Agent AP sends us this alarming note:
Hello. How are you doing this fine day? I happen to be doing quite well. (Skip to the next paragraph to here the good stuff) It is very hot here...
I dangerously decided that yes, I will be reading the BAD MAGIC series. This info is top secret. First of let me attend to me choice of sweets...
Alright, I am back. You have chocolate, and I have my cherry popsicles. Anyway, dangerously I have decided to venture on in you writing and I have asked my mother if I could be somewhere with books on September 16th. Oversize sunglasses? I have my fair share of those.
Thanks for the heads up Agent AP. Not sure where you're headed on the 16th, but there will be a top secret party happening here. (Do not click!)
Agent A writes in to make us an offer we CAN'T refuse:
PB, I am not an impostor.
I am a great fan of your books. I will give you 1,000 chocolates if you keep writing books.
WOW! 1,000 chocolates you say?
BAD MAGIC out September 16!
Looking forward to those 1,000 chocoaltes.
Agent K sends in this Secret Series sighting. Sure, they look adorable, but something about their eyes ... they may be under the control of evil alchemists.
At least they'll have to wait 6 more days to get their hands on BAD MAGIC.
This is our very favorite style of review -- from someone who hasn't read the book yet! Xander is a twelve year old book blogger, and he claims to have met PB -- TWICE. Here's his review:
I love Bosch’s books. they are so quirky and fun. I read his Secret Series, and I absolutely loved them. I also love the art inside the book—Gilbert Ford has a way of illustrating that is very unique. I have met Bosch twice :-) This book sounds like an awesome read—a camp on a volcano? surprises? believing the unbelievable? I’m hooked. I am SO excited for this book! I got an ARC at BEA, but like the above, got lost in the mail. Grrr. And this book was SIGNED.
Sorry you lost that signed book, Xander. Anyone else who wants a signed copy can order one from ONCE UPON A TIME BOOKSTORE. But be warned - the book will be harder to resell once it's been scribbled in!
Agents K & M send us this alarming note:
Hey, it's us again! We are willing to offer you more chocolate. (It's going to be about 5 bars.)
Our pegaraffacorns (combination of Pegasus, unicorns, and giraffes) are hacking into your email account so that this message reaches you. Then Chester (my fat, lazy, blonde cat) is super hacking into your site so we can get the info for the next book. Mwahaha!
Yes, we are your impostors! (You didn't just see that! Forget all that we've said!) We are looking forward to reading your new book, and stealing all of those secrets. (Oops, I just told you bad info again.*)
Sincerely (or not so sincerely), your evil followers*-- K and M.
*We are not so great with being secretive.
*Oops, I did it again. You weren't supposed to know that.
Well, all we can say is that if you've got trained pegaraffacorns AND a cat who is a super-hacker ... The Impostor had better WATCH OUT.
Something tell me the pegaraffacorns are going to be getting in to some BAD MAGIC on the 16th.
EMERGENCY!!!! FIRE DRILL!!!
Agent CC sends us this letter - ouch! Luckily there was that emergency fire exit.
Wordnik Word of the Day for September 01, 2014
To take pains; labor assiduously with little progress.
This word can sometimes describe how certain blocked writers feel. It's a pungle out there.
Many Secret Readers wear the foolscap - because they are jesters. NOT slow or lazy! Well ... Mostly because we are jesters.
Here is an interview with The Impostor ... Possibly. Either way, Thanks to Macy and Zoe for bringing this to our attention.
Pseudonymous Bosch is the anonymous pseudonymous author of the Secret Series. Not much is known about him other than that he has a passionate love of chocolate and cheese and an equally passionate hatred of mayonnaise. Rumors of Boschian sightings are just as frequent and about as reliable as reports of alien abductions. We might have possibly had a chance to see him at the ALA conference in Las Vegas – but we are not sure.
MACI & ZOE:
Do you read books on an electronic device or a real book?
OH, ALWAYS A REAL BOOK. I AUTOMATICALLY ASSUME ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES ARE BUGGED.
MACI & ZOE:
How did you get started writing?
JUST NOW? I OPENED UP MY COMPUTER AND…OOPS! THIS IS AN ELECTRONIC DEVICE, ISN’T IT? SHOULD I STOP ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS?
MACI & ZOE:
Do you read during meals, if so a book, newspaper or other?
YES, I READ DURING MEALS. I FIND MENUS VERY FASCINATING.
MACI & ZOE:
What is your favorite dessert, other then chocolate?
ANYTHING WITH CHOCOLATE ON TOP, BELOW, OR INSIDE…
MACI & ZOE:
What’s you favorite bookstore?
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MONTROSE, CALIFORNIA. THE OLDEST CHILDREN’S BOOKSTORE IN THE COUNTRY. ALSO ONE OF THE CLOSEST BOOKSTORES TO WHERE I…DON’T LIVE…AND NEVER HAVE LIVED. IN FACT, FORGET I EVER MENTIONED ONCE UPON A TIME. BUT IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE IN THE AREA, THEY WILL BE HOSTING A RELEASE PARTY FOR BAD MAGIC ON SEPTEMBER 16TH.
MACI & ZOE:
What do you use as a bookmark?
USUALLY A FINGER. SOMETIMES MY TEETH.
MACI & ZOE:
Is there a special procedure that you do when you write (eat chocolate)?
IT’S TOP SECRET BUT YOU’RE RIGHT IN THINKING IT INVOLVES EATING CHOCOLATE.
MACI & ZOE:
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
NO. OK. HOW ABOUT, THANK YOU FOR THE EXCELLENT QUESTIONS. I HOPE I HAVE SUCCESSFULLY AVOIDED ANSWERING THEM.
We have no idea how or when this happened - but apparently on July 15 The Impostor gave an interview to Publishers Weekly. Here's what they said about it, and just click on the photo to go to their page and listen - IF YOU DARE. Personally we think you should steer clear of this. Who knows what the Impostor said over the course of these 20 minutes. I'm certain it's all too revealing, but I can't bear to listen myself. Maybe after lunch. Here's what they said:
The pseudonymous Pseudonymous Bosch talks with PW KidsCast about his new book, ‘Bad Magic,’ as well as deserted islands in literature and TV, staying one step ahead of his “enemies,” and the possibility of writing books under (gasp) his given name.
John Sellers - FOR SHAME!!! You're on our list.
These review comes to us from teenlibrariantoolbox.com and maciandzoe.com. Thanks for the kind words. Sorry about the lack of evil adults! This review is great - we are partial to llamas and volcanoes. Thanks for this - the two first reviews of BAD MAGIC.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Middle Grade Monday Book Review - Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch
Clay is a go along to get along kind of guy. Almost thirteen, he is a fairly typical adolescent; he likes to skateboard, wears hoodies, and has a sustained interest in graffiti style art. Not that he would ever do something illegal, like tag a building, but he does like to practice and the walls of his room are covered in his art work. So, it comes as a great shock to him to walk into school and find one of his 'pieces' written distinctly on the wall (MAGIC SUCKS!), and signed with his name.
Understandably, the school believes that Clay has defaced their property and makes 'a punishment' a condition of his return to school for the following year. They allow Clay's parents to decide what form that punishment will take. In essence, this means that Clay gets to decide.
Wait, let's back up a little... You see, both of Clay's parents are psychologists. Clay has a much older brother, Max-Ernest, whom his parents believe they parented too actively. So, when Clay is born 12 years later, they decide to go completely hands-off. So Clay is raised mostly by Max-Ernest...until he disappears. Now Clay is essentially raising himself. Which leads to the explanation for MAGIC SUCKS! being a piece of Clay's work. Max-Ernest's abiding passion was magic tricks, and he taught Clay many of them. When Max-Ernest leaves the family with virtually no explanation, Clay needs a focus for his anger and resentment - he chooses magic.
Clay's parents, for once, decide to choose 'a consequence' for him, and send him to Earth Ranch, which is advertised as a camp designed to help "children outgrow problem behaviors and reach their full potential." After reading the brochure, helpfully provided by the teacher that believes Clay tagged the school wall, he declares that it is "Alcatraz... on a volcano... with llamas!" He's not wrong. This is where most of the action of the book takes place.
What happens at camp, and indeed most of the book, is based loosely on William Shakespeare's play The Tempest. Being only vaguely aware of it myself, I can confidently say that lack of knowledge of Shakespeare, or The Tempest, will not impede young readers in their enjoyment of this novel.
This highly entertaining read reminded me of two things - Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events books, and Louis Sachar's book Holes. Narrated in third person omniscient, and often directly addressing the reader, it is somewhat similar in style and tone to the SUE. The whole 'weird camp that you don't understand where their is something else going on' thing is also a major component. Although, thankfully, the adults involved are all sympathetic to the protagonist. I really enjoy books that manage to pull this type of story off without making an adult evil. Not that it doesn't fully convey the adolescent sense of misunderstanding of adult motives and lack of personal agency. It has that in spades.
I highly recommend this engaging read to anyone serving Middle Grades students. It is scheduled to be available for purchase this September from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (ISBN 9780316320382).
Maci & Zoe read books says:
When I first learned that this book was coming out and it was from Pseudonymous Bosch I knew that it had to be good, and it was. Even though it is not related to the secret series, it makes some really cool references to it. This book is about Clay, his parents think that it is best to let him parent himself thinking that they over parented Clay’s older brother Max-Ernest. When Clay gets in trouble for supposedly graffitiing the school wall his parents for once decided to punish him for it by sending him to a camp for troubled kids. While Clay is wary of this camp, his parents are perfectly happy sending him there. At this camp Clay has to learn how to care for a pet llama and starts to think that there is more then meets the eye to the camp. This book always has you guessing even when you think that you have figured it out and it is captivating from the very beginning. The ending of the book is satisfying but leaves it open for the next one. If you liked the Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch or Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, then you will like this.
Thanks again for these early first reviews!
We're not sure exactly where Agent ML got this picture from. Is the book entering our dimension?
Flying away through a vortex? We're not sure. It would be handy if one could open up a portal to hide the Secret Series in if someone is coming. We hope that's what's happening here!
Matt Pearce at latimes.com shares this story:
Fish are dying off en masse in the waters around Honolulu after hundreds of thousands of gallons of molasses spilled into Honolulu Harbor this week -- and there's nothing officials can do to clean it up.
Thousands of fish, suffocated by the sugary sludge, have been killed or threatened. Footage from local media showed fish floating in the harbor, with some seeming to gasp above the surface of the water, which was contaminated by the thick, syrupy sweetener.
"We're working with all the local officials, but as the [Hawaii] Department of Health said, there’s nothing you can do to clean up molasses," Jeff Hull, a spokesman for Matson Inc., the company responsible for the leak, told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. "It’s sunk to the bottom of the harbor. Unlike oil, which can be cleaned from the surface, molasses sinks."
Harris added of the disaster, "I’m not sure there’s anything to do. They do have officials out there removing the dead fish to keep potential sharks from gathering, but I think the damage was too quick – once it was reported, it was too late."
Health officials said they expect the molasses plume to go from Honolulu Harbor into the nearby Ke'ehi Lagoon and then dissipate in the ocean. Spokeswoman Okubo said there was no timetable for when that might happen.
In a statement, the company said it "regrets that the incident impacted many harbor users, as well as wildlife.... We are taking steps to ensure this situation does not happen again."
Uh oh! What horrible news.
No, not by us, silly. We no longer operate in legendary castle real estate.
Christopher Middleton at telegraph.co.uk shares this story about this famous castle, now up for sale:
The property comes with a long list of previous owners: everyone from Saxons to Hungarians to Teutonic knights. And although the facilities may not be exactly state-of-the-art (the plumbing is reported to require some work), there’s no questioning the detachedness of the property. It stands on top of a hill, and is most definitely not overlooked by neighbours.
The views are similarly uninterrupted. The original property particulars don’t survive, of course. But you can bet that the estate agents in the nearest town (Brasov) would have put plenty of emphasis on the number of miles away from which you could spot an advancing army.
“Archduke Dominic and his family care very much for the castle, and it’s in far better shape now than it was when run by the government,” says Meyer. “The aim, though, is to take the whole thing a stage further, re-route the road and make Bran a destination, the kind of place people will stay for two or three days.”
The question is, of course, how much will the castle cost? It’s been reported that Archduke Dominic offered it to the Romanian government for $80million (£47million), but Meyer is not prepared to quote a figure.
Click on the photo to read more.
Look at all these different meanings of the word sound, a word we appreciate for its SENSIBILITY. (get it?!?)