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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Janes in Love

Janes in Love
by Cecil Castellucci / Jim Rugg

In this sequel to “The Plain Janes,” the Janes are back. But when the Janes become entangled in matters of the heart, they discover that in art and in love, the rules don’t always apply. (goodreads.com)

It’s been ages since I read The Plain Janes, and I could never find this sequel anywhere. Sometime last fall I happened to see it while we were in our local comic book shop picking something up, so I bought it! I was thrilled!

And then I couldn’t find it anywhere and I forgot all about it.

Cut to this past weekend when my husband was vacuuming (because if I do it, I throw things around. Don’t know why, but vacuuming just enrages me. Irrationally.) and he moved the cedar chest in the living room and found a plastic bag. In this bag was my book! It must have fallen under the chest one day and since we don’t really move it around much, I never even noticed.

I picked this up and quickly read through it. It’s sort of a cheating way to get my Goodreads challenge numbers up. Heh. Also, I had really wanted to read this one!

Now, I have seen reviews of this graphic novel that say the first one was better, but you know something? I think I liked Janes in Love  better than The Plain Janes. Heck, this novel even made me sort of tear up near the end. When Jane’s mother comes out of the house, when Jane gets the art grant, the ending. It was just very moving to me. It could be because I have been having some wicked serious PMS the last week or so, but this story actually spoke to me more-so that the first.

Looking back at my post on The Plain Janes  I find it funny that I didn’t like Original Jane all that much, when I quite adored her in this segment of the story. I didn’t care for Theatre Jane this time around. Oh the difference time and situation can have on a book!

It was also neat to learn from Cecil Castellucci back in the fall that both this and the first Jane graphic novel were meant to be one story together. I like the split though. It’s also sad that they aren’t published anymore… or at least something was supposed to happen. My brain is mush right now.

If you’re into graphic novels and you haven’t checked these two out yet – if you see them, pick them up. I especially adore the art. I am picky when it comes to art and animation style, but this one is right up my alley!

Montreal Book Bloggers Brunch with Cecil Castellucci

Oh, dear. I started this post a week ago but couldn’t finish it and then life got all hectic and I haven’t touched my blog (or a book, really) in a week. Now I have a miserable cold and my eyes are watering as I type this, but come on, Me! Get with the program! This event was a WEEK AGO!

Sunday, November 20 a handful of Montreal Book Bloggers were invited to brunch with two Scholastic Canada reps, Nikole and Catherine (lovely name ;)) and with Montreal author Cecil Castellucci. It was a fun time for all! I have never been to an event like this, so I was super excited and nervous all at the same time. I don’t know why I was nervous, I mean, I had met the other Bloggers before but I hadn’t ever met Nikole or Catherine or Cecil before.

The brunch was a sort of book club/all things book discussion, focused mostly on Cecil’s latest novel, First Day on Earth (linked to review). It was great to talk books with like-minded people and get some inside scoops from the publicist and author perspectives. Cecil explained some of the process of books being optioned for movies, which I found very interesting. We talked review responsibilities, what we liked to see on blogs, what we thought of book trailers and more. Since I blog about books a lot differently than many book blogs it was a great opportunity to hear why others like to have certain things on their blog and that I am not the only one who feels anxious about having deadlines on review copies (of which I received only a few compared to most book bloggers).

Back L-R: Me, Avis @ She Reads and Reads,  Lucy @ Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf, Cecil Castellucci, Tina @ Bookshipper, Melissa @ YA Bookshelf, Catherine from Scholastic Canada
Front L-R: Lisa @ Starmetal Oak Book Blog, Nikole from Scholastic Canada

The small group setting was just perfect, though I was sitting at the opposite end of the table from Melissa and Lisa and would have liked to have talked to them a little more. I’ll be sure to sit near them at our next Book Blogger meet up in December! (Just realized I was sitting next to them at the first meet up, too. I guess we’re kindred spirits!)

I’m not one to go ga-ga over getting books autographed normally. I tend to want them signed if I have gotten to know the author and/or if I absolutely adored a book. I wasn’t sure if this would seem gauche or not, but Cecil was the author of one of my favourite graphic novels, The Plain Janes and I snuck that book along with me for the event in case I could sneak it to her to sign. (I also found out at the time that the first and second books were split from one full one. I suppose that’s why I originally thought that it ended rather abruptly!) Turns out others also brought books to have signed, so I didn’t feel so bad. 😉

Signed Plain Janes

I was surprised by a brown paper Scholastic shopping bag on my chair when I got to the cafe. Those kind Scholastic reps, Nikole and Catherine had prepared goodie bags for us all! I swear it was like Christmas and lottery winning all at the same time! Why do all the surprise books always come at the same time!

 Scholastic swag!

(I now HAVE to get Clarity by Kim Harrington. Good thing I had it on my Christmas list!) I was so happy about all of these books. I kept saying “It’s like you KNOW me!” Since I have never been in contact with anyone from Scholastic until this event, I was very impressed with their selections for me!

The only bad thing I have to say about the entire experience was the creepy art on the wall directly facing me. I told Avis when I was leaving, I wasn’t avoiding looking at her all morning on purpose. I just couldn’t look at her and not see this on the wall behind her:

Gah! What kind of food establishment puts nekked boobs on their wall while people are trying to eat!? Especially me! Prude Extraordinaire! I did not like that one bit. Of course I had to snap a photo to show my husband (and all of you) what I had to deal with all morning. =P

So a HUGE thank you to Scholastic Canada for including me in their little brunch and to Cecil Castellucci for coming home for a visit and taking time to meet us all and share stories and laughs for a few hours on a gloomy, raining, Sunday morning.

In My Mailbox #49 – Sugar Rush edition

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

All my IMM posts can be found here!


The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern (link goes to review)

For Review:

Awesome person mention:

Gail @ Ticket to Anywhere (my Revenge BFF!)

Two links go to my reviews, and the Fever one goes to Goodreads, as per the norm!

First Day on Earth

First Day on Earth
by Cecil Castellucci

“We are specks. Pieces of dust in this universe. Big nothings.

“I know what I am.”

Mal lives on the fringes of high school. Angry. Misunderstood. Yet loving the world — or, at least, an idea of the world.

Then he meets Hooper. Who says he’s from another planet. And may be going home very soon. (goodreads.com)

One week from tomorrow, I will be joining a handful of other Montreal Book Bloggers for breakfast with Cecil Castellucci. It’s going to be a sort of book club, type event, hosted by Scholastic Canada and I am so excited to be included on the guest list. Cecil is a Montreal author and has a writing style that really clicks with me. I will of course blog about next week’s event and let you know more about how I came to discover Cecil’s books!

Scholastic has made sure those of us who will be attending received a copy of Cecil Castellucci’s newest novel – First Day on Earth. For some reason I thought this book was going to be Middle Grade, I guess because it’s short (150 pages) and I don’t know… something in my brain was stuck on that.

This book is definitely not MG at all. I was actually shocked from the first page by the language used in the books. This shock was ONLY because my head said “MG” while the words my eyes were seeing clearly said “YA, yo!” As I turned each page and read this story from the YA point of view, I wasn’t shocked anymore. I was content. The dialogue and language in this book is very real. There are swear words and slang for body parts and it’s like reading something that was actually transcribed from a real teenage conversation.

The thing I loved most about this book was the short chapters. Some chapters were only one sentence. I LOVED that. I love books like that. Something about it just connects with me so deeply. It’s dark and it’s raw and it’s just so poignant. Those chapters, to me, were the most passionate. They made me think of the Ellen Hopkins novel I read late in the summer. They are poetic and strong.

I like the element of Science Fiction that’s mixed into this novel. Without it, First Day on Earth would just be a regular ol’ contemporary novel (though, one I would have enjoyed even though I am not a huge contemp fan). The alien theme doesn’t over power the story or Mal’s character, even though this is pretty much what the book is about. The Sci-Fi element is there as a sort of companion to the contemporary element. There’s a balance that I found very easy to read.

Mal’s friends are also well described so they feel like solid characters more than just secondary ones. You can truly understand their motivation throughout their actions. I liked them a whole bunch.

I did have to re-read the last chapter a few times in order to understand what it meant. This isn’t a bad thing about the book, this is me just wanting to make sure I was understanding it properly. I think I’m interpreting it correctly, but I could be wrong. I am looking forward to discussing this with the others next Sunday! I feel a little silly not getting it the first read and concerned I didn’t get it after the third. But then again, I’m cute, not smart. heh

This is the first and only book I have ever received from Scholastic Canada and I am very pleased that it was such a fantastic one. So, thank you very, very much!

The PLAIN Janes

The P.L.A.I.N. Janes
by Cecil Castellucci

I had been reading a lot of good things about The Plain Janes, so I decided to pick it up one day when I was walking by the graphic novel section of my local bookstore. It was a difficult task too, because apparently there was only one left in stock and yet no one could find it. Turned out it was on an overstock shelf waaaaaaay up near the ceiling. I was really hoping the sales clerk wasn’t going to fall off the ladder and kill herself all because I wanted to check out this book.

She didn’t fall or break anything and I walked away with my very own copy of Cecil Castellucci’s graphic novel. Yay, me, I thought!

I  didn’t like the Original Jane, the one who was planning all these art attacks, all that much. I found her to be fake and uninteresting. The only thing I really liked about her was her style of clothing. I am all about the 60s chic. The plot itself was pretty cool and I love the idea of art attacks all over the city.  This was a nice break for me from all the regular novels I’ve been reading. Fresh, though slightly slow at times for my hyperactive brain, I think this is one book I shall forever cherish sitting on my shelf.

I also found that the story ended rather abrubptly, and I was confused when I turned the page and there was just a teaser for another graphic novel published by the same company. That was weird. 🙁