Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Review: Adultolescence by Gabbie Hanna

About the Book

Adultolescence by Gabbie Hanna
Published by Atria/Keywords Press on September 19, 2017

Neither the author nor the publisher requested this review.

GoodReads Description

Comedian Gabbie Hanna brings levity to the twists and turns of modern adulthood in this exhilarating debut collection of illustrated poetry.

In poems ranging from the singsong rhythms of children’s verses to a sophisticated confessional style, Gabbie explores what it means to feel like a kid and an adult all at once, revealing her own longings, obsessions, and insecurities along the way. Adultolescence announces the arrival of a brilliant new voice with a magical ability to connect through alienation, cut to the profound with internet slang, and detonate wickedly funny jokes between moments of existential dread. You’ll turn to the last page because you get her, and you’ll return to the first because she gets you.

My Thoughts

So far, Adultolescence claims the travelling trophy for "Hardest Book to Review in 2018."  There were parts that made me laugh and cry.  There were parts that hit so close to home it was unreal.  And then there was the grammar...ouch.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I understand that this is a book of poetry and that poetry doesn't have to be formatted the same way as prose.  HOWEVER I had a really hard time with all of the use of text speech.  "rn" and "bc" really annoyed me after a while.  The most frustrating part, though, was that the personal pronoun "I" was never capitalized.  I understand that overall her abhorrent use of grammar and her lack of capitalization was an artistic choice.  What I don't understand is how she can pen so many poems that talk about individuality and the importance of being yourself, but SHE DOESN'T FREAKING CAPITALIZE THE I.  When I teach this concept to my students, I tell them that we capitalize it because they matter.  I specifically make them say "I capitalize I because I matter."  I want them to develop positive self-thoughts and to develop as independent individuals.  How can someone who claims to do so ignore the capitalization here?  Alternatively, how am I that anal?  (I'm curious, tell me in the comments...)

This book is chock full of comical moments.  The illustrations are delightful and truly do a terrific job of sending home Hanna's messages.  There are a variety of overarching themes, and I believe that all of them would be beneficial to high school students.  I am not sure that I would choose to buy it for my classroom library, mainly because curse words are common and there is talk of getting drunk and hangovers.  In my school, these are not community standard.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  I think Hanna intended it more for college students, but I most definitely believe that high school students will be able to relate to parts of it as well.

My Rating

Monday, March 19, 2018

Promo Post! Galatine's Curse by T.J. Green

Galatine’s Curse
T.J. Green
(Tom’s Arthurian Legacy, #3)
Publication date: March 20th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
An ancient sword. A dark secret. A new enemy.
In the third book in the series, Tom has established a new life in the Otherworld, a life he loves. He lives with Arthur in New Camelot, and Arthur is hosting a tournament. Eager to test his sword-fighting skills, Tom’s competing. But while the games are being played, his friends are attacked and everything he loves is threatened. Tom has to find the intruder before anyone else gets hurt.
Tom’s sword, Galatine, seems to be the focus of these attacks. Their investigations uncover Galatine’s dark history and a terrible betrayal that a family has kept secret for generations. But this secret now puts others at risk, including Tom, and he realises that he could lose everything unless he can solve the mystery of his sword’s past.
Galatine’s Curse is the third book in the YA Arthurian fantasy series, Tom’s Arthurian Legacy. If you enjoy magic and mystery, a strong group of characters and Arthurian fantasy, then you’ll love this action-filled adventure.
Buy Galatine’s Curse for your thrilling new fantasy adventure today!
They shuffled towards the light, and Tom gasped. The passage had opened out, and they were on a narrow shelf, looking out across a large cave that twinkled with a faint blue glow. Far below them was a lake lit from beneath, reminding Tom of Ceridwen’s Cauldron.
“Where’s the light coming from?” Tom asked, as he craned round to look at the cave. It was almost circular, and although the lake was a long way down, the roof seemed far above them too.
“Great Goddess!” Nimue murmured. “It must be coming from daystar sapphires.” She pointed. “There are hundreds set into the cavern walls.”
“What are those? I’ve never heard of them,” Brenna said.
“Very rare stones with strong magical properties,” Nimue replied. “Only those who practise magic use them, and they’re very hard to get.” She gazed around with wonder.
“And yet Raghnall seems to have had his own enormous supply,” Arthur said.
“I wonder,” Merlin said, “could they have been used in Filtiarn’s spell?”
A narrow walkway ran off to their right before petering out, and Merlin felt his way along, heading towards where a smattering of stones came within reach.
“Maybe,” Nimue murmured, deep in thought. “They have the ability to enhance any spell, but the power actually makes them dangerous. I have never used them, even when I had some. If they’re used incorrectly, they can cause what I can only describe as a magical explosion.”
“That’s a long way down,” Bloodmoon said, peering over the edge. He picked up a stone and dropped it. It was several seconds before they heard a faint splash. “I think there’s something down there.”
“Like what?” Tom said, alarmed.
Beansprout dropped to her knees, better to look over the edge. “Can you see that black shape against the blue? It looks like it’s circling around.”
“It’s getting bigger,” Woodsmoke said. “Is that because it’s getting closer?” He looked at Bloodmoon, annoyed. “Have you woken something?”
“I only dropped a stone in!” he said, indignant. “Whatever it is, it’s a long way down. You worry too much, Woodsmoke!”
Before anyone else could comment there was an enormous splash and the black shape emerged from the water, silhouetted against the blue. The shape kept coming, and then a spurt of fire emerged from the blackness, followed by the familiar roar of a dragon.
“It’s a bloody great dragon,” Arthur yelled, pulling Excalibur free with a hiss. “Run!”
But Merlin was still at the end of the ledge, examining the stones.
“Merlin, get a bloody move on!” Arthur yelled, preparing to fight as they stood mesmerised by the dragon’s approach.
And suddenly Tom was aware of Galatine, trembling, its hilt warm to the touch. “How can it live in water?” he shouted as he pulled Galatine free, its opals now swirling furiously.
“Water dragon,” Nimue yelled above the roar, “very vicious, and territorial.”
A blinding white light emitted from her hands, held palms forward, forming a wall in front of them just as the dragon drew level and released another stream of fire.
They instinctively ducked, but the shield held, turning into a wall of flame as the fire hit it. Beyond, the dragon flapped its enormous wings and fixed them with a vicious stare before flying round to circle back, its huge wing span creating a rush of air.
“Wow!” Tom said, rising to his feet and looking with new appreciation at Nimue.
Merlin stumbled, and Arthur ran to him, helping him to his feet. Woodsmoke and Bloodmoon had already drawn their arrows in case the shield failed.
“Get a move on, Merlin,” Nimue commanded icily. She turned to Beansprout. “Join your hand to mine, and hold your other hand out, like me.”
Without hesitating, Beansprout did as she asked, and Tom saw her stiffen as a wave of power travelled through her, strengthening the shield.
Tom watched the dragon turn back towards them, dripping with phosphorescent water, like a sheen of blue fire racing along its wings and dripping down its jaw. It was magnificent and terrifying all at the same time.

Author Bio:
T J Green was born in England, but moved to New Zealand 10 years ago. She currently lives near Wellington with her partner and her cats Sacha and Leia. When not writing she does lots of reading, gardening and yoga.
In a previous life she's been a singer in a band, and has done some acting with a theatre company - both of which were lots of fun. On occasions she and a few friends make short films, which begs the question, where are the book trailers? Thinking on it ...
Tom's Inheritance is TJ Green's first book in the series Tom’s Arthurian Legacy, the sequel Twice Born was released in February 2017. Galatine’s Curse, book 3, will be released in March 2018. She is also working on a few short stories which further expand the world of Tom in the Other.
Her new project is an urban fantasy series about witches.


Friday, March 16, 2018

What Inspires Natasha Lane? An Author Interview

Welcome to my stop on Natasha Lane's tour!  I haven't had the opportunity to read this book quite yet, but I'm definitely planning to!  It sounds so amazing and I'm so excited to share it with you!

About the Book

When Sarah was four, she promised her mother she would be a good girl -- a proper young lady in their small country town -- and that she would ignore the creatures who appeared to her and whispered in her ear of things unknown. But like all creatures of myth and legend, they won’t be ignored forever.

Now thirteen, Sarah is attacked by a wolf with poisonous black fur and strange, human-looking eyes. With the help of a few unexpected friends, she manages to survive the attack but soon discovers the creatures have returned. They want Sarah to find a powerful gemstone and bring it to them in Lyrica, their magical homeworld.

Her new friends urge caution, however. There may be more monsters like the black wolf. And the creatures themselves are frightening. Can Sarah trust them? Stuck between reality and imagination, her mother’s wishes and her own desires, Sarah faces an impossible choice – break her promise or do nothing to save a world in peril.

A Chat with Natasha Lane

Ms. J: What motivated you to start writing?

Natasha Lane: I don’t think there was really any one thing that motivated me. I always enjoyed reading and I think that love of reading just transitioned into a love of writing, as well. I know that when I was in my teens and even today, actually, writing acted as an outlet for me. I could freely express myself, all of me, in writing which is probably one of the reasons I kept so many diaries. So, I guess reading was a way for me to escape, while writing was - is- a way for me to express myself and fight back against anything that tried to suppress me.

Name the first book that made you cry.

The first book? Okay, that’s a hard one because I’ve read so many books over the years. But, if I had to pick, I’d say She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. It may not be the first book that made me cry but it is one of the books that did. I was older than thirteen when I read the book but once a chubby kid, always a chubby kid. I still had those self-esteem issues and I still recognized my own struggles with self-love and weight. So, when I was reading about Dolores, it was like I was reading about myself.

Describe your favorite book from your childhood.

If we’re talking about young childhood, I’d have to pick The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. I had the special cover where the fish was raised up, so you could smooth your hands over its scales and it was just covered in glitter. Basically, candy for a crazy, artistic kid like me. I also liked that the Rainbow Fish was selfless and cared more about making her friends happy.

What are some of the themes you often include in your stories?

Like most people, I’m a sucker for a good underdog story. I enjoy taking characters that aren’t exactly extraordinary or they may even be a little messed up and putting them in situations where they get to shine. I try to emphasize the importance of founded families, friendship, kindness, willpower, self-love and courage. To name a few.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

I think for some people it is. It’s spiritual for me but only to a certain extent, depending on how you define spiritual. I think, for me, writing is more of a therapeutic practice. It helps me clear things up that I can’t really make sense of otherwise. Sometimes when I go back and read my writing rants, everything just comes in clearer.

Name a book that has had a significant impact on your writing.

1984 by George Orwell. I didn’t like every book that was required reading in high school but 1984 is an exception. The book was one of my first sci-fi, dystopian reads but what really got me about it (besides the the basic concept and world building) was the ending. Up until then, I had never read a book where there wasn’t a happy ending. 1984 reminded me that stories don’t have to have happy endings to be good.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes! It is so real. I don’t get it often but when I do it hits me hard. Usually, if I’ve stretched myself too far, like there are too many tasks on my to-do lists, my brain shuts down. I think it’s my body’s way of telling me “No more writing until you relax!”

What does literary success look like to you? 

Obviously, being able to live off my writing, at least in part, would be great. However, what matters most to me is that I spark something in readers like the books I read sparked feelings in me. Hopefully, all those feelings are positive but just to cause a reaction in readers, to get them to think, to question and to rile them up, would be success to me.

About the Author

Natasha D. Lane is a friend of most things caffeinated, a lover of books, and a writing warrior to her core. As a big believer in the idea that “the pen is mightier than the sword,” she graduated from Juniata College in 2015 with hopes of becoming a journalist. While she still holds on to that dream, after spending some time in the corporate world and then completing a year of service, she decided it was time to return to publishing. Her first fantasy novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” is one of several works she plans on completing. If there were a single piece of advice Natasha could give to young writers, it’d be this: Write your way through life.