Friday, May 27, 2011
What's the deal promotional poster for Breaking Dawn? I mean, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Why are you so boring? Where are the Gap adds? Where is the creepy possessiveness? Where are the abs? You better not let me down by being boring like the last one. I want an awesomely bad movie, and I have high expectations!
And speaking of Twilight, Read it and Weep presents "Why does Twilight seem so much like a romance novel?"
Bloomsbury has launched a global search to find the world's favorite Harry Potter character. Rowling's favorite is Harry. Mine are Fred and George. Oh Fred!
Yes, it's $38, but so cute! Want! Got Books? bracelet.
More celebrities writing children's books. No word yet if it will be a good children's book.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The Japanese hold a Mogi ceremony for young women coming of age. Latina teenagers get quinceaneras. And Janice Wills of Melva, NC...has to compete in the Miss Livermush pageant.
Janice loves anthropology - the study of human cultures - and her observations help her identify useful rules in the chaotic world of high school. For instance: Dancing is an effective mating ritual - but only if you're good at it; Hot Theatre Guys will never speak to Unremarkable Smart Girls like Janice and her best friend, Margo; and a Beautiful Rich Girl will always win Melva's annual Miss Livermush pageant.
But when a Hot Theatre Guy named Jimmy Denton takes an interest in Janice, all her scientific certainties explode. For the first time, she has to be part of the culture that she's always observed; and all the charts in the world can't prove how tough - and how sweet - real participation and a real romance can be.
Sounds fun, yes?
The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills will be available July 1.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The first job Ehrenreich works is as a waitress in her own home of Key West, Florida. She quickly finds that in order to afford housing, she needs to pick up a second job, and the only reason she could afford a down payment on an apartment is that she allowed herself some start-off money. Working two jobs exhausts her, and she moves into a mobile home and drops the lower paying waitressing job.
Next she works as a maid in Maine. Ehrenreich finds working as a maid makes her invisible, more than any of the other jobs she has. Again, one job isn't enough, so she begins working at a nursing home on weekends.
The last job Ehrenreich takes is retail. She works at a Wal-Mart in Minnesota. In Minnesota, Ehrenreich lives in motels, as affordable housing isn't available. She ultimately has to leave because she isn't able to find a second job in time, and can't afford anything on the $7 she makes at Wal-Mart.
Monday, May 23, 2011
So it had been a while since I read a vampire romance type book, and I felt like I could handle it. This actually wasn't bad. I kind of enjoyed it. It was no thanks to Solange, however, who was fairly boring, but her best friend, a human named Lucy. Lucy was kick-ass and funny.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
You've probably heard by now about the interrogations of librarians in L.A.'s Unified School District. It's kind of horrifying. From SLJ.
Hunger Games movie news! From USA Today.
The first five Harry Potter books in comic form. From Flavorwire.
Hey! You do not say mean things about Neil Gaiman Rep. Dean! Of course, Neil Gaiman handles it in his usual fabulous way. From SLJ.
Apparently mermaids are the next big thing. From USA Today.
Adults reading YA. From Seattle Pi.
Which just goes to show that Lisa Belkin of the New York Times should have done some more research before writing this ridiculous article about YA fiction. Sarah Ockler had a good response.
New research reveals male characters far outnumber females, pointing to 'symbolic annihilation of women and girls.' From The Guardian.
There can only be one alpha.
Bryn is finally settling into her position as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack—or at least, her own version of what it means to be alpha when you’re a human leading a band of werewolves. Then she finds a teenage boy bleeding on her front porch. Before collapsing, he tells her his name is Lucas, he’s a Were, and Bryn’s protection is his only hope.
But Lucas isn’t part of Bryn’s pack, and she has no right to claim another alpha’s Were. With threats—old and new—looming, and danger closing in from all sides, Bryn will have to accept what her guardian Callum knew all along. To be alpha, she will have to give in to her own animal instincts and become less human. And, she’s going to have to do it alone.
Bryn faces both the costs, and the rewards, of love and loyalty, in this thrilling sequel to Raised by Wolves. (Summary from Amazon)
I read the first book Raised by Wolves almost a year ago and really enjoyed the new spin on the werewolf genre - you can read my review here - so I'm super excited to see what happens next in this series. If Ms. Barnes continues in the same vein I'm pretty sure that it'll be rock star.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
I really liked this, as long as I didn't think about it too hard. I wasn't completely clear on the rules. Clearly, London doesn't forget everything when she goes to sleep. You know, she knows how to walk and dress herself and talk and stuff. The rules seem to be that if the thing or person is in her future, since she remembers the future, she remembers it. This is why she recognizes her mother and her best friend Jamie, even if she has no idea what they've ever talked about previously. If London doesn't write herself a note about what's going to happen on a particular day, she's just as clueless as anyone else, because when it gets to that day, she doesn't remember it anymore (because now it's in the present). Whew. Still with me? OK. So, Jamie asks to borrow a shirt the night before and London says sure but doesn't write it down so she has no clue why Jamie shows up the next morning. But! She braces herself because she knows Jamie is going to ask her a particular question. Why is that? She shouldn't know exactly when that was going to happen, should she? Or is it that because it has consequences in the future she still knew? I wasn't clear about that.
And it just didn't make sense how London could function at school. She'd have to like, relearn calculus every day, reread the book they're reading in English every day. When she starts dating Luke, and as the months go by, she has to reread all her notes every single morning, which become more and more as time passes, so she'll remember him. So she's have to do that with like, everything.
So yeah. It didn't quite make sense. But if I'm willing to just accept the kind of shaky rules, then it was really interesting and I didn't want to put it down. I finished it in like a day. It was such a different concept, AND it turned out not to be remotely supernatural, which I was very glad about. I was a little worried there, but then it was OK.
Spoilers coming up.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
After making myself read the entire thing, two things stick out in my mind - one good and one bad - no wait, three things stick out in my mind - one good, one bad, and one eh -
- Good- There were some great one liners that made the entire thing much more palatable. The unexpected humor really helped when I was ready to just throw my hands up and think this thing was too frothy.
- Bad- Eventually I had to look up Cara Lynn's background because she got SO heavy handed with name dropping that I thought she had to be the most green writer in existence. Turns out she's a senior editor for People. Go figure. Anyway, it got pretty obnoxious when she kept mentioning the moronic music that they were listening to (which isn't really moronic but not what I would call super popular right now, nor super vintage/hipster) and also jokes that are rather played out but had some sort of renown maybe five years ago. I don't need nor want these things in books. Perhaps taking out the references to Blink 182 would make for a smoother read, or at least get rid of the feeling that there's a gigantic bat ready to bash me over the head with how 'hip' and 'with it' the characters are. In the end it just smells a bit of desperation.
- Eh - This reads a lot like Twilight. Just not super original, though it wasn't poorly done. But it's been done. A lot. By others. Perhaps try something else. Or try not taking all the tropes of this genre and retaining all of them. Something to ponder as you make your thousands of dollars.
The story goes back and forth between Tara in the present and Josey's story in the past. The house that burned down was on the same land that Josey lived. Asa shows up at the family's door one night and says he knows there is gold on their land. He will show it to them for a cut. Josey's father agrees, but her mother is very suspicious of the Asa. Josey, meanwhile, falls in love with him, and Asa seems to love her too. However, after they find some gold, Josey's father wants to stop looking for gold and build an inn. Asa is angry. The next thing we know, Josey's father is dead. Asa claims it was bandits, but he's found guilty of the murder. He's shot trying to escape, and no one ever discovers where the body of Josey's father is, or where the gold is.
Tara is doing her best to fit in at high school after years of home schooling. She makes a few friends, and is interested in a boy (who looks a lot like her). Tara's mother calls to tell her she's found a steady job in another town. Tara is upset at the thought of having to leave her home, but without the money, she doesn't have any hope. Tara is given a necklace by her aunt, who says it was her mother's and has been in the family for many years. We know (but Tara doesn't) it's the same necklace that Asa wore when he would go looking for gold. Tara realizes the necklace's powers, and is determined to find the gold that is supposedly buried on her family's land.
This was a nice mix of realism, historical fiction and a little bit of supernatural. I liked how the story went back and forth between the past and the present, slowly building up until we could figure out what was going to happen. Josey's story is ultimately tragic, but it ends up helping Tara in the current day.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
So it's not exactly an original idea, since it was pretty much Ground Hogs Day, but I still found the concept really interesting. Each day Sam wakes up and it's the same day, she tries changing things, small things at first, then larger, and is amazed and how much of a difference even the smallest change can make. The first day, she doesn't understand what happens, and pretty much lives out the exact same day, down to going to the party and getting in the car. And they're in an accident again. The second day, she convinces her friends not to go to the party, and that evening they learn that a girl from school, Juliet, who they merciless mocked at the party (the times they went) has killed herself. The second day Sam goes a little crazy and does things she never would do: stealing from her mother, making out with her math teach. She's thankful when she wakes up the next day and it never happened. After that, she starts trying to figure out why she's stuck, and she thinks it might have to do with Juliet.
When the book started, I hated Sam. She was pretty awful. I didn't want her to die, or anything, but she was a very unpleasant person. In a way, she was worse than the other popular girls in her circle were, because she'd been on the outside. She knew what it was like to be made fun of, and even with that knowledge she was cruel to other people. Purposely so. Sam and her friends are the stereotypical mean girls. They're pretty and popular and have hot boyfriends and everyone who's not in their group thinks they're bitches but is also kind of in awe of them. So definitely not a sympathetic character when the book begins.
I was actually surprised how many days it took for Sam to start changing. Even after she knows she dies in a car crash, she's stuck in this weird time loop, she knows another girl is suicidal, she still acts in her usual awful way to people. I guess that makes it more realistic though. Not even something weird and scary can make someone immediately repent the way they've acted for years. When Sam starts really trying to figure out how she can move on, she focuses on Juliet because she thinks it will ultimately help her. And then the way she tries at first, even though she does actually mean well this time, is completely inconsiderate and not thinking about Juliet's feelings and how she might react.
It was a really interesting book. It was also very popular at the book fair this week. It makes for a very intriguing book talk.
I want to talk about the end, but if you haven't read it, don't do the jump because it will totally ruin the whole thing. OK?
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I've never read anything by Bill Bryson before. I'd heard that his books are really funny. Perhaps others are, but I didn't really find this humorous at all. In fact, if it wasn't on our student's summer reading list, I probably would have given up. I listened to this on audio, and the audio was fine. The reader was clear, and actually the voice worked very well with the holier-than-thou picture I was forming of Bryson.
Right at the very beginning, I was just struck by what an idiot Bryson was. He has no experience with this kind of hiking, and he was planning on hiking the AT, the whole thing, alone. What? What kind of fool does that? Please don't try this at home, kids. Seriously, he's lucky he didn't die. Do not screw around with this sort of thing. You don't just waltz out your door and embark on a hardcore hike when you have no idea what you're doing. Bryson was able to recruit a friend to go with him, Katz, but amazingly Katz knew even less and was less prepared to do the AT than Bryson was. So they made quite a pair.
The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.
Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life. (Summary by Goodreads)
Dystopia, romance, difficult decisions, and possible human trafficking? Awesome. I have high hopes for a strong female protagonist. If the character of Eve is well done, this is going to be superb. Superb.
Eve comes out Oct. 4, 2011.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
While home for her sister's handfasting party and manning the family-run store, a young professor comes in asking for help, Tam's perfect sister's help. He's looking for a clock, a family heirloom as it were, and wouldn't it be great if Rowena could find it? This is the first time that Tamsin has felt important and capable, so she conveniently forgets to mention that she isn't Rowena. Instead she figures she can use her non-existent sleuthing skills to find it, and perhaps get assistance from her estranged childhood friend (who just happens to be a hottie that can play the guitar, what a happy coincidence) who fortuitously has the power to find anything. As Tam starts to unravel the mystery of the lost clock, she also discovers that nothing is as it seems. And some lies are easier to forgive than others, especially when your sister and best friend's lives are at stake.
I liked this book. It took a bunch of the cliches that you would expect in a book like this and twisted them. All of a sudden, fresh and new! Yes, she has the hottie love interest, but she isn't obsessive. He isn't the stud muffin that will never enter her life again. Yes, she is filled with teen angst and unnecessary sarcasm, but you can tell she loves her family and most of her angst is somewhat understandable. I don't want to give away the action-y part, but well done Carolyn MacCullough, well done indeed. There wasn't a slow point in the entire book, but when there was action it was quite thrilling. Thrilling I say! This seems like a short review I know, and it might seem like damning with faint praise, but I enjoyed this book. It was really well done and I'm excited for the sequel Always a Witch that comes out on Aug. 1, 2011.
Friday, May 6, 2011
This was seriously creepy. When I finished reading the first volume, I sat for a minute and then said, "What?" Horror is not my favorite, and I didn't really enjoy reading Bayou, but I read the second volume anyway in the hopes that things would start to make more sense. They did, but it was still pretty horrifying and upsetting.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
In the first volume, we got pretty much the full story of Sister Peace, and a little bit about Jain and a few others. In the second volume, the story of Jain continues. We see her as she grows and her relationship with Tylo, who is one day to become her husband. I found this very interesting to follow. We know from the first book that Jain has a child from a man who is not her husband, and that she ran away so her husband wouldn't kill her. Tylo doesn't seem like a violent man. He isn't very smart. He's awkward and crude, but nice enough. I'm interested to see what happens later on. I hope it isn't years before volume III comes out!
We also start to get more of the story of Heinrich. In the current time, two dwarfs come to call at Castle Waiting, and we learn that they are Heinrich's foster family and he grew up with them. A little more is revealed about Heinrich and what happened to his son, whose death broke his heart. Some of the back-story of the peculiar Doctor and of Simple Simon is also beginning to unfold.
While we get these stories, life of course goes on at the castle. Jain is moving to different quarters, and the dwarfs help the castle inhabitants make things ready by exploring some secret passageways, which unbeknownst to them seem to be haunted.
I enjoyed this just as much as the first one. Learning more about the characters only makes me want another volume to come out REALLY REALLY soon so that the stories can continue!
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I discovered after I'd read this that it's a companion book to Sisters Red. I haven't read Sisters Red, and since it was suppose to be a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, I was all sorts of surprised when the werewolves showed up.
Bordertown: a city on the border between our human world and the elfin realm. Runaway teens come from both sides of the border to find adventure, to find themselves. Elves play in rock bands and race down the street on spell-powered motorbikes. Human kids recreate themselves in the squats and clubs and artists' studios of Soho. Terri Windling's original Bordertown series was the forerunner of today's urban fantasy, introducing authors that included Charles de Lint, Will Shetterly, Emma Bull, and Ellen Kushner. In this volume of all-new work (including a 15-page graphic story), the original writers are now joined by the generation that grew up dreaming of Bordertown, including acclaimed authors Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more. They all meet here on the streets of Bordertown in more than twenty new interconnected songs, poems, and stories.
I haven't read the original Bordertown series, but I don't think that will stop me from enjoying this. There are so many wonderful fantasy writers that were involved in this book. Neil Gaiman! Holly Black! Jane Yolen! It's so exciting! Lucky there isn't long to wait because Welcome to Bordertown will be out on May 24.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Upcoming sequels. From PW.
Umm, this is dumb. An English teacher is also an erotic romance novel writer. Apparently that's not allowed. From WNEP.
No, there is not going to be another Harry Potter book. From USA Today.
First Second now has a webcomics imprint. From PW.
111 Male Characters of British Literature, In Order of Bangability. I have some SERIOUS issues with this list (Colonel Brandon is less bangable than King Lear? Come on!), IN PARTICULAR the person they put at number one, but still, pretty funny. From The Awl.