Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

Caragh O'Brien's future world is arid and harsh, where some live inside a walled community and some outside. Gaia is 16, a trainee midwife who we see deliver her first baby by herself and then take that baby away from the mother and deliver it to the Enclave, to advance it to a life of privilege. On her way home she discovers that her parents, who have always served the Enclave, have been arrested, accused of treason. I was completely hooked by this point.

Deciding she has to save her parents, she finds a way inside the Enclave only to discover those inside don't live the idealized life those outside had always believed. With time she realizes her mother holds the key - she has birth marked babies so she would know who had been born in her sector - exactly the information the Enclave wants to know. But when she finds out what the Enclave has in mind, she realizes she has to warn the people outside.

This reminds me of the brutal and unjust world of The Handmaid's Tale, a world where Gaia has to make some terrifying choices and finds she has an important role to play. The characters are unpredictable and complex - and nothing is black and white. We hear arguments from both sides of the wall, learning about each society's ills as Gaia does yet given believable reasons for everything. It makes the book all the more powerful and horribly realistic. How would any of us react if we saw all our certainties and beliefs stripped away and were left facing the gnawing truth of a terrible system? Would we allow society turn women into breeders to ensure the continuity of the human race? Dramatic, compulsive, and incredibly well written this is a dystopia that will stay with you, leaving you waiting impatiently for the sequel.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In My Mailbox

Ah, time to talk about the books I got this week. Again with thanks to the Story Siren for hosting this meme. And I always love to talk about the books I get during the week.

1. Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John
The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.
The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band's manager and get her share of the profits.
The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she's deaf?
Piper cannot hear DumbÕs music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.
This was highly recommended by Heather Brewer...

2. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett's only friend--but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?
This came highly recommended by Nancy, the Ravenous Reader

3. Plague: A Gone novel by Michael Grant
Now I am a fan of these Gone books. Eight months after every person over the age of fourteen disappeared from the town of Perdidio Beach, California, the stakes are still rising. The kids in Perdido Beach are still starving. Yet despite the simmering unrest left behind by so many battles, power struggles, and angry divides, there is a momentary calm in Perdido Beach.

But enemies in the FAYZ don’t just fade away, and in the quiet, deadly things are stirring, mutating, and finding their way free. The Darkness has found its way into the mind of its Nemesis at last and is controlling it through a haze of delirium and confusion. A highly contagious, fatal illness spreads at an alarming rate as sinister, predatory insects terrorize Perdido Beach. And Sam, Astrid, Diana, and Caine are plagued by a growing doubt that they’ll escape—or even survive—life in the FAYZ. With so much turmoil surrounding them, what desperate choices will they make when it comes to saving themselves and those they love?

It's been hard to pick up another book after Mockingjay but I think these will do nicely...How was your week?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Our Mockingjay Party in the San Francisco Book Review

Did you see the article about our Mockingjay party in the San Francisco Book Review. I'm quoted
Angela Mann, Kepler’s youth events coordinator said “I’ll admit it! I’m a bit obsessed with The Hunger Games. It’s the book I put into everyone’s hands, the book I think everyone should read, the standard I hold other teen books up against. The wait to read Mockingjay was torturous. Suzanne Collins has written THE perfect ending to a series, one that kept me up all night, gripping the edge of my chair, at times unable to breathe. Mockingjay is an all-action, politically-charged, bloody, heartbreaking rollercoaster of a book that I shall read again and again (when my heart has calmed a little).”

So was Heidi Kling, who was at the event (see photo)
Heidi R. Kling, author of Sea said “I’m halfway through Mockingjay and it is blowing my mind–heart wrenching and brilliant. The pizza party combined with the NERF™ archery mage for a perfect celebration!”

As you know, when you read The Hunger Games you become obsessed. And if you are anything like as obsessed as those of us at Keplers in Menlo Park, then you will have been counting down the days until you could lay your hands on Mockingjay, the final installment in this fabulous series.

Last Tuesday, the wait was over. Kepler’s served pizza and held a NERF™ archery contest as people stopped by to pick up their books. And it was a lot of fun. People of all ages came early, ate pizza, and stopped to chat while shooting NERF™ arrows at large targets. The prizes were awesome – and the kids (and adults) really wanted those hunger games key chains and tried time and time again to hit the targets to get one. Some just ate pizza clutching their books, some talked of staying up all night to finish it before school, and some just sat in a corner and started to read.

Everyone was eager to start reading, hoping that Mockingjay lives up to their expectations. And everyone was brimming with enthusiasm to see Suzanne Collins on November 3rd when she’s at Kepler’s. But remember that you will need a ticket to get into the signing line and you get a ticket by buying your copy of Mockingjay at Kepler’s. And they are already at District 11!

See full article here

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quotes from Hunger Games/Catching Fire

While I was waiting for Mockingjay I was posting favorite quotes on facebook. Thought I'd list them all here while i can still remember them. Which is your favorite?

"I had to do that just once" Gale

‎"District Twelve. Where you can starve to death in safety."

"I'm hard to catch, and if I'm hard to catch I can't die"

"Katniss, there is no District Twelve" – Gale

"I doubt that they will have bags of flour in the arena for me to throw at people." –Peeta

‎"We could do it, you know, leave the district. Run off. Live in the woods. You and I we could make it, if we didn't have so many kids." --Gale to Katniss...

"I imagine watching Gale volunteering to save Rory in the reaping, having him torn from...... my life, becoming some strange girl's lover to stay alive, and then coming home with her. Living next to her. Promising to marry her. The hatred I feel for him, for the phantom girl, for everything, is so real and immediate that it chokes me."

"Gale is mine. I am his. Anything else is unthinkable." –Katniss

"if desperate times call for desperate measures then i am free to act as desperately as i wish" -catching fire

Katniss- "Any advice?"
Haymitch-"Don't die."

"Stupid people are dangerous" - Katniss

"Fine, someone else can arrange to get the stupid goat knocked up!" - Katniss, Catching Fire

"He tilts his forehead down to rest against mine and pulls me closer. His skin, his whole being radiates heat from being so near the fire, and I close my eyes, soaking in his warmth. I breathe in the smell of snow-dampened leather and smoke and apples, the smell of all those wintry days we shared before the Games. I don't try to move away. Why should I anyway? His voice drops to a whisper. "I love you." That's why."

"Maybe I'd think that too, Caesar," says Peeta bitterly, "if it weren't for the baby."

"They can't hurt me. I'm not like the rest of you. There's no one left I love." -Johanna Mason.

"So it's you and a syringe against the Capitol? See, this is why no one lets you make the plans." Haymitch

"I give up, sweetheart. Just answer the questions and try not to let the audience see how openly you dispise them." –Haymitch

“It must be fragile if a handful of berries can bring it down” Katniss

"...to bad you can't frost some one to death."-Katniss

"You don't forget the face of the person who was your last hope." -- K. Everdeen

"You know, you could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve him." --H. Abernathy

"Here to finish me off, sweetheart?"

‎"Go ahead. Try it. I don't care if you're knocked up. I"ll slit your throat!" Johanna

‎"I have always known who the enemy is. Who starves and tortures and kills us in the arena. Who will soon kill everyone I love." -Katniss in Catching Fire

" They hadn't counted on the highly controlled jabberjay having the brains to adapt to the wild, to pass on its genetic code,to thrive in a new form. They hadn't anticipated it's will to live"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - Review

I’ll admit it: I’m a bit obsessed with The Hunger Games. It’s the book I put into everyone’s hands, the book I think everyone should read, the standard I hold other teen books up against. The wait to read Mockingjay has been torturous. What happens to Katniss Everdeen after she is snatched out of the arena? Will she rescue Peeta? Will she lead the revolt? Will she survive? How will she choose between Peeta and
Gale? She survived the Hunger Games twice, but the cost was so high. She’s not safe anywhere and nor is anyone else associated with her.

This has to be the most anticipated book of the year and it certainly does not disappoint. Suzanne Collins has written THE perfect ending to a series that kept me up all night, gripping the edge of my chair, at times unable to breathe. I moved through the plot with Katniss, shouted at her, cheered for her, cried with her, gasped at shocking twists, ruminated on war and whether it is ever justified, whether the ends ever justify the means. But never, never did my attention wander. There are no easy answers, no facile solutions. This is an all-action, politically-charged, bloody, heartbreaking rollercoaster of a book that I shall read again and again (when my heart has calmed a little). All I can say is: thank you.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Suzanne Collins reads from the first chapter of Mockingjay!

Tomorrow. Can't wait for tomorrow.
As most of you know, we're having a party. 6.30. With pizza. And archery. And prizes. And best of all, a ticket to the signing line for Suzanne Collins November 3rd.

But look what I just found:


Sunday, August 22, 2010

In My Mailbox

Ah, time to talk about the books I got this week. Again with thanks to the Story Siren for hosting this meme. And I always love to talk about the books I get during the week.

1. Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers.
Yes, I talked about this all week.
Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions--for Hell--and she possesses a unique skill set that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he's as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn't stand a chance. Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn't get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul. But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay...for all of them.

AND she's coming to Kepler's October 4th!

2. The Book of Spells by Kate Brian
A Private prequel that tells the true origins of Billings House!

3. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy
Will Henry is anorphan and assistant to a doctor with a most unusual specialty: monster hunting. In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown accustomed to his late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a young girl and the monster that was eating her, Will's world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagus--a headless monster that feeds through a mouth in its chest--and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror threatenning to overtake and consume our world before it is too late.

4. The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancy

While attempting to disprove that Homo vampiris, the vampire, could exist, Dr. Warthrop is asked by his former fiancÉ to rescue her husband from the Wendigo, a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh, which has snatched him in the Canadian wilderness. Although Warthrop also considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and rescues her husband from death and starvation, and then sees the man transform into a Wendigo. Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied? This second book in The Monstrumologist series explores the line between myth and reality, love and hate, genius and madness.

And he's coming to Kepler's October 15th.

5. Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
This came very highly recommended by a friend and yes, I'll admit it, I've already finished it. Very very good - dramatic, compulsive, and incredibly well written. A dystopia that is sticking with me, leaving me waiting impatiently for the sequel. (Oh, I hope she writes quickly...) Review probably tomorrow.

What did you get this week?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fat Vampire Book Trailer

So while we're talking about Fat Vampire, here's it's very funny book trailer - a trailer like no other

And get your RE-VAMP today!

Fat Vampire by Adam Rex - Review

Here's Shannon's review of Fat Vampire, which sounds hilarious.

Think Superbad... but with a vampire. Doug Lee was fifteen and fat on the day he was turned into a vampire. Did our awkward and lardy duckling transform into a beautiful, brooding, enigmatic, Cullen-esque anti-hero? No. Doug is fifteen, fat, and undead. Not only does he have to figure out how to navigate the dangerous waters of high school in a large, plastic, sun-shielding poncho, he also finds himself falling for the new Indian exchange student. On top of all this, the star of the failing reality show, Vampire Hunters, is hot on Doug's trail and desperate to boost his ratings.

Fat Vampire follows Doug to Comic-Con, a Rocky Horror Picture showing, a high school production of West Side Story, and a slew of other hilarious situations. This book is funny and perfect for those tired of the sparkle-pire dark romances we all know too well.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lisa Desrochers

Am going to post about this even though it's early for an In My Mailbox posting. I got a copy of Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers to read and am SO looking forward to starting it.

And for those of you in the Bay Area, Lisa is going to be at Kepler's on Monday, October 4, 7:00 p.m. Yay.

Now here's the book trailer to whet your appetite

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sneak peek of first chapters of Paranormalcy

Harper is giving us a FREE sneak peek of the first 9 chapters of Paranormalcy here!
Great book - check it out. Oh, and you can see my review here

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Waiting for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? If so, did you see the 9 photos released from the movie today in Entertainment Weekly (click here to read the article)

Have to post a few here of course and hope you'll write and tell me which are your favorites. I like Xenophilius Lovegood (Luna's father) and Voldemort's followers in this batch. You?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Haven't done this for ages but I'm reading a book that screams out for a teaser. This meme originated with MizB of Should Be Reading and anyone can play along. Just do the following:

-Grab your current read.
-Open to a random page.
-Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others.)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

This week I'm reading Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick and here's my teaser:

"This is for you."
"What is it?" I asked, accepting the envelope.
She shrugged. "A guy just came in and asked me to give it to you."
"What guy?" Vee asked, craning her neck around the bakery.
"He already left...
...I pulled the ring out, and we inspected it in silence...
...I pulled out the paper. Scrawled in black sharpie was a note:


Back to the book...NOW

Monday, August 16, 2010

Torment by Lauren Kate - Review

Here's Pen's review of Torment, that pushed it absolutely to the top of my to be read pile.

It’s been days since the battle at Sword and Cross, and Lucinda must be taken into hiding by her boyfriend, Daniel, the fallen angel she is doomed to love and lose every sixteen years. Daniel takes Lucinda to Shoreline (a school for Nephilim – the offspring of fallen angels and humans), and assures her that she will be protected from harm, even though he must leave her to fight the murderous immortals who want to kill her.

While at Shoreline, Lucinda learns to cope with the Shadows that have hovered over her throughout her life. She manipulates them to see into her past lives with Daniel, but the more Lucinda learns about herself, the more she realizes that her past is the only key to unlocking the future and that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. I enjoyed Fallen, but I truly LOVE this second installment in the Fallen series.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In My Mailbox

I haven't been keeping up with my In My Mailbox memes but this week I wanted to gush about the books I have. I am so so happy to have them. Again with thanks to the Story Siren for hosting this meme. The books - oh these books...

1, Tempestusous by Lesley Livingston
Words fail me as I want to say how much I LOVE this series. Wondrous Strange and Darklight were so wonderful that I just can't wait to find out what will happen to Sonny and Kelley. And the cover is absolutely gorgeous. It'll just be a question of how fast I can read with this one.

2, The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Brand new series by the author of the wonderful Darkest Powers series. Can't wait to start it. Lucky me.

3. Teeth: Vampire Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
For vampire-loving readers everywhere, stories from Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, Cecil castellucci, Melissa marr, Ellen Kushner, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Tanith Lee and many more.

What a great week in books. What did you get?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Maggie Steifvater

As you all know, we had the great pleasure to host the wonderful Maggie Steifvater at Kepler's a few weeks ago and I've just read a lovely article about the event in the Sacramento Book Review. It talks about Kepler's, the event, Maggie, and her books in general.

"A few days ago, I was able to take part in one of their many author events. It was my first time at Kepler’s, and I totally loved the layout and flow of the place. The ambiance was truly special and book categories had their own little nooks that allowed for a more intimate reading. That afternoon was a particularly special one– The New York Times Bestseller Linger was the highlight of the moment; so aside from the cute forest feel decors and wolf paw prints on the floor, I was just really looking forward to meeting Maggie Stiefvater in person. Her literary gift notwithstanding, this talented woman is also a cool musician and artist..."

To read more click here. Thanks for such a great article and I hope you come to many of our upcoming Fall events

Friday, August 13, 2010

Torment by Lauren Kate

I loved Fallen. Can't wait for Torment. And am super excited that I'll get to meet Lauren Kate when we host her Torment event on September 29th.

Here's the book trailer for Torment that I've just seen.

what do you think? Remember you can meet her if you are in the Bay Area September 29th at 7.00. Am counting down the days.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Maggie Steifvater

If you are as much of a fan of Maggie Steifvater as I am, then here's a treat. Here's video of Maggie talking about Linger (and Shiver) and why she wants to make you cry! (And I STILL can't believe I was away when she visited Kepler's!)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mockingjay book trailer

You knew I had to post this. Because August 24th seems so close now and yet so tauntingly far. And I'm just not good at waiting.

Have you preordered your book yet?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown - Review

Here is Amanda's review of Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and local illustrator, Lisa Brown.

Already mourning the loss of her twin brother, Jennie Lowell anxiously awaits news of her beloved, Will Pritchett. But it is Quinn who comes home with fatal news of his brother and stories of brutality and betrayal on the battlefield. Jennie is shattered, and her position at Pritchett House is threatened. A visit to a spirit photographer, meant for closure, instead leads her on a chilling quest to uncover secrets about the man she thought she loved and the brother that returned. With Quinn now seeking her attention and mysterious clues appearing from nowhere; Jennie becomes more and more troubled -- her sanity in the balance, maybe even her life. Can she find the truth before it's too late?

Part mystery, part Civil War ghost story, Picture the Dead is a cleverly written and beautifully illustrated tale of life, death, and the somewhere in-between. Truly haunting.

Remember she is coming to talk about this book September 3rd so you can come with your questions and comments. See you there.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Adults Reading Teen Books (According to the New York Times Book Review)

The Sunday New York Times Book Review had a great article on teen books and the adults who read them (and why they are not ashamed). Did you see it?

Here's how it starts:

While au fait literary types around town await the buzzed-about new novels from Jonathan Franzen and Nicole Krauss, other former English majors have spent the summer trying to get hold of “Mockingjay,” the third book in Suzanne Collins’s dystopian trilogy, so intensely under wraps that not even reviewers have been allowed a glimpse before its airtight Aug. 24 release. What fate will befall our heroine, Katniss Everdeen? My fellow book club members and I are desperate to know. When will the Capitol fall? And how can Collins possibly top the first two installments, “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire”?

Oh, did I mention? “Mockingjay” is for teenagers. I am well into my 30s.

But I am not embarrassed by my, shall we say, immature taste in literature. And I wasn’t much concerned when, barreling through “The Hunger Games” at the hospital after giving birth to my third child, I hardly noticed whether he ate or slept.

To read more click here.

But we knew that - didn't we. That teen lit tackles serious themes, is immediate and raw, honest and fast paced, stays fun and engenders intense discussions. Glad to know it's a spreading obsession.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mortal Instruments

Just about to start Clockwork Angel, I was thinking about the Mortal Instruments series and was delighted to read in Publishers Weekly (click here for more details) that Cassandra Clare is writing two more books in the series. Book 4 is called City of Fallen Angels and the cover will be revealed in December apparently. Great news but so long to wait...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White - Review

Evie works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. Her gift is that she can see though any glamor. And that makes her highly unusual and very much in demand for tagging paranormals and bringing them back to the agency. She doesn't question the whys of what she's doing because it's all she's known. She's strong, she's witty, and she hopes as normal as she can be with a mermaid best friend and a faerie ex-boyfriend.

But things get complicated when Evie grows closer to Lend, a charming shape shifter, and they realize there's a killer on the loose, someone who is chasing paranormals. And as the plot deepens and darkens, Evie keeps us laughing with the wonderful vein of humor that runs throughout the book. It made me think of Buffy (always a good thing) - a girl who longs to be normal, who is happy watching soap operas and hanging out with her friends, but is equally at home fighting evil (and is very very good at it).

All that AND a great cover. What more could you want?

Monday, August 2, 2010

In My Mailbox

I'm back after what seems like an age and found THE book I wanted waiting for me. Can you guess what it was?

CRESCENDO by Becca Fitxpatrick

Sequel to the very wonderful Hush Hush

So yes, I could be found clutching it to my chest, doing my happy dance.

And, even better, she'll be here with the Smart Chicks tour.

Doesn't get better than this.

From the back:
Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?