Wednesday, July 27, 2011

First Look at Peeta and Gale

What do you think everyone? I think they look pretty good-although I think Gale should be a bit more built. And Peeta's such a cutie!:)

Q&A With Author Melissa Walker

Please welcome Melissa Walker to the blog!! I have to admit, I geeked out at the chance to ask Melissa Walker some questions about her new book, Small Town Sinners. Melissa and I have exchanged tweets back and forth and we both have fun, vintagey creative weddings the same year, so I've also felt a cool authorly bond with Melissa. So of course I was thrilled when I got the chance to review her new book and pick her brain about writing. Hope you guys have as much fun reading our interview as I had participating in it!

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Since the book features a Hell House, I'm sure you did some research into the topic. How many Hell Houses did you visit? What did you find most interesting about them?

Melissa: I had heard about them through a friend's mom, and I only visited two before writing the book. One was actually a "Judgment House," which is a softer version that's less political. But the main one I went to was for an ELLEgirl article, and the most interesting part really was talking to the teenagers starring in the show. They definitely influenced my characters. Here's that article:

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Religion is appearing more and more in YA-and not just in specifically religious books. What do you think the appeal is of religion in contemporary YA?

Melissa: Religion is a big part of a lot of teens' lives, and it's something that you're brought up believing (or not) rather blindly. At that coming of age moment, though, deciding what you believe about spirituality is a very big part of separating from your parents and finding your own way, so I think it very naturally fits into YA novels.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: I think religion and YA are a perfect mix and I think you found a great balance of that in Small Town Sinners. There's also a cute boy in the book, which I loved! You always write boys that are hard not to crush on! Who is your literary crush?

Melissa: I have different literary crushes all the time! It changes weekly. But I will say that I often fall for Elizabeth Scott's boys.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Me too-she writes very swoon-worthy boys! It always seems like you have lots of projects-you blog regularly, you write for I Heart Daily, you write for magazines, you write books, and on top of all that, you're expecting a baby girl in August-congrats! How do you manage to do it all?

Melissa: Thanks! I definitely feel like I'm juggling a lot, but everything I do holds some enjoyment for me, so it doesn't (usually) feel like work. Imagine if you got to pursue a bunch of things you love and they all add up to being your job? It's a dream! I do wonder how having the baby in the mix will work, though. So we'll see...

Thanks so much Melissa!

Blog Tour: Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 7/19/2011

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About the Book: Lacey Anne Byers has always been a good girl. She's grown up in the church, followed the rules, and she's never questioned anything. Lacey is excited to try out for a lead role in her church's Hell House production. When Ty Davis moves to town, Lacey befriends him. He's smart, funny, and Lacey likes him-a lot. Lacey can talk to Ty about her faith, something her friends have never discussed much. Ty asks questions that Lacey has never asked and she begins to doubt if everything is as black and white, right and wrong as she once believed.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: I have been a longtime fan of Melissa Walker's and I think that Small Town Sinners is Melissa's standout book. She writes a story about faith, first love, and searching in a wonderfully realistic way.

As a Christian myself, I'm often hesitant to read portrayals of faith and Christians in fiction. Christian fiction is too corny and unrealistic to me whereas secular fiction often portrays Christian's as crazy nut jobs. Small Town Sinners does neither. The story is non-judgmental and it's up to the readers to answer their own questions and decide what they think. While the adults aren't always the best and they do things that I didn't agree with, no one was over the top, and I found this to be more realistic.

Instead of taking one side or another, Small Town Sinners has a wonderful balance. Hell House's aren't shown in a way that's extreme good or extreme bad. I'm personally not a fan of the Hell House idea, but I liked the explanations that Lacey gave about the reason and how they can be effective. This worked for me and I didn't feel like the book was preaching to me one way or the other. There is scripture used, which so often I feel is corny in books, but for some reason I liked it here. Maybe because I knew this wasn't really labeled "Christian Fiction" so I didn't feel like I was supposed to be getting a message from the book. Instead of just being thrown in there just because it needed to be, I felt it fit Lacey's character as she struggled with her faith.

What I loved most about the novel is that Lacey is a relatable, real, character. She understands that her faith cannot just be what her parents believe, but it has to become her own. In order to make it her own, she must ask questions and discover what she believes-and that's not a bad thing. So often we're told, especially in Christian fiction, that doubt is a bad thing. But in Small Town Sinners, doubt is part of life and it's needed to better understand your faith. This is a message that very often gets lots and I think it added a wonderful depth to the story. There are never easy answers and Lacey isn't left knowing the answers to everything-and that's OK.

The supporting cast adds a layer to the story. This isn't just a story about faith, but it's a story of first love, teen pregnancy, searching for answers, friendship, loyalty, and forgiveness. It all wraps up into a fantastic package that I highly recommend to all readers.

Book Pairings: Sorta Like a Rockstar by Matthew Quick, The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Frietas

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC I picked up at ALA Midwinter

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tween Tuesday: Wordless Picture Books

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens! Join the fun and add your link below.

I love wordless picture books and I've come across several since working in the children's department at my library. Wordless picture books are great for tweens-especially if they think they've grown out of picture books. (But really, who ever grows out of picture books?:) They can tell their own stories and tweens will look for details in the story that younger readers might not catch. Here are some of my favorite wordless picture books.

Tuesday by David Wiesner

-I loved this book when I was a tween. I would pour over the artwork on each page and look at every little thing. The pictures are beautiful and the story of frogs taking flight on lilypads was something my tween self thought was hilarious. (OK, my adult self thinks it's hilarious too!) I also love Wiesner's Flotsam.

The Boys by Jeff Newman

-The Boys is the story of a young boy who moves to a new place and is afraid to join the baseball game he sees going on in the park, and ends up finding help from the old men on the parkbench. This book reminds me of a Pixar animated short. It's sweet and charming and very funny.

The Umbrella by Ingrid Schubert & Deiter Schubert

-A dog finds an umbrella that whisks him away on a worldwide adventure. The illustrations are wonderful and the story is so fun. I love how there is so much that you can add to the story-readers will have fun making up their own versions of how the dog gets everywhere. My version of this story was very different than Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan's!:)

Animals Home Alone by Loes Riphagen

-This one is a wordless picture book that's also somewhat like a seek and find. When a family leaves for the day, the animals are home alone-and you never know what they might do! There are multiple storylines for each animal, so you can read this book many different times and get a new story. There are also lots and lots of details to look for and there's a page of "did you find" in the back, so readers can go back and find things they may have missed the first time around.

Any other wordless picture books to add to the list?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Flash Reviews

Flash Reviews are short, quick, mini-reviews of multiple titles. More committee reading this time around, so here are my thoughts:

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Rating: 5/5 Stars
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I love a good road trip novel and this one is pretty much perfect! I love Amy and Roger, their individual storylines and issues to work through as well as how their storylines connect and weave together. I loved how they ended up needing each other, and an epic detour road trip, to work through life, fears, and emotions. And of course, the romance is wonderful-I want them to stay together forever. They totally will, right?:)

Suspect by Kristin Wolden Nitz
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This one starts out with a great mystery premise-girl trying to find the truth about her long-missing mother during a murder mystery weekend hosted at her grandmother's bed and breakfast. Unfortunately, it quickly looses any of the mystery. The mystery falls flat, the story is cut too short and the characters are just never fully developed. I would have liked this one more if the mystery hadn't been so cheesy and if the book had actually had about 50 pages more to the plot.

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
Rating: 4/5 Stars

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Veronica Mars fans, get your hands on this one! All Unquiet Things is a very engaging and entertaining mystery told from two points of view. Both characters were close to the victim which offers two points of view for how we get to know Carly. Neily was in love with her, but is also trying to overcome the hurt of their breakup. Audrey was cousins and best friends with Carly and trying to deal with the fallout of her father being charged with Audrey's murder. The mystery kept me turning pages, but it was the characters that made me really like this novel. I really grew to care about Audrey and Neily and wanted them to get the closure they needed. The story also had a nice plot twist and no "the murderer tells exactly how the murder was committed" monologue which often ruins mysteries for me, so that made me like it even more. It's a smart, character driven mystery.

Friday, July 22, 2011

YA Movie News

-Lionsgate posted a very cool motion capture movie poster for The Hunger Games. Check it out on!

-Harry Potter made a TON of money over it's opening weekend-over 400 million worldwide! Who went and saw this week and loved it? Anyone else cry a ton??

-K.L. Going's Fat Kid Rules The World has an indie movie in the works! School Library Jounal has the news.

-Alloy Entertainment has an upcoming Science Fiction book called The Robot that has been optioned for a movie. According to Cynopsis Kids, the book "revolves around two teens on a mission to thwart the efforts of a robot assassin, which could start WW III."

-You know how I love my pretty dresses, so of course I was thrilled when I saw the news that those pretty dresses on The Luxe covers may become a reality! Paramount is working on bringing The Luxe to the big screen! Historical gossip book turned movie? I'm so there!

-I was nervous when I first heard they were making The Invention of Hugo Cabret into a movie, but the first trailer looks awesome! What do you think?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tween Tuesday: Drawing from Memory by Allen Say

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Memoir/Graphic Memoir

Release Date: 9/1/2011

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About the Book: As a young boy, Allen wants to be a cartoonist. Will he be accepted and can he make his dreams come true? Caldecott Winner Allen Say writes a graphic memoir about growing up in Japan and being an apprentice to Noro Shinpei, a notable Japanese cartoonist.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I had received an advanced copy of this book and I thought, "hmm...this looks cool" and put it aside to read eventually. Well, then I went to ALA and heard Mr. Say talk about this book and I had read it immediately! I know there's still some time before this one officially hits shelves, but I had to post about it now so everyone heading back to school can add it to their buy for the new year list. Seriously, do yourself a favor and order this book now.

What an amazing journey to become a cartoonist! Mr. Say was 12 when he got an apartment of his own. After reading about another boy traveling to meet Noro Shinpei and become an apprentice, Allen Say decided he would do the same thing in hopes of becoming an apprentice as well. His journey is such a fantastic read and at times I couldn't believe this was his story. I think any reader who has an artistic side will relate to the Mr. Say's feeling of how he must draw and that art is a part of him.

This is a touching and heartwarming memoir. I think tweens will especially be drawn to the fact that has a bit of a graphic novel memoir feel to it. I also think they'll like reading about the things that happened to Mr. Say along the way.

I can't wait to share this one with tween readers!

Monday, July 18, 2011

He Said, She Said: Cover Talk

I was browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble recently and it got me thinking about what makes me pick up a book. There are some things that are instant "pick up this book right now" traits for me. These would be things mentioned on the book jacket or on the cover that make me want the book. I started talking to Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan about it and we have very different opinions on what attracts us to a book, so we decided to make this a co-post and discussion! So join in with your thoughts-we'd love to hear them!

GreenBeanTeenQueen: I'm a sucker for pretty dresses. If a cover has a beautiful dress on it, I pick it up right away. Chances are I won't even really care what the book jacket says, I'm going to just stare at the dress and pet the book and come up with ways to make the dress mine. Pretty dresses mean I'm going to pick that book up for sure!

GreenBeanSexyMan-No, no, no. No pretty dresses! I don't care who wrote it-it could even be Harry Potter and the Pretty Dresses by J.K. Rowling and I still wouldn't read it even though I'm eager for more Harry Potter. Give me a simple, elegant cover like the covers of George R R Martin's latest book. Simple, elegant, but also very visually interesting with the few elements that are on the cover. Save the artwork for the inside.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: See, I think that's boring and too simple. If I can't have pretty dresses, I like covers that have an interesting element to them. I'm really drawn to the covers of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Imaginary Girls because of the cool underwater effects.

GreenBeanSexyMan: Yeah, but those have dresses on them too.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Umm...OK, yeah, I guess they do. I like pretty dresses!

GreenBeanSexyMan: I mainly read fantasy and sometimes I really hate fantasy covers. I hate animated fantasy covers. Those are the type of covers that make me embarrassed to read the book in public. If it has an animanted dragon on the cover, I have to force myself to read it. I also really don't want something that screams "I live in my mother's basement!" or Dungeons and Dragons. Fantasy is looked down upon enough, I hate the covers that make it look stupid.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Animated covers aren't my favorite. But some are animated and they don't look so bad. I think the cover of Way of Kings looks good for an animated cover.

GreenBeanSexyMan: That cover's not bad. Like I said, simple is better.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: And I like more details in my cover. One of my favorite animated covers is for Kat, Incorrigible. It's animated, but it adds details to the artwork without looking cheesy, which I think can happen very easily with animated covers.

I'm not drawn to simple covers, I like covers that can give me details. I like when the details on the cover can help set the tone for the book. Another one that comes to mind that does this very well is the cover for A Spy in the House. It has a nice, mysterious tone to the cover which sets up the book nicely.

GreenBeanSexyMan: And both of those have dresses...again.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Well, what can I say? I love my dresses!

What do you think? What draws you to a cover? What makes you hate a cover? And do you want to hear more-our talk kept going and we had fun!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blog Tour: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater PLUS Giveaway

Scholastic recently launched an online community called This Is Teen to connect readers with their favorite YA authors and books. Visit their page on Facebook for all the latest news on Maggie Stiefvater and Forever.

I'm a HUGE fan of Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver Trilogy, so of course I'm thrilled to share with you this part of the tour.

When I talk with readers about this series, I've learned that Isabel is a character that divides readers. Some people like her and some people really don't. I'm in the like Isabel camp. Ever since I was a teen, I loved reading about those somewhat ice-queen characters who maybe deep down have a bit of softness. I was a very emotional and dramatic teen, so I think I was drawn to these characters because there was a part of me that wanted to be strong and yes, even a bit icy like they were. Isabel might be difficult at times, but I still like her. She's proved to be a loyal friend to Sam and Grace even though she has every reason not to be. She guards her heart and doesn't just let anyone in, but when she does, you know that she cares. She can flirt like crazy and her flirtation with Cole is smart and sassy.

I was nervous when I found out I would be giving away a sketch of Isabel drawn by Maggie Stiefvater. What if she didn't look the way I pictured? (If I could go back in time and cast a Roswell-era Katherine Heigel as Isabel in the movie, I would totally pick her!) But I think Isabel looks just like I imagined! Smart, sexy and sassy! What do you think?

Maggie also compiled a playlist just for Isabel. I love her taste in music and I love her choices for Isabel-especially SexyBack-I can totally see Isabel jamming out to that song in secret!:)

ISABEL (Playlist by Maggie Stiefvater)

1. Shut Up and Let Me Go - Ting Tings
2. I’m Good, I’m Gone - Lykke Li
3. Toys - Hedford Vachal
4. SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
5. Heads Will Roll - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
6. Gutter - Paper Route
7. Have You Got It In You? - Imogen Heap
8. Coming to Terms - Carolina Liar
9. No One Sleeps When I’m Awake - The Sounds
10. All Wound Up - She Wants Revenge
11. Derty - Ronald Jenkees

Want to win a copy of the Isabel sketch? Fill out the form below!
-Must be over 13 to win
-US Address only
-Contest ends July 28 at midnight central time

Don't forget to visit the next tour stop on Monday! Rachel at YA Reads

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fictional Love Must Last

I recently read Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson and I fell in love with Amy and Roger's stories. I didn't want the book to end! I was sucked into their story and when the book finished, I kept thinking that in my fictional world of what happens next is that Amy and Roger stay together forever-because I don't think I could handle it if they didn't! So it got me thinking about what other fictional couples I must have stay together forever. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a good romance and when I find a great couple, I want them to stay together. Like, I might cry if they ever broke up forever. We all have those, right? (I hope so!) So here's my made up world forever together list:

Side note: My list doesn't include couples who we know stay together (like Anne and Gilbert) but instead couples who stay together in my made up what happens next world.

Katsa and Po in Graceling

-OK, so I know they end the book with an open relationship and all and leave it up to life and fate, but in my mind, they keep that relationship forever and never meet anyone else that's a perfect fit like they are to each other.

Ryan and Sarah in The Unwritten Rule

-I could say this about pretty all of Elizabeth Scott's couples, but Ryan and Sarah in The Unwritten Rule rank among my favorite. They have a sweet, tender romance, even if it is rocky and messy to get there. I read the book wanting them to be together and was happy when they were-so they better stay that way!

-I've also gotta give a shout out about Hannah and Finn from Something, Maybe. I adore them too!

Lucy and Nicholas from Hearts at Stake (The Drake Chronicles)

-Sigh...Nicholas and Lucy. I'm a sucker for romance, but I'm especially a sucker for best friend-turned-romance storylines. So of course I was sucked into Lucy and Nicholas's story! Plus, they have many swoon-worthy moments and lots of witty banter-I love the two of them together. The entire series is good, but I'll admit-I read it for Lucy and Nicholas.

Anna and St Clair from Anna and the French Kiss

-No list of couples who should stay together would be complete without Anna and √Čtienne St. Clair. SIGH....I fell in love with St. Clair and the romance between Anna and St. Clair is another friendship first that turns to romance. They have a great banter between them, they tease and have fun and they also rely on each other during the serious times. If they ever broke up, I think I would be the one who needed lots of chocolate, break up songs, and kleenex-I couldn't take it! Seriously, stay together Anna and St. Clair-for my sake!!

Veronica and Logan from Veronica Mars

-OK, not a book, but they are fictional characters. And in my made up world of happy endings forever, this two are king and queen. I remember watching season one and hating Logan and then slowly feeling sympathy and understanding for him and then liking him. When Logan and Veronica first kiss, it's a surprise but it makes so much sense you can't help but realize these two were meant to get together all along. The show ended prematurely and I'll admit, I haven't yet watched all of season three because I want to leave the story with Logan and Veronica together. But if I got my way, they'd be together forever!

Who are your fiction couples that must stay together forever?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tween Tuesday: The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens! Join the fun and add your post below.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Historical

Release Date: 2/29/2000

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About the Book: Holling Hoodhood is a Presbyterian. Which means on Wednesday afternoons, Holling stays in school while everyone else attends religious education classes. But Holling is stuck and he thinks Mrs. Baker hates him-now she has to stay around and teach one student. So Mrs. Baker decides to teach Holling about Shakespeare. Holling is about to have a memorable year full of adventures he never could have imagined.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I wanted to read this book because Okay for Now is getting some Newbery buzz and while it's not a sequel, it's a companion book. I've heard so many rave reviews for this one, I knew I had to read it. But I kept putting it off because I had read another of Gary D. Schmidt's books and I wasn't a fan. It goes to show you can't judge an author based on one book!!

I'm so glad I finally listened to all those people who told me to read this one! It's hilarious, charming, bittersweet and wonderful all at the same time. The year Holling has is somewhat fantastical (as in it's so crazy you can't believe it's really happening-but this is fiction after all). Holling learns about friendship, growing up and even a touch of romance during his year with Shakespeare.

I listened to this on CD and the narrator was fantastic! Joel Johnstone please narrate more books! I highly recommend this book, especially on audio. A wonderful treat and I can't wait to read Okay for Now. I know I'm way behind, but I'll be recommending this one to any tween who will listen!

Book Pairings: Al Capone Does my Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko, No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman

Monday, July 11, 2011

Library Programs: Stuffed Animal Sleepover

This past weekend my library hosted our first Stuffed Animal Sleepover. It was a huge hit and we plan on making it an annual event. This wasn't an original idea-I actually got the program idea from the YALSA list-serv. But I thought I'd share how we ran it at my library.

Friday evening kids brought in their stuffed animals. We started at 7, but I think next time I'd start earlier to give the teens more time for photos. We had about 25 kids bring in stuffed animals and we gathered in the storyhour room for a short storytime. Teens from the teen library council helped the kids fill out a permission slip for their animals with questions like "name of animal" "type of animal" and "animals favorite activities/hobbies". I then got the group together and we did a song with the animals-I used They Might Be Giants Clap Your Hands, which is fun and easy to do with the stuffed animals clapping hands, etc. but it is a bit short.

I had some leftover crafts from storytime earlier that day, so we had the kids make "nightlights" for the animals since they would be spending the night at the library. The craft was a yellow star glued onto a black piece of paper and then colored any way they'd like. Make sure to have lots of white crayons for the black paper and have the kids write their names on the craft!

After all the nightlights were made and permission slips filled out, we got back together to read a book. I had each of the teens from teen library council introduce themselves and say something about their animal. (I pulled animals and puppets from our storytime supply for the teens to use.) One of the teens volunteered to read Goodnight Moon and I read Knuffle Bunny. We ended with singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and then said goodbye to the animals. I was a bit worried about getting everyone out in time for the teens to get pictures taken, but everyone left right as we ended.

Now the fun began!! The teens broke off into groups and took the animals all around the library. Each group took photos of their animals and we added all the photos together to make a giant slideshow. We did groups, but some of the cameras didn't load with the computer we had. So I would suggest taking one (or two) cameras that you know will work with the computer, take a small group of animals, take a designated amount of photos with those animals, and then come back and get the next group as you load the photos on. I think this would go much smoother than the system we had!

The next morning the kids came back to pick up their stuffed animals and see what kind of adventures they had the library! I'm also adding the photos to our library Facebook page.

The parents loved it and asked if we could do it again. The kids laughed so much at the photos and thought it was so much fun to see their animals all around the library. I also liked that this program got the teens involved and the kids got to see the teens helping out at the library.

This was a fun all ages program and I can't wait to repeat it next year!

Friday, July 8, 2011

YA Movie News

Does this video make anyone else feel like crying??

-Fox has signed on Thor Freudenthal as director of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Sea of Monsters. Logan Lerman is also set to return as Percy. It looks like fans may get a second movie after all! Thanks to Cynopsis Kids for the news.

-BBC is filming a new adaptation of Mary Norton's The Borrowers which is set to air this Christmas. I loved this book as a child and I will happily watch a new adaptation! I'm hoping this one is good-some of the others haven't been that great. There's also an animated film from Japan called Arrietty and will be dubbed by Amy Poehler, Will Arnett and Carol Burnett-which I think is an odd mix. That film is due out in February 2012. Thanks to Shelf-Awareness for the news.

-Lois Lowry's The Giver has been in talks to be a movie for so long! According to Cynopsis Kids "This is the second time Bridges and producer Nikki Silver have worked at producing a feature film adaptation of the book, and are doing so now through family-targeted movie and TV company On Screen Entertainment." Here's hoping it works out!

-Harry Potter fans, set your DVRs! CNN will air a special Sunday July 10 titled CNN Presents: A Larry King Special Harry Potter: The Final Chapter. This has interviews with the cast, exclusive movie footage, and behind the scenes tours.

-T-Bone Burnett and Danny Elfman are signed on to produce the score for The Hunger Games movie.

-In other Hunger Games movie news, reports that Lenny Kravitz aka Cinna is reading through the books! YAY! I think all actors cast in books to movies should read the books, so I'm glad Lenny Kravtiz is reading them!

-Drew Barrymore is signed on to produce and direct the movie version of Ally Carter's Heist Society. The script will be written by Shauna Cross who also wrote Whip It. I liked this pairing for Whip It, so I think they will do a good job with Heist Society. Thanks to the Hollywood Reporter for the news.

-ABC Family's The Lying Game premiers August 15! I'm loving Pretty Little Liars and this is based on a series by the same author, so I'm sure it will be just as addicting!

-There are rumors, that Rupert Wyatt, who directed the upcoming Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is interested in a motion capture movie version of George Orwell's Animal Farm. Entertainment Weekly has the news-I'm not too sure on how well this would work. Thoughts?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Flash Reviews

I've been doing a ton of reading lately, so instead of posting a lot of reviews, I decided to post another Flash Review post. Basically, these are mini reviews on lots of titles all in one post. And as always, they are in no way reflective of any committee I'm on, but are my opinion about the book. :)

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
Rating: 4/5 Stars

I'm a big fan of Neal Shusterman's books and I love how they always make you think. This is a hard one to talk about without giving away some of the plot twists. I really enjoyed it and I liked the varying points of view. It raises some interesting points about emotions, fear, and responsibility. I do wish there would have been some more explanation about Bruiser-everyone seemed to accept his story, no questions asked. I also hated that Cody's voice on the audiobook was narrated by a female when he's supposed to be a tween boy. To me, this made him sound even more childish. But other than that, a decent audiobook and a good discussion starting novel.

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin BenwayRating: 3.5/5 Stars

I'm still not sure what I thought of this one. It's like chick lit with superpowers. It's a light, breezy novel which I liked. I really liked all three sisters, although I think May was my favorite because of her snarky, sarcastic attitude and comebacks-seriously, I want her witty remarks! The banter between all three sisters was fun and what made me really like this book. I think I expected more though, which made me not like it as much as I could have. It's a book about three sisters who gain superpowers which help them get boyfriends and confidence and popularity. I thought they'd end up using their powers for something bigger-the big climax of the book just fell a bit flat for me. But it's still a lot of fun and very humorous and I'd give it to fans of Sarah Mlynowski's Magic In Manhattan series or Meg Cabot's Jinx.

The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Yes, this one might seem like it's another paranormal, girl who sees ghosts but finds a guy who loves her anyway story-at least that's what I thought going into it. But instead I was surprised to find a story about race, history, and forgiveness-and OK, ghosts too. Honestly, I wasn't that impressed and I felt the story was a bit muddy throughout, but the last 50 pages totally made up for everything and made me really appreciate this book. I think it could lead to some great discussions for book clubs and I really liked that it featured multiracial characters and dealt with race relations and history in a way I haven't read before.

What books have you read recently that you'd like to give a short shoutout to?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Dance Edition

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

I'm finally back to blogging! ALA was tons of fun but very busy and then summer reading has kept me busy at work. Of course, ALA gave me lots of books to book lust over. Maybe it's my Fabulous Films Committee theme of "Song and Dance" but I've been book lusting over these ballet books!

Bunheads by Sophie Flack
About the Book: As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.

But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

About the Book: When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she's deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem's muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she's chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent.

Both sound so good, don't they?
Imagination Designs