The Sailor Moon Book Tag

When I saw this tag at Rachel’s blog, I filed it away to do when I had more time. Now is the moment.

This tag was created by Cee of The Novel Hermit, Cristina of Girl in the Pages, Kristin of Super Space Chick, Sierra of SDavReads and Alexa from Alexa Loves books (graphic from them too).

Be sure to stop by Rachel’s blog to see her answers.

Moon | A book that makes you hungry

I feel like a monster for picking this book but every time the characters in Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson started talking about rationing food or just not eating, I was so hungry.

Mercury | A book that features science and technology

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGeeWhile it doesn’t have a ton of science, The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee has a ton of technology.

Venus | A book that makes you want to play video games

Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande VeldeEasy. Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde. Just don’t get stuck in the game like Giannine!

Mars | A book inspired by mythology or folklore

The Lost Sun by Tessa GrattonThe Strange Maid by Tessa GrattonSince I just finished this trilogy (review of the last book to come), I have to go with The Lost Sun and The Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton which reinvent by Norse mythology.

Jupiter | A book that gave you strong feelings

The Last Time We Were Us by Leah KonenMost recently I was completely wrecked by all of the emotions I experienced while reading The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen.

Saturn | A post apocalyptic book you love

The Darkest MindsThe Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. I feel like it’s not really a book tag if I don’t mention her somewhere!

Pluto | A time travel book

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi HeiligAnother obvious choice because I love it so: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Uranus | A book featuring elemental magic

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare BlakeI read a lot of fantasy so there were a few options here. I decided to go with one of my most recent reads: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake which features several types of magic including elemental magic.

Neptune | A book featuring music

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen KleinThe Game of Love and Death by Martha BrockenbroughFor a non-musically-inclined person, I read a lot of books with musical characters. Again going with a recent read: Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein. (Honorable mention: The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough.)

Tuxedo Mask | A book with masquerades or hidden identities

Tell Me Three Things by Julie BuxbaumBreaker by Kat EllisThis answer took me in two directions: 1. sweet romance for which I’d say Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum and 2. scary mystery for which I’d say Breaker by Kat Ellis.

Rini/Chibi Moon | A favorite middle grade book

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan StroudBoth a favorite to read and to recommend: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud.

Luna, Artemis & Diana | A book for animal lovers

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan MatsonLet’s go with the book with a ton of dogs on the cover: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson.

 

 

 

For this post I’m tagging:

Week in Review: October 30

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

I was sick this weekend into the actual week and I’m just wildly behind. Let’s all pretend I didn’t wait until November 3 to post this with a backdate. Ah.

If you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my October Reading Tracker.

How was your week?

The Graces: A Review

The Graces by Laure EveEveryone says that the Graces are witches.

Thalia might dress the part with her spangly skirts and scarves, and Fenrin might bewitch all the girls in town with his good looks and charm. But Summer, the youngest Grace, is the only one willing to admit that she is exactly what everyone in town whispers.

Everyone wants to get close to the Graces. Everyone knows how much it must hurt to lose their interest. Because everyone, inevitably, loses the Graces’ interest.

River is new in town and desperate to attach herself to the Graces. She’s in love with Fenrin, like everyone, even though it’s a cliche. She hopes that seeing into their strange world might understand some of what’s been happening to her. But first River has to become one of the Graces. And she’s will to do whatever it takes to get their attention in The Graces (2016) by Laure Eve.

The Graces is Eve’s first novel and the start of a series.

Eve builds tension early with a narrator who remains nameless for the first part of the novel. Readers know that River arrived in town under a cloud, forced to move for reasons she will not divulge. River sees herself as different and other–just like the Graces themselves–and her narration is suitably calculating and cold.

While The Graces is atmospheric, the beginning remains slow with River carefully circling the Grace siblings as she tries to break into their orbit. The push and pull between what is true and what is not works well with the interplay between magic and reality throughout the novel.

Recommended for readers looking for a trippy book with twists reminiscent of Liar and readers who enjoy an unsympathetic main character–whether to root for them or to watch them fail.

Possible Pairings: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Liar by Justine Larbalestier, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, Don’t You Trust Me? by Patrice Kindl, Consent by Nancy Ohlin, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, Wink, Poppy, Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

*An advance copy of this title was acquired from the publisher at BEA 2016*

Labyrinth Lost: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida CordovaAlex is the most powerful bruja her family has seen in generations. Her mother and sisters are thrilled when Alex’s powers manifest. But Alex knows that magic always has a cost and she’s unwilling to risk her family after already losing her father to wayward magic years ago.

Determined to rid herself of her magic before anyone else gets hurt, Alex turns to the family Book of Cantos for a spell to use on her Death Day–before she accepts the blessings of her family’s dead spirits and truly comes into her powers.

When Alex’s spell to get rid of her magic backfires and her family disappears from their Brooklyn home, she’ll have to travel to the world of Los Lagos to get them back with help from her best friend Rishi and a strange brujo boy with his own agenda in Labyrinth Lost (2016) by Zoraida Córdova.

Find it on Bookshop.

Labyrinth Lost is the start to Córdova’s new Brooklyn Brujas series.

Córdova borrows from elements of santeria and latinx culture to create her own well-realized magic system in this highly enjoyable urban fantasy. Alex is a kickass heroine whose love for her family leads to near-catastrophe as her magic backfires and sends her relatives (living and dead) to Los Lagos.

Alex remains proactive and wastes no time wallowing as she bargains with a more knowledgeable (though less powerful) brujo named Nova to bring her across to the magical world of Los Lagos where she has to navigate treacherous lands and travel to the Labyrinth to rescue her family from the Devourer. Rishi, Alex’s best friend, comes along offering moral support, strength, and strategy even though she is uninitiated in bruja ways thanks to Alex’s reluctance to talk about her family to outsiders.

In a world where many things are uncertain, the love and support of Alex’s friends and family remain unconditional and rock solid throughout this novel where family plays a huge role. Alex is a fantastic protagonist who is empowered both as a bruja and a girl as she learns to embrace all aspects of her identity.

Córdova’s evocative writing brings Los Lagos and its otherworldly inhabitants vividly to life. Moments or peril contrast well with Alex’s witty first person narration and a sometimes tense romance as Alex tries to make sense of her growing feelings for Rishi while fighting for her life.

Labyrinth Lost is a fast-paced and atmospheric story filled with action and adventure. A must-read for urban fantasy fans and readers looking for a new coven of witches to join. (Just be ready with your best Resting Witch Face.)

Possible Pairings: Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst, Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno, Nocturna by Maya Motayne, Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older, Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter, Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar, Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, Charmed (TV series)

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration at BEA 2016*

Spontaneous: A Review

Spontaneous by Aaron StarmerMara Carlyle’s class is thrown into chaos when Katelyn Ogden explodes in the middle of third period calculus. After Katelyn’s untimely demise more seniors start blowing up. After suspecting terrorism, suicide, and other sundry conspiracies, the town of Covington soon realizes that the high school seniors are falling victim to spontaneous combustion.

No one knows why it’s happening. No one knows who might be next.

All Mara and her best friend Tess want to do is make it to graduation in one piece. But that might be harder than they think as students keep popping with no obvious pattern or warning. Mara’s senior year is going to have love, friendship, drugs, and even more explosions than the usual high school drama would suggest in Spontaneous (2016) by Aaron Starmer.

Mara’s first-person narration is dark, no-nonsense, and sometimes blatantly insensitive as she tries to make sense of her friends and classmates blowing up. She deals with the stress and the possibility of her own eventual demise with humor and avoidance.

Starmer’s prose is snappy and substantive. Like many critically acclaimed novels, Spontaneous strikes a good balance between philosophical and absurd. Unfortunately, much of the story also feels like it is being spoon-fed to readers with heavy-handed descriptions and plotting.

Spontaneous isn’t the first quasi-literary YA novel to be written by a male author with a female protagonist. It also won’t be the last. Unfortunately, and this speaks to a number of potential flaws in the text, nothing about this book makes it matter that Mara is a girl. She could be anyone from any background. Nothing about her feels distinct or unique, begging the question why is this her story and not the story of one of the other unlucky seniors at Covington High School?

Throughout the novel, Mara keeps readers at a remove both from herself and from the other characters who populate the novel. While possibly a deliberate decision by Starmer, it does little to endear Mara to readers or generate much interest in her story.

Unfortunately an interesting premise and strong writing are not enough to make Spontaneous a compelling story. Spontaneous is a wacky, macabre novel sure to appeal to fans of Grasshopper Jungle.

Possible Pairings: Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes, Going Bovine by Libba Bray, Deadline by Chris Crutcher, Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn, Hellhole by Gina Damico, We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson, Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

*An advance copy of this title was acquired from the publisher at BEA 2016*

Week in Review: October 23

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

This week was my committee’s big training. We presented new books, backlist titles, and one of my committee members facilitated a discussion on diversity as it relates to books, readers advisory, and the library.

The training went really well and we received a lot of positive feedback. Being a committee chair is one of the most rewarding parts of my job and now that this training is done I’m excited to shift gears to planning for the Mock Printz!

If you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my October Reading Tracker.

How was your week?

Top Fives from HarperChildrens’ Spring 2017 Preview #harperpreview

On October 14 I was able to attend my first publisher’s preview for HarperCollins. This felt a bit like arriving and it was fascinating to see their new downtown offices. With new titles from Megan Whalen Turner and Gail Carson Levine (not to mention Goldenhand by Garth Nix which came out this season), it felt a bit like my childhood was coming back in full force. Some micro-trends I spotted: duologies and alternating POV.

missprinttopfivesHere are my Top Fives presented at the preview across all of Harper’s imprints:

Picture Books:

  1. Egg by Kevin Henkes: Described as a graphic novel for preschoolers, this book will be Henkes’ fiftieth. Coming January 2017.
  2. Good Night! Good Night! by Carin Berger: Berger’s signature collage-style illustrations tell the story of rabbits who don’t want to go to sleep. Watch for it in January 2017.
  3. I Do Not Like Al’s Hat by Erin McGill: Herb loves everything about being a magician’s rabbit. Except Al’s hat. Which he hates. So Herb quits and answers an ad to become Sophie’s pet rabbit. Out January 2017.
  4. The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Adam Rex: Rock, Paper, and Scissors travel through the venerable kingdom known as Backyard trying to find worthy opponents. April 2017.
  5. Rulers of the Playground by Joseph Kuefler: Compared to books by Peter Brown and Jon Klassen this is a picture book about learning how to share–and what happens when everyone wants to be king or queen of the playground. Coming April 2017.

Middle Grade:

  1. Joplin, Wishing by Diane Stanley: A New York City girl receives a Delft platter and the girl painted on the platter comes to life (kind of like a genie). Adventure! Magic! Heart! Watch for it in June 2017
  2. Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done: by Andrea Gonzalez and Sophie Hauser: Non-fiction title about girls who code and more.
  3. York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby: First in an epic series pitched as National Treasure meets The Westing Game. The scale of the cipher and a hunt across the city also brings Ready Player One to mind. May 2017.
  4. Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive by Ammi-Joan Paquette: A collection of non-fiction stories. Full color photos and illustrations. The catch? For every two stories that are true, one is a lie. An answer key in the back gives a rundown of what’s true and what isn’t. Described as National Geographic in book form.
  5. Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder: Every year a new child is brought to the island and the eldest is taken away in this story about growing up. Compared to Anne Ursu and Kelly Barnhill. May 2017.
  6. Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood: Story about a girl trying to become a sorceress. A diverse cast and dragon magic! March 2017.

Young Adult:

  1. Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer: Sleeping Beauty style story where a girl goes on a quest to rescue her half-sister. Watch for it in April 2017
  2. Literally by Lucy Keating: A book about a book about falling in love. Anabel is the MC in the new hit YA novel being written by the hot YA author of the moment. She she finds herself falling for an unexpected boy, she goes off script. Stranger Than Fiction meets books by Jenny Han or Stephanie Perkins. Watch for it in April 2017.
  3. Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson: Three teen girls in three different eras (Oklahoma 2065, Oklahoma 1934, England 1919) all connected in this novel that is all about connection. Coming April 2017.
  4. By Your Side by Kasie West: What happens when the Good Girl gets locked in the school library for the long weekend with the Bad Boy? Coming January 2017.
  5. A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White: YA novel about the first woman drafted to MLB as a pitcher. If it sounds like Pitch, that’s because it’s really similar! “Gets you in the feminist feels.” From the author of the president’s daughter series. Out February 2017.
  6. American Street by Ibi Zoboi: Zoboi was the keynote speaker for this preview and talked about her inspiration for this novel which follows Fabiola, a teen girl who has emigrated from Haiti only to find her new life in Detroit isn’t everything promised by the American Dream. February 2017.

Iron Cast: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Iron Cast by Destiny SoriaIn 1919 Boston Prohibition is on the verge of making alcohol illegal and hemopathy shows are officially against the law. Thanks to a blood condition hemopaths can perform a variety of illusions through poetry, painting, or music. While it is not illegal to be a hemopath, it is deemed dangerous to regular society and highly restricted.

Best friends Corinne Wells and Ada Navarra have called Johnny Dervish’s club, the Cast Iron, home for years blending their respective talents as a wordsmith and a songsmith both on stage and in cons meant to rustle up enough money to keep the club open.

After a routine job goes awry, Ada is imprisoned in Haversham Asylum, a hemopath prison with dark secrets and dangerous implications for its hemopath inmates. Ada’s escape from Haversham sets off a series of events leaving two Cast Iron workers dead and Dervish in the wind.

With only each other and their talents as hemopaths and con-women to rely on, Ada and Corinne will have to confront uncomfortable truths about Johnny, the Cast Iron, and themselves if they want to keep their freedom in Iron Cast (2016) by Destiny Soria.

Find it on Bookshop.

Iron Cast is Soria’s debut novel.

The narration alternates close third person between Corinne and Ada’s perspectives which highlights and contrasts the girls’ vastly different upbringings. (Corinne comes from a high society family, while Ada’s parents are working class immigrants–her mother is from Mozambique and her father is Portuguese.) Ada and Corinne’s differing perspectives on their work with Johnny Dervish and the use of their hemopath talents add nuance to the story.

An atmospheric combination of alternate history and fantasy complete with vivid descriptions of everything from historic Boston locations to complex hemopath illusions make this fast-paced novel incredibly evocative. A diverse cast of flawed and complex characters striving to do better complement the solid female friendship at the core of this story.

Iron Cast is a simultaneously whimsical and chilling blend of mystery and fantasy. Numerous twists, sweet romance, humor, and strong pathos make Iron Cast even more appealing. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, The Diviners by Libba Bray, The Game of Love and Death by Martha A. Brockenbrough, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye, Sorcery and Cecelia by Caroline Stevemer and Patricia C. Wrede, Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

You can also read my interview with Destiny Soria!

*A more condensed version of this review appeared in the December 2016 of School Library Journal as a starred review*

Author Interview: Destiny Soria on Iron Cast

Destiny Soria author photoWhen I heard about Pique Week I knew I wanted to be involved. Amulet has a great season including some of most-anticipated Fall 2016 releases. Iron Cast is a historical fantasy set in 1919 Boston where certain people have a blood condition–known has hemopathy–where they can create illusions with art. This fast-paced mystery is a completely evocative and thrilling read and one of my favorite reads this month. I’m thrilled to have Destiny answering some of my questions for Pique Week!

Miss Print (MP): Can you tell me a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?

Destiny Soria (DS): I’ve been writing ever since I was seven or eight years old. In middle school and high school, I started writing Ella Enchanted fan fiction. Gradually, I worked up the courage to write original stories. I finished a few novels over the years (all of them terrible), but finally the year after I graduated college, I finished a draft of a novel that I was truly proud of. I queried the old fashioned way and after a few months signed with my lovely agent, Taylor. That first manuscript was on submission for a long time, and finally I had to reconcile myself with the fact that it probably wasn’t going to sell. While trying to distract myself from that disappointment, I participated in National Novel Writing Month and hit the 50k goal. That was the first draft of Iron Cast.

MP: What was the inspiration for Iron Cast?

DS: My inspiration came from a variety of different sources. I loved the idea of a magic system based in creativity, and I was obsessed with vintage mugshots of grifters and mobsters from the 1920s. And more than anything, I wanted to write a book about two best friends who meant everything to each other.

MP: In Iron Cast Ada can use her violin (or her voice) as songsmith to make people feel whatever emotions she projects and Corinne can create wordsmith illusions by reciting from poetry or other texts. They are just two types of hemopaths. If you lived in the world of Iron Cast would you want to be a hemopath? If so, what kind?

DS: They have their share of troubles, but who could say no to the mystery and glamor of being a hemopath? I already have an overabundance of poems rattling around in my brain, so I think I’d make a pretty good wordsmith. I’d probably just use my talent to convince people I had a pet dinosaur or something though.

MP: Were any locations in Iron Cast inspired by actual places? What kind of research went into bringing your version of 1919 Boston to life in your novel?

DS: Actually, yes! The Mythic Theatre plays a semi-important role in the novel, and it’s based on an old theatre in my hometown of Birmingham, AL called the Lyric. The theatre was sitting vacant for a long time, and I was always strangely enchanted by its derelict presence. They actually just refurbished and reopened it, which is amazing. As for other research, to be honest, I spent a lot of time just stalking through google maps, trying to make sure I had the location of big landmarks right (I had never been to Boston when I wrote it). I also found a detailed map of Boston from 1917 that was invaluable to me.

MP: Can you tell me anything about your next project? (Any chance of a full Mirror House novel down the line?)

DS: I’m working on a YA fantasy right now. I can’t offer any details at the moment, but hopefully soon!

MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?

DS: Trust your critique partners implicitly. But trust yourself more.

Thanks again to Nicole Brinkley at Pique Beyond for setting this up and thanks to Destiny Soria for answering my questions.

You can see more about Destiny and her books on her website.

You can also check out my review of Iron Cast.

Abrams Books’ launched a new YA website called Pique Beyond! Pique is all about going beyond the book. Not only do they highlight exclusive excerpts and quotes from new and upcoming books, but they peel back the cover and show us the behind-the-scenes stuff: how books are made, what the authors were thinking, and how it all comes together. This week, they’re highlighting all of their newest titles, and let me tell you, they look amazing. Visit the site today at piquebeyond.com or follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @piquebeyond!

Week in Review: October 16

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

This week was busy with meetings at work and my first ever librarian preview at Harper Collins (more on that later). Unfortunately it was such a busy week that I was completely sapped and spent most of the weekend recovering. So it goes!

If you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my October Reading Tracker.

How was your week?