Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday Vol. 2

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Beautiful Chaos ( March 12, 2011)

I just started reading Beautiful Darkness, and plan to order this one as soon as I'm done. The Caster Chronicles is my first time reading paranormal romance since reading The Twilight Series, and I was impressed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Princess Bookie's Cover Re-Design Contest : Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

A few days ago we made a post gently mocking the cover of Jennifer L Armentrout's Obsidian. When I saw Princess Bookie's Recreate a Cover Contest I decided to try my own hand at re-imagining this cover. I am not the best with photoshop, but I tried.

For my image I used a picture from the UK Glamour photoshoot of Nikki Reed and Kellan Lutz. The building in the background is Olgebay Hall at West Virginia University, I got the image via Bawwomick.

Paranormal romance isn't always my speed, but I have blogged about this book so much I am probably going to go out and get it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meeting Sarah Dessen & Cassandra Clare @ The National Book Festival

The National Book Festival  was last weekend. We had to be there to meet some of today's most popular YA authors.

The two authors we wanted to meet were Sarah Dessen (This Lullaby, Dreamland) and Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments Trilogy). We got to hear them speak and even have our books signed.

Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen discussed how she started her career as a writer. After graduating college, she worked all day and wrote all night.

Like all the writers, she discussed her inspirations. For example, the novel Just Listen was inspired by a photo she saw in a high school yearbook.

Cassandra Clare

Clare had a lot of fans at her discussion. Despite the somewhat dark nature of her work Clare is a bubbly redhead. She read the prologue to the unreleased Clockwork Prince. She discussed character inspirations and funny stories that went into the research for the series.

No, I am not the biggest fan of The Mortal Instruments, but Clare is a writer who inspires young girls  to read and write. The devotion she shows to her books and fans is pretty remarkable.

Bonus !

After the Clare signing we saw a small crowd near the Children's Pavillion--it was Julianne Moore signing posters  ! I'm sure everyone who got an autograph went immediately to the theaters to catch Crazy, Stupid Love. We stood across the street and snapped a photo (the Nikon L110 has crazy zoom).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In My Mail Box Vol. 2

B&S is taking part in the In My Mailbox meme started by The Story Siren. Each week bloggers post books that have arrived in their mailbox, picked up from the bookstore or purchased. Here are some books I'm getting ready to read.

I picked both  of these up from McKay's Used Bookstore.

City Of Glass by Cassandra Clare
I'm making my way through The Mortal Instruments series. This is the third in the six book series.

Into The Woods By Tana French
I passed by this book so many times in the college bookstore. I don't know much about it but have heard that it is a Mystery/Thriller.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Book Review : Uglies

  “What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful.”
- Scott Westerfeld Uglies

Synopsis :  Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there. . . But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. . . When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty. 

Scott Westerfeld's  Uglies is the first in a series of novels that asks the question; What is the cost of beauty ? This dystopian novel takes place in a world were everyone is made to believe they are "ugly" until their sixteenth birthday, when the are tuned pretty via extensive plastic surgery.

The book is written in very simple language or as one Good Reads reviewer said "it won't have you racing to a dictionary." The novel is almost a contemporary version of The Giver. . . at least for the first 200 pages. At some point the novel begins to go on a tangent and while it has a few twist and turns, the rest of the series (I'm on the 3rd one) rely on a deux ex machina, that seems to come out of nowhere.

While the story did lose me at times, it made up for it with moments that make the character's motivations and emotions seem real. While usually jargon bothers me in a book, I actually found the speech patterns and ugly-verse language to be very natural.

The big question in this series is about can we socially construct pretty and ugly like we do gender.

According to Westerfeld, this will be made into a film and I'm interested to see how it will come across. Hopefully it will be totally bubbly-making.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday Vol. 1

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Release Date : January 10, 2012

I have recently become a fan of John Green after reading several of his books and I am so excited for The Fault in Our Stars  to come out. The novel is somewhat inspired by Esther Earl--an amazing fan of his who died at age 16 of thyroid cancer.

Green is hand signing all of the first printing and I already pre-ordered mine off Amazon and I can't wait ! I'm anxious to know what the cover art will look like. Until then, I will have to look at this Tumblr of fan made covers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review : Water For Elephants

"Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important"

- Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants

Synopsis : As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie.

When the film for Water for Elephants came out I heard the buzz, but didn't pay much attention to it. Like any bookworm living on the Internet I was pretty shocked to hear the novel started as a NaNoWriMo.
When the Borders started going out of business I took advantage of the discounted prices and grabbed the novel for 30% off.

The main character is Polish-American Jacob Jankowsi.Water for Elephants switches between Jankowski at age 23 and much later in life at the age of 93. The two perspectives create an interesting dynamic in the novel. There are times you forget the two narratives are connected until a quick allusion the past is made.

There is nothing sexy or glamorous about this circus life. We find out what goes on behind the big top and it isn't always pretty. Gruen picked a perfect time period for this novel. 

There is a lot going on in this novel.It touches on prohibition,The Great Depression, animal cruelty, poverty, greed and the prejudices of class, ethnicity and mental illness.

There were no real stand outs as far as the characters. Jankowski isn't a fully developed character to me. He just always seems to be conflicted and tortured as a person. The elephant, Rosie doesn't show up until well in the book, but she is important to the development of Jankowski.

I really enjoyed this books. I read it in 4 days and was swept away in the storyline. Gruen is my favorite type of writer. At the end of the book she discusses all of the research and obsession that went into the novel. She writes without a script, throws herself into material and that kind of authenticity is amazing to me.

Water for Elephants is an interesting book that will keep you captivated until the very ending. 

Book Review : City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

 “Sarcasm is the last refuge of the imaginatively bankrupt.”
                                           ― City of Bones

Synopsis : When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it's hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.
Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary's mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.
But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

I first heard about City of Bones via the drama concerning author Cassandra Clare. I've heard everything from rave reviews of this book to people claiming it was downright laughable. I've also heard this series is pretty much like Twilight. When I found out the series was being picked up for a film, I finally decided to read it.

What did I think ?

I was expecting worse. I'm not really familiar with the fantasy genre, but I found this book to be overly cliched. It was easy to see how the novel was derivative from some of Clare's known fandoms; Harry Potter, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Star Wars. All creative stories that are hard to live up to.

The novel does offers unique, diverse and glamorous (get it ?) characters, but their personalities tend to fall short and blend together. Everyone is so witty and snarky that after a while it becomes the books biggest flaw.

While City of Bones is fast paced the plot is very linear and can sometimes get dull.  I  found myself wondering if  something was really happening. The reader isn't given enough time to get into the world of City of Bones.

The novel does have a twist ending ( I was spoiled ) and I am interested to see how Clare has spawned the world to encompass 5 + books. I've already started City of Ashes with mixed thoughts.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In My Mailbox Vol. 1

BAS is taking part in the In My Mailbox meme started by The Story Siren. Each week bloggers post books that have arrived in their mailbox, picked up from the bookstore or purchased. Here are some books I'm getting ready to read

Beautiful Darkness by Tami Garcia & Margaret Stohl - I just got this one in the mail from Albiris

Extras by Scott Westerfeld - Grabbed this one from the used book store, can't wait to finish the trilogy. I'm currently reading Specials.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Read it 1st; Four Movies Better Than The Book !

 Readit1st is a new campaign that encourages people to read books before seeing the movie versions. I have taken the pledge, but that got me thinking--while anyone can make a list of books better than movie adaptations, I  decided to make a list of movies as good as (if not better) than the original book.


This Louis Sacher novel is a classic for teens, but the movie version stands on it's own. A pretty impressive feat considering Disney's known for its bowdlerization. This is also the movie that really introduced us to  Shia Lebouf as a big-screen actor. There are so many nuances in the book and the movie paid homage to all of them without being a scene-by-scene remake. Plus there is a catchy soundtrack.


Everyone has their own ideas about Twilight, but if you have read the book and seen the movie you know Catherine Hardwicke did her thing with the movie. There are characters like Tyler, Ben, Angela and especially Jessica who are flat in the book, yet so dynamic in the films. Not to mention the scenes she added to more thoroughly tell the story like the graduation caps !

Chronicles of Narnia

I finally read this book in high school in anticipation for the movie release. I was sitting in the theater, just waiting for the movie to diverge from the book and it never really did. The ending scene was pretty amazing and breathtaking.

Angels & Demons

When it comes to The Da Vinci Code film we were all a little shocked by Tom Hanks hair and bored by the long monologues. However, Angels & Demons picked up the slack. I have read the book multiple times and this movie kept me guessing. Ewan McGregor really stole the show in this movie.

Top 100 YA List : How Many Have You Read ?

Novel Thoughts posted this list of top 100 YA novels. I've seen this list all over book blogs and I wish I knew where it originated (for some reason I'm guessing Goodreads). I can't believe how many I've read. I  bolded the books I've read, how many have you read ?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

If These Books Were Judged By Their Covers

They say don't judge a book by its cover, but every week I take a stroll around the bookstore and  have to wonder. . .  what were they thinking ?

The first  two examples show what happens when re-prints ruin the classic cover.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

I just came across these eerie covers for Wicked.  Apparently, they came out around 2009, but I have never seen them before. I believe the cover was made to look like a paranormal romance novel with the background and lone figure. Also, the coloring is pretty bad if you look close enough the green skin begins to look overly done.

Dracula By Bram Stoker

I'm sure over the past 114 years Dracula has had a lot of covers, but this one is just. . . weird. It looks like a they tried to mix horror with some type of urban tagging.  I wish I could get a closer look at it,  so I could figure out the girl's expression. I wonder if it is like mine O :

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

 Okay, for all you Photoshop nerds it looks like they knocked out the background of the two models with the wand tool and didn't clean it up. I mean look at the girl's hair !

Do you know of any bad book covers ?  E-mail me and let me know them my way !

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hunger Games Is Not The Next TwiPotter

No one was looking for the next big book franchise years after Harry Potter was published in the U.S, but, 10 years later Twilight came on the scene giving Harry a run for his galleons. Harry Potter and Twilight have not only produced iconic characters and found a comfortable place in pop culture--they also bought a lot of merchandise with them.

Twilight had Hot Topic, Burger King, Necco.  While Harry Potter... well it has a theme park filled with merchandise. I even hear the Orlando airport has a Harry Potter store.

Since then it seems like everyone is looking for the next book series to cash in on.  Scholastic and Lionsgate seem to think they have found it in the Hunger Games Trilogy. It will be interesting to see if the Hunger Games will be as easy to franchise as Twi-Potter ? I'm really not convinced, but marketers don't seem to think so. 

The Capitol.Pn

I don't know what  exactly this is but, it actually freaks me out. Essentially you sign up at with Facebook or Twitter for the tessera; you know that thing when poor kids enter their names in the Hunger Games more than once for food. Fun right ?  This site interacts people with the world of Hunger Games some say it is a rip off of Pottermore but this site really just seems to be tracking the buzz the film is creating.

VMA Trailer Release

The crew at Lionsgate is taking a few cues from Twilight as E! reports over and over again. Just like Twilight The first official Hunger Games trailer was released at the VMAs. It features a brunette girl running around in the woods listening to a male voice essentially telling her eveyrhting will be okay. I'm assuming the voice is Gale but did we really need the voice over ? I'm sure Katniss (and the fireballs) could hold the trailer on their own. Then again, they have to remind the teenage girls Miley Cyrus's ex-boyfriend is in this film.

Hot Topic

You would have had  better luck finding a horcrux then finding an HP t-shirt at Hot Topic when Deathly Hallows Part 2 came out. If there is one thing people love is wearing a fan shirt while at the movie, much like sports fans . .  but nerdier. I've been told this shirt made its way into the Hot Topic racks.

That's right, I'm from District 12. The poorest district in Panem we have no skills and everyone expects out kid-tributes to die,  but I'm totally proud ! Also, this shirt only comes in women's sizes on the manufacturer's website.

Despite all this I wonder if Hunger Games can be spared from being compared to Twi-Potter. There is no doubt it is going to be a tough film to market and it shouldn't ride on the non-existent love triangle, but instead on J. Law and her portrayal of Katniss.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tied Up with Tie-Ins;The Good, Bad & Ugly of Movie Tie-In Book Covers

Ah, film tie-ins. Those wonderful (read: sarcasm ) things movie companies come up with to make even more money than they already have. Film tie-ins often  come in the form of video games and collectible toys, but now we are seeing more movie tie-in book covers. You bought Breaking Dawn two years ago , right ? Well, You don't own the one with Rpatz face on it ! That'll be $10.

I kind of have a love/hate relationship with tie-in covers. Mostly though, I hate them. They don't serve much of a purpose except to make you buy the book again. Let's take a look at the good, bad and ugly of tie in covers.

Better than the original

I like this cover. In fact, when I bought the book, I chose it over the original. The design of the tie-in seems to have become somewhat of an icon for Lauren Weisberger. All of her book covers  are now released with a similar heel design, she even uses the heel motif  on her website.

Original American Cover
Movie Tie-in Cover

The Good

Some tie-ins know how to blend the best of both worlds. They will just take elements of the original and work it together with the film tie-in. Both of these tie-ins used similar coloring and positioning as the original. 

Original Cover
 Movie Tie-in cover

Original Cover

Don't Look Now

This may just be a coincidence,but I was in the bookstore and I noticed when it comes to romantic themed novel tie-ins,they pretty much follow the same position;look deep into each others eyes and don't look into the 4th wall. Usually this is done when it is a 'celebrity romance' they are trying to push. I think the reason they use this position is to draw our attention to the couple but, it was funny to me all the tie-ins  follow this. Also, notice none of the original covers even have faces on them.
Movie Tie-in Cover

Original Cover

Original Cover
Movie Tie-in cover
Original Cover
Movie Tie-in Cover    


Look Who is in This Book  . . . Not, Really.

  Some tie-ins just shamelessly put the actor front and center. A little shelf candy for your home library. I don't know what Charlie St. Cloud is about but, ooh Zefron !

Original Cover

Movie Tie-in

Movie Tie-in

Original Cover

This is not my childhood

I find it really bizarre when suddenly the books of your childhood get the film tie-in cover. The Narnia covers of my childhood were the 1994 HarperCollins by Leo and Diane Dillon. You know, the purple and white ones. I mean okay, I admit . . . I do own the Prince Caspian with Ben Barnes on the cover.

Original Book Cover

Movie Tie-in

1994 HarperCollins Cover
Movie Tie-in

 Harry Potter

And then there are series like Harry Potter and it's film tie- in covers. Oh wait . . .  Harry Potter don't play that. There are no film tie-in covers for Harry Potter because they don't need them. I mean, okay I will admit as far a merchandising tie-ins Harry Potter does seem have everything else. Still, I'd rather eat a bag of Beritie Botts Every Flavor Jellybean than buy a book I already have because Daniel Radcliffe is on the cover.
Written By Kat


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