Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Release Day!

I just wanted to shout out and give a big ole HAPPY RELEASE DAY! To Ally Condie's MATCHED! Let's just look at that gorgeous cover one more time! Go out and get a copy or two for Christmas (and support your local indie stores while you're at it!).

Congrats Ally! Us here at MPB wish you and MATCHED all the best success!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well readers, today in the USA is a day of Thanksgiving. I hope all of you, near and far, take the time to stop and think about all the things we have to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review: MATCHED by Ally Condie

by Ally Condie
Hardcover, 366 pages
To Be Published November 30th 2010 by Dutton Juvenile
*Yes that is just ONE WEEK from today!!!!
Source: Received ARC from publisher

Placement in the Pile:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

I was lucky enough to meet Ally at a writer's conference two years ago. A conference where she was work shopping MATCHED. In the class we were only given the first chapters, but I knew. I just KNEW when I read it that this book would be published. And I am so beyond excited that it is not only being published but that it is getting so much buzz.

From that first glance, MATCHED stole my attention and didn't let go. And the ARC is even more amazing than that first copy I read! Ally's dystopic world seems so idealistic. The perfect utopia. Everything is calculated, everything is regulated -- even death. Life is even, and equal for all. This world will enchant you. It might even make you hope that you didn't have to worry about dating and finding someone to love you, about having food on your table, about having a job that you are good at and enjoy.

But soon Cassia realizes that not everything in this structured world is all it's cracked up to be. Something is not right, and sometimes it isn't fair to everyone as the Society would have you believe. What have they given up in the name of happiness? And of course there is the biggest question of all for her, who is her true match? Who is Cassia going to choose?

MATCHED is lyrical, poignant and my favorite read of the year. Fans of dystopia, romance, and mystery will certainly love MATCHED as much as I do.

So go pick up a copy of MATCHED next Tuesday and experience the world of the Society for yourself. Who would YOU choose?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: The Tales of Beelde the Bard by JK Rowling

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
by JK Rowling
Hardcover, 111 pages
Published December 4th 2008 by Children's High Level Group

Placement in the Pile: Reaching New Heights

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” and of course, “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we now know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter.

I read this in preparation for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie, and I have to say that I was glad I finally got to it!

It is not a long read, nor a hard read, but it was a great little insight into some of the fairy tale culture of the wizarding world. Plus it was good to see Dumbledore's thoughts on the tales. In the end only one of them (the Tale of the Three Brothers) is relevant to Harry's quest really, but they all include bits and pieces of wizarding prejudices and culture.

But I did just give this reaching new heights because I kind of wanted more. If you love the Harry Potter seires and have not read the "extra" books yet, I suggest you do. they are a great resource to have and the proceeds go to charity, how can you go wrong?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (23)

by Heather Dixon
Hardcover, 336 pages
To Be Published March 29th 2011 by Greenwillow Books

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

*Note: I have to say how incredibly excited I am about this one! I have had the luck to attend a writer's retreat with Heather and she is just amazing. I can't wait to review this for you (even though it doesn't come out for a while!)

by Heather Terrell
Paperback, 336 pages
To Be Published December 28th 2010 by HarperTeen

Summary: The first book in a dark, edgy new angel series about a girl who finds herself forced to choose sides in the battle between fallen angels, even if that means going against the boy she loves.

TEETH (Vampire Tales)
Contributions by: Neil Gaiman, Melissa Marr, Cassandra Clare and Holly Black and more!
Paperback, 272 pages
To Be Published April 5th 2011 by HarperCollins

Summary: Sink your teeth into these bite-sized tales exploring the intersections among the living, dead, and undead. The vampires in these stories range from romantic to chilling to gleeful—and touch on nearly every emotion in between. The one thing they have in common? Their desire for blood....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (non-spoilery review)

I know many of you, like me saw HP7 pt. 1 last night, or are seeing it this weekend. I wanted to share some of my thoughts and impressions without giving much away.

But really, for most of you "spoilers" aren't going to be a big deal. Since the number one thing I liked about this movie over the others? It stuck to the book almost perfectly. I have to say almost because, come on, it's a movie, it is following books that have NOT explained everything and made things difficult to understand, emphasized the wrong story lines etc. But it certainly did a much better job.

Here is the thing. I do not understand people that nit-pick movies from books and get all upset about this was changed here, this moved there, this added here!!! There are not many movies made of books that can do that -- ie. the BBC 6 hour version of Pride and Prejudice... And most of those were made years and years ago. Take any movie made of a popular book in recent years and there will be changes. It's just the market we're in. So go with the flow, calm down people. Really, it isn't worth being upset about.

Now don't get me wrong when it's something that totally changes the nature of a character you love, or messes up with the importance of something that is in fact very important (ie Harry's patronus being a shield of light more than a stag) I get bugged...but I don't lose sleep over it either.

That being said there is one scene in HP7 that was added that many people have talked about. Calls to boycott the movie were spread around. I so completely disagree with this. First of all, you know my opinion on things being changed. The addition of the scene felt fluid, and made sense. Second, as far as the nudity goes -- it is much like any other PG-13 movie. Yes, you can tell that Harry is nude in a sexual situation with another character. Do you see private parts, no. Is it meant to turn you on, no...it's kind of meant to upset another character. Is it something that is happening in their "reality"? No. It is a hallucination. So again, don't get your panties in a bunch and just go enjoy the movie.

That being said the content of the movie, as the book, is certainly for an older audience. I mean really people, your 10 year-olds might be scared and the content is too much. But that is up for you to judge. I would just really stick to the age suggestion on the rating on this one 13 and up.

All in all it was an INCREDIBLE movie experience. And I already want to go see it again!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Author Interview: Sara B. Larson

Hi all! Today I have a special treat for you! My good friend Sara B. Larson is an upcoming author and she is doing some blog touring! Since she got her agent I was looking forward to the day when I could feature her!

I think this is a rare treat! How often do you get to hear from an up and coming author before thier book is published? Sara is so close it is inevitably happening and I am very excited (having been one of her beta readers for YEARS!).

Here is a little bit about Sara:
I have been writing since I was in second grade, and have the notebooks full of misspelled stories to prove it. Over the intervening years, my love of writing has grown even stronger, and luckily my spelling has improved as well. I almost got a “marketable degree” as a nurse at BYU, but turned back to writing when that didn’t work out. I live in Utah with my husband, two young sons, and a Maltese named Charlie. I've learned to write during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. When I'm not writing, getting shot with nerf guns, or tripping over soccer balls, I can be found wakeboarding at the lake, hiking in the mountains, cooking, or working out at the gym. If all else fails, you can probably find me hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. I am represented by the fabulous Hannah Brown Gordon at Foundry Literary + Media.

And now for your enjoyment, my Q&A with her!

1) Why did you want to write books for Young Adults?

SBL: It's what I've always written--as a teen I naturally wrote about other teens. Usually ones that were older than me. When I decided to start writing again as an adult, I tried to write a "grown-up" book my mom would be proud of, something deep, and emotional, and more literary. First of all, it wasn't that great (I could have made it better with some good editing), but secondly--I started experiencing some of the scenes in my book in real life. And not the good ones. The crying in the doctor's office, having to call my husband to tell him bad news ones. I decided I was done with "deep, emotional, grown-up books." I decided to write about things that could never ACTUALLY happen in real life, and turned back to my true love--YA, with a fantastical or paranormal element or twist.

2) What is the number one mistake you made in the process of getting published that you want others to learn from?

SBL: Wow, that's a tough question. So, hmmm, my number one mistake? Not getting enough feedback/critiques done from qualified, knowledgeable people when I finished the first I book I started querying. Even with how much editing/work it needed (and trust me, it needed A LOT of work--I just didn't realize it), I got interest from my so-called "top agent." (I was so naive.) She ended up passing on it, and I'm sure that was in large part to so many beginner mistakes I'd made in my writing. The thing is though, I decided to get more help because of that rejection. I am the writer I am today because of the lessons I learned and the writing advice I got after that experience. So I can't really regret it. But yes, I would definitely say to other aspiring authors--find really good CPs and beta readers who will give you honest, accurate, and supportive critiques. No one writes a publishable book by themselves. At least no one I know.

3) What kinds of books do you write?

SBL: Well, as I said before, I write YA, usually with a fantastical or paranormal element. (Remember how it has to not be able to happen in real life!)

4) What books inspire you?

SBL: I know it's cliche, but the books that inspired me to start writing again, with the real intent of getting published were the Harry Potter books. I think Jo Rowling is a genius. As a teen, one of my favorite books was THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver. It's still one of my favorites today. Especially if you want to learn how to cultivate voice. That book has five different narrators and each one has a completely unique and believable voice. But there are so many others, I don't even know where to start. Anything that can grab my attention, and force me to keep reading is a book that inspires me. I want to write books that will do that for other people. Some of the most recent ones I've read that did that were DELIRIUM, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, PARANORMALCY, NIGHTSHADE, MATCHED, SECONDHAND CHARM, and wow, this list could just keep going and going and I know I'm forgetting some, so I'll stop.

5) What is the best thing about being an author?

SBL: Doing what I love! I have always loved writing, ever since I was a very young child. Sitting down to create something that you have complete control over, that you can make beautiful or scary or powerful or triumphant or ANYTHING YOU WANT... that is an amazing feeling. If I can ever see or hear of a reader who loved MY book, and is telling someone else about how much they loved it? That would be the most incredible feeling.

6) What is your writing routine like? Do you have a favorite snack you keep on hand when you're writing?

SBL: I have to cue up my music first and foremost, I must have music to write. I can do it without, but not as well. Music inspires me and helps me hone my emotions into my writing. Then I get cracking! I will usually start a few pages back, rereading what I've written, doing a few minor edits, to get back into the emotion of the scene I'm at and then I just go for it! I usually don't snack while I write. I know, I'm weird! I actually often forget to eat at all. My husband will have to make me stop and eat a meal. But I do LOVE Swedish fish for those times that I do want something on hand.

7) What are your goals as an author?

SBL: I kind of answered this already, but to go into more depth, my goal (and hope) is to see my books on the shelves of a bookstore. Not just because I want to have it be my career (which I do), but more importantly because I want to see someone taking it off of a shelf, and telling their friend how much they loved it. I want to hear people talking about my characters as if they're real people. I would love nothing more than to know that readers love my characters as much as I do. That they crush on my guys, and root for my protagonists, and yeah. That will make everything worth it--all the rejection, all the doubt, and hard work, and more rejection. To witness that is my ultimate goal. Is that asking too much? Maybe. We'll see!

Thank you for having me! I love your blog. :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Finishing Books

Hey all,

I know I have been doing just a lot of editorial type posts lately, but I have had a lot on my mind, and not much reading under my belt...

So....today I am thinking about finishing books. I wonder, do you always finish a book when you pick it up? Or do you put them down?

I think the reason why not so much reading has been getting done (besides my crazy busy life right now, I mean really who doesn't have an insane life for the holidays?) is that I started a book, was liking it, but didn't have time to finish it, so I had to take it back to the library before I could finish.

Now I don't really want to get the same book again, but I can't seem to get myself to move on and get into something else either (even though I have a TON of books on my shelf that I have been waiting for!).

I am usually a start it and finish it type person. Usually if I stick with a book even if I find the beginning slow or uninteresting, or even just not to my liking there is at least SOMETHING I can find about the book that I like in the end, that makes me happy that I read it.

How about you? Do you finish every book you start? If you don't finish a book does it bug you? Cause that is where I am at right now.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Review: CLOCKWORK ANGEL by Cassandra Clare

by Cassandra Clare
Hardcover, 479 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry

Placement in the Pile: Top Picks

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Wow, where to start? First, I should probably admit I haven't read the City of Bones series yet, though now I definitely want to.

Usually, I'm not big on scary, icky, gory demon stuff. But this book just grabs your attention and won't let go. Clare's writing is so well done that even despite all the gore, you don't feel too grossed out. Well, not too often anyway.

I am dying to know more about Will, and to figure out what Tessa really is, and how can they help Jem and... Phwew! The sequel can't come out fast enough for me!

This book is set about 120 or 130 years (I believe) before the Mortal Instruments series, but apparently there will be characters from this series that will make appearances in the new trilogy that takes place after the MI series. Clare has said on Twitter that you should read Infernal Devices before you read the next MI series. Her world is complex, interesting, and leaves you wanting more. I'm not sure how many of my questions about her world building I would know if I'd read MI already, or if that wouldn't really help at all. I will have to read them to find out, I suppose.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to her fans, or anyone who enjoys historical fiction with an awesome fantastical element (and of course some great romance!). Although I must say, Will had better have a good excuse for his behavior...!

Monday, November 8, 2010

What are YOU Reading?

I have hit one of those reading funks lately. Everything I try is good, I am just not in the mood for it. So I can't decide what I want to read! I can't seem to get into anything.

What are you reading right now? Do you think it would get me out of my funk and why?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Giveaway Contest on Facebook

Hi all! Many of you know how much I love the NEED series by Carrie Jones! Well Bloomsbury is doing a giveaway on the FB page of some awesome stuff here is what it says:

ENTICE is coming soon. Help us spread the word about this fan page for great prizes! If we can reach 5,000 fans by 11/28, three winners will win one of the following goodies: an advanced copy of ENTICE, signed edition of NEED or signed copy of CAPTIVATE!!! We’re at 4,600 fans right now. So send the link, tag our page or click the “share” button. Let’s tell everyone what pixies are really all about!

So just go to this link HERE http://www.facebook.com/NeedPixies and "like" the page to enter!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review: INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher

by Catherine Fisher
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published July 15th 2010 by Penguin Group

Placement: Reaching New Heights... almost Top Picks

Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons.

A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists.

But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ...

This book will bend your mind, and send your brain on a trip.

You are thrown into a world, somewhere in the future, that is a mixture of incredible technology and yet rooted firmly in the past. Confusing? Yeah, I was too... for quite a while. But when you read this book, don't let the confusion take you down. Keep pressing on and boy will it be worth it.

This book was quite the ride, and I can't wait to see what happens next. I love it when books can actually surprise me, and this one managed to do that a couple of times.

I love the characters and can't wait to find out more about them in SAPPHIQUE. The only thing that kept me from giving it the top rating was how confused I was at first. If I were a less determined reader, I may have actually put it down, because I had so many other books I was trying to get to, and didn't really want to have to think that hard. However, it was so worth it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

To NaNo or not to NaNo?

I really still have not decided whether or not I am going to participate in NaNoWriMo this month. I want to get back into the writing thing, and doing something like NaNo is the perfect chance. It makes it a habit and gives you a goal. But then, if I focus on my writing for NaNo, you'll get even less reviews from me this month than you did in Oct.

I know many of my readers are writing types, so what do you think? Should I NaNo?

(If you don't know what NaNoWriMo is it's National Novel Writing Month, where you spend the month cranking out a novel the goal is to write 50,000 words (last year I think I made it to about 30,000 before the holidays caught up with me and I didn't have time to finish).