All tagged Maureen Johnson
Happy Friday, all! This week's Links + Things is a bit on the light side as I burned up a lot of my best stuff last week.
I asked my husband if he'd seen any fantastic YouTube videos lately and, naturally, he sent me this clip of the Incredible Hulk fighting a grizzly bear. It's quite excellent, no?
There’s room for all kind of heroes and heroines and some of our greatest stories happen to be love stories too. Love, friendship, sexual attraction— all essential parts of life. It’s only when girls or women become the audience that we start to turn our noses up at something that we all care about.
I loved author Leigh Bardugo's response to a reader who's frustrated that YA books aren't "geared towards guys," as she hits the nail on the head with regard to something that always bothers me: the dismissal of stories involving romance and love. Sarah Rees Brennan added some additional thoughts that are spot-on as well.
I was in the unusual position of holding all the cards. I had to decide what to do, and only I could do it. And I was going to do it. I had faced frightening things before and had been powerless. But not this time.
Note: the rest of review contains mild spoilers for the previous book in the series. If you want to remain wholly unspoiled about The Name of the Star and are curious about starting reading this series, please read Sandra's spoiler-free review of that book.
The Madness Underneath revisits Rory, a Louisiana native in England who survived a run-in with the ghost of Jack the Ripper in the first novel, but was also profoundly transformed--in a very literal way. She's now a terminus, a human who can vanquish ghosts on contact. Her background means that she's mostly unflappable, even to her weird circumstances.
It’s possible that I have a higher tolerance for crazy talk than most people because of my background. I’ve channeled multicolored angels with my cousin and gone for discount waxes with my grandmother. I know two people who have started their own religions. One of my neighbors was arrested for sitting on top of the town equestrian statue dressed as SpiderMan. He just climbed up there with a few loaves of bread and tore them up and threw bread at anyone who got near him. Another neighbor puts up her Christmas decorations in August and goes caroling on Halloween to “fight the devil with song.”
Rory finds herself back in London after her parents sequestered her away in Bristol. She's rejoined her classmates at Wexford, the boarding school she left after her incident with the aforementioned ghost. Understandably, Rory has a difficult time adjusting, especially since her friends from the ghost catching squad (I call them the Ghost Busters in my head, but they're actually called The Shades), Stephen, Callum and Boo, seem to be missing. She's alone with her weird ability.
Are you a book-loving introvert who finds the intense socialization required of holiday celebrations overwhelming?
Would you rather have your nose in a book than spend your time decking the halls (whatever that means)?
To help you get in the holiday spirit without any actual social interaction, here are some recommended reads. None of these are heavy, so if you hit the mulled wine (please, not egg nog—that stuff is vile), you should be able to get the gist of these quickie stories.
I discovered this series about three brothers in a small town in Missouri through the first Carina Press holiday anthology, after reading rave reviews of Shannon Stacey’s contribution. The three brothers run a construction business together and while romance is at the center of each of the stories, my favorite scenes are those featuring, Wyatt, Brody and Ethan—their good-natured bickering and teasing (which can be amusingly mean) actually sounds like the sort of conversations real guys have. The most recent, The Best Thing, clocks in at around 35,000 words and is my favorite in terms of reading like a complete story. I’d recommend reading these in order, just to get a sense of who all the characters are, but it’s not necessary. (eBook only)
Aurora (who prefers Rory) Deveaux comes from Louisiana, the land of all things fantastical and magical, a place where her uncle has eight freezers filled with everything from batteries to milk intended to get him through another Hurricane Katrina (no worries about electricity going out) and an aunt who sees various angels of several hues designating their place on a spectrum from good to not-so-good. With this background, nothing should come as a surprise to Rory.
But, surprised she is.
It’s Rory’s senior year of high school. Her parents have an opportunity to teach at a university in England for a year, so off they go to a place more laden with ghosts of the past than Louisiana could ever scare up. She’s installed in Wexford, an elite prep school where she becomes embroiled in a mystery dating back to 1888: Jack the Ripper.