Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


One of the most popular presents this holiday season is looking to be an ereader.  From dbw.

Remembering Madeleine L'Engle.  From PW.

Twilight is over.  Now what?  From Reuters.

Authors honored for their roles in fighting against censorship.  From SLJ.

Guillermo del Toro tells us the biggest mistake people make telling stories for children.  From i09.

Industry insiders talk about young adult blockbusters.  From PW.

Apparently the author of Mary Poppins hated the Disney movie.  This actually does not surprise me.  The book and movie are very, very different.  From TMZ.

A six-year-old donates her allowance to save her public library.  Government - take notice.  From hypervocal.

Fake last line from great books.  From PW.

5 writing tips from the awesome Laini Taylor.  From PW.

Waiting on Wednesday: Splintered by A.G. Howard

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on Splintered by A.G. Howard.

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
(Summary from GoodReads)

I know, I know, I keep saying it. I love a twist on a classic. This just sounds so fantastic! A.G. Howard you had me at "far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on." Am I a little put off by the love triangle? Yes, but I'll look over it for referencing the bandersnatch.

Splintered comes out Jan. 1st.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati

Ditty is a Haredi Jew, the most conservative branch of Orthodox Judaism (sometimes referred to as ultra-Orthodox).  When she and her friend Sarah sneak watching some TV, Ditty discovers the world of dance and is transfixed.  She wants to take ballet lesson more than anything, but dancing is something her family will not allow.  Against her father's and her community's wishes, Ditty secretly begins taking dance lessons.  Can Ditty dance and keep her family?  Or will she need to give one of them up?

This book made me feel uncomfortable.  Allow me to explain why.  Before the story begins, Robyn Bavati notes that she grew up in a Modern Orthodox family, not Haredi, as the community in the book is.  In fact, Ditty's cousin who is Modern Orthodox is portrayed as being liberal and wild.  Bavati also notes that "...the community portrayed in this story is not representative of the broader Jewish community..."  OK, so, I wonder about her choice to set her story in the Haredi community.  Because she felt it would a better, more dramatic story?  Why did she pick a community she didn't actually grow up in?  Why not tell her own story?

The view that Bavati shows of the Haredi community is a very harsh one.  People are portrayed as brainwashed zealots, who blindly follow their religious convictions.  Only Ditty fights against religion, finally breaking free.  I am not saying that there aren't conflicts like this in religious communities.  It is no doubt a common story.  My issue was the incredibly one-sided picture we got of that community.

I think of the incredible book Hush, by Eishes Chayil, which was about sexual abuse in the Chasidic community.  Despite the serious nature of the book, and the realness of the problem, Eishes Chayil was still able to show, in many different ways, the positive aspects of such a community.  The people were not represented as flat, one-dimensional characters.  They were full, complex people.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff.

 The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.
(Summary from GoodReads)

I really liked The Space Between, but Arianna didn't like The Replacement. So I'm interested to see how Paper Valentine will go. That and it just sounds fantastic!

Paper Valentine will be out Jan. 8, 2013.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Delusion by Laura L. Sullivan

Phil and Fee Albion come from a long line of stage magicians and they're exceptionally good at their craft.  When the London Blitz begins, their parents join the war effort to put their skills of illusion to good use, but Phil and Fee are sent off to the country, much to Phil's frustration.  Out in the country Phil makes a shocking discovery - a school of real magicians.  If only she could convince them to use their powers to help England win the war!

So this was all working fine for me until the end, where it seriously fell apart.  We have two sisters, one who is sweet and gentle and romantic (Fee) and one who is brave and headstrong and logical (Phil).  Phil is able to discover the magician's hidden college because an ancestor of Phil and Fee's was a magician who was cast out of the college.

Fee occupies herself romanticizing about living in the country and then falling in love with one of the magicians, who immediately falls in love with her too, but tis all in vain!  For the magicians can never marry or leave the college.  For a rather vague a suspicious reason that Phil does not completely buy.

Spoilers ahead

Friday, November 16, 2012


The Dudes of YA.  This is amazing.  AMAZING!  I want them all to be my friends.  Especially Adam Rex.  From The Weeklings.

Want.  Want now.  I don't know what I'd make yet, but I must have this fabric. 

Way to go Tina Weber! You tell 'em! ACLU sues Davis school district over removal of a book with same-sex parents. From Deseret News.

Stop calling children's books YA.  From The Huffington Post.

YA books were boys and girls work as equal partners.  From Stellar Four.

As I'm sure you know, The Hobbit is being made in to three movies.  I am super excited to see it, but think it's silly it had to be made in three movies.  What other movies could we stretch into three?  From TechRepublic.

Yeah, you know why "the second movie needed a little filling out?"  Because the entire second half of the book consist of everyone hanging around at the Cullens' waiting for the Volturi to show up, then when they do...everyone goes home.  The end.  From GalleyCat.

Oh, by the way, the Wandering Librarians are going to see The Twilight Sage: Breaking Dawn: Part 2: Electric Boogaloo on Saturday. Get ready.

I totally want this annotated version of Brother's Grimm fairy tales.  From NPR.

How Twilight made the movie business respect girl power].  From The Wrap.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what picture book would you want with you?  From The New York Times.

Where are the male role-models in YA books? From the Los Angeles Review of Books.

I love it!  Free libraries (because there are libraries that aren't free?) pop up in people's front yards.  From

20 stunning book illustrations.  From Creative Blog.

Lois Lowry talks about how reader's concern for characters in The Giver turned one book into four.  From SLJ.

Who has better covers, the U.S. or the U.K.?  For me it's a mix.  From PW.

Edward Gorey's not as macabre as you think.  From Salon.

A wonderful interview with Maurice Sendak.  From Believer.

Do I love this?  Do I hate this?  I don't know!  Board books of classics.  From PW.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Host versus The City of Bones

Within the next ten months we are going to have two book to movie adaptations.

The Host as many of us know is by Stephenie Meyers, and is generally thought of as being slightly better written than Twilight. Saoirse Ronan is starring, and she's been quite a few book to movie adaptations: City of Ember, Atonement, and The Lovely Bones. I'm going to be honest and say that I never finished The Host. I got bored after the fifth chapter and stopped reading around the tenth. I've been told multiple times I need to go back and finish it, but I think I'm a bit Stephenie Meyer-ed out. I've put in my time with Twilight (we're seeing the last one on Saturday so watch for our review on that) and I'm ecstatic to be done. Thank goodness The Host is a standalone. So really, at least on my end, there's no pressure for this to be great. I like Saoirse Ronan, I think she's a very strong actress. There's rumors she should be cast as Tris from Divergent but I don't really see that happening now.

On the other hand you have Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments trilogy that features Lily Collins (who I don't think has starred in anything that has done super well, except for The Blind Side but she didn't carry that one did she?) as Clary. I loved this series. I think Cassandra Clare is a fabulous writer, and of course I'm super nervous that they've messed everything up. There's some really great actors in it though: Lena Headey, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Aiden Turner, and Jared Harris. Unfortunately all of these people are secondary characters and won't be really in it all that much. In other words we could have five years of this and it could just go from bad to worse. I'm trying to keep an open mind though, because I thought terrible things about the Hunger Games movie and that turned out quite awesome.

Which one do you think will be better?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger.

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

First in a four book YA series set 25 years before the Parasol Protectorate but in the same universe.
(summary from GoodReads)

I think you all know we love Gail Carriger, she's crazy smart and writes a delightful tale. Can't wait!

Etiquette & Espionage comes out Feb. 5, 2013!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Old favorites

Remember all those books you read before the age of 13? Have you ever had a book that you just loved? A book that you can't help but re-read decades later? I've stumbled upon a couple that I'd forgotten about, and you can't imagine my surprise at how they've stood the test of time.

Dealing with Dragon by Patricia C Wrede was written in 1990. It's a fractured fairytale, where the Princess Cimorene wants to learn anything except the proper lessons that a princess should be learning. She'd rather willingly become the servant of a dragon. Soon she's been adopted by the dragon Kazul and she's turning everything upside down. Princes and knights are sent on their way with no one to fight and wizards becoming an increasingly bigger mess to clean up after. As Cimorene and Kazul become better friends, they must unravel the wizards plot to undermine the dragons' kingdom.

It's told with such humor, and the relationship between Princess Cimorene and Kazul the dragon is fantastic. I loved the fact that this book isn't about romance, it's more about two strong females standing up for each other. You just don't see many of those. Dealing with Dragons is a part of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. I'm re-reading the second book Searching for Dragons.

Juniper is the prequel to Wise Child by Monica Furlong. I didn't know when I was ten that Wise Child came first and therefore read Juniper first. Growing up a princess during medieval times, Juniper has grown accustomed to the finer things in life. That is until she becomes the apprentice to her godmother and learns the ways of the doran. While trying to become accustomed to this new way of life, she must test her budding skills when her aunt decides to take over the kingdom using dark arts.

Let me say first that the world-building in this is miraculous. It's all so natural and well done. The descriptions of the events and settings are so detailed that it just sucks you in and takes you to medieval Cornwall. Absolutely brilliant. Juniper's growth is well-paced. She doesn't become some all-knowing white witch overnight, but still struggles with her own insecurities

Matthias has lived at Redwall Abbey his whole life, but he's never quite found his place in the quiet monastic life. Matthias's self-reflection is interrupted when Cluny the Scourge sets his eye on the abbey for a headquarters. As the abbey and the town surrounding it begin to panic, Matthias puts his faith in a mythical sword hidden by the founding warrior Martin that is said will protect Redwall from any invader.

I was introduced to this book by my older cousin Jake. It blew my mind that this was so dark and violent and yet it was meant for kids. I was able to Brian Jacques speak a year before he passed away, you could see how much he respected his readers and wrote intelligently because he believed his readers were intelligent. The depth of world-building was astounding, the characters go on a complete journey, and the plot is exciting. The level of detail is incredible.

Obviously I could go on with other books that I loved, the Betsy and Tacy series, Lord of the Rings, A Wrinkle in Time, and so many others. But these were some that I felt needed to be shared. What did you love as a kid and haven't thought about for a while?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Token by Alisa Kwitney and Joelle Jones

Shira has grown up being the apple of her father's eye, connecting to women over the age of seventy, and being a social pariah everywhere else. When the bullying at her school becomes too much and her father finds a new feminine focus, Shira acts out by shoplifting and starts a romance with a Spanish boy. As Shira thinks she's discovering who she is becoming, she is also losing sight of her relationships with her family.

I really liked the artwork in this, the emotions were so beautifully portrayed in the illustrations. They were very unique and completely lept off the page. Unfortunately this was really the only thing that I really enjoyed in this book.

Perhaps more accurately I should say that I didn't love the plotlines of the book. I liked Shira, I thought she was a unique character. She had a super interesting perspective and I loved her references to 1950s movies. She had a really honest reaction to what was going on around her. I thought it was interesting how she turns to shoplifting to alleviate her stress and inner turmoil, and how this rebellion is exacerbated by her romance with a boy from Spain.

So the main character was awesome, but the secondary characters and the subplots were not super emotionally-engaging. Her father doesn't really think about why Shira is acting out. He just wants her to fix it. I think his reaction is real, but doesn't mean I have to like it. Shira's dad falls in love with his secretary, and doesn't ever really communicate where he's hoping this relationship will become or how it will affect Shira. So it really comes as a surprise to Shira and the reader when she walks in on them making out and when he decides to propose. He's the adult, he shouldn't be making Shira feel guilty for not understanding what's going on or not being completely accepting of their relationship.

Shira also is bullied at school, and that's never really addressed throughout the book. It's a main theme, and yet there's not real resolution to the problem. Sad. There didn't need to be retribution just more of an apparent conclusion for me on that plot.

So there were some excellent things, and there were some disappointing things. Overall it was okay, it could've been awesome though. Kind of a let down.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Author Kate Messner launches all-star "kid lit" auction for hurricane Sandy relief effort.  Go support!  From SLJ.

What classic picture book fills you with dread?  I loved Swimmy, but I do remember being upset about Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.  From The New York Times.

Best 20 books of 2012.  The only one I know about is the graphic novel.  I am just not up on adult fiction.  From PW.

Adam Gidwitz, author of A Tale Dark and Grimm on original Brothers Grimm fairy tales.  From The Detroit News.

Hurricane Sandy: news from the publishing world.  From PW.

Umm, James Joyce wrote a picture book?  And a children's book? I can't make that makes sense in my head.  From brain pickings.

Please...I just can't.  I don't think I can keep going.  Stephenie Meyer says more Twilight books a possibility.  From EW.

The United States of YA.  A book for every state!  From Epic Reads.

The Guardian says crime is the new vampire or the YA world.  I haven't seen a whole lot of this yet.  But maybe it's coming.

In hurricane Sandy's aftermath, school librarians step up to help.  From SLJ.

What the Random House/Penguin merger means.  From MediaShift.

The cave made famous in The Island of the Blue Dolphins may have been found!  From Los Angeles Times.

Ever wonder what the most overdue books are?  In Boston it's Twilight.  From Bostoninno.

Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book is going to be a graphic novel!  From Digital Spy.

Yup.  We book people can be kind of crazy.  From The Global Mail.

A tumblr of bookshelves hiding secret rooms!  Best thing ever!  Ever, I say!

Children's literature inspired bedrooms.  From apartment therapy.

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

Kate is more than ready to move beyond her high school experience and go off to college to pursue medicine. She's got everything prepared in order to look the best she can to the college recruiters. This means that she's also staying on top of her extracurriculars, like volunteering lab time with the science teacher and unfortunately helping out with the losing football team. Kate stumbles on evidence that the football coach is giving the team steroids, but it has horrifying side effects. Side effects that look very similar to what you think a zombie would be like. Now people are dying and Kate is worried that those closest to her could be infected: her brother, her best friend, and her secret crush Aaron.

This isn't going to be a long review, because the book itself isn't long. It's super fast-paced and only 208 pages. I think it took me a grand total of two hours to read this. There's not a lot of in depth descriptions of thoughts or evaluation of emotions. Obviously more plot-driven.

I think that it's a longstanding fact that I don't like horror. Zombie especially freak me out. I mean seriously, that shit could happen. So this book was kind of perfect for me. Most of the horror was  from the ambient tension of where the boys were being infected from and having to be covert about where Kate was looking for information rather than from the zombies themselves. Not that the zombies weren't scary, Carrie Harris did a great job describing the effects of the drugs. I especially liked the scene where one boy pukes up black and then seems to die. Well done, creepy without making me put the book down.

This is a series, and the sequel is called Bad Hair Day and involves werewolves. I'll be reading it, mostly because I think this is fun mind-candy. Fast read, without a lot of emotional commitment. Nice.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Tayler

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Tayler.

Wren MacAvoy works as a coal miner for a domed city that was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century to protect the royal blood line of England when astronomers spotted a comet on a collision course with Earth. Humanity would be saved by the most groundbreaking technology of the time. But after nearly 200 years of life beneath the dome, society has become complacent and the coal is running out.  Plus there are those who wonder, is there life outside the dome or is the world still consumed by fire? When one of Wren's friends escapes the confines of the dome, he is burned alive and put on display as a warning to those seeking to disrupt the dome’s way of life. But Alex’s final words are haunting. “The sky is blue.”  What happens next is a whirlwind of adventure, romance, conspiracy and the struggle to stay alive in a world where nothing is as it seems. Wren unwittingly becomes a catalyst for a revolution that destroys the dome and the only way to survive might be to embrace what the entire society has feared their entire existence.

Ashes of Twilight comes out November 13, 2012.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab

When Caro was eight, her 19 year-old sister joined a convent, and Caro has hardly seen her since.  But now, eight years later, Hannah is returning home.  No one knows what happened or why Hannah left the convent.  Now it feels like a stranger is living in Caro's house.  Something happened to Hannah, something that Caro has no memory of, that is still haunting Hannah today, and won't let her move on.

I didn't like this when I first started reading it, but then I ended up liking it a lot.  I wasn't enjoying it at first because I felt like the book was giving nuns a bad name.  The convent Hannah joined sounded incredibly dated.  She was part of an order that still wore a full habit, never left the convent, wasn't allowed to visit her family, couldn't even visit them without being separated by bars like she was in a prison.  She never left her convent, but spent all eight years she was there in pray.  And I thought, "What kind of nunnery is this?"  Nuns are incredibly active with community.  They are strongly focused on social justice, doing work in education, with those who are sick or living in poverty.  Sometimes, they even disobey direct orders from the Vatican, when they feel there is too much focus on issues like abortion and not enough on helping those in poverty.  Nuns are kind of kickass.

A bit further into the story, this was clarified and the difference between contemplative orders and active orders.  Active orders are the ones who are focused on social justice.  Contemplative orders are focused on prayer, and there is still a number or contemplative orders in the US, although from poking about on their websites I don't know if they would actually prohibit you from seeing your family.  But maybe.  Anyway, after we got that all straightened out and I didn't have to feel so defensive of the nuns (What?  I just think nuns are kind of cool), I was able to enjoy the story much more.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull

One morning Summer and Bird wake up to find their parents gone.  Following a picture message their mother has left, Summer and Bird find themselves in and underground world of birds, where their Queen, a swan, has been missing for 13 years.  In her place is the Puppeteer, who has plotted to take over, if only she can have the swan queen's robe.  Separated, Summer and Bird go on very different journeys, each seeking her heart's desire.

The story is loosely based on a number of fairy tales where swans can take human form - The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Anderson, or perhaps Swan Lake.  As is typical, a man sees a beautiful woman emerge from the body of a swan (or a seal or whatever) and because of his love for her hides her swan robe so she cannot transform.  Quite out of character, the man realizes this was a cruel move and not one of love and tries to return the robe to his now wife, but the robe is gone, stolen by someone who wants to be the swan queen.  The couple has two children, one who is more bird than the other and wants to be a bird more than anything.  But the children do not know about their mother's secret identity, and that although she loves them she also longs to return to her birds.

My biggest struggle when reading this was the question, "Who is this book for?" and I don't know if it's for a YA audience.  Yes, it focuses on two young girls, but the fact that the girls are so young (8  and 12) and it's not written for middle school students causes me to think even more that this is not a children's book.  It's coming from Penguin Young Readers Group, and it's marketed toward YA,'s just not.  Yes, the characters are children, but it's not about the children.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hexed by Michael Alan Nelson, art by Emma Rios

Luci Jenifer Inacio das Neves, Lucifer for short, is a thief.  An occult thief.  And one who only steals things for the right reasons.  Unfortunately for her, someone from her past wants her to steal something very dangerous, and NOT for the right reasons.  Now Lucifer must steal an object with the power to kill, and put it into the hands of a killer, otherwise the life of the one person she cares about could be forfeit.

This was pretty great.  Lucifer is a character from Fall of Cthulhu, which I have not read but now that I've read Hexed I want too.  Nelson liked Lucifer so much he wanted to give her her own story.  So he did.  This means that there are some references to things that happened before which I did not understand, but that just made me want to find out what happened, it did not disengage me from the story.  Lucifer is smart and capable.  She isn't attached to very many people, but to the one person who she really cares about, Val, (no, it's not a boyfriend!  Just a friend!  A female friend!) she is fiercely protective of and loyal too.  She is put in dangerous and tricky situations, and she works her way out of them.

Lucifer has been Hexed, and we don't learn what that actually means until almost the end of the story.  We also don't know how she got into this business of stealing occult objects.  Lucifer is kind of a Robin Hood figure.  She steals occult objects and returns them to their rightful owners.  She doesn't do this on her own, however.  She is hired to do so.  Many of her jobs go through Val.  We don't know how Lucifer and Val met.  I'm not sure how much more I would know if I'd read Fall of Cthulhu, and how much just hasn't been revealed.  I hope there are many more Hexed stories.  I would really like to continue with it.

For the most part, I really liked the art.  From when the story starts, Lucifer has been working for some time, and when crises strikes she doesn't get to rest.  There are several mentions of how she'd love to sleep or take a shower.  And she looked it.  She looked like someone who was tired and filthy and exhausted but couldn't stop.  I wish people's faces had more expression.  There was a generic flat look, a generic angry look, and a generic smirking kind of look and all the characters, for the most part, worse one of those looks.

There was only one scene that I felt was gratuitously sexual.  Lucifer has to cut into a dead body and jump inside to find the doorway into the world she has to get too.  Before we know that's what she has to do, it set up like she's going to have to have sex with a dead body in order to open the door.  She says "Finding the Carasingth will be the easy part.  The hard part is getting into his lair...It's just that there's this whole "yuk" factor...Sadly, violating the body of a 300-pound dead man isn't the worst thing I've ever had to do on a gig.  But it comes pretty damn close."  And the images are of her taking off her pants and straddling a dead body.  Why did she have to take off her pants?  Why did she have to straddle the body?  So I didn't love that scene.

Also, I wish the cover image were not Lucifer crouching in her underwear.  She's such a kickass girl, why'd they have to use the one image of her when she's partially undressed?  Annoying.

This is definitely for older YA and adult.  I really enjoyed it though and recommend it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman

Erin has a secret.  She is the anonymous writer behind the Miss Fortune Cookie advice blog, which is only growing in popularity.  Erin and her two best friends, Linny and Mei, are anxiously waiting to hear where they got into college.  Mei has a serious problem.  Her mother has wanted her to go to Harvard since her birth, but Mei wants to go to Stanford to stay near her boyfriend.  Mei writes a letter to Miss Fortune Cookie asking for advice, and when she takes Erin's advice, Erin feels terrible.  Trying to undo what she's caused sends her off on an all-night adventure and far outside her comfort zone, all while dealing with her own dilemma: how will she tell Linny she got into Harvard herself, and wants to go?

Erin doesn't have a whole lot of confidence.  She goes to a smarty-pants school, and she isn't even close to the smartest one there.  She knows she's smart, but doesn't feel like she's anything special.  She puts herself down a lot.  While the book is about Erin and her relationships - with her mom, with her friends, with a cute boy - at its core it's about Erin realizing she has a lot more to offer than she thought and not selling herself short.

Erin and Linny have planned to go to the University of Southern California together since forever.  When Erin gets into Harvard, she automatically assumes she won't go, but the more she thinks about it, the more she wants to give herself the chance.  But how to tell Linny?  Meanwhile, Linny is planning a counter protest to fight back against a hate group that's picketing their school.  That's Linny's passion - human rights and advocacy and she isn't focused on formal education.  Although she also goes to the smarty-pants school.  Mei is very smart, but wants to go to Stanford, not Harvard, so she can be close to her boyfriend who will be at USC.  Linny knows Erin is Ms. Fortune Cookie and Mei does not.  Everyone is always asking Erin for advice, but Erin has a lot of stuff to figure out herself.

This is all against the backdrop of understanding a culture.  Mei and Linny are Chinese.  Mei's mother immigrated to America from China and Mei and her family are very traditional.  Respecting your elders is of the utmost important, as is the importance of education.  Linny, while Chinese, does not have the roots Mei does.  Erin, who is not Chinese, but was born in China and spent her early childhood there, wishes she was.  This had put a rift between Erin and Mei.  Erin sometimes feels like she's not Chinese enough to hang out with Mei and Linny.

So there were a lot of different aspects about this book I liked.  I liked Erin learning more about herself and deciding she's worth taking some risks.  I liked the family and cultural aspect.  The end, I thought, was far to tidy and neat, but you knew that was going to happen.  Everyone lived happily ever after.  I was a little worried, for a minute, that Erin was going to blow off Harvard because of the new, cute college boy she spent her crazy evening with, but she didn't.  She still decides to go to Harvard and she and Wayland decided to try a long distance relationship.  Best of luck.

Miss Fortune Cookie comes out November 13, 2012.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Penguin and Random House are officially merging.  From Library Journal.

The 13 worst reviews of classic books.  From PW.

Meet Jessie Reid, the new marketing director at Top Cow.  From The Beat.

Why Frankenstein is the greatest horror novel.  Ever.  From PW.

Ahahahhahaha!  Love.  From xkcd.

The Tell-Tale Heart in pictures.  From the Paris Review.

I got ten out of ten on this children's book Halloween quiz.  Fine, I guessed on two.  I still got a perfect score!  From The Guardian.

50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James

 I would like to forewarn readers that this review is going to be talking about very adult sexual content. I'm sure you've all heard about 50 Shades of Grey and know what this will deal with. There are going to be spoilers and I'm going to be discussing the sexual events of the book. If you do not agree with these, or are averse to these topics please do not read the rest of the review. Naughty words will be used.

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