Saturday, November 27, 2010

Salman Rushdie

In this season of incredible events, we are lucky to be hosting my very favorite novelist, Salman Rushdie. There is no book I love more than Midnight's Children and no writer I admire more than Rushdie. And he will be here at Kepler's on wednesday December 1st at 7.00 to talk about Luka and the Fire of Life. It's a book for all ages, the young and older alike. A companion novel to Haroun and the Sea of Stories. A book about a young boy who journeys to steal the Fire of Life to save his father. A tale full of the incredible and unimaginable, an adventure so fantastic you can only marvel at the storytelling.

Here he is talking about writing Luka

And here's Rushdie reading from Luka and the Fire of Life

Will you join me on wednesday?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher - Review

Here's Elizabeth's wonderful review of Sapphique that will be out in late December.

In this sequel to the thrilling Incarceron, Finn has escaped the terrible living prison of Incarceron with the Warden's daughter, Claudia, but Kiero and Attia remain trapped inside. Claudia keeps insisting that Finn is a lost prince, but he is haunted by visions and can't remember his past. Inside the prison, Kiero and Attia, thinking that Finn has abandoned them, search for a way out, hunting down rumors of a mystical glove once worn by Sapphique, the only person Incarceron has ever loved and the only one to have escaped its walls.

This is an imaginative, dark, and strange story, filled with extravagant
magic and fascinating detail. Its complexities deal with what it means to be free, the relationships between a father and a daughter, the responsibility of a prince to his kingdom and, most importantly, what lies under the façade of what we believe is real. I highly anticipated this book and was not disappointed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

I realized I hadn't ever posted my review of Incarceron as I was about to post a review of Sapphique. So here it is. Sapphique later this week

Finn lives in a living breathing prison that watches everything everyone does with high tech red-eye cameras. There is no way in and no way out. But Finn has visions that some believe will lead them out of the prison. Claudia is the daughter of the Warden, stuck in a world where the royal courts are made to wear period costume, about to marry a spoiled playboy prince. Both Finn and Claudia have got their hands on a key and thus their lives overlap.

It is a creepy world on both sides of the prison but when they contact each other they believe they have found a way out. Along the way, they discover far more than they ever wished to know about themselves and their history, and about those all around them. If the plot is a little slow to mesh these two stories together, the twists and subplots, and genuine ah-ha moments amply make up for it. I was utterly caught up in this world and counted down the days until I laid my hands on Sapphique.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In My Mailbox

Another week? Really? Well, we hosted Laurie Halse Anderson and Amy Sedaris - both lovely - and I'm almost finished Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly and have started Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie. I'm reading far more slowly than usual - I'm blaming the time of year - but it is SO GOOD. Oh, and of course I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1. Did you? I had simply forgotten how much I love those books and characters. And now to the books, with thanks to the Story Siren for hosting this meme, as ever.

Yes, I only got one book this week but oh my, I will admit to clutching it tightly and jumping up and down with delight. A reason to be oh so thankful this week.

GRAVEMINDER by Melissa Marr

Yes, Melissa's first adult novel as a bound manuscript.

I am more excited than I can say. And yes I started it immediately. And yes, it is as good as I thought it would be (so far)

Three sips to mind the dead . . .

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn’t a funeral that Maylene didn’t attend, and at each Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words “Sleep well, and stay where I put you.”

Now Maylene is dead and Bek must go back to the place—and the man—she left a decade ago. But what she soon discovers is that Maylene was murdered and that there was good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in placid Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected. Beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D—a place from which the dead will return if their graves are not properly minded. Only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk.

Suddenly Rebekkah is struggling with more than just her grief—she’s forced to deal with a centuries-old bargain, dark secrets, a complicated romance that still haunts her, and a frightening new responsibility—to stop a monster and put the dead to rest where they belong.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Miles Between by Mary Pearson - Review

Doesn't everyone want one fair day, where the good guys win, where everything turns out right, where the universe is just? So when Destiny Faraday finds an unattended car, she persuades some friends to join her for a spontaneous road trip. Now Destiny is the sort of girl who keeps to herself because she's been shuffled from boarding school to boarding school, a girl abandoned by her parents, a girl who knows about how unfair the world can be. Yet she persuades her friends to skip school and drive toward a town that is a lot more important to her than she lets on. It's a day that will change them all.

This creative, quirky quick read about coincidences, friendship, and fate is beautifully written and a lot of fun. And so so different from The Adoration of Jenna Fox!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaster Tusday

Haven't done this for ages but I'm reading Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly and am absolutely loving it. 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

Now to the teaser (p. 136):

I've just messed things up with a really cool guy - the coolest guy I've ever met, actually. And that's just in the last few minutes. I've messed up a lot more in the last two years.
I wish I could stop messing up but I don't know how. What is it that mends broken people? Jesus? Chocolate? New shoes? I wish someone could tell me

and because I want to, I'm going to add another teaser this time from the diary Andi finds (p. 143):

I had done this - made the sad prince laugh. made his grieving parents smile. Noone but me. Think only kings have power? Stand on a stage and hold the hearts of men in your hands. make them laugh with a gesture, cry with a word. make them love you. And you will know what power is.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Harry Potter movies - and trivia

We all know that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 opens this weekend (can't wait!), most of us have seen those great red carpet photos, but have you seen the front page of Sunday’s Los Angeles Times that eatured a Hollywood history of the “Harry Potter“ films.

So did you know that Steven Spielberg was at one point in the mix to guide the Potter films to the screen? "Warner Bros. secured the rights for four “Harry Potter” novels for about $2 million. At that point, only the first book was on shelves in England and none had reached America. Warner Bros. tried to get a financial partner on the project, reaching out to studios including Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks, which passed."

When the books became a sensation, DreamWorks proposed a partnership to make the film, but Horn, president of Warner Brothers, declined. “I did think it would be worthwhile for Steven Spielberg to direct,” Horn said. “We offered it to him. But one of the notions of Dreamworks’ and Steven’s was, ‘Let’s combine a couple of the books, let’s make it animated,’ and that was because ... Pixar had demonstrated that animated movies could be extremely successful ... But I did not want to combine the movies, and I wanted it to be live action.” Spielberg took on “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence,” ainstead nd the Hogwarts post fell to Chris Columbus. …

The rest of the article has interviews with Daniel Radcliffe, screenwriter Steve Kloves, Columbus,and many others. Check it out here I'll leave you with this: “I admit it, I did cry like a little girl,” Radcliffe said, recalling the day. “There was a feeling that I had, that we all had, that it was the end of something very special.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson - Review

Remember Curzon, the boy who Isabel frees from prison in Chains? Well Forge takes up Curzon’s story after they leave New York City. Isabel runs away in search of her sister and Curzon pretends to be free and re-joins the Patriot Army, only to find out just how deplorable the conditions were at Valley Forge: little food, terrible cold, soldiers marching in the snow without shoes, no adequate shelter. Worse, Curzon is recaptured, only to find Isabel didn’t get away either.

Anderson is a remarkable writer who brings the details of the Revolutionary War vividly to life. She makes you consider how much freedom is worth and how much we are willing to pay for it, both as an individual and as a people. It’s an incredible achievement – rich, detailed, and immensely readable.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Don't Miss laurie Halse Anderson Tonight

One of my very favorite YA authors, Laurie Halse Anderson will be at Kepler's tonight to talk about her newest book, Forge. Not only is Laurie is fabulous writer, she's also a wonderful speaker. And the nicest person imaginable. So don't miss this event if you live in the Bay Area. At 7.00 pm tonight. Join me!

Laurie Halse Anderson, Forge
Wednesday, November 10, 7:00 p.m.

Don't miss this opportunity to hear acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson talk about her compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. In Forge she shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings us the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles in the midst of the American Revolution.

The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge ˜ against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.

I loved Forge. I'll post my review tomorrow (with photos). I think she's a remarkable writer who brings the details of the Revolutionary War vividly to life. She makes you consider how much freedom is worth and how much we are willing to pay for it, both as individuals and as a people. It's an incredible achievement - rich, detailed, and immensely readable.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Titles coming out in December

Just read a list of teen books that will be published this December. So many are on my most-wanted list. Last Sacrifice! Sapphique! Which do you want most?

December 7
Last Sacrifice: A Vampire Academy Novel by Richelle Mead
Entice by Carrie Jones

December 13
Witch & Wizard: The Gift by James Patterson and Ned Rust

December 14
Vixen by Jillian Larkin

December 28
Bloody Valentine: A Blue Bloods Novella by Melissa De La Cruz
Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

Monday, November 8, 2010

Suzanne Collins

What can I say about Suzanne Collins? That if I had to choose only one author to host this year it would be Suzanne Collins? That her books are fabulous? That Mockingjay is probably the most talked about, most anticipated teen book of the year? That she was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people of 2010? That it’s the book I put into everyone’s hands, the standard I hold other teen books up against? All true. So yes, just like her legion of fans I was just so very excited to meet her, to tell her how much I enjoyed the series, and to hear what is coming next.

We set up early. People started to arrive two hours early and drove miles to get here. The excitement was palpable. Soon the store was packed, every chair taken, people crowded in the aisles (see photo). We gave them bookmarks and tattoos and key chains – and yes, some Halloween candy. It felt like a party. It was a party. Can you see why I love my job?

Suzanne arrived a little early - they have been on the road quite some time and knew exactly how they wanted the tour to work. She read first from Hunger Games and chose the part about Cinna creating her Mockingjay costume (I love that scene – I really do). She read in an accent for Katniss that I could not have predicted, that she said she thought of as "futuristic Appalachian". She had to know not everyone had read Mockingjay yet so chose an early part to read from , and it was very emotional, very disturbing. It made me want to start the series again immediately, hearing her voice as I read the book. Very impressive.

To manage the crowds and make it less cumbersome for everyone, we had numbered the tickets by District so we called up one district at a time. But first we asked the two random people who had tickets marking them to participate in the Hunger Games to come forward. At this point I was holding a gun (er, a nerf gun - really - I have photos to prove it!). They looked a little nervous. One was a 10 year old girl, one a mom (whose kid didn’t want to come forward). We gave them both the nerf guns and told them to shoot each other, the first to get a direct hit gaining first place in the signing line. The mom held her gun backward. The ten year old scored a hit in seconds. Made you think. Actually brought back that scene in the first book where Prim is chosen to fight and Katniss takes her place. Made you realize how young 10 really is. But also made you realize how able a 10 year old is too. It was perfect.

The fans waited patiently and happily, browsing the books, and finishing the candy. Suzanne obviously loved meeting her fans and spoke to each person as they brought their books to be stamped, answering questions, and posing for photos. One girl said she had a brother with special needs who absolutely loved her books – she gave her a special hunger games pin for her brother. One girl said her friend had read the books “about 60 times”. She said it was probably time to find another author to read (and suggested Rick Riordan by the way). I asked about the movie. She said she had written the script’s first draft and it was being revised by someone else. And they now had a director (who also made Seabiscuit apparently). How to keep it PG 13? That will be interesting. People asked great questions.

Her background? Since 1991, Suzanne Collins has been writing for children’s television. She has penned multiple stories for Little Bear and Oswald for example and was the Head Writer for Clifford’s Puppy Days. Her inspiration for Gregor the Overlander came from Alice in Wonderland when she was thinking about how one was more likely to fall down a manhole than a rabbit hole, and would find something other than a tea party. And then in 2008 Suzanne wrote The Hunger Games and the rest is history. The series was partly inspired by the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, partly inspired by her father's career in the air force, which gave her an insight into poverty, starvation, and effects of war. She was wonderful. The over 350 people who crammed as close as they could loved her, waited patiently to have their books stamped, walked away glowing.

So much fun. She's got an idea for a new series apparently. Can't wait.

Finally, these wonderful photos are courtesy of Nancy and Tricia, two lovely friends who have let me use their incredible photos. Thank you both - I appreciate it so much.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In My Mailbox

Another week? Wow - so busy and it went by so quickly. But we hosted Suzanne Collins which has to be the highlight of this Fall season for me. And she was lovely - and the voice she chose for Katniss will stay with me forever (yes, sorry, will post an event report with photos soon - promise). I read Heist Society by Ally Carter and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. And have started Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly and Changeless by Gail Carriger (not YA but oh so good). And now to the books, with thanks to the Story Siren for hosting this meme, as ever.

The Locket by Stacey Jay
Loved You are so Undead to Me so have high hopes.
On her seventeenth birthday, Katie discovers a locket and decides to wear it for good luck. But when her boyfriend Isaac finds out she cheated on him with their mutual best friend Mitch, he dumps her, leaving her devastated. And then Katie feels the locket burning on her chest, transporting her back two weeks in time, to the night she cheated with Mitch. At first, Kate is delighted to be a better girlfriend to Isaac this time around. But as other aspects of her life become inexplicably altered, she realizes that changing the past may have had a dangerous effect on her present.

Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. by Cassie St. Onge.
For Jane Jones, being a vampire is nothing like you read about in books. In fact, it kind of sucks. She's not beautiful, she's not rich, and she doesn't "sparkle." She's just an average, slightly nerdy girl from an ordinary suburban family (who happens to be vampires.) Jane's from the wrong side of the tracks (not to mention stuck in the world's longest awkward phase), so she doesn't fit in with the cool vampire kids at school or with the humans kids. To top it all off, she's battling an overprotective mom, a clique of high school mean girls (the kind who really do have fangs), and the most embarrassing allergy in the history of the undead, she's blood intolerant. So no one's more surprised than Jane when for the first time in her life, things start to heat up (as much as they can for a walking corpse, anyway) with not one, but two boys. Eli's a geeky, but cute real-live boy in her history class, and Timothy is a beautiful, brooding bloodsucker, who might just hold the key to a possible "cure" for vampirism. Facing an eternity of high school pressure, fumbling first dates, or a mere lifetime together with Timothy, what's a 90-something year-old teen vampire to do?

Faerie Winter by Janni Lee Simner
Sequel to the wonderful Bones of Faerie. Return to Janni's unique vision of a magic-infused post-apocalyptic world where war between Faerie and humanity has left both realms devastated. The war has been over for 40 years, and finally Liza's town is accepting children born with fairy talents. Then a nearby town is destroyed, and Liza discovers that the war might not be over after all. It seems some faeries survived and have crossed over into the human world to continue the fight. And the most powerful and merciless of them all—the Queen herself—may be among them. . . .

Throat by RA Nelson
R. A. Nelson takes us on a supernatural thrill ride, a modern-day vampire story set on a NASA base and filled with space-and-science intrigue. Seventeen-year-old Emma feels cursed by her epilepsy—until the lost night. She's shocked to wake up in the hospital one morning, weak from blood loss. When her memories begin to return, she pieces together that it was a man—a monster—who attacked her: a vampire named Wirtz. And it was her very condition that saved her: a grand mal seizure interrupted Wirtz and left Emma with all the amazing powers of a vampire—heightened senses, rapid speed—but no need to drink blood. Is Emma now a half-vampire girl? One thing soon becomes clear: the vampire Wirtz is fierce and merciless, feared even by his own kind, and won't leave a job undone.

Oh, they sound good. But Revolution first. What did you get?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan - Review

If your best friend was the very large, very gay Tiny Cooper who talks all the time and is forever falling in love maybe you, like the first Will Grayson, would try your best to stick to two basic rules: don’t care too much and shut up. The other will grayson (lower case intentional) is isolated, angry, hurting, depressed, cynical, and gay. The two Will Graysons live in different suburbs of Chicago and have nothing in common. But fate brings them together one night leading them to rethink their relationships and themselves. And it all culminates in a musical Tiny writes, directs, and stars in called Tiny Dancer.

Told in alternating chapters, from each boy’s perspective, I loved both voices in this book – it manages to be funny, and thoughtful, provocative, intelligent, and heartbreaking all at the same time. It is one of the best books I’ve read this year - a book about friendship, appreciation, and truth. And it taught me about Schrödinger's cat!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Don't Miss Suzanne Collins tonight

I've been talking about it for weeks but it's TONIGHT
SUZANNE COLLINS will be at Kepler's tonight!
So if you live in the Bay Area, make sure you don't miss this.
(And the parade will be over by then.)

We are SO incredibly excited to welcome Suzanne Collins to sign her newest book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Mockingjay (which I LOVED). And we don't want you to miss your opportunity to meet her. She will be reading. You can take photos. Just not video.

When Suzanne Collins comes to Kepler's you will need a ticket to get into the signing line. And you get a ticket when you buy a copy of Mockingjay from us. It's as simple as that. Your ticket gives you a place in line to meet and get your book signed* by Suzanne Collins, who was named among the 2010 TIME 100 Most Influential People. (And is the author I am absolutely dying to meet!)

And yes, if you've already bought your book and it wasn't from us, we will sell you a ticket for the signing line. It's $8 and will put you in The Arena.

*Please note: Due to an existing hand strain, rather than signing books, Suzanne Collins will stamp each book with a custom-made stamp created exclusively for 2010 Mockingjay events. This stamp will be used only on this book tour. There will be no actual signing at this event and she will not be able to personalize any books.

Monday, November 1, 2010

You Are Not Here - Review

Here's Sarah's review of You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz. Her reviews have a way of making me interested in books that were not even on my radar, let alone my TBR pile. Here's her review:

The most wonderful part of being a bookseller is picking up a book that you would never, ever seek out of your own accord, and being introduced to something new and compulsively readable. My moment of serendipity came on a chance run-in with You Are Not Here, a story of teenage loss and recovery rendered entirely in free verse. Don't get too wrapped up in that last part - what could be cliché and gimmicky is instead fresh and with a rhythm perfectly suited to its topic.

The story is refreshingly simple: a teen girl, Annaleah, has to face life after the boy she was secretly seeing suddenly passes away. Because he was a secret, her outlets for grief are limited at best, and nonexistent at worse. The pace of the verse is almost like the deep breaths one takes to make their way through a difficult time, and each step Annaleah takes comes viscerally across because of the structure of the narrative. What I appreciated most was that Annaleah feels like a real teen - one who is certainly imperfect - but infinitely relatable.

My rating system for books has become how badly I nearly miss my stop home on the train, and I came very close to ending up in San Francisco while reading this one. I'll be keeping an eye out for more books by this author, and would recommend it for both teens and adults alike.