I’m going to update this regularly, because there are A LOT of pages for these websites.
I’m going to update this regularly, because there are A LOT of pages for these websites.
The Curse Workers series by Holly Black has held my attention for the past few years, and Black Heart, the most recent addition to the series came out last week. If you havent read the series, it’s a fabulously dark tale of Cassel, a curse worker in modern day America. The Curse workers are a group of people who with the touch of a hand can change your emotions, make you lucky, heal you, make you forget your life, kill you, or change your physical appearance, at great risk to their own health, mentally and physically. The story line is amazing, with well thought out backstory of the discovery of curse workers, and the terror that the rest of the population had which forced them into work camps. From those work camps the curse worker Mob families flourished, and Cassel, the main character is a product of that Mob legacy. Each book focuses on him, and his struggle with the whole “my family is the mob” thing. That’s all I’m giving you non-awesome people who havent read this series, and I genuinely recommend that you read them all asap.
On to Black Heart!
Seriously though, there are spoilers in this review.
So Cassel is an FBI guy now, well an FBI trainee and Barron is actually an FBI agent, but he’s still corrupt as all hell, and using his memory work to avoid jumping through bureau hoops. He’s also (strangely enough) in love (and i won’t say with whom). Lila has begun her training as a ruthless mob leader, which was entirely expected of her. Cassel’s mother is in hiding and no one can find her, and Daneca and Sam are still broken up for no freaking reason.
Since you know the series, you know how Ms. Holly Black has consistently left things for the reader to guess, and mystery upon mystery to solve by the end of each novel. Black Heart was no different…I’m not telling you though, you have to find out for yourself dammit!
The series was amazing, and I’m going to re-read it so I can get more out of it.
In short. GO BUY THIS SERIES IRL. (in real life, for non chat-speakers out there) This series has what every good sci-fi/fantasy series needs. Strong story, strong characters, intriuging plot, and most importantly: well thought out backstory.
This past weekend I spent in my favorite city in the states (NYC) and I got to go to some of my favorite comic stores (Midtown comics, Forbidden Planet etc). As a result, i decided to do some nerding up, and do this lovely post about comic books. Whether you’re like me and enjoy the occasional comic, but are super lazy and don’t go out and buy them. Or you’re a new comic book reader, here are some sweet comics to check out!
The Scoobies are back and better than ever in the comic continuation of the series. If you were a Buffy fan (and in my opinion everyone should be) you will love having the characters back.
Skip Beat is one of my favorite comics, even though it’s not technically a comic, it’s a manga. The story follows Kyoko Mogami, a 16 year old girl who decides to follow her dream of getting revenge against her childhood love Sho Fuwa. Naturally since he’s a pop star, she auditions for a rival company. The story follows her through her journey to revenge, it’s light hearted and funny, and totally worth a read. It’s also been made into a hilarious anime series (same name) that you can typically stream on crunchyroll.com.
Read anything by this man; Frank Miller. He’s not literally a comic, but he has written some of my favorite comic books of all time: Sin City, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil. So check him out!
Brownies! (Adapted from Cooks.com)
1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
3 0z baking chocolate (substitute 1/3cup unsweetened chocolate powder)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
(or one cup of one kind of chips)
Preheat Oven to 350
First Mix the softened butter and the sugar together, till they’re a relatively creamy consistency. Add the vanilla and melt the baking chocolate and mix it in. Then add your eggs, one at a time and stir in. Finally add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Once all the important ingredients are mixed in add the chocolate chips. Put the batter into a greased pan, (I like using a medium sized pan, i think it’s a 5×5, or 8×8). Check the Brownies after 20minutes, and if you like them super soft and fudgey and slightly undercooked, you can typically take them out around then. Otherwise they need to cook for 30min.
I did some baking while I read Pure, and even thought I put chocolate fingerprints on the pages, these were tasty and totally worth it. :]
The McKittrick Hotel is not some swanky resort, nor is it a broken down roach motel somewhere on route 66. The McKittrick is a theatre installation — if you accept the phrase, put on by Punchdrunk and Emursive (two sweet theatre groups). The show is called Sleep No More NYC, and it’s Macbeth. The point of the show is that you get to interact with the characters and witness the private moments in their lives. I watched a fight between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth over the decision of murdering Duncan. I watched the revelry of Hecate and the witches after Macbeth committed the murder. I wandered through the halls of the McKittrick, and read the secret papers of Macbeth, Macduff, and Banquo. Each room smelled different, each place had its own feeling, and it was all enhanced by the anonymity of the mask each guest of the hotel had to wear.
The feelings that place inspired in me, fear, excitement, curiosity, etc. reminded me of a book. Yeah, weird right? Most things remind me of books, but this time it was less of the idea of the book and more the feelings the places in the book were meant to inspire. That book is (drumroll please): The Night Circus
This story has a specific feeling to it. There’s a storyline, and a cast of characters, but they almost take a backseat to the circus itself.
The circus is a greater character to follow than you would think. Through the perspective of the human characters you see the ways in which they are manipulating the circus. Adding rides and tents, and snacks. Morgenstern turns to a third party at that point to show the circus through those who are unused to the atmosphere, and you see it through a new set of eyes. First those of Heir Thiessen who stumbles upon the circus by accident and is so overcome by the sights and sounds that he takes to writing about them. Then a little boy who sees the circus for the first time, and most often a general third party voice that bids you to imagine yourself in the circus, and you follow your path as the section sees fit.
Going to the McKittrick, walking through each section of the warehouse, up stairs, through narrow hallways, and through strange doors brought back to me the feeling of the Night Circus. (Especially since I attended the saturday show in which “events culminate at 2am”) I was genuinely awed, particularly at one point when I was walking through a dirt-packed graveyard and thought “Wait am I still inside?” Mainly due to the scent of fresh damp dirt.
Essentially if you want a singular novelized experience, read the Night Circus, you won’t regret it. It’s departures from its original narrative (think Steinbeck in Grapes of Wrath, but no turtles ambling across the street.) make the experience of the novel more complete. Also If you get the chance to check out Sleep No More NYC, DO IT. Make a run to the warehouse now and buy your ticke. I guarantee you will love every second of the time you spend there.
Prior to yesterday’s visit to my favorite lovely bookstore. I hadn’t been book shopping in a legitimate place for about 2months — to me that’s a freakishly long time and I don’t know why it’s been that long. Nonetheless I picked up some books, and some nice gossip from my coworkers.
In case you haven’t heard about 50 Shades of Grey, (our main topic of discussion) it’s the erotic twilight fan fiction that gained it’s own (not very unique) cast of characters, that has a major BDSM (look it up I shall not discuss this) theme. Nonetheless the book’s been recognized in the NY Times. Our gossip ranged from the original print price of the book (over $30) to who bought it most recently (a 40 year old man who came in with his young daughter). It seems interesting from what I’ve heard, but I don’t think I’ll be reading it anytime soon. If anyone out there on the interwebs has gotten to it (and you aren’t embarrassed to admit it) let me know how it was!
On to things I did buy!
This is a brilliant sounding dystopian that I heard about a few months ago and never picked up because I’m cheap in real l life. I found a copy of it half off in my store. So add employee discout to that, and I bought it!
This book sounds like What Happened to Lani Garver and i LOVED that book. So I decided to give this one a shot too!
Can I also just mention how friggin pretty the covers of these books are? They’re so simplistic and gorgeous, and I love it!
One thing you may not know about me is that I’m an English major. I read Shakespeare for fun, and I genuinely think that counting the meter of a poem, and using it to come up with a theory about the authors mindset when he wrote it, is a good activity for an afternoon. When I read the Room for Debate series that specifically addresses Young Adult Fiction, I couldn’t resist seeing all they had to say. Only one author had a perspective that I found grating, in which he stated that “The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads.”-Stein. As an adult, a relatively young one, but one old enough to vote, and not quite old enough to buy a bottle of wine (7months), that aggravated me.
I read a LOT of YA books, and I do prefer them to contemporary adult novels. For me, it’s not the quality of writing in YA that draws me, because as everyone knows the quality of YA writing can range from superb, to disappointing with an awesome storyline. It’s the story and the characters, and the feeling you get from reading the novel that keep people interested. For instance The Hunger Games isn’t good because it has a strong female protagonist. It’s good because I can relate to the way she thinks about the situation she’s been put in. I can relate to the way the has to rationalize killing other people; and most of all I understand her confusion. Katniss doesn’t get her role, she doesn’t understand love, and she certainly can’t focus on politics.
Those are all things that I can identify with. I also read books like Demi-Monde , The Brides Farewell, Room, and countless others that are not of the YA genre, and find commonalities to those characters. I can read them both from a regular readers standpoint, and from a literary critics standpoint. The fact that this one man dismisses a full genre, with absolutely no knowledge of what he’s dismissing (he states that he hasn’t read any recent YA novels, essentially because they’re beneath him) is ridiculous. It’s not only offensive to adults who enjoy YA, but to the authors of those novels, many of whom are well respected and have books written for both the YA genre and contemporary (often literary) fiction.
I personally would like so send him a copy of Deus ex Machina by Andrew Foster Altschul and Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, and tell him to compare the satire both novels provide about the falseness and commerciality of a consumerist lifestyle.
The other articles were more appreciative of YA, and the pains that authors have to go through to keep the attention of a generation that’s used to instant gratification. The two that I liked most were “Seeing themselves in Books” and “Social Media has Fed the Fever”. Those two articles were both delightfully insightful, the first having been written by a male author who found his calling (that’s the nerdiest way I can put that) in novels, the second written by a teen book blogger.
If you like YA, go forth and check out the debate in the comments of the articles. I’ll definitely be there.