Thursday, July 28, 2011

John Green's new book

Just read this - John Green has announced that he would sign all preordered copies of his forthcoming novel, The Fault in Our Stars. All of them! To make sure that every copy gets signed, apparently he's going to sign the entire first print run — all 150,000 copies!

Dutton has announced that it has moved up the book’s pub date from May 2012 to January 10. John Green announced the book title and his plan to sign the pre-orders in an online video and will document the signing process too.

Time to preorder a copy NOW

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Men of the Hunger Games

Of course I had to post this.

Apparently Entertainment Weekly sat down with Josh Hutcherson, the 18-year-old actor whom director Gary Ross cast as Peeta, in Asheville, N.C., where The Hunger Games shoot was mid-way through filming. His hair was dyed blonde; his newly pumped-up biceps could believably belong to that of a baker’s son. And he wants to assure you that Lawrence (Katniss) will not tower over him on screen. “Jennifer’s not two feet taller than me!” he says with his easy laugh. “If anything, maybe she’s a half inch taller.” And Ross assures us that 21-year-old Liam Hemsworth, who plays Gale, "is a phenomenally subtle actor.”

What do you think?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Scored by Lauren McLaughlin - Review

We don’t seem able to escape talking about testing these days. How much is too much? Does it help or hinder? Now imagine what life would be like if we bought into an experiment that scored kids all the time. Not just your grades, but how you act. Ubiquitous cameras would watch how you walk, how you react, who you hang out with, have lunch with, flirt with. Everything. And all this would be scored. Then think about what it would mean if that score was your destiny – whether you could go to college, who you should befriend, what job you could have. So if you are 90 or above you get a college scholarship and the chance of any job you want. But if your grades slip, watch out. And if your friends’ scores slip, dump them fast or your score will slip too. But of course this only matters if you need a scholarship to go to college.

Imani LeMonde is a 92 when we meet her. She’s smart and determined and has never questioned the score and the system – it works for her. But her best friend begins to date an unscored and thus her score plummets. And because Imani doesn’t distance herself soon enough, her score plummets too. She tries to work out a way to bring her score back up and in doing so, is forced to look at the score a lot more closely. Who really benefits from this system? Does it really bring about an upward mobility for the poor? Has it really leveled the playing field? Is it really OK to place your score and your future above all else – friendship, family, love?

This book hit home for me. Scary because it’s just not too far from reality. You should read it too. Then look in the mirror.

Monday, July 18, 2011

JK Rowling's 800 Word Harry Potter Prequel Now Online

The 800 word Harry Potter Prequel that JK Rowling wrote for the Waterstone’s “What’s Your Story?” Charity benefit is now online. It's handwritten online but here's a typed version that is easier to read!


The speeding motorcycle took the sharp corner so fast in the darkness that both policemen in the pursuing car shouted,”Whoa!” Sergeant Fisher slammed his large foot on the brake, thinking that the boy who was riding pillion was sure to be flung under his wheels; however, the motorbike made the turn without seating either of its riders, and with a wink of its red tail lights, vanished up the narrow side street.

“We’ve got ‘em now!” cried PC Anderson excitedly. “That’s a dead end!”

Leaning hard on the steering wheel and crashing his gears, Fisher scraped half the paint off the flank of the car as he forced it up the alleyway in pursuit.There in the headlights sat their quarry, stationary at last after a quarter of an hour’s chase. The two riders were trapped between a towering brick wall and the police car, which was now crawling towards them like some growling luminous-eyes predator.

There was so little space between the car doors and the walls of the alley that Fisher and Anderson had difficulty extricating themselves from the vehicle. It injured their dignity to have to inch, crab-like,towards the miscreants. Fisher dragged his generous belly along the wall,tearing buttons off his shirt as he went, and finally snapping off the wing mirror with his backside.

“Get off the bike!” he bellowed at the smirking youths, who sat basking in the flashing blue light as though enjoying it.

They did as they were told, finally pulling free from the broken wing mirror, Fisher glared at them. They seemed to be in their late teens. The one who had been driving had long black hair, his insolent good looks reminded Fisher unpleasantly of his daughter’s guitar-playing, layabout boyfriend. The second boy also had black hair, though his was short and stuck up in all directions; he wore glasses and a broad grin. Both were dressed in t-shirts emblazoned with a large golden bird; the emblem, no doubt, of some deafening, tuneless rock band.

“No helmet!” Fisher yelled, pointing from one uncovered head to the other. “Exceeding the speed limit by-by a considerable amount!” (In fact, the speed registered had been greater than Fisher was prepared to accept that any motorcycle could travel.) “Failure to stop for the police!”

“We’d have loved to stop for a chat,” said the boy in glasses,”only we were trying-”

“Don’t get smart-you two are in a heap of trouble!” snarled Anderson. “Names!”

“Names?” repeated the long-haired driver.”Er-Well, let’s see. There’s Wilberforce…Bathsheba…Elvendork…”

“And what’s nice about that one is, you can use it for a boy OR a girl,” said the boy in glasses.

“Oh, our names, did you mean?” asked the first, as Anderson spluttered with rage.”You should’ve said! This here is James Potter, and I’m Sirius Black!”

“Things’ll be seriously black for you in a minute, you cheek little-”

But neither James nor Sirius was paying attention. They were suddenly as alert as gundogs, staying past Fisher and Anderson, over the roof of the police car, at the dark mouth of the alley. Then, with identical, fluid movements, they reached into their back pockets.

For the space of a heartbeat both policemen imagined guns gleaming at them, but a second later they saw that the motorcyclists had drawn nothing more than-

“Drumsticks?” jeered Anderson. “Right pair of jokers, aren’t you? Right, we’re arresting you on a charge of–”

But Anderson never got to name the charge. James and Sirius had shouted something incomprehensible, and the beams from the headlights had moved.

The policemen wheeled around, then staggered backwards. Three men were flying-actually flying- up the alley on broomsticks-and at the same moment,the police car was rearing up on its back wheels.

Fisher’s knee bucked; as he sat down hard; Anderson tripped over Fisher’s legs and fell on top of him, as flump-bang-crunch- they heard the men on brooms slam into the suspended car and fall, apparently insensible, to the ground, while broken bits of broomstick clattered down around them.

The motorbike had roared into life again. His mouth hanging open, Fisher mustered the strength to look back at the two teenagers.

“Thanks very much!” called Sirius over the throb of the engine.”We owe you one!”

“Yeah, nice meeting you!” said James. “And don’t forget: Elvendork! It’s unisex!”

There was an earth-shaking crash, and Fisher and Anderson threw their arms around each other in fright; their car had just fallen back to the ground. Now it was the motorcycle’s turn to rear. Before the policemen’s disbelieving eyes, it took off into thin air: James and Sirius zoomed away into the night sky, their tail light twinkling behind them like a vanishing ruby.

From the prequel I am not working on-but that was fun! J.K. Rowling.2008

Harry Poter Cakes

It's Harry Potter week. Did you see Harry Potter 7 part 2 yet? Did you cry? I sobbed, especially in the forest as he walks in alone. "Does it hurt?" he asks and I swear there was not a dry eye anywhere. And yes, it made me want to come straight home and reread all the books once last time to say goodbye.

Did you see the cake wrecks Harry Potter cakes? Awesome. Click here to see them all. I especially liked the one on the left. And the sorting hat! Thoughts for future parties dance in front of my eyes...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hereafter by Tara Hudson - Review

Another of Amanda's picks. Another book I'm just pining to get to. Read her review below

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Amelia awakes as she always does from the nightmare; opening her mouth to breathe in the dark, icy river water that caused her to die the first time. Now as a ghost, it is only the memory of her death that's painful, her body numb to the river's terror. Now that terror is someone else's as she watches helplessly as it tries to claim the life of a boy, Joshua, unconscious in the water. When her scream startles him awake and he is able to struggle to shore, she realizes that things are changed forever. He actually saw her! He is hers -- their connection forged in that place between life and death. Together Amelia and Joshua start to unravel the mystery of her past and discover that dark secrets lay hidden in the bridge and the dark waters below.

A true paranormal romance, this story is eerily lovely. Amelia and Joshua have an unearthly and electric chemistry, making you yearn for a happily hereafter. . .

Saturday, July 9, 2011

More Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 premiered in London yesterday and The Hollywood Reporter unveiled eight new video clips from the movie (click here), which will be released in the U.S. next week.

Here's one of the video clips:

BBC News reported that J.K. Rowling thanked the actors for "the amazing things they did for my favorite characters" and said to her fans: "Thank you for queuing up for the books for all those years, for camping out in a wet Trafalgar Square."

Can't wait!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Deathly Hallows Countdown

Are you eagerly awaiting the last Potter movie? As they keep saying, "It all ends" for the Harry Potter series. So how do you think Deathly Hallows will measure up to the other films? A grand and suitable finale? Oh I hope so. It's too soon to know, but the few early reviews on Rotten Tomatoes look good. "This is an exciting and, to put it mildly, massively eventful finale that will grip and greatly please anyone who has been at all a fan of the series up to now," wrote Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter. "If ever there was a sure thing commercially, this stout farewell is it."

And Philip Womack of London's Telegraph says, "This is monumental cinema, awash with gorgeous tones, and carrying an ultimate message that will resonate with every viewer, young or old: there is darkness in all of us, but we can overcome it."

However, in his mostly positive review, Variety's Justin Chang wrote that "more than a few viewers may be left wondering: Why the rush? The series' shortest entry at 131 minutes, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II surges ahead with tremendous urgency, superb spectacle and powerful, even overwhelming emotion, only to falter with a hasty sendoff that seems to buckle under the weight of audience expectations."

I admit, I love the series. Both the books and the movies. I read them to both my kids. I've watched the actors grow up on screen. And I was so glad that they cut Books 4 and 5 because they so needed it. I love the pantheon of actors who parade through the films. Some of the cameos are perfect. Which was your favorite film? book? character? Do the movies make you want to go back to the books as they do for me? And, oh, I so hope they don't include the epilogue in this movie -- please, please, please.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer - Review

Amanda's just finished Wolfsbane - and yes, it will be stores at the end of the month after such a long wait! Here's what she thought (can't wait to get to it myself!)

Calla has grown up with one destiny. As the young alpha wolf of the Nightshade pack, she was promised to Ren, young alpha of the Bane pack. Together, they would protect the Keepers from the Searchers. That was who she was: a Guardian. But Shay changed everything, and now Calla's future is uncertain and her history in question. When she finally wakes from the nightmare of that terrible night, she finds herself alone and at the mercy of her captors. Are they who they claim to be? What of her pack, of Shay, or Ren? With the war between the Keepers and Searchers escalating, Calla must choose which side to believe, and redefine what alpha means without a pack. She must also answer the question hammering at her heart - Shay or Ren? The second in the Nightshade novels, Wolfsbane continues the saga of Calla's world, keeping the reader captive with the suspense and romance of this wolf pack. It is time for Jacob to step aside.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

In My Mailbox

Ah, a wonderfully slow summer week, a long weekend, and LOTS OF BOOKS! Finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone (best book I've read for so long) and Bloodlines (thank you Nancy)

Thanks as ever to Story Siren for hosting the meme. And to the many people who gave me these books.

1. Wildwood by Colin Meloy
A forbidden wilderness. An epic journey. A new classic.
By the guitarist from the Decemberists.

2, Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver
Her first middle grade novel. And oh, I loved Delirium.

3. Prized by Caragh O'Brien
sequel to Birthmarked, which I really enjoyed.

4. The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

5. Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
A violent battle separates two young lovers on a ship bound for new earth

6. Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
third in the series. Can't wait. Adore this series.