Thursday, March 28, 2013
I know you're all in a frenzy right now. "But Kirsten," you say, "I don't like change. How will I make new friends? No one's gonna like me!"
Stop freaking out. We're bringing everything with us, but Booklist That will still be here for at least a year. You won't get lost. I won't let you get left behind.
We're moving to a new blog with a new name: Novel Attraction. I made this decision after a lot of deliberation over the last few months. When I started Booklist That, I was pretty new to the book reviewing world. I just figured it would be nice to have a place to share the books I'm reading and what I think of them. I didn't know that there was a pretty big reviewing site that was called Booklist. I had simply picked "Booklist That" because it reminded me of blacklisting and I figured it was a funny way of doing just the opposite and getting excited about the things I listed.
Anyway, things have changed since then and I'm taking this whole reviewing thing more seriously. I really enjoy what I'm doing here and want to get others to enjoy it as well . . . and I don't want them being confused by my name in the process.
Beyond that, this gives me the chance to revamp some of the things I've been wanting to change for a while now, but haven't really had the drive to do until now.
It's time for a change and I'm excited to see that happen. I hope I'll continue to see all of you at Novel Attraction!
(Right now, the site is still under construction. That means the actual move won't take place until April 10th at noon. There's just too much for me to set up to move there immediately, but I wanted to give y'all a heads-up.)
Monday, March 25, 2013
I first heard about Tempest when I was preparing for LeakyCon 2012 and I was researching the different LeakyCon Lit panels I wanted to attend. Julie Cross was supposed to be a part of a discussion about how she was a female writer who chose to have her book told through the eyes of a male. (I could be wrong, but I'm about 99% sure that's what it was for.) I thought it sounded good then, but didn't get the chance to read it before I went. After that, I forgot about it until I spotted it on the library shelves a few weeks ago.
Jackson is a college sophomore who also happens to be a time-traveler. He can jump back in time, but not for very long or very far back, and nothing he does can change what has already happened. So far the power has proven useless except for gathering tidbits of information, until the day that armed men crash into his girlfriend's dorm room. It's on that day that he watches as his girlfriend takes a bullet to the chest and, involuntarily, he jumps back in time a full two years.
Unable to get back 2009, where Holly (his girlfriend) lays dying on her dorm room floor, Jackson feels like he is going to lose his mind. Not only is he wracked by guilt about leaving her behind, but he's also managed to uncover certain information that points toward his father being a government agent. Unsure of who to trust or how to proceed, he seeks out the 2007 versions of his best friend and girlfriend, hoping they will somehow point him in the right direction.
However, as Jackson manages to uncover more information about who he is and who those men were that shot 2009 Holly, he realizes that he doesn't know who to trust. And worse, he learns he is putting everyone around him in grave danger simply by association. If he doesn't find a way to protect the people he loves, he could lose them all.
Time travel is a common theme in science fiction, but one that still manages to be difficult to pull off. Perhaps it's because the theme is so over-done that it can be hard to make it original. Perhaps it's because it has a tendency to err on the side of cheesy or un-realistic. However, Julie Cross somehow manages to pull off Jackson's version of time traveling with a level of originality and believability that definitely surprised me.
I would absolutely suggest this to science fiction fans who are looking for a new and complex take on a typically worn-out theme. And if you're not a sci-fi junkie? Well, there's still plenty of appeal in the rest of the story and Jackson is a wonderful protagonist that makes you want to learn more about who he is and how he manages to make it through all of the crazy that has somehow made its way into his life.
Rating:♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Holly fell to the ground and I wanted to shout, to drop down beside her, but the second the seeping red blood started to show through her robe, I jumped. This time I couldn't seem to control it.
But right before everything turned black, I saw it. Her chest rose and then fell again. She was alive and I just left her there.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
|Most public libraries in the U.S. aren't nearly this huge.|
Many are under-funded and in danger of being forgotten.
I found each of the suggestions quite helpful and I wanted to share them with others who might need some new ideas on how to help a library near you. Let's do our best to show our support for libraries everywhere!
Here are the tweets that started off the conversation:
Maureen Johnson (MJ): I LOVE it when people take my book from the library. Money should never be a barrier to reading. There is a net gain when libraries are used.
MJ: I have a question for librarians: what are the best ways the AVERAGE PERSON can support the library? #longlivethelibrary
And the awesome responses:
Marie R.: @maureenjohnson 1)USE the library! 2) tell local politicians how important you think your library is 3) USE THE LIBRARY SOME MORE.
Jake Rideout: @maureenjohnson Aside from money? Check out books you want to keep on shelves. Attend events to keep programs going. Donate books to sales.
Sara Roberts: @maureenjohnson Use the library! Numbers matter. Check out books, movies, etc. Come to programs.
Jennifer Anne: @maureenjohnson But be nice to your librarian. Often staff, Salary, and benefits are cut before cuts are made to things public
MJ: All librarians saying USE the library. Good numbers matter to keeping the doors open! GO IN! CHECK OUT BOOKS! #longlivethelibrary
ClaraCharlotte: @maureenjohnson I personally financed the new wing of the Hamburg library by consistently paying late-fees ;) #longlivethelibrary
MRHS Library: @maureenjohnson Don't go around proliferating the stereotype of dust-ladened shelves and grey-bun shshhhing...today's library is keeping up!
Angie Manfredi: and talk about the library not only to politicians but to everyone - be "did you know/isn't this cool" for your library.
Lisa Bunker: One thing we need is a Dumbledore's Army of citizenry who understand what a #library offers in TODAY's world. Not the nostalgia.
I love hearing ideas on how to support libraries. I am a firm believer in the immense benefit they have on our communities and our society as a whole. Personally, books and school libraries are what helped me survive my elementary through high school years (ESPECIALLY my middle school years *cringe*). I want to do whatever I can to extend the wonderful benefits of a good library to whomever I can.
|Maureen Johnson: author, adventurer, and all-around|
Thursday, February 28, 2013
[Click here to see my review of book 1: The Thief, book 2: The Queen of Attolia, and book 3: The King of Attolia.]
Though finishing a series tends to be a tad bittersweet, one must admit that it brings a lovely feeling of accomplishment when you sit back, happily aware that you've read all there is to read when it comes to this particular storyline and these particular characters.
I deeply enjoyed the entire Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner and I finally brought myself around to reading the conclusion. For all my talk of the greatness of finishing a series, there's also a finality that makes me realize how much I'll miss these characters and these stories. I tend to put as much space between the second to last book and the final one as I can plausibly get away with.
When Sophos, heir to the throne of Sounis, and friend of both the queen of Eddis and the king of Attolia, is attacked in his own village and whisked away to an unknown destination, he manages to weasel his way out of the hands of his captors. However, he soon finds himself a slave on the lands of the very man who ordered his kidnapping. Rendered unrecognizable, he settles into this life, believing it would be best for him to leave the running of Sounis to his uncle. After all, Sophos had never been a very promising heir. He cared too much for his poetry and too little for strategy or battle.
Still, Sophos left much unfinished when he was taken from his home. His sisters and mother may have died in the attack, but there were others who held his heart and a rebellion rising that threatens to overthrow Sounis and leave it vulnerable to the Medes, a country that's been trying to get a foothold in Sounis (along with its neighboring countries) for a time now and is still licking its wounds from being so heartily deterred by Attolia.
When his father comes under attack in the very home that Sophos has been laboring under, Sophos brings himself out of obscurity to save his father and his men. But much has changed since the day that Sophos was taken and he is no longer heir to the throne, but is now king himself. It is his task to save his country and he's going to have to turn to an old friend if he will ever manage to accomplish it. But will the king of Attolia aid him in his quest to save his people, or will Gen prove to be more difficult than he's ever been before?
The most recent installment in what fans of the series are calling "The Queen's Thief" series, A Conspiracy of Kings was (as you can probably see from the summary) told from the perspective of Sophos. It's fun seeing the kid grow up and become and entity and a threat in his own right. Sophos is a fun character and one that the reader can really identify with. While Gen, the subject of the first three books, was always a joy to read, I loved how different Sophos was from him. He was much more afraid, less cunning, but just as clever. I really enjoyed getting to see Megan Whalen Turner write such a different character in this series while still making us love both of our main protagonists.
All of that said, I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as I did the first three. Perhaps it was simply the way the tale played out. Most of this book was a sort of "leading up to" the main event, while in Gen's stories, they tended to be lots of little main events that led up to a big main event.
I greatly enjoyed the book, I just didn't enjoy it as much as its predecessors, I suppose. It's just not my favorite book in the series. I greatly look forward to the next book in this series. I want to know what happens to the dear friends we've been introduced to throughout these books. I have no doubts that Turner will blow us out of the water with the fifth installment (though we have no idea when it's coming out yet).
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
"He proved me wrong. Either because he can see what we can't or just because he demands the world conform to his own desires. I am never sure which it is that he does."
Thursday, February 21, 2013
I saw this video a year or two ago and just stumbled upon it a second time. It's definitely worth watching if you're much of a reader at all.
Authors showcased in this video:
Laurie Halse Anderson,
and Anthony Horowitz.
Penguin gathers some well-known Young Adult authors to weigh in on the topic of censorship and why banning books really isn't okay.
Authors showcased in this video:
Laurie Halse Anderson,
and Anthony Horowitz.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
[Click here to see my review of book 1: Sisters Red and book 2: Sweetly.]
After absolutely falling in love with the first two books in Jackson Pearce's Fairytale Retellings series, I was admittedly a little scared to read the third. What if I didn't like it? What if it didn't live up to the greatness of the first two? I had the utmost faith in the fact that she could make this one just as good as her first two, but what if she hadn't?
Well, my fears were totally unfounded. Fathomless turned out to be just as beautifully written and compelling as its counterparts. I'm already itching to get my hands on Cold Spell, the fourth book, which doesn't come out until November of this year. How will I ever manage to wait that long?
Celia, Anne, and Jane Reynolds are a set of triplets with surprising powers. Anne can see the future, Jane can see the present, and Celia sees only the past. The youngest in their family, they were sent off to boarding school after the death of their mother. Since then, they've really only had each other, having lost contact with each of their brothers and the father who no longer remembers them (due to his Alzheimer's). They've always known that they're stronger together, but lately Celia has been feeling more and more like she is the odd one out. It's Jane and Anne who are the identical ones. She's just the one that somehow got thrown into the mix to complete the set. She believes that her power is useless, that her siblings received the ones that they could do something with whiles she only gets memories, but that's before she meets Lo.
Lo is an ocean girl. She used to be human, but now she lives under the water with her sisters, other ocean girls who have forgotten their pasts and bide their time until the day the angels who brought them here pluck them out of the sea and take them away to be with them. When they first arrive, though, many of the girls just want to go back. They want to be human again. According to the legends of the old ones, there's only one way to do that: they must get a human to love them and then drown them, taking the human's soul for their own.
When Jude, a hapless musician falls into the ocean one night, Lo decides that she doesn't want him to drown. She has tried drowning a boy to restore her soul and knows it won't work. Instead, she fights her sisters to save him, bringing him back to the shore with Celia's help. Celia touches Lo and discovers her real name, the one she forgot. This awakens a longing within Lo to remember what she was before she was an ocean girl.
Celia agrees to help her recover her memories and suddenly feels like her power has a purpose--that it can finally help someone. But this tentative friendship she's made is fraught with dangers and Jude may not be the only one in danger of drowning now.
In Fathomless, Pearce once again proves that she has an imagination of gold. And she has certainly struck gold with this series of retellings. I cannot express enough how much I adore this beautiful series and everything in it. Filled to the brim with the same strong bonds I have admired in the beginning, as well as another great dose of the magical and mythical beings we've seen in the first two novels, these books are positively addicting and the kind you'll want to pester everyone you know to read so they can enjoy it just as much as you did.
What are you waiting for? Go get this book immediately! Get the whole series! And pray the Jackson Pearce never ever stops writing.
Rating: ~ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ~
"Because there's nothing there. There's no future between you and the girl--the water girl. Naida. Whatever she is."
"We stop being friends-"
"You're not listening," Anne snaps, and there's so much worry in her voice that I feel cold. "There's nothing there, Celia. There's no future because there's no 'you and her.' It's blank."
"What does that mean?"
Anne sighs, shakes her head. "What have you gotten yourself into?" she mutters before looking me in the eye. "It means," she says, voice serious, "either she dies or you do."
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
"Fine, then. Who's your favorite superhero?"
"Jean Grey," I counter quickly.
"Okay. So what's your favorite issue?"
I meet his gaze. "The Uncanny X-Men number one-three-eight, from October of 1980."
His forehead jumps, so I go ahead and seal his admiration by quoting, "Hear me X-Men! No longer am I the woman you knew! I am FIRE! And LIFE INCARNATE! Now and forever . . . I am PHOENIX!"
There were two reasons I decided to pick up this book. The first was the cover. I mean, look at it! The cover is simply gorgeous. The title includes the word "supervillians," which automatically makes me assume it's something I would like, and the picture features a girl with gorgeous pink hair. (I used to have purple hair and am a huge fan of the dye-your-hairy-crazy-colors philosophy.) I was even more sold when I read the back and saw it was about a girl who loves comic books and is a pretty great artist herself. Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillians) by Laurie Boyle Crompton looked like exactly the type of book I would deeply enjoy. Turns out, I was right.
When Blaze's dad left for New York to pursue his acting career, he didn't just leave his family behind, he left his old-school Marvel comic book stash. In his absence, Blaze found herself drawn to the old comics, poring over them and falling in love with each one. It wasn't long before she began drawing up her own superheroes and giving them origin stories like the ones she had grown so attached to. Her love for the characters and her improvement in her art not only fed her soul, but the ever-present hope that her dad might just return if he saw how much they had in common and how good she was at creating the sort of thing he had once been so attached to as well.
Now at seventeen, Blaze spends most of her free time chauffeuring her brother and his friends to and from soccer games in Superturd (her poop-brown minivan), spending most of the game time drawing and reading her comics. She spends the rest of that time during the games watching Mark, the boys' coach, and daydreaming about what it would be like if she could manage to snag him as a boyfriend.
It's not long before Blaze's wildest dreams seem to come true and Mark is not only giving her the time of day, but even seems to find her tendency to go off on fangirl rants about particular Marvel characters cute. He may not pay too much attention to what she's saying, after all, he's more of a soccer fan, but she knows she can make it work.
Blaze's younger brother sees what's happening between them and immediately tries to convince his sister it's a bad idea to get tangled up with his coach, but she's not listening. He's thirteen. He couldn't possibly understand. Josh knows something about Mark that Blaze doesn't and her refusal to listen to her brother's protests will leave her with humiliating consequences. Then again, Blaze may not be as mild-mannered as everyone seems to think and geek girls are pretty creative when it comes to taking revenge.
I could have read this entire book in one sitting if I didn't have to go to work on a pretty regular basis. It was one of those books where I woke up and read for hours, right up until I was going to be late if I didn't put the book down and speed my way to work. I absolutely adored it. Everything about this book appealed to me and, like I already mentioned, I could hardly persuade myself to put it down.
Blaze is a fun and believable protagonist. She's insecure about the way others perceive her and her inability to catch the attention of the guy she's somehow fallen in love with, but she's also passionate about the comics she adores and the art she creates. She's not afraid to be herself, even if she sometimes hands her heart to the wrong people.
I also have to give a little shout-out to two of my favorite supporting characters in this book: her little brother, Josh, and Quentin, the Comic Book Store Guy. (I shouldn't forget Andrew, one of her brother's friends. What a little gentleman!) They are magnificent and provide such lovely interactions throughout the novel. I found myself begging to see more of them every time they were gone.
I really enjoyed this book and I would especially suggest it to like-minded individuals who also happen to be great comic book fans. Whether you're a Marvel-lover (like Blaze) or a DC junkie (like Quentin), you'll love every bit of this story. And let's not forget the gorgeous artwork peppered throughout, compliments of Anne Cain. Even after finishing, I keep finding myself flipping through the book just to catch a glimpse of those lovely illustrations.
Rating: ~ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ~
"It comes from Greek mythology," she says, "but I've given the symbol my own twist. In my experience, sometimes the only way folks can manage to become the person they're meant, is to have destiny fling them straight into the fire."