January 31, 2012

'The Hunger Games' Meets 'The Bachelor'?

So, basically the CW has ordered a new drama series based on Kiera Cass's upcoming book series The Selection, which has been described as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor.

I can understand why comparisons like this are made - they help pitch the product to certain audiences that have huge followings.  However, in my experience I tend to go into the book with higher expectations and end up extremely disappointed. So these comparisons have become a huge turn-off for me.

About the book (Goodreads):
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon. 

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. 

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

13 Books, 1 Winner: And the Winner Is...

A quick post to announce the winner of my most recent giveaway. According to Random.org the winner is...

That means that BookStacksOnDeck, you can expect some books!*

Thanks to everyone who entered. I have a lot of books that need a new home so I think I'll do this kind of bulk giveaway thing again if you don't mind.

*NOTE: You will have 48 hours to respond with your mailing address, otherwise I will randomly choose another winner. If International, please include your choice of 2 books out of the 13.

January 27, 2012

[Friday Links] Selena Gomez Options an adaptation of 'The Sky is Everywhere'

NBC News has launched a new unit, NBC Publishing, which will produce ebooks based works from its shows including Dateline, Today, and the NBC Nightly News.

Selena Gomez and her production company option a screen adaptation of Jandy Nelson's novel The Sky is Everywhere.

Summit Entertainment has announced that Breaking Dawn - Part I has now grossed over $700 million in global box office receipts, with Japan and China still to come.

Bestselling author Harlan Coben teams up with Lawrence Kasdan on a feature adaptation of Stay Close, Coben's latest novel which is set for publication on March 20.

CBS greenlights a pilot for a new TV drama based on Ayelet Waldman's Mommy Track Mysteries series about a "former public defender who becomes a private investigator to keep from being bored to death as a stay-at-home mom."

Mental Floss lists 14 literary settings inspired by real places.

D.C. is once again ranked the most literate city in the U.S.

January 24, 2012

[Video] Because I'm Currently On a 'Doctor Who' Binge

Yes, that's my only reason for this post. Bear with me - I've become addicted to the new Doctor Who, especially while David Tennant has been the Doctor. I'm starting season 3 on Netflix so I'm still a DW newbie.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I run out of readily available episodes. I can't even bear the thought right now.

And because of my current addiction, I couldn't help but post this spoof/sketch from The Catherine Tate Show just because it has something to do with DW (and because it's pretty funny):

January 20, 2012

[Friday Links] Diane Kruger joins the cast of 'The Host' - A Stephenie Meyer Adaptation

The CW gives pilot orders to Arrow, based on the DC Comics book Green Arrow; an adaptation of Candace Bushnell's novel The Carrie Diaries - a Sex and the City prequel; and a reboot of the 1980's series, Beauty and the Beast.

The Japanese film Battle Royale, based on the novel of the same name, never saw the light of a US release. It's a graphic film about a bunch of teenage kids fighting each other to the death, after all. Now, this controversial film has a DVD release date coinciding with the movie release of The Hunger Games.

After news that Lionsgate acquired rights to Summit Entertainment (the studio that brought us Twilight), the CEO of Lionsgate expresses interest in the possibility of continuing Edward and Bella's story, perhaps in a TV series.

Julie Andrews to direct new musical based on her children's book, The Great American Mousical.

Lionsgate gears up for Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, securing Gary Ross to direct and hiring screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours).

Cormac McCarthy, author of The Road, has had a few of his novels adapted for film. Now, the author has begun writing screenplays and just sold his first script, titled The Counselor, which was picked up by the producers of The Road and follows a respected lawyer who "thinks he can dip a toe in to the drug business without getting sucked down."

Diane Kruger is negotiating to star alongside Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, and Jake Abel in the adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's The Host. Diane Kruger, who can be seen in Inglourious Basterds, will play The Seeker. The Host is one book, but there are three movies planned - the first scheduled for a March 2013 release.

Elton John's Rocket Pictures has acquired film rights to Michael Buckley's best-selling series Nerds, and will adapt them into an animated family feature.

A New Poster for 'The Hunger Games'

The Huffington Post released the final poster for The Hunger Games, which features Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss taking aim with her weapon of choice.  

I don't know about you guys but I'm getting very anxious for the release of this film. So much so that I'm currently in the middle of re-reading the series and I have my husband reading it, too.

Let me know what you think of the poster.

January 19, 2012

[Audiobook Review] Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interface has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing.  This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball.  Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating the Earth for a decade.  Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.  But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their latest guinea pig.  Something others would kill for.

This isn’t the story from your childhood.

Marissa Meyer has taken the much-loved and often re-told story of Cinderella and she transformed it into a futuristic tale where Cinderella is a cyborg mechanic, and the prince has to deal with a relentless plague and threats of war from the Lunar people.  The base of the original Cinderella story is evident, yet the author takes enough liberties with her re-telling that add mystery, adventure, intrigue, and, of course, there’s Prince Charming.

I am extremely impressed with the audiobook version.  The story switches narrative from Cinder to Prince Kai, there are several characters with different accents, plus a few androids to keep track of, yet they were easily discernable both in personality and in voice.  I wouldn’t mind listening to the rest of this series in audiobook format.

Meyer created this futuristic world with such amazing detail – I felt like I was a player in the story, walking through the streets of New Beijing, unnerved by the looming plague and the idea that none of the characters were safe.  Of course, I must also give credit to the reader for her ability to draw me into the story. 

Cinder is a cyborg – she has mechanical parts - and she was adopted at a young age, so she’s a mystery even to herself.  Though somewhat predictable, Cinder’s story is fascinating, especially when she begins to piece together the mystery of who she is and why she’s a cyborg.

Iko, Cinder’s android and sidekick, is witty, loyal, adorable, and, hands down, my favorite character in this book.  I hope there’s more Iko in the books to come. 

And then there’s Prince Kai – charming and kind, even with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Meyer didn’t pack a whirlwind of emotion and romance into this book, which I appreciate since there are still three more books in this series. 

There’s a cliffhanger ending and burning questions that need answers, but overall, Cinder is a strong debut and I look forward to what the author has in store for the rest of the series.  

Audiobook Details

Read by Rebecca Soler. 

Running time: 10 hours.
Audio Excerpt
Audiobook provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

January 13, 2012

'The Hunger Games' Soundtrack Releases First Single

Have you heard?  "Safe and Sound" by Taylor Swift (feat. The Civil Wars) is the first single for The Hunger Games soundtrack.

Lyrics (source)
I remember tears streaming down your face
 When I said, I'll never let you go
 When all those shadows almost killed your light
 I remember you said, Don't leave me here alone
 But all that's dead and gone and passed tonight
Just close your eyes
 The sun is going down
 You'll be alright
 No one can hurt you now
 Come morning light
 You and I'll be safe and sound
Don't you dare look out your window darling
Everything's on fire
 The war outside our door keeps raging on
 Hold onto this lullaby
 Even when the music's gone
Just close your eyes
 The sun is going down
 You'll be alright
 No one can hurt you now
 Come morning light
 You and I'll be safe and sound
Just close your eyes
 You'll be alright
 Come morning light,
 You and I'll be safe and sound...

Other artists contributing to the soundtrack include Arcade Fire, The Decemberists, The Secret Sisters, and Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen).

Friday Links: Kate Winslet Attached to Star in 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society'

Summer brought news of a possible adaptation of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  It looks as though the adaptation is moving forward - Warner Bros. has attached David Auburn to adapt the novel for the screen.

Kate Winslet is set to star in the literary adaptation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society - directed by Kenneth Branagh.

In the UK, McDonald's teams up with HarperCollins to give away 9 millions copies of Michael Morpurgo's (War Horse) books with Happy Meal purchases. The giveaway - backed by a major TV campaign - will run until February 7.

Forever Young Adult blogger analyzes the connection between Pride and Prejudice and Veronica Mars.

The Hunger Games advance movie tickets go on sale on February 22.

Chelsea Handler debuts new sitcom, Are You There, Chelsea? - based on her memoir, Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea?; Handler plays a recurring role as her older sister.

Scholastic announces two new Captain Underpants adventures from best-selling author Dav Pilkey, releasing August 2012 and January 2013.

January 11, 2012

Cover Reveal of Jodi Picoult's First YA Novel

The cover has been released for Jodi Picoult's first young adult novel, Between the Lines.  This is not only her first YA novel, but her first novel co-authored by her daughter, Samantha Van Leer. 

Synopsis on Goodreads: 
Between the Lines is a clever, funny, romantic teen novel about a fairy tale prince who wants to break free of the constraints of his storybook existence, and the girl who falls in love with him. 

In this story-within-a-story, Delilah, a loner who feels happiest with her head in a book, is obsessed with a fairy tale about Prince Oliver at her library. And then one day, Oliver actually speaks to her. It turns out that Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince and is in fact a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence. 

Once Delilah and Oliver connect, she decides to help him break out of the book and they begin to fall head over heels for each other

I've read a few of Picoult's books and I like that the cover for her first YA novel is similar in style to her Adult novels. And I love the fairy-tale-ish wand. The description of the book and the fact that it's the first book co-authored by her daughter definitely intrigues me, so I'm eager for the release of this book. 

Between the Lines is set for release on June 26.

January 10, 2012

My First Giveaway of 2012: 13 Books, 1 Winner

We're almost two weeks into the new year and I think it's time for a giveaway!  I'm pretty much fitting as many books as I can into a flat-rate box, so 1 winner will take all. Here's what you can get: 

This giveaway is open to all followers (new and old), whether you follow via Google Friend Connect, email, or RSS.

One winner will be randomly chosen... 

If the winner is from the US: all 13 books will be sent. 
If the winner is international: only 2 books (of their choosing) will be sent. 

To Enter: 
Simply leave a comment with your email address (so I can contact you if you win).

One extra entry when you share/link to this giveaway (twitter, facebook, sidebar, etc.).
Five extra entries if you mention this giveaway in a blog post.

Giveaway ends January 30, 2012.

Note: A winner will be chosen via Random.org and contacted with the email address they provide. The winner will have 48 hours to reply. Otherwise, I will randomly choose another winner.

January 9, 2012

First Image of Nicholas Hoult in 'Warm Bodies'

The first official movie image of a zombified Nicholas Hoult as "R" from Warm Bodies has been released (via Collider).  Isaac Marion's debut, Warm Bodies, is about a zombie named R who's a little different from his fellow dead -- he listens to Frank Sinatra, he enjoys riding escalators, and he longs for more out of life than walking aimlessly and feeding on brains; he also finds himself falling in love, with a human.

This photo is similar to the promotional image we saw of R and Julie (Teresa Palmer), except that now, when I look at the new image, I'm starting to see a zombie and not a vampire (OK, maybe it's just that the promotional image looked too much like a Twilight poster).  As far as zombies go, R is kind of a cutie - which is probably fitting considering the romance part of the novel.  I mean, the audience probably wouldn't root for him to win the girl if his face was falling off. Right?

 Still, I'm waiting for an image that shows R looking a little less like a vegetarian zombie, because that stain on his shirt doesn't count.

Read my review of Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.
Warm Bodies on GoodReads

R is a young man with an existential crisis – he is a zombie.  He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains.  He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing.  He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.  After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend.  Julie is a blast of color in the dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R.  His decision to protect her will transform not only R but also his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.  Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, WARM BODIES is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.

Warm Bodies is set to release on August 10, 2012

January 6, 2012

[Friday Links] 'Harry Potter' Director Teams Up with Ned Vizzini to Write Fantasy Trilogy

In this week's Round Up:

Amanda Seyfried is in final negotiations to play Cosette in Les Miserables, joining Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Inspector Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), and Eddie Redmayne (Marius) in the Tom Hooper-directed musical for Universal Pictures. The film will be released on December 7, 2012.

'Harry Potter' director, Chris Columbus, is set to write a middle-grade fantasy-adventure trilogy for HarperCollins titled House of Secrets.  The trilogy will be co-authored by young adult author Ned Vizzini.  The first book will be released in 2013.

'Game of Thrones' author, George R.R. Martin, releases new chapter from Book 6.

James Franco sells his first novel to Amazon Publishing. The book is called Actors Anonymous and is said to be a fictionalized version of Franco's experiences as an actor.

HarperTeen's PitchDark is giving away a sampler of some of its hottest paranormal and dystopian titles. The Sampler includes 5-chapter previews of 6 of their titles: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver, Hallowed by Cynthia Hand, Magic of the Moonlight by Ellen Schreiber, The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, and Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.  Find it for free on Amazon, and Barnes&Noble.

Sarah Polley to direct adaptation of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace.

"Amazing" tops annual vote for words that should be banned

Blood Red Road, a dystopian novel by debut author Moira Young, wins the Costa Children's Book Award.

January 5, 2012

[Review] Replication: The Jason Experiment by Jill Williamson

When Your Life Is Not Your Own

Jason 3:3, also known as Martyr—a nickname he acquired because of the way he protects the younger Jason’s and the brokens from the bullies—is one of hundreds of clones kept in a remote facility called Jason Farms. Told that he has been created to save humanity, Martyr has just one wish before he is scheduled to ‘expire’ in less than a month – to see the sky.

Abby Goyer just recently moved to Alaska when her father took a job at Jason Farms and she already has a feeling that something strange is going on there, but she never would have imagined what lies beneath a simple barn, or what would happen when a mysterious boy shows up at her door asking about the stars.

As the reality of the Jason Experiment comes to light, Martyr is caught between two futures—the one for which he was produced and the one Abby believes God created him to have.

Jill Williamson created something special here. I was intrigued from the moment I saw this book tagged as Christian Fiction. Cloning farm? Christian Fiction? Wha…? This is the first book I’ve read by Jill Williamson so I was curious about how she would approach this subject and incorporate it into a Young Adult/Christian Fiction novel.

Abby Goyer is a 17-year-old Christian girl who is also interested in science. Her father, on the other hand, is a scientist who doesn’t think that religion and science go hand in hand so, needless to say, they clash a lot in their beliefs. It’s obvious right from the start how smart and confident Abby’s character is; she knows what she wants, she’s witty, and it’s fun to read from her point of view, especially when Martyr comes into the picture because his very existence tests her beliefs – she doesn’t agree with the way he was produced, but she believes that God has a purpose for him.

Martyr is…sweet. He’s innocent, curious and he stands up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Though he’s a copy who looks like hundreds of other copies, he stands out among the rest. He’s always known that his purpose is to die when he turns eighteen because all the Jason's die at eighteen – they’re needed to save humanity from some sort of toxic air, according to the scientists. But when Abby tells him the truth about the air, about the world, about his God-given purpose, Martyr is eager to learn more about this other purpose.

Jill Williamson handles the Science/Religion debate very well and unravels the mystery of Jason Farms at a nice pace; just when you think you know what’s going on, she throws in another piece of the puzzle that will make you stop for a moment to consider how it changes everything.

As far as I know, Replication is a stand-alone novel but I think there’s a little wiggle room for a sequel. Or perhaps I’m just desperate to hang on to these characters a little longer. Either way, Jill Williamson has made a fan out of me.