Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.
Click here for a list of mid-East Coast (PA/NJ/MD/DC/VA/NC) book events! (last update: 1/12/13)
Current Contests- None at the moment.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Discussion- AV Club vs. My Heart & Other Black Holes

So yesterday afternoon, I saw that Jasmine Warga's debut novel "My Heart and Other Black Holes" was optioned to be made into a movie. That made me very happy because even though I have yet to read it, I love any YA book being made into a movie. I read the article on Deadline, then while perusing one of my favorite sites, The AV Club, I saw they had posted about the movie option too. I read the article, laughed at it, and forgot all about it. Then, right before I went to bed last night, I saw some tweets about stuff going down on Twitter- a book was being attacked. I asked about it, and someone pointed me to look at Anne Ursu's twitter feed for links about people saying mean things about a book. I went and checked it out and, to my surprise, the article in question was the AV Club's article about Jasmine Warga's movie option.

I was dumbfounded. What was wrong with the article? I didn't remember any crazy horrible things being said about the novel, but apparently there was. I went back and re-read it, and I could potentially see where these people were coming from, but I knew how the AV Club worked in general and they are sarcastic about every topic. It's just their M.O. It's not malicious, it's not saying "serious topic itself = hilarious" but they find ways to include humor in many of their articles, no matter what the topic is. Personally, I don't see them saying that people dealing with suicidal thoughts is hilarious (or that they are only written just for novels because what would be the point in writing something that wouldn't resonate with people?), but rather this progression of YA trends (and we can all agree that there are trends, whether or not authors are specifically writing for them, which I do not think Warga was doing anyway). I also wonder if this would've ended differently if the author of the article had read the book before writing that newswire piece but still wrote it the same way. Does reading/watching/listening to something somehow make a difference in how we can talk about it?

I love being part of the YA community but this is a time when I am embarrassed to be a part of it (the same goes for the gay community when they get bent out of shape over some stupid little thing that doesn't matter in the long run instead of saving it for a more worthwhile opponent/topic). Does no one know what humor is anymore? Has everyone suddenly lost their sense of humor? I feel like this happens to me a lot- I laugh at something, then find out later there's an outcry about it and I have no idea what the problem is. Perhaps it's just because I have no filter, say offensive things all the time, and am rarely offended by jokes myself (even if they deal with an aspect of myself)? I also don't take YA too seriously - there are problems when it comes to marketing, how often books suddenly have sequels or everything bought is part of a trilogy, there are money-making trends, etc. That's where the humor in this article is coming from, and it's the same sort of things that I discuss and make fun of with my fellow book blogging friends occasionally. It doesn't mean I love YA less or anything, it just means that I know a real attack when I see one and this is not one.

But I do feel like I'm in the minority on this one (as I usually am, it seems), and I would love to discuss this further in the comments, so please leave your thoughts on it in a comment below. Comments have to be approved by me (as they are for every post, not just this one), but I will approve every single one.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman
"When her best friend, Meg, drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, and some secrets of his own. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question."- summary from Amazon

You can't go wrong with a Gayle Forman book and she does it again with her latest. It's a poignant look into the aftermath of suicide and how it affects various people. Forman handles this subject matter very beautifully, as she always does. Cody is an interesting main character and there's a lot going on in her life even before this whole thing happened and this event changes everything.

As you can tell by the summary, a guy factors into her healing, but I believe the romance is mainly on the backburner for most of this novel as it should be. Romance can definitely help healing but it is not the only reason Cody is able to move past this trauma and become better. Uncovering what Meg went through and seeing what her life was like at college helped her understand more and heal.

Overall, Forman is just amazing and I cannot wait to read more from her. I highly recommend this latest book from her.

FTC: Received ARC from friend (Thanks Courtney!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Blog Tour- The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

A heartbreaking yet uplifting story of grief about a boy who has lost everything, but finds new hope drawing in the shadows of a hospital. Features a thirty-two-page graphic novel.

Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night, just like the rest of his family.

Now he lives in the hospital, serving food in the cafeteria, hanging out with the nurses, sleeping in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him. His only solace is in the world of the superhero he’s created—Patient F.

Then, one night, Rusty is wheeled into the ER, half his body burned by hateful classmates. Rusty’s agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together though all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside of the hospital, and away from their pasts.

But to save Rusty, Drew will have to confront Death, and life will have to get worse before it gets better. And by telling the truth about who he really is, Drew risks destroying any chance future.

Amazon |B&N |IndieBound | Goodreads |Powell's

I am so glad I took part in this tour because this book was simply amazing. If you want to know more, keep reading; if just my saying that it was amazing is enough for you, then stop reading this review and go get this book (and then come back and leave a comment)! I could not put this book down. First off, Hutchinson writes so beautifully and inhabits the character of Andrew so extremely well that he feels so real and so easy to sympathize with.

Not only that, but he writes such an engaging and cute romance. Andrew and Rusty's romance isn't necessarily big sweeping gestures or a love tour de force, but rather one that builds slowly through a few quiet moments together as Rusty recovers and as Andrew becomes more involved with the people in Rusty's life. Also, that ending? Have a few tissues ready because the ending was so perfect and emotional and while I am not usually a person who cries while reading a book, I did cry at this one.

The added aspect to this book is Andrew's comic book, which he discusses in the book and which we as readers also get to see snippets of throughout the book, which really adds a fantastic dimension to the story as a whole. It really gives the reader a sense of who Andrew is and how he thinks.

Overall, again, simply a fantastic book and, while I already wanted to read Hutchinson's previous books, this made me want to even more. Please go get this book, read it, and spread the word. It's such an unconventional book but deserves so much praise and is a wonderful new entry to the list of GLBT YA books.

I’m Shaun David Hutchinson, you can call me Shaun. Or Hutch. I’ll respond to anything. I’m the author of books for young adults, the first of which was The Deathday Letter, and the most recent of which are The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley (out 1/20/2015) and the anthology Violent Ends (Fall 2015).

I was born in West Palm Beach, FL, and grew up in Jupiter, FL where I’ve lived most of my life save for a couple of adventures in Atlanta and Rhode Island. I always knew I wanted to be a writer but it took me a long time to figure out I could be one. I’ve been a database developer, managed a wine company, slung coffee at Starbucks, and once spent a creepy month working in a statuary. Luckily, that was before I’d seen the Weeping Angels on Doctor Who. I studied literature in college where I fell in love with Beowulf and Chaucer and gothic literature. I also studied emergency medicine at one time and insurance at another. Currently, I work in IT and fill my remaining hours with freelance web design, database design, and editing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd
"After killing the men who tried to steal her father's research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet's secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor's own walls.

Then she uncovers the truth about the manor's long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—which forces her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. Juliet must decide if she'll follow her father's dark footsteps or her mother's tragic ones—or make her own."- summary from Amazon

Shepherd really knows how to end a series- this final book in the Madman's Daughter trilogy goes out with a bang and she pulls no punches when it comes to the plot and the characters we've grown to love over the past two books. I could not put this book down; Shepherd's writing is just so compelling and beautiful. It was wonderful to be back with these characters again as they continue on their crazy journey, now in the Scottish moors. Elizabeth's mansion there is suitably creepy and reminiscent of Frankenstein a bit (of course). This final book is full of twists and turns and readers will be on the edge of their seats trying to turn pages as quickly as they can.

Overall, absolutely loved the ending and I highly recommend the entire trilogy if you're a fan of historical fiction (or even if you aren't, as I'm not but love these books). I can't wait to read Shepherd's next book, the first in a new trilogy which will be out in May!

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profits go toward funding contests.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott

Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott
"True is not exactly loving New Jersey. Banished from Mount Olympus and tasked with helping couples find love without using her powers, the goddess-formerly-known-as-Cupid is having a tough time. Especially now that True’s immortal love, Orion, has also appeared at her New Jersey high school—but with no memory of their relationship.

To distract herself from seeing Orion flirt with another girl, True focuses her efforts on making a match: Peter and Claudia. Peter is the star quarterback and the most popular guy in school. But he’s insecure about his future, so he preemptively dumps Claudia, his girlfriend. (If she won’t want to be with him later, why stay together now?) Claudia doesn’t take the breakup too well, and she’s ready to show the quarterback of their rival school just how ready she is to get over it.

But True sees something in these two seniors. She believes they should be together—but can she help them find their way back to each other (and get herself closer to home)? Or have things already spun too far out of control?"- summary from Amazon

I am a huge fan of Scott's books and I absolutely adored this follow-up to Only Everything. I loved seeing True and Orion slowly getting to know each other (and usually at the embarrassment of True). The couple that True works on in this novel are wonderful and I think the way that Scott writes these books really helps. It goes between three different characters- True, and then the boy and girl of the couple being worked on. This really allows the reader to get into the heads of these characters and see exactly what they are thinking and feeling and why they are doing what they're doing. Scott really gets into the heart of different kinds of relationships through these books and it makes me eager to see what happens in Book 3.

Overall, such a great second book in this trilogy and it's going to be sad when I finish the final book.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.