October 28, 2011

Friday Links: 'The Scorpio Races' Nabbed by Warner Bros. & Other News

In this week's roundup:

Have you heard the latest news on the adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's, The Host? Andrew Niccol had this to say during an interview:  "Stephanie gave me her 650-page book to adapt. That's a workout to start with but I've managed to get it down to a script and there are two more movies coming after the initial movie."  That's right - a planned trilogy. 

I was starting to doubt we'd ever see Ender's Game in theaters, but now it has a release date set for March 15, 2013. There's still no news about casting, so far there's just a release date. 

Another literary adaptation with a release date is Warm Bodies, the zombie love story directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50). Looks like we'll be seeing Nicholas Hoult as "R" on August 10, 2012.

Adapted from Robert Kirkman's long-running comic book series, The Walking Dead gets renewed on AMC for a third season

Ben Affleck steps up to direct Stephen King's, The Stand. I can't imagine this mammoth of a book being adapted into a movie unless it's broken up into a few films. 

The Dark Tower series, also by Stephen King, may have found a TV home with HBO. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's are attempting to adapt this series over multiple films and television series. This project has slipped through the clutches of Universal due to cost concerns. But now a pitch has been made to HBO. In other words, nothing is final but, so far, that's the latest news on this project. 

 Have you seen the 8 character posters that were released for The Hunger GamesThe Hob put them all into a single post

Earlier this week news emerged about Unearthly, a TV Show based on the book of the same name by Cynthia Hand, being in the developmental stages. Here’s what the author had to say about the news.

Fox and producer John Davis have acquired feature rights to Myra McEntire’s debut novel Hourglass.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater has been on shelves for a little over a week and it has already been picked up by Warner Bros

Amazon announces a new Kindle format. Format 8 will replace Mobi and add over 150 new formatting capabilities for better e-book reading, including enhanced resolution for graphics-rich e-books.  Amazon will roll out this new format with the new Kindle Fire. If you're wondering whether you can get this new format on your kindle, I found this: "The newest generation of Kindles–the Kindle Fire, the touchscreen Kindles, and the latest keyboard Kindle–will soon support the new format. So will Kindle reader apps for iPhone, Windows, the Web, etc. Older Kindles won’t." 

October 27, 2011

Theatrical Trailer: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

The Lorax, based on Dr. Seuss' environmentally-conscience children's book, looks just as bright, colorful, and imaginative as the previously adapted Horton Hears a Who

The Lorax is about a young boy named Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) and his journey to find the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl-next-door (voiced by Taylor Swift). To find it, he must discover the story of the Lorax. 

Danny Devito, Ed Helms, and Betty White also lend their vocal talents. You can view the trailer and movie poster below. 

Coming to theaters March 2, 2012

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

The monster showed up just after midnight. 
As they do. 

And so begins A Monster Calls. Conor is thirteen-years-old and he’s been suffering from the same nightmare for months—the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. When the monster calls his name at 7 minutes past midnight, Conor fears that his nightmare followed him into the world of waking.  
This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. 
It wants the truth.
 I think that it's important for you to know that I read the Kindle version of this book - just in case you’re wondering why I’m not fawning over the “beautiful illustrations".  The truth is, they’re not present in ebook format. I know! I don’t get it either. The story, though, is amazing. Even without the illustrations.

Trying to put into words why this book is amazing is a difficult task because it’s hard to translate a whirlwind of emotions.  In A Monster Calls, the reader is perched on the shoulder of a lonely kid who has a mother with cancer and a father who is living in another country with a new wife and a new baby.  This young boy is trying to come to terms with the kind of horrible and scary truths that make a person want to believe comforting lies instead, it’s about grief and dealing with loss.  It’s a beautifully written, thought-provoking, haunting book that’s filled with lessons and well-crafted quotes that are worth remembering.

It’s also worth noting that Patrick Ness didn’t write this one on his own (as you can see from the credit on the book cover). The idea belonged to Siobhan Dowd (author of 4 YA novels, including Bog Child). This would have been her fifth novel, but her battle with cancer claimed her life before she had a chance to finish it. That’s where Patrick Ness stepped in and turned her premise into a book.

For such a small book—215 pages (hardcover)—this stand-alone packs one heavy punch. It’s a quick read, but one you might find yourself taking your time through.  Though told from the point of view of a thirteen year old boy, A Monster Calls is so honest and so creative in its execution that it would also appeal to an older audience.  

If you’re thinking of reading this book, I would recommend reading it the way it was meant to be read – with the illustrations included. In fact, I’m thinking of getting myself a hardcover copy.

And since I can't seem to get this quote from the book out of my head, I'll leave you with this: 

“You do not write your life with words…you write it with actions.”

Rating: 5

October 25, 2011

Random House Has 3 Audiobooks Available for FREE Download

Random House has 3 audiobooks available on their website for FREE.  All you have to do to claim these freebies is sign-up for the Random House monthly newsletter

Here's what you can get: 

White Cat (The Curse Workers #1)
by Holly Black, read by Jesse Eisenberg
Approx. 6 Hours 41 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Nate the Great Goes Undercover
by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, read by John Lavelle
Approx. 14 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Somebody is raiding Oliver's garbage can each night, but who? The list of suspects is long—Rosamond and Esmeralda, the girls down the street; Rosamond's cats; and all the shrews, moles, skunks, birds, and racoons in the neighborhood. Nate courageousely encounters a skunk (nose first) and a telephone pole (head on), but not until he goes under cover of the garbage-can lid does he narrow the suspects down to one.

by Louis L'Amour, read by Richard Crenna
Approx. 66 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

This harrowing adventure of shipwreck and survival is L'Amour's fictionalized account of the heroic true story of merchant seaman Tex Worden and his efforts to save the passengers of the doomed Raratonga. A unique look at the early life and times of one of our most cherished writers, Survival is the action-packed oral biography of a true American original.

Direct URL: http://www.randomhouse.com/audio/features/boston-summer2011/newsletter-signup.php

October 24, 2011

4 Books That Are Headed to the Small Screen

The Murder Room (CBS), 
based on the book by Michael Capuzzo

True story of a world famous profiler, forensic artist, and leading investigator for the FBI who form a team to investigate crimes that have stupefied law enforcement around the world. 
EP/W: George Nolfi

Two Badges (CBS), 
based on the book by Mona Ruiz and Geoff Boucher
Mona Ruiz is a decorated police detective, the wife of a gangbanger in prison for murder and the mother of a son destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. A woman who oscillates between two worlds: the barrio she was born into and the city she protects. 
EP/W: Ted Humphrey

Unearthly (CW), 
based on the book by Cynthia Hand
Clara learns that she's part angel and she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy. 
EP/W: Kevin Murphy
EP: Robin Schorr

The Hollows (CW), 
based on the bestselling book series The Hollows by Kim Harrison
Set in an urban fantasy world, Rachel Morgan, a PI witch, works with local law enforcement agencies to combat threats both mundane and supernatural. 
EP/W: Jordan Hawley

Source: Deadline

October 21, 2011

Friday Links: Dreamworks Wins Bidding War for 'Captain Underpants'

In this week's round-up:

Chances are that by now you’ve heard Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ at least a hundred times. Right? Well, here’s a remix as sung by Jacob Black

Dreamworks wins the bidding war for the film rights of 'Captain Underpants'—the 8 book children’s series by Dav Pilkey. 

HarperCollins launched Authonomy in 2008 as a way to discover unpublished and self-published authors. Now Authonomy has launched a digital imprint which will “hand pick” the best writers on the site and publish their work as e-originals.

Ever wonder what beloved authors did before they were famous? This article by Huffington Post gives a little insight: Strange Day Jobs of Authors Before They Were Famous.

Want to give new life to old books? Why not turn them into Autumn/Halloween decorations

This 'Breaking Dawn' sneak peek is just another reminder that the movie will be out very soon.  

October 19, 2011

Literary Characters Who Should Have Died

I know that fiction isn’t meant to be realistic. However, have you ever finished a book and wondered how certain characters could still be alive? How the author could write a convenient way out of a seemingly hopeless situation, or how a character could make the poorest decisions and still live to see the next chapter or even the next book in the series? I’ve wondered that, too. In fact, I was so inspired by one particular case that I decided to write about it.

Please keep in mind that there are major spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution. I put the character and book title first so you can make that crucial decision before jumping into the spoiler zone.

Anyway, let's start off with the character who inspired the list...

Sam Goode from 'The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies #2)' by Pittacus Lore

Sam survived 'I Am Number Four' and I was actually looking forward to how the story developed with him along for the ride. However, having a couple of aliens with special powers as allies doesn’t seem to justify how Sam, the human in their midst, managed to get through the sequel. I mean, there is an army of trained (and kind of scary) Mogadorians hunting them down, and he learned fighting techniques on the internet!  Plus, he may have made a few poor decisions throughout the book that made him look like a complete fool.  It’s obvious - the authors are working miracles to keep this boy alive for some reason.   

Lucius Malfoy from 'Harry Potter Series' by JK Rowling

Many characters died in this 7 book series—likeable characters who fans adored, complex characters who kept readers guessing where loyalties really fell. That’s why it kind of annoys me that Lucius Malfoy survived.  Not only was he extremely unlikeable throughout a majority of the series, but he displeased Voldemort so often that I’m surprised Voldemort didn’t kill Lucius himself.  

Vee Sky from 'Hush, Hush' by Becca Fitzpatrick

Vee is the carefree, self-centered, boy-crazy sidekick—AKA, one of the worst literary BFF’s ever, who constantly made dumb decisions. She’s the girl who thinks it’s a good idea to disguise herself as Nora and lead a mysterious stalker and potential psycho to a secluded spot to confront him.   Who follows cute boys into a dark high school after hours, watches them chain up the door, and believes them when they say it’s for an “innocent” game of hide and seek. If 'Hush, Hush' was a slasher flick, Vee would be the one running up the stairs instead of out the door, the one who picks up the creepy hitchhiker in the middle of the night because he might be kind of cute. Therefore, Vee makes the list because she was way too dumb to survive.

Jacob Black from 'Breaking Dawn (Twilight Saga #4)' by Stephenie Meyer

I know, Stephenie Meyer would have never let our beloved Jacob Black die. She had to give him his happy ending, too. Even when it didn’t seem like he could have one without Bella. However, taking a step back and analyzing the ending, I think that Jake dying to save and protect Bella would have been a noble way to go. Instead, we find out that the third player in an epic love triangle never really loved the girl like he thought he did after all, and quickly moves in (I mean, "imprints") on her baby. I wanted Jake to have a happy ending, too—with Leah. Since that wasn’t the case, a noble death would have been a good alternative. 

Which characters do you think should be on the list? Disagree with the ones listed here? Let me know why. 

October 17, 2011

Cover Reveal: Revived by Cat Patrick

Cat Patrick revealed the cover of her second literary creation, Revived. You can also see it on her blog.

As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life. 
A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger — and more sinister — than she ever imagined.
The synopsis for 'Revived' is intriguing. If Patrick's second novel is anything like her first, then we're in for something good.  Expected publication is May 8, 2012. 

Haven't read her first novel? Cat Patrick's debut, Forgotten, brought us London Lane, a 16-year old whose memory is erased at 4:33 every night and the following morning, all she can remember are events from her future. Forgotten was picked up for a movie adaptation with Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) signed on to play London. 

Cast Interviews and Behind-the-Scenes Footage of Breaking Dawn Part I

Entertainment Tonight released a featurette with cast interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of the upcoming Breaking Dawn: Part I.

Brief interviews with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner give further insight into the characters.  The behind-the-scenes footage is sporadic but it's good to get a glimpse of a few of the scenes.

Breaking Dawn Part I will hit US theaters on November 18. 

October 14, 2011

Friday Links: Want to Dress Like Pregnant Bella Swan for Halloween?

In this week's round-up: 

If you are a lover of Western Literature, you'll want to add these 10 landmarks to your travel itinerary--including the The Brontë Parsonage Museum and Ernest Hemingway's House.

One of the latest dystopian novels, "When She Woke" by Hillary Jordan, redoes Hawthorne's, "The Scarlet Letter" in a futuristic  setting and taking it a few steps further--turning it into a pointed, blunt warning about the consequences of an America run by the church, not the state. You can find When She Woke on Goodreads here.

After slowly releasing each poster to the public, The Hunger Games finally reveals all 12 District Posters

Newsagent WH Smith + Kobo = Kindle Killer? According to The Guardian, WH Smith struck a deal with Kobo to sell its e-readers and a library of 2.2m e-books.

Are you a fan of The Walking Dead comic series? Or maybe the AMC TV Show? Well, now The Walking Dead can be found in the pages of a novel written by Robert Kirkman and horror novelist Jay Bonansinga, titled The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor.

The wildly popular Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is getting the graphic novel treatment

Speaking of graphic novel's. Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, is busy with a graphic novel trilogy of her own - a new paranormal mystery series called Cemetery Girl that's set for publication in 2013.

In 8 Stars You Maybe Didn't Know Auditioned for 'Twilight' we see what could have been. What if Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen) snagged the role of Bella Swan instead? Things that make you say, hmm...

Looking for costume ideas for Halloween? BuzzSugar has the Ultimate Pop Culture Guide. Want to dress like Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Pregnant Bella Swan? How about Katniss Everdeen? They'll show you how. There's also a guide for the guys, including Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter and Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead.

Happy Friday!

October 13, 2011

Review: White Witch Pond by Jody Kihara

Shaya Solen’s walk home from school takes her past an eerie pond, where one day she finds an old bracelet made of raven feathers. Soon, strange events begin to unfold: a shadowy figure glimpsed across the water, ominous nightmares haunting Shaya, and rumors of a witch who once drowned in the pond. With the discovery of a strange family connection to the witch, Shaya is drawn into a mystery that must be solved before the approaching Halloween, which is the thirteenth anniversary of the witch’s death – and Shaya’s birthday.

With Halloween right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to pick up a ghostly tale that will keep you up late.  Enter White Witch Pond. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book, but based on the creepy cover (I know, I’m a cover judge), I had a pretty good idea that it would fall somewhere along those lines—and it did. Considering it’s a Middle Grade novel, I also figured that I didn’t have to worry about it getting TOO creepy—and for the most part, it didn’t; though there were some moments where I got the heebs and had to steal a glance over my shoulder (I feel like such a wimp).  Anyway, the fact that this book is also fun, engaging, and suspenseful is an added bonus.  I quickly found myself being drawn into the mystery of what Shaya was experiencing and piecing together. I felt like I was right there with Shaya as she dug around for answers and had some really close calls.

Shaya is the perfect leading lady for this novel. She’s twelve-years-old and she comes across as such, and yet, she also exudes  a certain maturity, strength, and courage that you wouldn’t expect from someone her age—it’s impossible not to root for her.

Her brother, however, was shown in a negative light from the start, and he only grew more obnoxious as the story developed. Since his behavior is imperative to the story, it definitely added to the intrigue.

Apart from Shaya and her brother, none of the other characters really made much of an appearance or impression. But they all played a part in keeping the story moving and making it interesting.

The writing is simple enough for the youngsters, and entertaining enough for all ages. It kept me reading, rooting, and wondering and, by the end of the book, with a goofy smile on my face. 

Jody Kihara is giving away 5 copies of White Witch Pond on her Facebook Page!http://www.facebook.com/JodyKiharaBooks

Follow the rest of the tour: 
Blog Tour Presented by Lightning Book Promotions

October 12, 2011

Mysteries and Thrillers You Can Get for Free

If you're anything like me then you're probably always interested in books you can get at a decent price or, better yet, for free. 

Well, I was on the look-out for some good mysteries and thrillers to add to my eBook collection and thought I would highlight these 15 finds. Many are only available for a limited time so get then while you can.

October 10, 2011

Review: The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

God is a slick god. He makes it so you don't miss out on nothing you're supposed to witness firsthand.
Temple was born ten years after the world was infested by zombies. She doesn't remember her parents and the only two people she considered family were taken by the infection. This post-apocalyptic world is the only one she knows. Temple is a 15-year-old girl—though she seems much older at times—wandering in a zombie-infested wasteland, being hunted by a man seeking his revenge, and trying to find redemption as she fights to survive.

The fact that this book has zombies in it was enough of a reason for me to pick it up. I wasn’t expecting the beautiful story that followed, and considering the flesh-eating, disease-ridden monsters that make an appearance, that was the first thing that surprised me. You see, this book isn’t really about the zombies—it’s so little about the zombies, in fact, that Bell never mentions what happened when the world fell apart and the zombies came to roam. It’s more about the world—how it’s changed and how it’s remained the same. It’s about people and how they either find the will to survive or give up entirely. It’s about a vulnerable, damaged girl who’s had to grow up way too fast, how she fights the lonely fight of survival and does it with a heavy heart, about how she’s running from the past that haunts her– it’s about how that girl sees the world.

The writing style took a little getting used to—the lack of quotation marks sometimes made it difficult to decipher when someone was speaking and when it was just narration. However, Bell’s writing is lyrical, beautiful, and, at times, haunting. I couldn’t help but fall into the story and let the words wash over me.

The Reapers are the Angels is simply written but wonderful in its simplicity. It's not your average YA fiction. Actually, after reading it, I don’t think it falls into that category at all. It’s a tough world and Alden Bell doesn’t shy away from that fact— there’s a lot of violence and some sexual content. Also, the ending to this stand-alone book is hit or miss. To avoid spoiling the ending, I won’t go into detail. I will say, however, that despite the dark and seemingly hopeless world, Bell manages to give us a complex heroine who sees the beauty and wonder in the world. And it’s that same heroin that makes this book worth reading and impossible to forget.

October 8, 2011

Theatrical Trailer: The Raven

Edgar Allen Poe is the author of strange and gruesome deaths... and now we get to see them translated  to the screen.

The Raven is a period thriller starring John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe, who joins a young detective in the hunt for a serial killer who is replicating the deaths in Poe's work.

This definitely sounds like a great concept for a movie. Based on the trailer, though, Edgar Allen Poe is nothing like I imagined. In my mind, Poe is morbid and mysterious. But I guess it wouldn't be Hollywood if they didn't turn him into a hero.  Unless...  :)

The Raven is scheduled to hit theaters on March 9, 2012.

October 7, 2011

Friday Links: Another Young Adult Literary Adaptation in the Works

In this week's roundup...

The producing team behind Twilight is gearing up for another Young Adult literary adaption—this one is about ghosts. Okay, suspense over: a new supernatural romance called “In the Flesh” is coming to the big screen and is based on Laura Whitcomb’s, A Certain Slant of Light! I love that book. I wonder how much of the film will actually be based on the novel.

The official Steve Jobs biography was originally going to be published on November 21, but has been rushed forward and will instead be released on October 24. It's already a best-seller from the pre-orders.

Pottermore will be teaming up with Google Books this fall as a way to provide the fans with a larger platform to read the series (Up to 50 different ereaders and any device that has an internet connection).  This will definitely be a boost for both Pottermore and Google Books. 

Did you know? Real Steel is loosely based on a 1956 story written by Richard Matheson (author of I Am Legend) called "Steel," a fantasy/science fiction story 

Ready for Twilight Saga Tuesday?  Summit Entertainment will be releasing the first three installments of The Twilight Saga in theaters nationwide for the first three Tuesdays in November leading up to the release of Breaking Dawn Part I.

Johnny Depp has his eyes on playing the role of the great Dr. Seuss himself.

October 5, 2011

Writers of 'X-Men: First Class' Adapting 'The Magicians' for TV

Thanks to FOX, there's possibly going to be a little more magic in the world. Well, in the world of television at least.  According to Deadline, The Magicians by Lev Grossman has been picked up by FOX and is being optioned as a television series.

The Magicians, which was published in 2009, has been called "Harry Potter for adults" and follows Quentin Coldwater as he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the practice of modern sorcery.

Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz, co-writers of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Thor and X-Men: First Class, are adapting the pilot.

As with most adaptations, there's always the possibility that this doesn't make it to screen, but with the writers they have behind the pilot and the critically-acclaimed novel that they have to work with, I'm really interested to see that it does.

Add The Magicians to your Goodreads To-Read list.  

Have you read The Magicians?  What do you think of the news?