Sunday, November 30, 2008

Competitions, competitions, competitions

Just heard about some great competitions. Presenting Lenore is giving away a signed set of the Gemma Doyle books by Libba Bray. (I really, really like this series. Have you read any of them?). She's also giving away a "publicist's choice" pack of books.

For the Gemma Doyle competition, click here. You have to write and tell her about a recent book you really loved. For the Penguin publicist's choice competition, click here. For this, all you have to do to win a box of books is leave a comment saying which Penguin title you most want to read (and there's a list posted of some of the Penguin 2008 titles). Both of these competitions are open until December 5th.

Finally, Juiciliousss is giving away a copy of Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos. To win, you have to leave a comment answering the question: What is your favorite winter holiday and why? If interested, please click here. This contest ends December 16.

Good luck!

Free Writing Workshop

Are you over 12 years old? Do you love to write? If so, there's a free writing workshop at the Menlo Park Library on December 12. Yes, really.

Lynn E. Hazen, author of the novel, SHIFTY (and several others) will be teaching this workshop. If you are interested you can sign up by sending an email to It's on a Friday evening from 7:00-9:00 p.m. and sounds great.

For more info, see

Friday, November 28, 2008

Coraline, the movie

The official trailer for Coraline, the upcoming movie, is now out and looks fabulous. It's made in stop motion and is in 3D. The result is an animated movie that really seems to conveys the original spirit of Gaiman's novel.

I've always loved the book and am creeped out by those button eyes. Comes out in February and I just can't wait!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

YALSA Teens' Top Ten List

The teens have voted! More than 8,000 teens voted on this year's winners. And the 2008 Teens' Top Ten is:

1. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
5. Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson
6. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
7. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
8. Extras by Scott Westerfeld
9. Before I Die by Jenny Downham
10. Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

So, did you vote? Did your choices make the top ten? Was Eclipse your favorite? And will you read these titles now you know so many people love them?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I loved Life As We Knew It, a book that seemed to haunt me for weeks. So I had high, high expectations for The Dead and the Gone, a companion book about the same catastrophic events. And it is every bit as good as the first.

If Life As We Knew It was set in rural America, The Dead and the Gone is set in New York and centers on the Morales family. 17-year-old Alex is left to look after his two sisters as his father was in Puerto Rico and his mother was on her way to work when an asteroid hits the moon and knocks it out of orbit. They deal with people disappearing, food shortages, early, bitter winter, illness, volcanic ash in the sky, rats, but unlike Like As We Knew It, this is about faith and how one family can retain hope in such horrifying circumstances.

If anything, this moving story is even more brutal and even darker, despite knowing where the story must inevitably go. It is never obvious, and is as captivating as it is devastating. And it made me cry.

Did this haunt you as much as Life As We Knew It? Was it as powerful, knowing what was going to happen? Let me know. Oh, and this was reviewed in The New York Times by John Green this month. To read his review click here . He also reviewed The Hunger Games, another of my favorites this year, in the same article.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Finally, the movie is out. The wait is over. So have you seen it yet? (I went today.) What did you think? Was it every bit as good as you wanted it to be? Which actor/actress did you think was best for the role? (OK apart from, duh, Robert Pattison.) Which was your favorite scene? Did you squeal/melt/want to faint? And did you catch the glimpse of Stephenie Meyer in her cameo appearance?

Actually I thought it was quite faithful to the book, although a few things do happen out of sequence. I liked the scene where they first meet, in the science lab, and Edward looked like he was about to gag. Oh, and on the baseball field. What about you?

And how soon do you want Catherine H. to start shooting New Moon?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

National Book Award Winner

They've just announced the winners of the National Book Awards and for young people's literature the winner is
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

Now I do admit that I was rooting for The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, because I loved it, but have now bumped What I Saw and How I Lied to the top of my to-be-read pile.

Click here if you want to read more about Blundell and the prize. Apparently on learning about her nomination, Blundell said, “I discovered that it's possible to not breathe and yet say 'oh my god' 14 times in a row.”

If you've read it, post and let me know what you thought of it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Paperback Dreams

Just thought I'd mention the PBS documentary, Paperback Dreams, that is airing this week. About the Bay Area's two landmark independent booksellers (yes, Kepler's is one of them) and their struggle to survive. Cody's and Kepler's helped launch a counterculture, and for 50 years have protected free speech and celebrated intellectual inquiry. At one time or another, the owners of these stores were harassed, vandalized, and threatened, for simply selling books. Watch for appearances by Joan Baez, the Grateful Dead, and Salman Rushdie. It is such a wonderful insight into recent history --and very moving, especially since Cody's has closed since making this documentary. It airs on KQED Channel 9

Wednesday, Nov. 19 -- 11:00 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 20 -- 5:00 a.m.

Let me know what you thought of it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Identical Winner

The winner of this month's competition for Identical by Ellen Hopkins is


I have no way of getting in touch with you other than posting here so please, please either contact me with an email address here on the blog or write to me at

And congratulations!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link Giveaway

Just found out about another book giveaway and had to post about it.

Book Chatter is giving away a copy of Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link on her blog

I've heard great things about this book! Here's Megan's review that sent it high on my to be read pile:

"What sort of book is Kelly Link's Pretty Monsters? It's a book full of stories that creep through the back door of your imagination and surprise you in the best way possible. It's a book with ghosts, aliens, monsters, a Las Vegas phone booth, and a handbag with an entire world hidden inside. The people in the stories are very much like you and me, except that the strange things we imagine in shadowy corners of our heads actually happen to them. These stories are weird and wonderful, and once you fall in, you'll have a hard time climbing back out. "

Friday, November 14, 2008

Interview with Twilight Director

Twilight opens so soon now. Can you stand the wait? I just found this interview with the director, Catherine Hardwicke, and had to post it here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

Dierdre is a gifted harpist. Her best friend, James, plays the bagpipes beautifully. When a very nervous Dierdre, is comforted by a handsome flautist, Luke, and joins him on stage to win the competition, she has no idea who he is. And she is smitten.

It turns out that Dee is a cloverhand--someone who can see faeries--and nothing good comes to cloverhands who cannot control the fey. An assassin is sent to kill her, she realizes she can move things with her mind, and life has got a lot less ordinary. And of course her feelings for the unusual and compelling Luke grow stronger despite all misgivings. What has she got involved in? Who will she hurt in the process? Is she living The Faerie Girl’s Lament? And don’t most tragic heroes die in the end of most Irish ballads?

This is such a fabulous book. I fell into it gladly after an underwhelming and disappointing book group pick and stayed up late into the night to finish it. Brimming with doomed love, oh-so dangerous faeries, and music oozing out of every pore, it is simply wonderful. And you really are kept at the edge of your seat until the very end.

And fortunately there is going to be a sequel -- Ballad. The question is: Can I wait that long?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Neil Gaiman Interview and Gravestone Giveaway

Just wanted to let you know that my interview with Neil Gaiman is now posted here. Find out what inspired him to write The Graveyard Book, whether it was based on any graveyard in particular, will there be a more written about Nobody Owens, which of the graveyard skills he'd like himself, who are his favorite authors--things like that. He was charming, agreed to an interview while signing books, and I'd just like to say thank you publicly.

So--what did you think of the set for his event? Wasn't it fantastic? You know, all those gravestones were taken from the book. AND he signed a few at the end of the evening. Yes, you guessed it, I have one to give away. Really. So who wants it? Write and let me know and I'll pull names out of a hat. It's that easy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Accio Deathly Hallows

For those of you who didn't make it to the John Green event (yes, I'm still talking about it) here's a video of Abby Simons singing her version of Accio Deathly Hallows. And I'm so sorry --my wonderful little flip video camera ran out of batteries in the middle of My Scientist, hence the abrupt ending. My apologies. But wasn't she awesome? You can see a full version of the song, however, at

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

John Green!

I hope you managed to join us to see John Green. He was fantastic (and yes, that is a yeti on his shirt!). And we had a packed house that night. People came from as far as Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Reno, and Oakland (thank you--we appreciate you driving so far).

He took questions from his online audience before the event, And lucky, lucky me --I got to interview him. Find out which characters he identifies most with, how working as a hospital chaplain affected his writing, what he's reading now, and advice for aspiring writers (and lots more). I'll post it in about a week so keep checking.

Today I'm posting a video of John reading in case you missed it (I know some of you came in late). I'll have video of Abby Simons, who played during the event, posted tomorrow.

Final thoughts: Which of his books (all great, I know) is your favorite? For me it's close, but I'll vote for Paper Towns. You?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Melissa De La Cruz Sweepstakes

Win lunch and $1,000 shopping spree with Melissa De la Cruz in her Blue Bloods Sweepstakes! All you have to do is click here and fill out the entry form you find there. Then send the filled -out entry form to: BLUE BLOODS SWEEPSTAKES, Disney Hyperion Books, 44 S. Broadway, 10th Floor, White Plains, NY 10601. Awesome! What did you think of this series?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Love Your Blog!

Just found out that I've been awarded the I Love Your Blog Award by my friend Nancy. I love to visit her blog for book reviews, movie reviews, and generally because I like to read what makes her happy. Her blog site is and I encourage everyone to check it out. Apart from her sunny optimism and charming nature Nancy loves to read and discuss teen literature and I'm very glad to have met her. Thanks Nancy -- I love your blog too!

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

I'm sure by now many of you have heard about the movie for this book, but let me say that even if you've seen it already, the book is definately worth reading. It's sarcastic, witty, and just fun in general. Taking these qualities and putting them together with the mix of an unusual plot and two hysterical yet lovable characters, a she/he stripper with personality, and odd references that make you think makes for a thoughtful and delightful bit of fun.

Nick is the only straight member of a gay band playing in a club who is at a loss when his ex, who he's still in love with, walks into a club with a new guy. In desperation, he asks the girl next to him to be his girlfriend for 5 minutes. As you can probably guess, this is Norah, a sarcastic exec's daughter. They proceed to have adventures they could never have predicted over the course of a night/morning, leading them all over, from bar to bar to a Mariott in Manhattan.

I loved this book, and I recommend it for anyone looking for a funny and enjoyable read.