Book Bites-Friday Night Linkage!

It’s been a long work week, so instead of trying to think of something witty to say, I thought it would more interesting to share a few links. 

Oh! Pretty Pictures!

To learn more about how Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan: Storm Born was turned into a comic, check out this MTV article. You can also check out some of the cover illustrations here.  What do you think about the trend of adapting popular novels into comic books?  I like it, and hope that the trend continues. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to read a prose novel, and a comic will satisfy my reading urge.   I am enjoying Storm Born so far, so much that I purchased the eBook.  Now I just need time to read it!

Darkness, Violence, and Depravity – Really??

The interwebz is up in arms because of this article in the WSJ, which accuses YA fiction of being rife with “explicit abuse, violence and depravity.”  (Seriously?? Depravity??") While I agree that YA fiction is tackling far more challenging topics, I strongly disagree with the message Meghan Gurdon is trying so hard to sell.  The world I grew up in wasn’t all sparkles and lollipops.  My parents didn’t raise me with blinkers over my eyes, either.  There are some very ugly things that happen in real life (Casey Anthony, anyone?  Politicians sexting to under-age girls?)  Ignoring the darkness doesn’t make it go away.  Hiding social issues don’t make them disappear.

Here are some rebuttals to Ms. Gurdon’s views on YA fiction:

Jackie Morse Kessler – Making the Darkness Visible

Sherman Alexi – Why the Best Kids Books are Written in Blood

Beth Revis – Why The Wall Street Journal is Wrong about Young Adult Books

Maureen Johnson-Yes, young adult fiction can be dark, but it shows teenagers that they aren’t alone

Sometimes pictures really are worth a 1000 words.

There are a ton of articles – just Google #yasaves if you want more reading material. 

What do you think about “darkness” in YA fiction?  Is there too much?  Are authors pushing the envelope a little too hard?  Or are these books that discuss social issues a road to hope for troubled teens, and an opportunity to open a dialog on topics that shouldn’t be swept under the rug? 


Vacation Reads Reading Challenge!

The summer reading season is here!  Don’t forget to sign up for the Vacation Reads Reading Challenge, which I am co-hosting with Ruby from Ruby’s Reads.  You can win some awesome prizes (to be announced soon!), for something that you are going to do anyway!  Click here for more information.

Review: Dark Swan: Storm Born Vol 2 by Richelle Mead and Grant Alter


Title: Dark Swan: Storm Born Vol 2 by Richelle Mead & Grant Alter

Art by Dave Hamann, Colors by Nelson Cosentino De Oliveira

Published by Sea Lion Books

Available at a comic store near you

Oh my gosh!  This installment of Storm Born is like riding a roller coaster.  And not one of those wimpy little coasters you find at a local fair.  No, we are taking major theme park attraction.  Once the ride starts, you don’t know where you’ll end up, but you know that you are in for a thrilling time.  The pacing of the story makes it hard to put down, and the ending ensured that I am interested in finding out what happens next.  It really left me hanging, and I need to know what’s going to happen to Eugenie next!

Eugenie has it tough here.  First, dangerous monsters know her name, and she’s more than a little disturbed that they all seem to want to get into her pants.  Yuck!  Then she finds her dream guy, has the best night of her life, but now she’s not quite sure if he’s human.  Ugh!  She’s supposed to banish these guys, not have sex with them!  Major error in judgment, Eugenie!  Worse yet, she can’t stop thinking about Kiyo, and the scratches on her back are a constant reminder of her misstep.  I want to know what the heck is up with Kiyo!  He’s too hot to be evil!  Right?  No, don’t answer that, I want to find out for myself!

I like the relationship between Eugenie and her mother.  Eugenie knows that her mother is going to be upset when she discovers what her daughter’s up to.  To save them both some grief, she tries to keep it on the down low, but her mom’s not stupid.  She’s been through this before, and she doesn’t like that her daughter puts herself in so much danger.  She hates the worrying, waiting for something awful to happen to her only child.  Eugenie is far too stubborn and head-strong to back away from what she feels is right, though, which leads to a lot of tension between the women.

This second outing with Eugenie provided me with a much needed distraction after a stressful day at work.  Eugenie’s a fun character; she’s tough and capable, and she doesn’t need anyone to take care of her.  She’s ready to dive into almost any situation with both fists swinging.  She’s also confident and self-assured, and her ability to think and then act quickly totally saves her bacon time and again.  I wonder, though, if she’s not a little too brash, and think that maybe she’s opened up a big ole can of worms that is going to quickly wiggle out of control.

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Unlocked by Courtney Milan (eNovella)


Title: Unlocked

Author: Courtney Milan

Publisher: Amazon Digital

Reading Level: 18+


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

A perpetual wallflower destined for spinsterhood, Lady Elaine Warren is resigned to her position in society. So when Evan Carlton, the powerful, popular Earl of Westfeld, singles her out upon his return to England, she knows what it means. Her former tormenter is up to his old tricks, and she’s his intended victim. This time, though, the earl is going to discover that wallflowers can fight back.
Evan has come to regret his cruel, callow past. At first, he only wants to make up for past wrongs. But when Elaine throws his initial apology in his face, he finds himself wanting more. And this time, what torments him might be love…
Unlocked is a novella of 28,000 words (about 111 pages).


When I saw both Jane from Dear Author and Sarah from Smart Bitches raving about this ebook, I decided to give it a read.  A novella, the purchase price is only 99 cents.  It was a rainy Saturday afternoon, my trip to the zoo had been canceled, so I thought – what the heck.  There are certainly worse ways to spend time than discovering new books and authors to enjoy.

Despite it’s short length of just over 100 pages, Unlocked does a great job setting the groundwork for a powerful and surprisingly emotional read.  I am not embarrassed to admit that it had me sobbing at one point, when Evan publically apologizes to Elaine for his horrible and hurtful behavior, and asks for her forgiveness.  While I don’t know that I could have forgiven him for condemning me to over ten years of misery, I certainly believed that he was remorseful, and I wanted to forgive him.  Elaine is too wounded and distrustful at this point to accept his apology, and she still thinks that maybe, just maybe, he is only doing this to set her up for another fall.  The Evan of the past was a complete cad, so her reluctance is more than understandable.

I loved the raw emotions that this story explored.  Elaine is a complex character who has had to deal with being publicity snubbed and mocked for a decade.  Her first season, which is supposed to be a celebration of attaining adulthood, was a nightmare of ridicule and humiliation.  All because Evan didn’t have the courage to be true to himself.  Once the mockery begins, there is no end to it, and every little thing about Elaine and her mother are picked apart and put under public scrutiny.  Elaine’s mother is a genius, given to enthusiastic discourse about comets and mathematics.  As most of her peers possessed the intelligence of a rock, her mother, too, was singled out for public mockery.  This relationship felt so real to me; while Elaine loved her mother dearly, there were times when she also hated how oblivious she was to their social circumstances.  For as brilliant as her mother was, she was socially inept.

Evan has returned to England after the death of his father, and he dreads falling back into the old routine of frivolous parties and gatherings.  He hopes desperately that things have changed in the last ten years, that his odious behavior had been forgotten.  Accompanied by his cousin, Diana, he discovers much to his dismay that little has changed,  and Lady Elaine is still burdened with his cruel nickname – Lady Equine.  Diana takes malicious delight making Elaine’s public life miserable, and she expects Evan to jump right back on the bullying wagon that he once steered so skillfully.  Only Evan doesn’t want to play anymore.  Evan has grown up.  Evan has discovered what a horrendous mistake he has made, and instead begs for Elaine’s forgiveness.

I liked that Elaine didn’t instantly forgive Evan for his brutish behavior.  I liked that she eyed his proclamations with suspicion.  I liked that she made him work for his redemption.  What I didn’t like was that she never told Diana to bugger off, polite society or no.

This is one of the first novellas that I have read, and I enjoyed it very much.  There was more depth than I expected, and the HEA was satisfying.  I believed that Elaine had forgiven Evan for tormenting her that one, dreadful season.  I believed that Evan was truly remorseful.  I also believed that while they both love each other, there will still be trust issues that they need to address, and that Elaine’s love wasn’t given blindly.  The only reason I didn’t give this story an A is because Diana never got the kick in the pants that she so dearly deserved.

Grade: B+

Review copy purchased from Amazon