Sunday, September 20, 2009

my friend has gone

One of my best friends died today. I don't think I've fully realized it yet (she lives in Europe, I don't so it was reading an internet message which I think takes more time than being there?), but there's something she asked of her friends over on the other journal site where I have a personal journal and she, well, did.

She didn't want anyone to be sad at her passing or make donations, instead she wanted people to: take a day and wear something that made them happy (she'd worked in fashion), something that had good memories for them; to spend the day with someone they loved-and be sure to tell people that you do love them; and she wanted people to make sure you realise the good things you do have; and take an hour (at least) and do something that makes you happy.

I know in my previous post I shouldn't have been as vague as 'my friend's really sick' or whatever I said when I knew she was dying but I couldn't bring myself to even write it--still I would like to thank everyone who commented on that post.

There really are no words for what an amazing person, mother and friend she is,--or was, I suppose.


Reviews and posts may or may not get back to normal soon, I really don't kow.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Miami Book Fair International


I know quite a few people went to BEA and ALA so, I present to you another book filled thing to go to where there will be authors and books galore: the 2009 Miami Book Fair International

November 8-15 in Miami (that's Veteran's Day in there and that Thursday that a lot of high school like to give off for college visits and such), how can you beat that. Just when it's getting cold, ou can have a nice Miami break :D

And with authors like Meg Cabot, Gaby Triana, Danielle Joseph, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Wally Lamb, Barbara Kingsolver, Sherman Alexie, the lineup certianly isn't half bad either--in fact, it's rather awesome.

Here's the website that has more information about it and I hope to do more here, on the blog, the closer it gets to occuring.

Contestness @ Heather's Books

While looking through some of the BBAW links, I found this fun scavenger hunt/book contest at Heather's Books:

to keep away any confusion I'm going to link you right to her post HERE the answers are in the links she provides or on her blog (though some are tricky-I'm not sure I'm getting them right!)


3- Which of Kerrelyn Sparks Vampire's likes to collect cars, and aged 12
years in 12 days? (name and book)


When you have the answers, you email them in... in ends tonight (hey, it only started yesterday!) so hurry up if you're going to do it :D

Friday, September 18, 2009

Video Veneris

Here's a fan trailer for the Private series of books by Kate Brian:

made by madrigalprincess

I haven't read any of the books in this series, but this fan made trailer is enough to make me really want to check them out and see just what they're about. I think I'll have to get myself to the library!



*if there were spoilers anywhere, I'm sorry--I don't know enough about the series to know if there were or not*

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jennifer's Body~novelization by Audrey Nixon

Jennifer's Body
Harper Festival
208 pages
May 26, 2009
Amazon

Anita 'Needy' Lesnicki and Jennifer Check have been best friends since their sandbox days--literally. Non one knows quite why, they've never had much in common and they're just about complete opposites on the social spectrum, something only more obvious now that they're in high school, but besties they are regardless.

Only, something's gone terribly wrong in Needy-Jenniferland.



More than likely you've seen the previews for the 'Jennifer's Body' movie which starts tomorrow? This is the novelization of that movie, the movie's written by Diablo Cody ('member Juno?) and the book's credited to Audrey Nixon (so I don't know how much, if any, overlap from the script there is)> If you know what the movie's about, then you know what the book's about... Otherwise, I've been vague :D


I really just read the book because Amanda Seyfried was in the movie (with Megan Fox) and she was in Veronica Mars...and I was on my cheerleader book kick and I thought this fit (kinda didn't). But, I ended up actually loving it.

After all, how can you not love a book with a line on the second page: "Well . . . I am kind of the shit." (just after talk of Zac Efron and Santa Claus)? Really, just read through the first chapter/prologue and you'll know what I mean.

This book is crazy and insane to nth degree for sure but in absolutely the most fantastical way--it went from being some random book I had to convince my library to find for me, to a book that convinced me to see the 'Jennifer's Body' movie, even with the 'ooh, let's ignore the plot and just show girl's about to makeout' trailers.

The writing of this was kind of genius so if the non-dialoguey parts belong to Audrey Nixon and not Diablo Cody (I'm not smart enough to be sure how this 'novel based on the screenplay' thingy works for sure) which I think they do, I very much hope she writes more.

I don't know just how closely the book and movie follow each other but I hope it's very because the order of this story and the characters were all very enjoyable.

A note about the actual book itself, the pages are more like coloring book pages than book pages-they seem to hold up fine but I still thought it was worth noting.

10/10 (and it's short, too so you could still read it and then see the movie)








Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Cashing In by Susan Colebank

There are some problems even winning the lottery can’t fix.

With as many hours as Reggie Shaw puts in at the Cashmart, it’s no wonder that her grades and her friendships are slipping. Worst of all, Reggie’s mother’s inability to keep a job means that Reggie is pulling the weight of two people. Then, Reggie’s mom wins big in the lottery. Suddenly the money and the popularity comes pouring in. But when Reggie finds out that her mother has been borrowing more money than she actually won, she must face up to the fact that happiness can’t be bought it only comes with hard work.

I can’t be the only one who’s seen that E! thing on the Curse of the Lottery or whatever the show’s called, can I? About how horrible things happen to so many people that win the lottery?

It kind of amazes me how many of them end up broke or in some sort of legal trouble after winning big in the lottery and a whole book (fiction or not) focusing on one family and how the lottery affected them seems like it could be really interesting to read.

Scheduled to come out November 12, 2009.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen



Sara and her father are moving to Boston from small-town Lundun, Massachusetts. She is going to attend the prestigious Anton High school—crowned “North America’s Most Elite and Most Bizarre” by TIME Magazine—harder to get into than Harvard. As the new girl, Sara doesn’t know anyone; better yet, no one knows her. That means she can escape her family’s checkered past, and her father can be a surgeon instead of “Crazy Charlie” the school janitor.

What’s the harm of a few little black lies? Especially if it transforms Sara into Anton’s latest “It” girl. But then one of the popular girls at school starts looking into Sara’s past, and her father’s obsessive compulsive disorder takes a turn for the worse. Soon, the whole charade just might come crashing down...



(Summary found on Harper Collins Canada site)



Books about girls attemping to start over at the swanky new school when they have the not so swanky past are a lot of fun for me (in some ways The Jet Set was like this and I loved that book a lot more than I thought I would). Little Black Lies sounds like it's more complex, though, given that it works in the family issues of OCD and money as well as, it sounds like, whether Sara is ashamed of her father or not.



Knowing people with OCD, I'd be interested how the topic is coverd in the book and if it's blown into crazy-land like some books seem to do or if it's covered realistically (which I think would make the book great and both characters connect well with the readers).



I'm also really interested in seeing just what the 'bizarre' description of the school means!



The release date is currently October 13, 2009 :D

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Zombie Queen of Newbury High ~ Amanda Ashby review

Zombie Queen of Newbury High~Amanda Ashby
Speak
March 5, 2009
Amazon


Mia, a high school senior acting in the typical girl's love gone wrong mode, inadvertently casts a spell that turns her entire senior class into zombies! Just imagine what her prom is going to be like now.

Lucky for her there's someone in the class who knows just how to remedy the problem. From the Department of Paranormal Containment, if you can believe that. Which, Buffy obsessed Mia, actually can.

This novel is easily one of my favorites (of zombie books, of paranormal books, and of any books period!). Ashby and Mia's knowledge of all things Joss Whedon (I can excuse the Angel love and pretend she secretly lusts after Spike) and Supernatural made this a thousand percent enjoyable for fangirly me. But the nearly perfect writing and the comedy of the whole thing and the way the plot flowed and the fact that there weren't gaps in the storyline or random "Oh, look, this is useful now, sorry for forgetting it earlier!" things made it a wonderfully enjoyable story.


Knowledge of Buffy, Angel or Supernatural wasn't necessary for enjoying Zombie Queen in the least--it just made it more enjoyable for anyone who does have that knowledge.

And Candice, Mia's hypochondriac best friend was a great addition to the little cast of characters. She was a fun little screwy character but also a great best friend and her character added a lot to the plot throughout the book.

I desperately hope Amanda Ashby writes more YA (and more paranormal)..and maybe even a Buffy novel or two...I'm going to have to find my water logged (literally, it fell in water and is growing some mold) copy of You Had Me at Halo and read it because I now love her writing style and storytelling. And then I'll have to catch up on my Supernatural DVDs and rewatch some Season 5-7 Buffy ones..

Definite 10 for this one and thank you so much to the Zombie Challenge for getting me to finally read this!!

10/10


*Someone comment and let me know if this posted?* Got it all snazzied up and stuff

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

"You only hurt the ones you love. "

Logan Witherspoon recently discovered that his girlfriend of three years cheated on him. But things start to look up when a new student breezes through the halls of his small-town high school. Sage Hendricks befriends Logan at a time when he no longer trusts or believes in people. Sage has been homeschooled for a number of years and her parents have forbidden her to date anyone, but she won't tell Logan why.

One day, Logan acts on his growing feelings for Sage. Moments later, he wishes he never had. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she's actually a boy. Enraged, frightened, and feeling betrayed, Logan lashes out at Sage and disowns her. But once Logan comes to terms with what happened, he reaches out to Sage in an attempt to understand her situation. But Logan has no idea how rocky the road back to friendship will be.

The first paragraph makes it sound like a book that’s been done tens of times (the small town and the new girl who hasn’t dated before) but then there’s the rather large twist. I don’t think I’ve read a book dealing with an even similar subject before (there might be one out there, I just don’t know of it) and I’m really interested to see what this book does with everything.



(October 13, 2009--which is also two of my friends' birthday!)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Patrick Jones (The Tear Collector) Interview

So, you've read my review of Tear Collector...you have, haven't you? (It's right here) And now you just have to know more-about the book and its author, well have no fear, fearless readers, you, I have an interview just waiting for you to read it.

Patrick Jones has worked as a librarian for teens (and won awards from both the American Librarian Association and the Catholic Library Association for his work promoting teen reading). Besides The Tear Collector (out today), his novels include Things Change, Chasing Tail Lights, Nailed, Stolen Car, and Cheated. His website is connectingya.com and his books can be found on Amazon.com.
Now for the interview....

What was the inspiration for The Tear Collector? Did it start as an offshoot/variation of the traditional vampire story or something separate where the vampire similarities came in as the story--and character--developed?

Spite and greed served up my inspiration for this book. I was visiting a librarian friend of mine at a library in Fort Wayne when this teenage girl was browsing for something to read. My friend offered her one of my books (Things Change) but the girl replied, “No thanks, I only read vampire books.” So, out of spite I decided to show her! The greed is simply watching the Twilight juggernaut and wanting to grab a slice. I knew I wanted to write a vampire story, but then decided to flip all the conventions: the girl is the creature; the boy is the human. The liquid is tears, not blood.

(Book Sp(l)ot note: there’s one more convention flip he included but in the interest of my blog and review’s *spoiler* free-ness, I’m withholding it!)

Religion is a part of the story—from several of the characters attending Mass to some discussions in class—is that because of the ‘other’ in the tale?

One of the strange things about this book was that I wrote it in my head on March 15. 3-15. Now, if you wanted one number to represent science, I’d suggest pi: 3.14. If you wanted to represent Christianity in one number, you’d choose 3:16, for John 3:16. So, in between is 3:15. I was raised Catholic, attended Catholic school, and in 2006, actually won a lifetime achievement award from the Catholic Library Association, so I think have some knowledge to write about that faith. Without giving too much away, it is implied in the book that some of the characters – or maybe their relatives – may have been present as Jesus of Nazareth carried his cross through the streets. If I’m writing about the supernatural, then I can write about religion.

(John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life…. And I have to admit that March 15 will forever make me think of the Ides of March over everything else after all those years of Latin class.)

What’s your favorite part (scene, character, etc.) of The Tear Collector?

My favorite scene is the first one because it seems like a normal thing in a teen novel – a girl crying because she broke up with her boyfriend – but then I hope readers realize something isn’t right; there’s something off about Cassandra, and it all builds to the punch line of the chapter about her feeding off tears. Years ago I wrote a book about R.L. Stine. I think I absorbed his notion of cliffhanger chapter endings.

(moving the first part of his answer to the end because by my standards it’s *spoilery* but it reveals an itty bit about sequel…so it’s here, but know there it is *spoiler-ish*:

I like the Alexei character because he’s so evil. Most of my novels have good heels (that’s pro wrestling jargon for bad guys), and Alexei – with his van and dental tools – well, he’s not a nice guy. Why he’s that way gets explained in the sequel I’m writing. )


Are you one of the writers that is a threat to listen to other people’s conversations on the train or elsewhere for writing material?
Well, if you’re a teen, you might want to watch out when you’re I’m doing a school visit. The Samantha character is based on a girl I met during a visit, complete with the unmatched pair of Chuck Taylors. The small detail of Brittney using her iPod as a mirror I saw a girl do during a school visit, and Samantha’s back story (that has double meaning) is based on a story a girl told me after a visit via a message on mypace (or facebook, I can’t recall). Also, I send out my books in manuscript to teens to read, and they often have good suggestions. Plus I maintain electronic connections with lots of readers. I normally practiced informed eavesdropping.

Any advice to writers?
My advice is sadly predictable: read a lot, write a lot, and don’t worry about publishing. Instead of learning the joy of writing, all you learn is the pain of reading rejection letters. For teens, find other kids who write. If your school has a creative writing class, take it. If they have a creative writing club, join it. If not, start one. You can’t get better on your own.

Outlining/Plotting or Writing-as-you-go?
While every book follows his own path, normally I get an idea and write the first chapter/scene. Then I start thinking about where the story might go. I don’t write the ending early, but I have an idea what I should be, although almost every ending of every book I’ve done has changed (except, ironically, Things Change). Then I do a brief outline and start making character sketches. To fulfill the promise of the first scene, what needs to happen, and who else does the main character need to meet along the road. Then I’ll write a very detailed outline – the one for the sequel of Tear Collector is around 15 pages – and then start filling in the story elements.

Favorite book now? As a teen?
Favorite book always changes, but as of this writing (August 2009), I’m still thinking about Dave Cullen’s Columbine. I’m publishing an interview / review with him in an upcoming issue of a magazine for teen librarians called VOYA. As teen, Ball Four by Jim Bouton. I still read it a few times every year. I can’t explain it other than it was classic right book at the right time.

Mint chocolate chip ice cream: should it be green or white?
The answer is no, as I’m not an ice cream guy; now green olive or pearl onion in a Martini might be a better question. But again, the answer is no, why you waste valuable gin space with filler?

Hope you enjoyed the interview, my first on the blog (hopefully I can do more--authors, you can email me!)...and that you'll go out and pick up a copy of The Tear Collector :)

ZOMBIES!!!

Love things chasing you mindlessly, hungering for your brain? (Or at least reviews of or giveaways for books featuring those things?)

You might want to check out the September Zombies blog, August 29 (I'm a wee bit late with my post) until September 6 will be a week full of celebrating the zombie books of '09, with an emphasis on Never Slow Dance with a Zombie.

Now, while I very much need (and want!) to read Slow Dance, the only 2009 zombie book I've been lucky enough to read yet is You Are So Undead to Me.

In the interest of celebrating zombielicious books as much as I can (without having read too many) here's a link to my You Are So Undead to Me review and my review of an '08 now out in paperback, Zombie Blondes.

If I read any zombie books before the 6th (or more likely the 4th since I'm out of town this weekend), I'll do my darndest to get a review up! ;)

Until then, though...here are some recent brain eating, blood dripping, zombierific books...

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie ~ E Van Lowe
Zombie Queen of Newberry High ~ Amanda Ashby
Forest of Hands & Teeth ~ Carrie Ryan
Razor Girl ~ Mari Mancusi
Generation Dead ~ Daniel Waters

Kiss of Life (Generation Dead #2) ~ Daniel Waters
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies ~ Jane Austen

and maybe Jennifer's Body by Audrey Nixon (and screenplay by Diablo Cody)..if people will count that, I can probably get a review up



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