This Week’s New and Notable YA and MG Releases – September 18

Here are some new and notable YA & MG releases for the week:

Adaptation by Malinda Lo

What’s Left of Me: The Hybrid Chronicles, Book One by Kat Zhang

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Butter by Erin Jade Lange

The Crown of Embers (Girl of Fire and Thorns) by  Rae Carson

Cursed by Jennifer Armentrout

The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox

Glass Heart by Amy Garvey

Homesick  by Kate Klise

Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Safekeeping by Karen Hesse

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

The Time-Traveling Fashionista at the Palace of Marie Antoinette by Bianca Turetsky

Are any of these on your wish list? Can you recommend any?

Review: Graphic Biographies: Steve Jobs

 

Title: Steve Jobs Graphic Biography (Saddleback’s Graphic Biographies)

Publisher:  Saddleback

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Fast-paced and easy-to-read, these softcover 25-page graphic biographies teach students about historical figures: those who lead us into new territory; pursued scientific discoveries; battled injustice and prejudice; and broke down creative and artistic barriers. These biographies offer a variety of rich primary and secondary source material to support teaching to the standards.
Using the graphics, students can activate prior knowledge–bridge what they already know with what they have yet to learn. Graphically illustrated biographies also teach inference skills, character development, dialogue, transitions, and drawing conclusions. Graphic biographies in the classroom provide an intervention with proven success for the struggling reader.


Review:

When I first received this review book, I wasn’t impressed.  At 25 pages, it seemed skimpy, and I didn’t think a graphic novel about Steve Jobs would hold my attention, even at such a low page count.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  If you know me, you know how much I love gadgets, most of which Steve Jobs was directly responsible for.  He had such a vision of what technology would and should be, and he had the drive to make his ideas transform the world.  His contributions to technology have touched the lives of almost everyone, and there aren’t many people who can make that claim.  To me, Steve Jobs is a lot like Walt Disney; he saw a void in the entertainment world, and he aggressively moved to fill it, despite set backs and the skepticism of others.  When he passed away last year, I was surprisingly upset, and I was left to wonder what other wonderful ideas he might have had, what other ways he could have changed my world. 

This graphic biography is part of Saddleback’s collection of fast-paced and easy to read glimpses into the lives of famous historical figures.  It’s marketed to struggling learners, and because everyone is aware of Apple products and almost everyone owns at least one, I think that this book will appeal to even the most reluctant of readers.  It would also be appreciated by Middle Grade readers.  It is a very easy to read book, and it is packed with the highlights and even the rare failures that made up Jobs’ career.   I found the material extremely compelling, as I was there for many of Steve’s product launches.  My mom had an Apple computer, and I wasted many, many hours playing Tetris on it when I should have been doing homework instead.  I still love Pixar movies, and I wonder how different Disney would have been without Toy Story and Monsters, Inc to enrich both their movie catalog and their theme parks.  Where would I be without my iPhone and iPad? Probably reading more, but most assuredly Tweeting, texting, and blogging less.

While I enjoyed the written material, I found the artwork functional at best.  These are no frills illustrations that follow along with the text, but offer nothing more.  The prose was occasionally stiff and unnatural.  At 25 pages, the $7.95 price point is also exceptionally steep, so you might want to check this out of the library.   Despite these nitpicks, I thought this was an informative and interesting read.  I am definitely in the minority about this, so you might want to sample a copy at the bookstore before you purchase.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Bec McMaster, Author of Kiss of Steel and Giveaway!

 

Bec McMaster is the author of Kiss of Steel, a sexy steampunk romp that blazes with action and romance.  Bec dropped by the virtual offices to chat about her book, and she brought along a copy for one of you to win! Check out what she has to say, and then enter for your chance to win a copy of Kiss of Steel!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Bec McMaster] Dreamer, adventurer, glass half-full kind of gal with an addiction to paranormal romance, steampunk and alpha heroes. Wannabe world traveler.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Kiss of Steel?

[Bec McMaster] Kiss of Steel is set in a steam-fuelled London where the aristocratic Echelon rule with an iron fist and crush any and all who oppose them. With their puppet queen, blood taxes and automaton army, the only man they don’t dare touch is Blade, the notorious Devil of Whitechapel – and one of their own.

Fleeing from the Duke of Vickers with a secret he’d kill for, Honoria Todd is forced to accept Blade’s protection. Infected with the craving virus that makes the Echelon what they are, Blade has his own vendetta against the duke. When Honoria comes into his life she could be the key to bringing down his old enemy – or the very salvation he never dared dream of.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Bec McMaster] I’ve always had this idea about an aristocratic race – almost like a corruption of the ton – that rule a dark and dangerous world. Then this image sprang to mind of the steamy surrounds of Whitechapel and a desperate woman hurrying through the crowds, glancing over her shoulder. Watching her from the shadows was a dangerous man with his own intentions and secrets. I couldn’t wait to find out who they were.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Honoria?

[Bec McMaster] Uptight, fierce, protective.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Blade would never have in his pocket?

[Bec McMaster] 1. A plain white cotton handkerchief. It would be silk and most likely something garish, like red, or gold.

2. A book. Raised in the rookeries, he’s never had the time to learn to read.

3. A pistol. He prefers something that will get him up close and personal in a fight – like brass knuckles or a cut-throat razor.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Blade’s single most prized possession?

[Bec McMaster] Blade doesn’t really care about material things, but his most prized possession would be his home – and the adopted family of strays he’s gathered over the years. He never really had a home growing up, and he lost his sister at a young age, so the instinct to create his own family and to protect them is a strong one. He’ll fight to the death to keep it all.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Bec McMaster] My grandfather used to read to me every time I stayed at his place, and they would be wonderful, exciting stories that let my imagination roam as a child. He was the one who made me fascinated with reading and all of the amazing worlds out there in books.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Bec McMaster] 1. Tea and copious amounts of it. Preferably English Breakfast.

2. My ugg boots to keep my feet warm – and because writing is such a glamorous job.

3. Two cushions to prop me up nice and straight and keep my back comfortable.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Bec McMaster] Wicked as They Come by Delilah S. Dawson. I finished it last week and it was such pure steampunky-fun with blud-bunnies, an interesting take on the vampire mythos and a charming hero who has spent years waiting for his love to come to him.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Bec McMaster] Wow, this is really tough. As I said above, my grandfather read to me from a really early age (I can’t ever remember not reading or being read to), so it’s hard to know what grabbed my attention the most. A quick list of my favorite childhood books includes Brer Rabbit, Nicky and his Forest Friends, Hiawatha, the Children of Cherry Tree Farm, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Hobbit. I could go on. I obviously liked talking animal stories. And witches.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Bec McMaster] As any writer will probably tell you, this doesn’t happen very often. I love to read, though I need to make more opportunity for this (my TBR shelves groan in agreement), I love cooking, walking the dog, going to the gym, playing netball, hanging with my boyfriend, reading travel brochures and plotting my next trip.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Bec McMaster] At my website at www.becmcmaster.com, @BecMcMaster on Twitter and Facebook www.facebook.com/BecMcMaster. I love to hear from readers!

Thank you so much for having me!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have a copy of Kiss of Steel to give to one of you! Just fill out the widget to enter! Earn extra entries for following.  US and Canadian mailing addresses only, please.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Didn’t win? You can purchase Kiss of Steel from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below. Available in both print and digital.

 

KISS OF STEEL BY BEC MCMASTER – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2012

A brilliantly creative debut where vampires, werewolves, and clockwork creatures roam the mist–shrouded streets of London…

When Nowhere is Safe

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds. For more information, please visit http://www.becmcmaster.com/ or follow her on Twitter, @BecMcMaster.