Thursday, April 26, 2018

Cold Bath Street by A.J. Hartley

I will be honest: stories that dip into horror are not my thing, but AJ Hartley is one of my favorite authors, so I decided to read this. It wasn't easy getting a copy. When I first tried, the book was not even listed on amazon (now listed, but currently sold out, as the book has gone into a second printing.), and unheard of by other booksellers. I finally tracked a copy down through Book Depository (fantastic service and free shipping to the US from UK). Was it worth it? You betcha!

Preston Oldcort's nightmare returned. The Bannister Doll, with all its ghostly horror had come after him, and he finds himself flat out on the sidewalk, waking from the terror-- only to find that it is true, and he is dead, trapped in an in-between place, where the all the horrors of the ghost world  are real.

AJ Hartley set this book in his hometown, and uses the setting, including the local legends and stories to full advantage. AS I said, horror isn't my genre of choice, but a well-told ghost story is terrific. And this is a good tale. (Plus the cover is maybe one of my all-time favorites. You have to see it in person to understand the true nature of it, though I did put up a video over at Instagram.

2018-read, a-favorite-author, great-cover, made-me-look-something-up, met-or-know-the-author, not-my-usual-read, read, ya-lit

Publisher blurb:
Preston Oldcorn is in a desolate void between life and death. In order to save his soul he must brave his greatest fear - Cold Bath Street. A gothic thriller - think Hunger Games crossed with Artemis Fowl - that will keep you gripped to the end. Stunning black and white illustrations throughout.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz

Listen up all you school librarians and parents of middle school age readers: This is a beautiful book for middle schoolers. It taught me so much about a culture of which I know very little. The world can be a scary place, and bad things can happen to those we love. Yet friends can help us through those tough times and even in finding solutions. It reminds me, yet again, why one of my favorite quotes is from Aesop: No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Thanks to Nora, and Marie Miranda Cruz, I now know more about the cemetery culture/community in the Philippines.

I received my copy from Tor Books. Sorry it took me so long to write my thoughts. Nora is a great character for the target audience. There's a great balance of threat and positive resolution, while also tackling some issues that exist in many cultures.

Tags: tor, 2018-read, first-novel-or-book, taught-me-something, thought-provoking, kids-of-most-ages, made-me-look-something-up, made-me-think, advanced-reader-copy

From the publisher:
An uplifting middle-grade debut about perseverance against all odds, Marie Miranda Cruz's debut Everlasting Nora follows the story of a young girl living in the real-life shanty town inside the Philippines' North Manila Cemetery.

After a family tragedy results in the loss of both father and home, 12-year-old Nora lives with her mother in Manila's North Cemetery, which is the largest shanty town of its kind in the Philippines today.

When her mother disappears mysteriously one day, Nora is left alone.

With help from her best friend Jojo and the support of his kindhearted grandmother, Nora embarks on a journey riddled with danger in order to find her mom. Along the way she also rediscovers the compassion of the human spirit, the resilience of her community, and everlasting hope in the most unexpected places.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Thoughts on two books by Margaret Killjoy

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion (Danielle Cain #1)

I think I've found a new author to add to my favorites list. I'm not much of a traditional horror fan, but Killjoy didn't write a traditional horror story. For starters, the main character is homeless, queer, punk traveller, who comes to an anarchist squatter settlement in Freedom, Iowa, in search of answers as to why her best friend killed himself after leaving there. The semi-utopia she finds in Freedom has some deeper darkness below the surface: power struggles, magic, and a demonic bloodred deer with three antlers. All wrapped up in some pretty decent writing. Even better, there's a sequel. Yay!

The Barrow Will Send What it May (Danielle Cain #2)

After I devoured The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion I was really excited to read another novella by Margaret Killjoy, featuring the punk, queer, homeless, anarchist Danielle Cain, fresh on the road with companions from Freedom, Iowa. They're headed out into the world with the loose idea of fighting demons. Their journey takes them to a small town things are not exactly right. For starters, there are a couple of people who have returned from the dead, and occultists running the library. As with the first in this series, I really enjoyed Killjoy's style, and am hoping for more in this series.

I received both books courtesy of Tor Books, as part of a care package to to keep me from going stir crazy while healing from a broken patella. It made falling and breaking myself almost worth it.

Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride

Sarah McBride is an amazing woman, a powerhouse in the fight for trans equality. Her own story is beautifully told in Tomorrow Will Be Different. Sarah is honest, forthright, and informative in recounting her journey to bring her from the gender identified at birth to her true gender as female. Because of her political activism, a passion from a young age that grew into a career, Sarah has also had the opportunity to support and fight for gender equality and supportive legislation in Washington DC, her home state of Delaware, and elsewhere in the US. Her fight for equality also brought Andy, a trans man into her life. Their time together was brief, cut short by cancer, but clearly these two remarkable people had something very special. And clearly, the work that the two of them each did to lay the foundations for a world where transgender individuals are safe, respected, supported, and truly equal is incredibly important. It is more than most of us do in a lifetime. Sarah did it before she turned 26. And she hasn't stopped.

Thank you, Sarah. I am in awe of your accomplishments. Thank you for sharing so beautifully the story of your journey and for allowing us to come along. You give me hope.

Thank you to blogging for books for sending me this copy. Sadly this program is ending, but at least I get to go out on a high note with this amazing memoir.