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review 2016-10-16 00:34
The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater I just finished this. I like the plot alright. I really like Sean and George and Puck (in that order) and the relationship between Sean and Puck, and Sean and George (in that order). Sometimes i liked the writing, but more often i thought it was confusing. I don't think i like how it ended. It didn't seem right to me, but i don't want to spoil it, so i won't say any more. Mostly, i'm angry with Maggie Stiefvater because she can't make up her mind on how to pronounce "capaill uisce". I'm reading the book and i keep coming across this phrase and i don't know how to pronounce it, but i'm patient, so i keep reading. And i keep reading. And i keep reading. And i keep reading. (Surely, she's going to enlighten me any page now...) Finally, i ask Forvo how the heck to pronounce this phrase because, up 'til this point, i'd been pronouncing it my own way (which was wrong). And then i reach page 83 and she finally tells us that it's pronounced "copple ooshka". Page eighty-three, though? Really? It'd be better for her to not tell readers how to pronounce it at all if she's going to wait that long to tell us. By page 83, i imagine most readers will have already chosen their own way to pronounce it. So, i was ticked off with her about that and then i read some of the extra stuff in the back. On page 406, she tells us it's pronounced "CAPple ISHka" which is definitely different than "copple ooshka". Then, on page 418, she writes "As Sean tells George Holly, 'copple ishka'". No, Maggie, Sean told George "copple OOshka". Make up your mind. (And, technically, Sean didn't "tell" George that; that's just how we're told that George pronounced it.) Also, she waited a heck of a long time to tell us in what way "fate hasn't given [Puck] much of a choice". For quite a while, i didn't understand what on Earth Puck expected to gain from joining this race. She did eventually reveal that (on page 105 and later, when she gained another reason), but i had a hard time connecting with her or rooting for her because i didn't understand why she would risk her life the way she did. Okay, my rant's over now. Basically, the characters were what i liked most about "The Scorpio Races" and Maggie Stiefvater is what i liked least. Haha. *Review written on July 11, 2014.*
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text 2016-08-26 16:36
JOINT POST: MR and OB Talk "Fall" Into a Good Book
September - Rosamunde Pilcher
The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater
Angelfall - Susan Ee
A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness

So I absolutely cracked up during some of the brainstorming sessions I had with Moonlight Reader regarding the squares.

Believe me, we wanted to put a ton more in and we swapped some out. I am glad that we stuck with "Fall" into a good book though.

As we have discussed on the discussion boards for Book Bingos, "Fall" into a good book can mean the book takes place during the Fall, that the word "Fall" is in the title. I even went so far as saying that a character could take a great fall (a la Alice in Wonderland) but I am still waiting on a ruling from my partner on that one.

 

Here are some suggestions for you!

 

Moonlight Murder

 

Moonlight MurderMoonlight MurderSo, "Fall" into a good book is full of possibilities! Here are 3 suggestions for everyone:

1. September by Rosamunde Pilcher: This is for the romance/women's fic readers among us. Pilcher writes sprawling family sagas set in England/Scotland, and this book is entirely non-scary. However, the entire book is built around a family in Scotland that is getting ready for a big party in September, so in my opinion, it definitely qualifies for the square!

2. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: This is one of my favorite YA books of all time. It begins in mid-October, when Puck, the main character, decides to race her Island pony Dove in the Scorpio Races, which happen on the first of November, when the blood-thirsty water horses make landfall and the bravest men ride them to victory. If they survive. Puck is the first girl to claim the right to race in the Scorpio Races. This book is remarkable and lyrical, and the relationship between Puck and her pony is tender and lovely. The entire book takes place in the fall, which is why it qualifies for this square.

3. The Fall by Bethany Griffin: I have to admit I have not read this book, so take the recommendation with a grain of salt. It is a YA re-imagining of The Fall of the House of Usher. The reviews are all over the place. Some readers love it, others complain that it is boring.

My planned read, however, is Night in Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny. I was recommended this book by my friend Frank Tuttle (who writes rather lovely books himself, as an aside), and I bought it last year when I found that it had been reissued in print by the Chicago Review Press. The format is interesting - each chapter represents a day in October, and it is my plan to read it as written - one chapter per day, concluding on Halloween.

 

Obsidian Black Death

 

My suggestions for those that are still having some problems.

1. Angelfall (Penryn & The End of Days #1) by Susan E. I noticed that a lot of fellow Booklikers have read and reviewed this book and I was tempted to read this one too for my square, but ended up going with something else instead. It is YA fantasy and paranormal so it definitely fits the overall theme of our bingo.

2. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness. This first book takes place during the Fall term at Oxford. The rest of the book takes place during Fall and particular scenes take place during Halloween for those of you still looking for a book for the Halloween square. Since this book is about vampires and witches (oh my) this will also fit the supernatural square as well. I really loved the first book in the series so I always recommend it to other people.

3. Darkness Falls (Darkness Falls #1) by Jessica Sorensen. I ended up choosing this book for this square. I see that it had some good reviews on Goodreads, and I wanted to read something I had not read before as much as possible for the Halloween Bingo.

 

Prior joint posts:

 

Magical Realism

Supernatural

Locked Room Mystery

Mystery

Diverse Authors

 

And tomorrow's post is scheduled to be "It was a dark and stormy night". Stay tuned!

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review 2016-05-06 12:56
I LOVED This Book!!!
The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater

What a breath taking story. This lyrical work of art (Yes i said it!!) touched my soul, like no other book has before. The Scorpio Races is heartbreaking, bittersweet, cruel and yet, tender and beautiful.

The waterhorses were magical in there ferocity. I grew up on horses so it wasn't hard for me to imagine this incredible world, even if normal horses aren't man-eaters! lol. Though I imagine someone who doesn't know horse-jargon might be a little confused, to me it just made this story so much more.

My words are truly inadequate to explain how wonderful this book story was and how thankful I am to Stiefvater for writing it.

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url 2016-03-31 13:16
Young Adult Adaptations That Will Become Successful

As the release dates for the adaptations of the final books in The Maze Runner series and the Divergent trilogy approach, people are hungry for the successor to the young adult franchise throne. After The 5th Wave movie adaptation yielded less than expected in the box office, some film analysts have written that no YA adaptation could truly follow in the footsteps of The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Harry Potter and that the young adult adaptation market was dead.

It's not.

(Will future films ever reach the level of success that those "Big 3" did? I don't know that anyone can make a prediction of that magnitude, but films like Divergent, Maze Runner, The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay, Paper Towns, etc. were still considered successful even without becoming a "Big 3." And I do think that future films have, at least, the potential to reach that level of success.)

Most of the aforementioned articles, though intended to analyze the future success of the YA adaptation market, fail to take into account the perspective of its target audience, avid fans of young adult books. While they may not live up to the massive success of Harry Potter, these adaptations have the potential to do well and have even caught the attention of Hollywood studios.

Here's to hoping that they're greenlit soon.

 

 

1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Every November on the fictional island of Thisby, its inhabitants compete in a dangerous race riding legendary, deadly water horses.

Movies like War Horse (also an adaptation) and Seabiscuit prove that there are plenty of filmgoers who find stories focusing on horses compelling. Like Stiefvater's writing, the story premise has a cinematic quality, and may appeal to fans of The Hunger Games who don't necessarily want another dystopian tale but appreciate the danger inherent to The Scorpio Races. Stiefvater would appeal to Hollywood backers looking for an already established fandom; she has sold millions of copies of her books and maintains an active online presence. As for merchandise, which has typically been associated with several YA films, I can picture water horse stuffed animals and the ribbons that riders wear sold alongside the t-shirts and artwork that would accompany any film. Stiefvater has also posted a recipe for November cakes, a treat written into the culture of Thisby.

Status: In September 2015, Focus Features announced that Matt Sobel would direct The Scorpio Races based off the screenplay written by Jack Thorne.

2. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani: Two best friends are kidnapped to attend the legendary School for Good and Evil, which trains its ordinary students to become fairy tale heroes and villains.

Technically, The School for Good and Evil is middle grade, not young adult, but it should still appeal to YA fans, especially given its premise. The success of series like Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles and Sarah Maas' A Court of Thorns and Roses prove that the young adult market remains interested in fresh spins on fairy tales while popular TV shows like ABC's Once Upon a Time (now in its sixth season) highlight the interest of a mainstream adult audience. The School for Good and Evil also has its own legion of fans: in a promotional article for the trilogy's conclusion, which was published in July 2015, Publisher's Weekly reported that over 500,000 copies had been sold worldwide. Soman Chainani hosts an online Youtube show, Ever Never TV, to promote the books and interact with his fans.

Status: Universal Studios optioned The School for Good and Evil, but as Chainani wrote on his website this past January, the script is currently being rewritten.

3. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson: A girl follows travel instructions written in envelopes from her dead aunt, which she must open one by one, and backpacks through Europe without a cell phone or guidebook.

I was in eighth grade when the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants adaptation was released, and I can still remember my excitement. Capturing a similar adventurous summer feel, 13 Little Blue Envelopes is in the unique position as a YA contemporary novel of appealing to fans who don't want another teary If I Stay or The Fault in Our Stars but who liked the recent journey-focused story in Paper Towns. Fans of 13 Little Blue Envelopes will love watching the characters come to life onscreen while a wider audience, unfamiliar with the novel's contents, will be caught in the suspense of not knowing what instructions the next envelope would contain. All moviegoers can imagine what adventure they would plan or take with their own set of envelopes. As one of the early YA writers and a close friend of YA author celebrity John Green, Maureen Johnson has a significant fanbase that should also draw Hollywood's attention.

Status: In conjunction with New Line Cinema, Alloy Entertainment purchased the rights to develop 13 Little Blue Envelopes as a feature film in April 2015.

4. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: A girl no longer remembers the tragedy that happened at her family's summer home but seeks to discover the truth behind all the lies.

The rich setting -- a private island off the coast of Massachusetts -- calls to mind the previously successful adaptation of Gossip Girl and the notoriety of the Hamptons and Martha's Vineyard. Slipping into the lives of the wealthy Sinclairs enables a kind of escapist fantasy even as the truth and the main character's confusion lend a heartbreaking edge to the suspense of what happened two summers ago. Random House came up with a catchy slogan to encompass the fanbase: if anyone asks you how the book ends, just LIE. Like Maureen Johnson, E. Lockhart is a well-established YA author and friends with John Green, whose blurb on the first edition proclaims that We Were Liars is "utterly unforgettable."

Status: Imperative Entertainment hired Stephanie Shannon to write the screenplay in April 2015.

Bonus: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, The Fever by Megan Abbott, This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, The Young Elites by Marie Lu, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle, and Just One Day/Year by Gayle Forman are also movie and tv adaptations widely held as promising.

(Ask me more about these, and I'll tell you why ;)).

Bonus (X2): Set for 2016 releases, the tearjerker A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, fan-favorite Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling, and star-studded Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs look like promising adaptations as well. And this year we can prove to all the naysayers of YA and YA films that no, they are not dead even if they don't reach the "Big 3" level of success.

Ah, but now you're asking, "So, Christina, what are you trying to do? Is this a call to action? Is this a letter to studios? Are you updating all of us on the status of these films?"

It sort of is a call to action. I wish studios were listening. Sometimes I think that what gets made into a film, or what's optioned, are things that I can't ever actually imagine playing out on the big screen - like whoever optioned the book wasn't actually envisioning the movie but just keeps hoping for the success of the Big 3.

But I'd like to hope that's not what all the options mean; I'd like to hope that the YA market stays alive and well. I'd like to hope that the movies above will eventually get greenlit, as I think that they particularly would be successful. And I am updating y'all on the status of those adaptations, so that we can all discuss the awesome potential of those adaptations and maybe our collective enthusiasm will push for those books to be made into their respective adaptations. Maybe a studio representative will see this post (ha ha ha), and push for those adaptations as well. Who knows? But above all, I do love to discuss YA books, so let's chat!

Do you think that those adaptations will be successful? What books would you add to the list?

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url 2016-03-30 13:41
Young Adult Magical Realism Recommendations

YA Magical Realism is still a fledging genre, I think. Compared to the YA fantasy and contemporary books that are published each year, it’s a much smaller part of the pie. But as I’ve said before, I’d love to see more YA magical realism. I basically love magical realism because I think in YA, in particular, these kinds of stories take really unexpected turns and can push the boundaries of what YA does. Some people think that magical realism stories are slow-paced and they can be, but for good reason. I’m not an expert, but the magical realism definition according to Wikipedia involves work that “share… an acceptance of magic in the rational world…. Magical realism… refers to literature in particular that portrays magical or unreal elements as a natural part in an otherwise realistic or mundane environment.” According to The Atlantic, when they wrote an obituary for Gabriel Garcia Marquez, they mentioned how his works were “quintessential examples of ‘magic realism’: fiction that integrates elements of fantasy into otherwise realistic settings.” (More magical realism definitions, re: YA magical realism & urban fantasy vs. magical realism).

This is where things get a little hazy for me – because Urban Fantasy often includes magic + contemporary settings, but the feeling of urban fantasy is much different from that of magical realism, though I think both could end up in an urban setting if you wanted. I think that UF is much more likely to include creatures of legends; both can have that dreamy feeling, too, but then I think magical realism focuses more on the individual, the main character and the MC’s unique experience. You can have character-driven urban fantasy, of course, but the actual experiences of the character PoV in magical realism tales are more deeply explored, I think. Hey, for all I know I could be talking out of my ass, but if you’re looking for more YA magical realism books to read, here are some of the ones that I’ve enjoyed reading!

 

 

 

** Chime by Franny Billingsley.

Chime is the story of a girl whose life turns upside down once a new boy comes to her witch-intolerant village swamp, because his presence helps to reveal long-lost secrets. It’s cyclical and beautifully written, and the swamp – here’s another magical realism quality! The setting is almost ALWAYS its own character! Which should happen in most books anyways, but can be critical to magical realism – the swamp is its own character. You get fantastic new magical creatures in the swamp, and Briony’s coming-of-age and sexual awakening are twined together so beautifully in her quest for the truth. Highly recommended! The writing style might throw some people off, but stick with the book and you’ll be so rewarded!

** We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

We Were Liars is the story of a girl who no longer remembers the tragedy that happened at her family's summer home but seeks to discover the truth behind all the lies.. The details of her fifteenth summer at her family's private island elude her, and her family is reluctant to talk about what exactly happened. Her quest for the truth is interspersed with fairy tale like stories about her family and her memories of their summers at their island retreat. It’s a beautifully written suspense story on grief, privilege, family, duty, friendships, and much, much more.

 
(Is WWL technically Magical Realism? Or is it more speculative? It could just be considered contemporary, but given the above definition, I think it still fits into magical realism.)

** The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle.

First off: if you’re a fan of We Were Liars, definitely check out The Accident Season. Set in Ireland, The Accident Season is the story of a family plagued by “accident seasons” – they fall down; they bruise; their bones break. Is everything that happens in The Accident Season truly an accident, or is there something more sinister going on? Like We Were Liars, The Accident Season is beautifully written, full of atmosphere, and it centers on family, grief, truths and more as well.

** Bone Gap by Laura Ruby.

Bone Gap is the story of Rosa, a girl who suddenly appears in Finn’s life and then just as suddenly goes missing, and Finn, a boy who witnesses Rosa getting kidnapped but who isn’t believed in town because everyone thinks he’s weird and maybe a little unstable. The story takes place in a town where again! Setting is its own character. People can go missing in the “gaps” of the town, all the corn fields… What really happened the day that Rosa went missing is up for the both characters to discover. Laura Ruby really does a wonderful job developing the setting and making the people of Bone Gap feel unique to Bone Gap (but also familiar to us). The story does a great job examining the construct of beauty and perception, and is unlike anything I’ve read in YA (despite me lumping it in here with other magical realism books).

** The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma & Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.

The Walls around Us and Imaginary Girls are the two Nova Ren Suma novels that I’ve read, but they definitely won’t be the last. The Walls around Us was described as Orange is the New Black Swan, and I think that’s a perfect description—and yes, the book focuses on girls, jealousies, intimacies, and more. Imaginary Girls is the story of a girl sent away from her sister when she discovers a body in their town’s reservoir. When she returns to her sister, certain secrets will be revealed. Nova Ren Suma writes gorgeous, atmospheric stories that are about and told in the voices of girls, and both of these are no exception to her list of highly recommended reads.

** Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block.

Love in the Time of Global Warming is a YA magical realism post-apocalyptic retelling of The Odyssey told from Penelope’s point of view. Francesca Lia Block’s writing is as always incandescent, proving why she’s one of the founders of YA. Reading this made me want to go back and reread The Odyssey, which I think is always a sign of success for a retelling—rekindling or stirring new interest in the classic.

** The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater & The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.

I don’t even know whether to consider either of these novels magical realism. Some part of me wants to classify The Scorpio Races as a high fantasy because it takes place on a fictional island, and so the society is also modeled after ours but is its own thing. But The Scorpio Races is also written in a way that reminds me of magical realism novels. The Raven Cycle could also be categorized as urban fantasy or just fantasy, but looking at the definition for magical realism, hey, the series could fit too. Plus part of that dreamy atmosphere, again, makes me think of magical realism novels. Oh, genre categories.

Every November on the fictional island of Thisby, its inhabitants compete in a dangerous race riding legendary, deadly water horses. The Scorpio Races is a standalone filled with magic, adventure, and romance—and is unlike anything I’ve read in YA. The Raven Cycle is a tad harder to describe. One of the main characters, Blue, has been told all her life that if she kisses her true love, he will die. It’s implied that Gansey is her true love, and she ends up getting caught in Gansey’s quest to find Glendower, a mythical sleeping Welsh King who’s supposed to grant a wish to whoever wakes him up. A very bare bones sort of intro summary—but anyway, the books have multi-layered, complex characters, unpredictable, complicated plots… magic, adventure, atmosphere, romance. I talk on and on about these books, so get to reading them if you haven’t already!

Those are my YA magical realism novel recommendations. One I’m looking forward to reading this year is A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry, which made my 2016 YA Debuts on my TBR list. Let me know if you’ve got any other recs! Have you read any of the books I recommended? Is magical realism your “thing”?
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