “appropriate” conduct is defined by worldview.
Under Shifting Glass, by Nicky Singer:
Under Shifting Glass is about beginnings (birth, family, new realizations about old relationships) and endings (death, the end of friendship, the end of childhood); it’s about different kinds of families (blood, chosen, kindred spirits), about jealousy and about the realization that there is room in your heart for more than one person at a time. In another book, a convergence of so many storylines that drive the same themes home could easily feel contrived, but in this book, which celebrates connections of all sorts—Jess calls them ‘joinings’—it just...works.
Always Emily, by Michaela MacColl: I wasn't a huge fan of Nobody's Secret, but I'm a sucker for all things Brontë. And really, I have to read it, because otherwise, my Wuthering Heights roundup would be INCOMPLETE.
The Falconer, by Elizabeth May: Revenge and romance in steampunk Scotland. It's the first in a trilogy (obvs, since standalone fantasies are an endangered species), but there are EVIL FAERIES. So, you know: worth a try!
Oh, and also Pittau & Gervais' The Open Ocean, because I love nature books with lift-the-flaps and pop-ups.Add a Comment
Anyway, click on over to USA Today for a sneak preview of the book!Add a Comment
Get your e-mitts on every new Strange Chemistry ebook published between now and 12 months from now.
That's at least 22 ebooks for one, significantly discounted, up-front price!
And if you live outside of Europe, you won't be charged the sales tax (VAT) that we have to charge here, making the cost of your subscription approximately $109 (depending on the exchange rate, currently around £1 = $1.62).
If we publish more than the indicated number of books between the start and end of your subscription, you will get the additional ebooks free of charge.
*drools*Add a Comment
...their Notable Children’s Books of 2013 lists.
Here are the YA titles:
Boxers and Saints, by Gene Luen Yang
Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey
Picture Me Gone, by Meg Rosoff
The Rithmatist, by Brandon Sanderson
Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein
I've only read Fangirl and The 5th Wave. Loved 'em both, though I haven't written about them. WHOOPS!Add a Comment
From The Journal:
Jefferson County Schools has discontinued the use of a controversial book being read by about 120 students at Harpers Ferry Middle School, said Pat Blanc, an assistant superintendent who oversees curriculum and instruction.
As a result, students are no longer reading "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Native American author Sherman Alexie.
"We checked and it was not on the state-approved list of books, so it should have gone through the process for approval in the county. But that didn't happen," Blanc said.
This sounds a lot like the recent story about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in Iowa: book is challenged mid-way through an assignment, school realizes that the book hasn't gone through whatever administrative rigmarole it should have gone through, they pull the book, multiple classes have to stop reading a book halfway through and start the unit all over again with a different book.
I understand that it's important for the teachers to follow the guidelines for getting books cleared in the first place—that way, for one thing, there'd (hopefully) be a more clear path when challenges happen—but it seems like it would be far less disruptive to have allowed the challenger's son to switch assignments, have everyone else finish the Alexie, AND THEN send the book off to get cleared or whatever. It just seems like they chose the path that was the most fraught with confusion and the least conducive to learning.
But, who knows, maybe there are legal ramifications that I'm unaware of.Add a Comment
Being Henry David, by Cal Armistead:
Being Henry David is one of those frustrating stories in which the protagonist could save himself pages and pages of torment and confusion if he’d just, you know, ask someone for help. But Armistead makes Hank’s reasons for avoiding the authorities emotionally believable and logically plausible, so it’s not really an issue. It is, as evidenced by my one-sitting read, an extremely compelling book, and the Thoreau quotes are woven in quite nicely: I can easily imagine this book inspiring younger readers to go and look him up.
The Sin Eater's Confession, by Ilsa J. Bick: This one, I haven't written about. It's EXCELLENT, in a punch-you-in-the-face kind of way.
Rapture Practice, by Aaron Hartzler:
There’s plenty of humor—the official Kirkus review called it “hilarious,” though I found it more subdued than that—but I had a lump in my throat for almost the entire 400 pages. It’s written with such emotional honesty that it’s impossible not to empathize with Hartzler’s young self: regardless of whether he’s writing about his Big Questions about God and religion or getting caught in a lie about buying the Pretty Woman soundtrack.
Dark Triumph, by Robin LeFevers:
Because Sybella is so damaged, so emotionally scarred, it's hard to engage with her at first. For the first third or so of the book, everything she feels—or at least everything she admits to feeling—towards others is either dark and violent, or tinged with self-loathing and fear. She hates and fears her family; she distrusts her abbess; she fears that if Ismae knew her true self, that she would lose their friendship. Once she starts to embrace herself, to forgive herself, and to realize that she HASN'T DONE ANYTHING THAT REQUIRES FORGIVENESS, she becomes much easier to engage with, and her fierce joy in fighting, in righting wrongs, and in Beast himself is just... profound.
Like, I felt it in my head, my heart, my gut, my toes.
September Girls, by Bennett Madison: I haven't written about this one either. Here's my nutshell reaction: It's a book that takes a lot of work and requires a lot of thought on the part of the reader, and I mean both of those things in the best possible way. It took some heat for being supposedly "anti-feminist", but I didn't read it like that AT ALL: it struck me as EXTREMELY feminist, in that it explores different aspects and pressures and issues—from commentary on broad cultural trends to more personal one-on-one to even more personal internal stuff—of the Female Condition, as it were. It's about the boxes that we put other people in, and the boxes that other people put us in, and the boxes that we put OURSELVES in. Good stuff.
A Corner of White, by Jaclyn Moriarty: Yeesh, I haven't written about this one EITHER, and I loved it! Moriarty is so fantastic at creating multiple distinct voices within one story, and this book is no exception. Also, I loved the stuff with the colors.
Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedgwick:
OH MY GOD, I LOVE THIS BOOK.
And I have no idea how to write about it.
Out of the Easy, by Ruta Sepeyts:
Oh, I loved this book. As it's got the same combination of fantastically-rendered historical atmosphere—the dialogue is TO DIE FOR—and mystery elements, I highly, HIGHLY recommend it to fans of Judy Blundell's What I Saw and How I Lied.
All Our Yesterdays, by Cristin Terrill:
Terrill does a great job of writing two versions of the same characters: Future Em and Past Marina, Finn's selves and, to a lesser degree, James' past and future selves are all clearly the same people with the same personalities, but they are vastly different in terms of maturity and perspective. Which is extremely cool. Some readers are BOUND to have difficulty with the contrast between Em and Marina—Marina's everyday does-he-like-me and will-this-food-make-me-fat woes could easily come off as self-absorbed and somewhat obnoxious when compared to the high stakes Save The World backdrop of the story—but in context of story and character, Marina's issues work: she hasn't been through everything Em has, she doesn't have that perspective, and she hasn't yet developed a Steely Core.
Palace of Spies, by Sarah Zettel:
Lines like, “There is nothing so much noticed or so long remembered as a girl’s gown, especially by those who are not her friends” are bound to draw comparisons to Jane Austen, but its romp-y nature puts it more in line with Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances. I have no doubt whatsoever that Heyer fans—especially those who prefer her more hijinks-heavy stories—will find it similarly witty and fun and just…HAPPY MAKING.
Erin Bow's Sorrow's Knot is on the list, too, and I'm PLANNING on reading it. But I've been avoiding because I still haven't quite recovered from Plain Kate. Anyway, be sure to click on through for the whole thing, because there are a whole bunch of NON-USUAL SUSPECT titles, which is SO PLEASANT!Add a Comment
...I wrote about Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s These Broken Stars, which started out as 'Titanic in space' but rapidly transformed into a survival/journey across an alien planet:
Although he’s likable enough—his Jerk Moments are far fewer than Lilac’s, and are usually fueled by necessity—Tarver isn’t a hugely interesting character, as he’s one of those super strong, super sensitive, super mature, borderline all-knowing heroes who develops a lurrrve for the heroine, but keeps it under wraps Because He’s Beneath Her, etc., etc. As he’s already pretty much “perfect” at the outset of the story, he doesn’t have much growing to do, so there’s little-to-no character development on that front. Lilac, meanwhile, does quite a bit of changing.
Even though the cover doesn't make a whole lot of sense, I continue to think it's totally gorgeous.Add a Comment
The Dirt Diary, by Anna Staniszewski and The List, by Siobhan Vivian:
There must be more, but these are the two that immediately come to mind.Add a Comment