Coming Up This Year

Inkyard Press (Harlequin Teen rebranded) seems to be willing to take some risks. Rebel Girls by Elizabeth Keenan is due out in 2019, and is definitely on my to-read list. I’ve heard it is set in the 1990s.

Here’s what it’s about:

A rumour is spreading in Baton Rouge. Helen Graves, the freshman that leads her Catholic school’s Pro-Life Alliance… had an abortion.

When it comes to being social, Athena Graves, Helen’s older, punk-rock sister, is far more comfortable writing down a mixtape playlist than she is talking to cute boys, or anyone for that matter.

So when someone starts this malicious rumour about her popular, pretty, pro-life sister… she has to summon all her strength to push through her social fears, and become the champion Helen needs, even if she doesn’t want one.

Athena and her radical feminist riot grrrl friends come together despite their wildly contrasting views, to save Helen’s reputation and rescue her from being expelled… even though their punk-rock protests, with buttons and patches emblazoned with powerful messages, might result in the expulsion of their entire rebel girl gang.

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Out Now: The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross uS Cover

Released elsewhere in 2018, The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross – a retelling of Beauty and the Beast – is out in the United States now.

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

A luxuriously magical retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in seventeenth-century France–and told from the point of view of the Beast himself.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.

Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .

Happy Birthday, Judy Blume.

On classic children’s and young adult author Judy Blume‘s eighty-first birthday, I’d like to remind people of the importance of “controversial” books for teens.

For some young people, these books – that conservative groups try their best to get banned – are the only way they learn about important issues in their lives. Blume’s Forever, published in 1975, taught some teens things they needed to know about sex when their parents and teachers refused to fill in the gaps.

A few years ago, in the ballet world, I came across a group of homeschooled Christian ballet students from America’s Mid-West.

These young teens had been blatantly lied to by their parents, and told that: #1 only gay men could get AIDS, and #2 that AIDS could only be contracted by men having sex with monkeys.

And this is a perfect example of why we need authors like Blume, and why libraries shouldn’t be pressured to ban them.

A side note: dance is possibly the world’s most gay-friendly profession. The parents might have been in for a surprise!

Here’s The Australian Ballet onstage, openly campaigning for marriage equality during curtain calls (before the law was passed):

The Week: 21st – 27th January

canberra summer heatwave sunset australia sonya heaney 20th january 2019

Summer heatwave sunsets in Canberra.

A very scruffy red wattlebird trying to cope with the heat (this bird lives on our back deck), and what it looks like most of the time (second image from Wikipedia).

Rome: City and Empire

In Defence of the Unlikeable Heroine

I Kissed a Rogue (Covent Garden Cubs #3) by Shana Galen

Out Now: All is Fair by Dee Garretson

All is Fair by Dee Garretson

Out Now: Prisoner by Jason Rezaian

prisoner my 544 days in an iranian prison—solitary confinement, a sham trial, high-stakes diplomacy, and the extraordinary efforts it took to get me out by jason rezaian

Australia Day

Out Now: All is Fair by Dee Garretson

All is Fair by Dee Garretson

This one sounds interesting. I’d like to see more young adult historical fiction. People involved in major world events (such as wars) were often very young, so there’s no reason why more books like this couldn’t exist.

All is Fair by Dee Garretson

When Lady Mina Tretheway receives a telegram at boarding school, she doesn’t want to read it. In 1918, with war raging, she dreads telegrams, knowing they never bring good news.

At first she doesn’t understand the cryptic message. Then she realizes it’s written in code, and the message leads her home to Hallington Manor. When Lord Andrew Graham appears with a dashing young American, Lucas Mueller, Mina learns that the two of them must work together on dangerous project for the war effort.

Thinking Mina is just a spoiled aristocrat, Lucas tries to complete the project alone, fearing her inexperience will give them away. But when the project goes very wrong, Mina and Lucas are thrown together to complete the mission before more soldiers disappear into the darkness of war.

 

Kristen Simmons: Mixed Race, Half Enough?

ya author kristen simmons

YA author Kristen Simmons has an interesting article over at Medium:

Mixed Race, Half Enough?

I would also strongly recommend reading the comments in the Twitter discussion.

Simmons is half-Japanese and half European, and she discusses the issues she encounters both in real life, and with people in the book community who think her mixed race characters are either a cop-out or tokenism.

Much of Simmons’ issues come with the fact she’s not considered “Japanese enough”.

A lot of prominent people in publishing and book blogging have a lot of opinions about the representations of culture and race in books, and – more often than not – I find they’re people who have no experience with what they’re talking about.

Cover Love

A gorgeous cover for this retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Australian author Leife Shallcross. The book is due out in the United States (with a different cover) in February.

The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross Australian Cover

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

A luxuriously magical retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in seventeenth-century France–and told from the point of view of the Beast himself.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.

Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .