Monday, March 30, 2009

The Dust of 100 Dogs by AS King - Review

This is an incredibly difficult book to describe. Part historical fiction, part swashbuckling pirate tale, part romance, and part modern day teen fiction. And how can I forget all those wonderful dog facts? I love the dog facts!

Imagine watching Cromwell’s troops ride through your small Irish town and kill all they encountered, including your family. Imagine getting away only to be sold into marriage, escaping, running away to Tortuga, escaping again, and ending up captaining a pirate ship.

All this happens to Emer Morrisey and so much more. She almost escapes the pirate life with her true love, Seanie, but is stopped and cursed with the dust of 100 dogs, which means, yes, she has to live one hundred lives as a dog before she is reincarnated as a modern teenager, now Saffron Adams, with all her memories intact. And with the knowledge that she buried treasure all those years ago and it could still be there waiting for her.

This is unlike any other book – utterly original. King manages to draw all these strands together beautifully and leaves you wanting more. This is an author to watch.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox lets you peek into the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis and see what books I've acquired this week. This all started on the Story Siren's blog, and was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, two really great blogs you should check out. And yes, this is the first time I've managed to post this on a Sunday! (I'm heading to London again so am getting as much done before I go!)

But now to the books I got this week. And it was a very good week.

1. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (out in April)
Much discussed in the media this week. Optioned for a movie to be directed by Catherine Hardwicke. I posted a summary in the previous post. Looks fabulous (but no, don't think it will be the next Twilight as was mentioned in The Daily Beast)

2. Fate by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The much anticipated sequel to Tattoo. OK, much anticipated by me at least. And yes, I bought this - it's not an arc. I just really wanted it.
For the past two years, Bailey Morgan has lived a double life: high school student by day, ancient mystical being by night. As the third Fate, Bailey literally controls the fate of the world, but in school her life is falling apart. She’s got a tattoo that was supposed to be temporary (but isn’t), friendships that were supposed to last forever (but might not), and no idea what her future holds after graduation.
Then Bailey meets the rest of the Sidhe, an ancient race defined by their power, beauty, and a sinister habit of getting what they want at any cost. Before Bailey knows it, she’s being drawn into an otherworldly web more complicated than anything she weaves as a mortal Fate.

3. Surf Mules by G. Neri (out in June)
When Logan goes searching for the Perfect Monster Wave, he doesn’t expect his former best friend to be killed by it. Add to this a deadbeat dad who bankrupted his family and the possibility of college going down the drain, and Logan is suddenly in a tailspin. So when small-time dealer Broza offers Logan and his friend, Z-boy, a summer job that could make them rich, it seems his problems might be solved. But between Z-boy’s constant screwups, a band of Nazi surfers out for blood, and a mysterious stranger on their tail, Logan is starting to have some doubts about hauling contraband across country, and hopes just to make it home alive.

4. Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford (out in April)
Meet Will Carter, but feel free to call him Carter. Here are five things you should know about him:
1. He has a stuttering problem, particularly around boobs and belly buttons.
2. He battles ADD every minute of every day...unless he gets distracted.
3. He's a virgin, mostly because he's no good at talking to girls (see number 1).
4. He's about to start high school.
5. He's totally not ready.
Join Carter for his freshman year, where he'll search for sex, love, and acceptance anywhere he can find it. In the process, he'll almost kill a trombone player, face off with his greatest nemesis, suffer a lot of blood loss, narrowly escape death, run from the cops, get caught up in a love triangle, meet his match in the form of a curvy drill teamer, and surprise everyone, including himself.

5. Sophomore Undercover by Ben Esch
For fifteen-year-old, adopted Vietnamese orphan Dixie Nguyen, high school is one humiliation after another. He shares a locker with a nudist linebacker, his teachers are incompetent, and he's stuck doing fluff pieces for the school newspaper. But Dixie's luck takes a turn when he stumbles across one of the jocks using drugs in the locker room; not only does he finally have something to write about, but the chance to strike a blow against his tormentors at the school as well. However, when his editor insists he drop the story and cover homecoming instead, Dixie sets off on his own investigation and discovers that the scandal extends beyond the football team to something far more sinister. This high school reporter just might save the world. That is, of course, if he can stay out of juvenile hall, the hospital, and new age therapy long enough to piece it all together.

Don't they sound great? Lots to read on that long plane journey across the Atlantic. Fate first, of course.

So what did you get this week?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

If I Stay

There's a lot of news about the novel If I Stay by Gayle Forman this week. It's the story of Mia, a senior in an Oregon high school who is an avid cellist bound for Juilliard. On a snow day, Mia and her family drive to visit friends, and suffer a brutal head-on collision. Mia is left in a coma, and yet is fully aware that her parents and younger brother have died. She watches events unfold around her from her bed in the Intensive-care unit, and is left with the decision: whether to die with her family, or live in a world without them.

Director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) has signed on with Summit Entertainment for a movie version of If I Stay, according to Entertainment Weekly. Hardwicke is also in discussion with Columbia Pictures to develop and direct an adaptation of James Patterson's Maximum Ride series, according to the Hollywood Reporter (really?)

The Daily Beast also ran an article asking if this was the next Twilight. Are they really going to ask that about every YA title that they option, no matter how different they are? Sigh.

However, the book looks fabulous, and I'm eager to read it (and I got it this week in my mailbox!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Help a Charity and Win a Free Book!

That got your attention - right?

I found this on Thao's blog at Serenehours and wanted to share.
Stephanie Kuehnert's (author of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone) cousin has formed a formed an organization called Tipping Points in Philadelphia. It's an organization that provides high-quality, low-cost tutoring and test preparation services to at-risk, underprivileged youth to help them access college and higher education opportunities. Tipping Points is competing for a grant from Match Rugby and Teach for America. To help Tipping Points, all you have to do is cast a vote for them here. Then for your chance to win an ARC of Ballads Of Surburbia (or a copy of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone), come back to Stephanie's blog here and tell her.

Also, don't forget to tell her that you heard about this contest from me.

Great idea all around. I just voted. Did you?

Laurie Halse Anderson Q and A session

Laurie Halse Anderson visited Kepler's on Sunday on her Wintergirls tour. I was so excited to meet her, hear her presentation, and get to interview her. She was one of the nicest authors I've met and, of course, I'm such a huge fan of her writing. Review of Wintergirls and interview will come soon but I wanted to share the video footage I took of the Q and A session for those of you who couldn't make this or other of her presentations.

Did she answer all your questions? What else would you have liked to ask?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

new vampire book - can't wait for wednesday

Yes, I know, we post a waiting for spot on wednesday and I posted something yesterday. But I just came across this in PW's Children's Bookshelf and simply can't wait to talk about it.

Ask yourself: are you nursing a pair of fang marks in your neck, but also a broken heart? If so, check out The Vampire Is Just Not That Into You by Vlad Mezrich (if you need to be told it’s a pseudonym...). “It’s a dating guide for dating the undead—forked tongue firmly in cheek—and to getting the vampire of your dreams,” says editor David Levithan. The paperback original arrives in October and will feature activities, testimonials, top 10 lists and charts, as well as quizzes, which Levithan says are more Seventeen than Cosmopolitan. “It’ll be more like what do on a first date, and how to introduce him to your family and friends.”

As I said, perfect. Do I really have to wait until October?

Where the Wild Things Are

OK, Ok, I know. Not a teen movie. But check out this trailer for the film adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, directed by Spike Jonze and starring Mark Ruffalo, Max Records, Catherine Keener and James Gandolfini. Looks like they might do a very good job (oh, I hope).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - Touch by Francine Prose

The Waiting on Wednesday spot (a post started by Jill at Breaking the Spine) is where we talk about "the" book we cannot wait to get our hands on. This week I want to talk about Touch by Francine Prose. And I'm a big fan of her writing.

I read her first YA novel After and was hooked. It was very, very good. And I thought I'd post my review again because I wasn't blogging when I wrote this review

What if some students at a local high school went crazy, brought guns to school, and starting shooting. How would that impact your own school? At Central High a grief councilor is hired and brings with him a whole new set of rules. They start to take away privileges, give no explanations why, and students who don’t conform are taken to detention camps. After is creepy, ripped from the headlines, memorable, and compelling. How would you deal with this?

Bullyville, her second YA title, was about 9/11 and bullying, and yes, again I'm reposting my original review:

A familiar scenario: boy wakes up with high fever and, with noone to help, his Mom stays home to look after him. But this is no ordinary day, this is 9/11, and both his Mom and Dad (who had moved out six months previously) work in the World Trade Center. Thus Bart becomes the “Miracle Boy,” the boy who saved his Mom from certain death. When he is offered a scholarship to a local elite private school his Mom is overjoyed at the thought of such a wonderful new start. Bart isn’t, and finds that the school lives up to its nickname: Bullyville. It will become the worst year of his life. This novel for our times is brutal, provocative, plausible, and insightful. It really touched me.

Touch is coming out in June. And I can't wait.
From the back cover: What really happened in the backseat of the school bus that day? The boys tell one story. The girl tells another. IS anyone telling the truth? Prose delivers a stunning novel of what happens when pressure, expectations, and disappointment combine to create an explosion of emotions that can destroy friendships forever.

Here's a video of the author talking about Touch to whet your appetite.

So what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Test screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie

From the Guardian: Attendees of a test screening (in Chicago) of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last week voiced unhappiness with several elements, including the emphasis on romance, a changed ending (REALLY?), and the disappearance of several key characters (WHO????).

According to reports, director David Yates has cut several "memories" to just two, but most disappointing is the ruining of the ending. It remains to be seen if producers will make any changes to the film before its release in July.

However they did like a fight scene that doesn't occur in the book, in which Death Eaters attack the Millennium Bridge.

How can they possibly change the ending?

Monday, March 23, 2009

City of Glass Celebration

You will be so excited. I know I was. Nancy at the Ravenous Reader and Vania at Reverie Media are hosting a celebration to mark the publication of Cassandra Clare's final novel of the Mortal Instruments series, City of Glass (it comes out on Tuesday.) Click here to find out more!

They are giving away:
One signed copy of "City of Glass"
One unsigned copy
One signed copy of "City of Ashes"
One copy of Lisa McMann's book "Wake" signed.
Also, countless amount of swag.

Rules are:

+1 Entry Post a link to this contest on your blog or social networking page (sidebar is fine) and leave a separate comment to tell me you've done so.

+1 Entry become a Ravenous Reader follower and leave a separate comment telling me you've done so (or if you're already one).

+1 Entry if you comment on this week's special COG posts from Reverie Media or I. You'll get one extra entry for every comment. Here and there!

They are also having a scavenger hunt!

I've already entered - have you?

In my Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox lets you peek into the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis and see what books I've acquired this week. This all started on the Story Siren's blog, and was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, two really great blogs you should check out. I always mean to post this on Sundays, as so many other bloggers do, but I seem to get to it on Monday. Sorry. This week I have an excuse. I was interviewing Laurie Halse Anderson yesterday and she is one of the nicest authors I've had the pleasure of meeting (and yes, I'll post the interview as soon as I can. I also shot video of the Q and A session after her presentation and will post that this week too.)

But now to the books I got this week. Oh, so exciting.

1. Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby
I've been wanting to read this for SO long. Yes, I'm in a bit of a zombie period right now (although that looks so weird as I read it back).
Quiet, unpopular, non-cheerleading Mia is happy. She is dating Rob, a football god Rob, and he actually likes her and asked her to prom! Enter Samantha—cheerleading goddess and miss popularity— who starts making a move for Rob. With prom in a few days, Mia needs to act fast. So she turns to her best friend, Candice, and decides to do a love spell on Rob. Unfortunately, she ends up inflicting a zombie virus onto her whole class, making herself their leader! At first she is flattered that everyone is treating her like a queen. But then zombie hunter Chase explains they are actually fattening her up, because in a few days, Mia will be the first course in their new diet. She’s sure she and Chase can figure something out, but she suggests that no one wear white to prom, because things could get very messy.

2. The Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart
I've become a fan since The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and can't wait to start this
In this companion novel to The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book,Ruby is back at Tate Prep, and it’s her 37th week in the state of Noboyfriend. Her panic attacks are bad, her love life is even worse, and what’s more: Noel is writing her notes, Jackson is giving her frogs, Gideon is helping her cook, and Finn is making her brownies. Rumors are flying, and Ruby’s already-sucky reputation is heading downhill. She’s also: running a bake sale, learning the secrets of heavymetal therapy, encountering some seriously smelly feet, defending the rights of pygmy goats, and bodyguarding Noel from unwanted advances.

3. Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner
Did you read Spanking Shakespeare? If not, you really must. It was one of the funniest books I read last year. Loved, loved, loved it. So again, can't wait
When the girl who’s foresworn men meets the boy who’s devoted himself to picking up women, there’s bound to be drama — perfect for a six-week summer program devoted to the arts. Olivia’s summer goal: to write a musical that censures men with wandering eyes. Max’s summer goal: to hone his acting skills, along with his talent for attracting the ladies. Before camp is over, they’ll perform Olivia’s musical onstage and in real life though the ending may turn out differently than either expects.

4. Marcelo in the Real World
by Francisco X Stork
Now I'm not sure I would have picked this up from the cover (yes, I'm that shallow) but I've been reading your reviews and it looks very, very good.
Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear--part of the autism--like impairment no doctor has been able to identify--and he's always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm's mailroom in order to experience "the real world." There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it's a picture he finds in a file--a picture of a girl with half a face--that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.

So that's what was in my mailbox this week. What about you?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chains wins 2009 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Just noticed that Laurie Halse Anderson has won the 2009 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction for Chains. Scott O'Dell established this award to encourage other writers to focus on historical fiction, hoping to increase the interest of young readers in the historical background that has helped to shape their country and their world. For more details, click here.

Congratulations Laurie.

Reading for free!

Yes, it's true, HarperCollins is offering readers 100% of The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle by LJ Smith for free online for a limited time. Here! How amazing is that?

While we eagerly await the publication of Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr, Harper are making 100% of Wicked Lovely available for free online here.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Moon

You knew I would have to post news of this. Here are new photos of New Moon director Chris Weitz in Vancouver with Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and the wolves! Here are names and actors:
Taylor Lautner: Jacob Black
Chaske Spencer: Sam Uley
Tyson Houseman: Quil Ateara
Alex Meraz: Paul
Kiowa Gordon: Embry Call
Bronson Pelletier: Jared
Tinsel Korey: Emily

New Moon is meant to be Jacob's chance to stand in the spotlight. So what do you think? Can he emerge from Robert Pattinson's shadow?

(photos by PunkD Images. Whole article here).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Once Dead Twice Shy by Kim Harrison - Review

The Waiting on Wednesday spot (a post started by Jill at Breaking the Spine) is where we talk about "the" book we cannot wait to get our hands on. This week I'm going to fuse it with a review because I was lucky enough to read an advanced reader copy.

Madison is upset. She was in a car accident on prom night. She was scythed (yes, you did read that correctly) but as she protested her death, she reached out and grabbed the dark reaper’s amulet, not knowing just how important it was. So important, in fact, it means that her soul is left on Earth inside an illusion of a body, so real looking that only the angels know she’s dead. Oh, did I mention that the dark reaper stole her body? He did, and this is how she gets introduced to a world full of angels – guardian angels (absolutely my favorite), time keepers, dark reapers ( who scythe people when the probable future showed they were going to make very, very bad decisions) and light reapers (who try to stop dark reapers and allow people a choice). It’s a complicated world once you’re dead.

Barnabus, a light reaper, is assigned to look after Madison in case the dark reaper tries to come back for his amulet. And Madison tries to go back to her life and Josh, the boy who took her to the prom. Of course she has to find her body, find out about the amulet, and work out what to do now.

A very fun first YA novel from the very talented Kim Harrison. And worth waiting for.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Neil Gaiman on the Colbert Report

As you all must know by now, I'm a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's work. I've just read Anansi Boys and loved it. And here's video of Neil talking about The Graveyard Book on the Colbert Report. So funny. Made me want to put everything else aside and read it again!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Laurie Halse Anderson talking about why she wrote Wintergirls

Does it look like I'm obsessing about Laurie Halse Anderson? Because I am. I'm reading her books as preparation for interviewing her and I found this video that I'd like to share. Here Laurie talks about why she wrote Wintergirls.

The more I read of her work, and the more I learn about her, the more impressed I am.

I've become such a fan of these video clips recently. They make me want to rush out and delve straight into the book. You?

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox lets you peek into the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis and see what books I've acquired this week. This all started on the Story Siren's blog, and was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, two really great blogs you should check out.

And this week I have three fabulous titles to share.

1. Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride(out in June)

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

2. Fairy Lust (which is now Fairy Tale) by Cyn Balog (out in June)

Morgan Sparks has always known that she and her boyfriend, Cam, are made for each other. But when Cam’s cousin Pip comes to stay with the family, Cam seems depressed. Finally Cam confesses to Morgan what’s going on: Cam is a fairy. The night he was born, fairies came down and switched him with a healthy human boy. Nobody expected Cam to live, and nobody expected his biological brother, heir to the fairy throne, to die. But both things happened, and now the fairies want Cam back to take his rightful place as Fairy King.

Even as Cam physically changes, becoming more miserable each day, he and Morgan pledge to fool the fairies and stay together forever. But by the time Cam has to decide once and for all what to do, Morgan’s no longer sure what’s best for everyone, or whether her and Cam’s love can weather an uncertain future.

3. Ghosthunters: the Awakening by Marley Gibson (out in May)

In this new series, Ghost Huntress, meet Kendall Moorehead, a seemingly typical teen. When her family moves from Chicago to the small historical town of Radisson, Georgia, her psychic abilities awaken. She’s hearing, feeling, and seeing things that seem unbelievable at first, but with the help of the town psychic, Kendall is able to come to terms with her newly emerging gift. So, together with her new BFF, Celia, Kendall forms a ghost hunting team. They’ve got all the latest technology. They’ve got Kendall for their psychic. Now they’re going to clean up Radisson of its less savory spirits.

Can't wait. Especially for Fairy Tale. What did you get?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Patrick Ness is on-line writer in residence at Book Trust

Wow! The Booktrust in the UK has just named Patrick Ness as their very first on-line writer in residence where he blogs about the process of writing and publishing a book (his most recent is The Knife of Never Letting Go, which won the 2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize). He's funny and direct and you can find out more about this here.

Thanks Megan for pointing this out. Love the idea.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Contest hosted by Addicted to Books

Very excited to tell you that I've just been reading about a wonderful contest hosted by Addicted to Books (click here to get there).

She is giving away 5 books. Yes 5 books
And they are fabulous titles:
1. The much anticipated City of Glass-the final installment in the mortal instruments series. It's an advance readers copy and I really, really want to read this
2. Bloom by Elizabeth Scott
3. Tithe by Holly Black
4. Wake by Lisa McMann
5. Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers

You can contact her at
The contest ends March 30.

Good luck!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wintergirls trailer

I did mention that I was obsessing about the upcoming visit by Laurie Halse Anderson, didn't I?

Well, I wanted to share this trailer for Wintergirls so you can get ready for her visit.

(I do feel the need to add that as it flashed 'must not eat', I was eating raspberry honey almonds. And no, I didn't put them away!)

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson - Review

I'm reading Laurie's work because she'll be at the store on the 22nd and I'm interviewing her but I have to say, seldom does a book grab you at the very beginning and leave you unable to put the book down, but needing to take a break because it’s hard to read more. This is such a book.

Tyler is at the bottom of the social ladder, a senior whose only claim to fame is the graffiti he spray painted on the school. To atone, he worked for a landscape gardening service and develops muscles to prove it. And this attracts the attention of one of the most popular girls in the school: Bethany, daughter of his Dad’s boss no less. She asks him to a party where everyone gets very drunk. An incident occurs and although Tyler is innocent, he gets blamed and finds his world turned upside down. Everyone believes him guilty, he’s pulled out of regular classes to be on his own, his father blames him and talks of sending him to military school, and try as he might he can’t see what to do.

Along the way Tyler has to come to terms with who he is, what he believes in, how to deal with his father, and what it means to be a man. It’s an incredible book, a powerful book, a deep and honest look at a teenage boy’s life, and a book that will haunt you. Still haunts me. Don't miss this one.

Oh, and if anyone has any suggestions for things to ask Laurie when she's here, do please let me know. And if you are in the area, come and here her on the 22nd of March.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Latest on The Hunger Games

I loved The Hunger Games. Really loved it. And I now hear that Nina Jacobson’s Color Force production company snagged film rights to The Hunger Games (Jacobson is also producing the film adaptation of Diary of a Wimpy Kid!). Oh, it will make a fantastic movie if done right.

And Publishers Weekly reports that the on-sale date for Catching Fire, the sequel, has been bumped up a week to September 1 to be out in time for the Labor Day weekend.

Apparently Scholastic is also launching a writing contest to promote Catching Fire. From March 16 to May 15, readers ages 12 to 17 can submit an essay describing how they would survive the fight-to-the-death games chronicled in The Hunger Games. The winner will receive a lunch with Collins at Scholastic in New York City; the winner and 100 runners-up will also get an ARC of Catching Fire and a mockingjay pin (the bird featured on the books’ covers). Details and official rules are available at Scholastic’s Hunger Games Web site here from March 16. Wish I was the right age to enter this competition!

Galaxy British Book Awards

I love British newspaper headlines. They are an art form - and they are often hilarious. So that's what drew me first to this one:
"Obama battles vampires for Galaxy prize"
Brilliant! And actually it was in the Guardian (to read the article click here) when they reported the finalists for this year's Galaxy British Book Awards (the Nibbies). And yes, Obama is really up against Stephenie Meyer!

Author of the Year

* The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
* Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill
* The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
* Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
* The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
* The Road Home by Rose Tremain

Meyer (for Breaking Dawn) is also going head to head against JK Rowling (The Tales of Beadle the Bard) for the children's book of the year award. Not the best book either author has written in my opinion.

Children's Book of the Year

* The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
* Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
* Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer
* Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman
* Horrid Henry Robs the Bank by Francesca Simon
* Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People by Dav Pilkey

This will be interesting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

This week it was obvious what I was waiting for. I have a countdown on the side and yes, it's Bloodhound (Beka Cooper Book Two). I am a huge fan of Tamora Pierce and this will be out April 28.

Beka Cooper is finally a Dog—a full-fledged member of the Provost’s Guard, dedicated to keeping peace in Corus’s streets. But there’s unrest in Tortall’s capital. Counterfeit coins are turning up in shops all over the city, and merchants are raising prices to cover their losses. The Dogs discover that gamblers are bringing the counterfeit money from Port Caynn. In Port Caynn, Beka delves deep into the gambling world, where she meets a charming banking clerk named Dale Rowan. Beka thinks she may be falling for Rowan, but she won’t let anything—or anyone—jeopardize her mission. As she heads north to an abandoned silver mine, it won’t be enough for Beka be her usual “terrier” self. She’ll have to learn from Achoo to sniff out the criminals—to be a Bloodhound. . . .

Really - can't wait.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Long Shelf Life of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Today's New York Times (click here to read article) offered an inquest into the YA debut novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, a story about a teenager's suicide that "has become a stealthy hit with surprising staying power" amid the vampires, dragons, and dystopian futuristic societies that dominate young adult reading lists.

Published in October 2007, the book is a transcription of audiotapes made by a 16-year-old girl before she commits suicide--interspersed with reactions by friends after her death. Asher, who has worked as a children's librarian and bookseller, said he was inspired to use the format after listening to an audio tour of an exhibition about King Tut in Las Vegas, Nev.

One reason for the book's popularity: a series of YouTube videos created as part of an ad campaign and featuring the voice of Olivia Thirlby, who played the best friend of the title character in Juno. While a cassette player rolls, Thirlby's voice reads the tapes made by the protagonist of Thirteen Reasons Why.

There's that. There's also the fact that it's very well written and unlike anything else - actually dealing with suicide from the perspective of the person who has committed suicide.

Apparently it re-entered the chapter-book best-seller list in November at No. 10. And will rise to No. 3 in next Sunday's list.

So: what brought it to your attention? What did you like most about it?

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan - Review

Because it came out today I'm reposting my review because this is a book I've been waiting for and am delighted I can now start putting it into readers' eager hands.

Mary lives in a world bound by fences, with rules dictated by the Sisters, surrounded by the Unconsecrated, who are an ever-present, ever-encroaching, horrifying threat. Her mother dreamed about the ocean, and Mary holds on to this dream, despite everything. But she finds out the Sisters are keeping secrets. When the fences are breached, Mary has to decide how much she will sacrifice to follow her dream. Will she be able to choose between the brother she is betrothed to and the brother she loves? Between her village and a dream of an outside world?

This is a wonderful, compulsive, nail-biter of a book that will keep you reading late into the night (but with the lights on!) Not for the feint-hearted, this story about a zombie apocalypse asks questions that will haunt you. Still haunts me.

This is one not to miss. Oh, I hope there will be a sequel.

And you can see where I fall on the age-old question: zombies or unicorns!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Trailers

How can I not post this official trailer of HP and the Half Blood Prince?
And yes, I've read them all and seen all the films so far. Of course I have.

here's the official trailer:

Variety is showcasing a newer, different trailer:

Can't wait.

Fabulous Award

I have just been jumping around the room with glee and just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to Nancy of Tales of a Ravenous Reader for nominating me for this fabulous award! How can I say thank you enough? I love Nancy's blog - it's witty, and funny, full of great reviews, video and interesting information about author visits and author sites. I read her blog regularly, and you should all check it out too. This award originated from The Story Siren, whose blog I also adore

Here are the rules:

List five things you are obsessed with/addicted to and then nominate other fabulous blogs to pass on this award on to!

1. So of course I am going to start with books. I shouldn't. It should be obvious. It is obvious to anyone who has met me or has set foot into my house. I have run out of book shelf space, even though I just squeezed a few more into the house. And so I have piles of books against the walls, against cupboards, which have to be moved to vacuum, or get to said cupboards. Yes, I need to prune. I know that. But it's so hard...

2. I love my flip camera, my little video camera that I keep with me always and use more than I thought probable. I love its simplicity and versatility, and the ease with which I can upload to email or youtube or facebook. Yes, an addict. And no, not paid to promote it.

3. My laptop, which I use all the time every day and take with me everywhere. It houses my photos, my music, my blogs, my contact with people around the world. And I don't like to share it (but do!)

4. Photography. I've had a camera since I was 15 years old, destroyed my first camera in the ocean (and learned what not to do if you want to hold on to it), even developed my own photos in a dark room for a while. Went kicking and screaming into digital photography, convinced it wouldn't stand up to my old Pentax. And very recently have bought a new very fine Olympus E-520 that I'm trying to master.

5. The theatre. I grew up in London, went to the theatre (not theater) often, and have been part of several drama groups through the years. And whereas I no longer have any desire to perform I still subscribe to many theatre groups and go as often as I can.

I'm guessing at this point that many people have already been nominated for this fabulous award and I don't want to duplicate (and I want to say that I enjoy all the blogs I read, and I read many, you are all fabulous to me)
Here are my nominations

1. Sharon Loves Books and Cats
2. J Kaye's Book Blog
3. Nineseveneight book reviews
4. Thao of Serene Hours (even though it's a very new blog, she's doing a fabulous job)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman - Review

Most of us are familiar with the Greek myth: Persephone's the innocent daughter of Demeter, the harvest goddess, who was abducted by Hades to the Underworld. Her mother grieves until Zeus agrees to bring Persephone back. But she has eaten a pomegranate in the Underworld so she stays half the time with Hades in the Underworld, half the time with Demeter. Hence summer and winter.

Great story but here Persephone wants to set the record straight. She was NOT abducted but wooed and won by the handsome and charismatic Hades, agreeing willingly to follow and marry him. She CHOSE love and independence from her mother, and has found her calling, greeting new arrivals and helping them adjust. She even starts a garden of her own. Hades is, of course, King of the Underworld, still a little power hungry, still very political, but certainly in love with Persephone and always lets her choose for herself.

This is a light, fun story of love and duty, power and obligation, pain and sacrifice - and how even gods and goddesses have obligations too.

Of course it also has a wonderful cover! (And it's due out in May.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Top Teen Books?

I've just run across this meme from the Page Flipper and I loved it so I'm reposting it here (thanks, page Flipper).

The following list of books teens love, books teens should read, and books adults who serve teens should know about was compiled IN ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENTIFIC MANNER and should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

Put an "X" next to the books you've read
Put a "+" next to the books you LOVE
Put a "#" next to the books you plan on reading
Tally your "X"s at the bottom
Share with your friends!

1. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams X+
2. Kit's Wilderness / David Almond
3. Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian / Sherman Alexie X
4. Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson X
5. Feed / M.T. Anderson
6. Flowers in the Attic / V.C. Andrews
7. 13 Reasons Why / Jay Asher X
8. Am I Blue? / Marion Dane Bauer (editor)
9. Audrey Wait! / Robin Benway
10. Weetzie Bat / Francesca Lia Block
11. Tangerine / Edward Bloor
12. Forever / Judy Blume
13. What I Saw and How I Lied / Judy Blundell X
14. Tyrell / Coe Booth
15. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants / Ann Brashares X
16. A Great and Terrible Beauty / Libba Bray X
17. The Princess Diaries / Meg Cabot
18. The Stranger / Albert Camus X
19. Ender's Game / Orson Scott Card X
20. Postcards from No Man's Land / Aidan Chambers
21. Perks of Being a Wallflower / Stephen Chbosky
22. And Then There Were None / Agatha Christie X
23. Gingerbread / Rachel Cohn
24. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist / Rachel Cohn and David Levithan X
25. Artemis Fowl (series) / Eoin Colfer X
26. The Hunger Games / Suzanne Collins X+
27. The Midwife's Apprentice / Karen Cushman
28. The Truth About Forever / Sarah Dessen
29. Little Brother / Cory Doctorow X+
30. A Northern Light / Jennifer Donnelly
31. Tears of a Tiger / Sharon Draper
32. The House of the Scorpion / Nancy Farmer
33. Breathing Underwater / Alex Flinn
34. Stardust / Neil Gaiman X+
35. Annie on My Mind / Nancy Garden
36. What Happened to Cass McBride / Gail Giles X
37. Fat Kid Rules the World / K.L. Going
38. Lord of the Flies / William Golding X
39. Looking for Alaska / John Green X+
40. Bronx Masquerade / Nikki Grimes
41. Out of the Dust / Karen Hesse
42. Hoot / Carl Hiaasen X
43. The Outsiders / S.E. Hinton X
44. Crank / Ellen Hopkins
45 The First Part Last / Angela Johnson
46. Blood and Chocolate / Annette Curtis Klause X+
47. Arrow's Flight / Mercedes Lackey
48. Hattie Big Sky / Kirby Larson
49. To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee X+
50. Boy Meets Boy / David Levithan
51. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks / E. Lockhart X+
52. The Giver / Lois Lowry X+
53. Number the Stars / Lois Lowry X
54. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie / David Lubar
55. Inexcusable / Chris Lynch
56. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things / Carolyn Mackler
57. Dragonsong / Anne McCaffrey
58. White Darkness / Geraldine McCaughrean
59. Sold / Patricia McCormick
60. Jellicoe Road / Melina Marchetta
61. Wicked Lovely / Melissa Marr X+
62. Twilight / Stephenie Meyer X
63. Dairy Queen / Catherine Murdock
64. Fallen Angels / Walter Dean Myers
65. Monster / Walter Dean Myers
66. Step From Heaven / An Na
67. Mama Day / Gloria Naylor
68. The Keys to the Kingdom (series) / Garth Nix X
69. Sabriel / Garth Nix X+
70. Airborn / Kenneth Oppel
71. Eragon / Christopher Paolini X
72. Hatchet / Gary Paulsen X
73. Life As We Knew It / Susan Beth Pfeffer X+
74. The Golden Compass / Phillip Pullman X+
75. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging / Louise Rennison X
76. The Lightning Thief / Rick Riordan X
77. Always Running: La Vida Loca / Luis Rodriguez
78. how i live now / Meg Rosoff X
79. Harry Potter (series) / J.K. Rowling X
80. Holes / Louis Sachar X
81. Catcher in the Rye / J. D. Salinger X
82. Push / Sapphire
83. Persepolis / Marjane Satrapi X
84. Unwind / Neil Shusterman
85. Coldest Winter Ever / Sister Souljah
86. Stargirl / Jerry Spinelli X
87. Chanda's Secrets / Allan Stratton
88. Tale of One Bad Rat / Brian Talbot
89. Rats Saw God / Rob Thomas
90. Lord of the Rings / J.R.R. Tolkien X
91. Stuck in Neutral / Terry Trueman
92. Gossip Girl / Cecily Von Ziegesar
93. Uglies / Scott Westerfeld X+
94. Every Time a Rainbow Dies / Rita Williams-Garcia
95. Pedro and Me / Judd Winick
96. Hard Love / Ellen Wittlinger
97. American Born Chinese / Gene Luen Yang
98. Elsewhere / Gabrielle Zevin
99. I am the Messenger / Markus Zusak
100. The Book Thief / Markus Zusak X+

44! Not as good as I hoped. I didn't list those I wanted to read because of course I'd like to read all of them. But I'd also like to add so many more to this list!

So - how did you do? What would you add to the list? (Things Not Seen? City of Bones?)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

I sat and thought about which book I was simply dying to arrive in the store and there was no choice this week - Swoon by Nina Malkin. A colleague of mine wrote and told me that she'd just read it and it was simply amazing. So I went and looked it up.

Here's what it's about (from the cover):

Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing ever happens in Swoon, Connecticut...until Dice's perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree, and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge. And while Pen is oblivious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She's intensely drawn to him—but not at all crazy about the havoc he's wreaking. Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent—and irresistible—adversary, before the whole town succumbs to Sin's will. Only trouble is, she's in love with him.

Look at that cover. Fabulous. And that line: Sin is coming...prepare to swoon.
Don't you just want this book RIGHT NOW? And from the first paragraph:
" the time I laid eyes on Sinclair Youngblood Powers - in the flesh, that is - I was already in love with him. Nothing could change that. Not even the fact that he was dead."

And even though you can see that I would be pacing around the room waiting and waiting and waiting I've actually been given an arc (oh thank you), started it this morning, and am putting almost everything aside to finish. Yes, it's that compulsive, that good, and most certainly worth the wait until its May publication date.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld - Review

“In a world of extreme beauty, anyone normal is ugly.”

Tally Youngblood is almost 16 and in her world turning 16 means turning pretty—supermodel pretty. And she can’t wait, has been counting down the days since her best friend Peris had the makeover operation and turned pretty. Then Tally meets Shay, who isn’t sure she wants to be pretty, has met someone called David who says there is a place you can live outside the pretty world. Then Shay runs away.

Tally then finds out there is more to her world than she thought. She finds out about Special Circumstances. And is offered a choice: lead them to Shay or stay ugly forever. And Tally can't imagine life as an ugly forever so follows her friend to The Smoke, the city of the rebels, with a heavy heart.

Westerfeld’s world feels incredibly real — detailed, thoughtful, scary. And Tally is a heroine you cheer for in this well-written action-packed adventure. But no fair, this is the second and final book I’ve picked up for the Scott Westerfeld mini-challenge but I can’t possibly end here. How can I not follow Tally’s journey into Pretties?

Monday, March 2, 2009

In My Mailbox (3)

As you probably know, I've been reading Story Siren's In My Mailbox post for a while, which explores the contents of her mailbox on a weekly basis. And it really is a great way to share what we are about to read.

And I have had yet another very wonderful week with three awesome looking books.

1. The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Tenth Grade Bleeds by Heather Brewer (pub date: July)
I've loved both the first two and was so very eager to this third in the series
From the cover: It’s another sucky year at Bathory High for Vladimir Tod. The evil vampire D’Ablo is hunting for the ritual that could steal Vlad’s powers. His best friend Henry doesn’t want to be his drudge anymore. And as if all that weren’t enough, it’s getting harder for Vlad to resist feeding on the people around him. When months go by with no word from Uncle Otis and D’Ablo shows up demanding Vlad’s father’s journal, Vlad realizes that having a normal high school year is the least of his concerns. Vlad needs to act fast, and even his status as the Pravus won’t save him this time.

2. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
I've heard so much about this one and was just so excited to see it in my box!
From the cover: Sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe and her twin sister Alice have just become orphans and, as Lia discovers, they have also become enemies. The twins are part of an ancient prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other. To escape from a dark fate and to remain in the arms of her beloved boyfriend James, Lia must end the prophecy before her sister does. Only then will she understand the mysterious circumstances of her parents' deaths, the true meaning of the strange mark branded on her wrist, and the lengths to which her sister will go to defeat her.

3. Love You, Hate You, Miss You by Elizabeth Scott (pub date: May)
What can I say? It's Elizabeth Scott and what a spectacular cover.
From the cover: It's been 75 days, and Amy still doesn't know how she can possible exist without her best friend, Julia - especially since it's her fault that Julia's dead. And when her shrink tells her it would be a good idea to start a diary, Amy starts writing letters to Julia instead. As she writes letter after letter, she soon discovers that the past wasn't as perfect as she thought it was - and the present deserves a chance too.

Time for a happy dance. What did you get this week?