Tag Archive | art

Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, by Sarvenaz Tash (book review) – Romance or reality at ComicCon?

book cover of The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.comPlanning the best day ever at New York ComicCon!
Telling her how he truly feels about her!
Getting cut off by a random guy…

Next-door neighbors and comic creators together, Roxy and Graham enjoy fan fiction based on the Althena universe, keep their grades up, and can’t wait to go to ComicCon! (p.s. That’s where he will tell her how much he cares for her – until Devin crashes their group!)

Don’t wait till BookCon at NYCC to pick up this June 2016 release! Visit at your favorite local library or independent bookstore today to see if Roxy and Graham get any tips from famous cartoonists and if she ever figures out how he feels about her!

Been to a Con?
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Book info:  The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love / Sarvenaz Tash. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Graham realizes that he’s fallen for girl next door/ best friend /comic co-creator Roxy, but his plans to tell her on the perfect New York ComicCon day are foiled by a handsome British student.

It’s a miracle that famously reclusive artist-author Zinc is scheduled to appear at NYCC, years after his legendary Althena comic went dark. It’s a tragedy that a cool Brit runs into their group and decides to tag along while flirting with Roxy!

Graham and Casey can grab those limited-seating tickets for Zinc, right?
How can Graham convince Roxy to sneak past her conservative parents and skip school for another day of ComicCon?
Is there any way to get her away from Devin without looking like a jerk?

Somehow, this real-life relationship stuff is so much more complicated than the ones that he and Roxy write and draw in their comic series or any of the romantic comedy movies that Graham’s late mother loved so much. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Museum of Heartbreak, by Meg Leder (book review) – why can’t it all stay the same?

book cover of Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe perfect trio of friends,
all that she needs in life,
but not all that they need…

Pen seems such a clinging friend, sure that a romance from her favorite classic books will magically appear. But when she finally realizes that life changes, despite all her efforts to make time stand still, she discovers that you usually have to create happy endings yourself.

Ask for this new release at your local library or favorite independent bookstore to see if carefully cataloging significant items makes heartbreak any easier to bear.

Mementos of broken relationship – save or toss?
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Book info: The Museum of Heartbreak / Meg Leder. Simon Pulse, 2016. [author Twitter]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her best friends Audrey and Eph embrace other relationships, Penelope cowers in familiar routines until she ventures to handsome Keats’ party and finds herself heartbroken more than once.

Pen stumbles across their New York City high school’s literary magazine club after Audrey starts hanging out with snobby Cherisse after French Club.

Eph’s dad works with Pen’s at the Museum of Natural History; the dinosaur skulls may wait in that attic, even as dinos hide in all Eph’s amazing cityscape sketches.

Beautiful boy Keats actually talks to Pen! (how can he be bad, Audrey?) Junior year might be okay after all … maybe.

Why do her best friends need other friends?
How do they know Keats isn’t a nice guy?
Why is change so difficult for her?

As Pen reflects on new guy and old friends, she must come to terms with the impermanence of things and the depths of her own feelings.

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Positivity Kit, by Lisa Currie (book review) – better your life, better yourself!

book cover of The Positivity Kit by Lisa Currie published by TarcherPerigee | recommended on BooksYALove.comGood times,
great memories,
just waiting to uplift you!

Seize the happy moments, large and small, that have made you chuckle and nearly snort milk out your nose.

Map out what you’re looking forward to most in the future.

Memorialize your favorite snack foods and Good Choices Made in Life So Far.

Happy book birthday to The Positivity Kit! Ask for it today at your favorite independent bookstore so that you can list, doodle, and chronicle your way to a happier and more positive you.

Share a “recent moment of pure joy” in the comments, please!
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Book info: The Positivity Kit: Instant Happiness on Every Page / Lisa Currie. TarcherPerigee, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Create “instant happiness on every page” of The Positivity Kit as you record wonderful experiences, thoughts, and joys using its interactive and intriguing prompts to look past boring days and bad moods.

Capture perfect moments – Favorite quotes from favorite movies, Top 20 countdown of the Best Moments of My Life So Far, wish list & got list – with your favorite pen and colored pencils, so that you can page back through this witty do-it-yourself book whenever you need a pick-me-up.

Whether it’s the 7 New Holidays that you’re introducing this week, the Ongoing List of Things I Like About Myself, or your illustrated packing list for an Escape to Paradise, every happy thing that you doodle, jot down, color, and list will contribute to your future positive outlook on life and your current grin as you remember and celebrate.

Keep The Positivity Kit on your bedside table to end your day in gratitude for the good things you’ve experienced, to derail negative thoughts on sleepless nights, or to start your day on an uplifting note – all experienced and documented by you yourself!

Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl, by Melissa Keil (book review) – end of the world? with pastry?

book cover of Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil published by Peachtree | recommended on BooksYALove.com School days are over,
future looms ahead,
till Doomsday countdown starts?

Alba never expected
(a) sleepy Eden Valley as gathering place for the just-announced end of the world, 10 days from now,
(b) then-chunky pal, now-hunky TV star Daniel to return after years away,
(c) best friend Grady really expecting them to move to college at summer’s end,
(d) all of the above, plus a demand for vegan choices at Mum’s bakery (where they live, too).

Surely she can become an award-winning graphic novelist with her Cinnamon Girl character without leaving everything she loves about their little back-country town…

Published in Australia in 2014 and brought to the USA by Peachtree Publishers in 2016, the longing and love story of Cinnamon Girl is so worth asking for at your local library or independent bookstore – you’ve got to find out if the world ends, right?

So, the world ending – caused by humans, nature, aliens?
**kmm

Book info: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl / Melissa Keil. Peachtree, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Alba and Grady have been best buddies forever, but when a psychic’s ‘end of the world’ pronouncement names their little Australian town, the recently graduated teens must cope with strangers in the pasture and old friends with new perspectives, as she wants everything to stay the same and he longs to head for college.

Can’t she be a brilliant graphic artist without leaving her tiny hometown?
If her dad hadn’t died in a motorcycle crash and Grady’s dad hadn’t fled for the city, what would life be like now?
Wait, is old pal, now TV actor Daniel flirting with her? Grady is acting so weird these days…

Each chapter is headed with a panel from Alba’s graphic-novel-in-progress as her sorta-superhero Cinnamon Girl also copes with time passing too fast, enjoys terrible television shows, worries about the impending apocalypse, and stars in the Albany Bakery’s scrumptious menu.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

She sees way too much as Fly on the Wall, by e. lockhart (book review)

book cover of Fly on the Wall by e lockhart published by Delacorte Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comBeing ordinary,
seeing differently,
transformed… into a fly?

After reading The Metamorphosis while longing for a guy, stressed-out Gretchen gets her wish to “be a fly on the wall” and hear what people are saying about her = she’s now a fly trapped in the boys’ locker room!

Take a peek at Gretchen’s life at Ma-Ha in this excerpt (free, courtesy of the author), then take the scenic route to your local library or favorite independent bookstore to see what she sees as a Fly On the Wall.

Would you want to hear what everyone says about you?
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Book info: Fly On the Wall / e. lockhart. Delacorte Press, 2007.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [60-second book recap video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Feeling like a nonentity in her New York City arts high school, Gretchen agonizes over her comic-drawing skills (teacher is unimpressed), her mom’s demands during the divorce (throw away how much before we move? no, thank you), her best friend (getting distant), and her crush (he will never notice her, will he?) until she amazingly turns into a fly who can see and hear everything, especially what the boys are saying (and not wearing) in their locker room! Friendship, love, identity, dumplings, and Title IX protests – all in one fly-tastic story.

Lois Lane: Double Down, by Gwenda Bond (book review) – crime, corruption, conspiracy!

book cover of Lois Lane: Double Down by Gwenda Bond published by Switch Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comMobster-controlled doctor,
conspiracy theorist with a grudge,
just another day in Metropolis…

Yes, that Metropolis, where student reporter Lois Lane is tracking down city corruption, worrying about online pal (maybe more?) SmallvilleGuy, and trying to keep a low profile at school, while learning how this ‘being a friend’ thing works (Maddy has a twin?).

Second in the series, but if you haven’t read Lois Lane: Fallout (my no-spoilers recommendation here) you can still enjoy Double Down as backstory to the well-known Superman saga.

Any advice about friendship for moved-too-many-times-to-count Lois?
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Book info: Lois Lane: Double Down (Lois Lane, book 2) / Gwenda Bond.  Switch Press, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  [author interview video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher; all opinions are my own.

My book talk: When Lois discovers her best friend’s twin in a perilous situation, the student reporter begins to unearth a diabolical doctor’s connection to Metropolis’ underworld while a conspiracy theorist online threatens her friend Smallville Guy.

It should have been a routine news story about a young mural artist, but Lois finds Maddy’s too-cool twin sister delirious and searching for a mysterious doctor in Dante’s slum neighborhood.

‘The Boss’ controls this slum, rumor says, along with much of Metropolis behind-the-scenes, so Lois’ nose for news is on the hunt – is the new mayor in his pocket?

Her online friend SmallvilleGuy is concerned about new predictions of ‘flying man’ sightings, as reported on their favorite discussion site – how could Insider01 really know?

Maddy and Melody say that the supposed ‘twin connection’ is just a myth – why is Melody seeing through someone else’s eyes now?!

This second installment of the Superman backstory as told from Lois Lane’s teen point of view is a race to uncover corruption in the city and save her friends’ sanity.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Plotted, by Andrew DeGraff (book review) – mapping literary landscapes

book cover of Plotted by Andrew DeGraff published by Zest Books | http://BooksYALove.com reviewBefore and after of Robinson Crusoe‘s island,
Moby Dick and the ship chasing him,
Huckleberry Finn‘s meandering voyage down the Mississippi with Jim…

Happy book birthday this week to Plotted: A Literary Atlas!

I liked it so much that I almost posted this recommendation well before its publication date, but rescheduled so as not to whet your appetite for these uniquely visualized story-maps before you could actually acquire this fascinating book.

Enjoy literary maps of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol  and of Richard Adams’ Watership Down  in this free preview from the publisher, then go get this book to see all the intricately detailed maps, so evocative of each of the 19 books selected while using no quotations at all.

Do you create mental (or actual) maps as you read a book?
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Book info: Plotted: A Literary Atlas / art by Andrew DeGraff, essays by Daniel Harmon. Zest Books, 2015.  [artist’s site]  [publisher site]  [time-lapse artist’s video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Mental maps created by reading stories blossom into intricately designed maps on the page in this “literary atlas” covering 19 selections from ancient days to the present, as seen through one artist’s eyes.

Whether mapping the movements of selected characters (as in his panels for A Wrinkle in Time) or conveying a wider sense of the book’s narrative (like the Kafka story, “A Report to the Academy”), DeGraff includes numerous details from each work in his hand-painted maps.

Says the artist, “These are maps for people who seek to travel beyond the lives and places that they already know (or think they know). The goal here isn’t to become found, but only to become more lost. Like a poorly informed but over-confident urbanite, I seek to help you get more lost.” (Introduction)

Wander through Elsinore act by act with the many characters of Hamlet, travel the Mediterranean with Odysseus, and trace the complicated path of true love in Pride and Prejudice. Essays by Daniel Harmon accompany each nearly wordless map-set which brings fresh views of stories for readers to consider and appreciate.

So many stories

Looking through oval window into gallery at Rembrandt's house in AmsterdamGaze out?
Peer inward?
Focus on something unseen?

Art, music, and books can help us do all these things.

But please don’t let preference for favorites keep you from trying new genres and types of books!

Grab a graphic novel like Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks and Canaan White to go into WWI trenches with underappreciated African American heroes – these aren’t “just comic books” for sure.

Read books aimed at younger readers that can bring important issues and hard truths to light. Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath gives voice to victims of the Armenian Holocaust.

If you think all novels about death are depressing, reconsider with funny yet realistic Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark.

So, about my photo here: I visited Rembrandthuis to see how the great artist lived and worked, others were there for his paintings up close, a few were obviously dragged there by art-loving companions.

Standing in his recreated studio was decidedly worth climbing all the narrow, twisting stairways. But I was most pleased by seeing how the same etching looked when printed on different papers – the same story, with a slightly changed look.

How have you experienced different stories lately?

Staying off the tourist track in Amsterdam and meeting booklovers from all over (hi, Izzie and Mom and Dad!),
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Girl in Reverse, by Barbara Stuber (book review) – adopted, bullied, seeking, found?

book cover of Girl in Reverse by Barbara Stuber published by Margaret K McElderry BooksPrejudice at school,
polite silence at home,
Who am i? Who am I?

Shunned by the in-crowd, bullied as if she were a Commie spy, Lily would just like a few friends who don’t care that she’s Chinese, some answers about her past from her adoptive parents, and a door lock that can keep pesky little brother out of her room!

A box of Chinese sculptures, a new exhibit at the art museum, and a nun nearing retirement change Lily’s priorities – can she finally learn more about her birth mother?

Girl in Reverse was published as a paperback just this week and is available in hardcover and ebook, so choose your favorite way to hold this well-told tale in your hands, as Lily held the objects that connected her with Gone Mom.

What keepsake tells a family story for you?
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Book info: Girl in Reverse / Barbara Stuber. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2014 (paperback, May 2015).  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The new Chinese art exhibit may hold clues about Lily’s long-gone birth mother and is a welcome distraction from the bullying she experiences at her Kansas City high school during the Korean War.

Shortly after Lily’s adoption, Ralph was born to her new parents, who cannot understand the prejudice that Lily faces daily, labeled a ‘Commie’ as the war in Korea rages, even though she is Chinese.

Ralph finds a box in the attic, left with Lily at the orphanage by her gone-mom, and together the siblings decide to find out all they can.  Trips to Chinatown, the old orphanage, and the art museum bring more clues, as artistic Elliot tries to get Lily to embrace her heritage.

Where did Gone Mom go?
Why did she leave Lily behind?
Why was Lily’s mom in Missouri anyway?

Searching for her identity in 1950s American heartland, Lily discovers which bonds of family and culture can bend and which are too fragile to even breathe upon.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

P is photo-vigilante now herself Endangered, by Lamar Giles (book review)

book cover of Endangered by Lamar Giles published by Harper TeenClick! A compromising photo.
Click! A clever caption.
Click! Posted for all to see and mock and condemn.

Biracial ‘Panda’ makes herself unremarkable at school, submitting just-average work in digital photography class, ensuring that no one can link her to the scandalous photo-blog showing the worst sides of hypocritical students who pose as model citizens.

But someone knows that Panda is Gray Scales, and that someone has decided that mere cyberbullying isn’t enough punishment for those students at all!

This sometimes-uncomfortable look at the fine line between justice and revenge will be published on Tuesday, April 21, so ask for it at your local library or independent bookstore.
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Book info: Endangered / Lamar Giles.  Harper Teen, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher via Edelweiss/Abovethetreeline.

My book talk: Anonymously using her photo skills to expose classmates whose fine reputations belie their true bad behavior, Lauren finds herself being stalked by ‘Admirer’ who threatens to unmask the Virginia teen’s identity.

Mocked in elementary school for her appearance, Lauren was comforted by the panda stories told by her German mom and black father. But her chosen nickname of Panda stems from an attack on her reputation in early high school, which started her quest for justice through her anonymous photo-blog.

Even her best friend Ocie (nicknamed by Panda for her OCD tendencies) doesn’t know that Gray Scales is Panda; they boo the good-on-surface baddies who are exposed there and cheer for their half-black selves (Mei is half-Chinese).

When Panda’s latest post results in more than just the predatory teacher being fired – because the “Admirer” who discovered Gray Scales’ identity physically attacks the girl involved – the stakes suddenly get much, much higher.

Deleting the Gray Scales website doesn’t stop the Admirer…
Listening to the ideas of the first guy she shamed doesn’t seem so bad…
Going from overlooked at school to being held responsible for a death she didn’t instigate is awful…

When does a quest for justice become an excuse to attack? The Admirer makes sure everything is final!  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)