Reading this book in the car while the toddler naps. I started this book on Monday. It’s a very engaging read. It uses second person effectively to pop the reader right into the middle action. It includes what seems to me to be a straightforward and sensitive handling of gender identity, especially non-binary gender identity. Not finished yet, but so far, highly recommended.
I’ve been awaiting this book since it was announced. Now it’s here and I’m going to devour it! I’ve neglected true self-care most of my life. In the months before I got pregnant, I was finally taking better care of myself. But since M. was born, I have once again let it slide. I’ve claimed it in little ways here and there, but it’s time to devote myself to it more fully for a while. I’m doing the prep work now and starting the actual 21-day program May 14. Let me know if you want to join me and we can do daily check-ins. (If there’s a bunch of us, we can even maybe do a GroupMe!) #pcosdiva #pcos #bookstagram #amreading
My reading challenge for 2018 has two components:

  1. Always be trying to read one more book than I have already read this year.

  2. Read whatever feels good to read and will make me want to keep reading.

That’s it.

More on the rationale behind these rules later.

Pull Down the NightPull Down the Night by Nathan Kotecki. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. 2013. Reviewed from ARC from the publisher. Buy it from IndieBound or Powell’s (affiliate links).

Bruno and his brother Sylvio are the new kids at Suburban High this year, but they quickly make friends with the remaining members of The Rosary, a clique steeped in elegant, dark music and culture. Sylvio has always had those interests, but Bruno finds himself suddenly drawn to them – perhaps because of his powerful attraction to Celia, the protagonist from The Suburban Strange. Through his connection with Celia and his interactions with the school librarian, Bruno discovers that his intuitive understanding of maps has a supernatural source. He has to use these skills and his new understanding of the supernatural realm of the Kind and Unkind to help him solve two mysteries: why students around school are receiving “kiss notes” from a ghost and then discovering loved ones betraying them, and why kids all over the school are suddenly finding themselves deeply depressed.

My relationship with the author:

You should know that I can’t be unbiased about this book. Nathan Kotecki is my friend (see more about how we met in my review of The Suburban Strange). I’m listed in the acknowledgments. So if you’re looking for an unbiased review, you probably want to look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for the honest perspective of the friend of the author who’s also a former high school teacher and school librarian, well, you’ve come to the right place.

What I love:

  • The supernatural stuff starts right away with Bruno mysteriously finding himself in the Ebentwine, a liminal space with a definite Wonderland vibe.
  • The references to dark music and culture flow fast and free, just like in The Suburban Strange. But this time, I didn’t find myself wishing I’d had goth friends to shepherd me around, probably because I got that out of the way in the first book.
  • There sure is a lot of time spent in the school library hanging out with the school librarian, who is so much more pleasant than adults in YA literature often are.
  • Bruno has a geography teacher who won’t let him coast, but gives him the opportunity to work on an individualized project that also helps him expand his supernatural skills.
  • Marco. Marco Marco Marco. He’s a featured player in this book, and I love him, and it makes me so happy.
  • Everybody, Bruno included, seems to love Celia in a way that makes her dangerously close to a Mary Sue, but there is an actual explanation for why everyone loves her so much.
  • Bruno and Sylvio have a very positive relationship. I love siblings who get along most of the time. Of course they don’t get along all the time, but they never seem to deliberately annoy each other or snipe at each other.
  • All the little ways in which you know this book comes from the same world as The Suburban Strange, but it really is its own story.
  • Bruno and Sylvio’s dad, who is a minister, but understands that his sons need to explore faith at their own pace.
  • The whole mythology of this world. There are Kind and Unkind, talented people who have the opportunity to use their supernatural gifts for good or ill. And these aren’t things like super strength or throwing fireballs, but things like literally traveling through the pages of a book, or being able to shape reality through drawing it.

How my wish from last time got fulfilled:

  • I said I wanted to see more menace in the school setting, and boy did Pull Down the Night deliver. This is the eeriest school library since they built Sunnydale High on top of a hellmouth. (We put that in lowercase, since we know there’s more than one of them.)

What I need to warn you about:

  • While this book is much quicker-paced than The Suburban Strange, it’s still not an action/suspense thriller. So if you’re looking for that, maybe pick up a different book, and give this to your goth friend.
  • You’re going to want to find all of the music that goes with this book. But you don’t have to, because Nathan made a Spotify playlist. I highly recommend listening to the playlist while reading the book, if you’re the kind of person who can have music going while you read.

A few months ago, just for fun, I typed in “are the new vampires” in my Google search box, just to see what popped up. I found a stunning array of possibilities, including zombies, ghosts, and robots. But my favorite of all the suggestions was that mermaids are the new vampires. I’ve been obsessed with mermaids since I saw Splash more than 25 years ago; I sang “Part of Your World” in a mermaid costume at a high school chorus concert, insisting that boys carry me on stage since mermaids can’t walk. My home office is decorated around a mermaid theme, and this very website featured a mermaid in the header until yesterday. (See her in the picture on the right? My mom made her for me.)

A friend from high school recently connected me with the mermaiding community, where I learned about Raina the Halifax Mermaid’s book, “Fishy” Business: How to Be a Mermaid. Raina includes a list of recommended mermaid fiction, but even more useful, she provides the URL for this Goodreads list of the Best Mermaid Books.

As I’ve watched my former school library and classroom teacher colleagues chat about their summer plans on Facebook, I’ve occasionally had a twinge of longing for the times before I was a twelve-month university employee. That said, I wouldn’t trade my excellent job and full-time employment for anything, so I’m looking for ways to capture the feel of a summer vacation that match my current schedule. I think reading a giant stack of mermaid books (especially on my upcoming beach vacation) is a great way to get the job done.

So stay tuned for reports on mermaid reads. What are you going to read this summer?

The Suburban Strange by Nathan Kotecki. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. 2012. Reviewed from ARC from the author. Buy it from IndieBound or Powell’s (affiliate links).

Celia Balaustine is entering her sophomore year of high school, but it’s her first year at Suburban High. She’s all set to spend the year trying to be as invisible as possible, with only her sketchbook for a friend, when fellow artist Regine takes her under her wing and introduces her to a clique called The Rosary. The members of The Rosary are interested in dark alternative culture, including literature, fashion, and music. They pride themselves on being different from the other kids in their school. But as different as her friends are from the rest of their classmates, Celia can’t help but be drawn into the school’s drama as young girls begin to be gravely injured on the eve of their sixteenth birthday. She wants to stop these incidents from happening, as well as protect herself from becoming the curse’s next victim. But can she?

My relationship with the author:

Before I jump into telling you what I loved about this book (and there’s a lot), I need to tell you how it came to my attention. My former supervisor Emily (whose old job I now hold) contacted me and told me that her friend was having his first book released soon and would love to get a big name to be present at his book release party, and she knew I had connections in the YA lit world and thought I might have some suggestions. After some back and forth, Emily and Nathan and I sat down for lunch so he could pick my brain for my expertise as both a kidlit blogger and a school librarian (by training if not position). Over the course of the conversation it came out that we are both seekrit goths, me coming at it more from the fashion angle and him from music, with both of us crossing over into the other interest some. I confessed my lack of education on the music part of things, and he assured me that he could fix that. So, yes, I do have mix CDs that serve as, essentially the soundtrack for this book. Yes, the author treated me to lunch since I am helping him with publicity. Yes, I felt like it would be good if I liked this book.

So know all of that, because I don’t want to deceive you about my relationship with this book.

What I loved:

  • Celia’s friends in The Rosary are darkly glamorous. They discuss music, art, and literature in ways that some reviews have suggested aren’t realistic for teenagers, but as a former high school teacher, I found this eminently believable. Kids are into all sorts of things, and some of them are beautifully pretentious. Mostly they grow into pretentious but self-aware adults, the kind of people I like to spend time with.
  • This book has a gay couple in the most stable relationship in the whole book. And it’s not a huge deal. They’re just a couple, who both happen to be guys. And they’re probably two of the most fully-realized characters in a book full of interesting people. They’re my favorites.
  • The curse has a component whereby girls who are virgins seem to be the only targets. This leads to a lot of frank but not vulgar discussions of sex, its importance, when you should do it and who you should do it with. I think books that model this kind of conversation are far preferable to those that ignore it or make it all gross.
  • The members of The Rosary are immensely studious. Yes, they do party at Diaboliques (described in Colleen’s review as a fairytale goth club and I can’t put it better than that) until three in the morning, but they also encourage Celia to do her homework as soon as she gets home from school.
  • There’s a romance in here that is a slow burn, which is exactly my kind of thing (both in my own love life and the stories I like to read). There won’t be any flailing and crying, “I love you, but also I want you to be my dinner!” here – the obstacles to romance are external reactions to internal circumstances and I kind of love that.
  • The decadence of description of the clothes, atmosphere, music, and Celia’s emotions. I spent a good chunk of this book being a little sad that I didn’t have a tightly-knit group of goth friends to shepherd me through school. (I had a tightly-knit group of diversely-interested friends who were wonderful, but I was one of only two of us you could categorize as goth, and not at all aware of it as a genuine subculture rather than just a cruel label folks gave spooky kids.)
  • The quiet menace of the supernatural. You know the whole time that supernatural stuff is going on, but it’s not the focus until far into the book.
  • The subtle way in which this fits the mold of a classic Gothic novel, going as far back as The Castle of Otranto and Jane Eyre and as recent as Rebecca or even The Thirteenth Tale.

What I’d like to see more of:

  • The school setting as a menace itself. This is definitely present here, but I have hopes that it will be even more present in future books in the series. I was lucky enough to hear Nathan speak to a young adult literature class at UNC’s School of Information and Library Science (my alma mater!) and he mentioned that the school itself would serve as a unifying thread throughout the series. I hope he explores the relationship of this place with the supernatural mythology he’s building more as the series goes on.
  • More supplemental materials (appendices, maybe?) consolidating the myriad cultural references. But I’m a librarian, so it’s likely I’ll do a re-read and pull together literary and musical references (perhaps even create a Spotify playlist) and share that here.

What I need to warn you about:
This book is deliberately paced. There was definitely a point at which I thought, “Okay, I see why the Amazon reviewers complained about it being slow.” That said, it’s all leading somewhere and it’s all valuable. If I were doing reader’s advisory, I wouldn’t hand this to somebody looking for fast-paced action. I would hand it to somebody looking for atmospheric spookiness.

The big climax and resolution of the mystery are not why you want to read this book. They are of course very important to have, but what’s going to keep you interested is the mood and the world-building. Don’t jump in here expecting a typical suspense thriller. If you ran the numbers, I suspect you’d find mystery resolution takes up a very small percentage of pages or words here. But the supernatural element is woven throughout.

My favorite quotes:

“We’re a set of small black shiny beads who string around together, finding beauty the rest of the world has overlooked.” (p. 5 in the ARC)

“We’re in high school. Of course we’re egocentric,” Ivo replied matter-of-factly. (p. 83 in the ARC)

Who should read it:
I would recommend The Suburban Strange to readers who like books with a lot of atmosphere, a little mystery, and a slow but sustained reveal of supernatural elements.

review roundup happens when I read a book but either didn’t have the time to write a review or read it so long ago that my memory about it isn’t good enough to write a review. I gather links to other reviews in the kidlitosphere and share excerpts from them. These are reviews of books that I know darkly-inclined young people will enjoy. 

Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker. Carolrhoda Books. 2009. Library copy. Buy it from IndieBound or Powell’s (affiliate links).

In Written in Bone, Sally M. Walker explores what scientists learned from excavating graves in Jamestown and Colonial Maryland. They book examines not only burial practices, but also the evidence these excavations provide about lifestyles in the Colonial era.

Spooky Factor: Any time the pitch for a book begins with, “So, we exhumed some corpses…” your spooky kids are going to be on board. I myself think it’d be fun to read this, then write an essay called, “What I Learned from Dead People.”

On to the reviews!

A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy:

Did you know that sometimes people used their cellars not to store food but as a trash dump? An archaeologist explains, “people lived upstairs and dumped fish parts and pig parts and chamber pot contents and goodness knows what else down there.”

Imagine that. Imagine dumping that refuse in your cellar. Wouldn’t it smell? How healthy would that be? Why would you do that? And then I thought about Laura Ingalls Wilder and the books where the Ingalls were snowed in for days and days and days. As a grown up rereading the series, I’d wondered, where did they put the trash? Go to the bathroom? Is that why a basement was used as a trash pit? And then… as the chapter reveals… a body was buried in the basement. Treated like garbage. Hidden. Unknown. For hundreds of years, until the secret was revealed. What was it like, to live in that house? To know that body was there?

Stacked:

When I first had heard about this book, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I am pleased with this and found myself really fascinated with what archaeologists do with human remains. I think that this book has a huge appeal, both to those interested in history and science, as well as those interested in the all-too-common “something different.” Oh, and boys will eat this one up! This is a book about people doing something and it gives boys tools to learn with (I mean, there’s also really cool images of skulls and bones, too).

librarian by day:

Colorful pictures and flowing prose explains the process of excavating and studying a grave site, and explains how the details observed and analyzed tells us about life in colonial Virginia and Maryland.

Kirkus:

…profusely illustrated with photos of skulls and skeletons…

Since I’m now working as a middle school librarian, I feel like what I read is inextricably tied to how I work. Because of that, I’ve imported all the posts from my lectitans reading blog to this blog.  From now on, all reading posts will be made here in the category “Reading.”  I will not make any new posts at either of the earlier lectitans sites.

Here’s a complete list of this week’s interviews:

Monday:

Tara Altebrando at Chasing Ray
Shirley Vernick at Bildungsroman
Jack Ferraiolo at The Happy Nappy Bookseller
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen at Writing & Ruminating

Tuesday:

Sean Beaudoin at Chasing Ray
Neesha Meminger at The Happy Nappy Bookseller
Rachel Karns at Bildungsroman

Wednesday:

Sarah Stevenson at Chasing Ray
Emily Howse at Bildungsroman
Ashley Hope-Perez at The Happy Nappy Bookseller
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich at Vivian Lee Mahony (Hip Writer Mama)

Thursday:
Tessa Gratton at Writing & Ruminating
Micol Ostow at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Maria Padian at Bildungsroman
Genevieve Cote at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Vera Brosgol at lectitans

Friday:

Genevieve Valentine at Shaken & Stirred
Stacy Whitman at The Happy Nappy Bookseller
Alyssa B. Sheinmel at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Matthew Cody and Aaron Starmer at Mother Reader

Vera Brosgol is the creator of Anya’s Ghost, a young adult graphic novel about Anya, a teenage girl who wants nothing more than to be normal. When Anya falls down a well and meets the ghost of a girl who died a century ago, she quickly discovers that her new friend can help her with her social life and her schoolwork. As is always the case, this friendship is more complicated than she initially realizes.

Vera was kind enough to answer seven questions for me for the SBBT.

Why did you choose to create Anya’s Ghost in black and white?

I honestly didn’t think it needed color. Full-color can really add a lot to a story especially when it takes place in an interesting location or fantastic world, but for this particular one I feel like it would’ve been superfluous. The monochromatic palette served the mood of the story, I think. And it would’ve made the coloring take twice as long.

In addition to creating comics and graphic novels, you are a professional animator. In Anya’s Ghost and the art on your website, you create a sense of movement in still images. How do the skills required for comics and animation overlap?

I’m actually a story artist rather than an animator, though I went to school for animation.  [K: My bad!]  In college I learned that the part of the process I enjoyed the most was the storyboarding part, so that’s what I went into. I didn’t have the patience for animating! I think animation made me a much faster and more flexible artist – when you have to do thousands of drawings you can’t fuss with them too much. It also taught me how to be efficient in communicating with a drawing. I started focusing less on making a pretty picture and more on telling some kind of story with it. That definitely carried over into my illustration and comics work. I feel like the same part of my brain gets used for storyboarding and comics.

Like you, Anya came to America at the age of 5. A lot of Anya’s concerns over her appearance and behavior are magnified by the fact that she comes from a Russian family. How do you think having this extra level of being different affects common teenage concerns?

It’s just one more thing making life difficult. Anything that makes you in any way different from everyone else makes you a target, and when your skin is bad and your clothes are fitting weird you don’t want to pile anything else on top of that. I didn’t have a hard time about being Russian but I was constantly aware that my home life didn’t exactly match that of my friends, and a part of me definitely wished it did. Of course it depends on where you live. I went to a high school in Brooklyn where there was a huge immigrant population and being from another country didn’t cause problems – at most it just dictated what group you’d be friends with.

While Anya’s worries are common to most teenagers, Anya’s Ghost adds a supernatural element to issues of friendship and peer pressure. What do you think is powerful about using the supernatural to tell this kind of story?

Part of the reason I added the paranormal element to the story was to make it more fun for me! Regular old school drama is all well and good but I don’t really get excited unless there’s something weird or creepy going on. And Emily served as a way to reflect all of Anya’s bad traits back at her, so that she could get a good honest look at herself. That would’ve been possible to do with a non-ghost character but it made sense for me to do that with someone who literally didn’t have a life of their own.

On your website, you feature fan art for other works such as Scott Pilgrim and The Hunger Games. Who are some of your favorite artists and writers? What about their work inspires you?

I’m a big fan of Fred Moore and Earl Oliver Hurst, both of whom drew lovely lady illustrations. Jillian Tamaki is one of my favorite modern illustrators – I love her embroidered Penguin covers and her amazing ink work. There’s a Czech illustrator named Stepan Zavrel who did the most amazing watercolors – I’d love to get some of that looseness into my own work. And I’m friends with some phenomenal artists – Jon Klassen, Chris Turnham, Steve Wolfhard, Emily Carroll… so I am constantly inspired by them. Writer-wise, I really like Haruki Murakami’s books. Before that I read Dracula and Geek Love. Right now I’m working through the Song of Ice & Fire books. I usually want to draw a picture to go along with whatever I’m reading just to get it out of my head!

A lot of your art, such as your collaborative Tumblr blog Draw this dress! and your many circus-themed pieces, draws on vintage imagery. What is it about these images from the past that appeals to you?

I love fashion. I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was little (as well as an animator and a children’s book illustrator and probably a vet or something). Though really I think what I meant was costume design – I love anything that tells a story and clothes can absolutely do that. Vintage clothes tell you about the kind of person who wore them, what their life was like, what was going on in the world at the time… it’s really easy and fun to insert a character into them, which is what Draw This Dress is all about. Modern fashion can be a lot of fun too but there’s definitely more variety if you’re borrowing from the past.

When you were in high school, you created the webcomic Return to Sender. What did you learn from this experience that has helped you in your career?

Haha! I kind of learned what not to do. I did that comic before school and the whole thing was a very fussily-drawn, poorly-planned experiment. I generally knew where the story was going but putting it up online one page at a time was not the best way to do tell it – once a page was up it was up, there was no going back and reworking things to improve the story. Maybe for a comic strip that would’ve been okay but I was essentially trying to make a graphic novel. It reached a point where it had gotten sloppy and I got too busy with school to deal with fixing it so I just stopped. I’m much more careful with plotting now and try to think of a book as a whole, rather than a series of installments. And I stopped using those darn Micron pens!

Thanks, Vera!

Hi there! It’s time once again for our semiannual (because we do one in winter, too, see?) smorgasbord of interviews with authors and illustrators. Every day this week, I’ll be posting links to interviews elsewhere, and then on Thursday, I’ll be sharing my very own interview with Vera Brosgol. Enjoy!

Today’s Interviews:
Tara Altebrando at Chasing Ray
Shirley Vernick at Bildungsroman
Jack Ferraiolo at The Happy Nappy Bookseller
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen at Writing & Ruminating

 Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon’s new historical action novel, The Secret Journeys of Jack London: THE WILD, hits stores today.  The authors and illustrator Greg Ruth will be touring blogs every day for the next couple of weeks to share their stories.

I asked Tim to share a bit with us about his research process.  Here’s what he had to say:

For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects about writing this book was the research.

I usually don’t research that much.  The book I’m writing right now is a fantasy novel, so I get to make stuff up.  On the island of Skythe there are birds called merrows, herd creatures called hat-hat, fire-breathing creatures called lyons, stinging things called stark blights, and a god named Aeon.  That’s all made up stuff, and the world I create is inhabited by creatures and people that require no research … because none of them are real.  At least, until I’ve finished the novel and it’s published, whereupon I hope they come across as real to the readers.  That’s one of the great pleasures of writing a fantasy novel––the geography, flora, fauna, and sometimes even the rules of nature and physics are mine to do with as I will.  As I often like to say about my first fantasy novel, Dusk, I can have sentient tumbleweed without having to explain why.

That wasn’t the case with The Wild, of course.  And I discovered that I enjoyed the research process far more than I’d anticipated.

First, I had to start reading a load of Jack London material.  He’s a superb writer, so that was   a pleasure rather than a hardship.  It took me back to my teens, which was the last time I’d read The Call of the Wild. And I discovered books that I hadn’t read before, such as John Barleycorn, and enjoyed reading Jack London biographies.  But the real pleasure came from researching the period and place where the book was set––Alaska, and the Yukon, during the Gold Rush.

The Wild I knew a little about those times, but not much.  I had visions of people travelling comfortably into the wild, making huge gold strikes, and then returning home with their fortunes and futures secure, luggage loaded with gold and their skins a healthy sheen from the bracing weather.

The reality was far different, and far grimmer.  The journey itself to the site of the gold strikes was terribly harsh, taking months for most people to make their way across mountains and through forests, along rivers and across lakes, all the time struggling to survive the worst that nature could throw at them––drenching rains, snow, ice, and temperatures that would freeze your spit before it hit the ground.

Camps were set up along the trail, such as the landing place of Dyea and the inland town of Dawson, and many people only made it this far.  They were lawless places, where the law of gun and knife ruled.  Beyond, along trails like the Dead Horse Pass––so named because its treacherous slopes were littered with the bodies of hundreds of horses that had fallen and been left to die––men and women ventured into the Yukon in search of their fortunes.

Thousands of people formed the Gold Rush, but the sad truth of it is that few struck lucky.  Many died on their way to these base camps, and many more starved or froze to death in the wild.  Scurvy was rife, as during the frozen months food was scarce.

Jack London himself almost died during his time in the Yukon.  He returned with gold dust worth less than five dollars, loose teeth, a malnourished body, and memories and scars that would last him a lifetime.  His time in the wild informed the type of man he became, and although it was probably one of the harshest times of his life––in later life he would become wealthy from his writing, and live very comfortably indeed––it was also the most inspirational.  Much of his greatest work is about the land he found when he went in search of gold.  And who is to say he didn’t find more than he revealed?  Maybe he truly did bear terrible secrets about his time there, in the inhospitable, brutal landscapes of the Yukon.  The wild.

Thanks for sharing, Tim!

The Secret Journeys of Jack London Blog Tour
For the next two weeks, authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon will be traveling through the blogs of YA/kidlit bloggers who are also teachers, librarians, and/or adventurers. Each tour stop will offer an exclusive piece of art from Greg Ruth, whose stunning illustrations give life to the characters, locations, and beasts throughout the book. Follow the tour:

Monday, February 28th
Little Willow at Bildungsroman

Tuesday, March 1st
Kiba Rika (Kimberly Hirsh) of Lectitans

Wednesday, March 2nd
Kim Baccellia from Si, Se Puede! and Young Adults Book Central

Thursday, March 3rd
Melissa Walker, author of Small Town Sinners

Friday, March 4th
Justin from Little Shop of Stories

Monday, March 7th
Rebecca’s Book Blog

Tuesday, March 8th & Wednesday, March 9th
Martha Brockenbrough, author of Things That Make Us [Sic]

Help spread the word about this exciting new series. Download the electronic press kit for THE SECRET JOURNEYS OF JACK LONDON.

The blog tour for The Secret Journeys of Jack London: The Wild kicks off today with an interview with the authors over at Bildungsroman.

The Secret Journeys of Jack London Blog Tour
For the next two weeks, authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon will be traveling through the blogs of YA/kidlit bloggers who are also teachers, librarians, and/or adventurers. Each tour stop will offer an exclusive piece of art from Greg Ruth, whose stunning illustrations give life to the characters, locations, and beasts throughout the book. Follow the tour:

Monday, February 28th
Little Willow at Bildungsroman

Tuesday, March 1st
Kiba Rika (Kimberly Hirsh) of Lectitans

Wednesday, March 2nd
Kim Baccellia from Si, Se Puede! and Young Adults Book Central

Thursday, March 3rd
Melissa Walker, author of Small Town Sinners

Friday, March 4th
Justin from Little Shop of Stories

Monday, March 7th
Rebecca’s Book Blog

Tuesday, March 8th & Wednesday, March 9th
Martha Brockenbrough, author of Things That Make Us [Sic]

Help spread the word about this exciting new series. Download the electronic press kit for THE SECRET JOURNEYS OF JACK LONDON.

Are you ready to take a journey into the wild?

Bestselling authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon have teamed up to create THE SECRET JOURNEYS OF JACK LONDON. Jack certainly lived a wild life, which inspired Golden & Lebbon to create this new book series based on his real-life travels. They’ve taken his true stories and his fiction and mixed in urban legends and myths of the time. While THE SECRET JOURNEYS series is fiction, not biography, the books are extremely well-researched, and spooky elements add another level of intrigue to the richly detailed stories.

The first book, THE WILD, will be released on Tuesday, March 1st. When seventeen-year-old Jack London travels to Alaska to join the Klondike Gold Rush, the path he treads is not at all what he expected. Along the way, he encounters kidnappers, traders, traitors, and a mysterious wolf. Jack must face the wild head-on in order to survive.

The buzz for THE SECRET JOURNEYS OF JACK LONDON just keeps getting louder. 20th Century Fox has acquired the film rights to the series. Garth Nix, author of the Abhorsen Trilogy, declared: “A masterful mix of gold, cold, supernatural creatures, and dread magic makes this a great action adventure story.” Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, calls THE WILD “A great old-school adventure novel and the best use of the Wendigo legend I’ve ever read.”

Authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon will launch a blog tour the day before the book’s release, beginning at Bildungsroman on Monday, February 28th and traveling through the blogs of YA/kidlit bloggers who are also teachers, librarians, and/or adventurers through Tuesday, March 8th. Each tour stop will offer an exclusive piece of art from Greg Ruth, whose stunning illustrations give life to the characters, locations, and beasts throughout the book.

Here’s the full schedule:

Monday, February 28th
Little Willow at Bildungsroman

Tuesday, March 1st
Kiba Rika (Kimberly Hirsh) of Lectitans

Wednesday, March 2nd
Kim Baccellia from Si, Se Puede! and Young Adults Book Central

Thursday, March 3rd
Melissa Walker, author of Small Town Sinners

Friday, March 4th
Justin from Little Shop of Stories

Monday, March 7th
Rebecca’s Book Blog

Tuesday, March 8th
Martha Brockenbrough, author of Things That Make Us [Sic]

Download the electronic press kit for THE SECRET JOURNEYS OF JACK LONDON.

Publishing details:
THE SECRET JOURNEYS OF JACK LONDON: THE WILD
Written by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon
Illustrated by Greg Ruth
On sale: March 1st, 2011
Published by HarperCollins Childrens
ISBN: 9780061863172

www.christophergolden.com
www.timlebbon.net

Welcome to my new home, here at my own domain.  LiveJournal was just not doing what I needed it to do anymore, and thus we have the new lectitans.

If you’re looking for posts on a particular topic, please check out the tag cloud at the right.  I haven’t settled yet on whether I’ll be using categories for new posts, so tags are the best way to navigate topically for now.

Coming soon: reviews of The Spymaster’s Lady and Rebecca.

 1. Angel: After the Fall, Volume 1, Brian Lynch
2. The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
3. Hooked on Murder, Betty Hechtman
4. That Was Then, This Is Now, S. E. Hinton
5. Rumblefish, S. E. Hinton
6. Tex, S. E. Hinton
7. Vampire Kisses, Ellen Schreiber
8. Brazen Careerist, Penelope Trunk
9. Emma, Jane Austen (Audiobook, re-read)
10. The Ghost Belonged to Me, Richard Peck
11. Are You in the House Alone? Richard Peck
12. Just a Minute! A Trickster Tale and Counting Book, Yuyi Morales
13. Chidi Only Likes Blue: An African Book of Colors, Ifeoma Onyefulu
14. Superhero ABC, Bob McLeod
15. Black Cat, Christopher Myers
16. Going North, Janice N. Harrington
17. Heat Wave, Richard Castle
18. Stan Lee: Creator of Spider-Man, Raymond H. Miller
19. The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
20. Amulet, Book 1: The Stonekeeper, Kazu Kibuishi
21. Magic Knight Rayearth, Vol. 1, CLAMP.
22. Food Matters, Mark Bittman
22. Feathers, Jacqueline Woodson
23. Which Way Freedom? Joyce Hansen
24. She’s All That! Poems About Girls, Belinda Hollyer (selector)
25. Creature Carnival, Marilyn Singer
26. Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse, Marilyn Singer
27. Wind of a Thousand Tales, John Glore
28. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (begun in 2009)
29. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
30. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
31. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
32. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
33. The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
34. Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky, Elphinstone Dayrell
35. We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success, Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, Rameck Hunt, with Sharon Draper
36. Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith, Deborah Heiligman
37. Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen (audibook; re-read)
38. Coraline, Neil Gaiman (graphic novel version)
39. Persuasion, Jane Austen (audiobook)
40. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen (audiobook)
41. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (audiobook, re-read)
42. Mansfield Park, Jane Austen (audiobook)
43. The Castle of Otranto, Horace Walpole

Have you ever found that the cover of a book grossly misrepresented its contents, and that this misrepresentation seemed to keep the book from finding what would otherwise be its natural audience?  A bunch of bloggers have, which is why over at Bookshelves of Doom, Leila is sponsoring a cover design contest for Jenny Davidson’s, Ysabeau Wilce’s, and D. M. Cornish’s works, all of which fit in this category.

Go check it out – you could win books!

The contest is part of a larger multi-blog celebration of overlooked and/or misrepresented alternate history and steampunk books which will take place the week of December 13th.  Keep an eye out for more info as that week gets closer!