Giveaway: War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

Shelf space is getting low in the Alyssa & Andrew household. After all of the ARCs we picked up at BEA, plus all of the wedding gifts, we’re really not sure what to do with our space anymore. So, throughout the course of a month or two, we’ll be hosting giveaways for some of our used books that we just can’t fit on our shelves anymore.

These giveaways are open to US only.

This one is called War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. It’s a former library book in decent shape. It’s not the prettiest looking, but it’s readable and its an a fantasy book written in the 80’s about faeries.

Summary from Goodreads:

 Eddi McCandry has just left her boyfriend and their band when she finds herself running through the Minneapolis night, pursued by a sinister man and a huge, terrifying dog. The two creatures are one and the same: a phouka, a faerie being who has chosen Eddi to be a mortal pawn in the age-old war between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Eddi isn’t interested–but she doesn’t have a choice. Now she struggles to build a new life and new band when she might not even survive till the first rehearsal.

Here’s what you’d be getting:

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Interested? Help us out with clearing some space by entering to win below. Since WordPress does not let blog users embed the Rafflecopter Widget within their posts, simply click on the link, and it will bring you to the giveaway page. Thanks!

CLICK THIS LINK:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Manga Classics – The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Crystal S. Chan

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Buy from the Book Depository

Title: Manga Classics – The Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Story Adaptation: Crystal S. Chan
English Dialogue Adaptation: Stacy King
Illustrator: SunNeko Lee
Lettering: WT Francis
Publisher: Udon Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing
Paperback: 308 pages
Source: NetGalley
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

A powerful tale of forbidden love, shame, and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter. Faithfully adapted by Crystal Chan from the original novel, this new edition features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee (Manga Classics: Les Miserables) which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tragic saga of Puritan America. Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions. Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.*

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

I was first interested in this book, because I’m starting to branch out to reading more manga and I wanted to see how a classic story like The Scarlet Letter would translate to a manga. Overall, I think it’s a huge success. The story itself stays true to the original and the overall main points are still hit, which was a concern of mine when I started it. The pictures are beautifully done, and while I think there were a few too many panels of the priest “clutching his chest,” overall, it works out to be a quick read for a classic, captivating story.

Its strength really lies in how the novel is written in the first place. Hawthorne is someone who likes to be wordy and include a lot of description that is able to simply be shown in the drawings — no need to worry about five pages of foliage, when the foliage is right there in the pictures; it cuts down a lot on the slog and lets the reader focus on the story and characters in general. For people who don’t find Hawthorne’s style to be engaging, but who might like this overall story, reading Manga Classics would be a great way for them to be introduced to this story.

I can also see this as an amazing addition in the classroom, since it can be used as a tool for lower-level readers or those who have a problem with reading a lot of words stay engaged with the story and be able to participate in overall discussions on theme, characters, etc. It can also be used in a lesson where students can compare different story-telling formats and analyze the differences of manga versus prose. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? Which do they personally prefer? Tons of possible lessons if you introduce a book like this to your classroom.

The Manga Classics version of The Scarlet Letter is a great read and definitely something to check out if you have a struggling reader who wants a bit of help getting through the story, or even if you just want to experience this story in a new format. Very well done — I recommend it.

 

#WeAreHuman Riveted Readathon

After the Pokemon Go Readathon, Andrew and I have discovered that we LOVE readathons. An excuse to sit around all day, curled up with book after book? Yes, please! Add in the social element that readathons give us, and we are so in.

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Right now, Riveted is hosting a Readathon that:

  1. Is focused on giving money to the It Gets Better Project
  2. Gives you access to FREE FULL-LENGTH books that you can read during the readathon, given you have a Riveted account (which is also free).
  3. Rewards the charity for more people reading. If they hit 5,000 reads by 11/11, they’ll donate more money to It Gets Better

Readers, what more can you ask for? Let’s take advantage of this!

Right now, I’m burning through Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, and am enjoying every minute of it. I’d love to hear how everyone else is doing with their books.

Join the Readathon!

Teaching & Nursing: My Frustrations

My mom is a pediatric hospital registered nurse and has been for just about 28 years or so now. Just last week, her nurse’s union went on strike because the hospital board for the hospital she’s worked at for her entire career has decided that they’re in the money game rather than the healthcare game.

The hospital took out full-page ads in newspapers to tell the public how greedy nurses are for wanting more money (they weren’t striking for more money), and then they locked out their own nurses for 4 days after the 1-day strike. This was partly was a punishment measure, partly that they people they contracted with to provide backup medical staff required 5 days’ staffing and the hospital didn’t want to pay their own staff for working as well. And when they finally opened the doors to the nurses, they thanked them for finally coming back to work. (?!)

The sad thing is that some of the public started agreeing with the hospital on social media. Yes, those nurses are so greedy and need to suck it up. Those nurses need to think about what’s best for the patients and go to work, regardless of work conditions, pay cuts, cuts in benefit, and retirement. Who cares about those nurses’ families and futures — they’re nurses. They need to work. So many people have it harder.

Nurses are not greedy. They work 12-hour shifts and sometimes don’t even take meal breaks during those time in order to make sure your family members are taken care of during their time of illness. They work weekends and holidays, they work through the night. They study and go to school throughout their entire careers so that people have the best care possible. On their days off, they teach CPR and first aid classes, renew certifications, go to professional developments. And yes, they have families who rely on them for support. My mom worked the evening shift full-time, would get off work at 7 AM after starting at 7 PM, pick me and my sisters up to drop us off at school, go shopping and do errands, maybe finally get some sleep starting around 9 AM, and then pick us up at 3 PM, drive us to our various after-school activities, and start it all over again. This is the situation of many nurses. And it breaks my heart for anyone to dare call people like her and her friends “greedy.” You have no idea.

My husband is a teacher, and people are complaining about how much he’s paid, because as we all know, teachers are lazy and make so much money for the job that they do. I’m sorry — but when did we start attacking NURSES and TEACHERS. What is wrong with people? They are literally saving lives and building futures — what wouldn’t you pay to have a highly trained professional in charge of YOUR LIFE when you’re in the hospital? What wouldn’t you pay to have a highly trained professional in charge of your CHILD’S FUTURE at school? When did people in society decide to think that nursing and teaching aren’t two of the most difficult jobs anyone could ever do?

Teachers are not lazy and aren’t just babysitters — most of them have spent over five years in school, whole YEARS dedicated to specifically learning teaching techniques. Yes, they get vacation time, but that’s because they’re working from 7 AM (6 AM in some cases) until easily 5:30 PM. That’s not even counting the weekends they spend supporting their students in various extracurricular activities. Then, when they get home at 6 PM, they lesson plan and read up on different teaching strategies for another hour or two. Trust me, these people are some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet. If they wanted to get rich working 50-60 hours a week, they would have gone into something that actually pays over $100k. My husband makes just under $50k a year working these hours. Don’t tell me he and his co-workers are greedy. They accept all of this, because they love their jobs and they love helping their students. People who go into service jobs like nursing and teaching aren’t in it for the money.

I cannot describe how angry I get when I hear someone say that maybe they’ll just go into teaching when they get bored of their current job. Excuse me? You’re using teaching as a chill backup for when you burn out? I have seen grown adults sob for hours because of the stress of trying to teach 150 teenagers to be decent human beings while also teaching content like grammar, basic writing skills, or math, or biology.

We need to re-think our values and re-think the way we accept the media spin on certain things. Why are you trusting what the person who makes over $400k a year says about how “lazy” nurses or teachers are when they’re asking for a living wage and decent retirement? Think about your own boss or CEO, think about your own situation, and imagine that your salary was under attack because your company has decided to use the money to build a new recreation center instead of giving it to the workers. So they’re asking you to work for 5% less, doing more work because of staff layoffs and cuts, and worse benefits because insurance is expensive. Nothing will change for your boss, though. They’ll still be making their $300k a year. Sound fair? That’s what these people are fighting against, and the higher-ups attacking them are somehow able to turn the public against them. Let’s be better about thinking through things before we accept the fact that workers who serve the public are greedy. Maybe the people trying to make a profit off public service are the ones we need to be looking at.

Book Review: Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey

Naamahs Blessing.jpgTitle: Naamah’s Blessing
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Series: Moirin Trilogy, Book 3; Kushiel’s Universe, Book 9
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hardcover: 610 pages
Source: Chicago Public Library
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

Returning to Terre d’Ange, Moirin finds the royal family broken. Wracked by unrelenting grief at the loss of his wife, Queen Jehanne, King Daniel is unable to rule. Prince Thierry, leading an expedition to explore the deadly jungles of Terra Nova, is halfway across the world. And three year old Desirée is a vision of her mother: tempestuous, intelligent, and fiery, but desperately lonely, and a vulnerable pawn in a game of shifting political allegiances.

As tensions mount, King Daniel asks that Moirin become Desirée’s oath-sworn protector. Navigating the intricate political landscape of the Court proves a difficult challenge, and when dire news arrives from overseas, the spirit of Queen Jehanne visits Moirin in a dream and bids her undertake an impossible quest.

Another specter from the past also haunts Moirin. Travelling with Thierry in the New World is Raphael de Mereliot, her manipulative former lover. Years ago, Raphael forced her to help him summon fallen angels in the hopes of acquiring mystical gifts and knowledge. It was a disastrous effort that nearly killed them, and Moirin must finally bear the costs of those bitter mistakes.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

I can’t begin to express how much I adore these books. I started with Kushiel’s Dart in about 2007 and have read about one a year until I’ve now finally finished the overall series. These books are so immersive that I like taking my time through them and just enjoying the experience of reading about Phedre, or Imriel, or Moirin. It’s been a long journey with this series and I’m sad to see it end, but this series has been wonderful.

This book is the third of Moirin’s trilogy and the 9th of the Kushiel’s universe. Overall, Moirin’s series is a much different flavor from that of Phedre’s or Imriel’s, but this book is the closest to having the fully developed political scheming and intrigues as the first two trilogies. I greatly enjoyed the first two trilogies for including such in-depth political scheming and reading about how religion and relationships all played into how a country is run and how decisions are made.

It’s hard to go into depth without revealing spoilers, but this book is generally about tying up loose ends, since it is, after all, the last Terre d’Ange book. Basically, Moirin goes on a jungle adventure to save Jehanne’s daughter from being taken advantage of by people trying to raise their status in the realm, and to save the Courcel family in general. She has to finally face up to her past mistakes and make them right, which allows her to show how much she has grown and learned from her past adventures.

One thing that has always impressed me about these books, and continued to impress me in Naamah’s Blessing is just how difficult Carey makes it for her characters — they are not given easy choices to make and are put in just awful situations. The one that hurt me the most, at least, was when Moirin has to choose between remaining faithful to her husband or staying a night with a powerful man in order to move her expedition forward and basically save her country. With the previous books and with the Kushiel series in general, it’s obvious what choice she ends up making, but it’s a rough one and being married to someone I love wholeheartedly, I can’t imagine being in the same situation. (Luckily, we don’t live in a fantasy novel, so I doubt we’ll ever have to worry about that.)

I think that this was a fitting end to a wonderful series — loose ends are tied up and everyone seems to be fairly happy for the most part. I like that we’re able to return to Alba with Moirin so we can see her mother again. It really felt like everything came full circle, and while this wasn’t my favorite of the Kushiel trilogies, it was so, so nice to be back in Terre d’Ange one last time. If you like fully developed fantasies, you should try starting with Kushiel’s Dart. These books are long and the first 6 books of the series have a lot more to do with sex and romance, but they are intelligently written and have such wonderful characters to fall in love with.