August 23, 2011

Young Wizards Updating

Book CoverThe Young Wizards series, by Diane Duane, is one of my favorites. I just bought A WIZARD OF MARS, the ninth book, at a local Borders. It reminded me to get online and look for news about the tenth book. Unfortunately, there's no publication date yet for GAMES WIZARDS PLAY.  Instead, I discovered that Duane is updating the first four books in the series. 

Book CoverI love my copies of SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD, DEEP WIZARDRY, HIGH WIZARDRY, and A WIZARD ABROAD. I have the 1996 covers, which are far more attractive to me than the current cartoon covers. (The Cliff Nielsen covers, which I own for books 5-9, are quite nice too.  I am a Nielsen fan, if only because he's done covers for many of my favorite books.) 

But this isn't a cover issue. SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD was first published in 1983 - six years before I was born and far longer for kids just discovering the series. The Young Wizard series is one of the strongest influences on my own writing. I loved how Duane blended fantasy and science fiction. But the early books are less accessible nowadays due to that focus on science and technology. Duane explains more about what technological updates are needed, as well as fixing a few timeline issues caused by a series that's been published with long gaps between books.

The new edition of SYWTBAW should be out September 1 and will be available here. Even though I own and love the old editions, I am excited to see the changes.

For those who haven't read the series, you can get an ebook bundle of all nine books for $39.99. (Or less, if you use 10 % off discount code COMPLETE. Instructions on using discount codes here.)  I do advise you to check it out.  Nita and Kit's adventures are clever and exciting.  Though I recommend starting at the beginning, I will confess that my favorite is A WIZARD ABROAD.

August 19, 2011

Book Sneakers

Everyone knows I love bookish fashion. So I was excited to see these kicks in Shelf Awareness. THE SCARLET LETTER may be one of my favorite books, but I prefer foreverRebuilt's take on Robert Heinlein's THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS.


Which shoe is your favorite?

August 12, 2011

Review: Small Town Sinners

By Melissa Walker
Available now from Bloomsbury
Read my review of VIOLET IN PRIVATE
Read Melissa's guest blog and watch her guest vlog

Book Cover

If there's one thing I learned from the comments section, it's that nothing turns IBWB readers off more than a mention of religious themes. Well, tough. SMALL TOWN SINNERS is chock-full of religion and it's a wonderful book.

Lacey Anne Byer is a sixteen-year-old girl, excited about performing in the Hell House put on by House of Enlightenment, her church. The Hell House is similar to a haunted house, but each room represents a sin. Lacey wants to be Abortion Girl, because that's the message she's compelled to share. But several things begin to change her worldview. Her best friend Starla Joy Minter's older sister gets pregnant. Her other best friend, Dean Perkins, is being bullied and none of the adults will do anything to punish the bully. And Ty Davis comes to town, attractive and willing to talk with Lacey about her doubts.

You don't have to be raised in an evangelical Christian home to sympathize with Lacey. She's at the age where she can see that her parents and other adults are not infallible. They do the best they can based on what they believe is right and wrong. Lacey has to decide on her own values.

Lacey is an extremely likeable heroine. While she's not sure what she believes, she's got a good grasp on listening to and caring for others. Compassion is something that evangelical Christianity, sadly, can lose sight of. As for the romance between her and Ty? It never goes beyond kissing, but it's still hot. Melissa Walker writes with emotional authenticity and Lacey's feelings for Ty are scorching. But Walker doesn't give too much weight to the romance. It's balanced well with Lacey's friendships and questions.

I can't think of another recent teen book that does friendship as well as SMALL TOWN SINNERS. C'mon, high school relationships can be intense, but friends are the most important part. Lacey, Starla Joy, Dean, and Ty are comfortable with each other. (Which leads me to a side point: the outdoors scenes are brilliant. I love every single one. I love what Walker does with sunlight.)

Lacey's parents are also well done. Her father is the children's pastor, so she expects quite a bit of him. But Lacey feels like neither of her parents listen to her or trust her . . . so she starts sneaking out. (Oh, teen logic.) SMALL TOWN SINNERS is fair to the Byers. They can be intolerant and overly strict, but they're good parents who are there for their daughter and other children in the community.

Really, that's the strength of SMALL TOWN SINNERS. It lets people be complex. And yes, evangelical Christians are just as complex as everyone else.

August 8, 2011

Super Cool Libraries

Let's face it, we all love libraries.

Book CoverBook Cover

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is fighting back against the school board in Republic, MO that decided to ban SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE and TWENTY BOY SUMMER from their school libraries and curriculum. Republic High School students can go to their website to request a copy of SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE. You can donate to help offset shipping costs.

(As a side note, the ebook edition of TWENTY BOY SUMMER is on sale for $2.99.)

While Republic, MO. earns a frowny face, Kansas City, MO. gets a smiling one. I just discovered the Kansas City Library.

IT IS SHAPED LIKE A GIANT BOOKSHELF. How did I not know about this before now?


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