Book Feature: The Light in the Labyrinth by Wendy J. Dunn

Note: I am featuring some of the review books I’ve had for a while, but run out of time to do a review for. That’s not to say I’m not going to read them; it’s just that I’ve fallen behind, and think the authors deserve an appearance here!

the light in the labyrinth by wendy j. dunn

I’m always excited to see young adult books with historical settings. So many very young people were at the heart of major events in history, and I think it’s an underrepresented genre.

The Light in the Labyrinth by Wendy J. Dunn

A Queen fights for her life.
A King denies his heart and soul.
A girl faces her true identity.
All things must come to an end—all things but love.

IN THE WINTER OF 1535, fourteen-year-old Kate Carey wants to escape her family home. She thinks her life will be so much better with Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife and the aunt she idolises. Little does Kate know that by going to attend Anne Boleyn she will discover love and a secret that will shake the very foundations of her identity. As an attendant to Anne Boleyn, Kate is swept up in events that see her witness her aunt’s darkest days. By the time winter ends, Kate will be changed forever.

The Week: 7th – 13th October

Back to normal here – crazy cat is still crazy…

So, here I am, back home from Europe. Even though my unpacking still hasn’t been completely successful, I already feel like I’ve been here for a year!

Now the “fun” begins. I’m doing some huge edits on my next book, which at the moment my editor and I are calling “The Landowner’s Secret 2” (because I don’t want to come up with a title, and she hasn’t yet, either!). I plan to add several thousand words into the manuscript to expand on a few things, which is going to be a big task to have done over the next two weeks.

I also have the third book to finish, and I want that done before Christmas (which is frighteningly close now!).

Harlequin’s Free Reads

Recently Reread: The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Book Feature: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

silver silence (psy-changeling trinity, #1; psy-changeling, #16) by nalini singh

Recently Reread: The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott is a favourite of mine. Though now she has sadly given writing away, I’ve loved every young adult book she put out. Her characters react like human beings, not Book Characters, and her teens actually behave like people their age.

The Unwritten Rule is no different, and enough time had passed for me to enjoy the book like it was new all over again.

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don’t like your best friend’s boyfriend.

Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He’s easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he’s paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna’s boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah’s best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she’s thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. It’s wonderful… and awful.

Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can’t stop herself from wanting more…

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.

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired by Lucile de Pesloüan

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired by Lucile de Pesloüan

Girls are sick and tired because sexism surrounds us.

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired is a feminist manifesto that denounces the discrimination and unfairness felt by women from childhood to adulthood. The graphic novel, illustrated in a strikingly minimalist style with images of girls in multiple moods and shapes, invites teenagers to question the sexism that surrounds us, in ways that are obvious and hidden, simple and complex. Its beginnings as a fanzine shine through in its honesty and directness, confronting the inequalities faced by women, everyday. And it ends with a line of hope, that with solidarity, girls hurt less, as they hold each other up with support and encouragement.

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired by Lucile de Pesloüan

(Note: this is a review of the text. I can’t review the artwork, because I read it on my little black-and-white Kindle.)

I didn’t know what to expect from this one. It’s marketed as young adult nonfiction, but – with some parental/teacher guidance, I think it’s appropriate for slightly younger readers, too.

I also didn’t know it was a Canadian publication until I read it, and so a few of the sections reference Canadian society (and racial groups) in particular. That isn’t a complaint; it’s just an observation.

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired is a short read that won’t tell you many things about gender inequality you don’t already know. However, I thought it was a good compilation of facts that could start some meaningful discussions. One of the things that impressed me the most was the way the creators took seemingly “smaller/minor” feminist issues and mixed them in with the “bigger” things.

One argument misogynists and conservative women make about feminism is: ‘You’ve got it great where you live. Look at women in Saudi Arabia!’

(In fact, I recently had an otherwise progressive man tell me Saudi Arabia is great for women…!)

This book makes feminism a global issue, and illustrates that there are issues in every country. The fact little girls are sold into marriage in rural India and Yemen and many other countries doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight against catcalling or the marked-up prices of women’s products and services in the West (“the pink tax”). One injustice doesn’t cancel out another.

I started highlighting lines in What Makes Girls Sick and Tired to share, and then gave up, because I’d highlighted about 90% of the text!

This is a book I think would be invaluable in classrooms for the 12-18-year-olds, but only if it’s presented to male students, too.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

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):

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.

Harlequin Teen Rebranded

This week Harlequin Teen – the young adult branch of Harlequin books (obviously) – is being rebranded as Inkyard Press.

Maybe an attempt to attract more diverse readers who are turned off by Harlequin stereotypes…? The stereotypes frustrate me, but I kind of understand if that’s the case.

There are some interesting books in this line due out next year, covering the kind of topics that wouldn’t be accepted by other Harlequin lines (e.g. abortion).

Harlequin Teen Becomes Inkyard Press++

The Week: 22nd – 28th October

White Spring Flowers Blue Sky Canberra Australia 25th October 2018 Sonya Heaney Sunshine Garden Nature

Spring sunshine – and a spring sunset – in Canberra.

Only days to go before I fly to China!

A Book for the Anniversary: Goodbye for Now by M.J. Hollows

Goodbye for Now by M.J. Hollows

Babies in Young Adult Fiction

Revisiting Madeline Hunter

A Devil of a Duke (2018) (The second book in the Decadent Dukes Society series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

Out Now: A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories by Angela McAllister (author) and Alice Lindstrom (illustrator)

A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories By (author) Angela McAllister Illustrated by Alice Lindstrom

On this day: British women prepare for invasion

The_British_Army_in_the_United_Kingdom_1939-45_Second World War Two 23rd October 1941 Women of Britains Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) operate a rangefinder during anti-aircraft

On this day 80 years ago

Babies in Young Adult Fiction

I was going to write some serious essay on the topic these tweets address, but I don’t think I need to. I’ve had multiple young adult stories ruined by the author rushing their adolescent characters into marriage and babies (and, in the case of more conservative books, marrying off characters in their teens so it’s “okay” for them to have sex!).

Maybe I’m weird, but never once as a teenager – not ever – did I want my teen heroines impregnated in the name of “romance”!

Twitter Conversation Link

Pregnancy in Young Adult Books Victoria Graveyard

Pregnancy in Young Adult Books PC Cast

Pregnancy in Young Adult and Romance Books M L Sparrow