Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Books to look for in 2009

2008 was a great year for books. I loved so many of them. And 2009 promises to be as good, if not better. So, what are you waiting to read?

Here's my list
1. Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
I know, I've talked about this a lot. Sisterhood, zombie apocalypse, sacrifice, romance. I've read it. I'll review it closer to it's publication date (April!). It's fabulous.
2. Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
A sequel to Wicked Lovely. From Seth's point of view!
3. Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
Killer unicorns that can only be killed by warriors descended from Alexander the Great.
4. Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
A teen, killed on prom night, is targetted by dark reapers but she decides to take control of her fate before it takes control of her.
5. Hunger by Michael Grant
Sequel to Gone. Three months since everyone over the age of 15 disappeared. Food has run out. And each day more and more kids develop supernatural abilities. And the Darkness has awakened. And is hungry.
6. Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
Sequel to Lament, narrated by James, and a new faerie, Nuala. The stakes are higher and even more personal, plus, there are kings of the dead and vampiric faerie muses and bonfires.
7. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
About the first love between a 16-year-old girl and a boy who spends his winters as a wolf and is fighting to stay human as the temperature drops.

Don't they sound great? Have I missed anything you're eagerly awaiting? Let me know!
And happy new year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The art of Coraline

I'm back from Yosemite (SO beautiful) and wanted to tell you about the Art of Coraline exhibition at the Cartoon Art Museum that will run from January 24 - February 15, 2009.

The Cartoon Art Museum will present original works of art from the feature film Coraline, which will be released on February 6, 2009. Coraline will be the first ever stop-motion animated film to be shot in 3D (in stop-motion animation, everything seen on screen actually exists in the real world, as opposed to computer-generated animation) and this exhibition features drawings, storyboards, puppets, sets, costumes and more. This exhibit includes almost 80 pieces from the extraordinary world of Coraline, created by a team of over 300 artists.

The Cartoon Art Museum is located at
655 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
Tel: 415-CAR-TOON
For more information, check here
Hours: Tues. - Sun. 11:00 - 5:00, Closed Monday
General Admission: $6.00 * Student/Senior: $4.00 * Children 6-12: $2.00 * Members & Children under 6: Free

By the way, they currently have an exhibition of The Totoro Forest Project (inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s film My Neighbor Totoro).

Friday, December 26, 2008

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

How much do we owe our family and those we love?

It’s 1947, the war is over, and 15-year-old Evie’s stepfather, Joe, has come home. He decides, suddenly, to take his family to Florida for a vacation and it’s there that they run into Peter, who served with Joe in the war. He asks her to dance, takes her out, kisses her, and Evie falls for Peter, ignoring the fact that he’s older, that Joe doesn’t seem to like him, and that he’s so mysterious. There’s a storm, a boating accident, and Evie’s life starts to unravel, revealing all the lies, forcing her to pick sides, to choose between her allegiances to her parents and the man she has come to love.

With a very noir feel, this coming of age story has everything—style, secrets, betrayal, theft, first love, blackmail, racism, adultery, a perfume called My Sin, and yes, murder. Very visual, you can almost see this as a film — think LA Confidential. Now I see why this won the National Book Award.

And, by the way, did you know that Blundell also writes Star Wars novelizations?

PS I'll be away for a few days so want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy new year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Best of 2008

Well, it's Christmas Eve, I'm waiting for friends and family to arrive, and naturally I wanted to wish you all a happy holiday season. Wasn't it a great year for books? So many great titles. And I have such a huge TBR pile sitting by the side of my bed.

So here are my favorites of the year.

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Paper Towns by John Green
3. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
4. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
5. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
6. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
7. The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
8. Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

I gave SO many of these this holiday season. Did I include your favorites? Which did I miss? Let me know. And enjoy the holidays.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

King Dork by Frank Portman

I know this is an older title, but I've been wanting to read it for a while. And it was worth the wait. By the way, Portman is also a musician, is in a band called the Mr T Experience, and even wrote some songs about the book (included on the audio version!)

Tom Henderson is smart, geeky, and at the very bottom of the social ladder. He wears combat clothes to keep the bullies at bay and spends his time with his friend Sam Hellerman playing video games and making up incredible and utterly outrageous band names and writing songs (many of which are brilliant, worth reading the book for (!)— like Margaret? It's God. Please Shut Up.) Tom does not know much about the exact circumstances of his father’s death (was it suicide? Murder? An accident?) So when he finds his Dad’s copy of The Catcher in the Rye, with secret messages inside, Tom decides to decode the messages, and try to find out more about his father (and, believe me, you’ll never think of Catcher in the Rye in the same way again, or the Ramones for that matter). Oh, Hillmont High school is a harsh and scary place for Tom.

Full of literary references, sex, drugs, and rock and roll this is a very different kind of novel. It takes a while to get used to the pace of the book but I found myself immersed and shaking with laughter at times. Yes, it’s very funny (OK, immature and wise–cracking but funny!) with a cast of characters that linger—especially Little Big Tom (my favorite!) and Mr Schtuppe, who teaches the class the art of mispronunciation. It's a coming of age story to remember.

And I hear it's going to be made into a movie, produced by Will Ferrell!

Friday, December 19, 2008

William C. Morris YA Award Finalists

Yes, end of year and time for awards. The William C Morris YA Award (a new award) honors a book written by a first-time author for young adults.

The finalists have been announced and they are:

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Absolute Brightness by James Lecesne

Madapple by Christina Meldrum

Me, the Missing, and the Dead by Jenny Valentine

So -- have you read any of them? And if so, which would be your pick to win? I've heard only great things about four of them, and I'm sure the fifth must be fabulous too. Decisions, decisions -- which to read first...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantasky

I’ll start by admitting that I picked this book up simply because of the title (and the cover), which are hard to resist, don’t you think? So glad I did!

Jessica is a Pennsylvania teen who is good at math and is sighing wistfully over high school wrestler, Jake. But things change (oh, do they change) when Lucius Vladescu arrives on her doorstep from Romania claiming he is a vampire prince, destined to marry her, a union that will bring peace between two warring vampire clans. In fact, the promise of this marriage is the only thing that has kept a tentative peace for all these years. Did I mention that he claims she is really a vampire princess who was smuggled out of the country when her parents were being chased by an angry mob to keep her safe? And that her parents signed a pact declaring she would marry Lucius, the enemy clan prince, when she turned 18 to bring peace between thee clans. Of course Lucius is everything he should be, dark, brooding and gorgeous — but also arrogant, overbearing, and Jessica finds him incredibly annoying. And, equally naturally, Jessica doesn’t believe a word Lucius tells her. Who would? (OK, she knew she was adopted but vampires? Please!).

Lucius brings Jessica a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions to help in her transition (full of tips lke, “just remember, girls: The young vampire is a predator by nature. Some boys may look at you not only as a romantic interest, but as prey!”). But just at the point when she thinks life with Lucius is what she really wants, not the nice, safe, relationship Jake could offer, Lucius changes his mind and starts dating Faith, the blonde, star cheerleader. How confusing is that? So now Jessica has to choose to fight for Lucius (if she really wants him), try to stop a vampire war (which apparently would decimate her clan), and try to save Lucius from himself.

There are many twists along the way, and the author (can she really be called Fantaskey?) manages to keep you guessing right to the end. A great addition to the ever-growing teen paranormal genre.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Maggie Stiefvater News!

As many of you know, I really, really liked Lament by Maggie Stiefvater. So you can imagine how excited I was when she agreed to an interview with me. Keep checking --I should have the interview posted by the end of the week. Find out about what inspired her to write Lament, how important music is to her, what writers she admires most, and all about the sequels that I'm waiting so desperately for.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Story Siren is Hosting a Holiday Contest

Wow! The Story Siren is giving away TONS of free books in her holiday thank you contest. You can win one of THESE titles:

Braless in Wonderland by Debbie Reed Fischer (Hardcover)
Vidilia in Paris by Sasha Watson (ARC)
Fringe Benefits by Valerie Frankel (Paperback)
Nick of Time by Ted Bell (Hardcover)
THe Humming of Numbers by Joni Sensel (Hardcover)
The Legend of Mickey Tussler by Frank Nappi (Hardcover)
Gone by Michael Grant (ARC)
War of the Witches by Maite Carranza (Hardcover)
The Day I Killed James by Catherine Ryan Hyde (ARC)
Witch Season by Jeff Mariotte (Paperback)
Witch Season 2 by Jeff Mariotte (Paperback)
Jack: Secret Histories by F. Paul Wilson (Hardcover)
Chasing Windmills by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Hardcover)
No Choirboy by Susan Kuklin (ARC)
Courage in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum (Paperback)
Fabulous Terrible: Adventures of You by Sophie Talbot (Paperback)
Savvy Girl by Lynn Messina (ARC)
Secrets of My Hollywood Life: Family Affairs by Jen Calonita (Hardcover)
Secrets of My Hollywood Life: On Location by Jen Calonita (Hardcover)
For adults:
Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian
Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian
The Dream Hunter by Sherrilyn Kenton
Simmer Down by Jessica Conant-Parl and Susan Conant

If any of those titles interest you (and of course they will) here's how you enter: Leave a comment on her post (click here to get there). List your top four picks of the books you want from her pile with two alternates. Easy. And when you enter, make sure you let her know that you found out here (she’ll give you two (2) extra entries!).

Remember, all entries must be received by Friday Jan. 16, 2009. Good luck.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Coraline Book Trailer

Just heard from Evelyn, one of the winners of our Neil Gaiman gravestone giveaway. She sent me a link to her book trailer of Coraline, which I'm posting here so you can all see her work. Isn't it wonderful?

If anyone else has made book trailers, let me know and I'll post them for all to see.

Thanks Evelyn!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Neil Gaiman Gravestone Winners

Finally, here are the lucky winners of the gravestones signed by Neil Gaiman.

Drum roll

Out of the hat (beret) came these names:

1. Evelyn (disillusionedcupotea)
2. Lauren (Shooting stars mag)
3. Jeff (see photo)

And I gave one to Rina Weisman to auction for the Variety Children's Charity.

Congratulations all. I shall write and let you all know and place them at will call for you by Friday.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Can a shopping trip change your life? Annabel, Delia, Zo and Bailey are in the mall looking for something to wear for the school dance. They stop at an accessory booth where they pick out respectively a barrette, a necklace, a crystal, and a set of temporary tattoos that Bailey is inexorably drawn to. Each girl chooses a tattoo, which will totally change their lives.

The girls soon realize these tattoos have given them powers, special powers. One can read minds, one can create fire, one gets visions of the future, and one can change things (transmogrification). They are impressed, especially Delia who just thinks of all the great clothes she can now create. On the other hand Bailey hears voices and has dreams that tell her something evil is coming, an ancient prophecy that could destroy the world. So--can these girls save the world from this coming evil, solve the mystery, make sure the high school dance remains safe, and maybe help Bailey get a date with Kane before the tattoos wear off and their powers disappear?

This light-hearted, witty story of friendship, mythology, adventure, and fashion, is simply a lot of fun. The way the girls relate to each other reminds me of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, with a supernatural subplot. I do hope there will be a sequel.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Moon

You knew it, I knew it, but they've just announced it. Summit Entertainment announced that the studio is officially moving forward with the production of NEW MOON, the second installment in the Twilight series. TWILIGHT, of course, arrived in theaters to sold-out showings.

Stephenie Meyer said, "I don't think any other author has had a more positive experience with the makers of her movie adaptation than I have had with Summit Entertainment. I'm thrilled to have the chance to work with them again on NEW MOON."

So, who do you think should play the Volturi? Do you agree with -- Pushing Daisies' Kristin Chenoweth as Jane, Crispin Glover as Aro, and Christopher Lee as Caius (well, he has played Dracula several times...)? I was thinking maybe Alan Rickman as Aro (he's so good as Snape). And shouldn't Jane be much younger?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Need by Carrie Jones

I try not to post reviews of books until they are published (it's SO frustrating to wait for a book once you've read a review that talks to you) but I read this last week and just can't wait any longer to tell you about it. And it IS out just before the holidays so you won't have THAT long to wait!

Need asks the question: How do you come to terms with the death of a beloved step dad? Zara is numb. She can’t function. Her phobias list is not helping. So her mother sends Zara to her grandmother in oh-so-cold Maine to see if this helps. She starts a new school, makes some new friends, meets a boy, Nick, and all this helps her to forget her sadness and the startling fact that someone is following her. The strange man she kept seeing in Charleston and thought was a figment of her imagination is now everywhere she goes in Maine. And he leaves a trail of gold dust behind him in this hauntingly bleak, snowy landscape.

I won’t give anything away if I say that yes, this man is a pixie, and not the cute kind you imagine with wings happily playing with flowers in the garden. These pixies are dangerous. They have uncontrollable needs. And one of them is following Zara, calling to her, pointing at her. What can he want? And why her?

I can’t tell you much more without giving the book away but it’s a compulsive read, romantic, and perfect for anyone who is looking for a book to follow the Twilight series, or who loved Melissa Marr's work. I couldn't put it down. Add it to your holiday list!