Be sure to put these books on your to-read shelf, because they're coming to the big screen!
If you haven't read Jackaby by William Ritter then stop what you're doing and put it on hold now. The third installment of this paranormal mystery series just came out this week and I cannot wait to dive into its pages. The story revolves around two main characters, Abigail Rook and R. F. Jackaby. Ms. Rook is a plucky young woman who has traveled to New England to escape her family's expectations that she becomes a proper lady and wife. Abigail wants adventures, not manners and society and so begins her search for a job. When she applies to a strange advertisement in the paper she finds herself working for the mysterious Jackaby and soon the two are caught up in a bewildering case involving a serial murderer. With Abigail's keen eye for ordinary details and Jackaby's background in the unexplained the two become a great team in the face of a dangerous monster. This book has been touted as a “Sherlock Holmes meets Doctor Who, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and I cannot imagine a more compelling description to a story than that. The second book in the series, Beastly Bones, takes Abigail and Jackaby out of the city and into the country to uncover a mystery surrounding missing bones at the site of a dinosaur dig. Only the bones might not belong to a dinosaur after all, and who, or what, is attacking everyone in the valley? In this third installment, Ghostly Echoes, Jackaby and Abigail are tasked with helping a young ghost solve the mystery surrounding her own death and the mysterious disappearance of her fiance on the day she died.
If you love fantasy, mystery, and/or historical fiction then I highly recommend this series to you. I've also heard they are great on audiobook! Check out the links below to reserve yourself a copy today.
Need a good fantasy series to read? Try The Colors of Madeleine trilogy by Jaclyn Moriarty. The books in the series are: A Corner of White, The Cracks in the Kingdom, and A Tangle of Gold. The series follows Madeleine and Elliot as they comminucate across a crack in the universe - discovering unknown worlds, mysterious science, magical colors, and themselves along the way. Here is a description of the story from the author's website:
Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop. Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours.
They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white – the slim seam of a letter.
Elliot begins to write to Madeleine, the Girl-in-the-World – a most dangerous thing to do for suspected cracks must be reported and closed. But Elliot’s father has disappeared and Madeleine’s mother is sick.
Can a stranger from another world help to unravel the mysteries in your own? Can Madeleine and Elliot find the missing pieces of themselves before it is too late?
A mesmerising story of two worlds; the cracks between them, the science that binds them and the colours that infuse them.
Also, don't miss Jaclyn Moriarty's Colours of Thursday blog where she posts a colorful picture every week and posts something about it. She also encourages everyone to do the same and when she finds ones she likes she reposts them on her blog.
And for more information about the books, the world of Cello, and the author's inspiration check out this video interview.
Also, for some fun read-a-likes check out:
- The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fford
- Flora Segunda by Ysabeau Wilce
- The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
- Relativity by Cristin Bishara
- Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier
- The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent
Welcome back to Musical Mondays! A blog about books and music.
Just to recap: A lot of books are now incorporating music in some way into the story. Some authors create music playlist for their books, other weave music into the story, and some are just about music in some way. The first blog post featured Books with Playlists. This blog will highlight books that weave music and songs throughout the novel.
Just like the last list, music isn’t necessarily the main focus of these novels, although it can be. Instead, many use music to help tell the characters’ stories, set the mood, or give the reader an extra layer to think about and interact with. One of my favorites of these is when songs are the chapter titles – like in Playlist for the Dead or Blackbird Fly.
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Here is a road trip full of detours, connections, and music. Each chapter begins with the lyrics from a song and music playlists mark Amy and Roger’s journey across the country. The playlists are not online but are detailed throughout the book.
Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly Black Bird Fly Playlist
There is a lot of music in this book! And since Apple loves the Beatles, and thinks one of the albums is the soundtrack to her life, many songs are by them. Each chapter title is a song and Kelly has compiled a playlist of some of the songs throughout the book.
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
Music, especially drumming, is a central component of this novel. It uses drumming vocabulary through the story and it is a love of music that helps the main character get through some difficult times. No playlist yet, but there is a short video interview with Sonnenblick where he talks about the book, writing, and drums. And don’t miss the sequel After Ever After or this video where Sonnenblick plays the drums!
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell Eleanor and Park Playlist
Rowell works on her playlists while she writes. For Eleanor and Park she created mixed tapes for each character and ended up with four playlists! On her site she has the playlists, with links to the music, as well as her thoughts, commentary, and videos.
Guitar Notes by Mary Amato Guitar Notes Playlist
This book is filled with music and, since the two main characters write music together, sometimes reads like a fabulous, dramatic, romantic version of a music writing handbook! Amato has written and recorded all the songs for the book, making a unique playlist! Her website, The Thrum Society, contains the songs, song writing resources, a songbook for the novel, videos, and karaoke versions of the songs.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman If I Stay Playlist
If I Stay is infused with music. Forman put together a partial list of the songs in the book in the order they appear in the story, but there are many more throughout. Also, don’t miss the sequel Where She Went, which has original songs throughout. Forman has compiled the lyrics to these songs on her website.
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen Just Listen Playlist
Music is a big part of this book, but the songs in it were actually made up by Dessen. But, after she wrote it she went back and created a playlist of the songs that were her inspiration for the book, that helped her get through writing, or that she just likes.
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Website
This is a book filled with mixed tapes, a band’s secret show, and a whirlwind night of music and adventure! There are also 3 playlists to go with this book! The first playlist is a listing of the songs mentioned in the books. The other two are The Norah Soundtrack which are the songs Cohn imagines would be on Norah’s side of a soundtrack, and (T)Rainy/Dreamy which is a playlist of songs inspired by Norah’s wish to make Nick a playlist with the words rain or train in them.
Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
Each chapter is the title of a song that appears on a playlist left behind by one of the characters. The reader, and the main character, are tasked with figuring out what message the song is trying to convey. There is no online playlist, but the songs from the chapter titles could be compiled together to make one and then listened to as you read.
That's it for this month.Come back for our last installment, Want to Join a Band?, for a look at books where the main characters are part of a band or write or make music. A few are even written by muscians!
Happy Reading (and Listening)!
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month is celebrated in June in the United States. LGBT Pride has historically been celebrated in June to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. On June 28, 1969 police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular bar in New York City’s most liberal neighborhood, Greenwich Village.
Until the 1970s, the FBI kept lists of known homosexuals and frequently conducted raids on establishments catering to the gay community; in 1969 being gay was a criminal offense.
First person accounts of the June 28 riot, and subsequent upheaval in Greenwich, reported the atmosphere felt almost festive. For the first time in modern LGBT history, a group with no concrete mission or organization united without obvious leadership. Rather, onlookers and participants noted, it was instinctual. A community of oppressed people unified at that moment and said, “enough - we aren’t going away. We aren’t going to tolerate this abuse anymore.”
Following the riots, LGBT organizations formed across the country and became champions in the modern fight for LGBT civil rights. Over the last 50 years these groups have become more inclusive of racial diversity among the community as well as transgender, queer and other non-conforming gender and sexual identities. Various initiatives and growing support within LGBTQ+ communities and from the outside has propelled the LGBTQ+ struggle to the forefront of the United State’s modern civil rights movement.
As the civil rights movement gains attention and momentum, the LGBTQ+ interest genre in books for all ages has expanded. Authors of all orientations are writing stories for and about persons of non-conforming identities.
For especially popular and critically acclaimed works of Young Adult Fiction in LGBTQ+ interest, available at the Upper Arlington Public Library see the list below:
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Bengamin Alire Saenz
- The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
- Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
- You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour
- I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
- Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
- Beautiful Music for Ugly Children
- Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
For a Non-Fiction book about the Stonewall riots written especially for teens:
For Non-fiction LGBTQ+ interest:
- Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
- The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle by Lillian Faderman
- Out Law: What LGBT Youth Should Know About Their Legal Rights by Lisa Keen
- Queer: the Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens by Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke
- A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski