Mar 3 2014

Chasing Shadows, by Swati Avasthi

Swati Avashthi's YA novel Chasing Shadows strongly reminded me of a movie that I haven't seen in fifteen years but will never, ever forget: Peter Jackson's 1994 film Heavenly Creatures. Like Heavenly Creatures, Chasing Shadows is an engrossing portrait of the kind of intense, heady friendships that teenagers are capable of—friendships that can be deepened even further by adversity, transforming into something destructive and codependent...

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Mar 3 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Chasing Shadows, by Swati Avasthi

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This week's Book Giveaway title is Swati Avasthi's novel Chasing Shadows. Featuring graphic novel-style illustrations by Craig Phillips, this book uses elements of Hindu myth to "create a gripping portrait of two girls teetering on the edge of grief and insanity." Admittedly, gripping portraits of grief and insanity are usually something I do my best to avoid, but the reviews for this sucker glow like a 100-watt bulb, so I've decided to give it a shot...

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Feb 27 2014

A classy move

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According to a New York Times blog, The National Enquirer recently ran an apparently 100% fictional article suggesting that the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and playwright David Bar Katz were lovers who freebased cocaine together. Katz, a longtime friend of Hoffman's, successfully sued the publication for libel...

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Feb 27 2014

Way to be all about limited government, guys!

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Good Lord: according to Publishers Weekly, the South Carolina House of Representatives voted to cut the College of Charleston's funding in response to the school's decision to include Alison Bechdel's critically acclaimed graphic memoir Fun Home on their summer reading list for incoming freshmen...

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Feb 25 2014

Simple but awesome

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I'm really liking these vertical book display shelves from Viktor Jondal/Miron Lior. They're only $15, and I'm pretty sure I see a little lip that supports the front cover as well as the bulk of the pages, so you wouldn't damage your books. (This is not true of many similar "artistic" shelving options.) Imagine one of...

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Feb 25 2014

Speak of the wishy-washy devil and he shall appear.

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Hah! I was just referencing Archie's perpetual romantic waffling, and immediately ran across this charming news item: according to MediaBistro, the Archie/Veronica/Betty love triangle is going to be transformed into a series of YA novels...

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Feb 24 2014

The Paladin Prophecy and The Paladin Prophecy: Alliance, by Mark Frost

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The first two books in Mark Frost's Paladin Prophecy series go for the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to storytelling, mashing together fantasy (angels and demons!), science fiction (evil geneticists!), and action/suspense (martial arts smackdowns!) into a frenetic but entertaining literary roller-coaster ride...

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Feb 24 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Paladin Prophecy and The Paladin Prophecy: Alliance, by Mark Frost

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We're offering two books for this week's Book Giveaway: Mark Frost's The Paladin Prophecy and its sequel, The Paladin Prophecy: Alliance. Our full review will go up later today, but here's a mini-take: Anthony Horowitz and Richard Paul Evans should watch their backs, but Rick Riordan and Suzanne Collins...

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Feb 20 2014

Love Me, by Rachel Shukert

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Rachel Shukert's YA novel Starstruck was one of my favorite books of 2013. Smart and compulsively readable, it managed to transform the basic plot of Jacqueline Susann's deadly dull Valley of the Dolls into a deliciously juicy soap opera about three girls struggling to make it big during the Golden Age of Hollywood...

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Feb 20 2014

Sign me up

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The first full-length Guardians of the Galaxy trailer was just released, and I'm telling you: I will be there with bells on. It looks like it will focus on the stuff Marvel has done really well recently (Jokes! Violence! Aliens!), and minimize the amount of existential brooding* currently bogging down the Avengers superheroes...

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Feb 19 2014

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover and No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, by Sarah MacLean

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To once again paraphrase Jane Austen, there are few historical romance novelists that I really like, and fewer still of whom I think well. In fact, the “like and think well” list is pretty much limited to Georgette Heyer and Lisa Kleypas, while the “just like” list includes authors like Suzanne Enoch, Teresa Medeiros, and Julia Quinn—writers who produce enjoyable but anachronistic stories, and mostly use their historical settings as...

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Feb 18 2014

The Glass Casket, by McCormick Templeman

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McCormick Templeman's novel The Glass Casket swipes most of its most memorable images from various classic fairytales: twin rose bushes, a girl in a red cloak, the titular glass casket. The rest of the story feels equally cobbled together, resulting in an ambitious but flawed mash-up of horror, romance, and magic...

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Feb 18 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Glass Casket, by McCormick Templeman

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This week's Book Giveaway pick is McCormick Templeman's The Glass Casket. We wrote a positive review of Ms. Templeman's first book The Little Woods a few years ago—we described it as "sufficiently entertaining to read in a single sitting," but complained about its weak love triangle and the implausible number of SAT words the author sprinkled throughout the text—so my expectations are high...

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Feb 11 2014

So... no lady-penned paperbacks?

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These "Wiry Limbs, Paper Backs" book sculptures by artist Terry Border are all over the internet, and justifiably so: they're awesome. I find some of his work considerably less charming...

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Feb 10 2014

Fates, by Lanie Bross

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Lanie Bross's debut novel Fates aims to be an operatic YA paranormal romance, a wild fantasy adventure, and a compelling coming-of-age story, all at the same time and in less than 350 pages. None of it quite succeeds, but props to the author for making the attempt...

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Feb 10 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Fates, by Lanie Bross

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This week's Book Giveaway pick is Lanie Bross's debut novel Fate. According to its official overview, it is both the first installment of a two-book series "inspired by the ancient Greeks' paradoxical view of fate" and "perfect... for girls who love all things pretty, romantic and inspirational". Ambitious! But also confusing...

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Feb 6 2014

Sci-fi fans get some exercise in

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There's going to be an "organized Logan's Run chase" this weekend in San Francisco, with some participants designated as Runners and some as Sandmen. According to the official Facebook page, this event will be...

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Feb 6 2014

Lifestyles of the rich and pseudonymous

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The Washington Post featured an article on Monday about the financial woes confronting the best-selling erotica author known as "Zane". She apparently owes the IRS almost $541,000, despite being an extremely successful author and publisher, and has been publicly labeled Maryland’s...

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Feb 5 2014

Crossing my fingers

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A new trailer is out for the movie adaptation of Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas. This film appears to have bypassed most theaters (there was legal controversy), but it might be available soon? Or come out on DVD? Anyway, if you're unfamiliar with the character, we reviewed Koontz's graphic novel...

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Feb 4 2014

Awards season, comics 'verse

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Publishers Weekly recently posted a nice summary of the 41st Festival International de la Bande Desinée in Angoulême, France. Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson won the 2014 Grand Prix (basically a lifetime achievement award), despite the fact that he is extremely unlikely to...

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Feb 4 2014

Handwriting

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I was all excited when I heard that the Jane Austen's House Museum had recently discovered a snippet of Austen's handwriting, and even more impressed when I saw the handwriting itself, which is ridiculously beautiful. Seriously, I can't even write legibly with a normal pen, on lined paper, and she did that with...

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Feb 3 2014

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black

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If you can stomach the first scene in Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, you're sitting pretty for the rest of the book. The story opens with a massacre: when Tana wakes up in a bathtub after a teen party, she discovers that she has drunkenly dozed through a massive vampire attack. Most of her friends are dead, but her ex-boyfriend Aidan has survived...

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Feb 3 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black

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This week's Book Giveaway is Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Our full review will be posted later today, but here's a quick take: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown reminded me of my all-time favorite vampire story, Vivian Vande Velde's Companions of the Night, and I can give no higher compliment than that...

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Jan 30 2014

Unexpected

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According to The Daily Beast, a scholar recently discovered fragments of two previously unknown poems by the ancient Greek poet Sappho. The private owner of a 3rd century A.D. papyrus recently consulted Oxford classicist and "world-renowned papyrologist" Dr. Dirk Obbink about the Greek writing on his papyrus scraps...

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Jan 29 2014

Smell-o-vision 2.0?

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The Guardian recently posted an article about a group of MIT scientists who have created a device that uses temperature controls, lighting, and a "heartbeat and shiver simulator" worked into a fancy... vest... thing(?) to allow readers to share the experiences of a story's protagonist as they read...

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Jan 28 2014

Some things should not become brands.

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Okay, this news makes me MEGA uncomfortable: there are apparently THREE Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl adaptations in the works, one of which is going to be animated movie(?!?), one of which is a live-action feature film, and one of which is apparently unauthorized...

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Jan 28 2014

Awards season

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This year's Newbery Medal winner was just announced: Kate DiCamillo's Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, from Candlewick Press. In addition, Publishers Weekly posted a helpful...

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Jan 27 2014

Omens, by Kelley Armstrong

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Omens, the first book in Kelley Armstrong's new Cainsville series, perfectly encapsulates my feelings about her writing as a whole: her plots are solid and her mysteries intriguing, but her characters lack charm. I get ridiculously invested in finding out what happens to Armstrong's protagonists, but rarely do I care about the protagonists themselves...

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Jan 27 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Tell Me Lies and Crazy For You, by Jennifer Crusie

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This week's Book Giveaway is a two-pack: Jennifer Crusie's Tell Me Lies and Crazy for You, which we reviewed here a few years ago. I'm trying to make some space on our bookshelves, and we were lucky enough to be sent multiple copies of Ms. Crusie's books, so you can expect one more Crusie-themed giveaway in the next few weeks. I have accepted (grudgingly) that...

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Jan 24 2014

The Naturals, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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We have been enjoying Jennifer Lynn Barnes's books for years—all the way back to 2008's The Squad: Perfect Cover. Her early stories were fun, if shaky, but it's been a pleasure to follow the steady improvement of her work. So many authors have one good (or good-ish) idea and go downhill from there; Barnes is among the few who have sharpened their style with every book...

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