Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekly Words: Dr. Seuss

Friday, June 27, 2014

Feature Friday: Create the Name of Your Political Memoir

From Time:
To mark the publication of Hillary Clinton's Hard Choices, create a book name of your own
There are hard choices and then there are hard choices—like what to call your political memoir. As with politics, the genre seems encourage a certain brand of safe conformity. When in doubt, politicians can try one resolute word like Duty (Robert Gates) orLeadership (Rudy Giuliani). If you’re Barbara Bush and you’re writing a memoir, you can go with, well, A Memoir. America is a always a good place to start whether you’re An American Son (Marco Rubio), have lived An American Life (Ronald Reagan) or happen to know America By Heart (Sarah Palin). Bravery of all shades is to be celebrated from The Audacity of Hope (Barack Obama) to A Fighting Chance (Elizabeth Warren) to the Courage to Stand (Tim Pawlenty).
Still having trouble coming up with a title for a political memoir of your own? We’ll do the work for you. Click below to create a new title and share the results.
Here are a few of my options:
Bookmark Dragon: ACTIVE GUTS
A PLEDGE TO LEARN: Bookmark Dragon
THE TRUST TO DRIVE: Bookmark Dragon

I don't know how anyone could say no to "The Sureness to Comport," personally. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book List from Everyday Reading: Fractured Fairy Tales

Janssen from Everyday Reading recently posted a list of fractured fairy tales for all ages to enjoy.  I loved her list so much that I'm showing it to you here, and including a few of my own recommendations at the end.  If you like book lists, and especially if you have kids, I definitely recommend checking out the goods over at Everyday Reading!  Her blog and her book lists are the bomb.  

If you're in the mood for some fractured fairy tale action, go no further.  Here are some great recommendations:

Picture Books:
  • The Three Pigs by David Wiesner - I will never get tired of David Wiesner. In this one, the three little pigs get blown out of the story when the wolf huffs and puffs, and they find themselves popping in and out of all sorts of other fairy tales.  
  • Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson - In this reverse story, one bear goes for a walk and finds himself lost in the city. So he lets himself into an unlocked apartment for a little nap. 
  • Little Red Hot by Eric A. Kimmel and Laura Huliska Beith - I do believe I read this to Ella 1,000 times earlier this year. Little Red loves spicy food and she uses her fire-proof tastebuds to get the best of the big bad wolf. 
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith - This is the first fractured fairy tale I remember. My grandmother gave this to my dad when I was a kid and it's remained one of my favorites. In it, the Big Bad Wolf shares his side of the story (he was framed!). 
  • Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems - If you know Mo Willems from his Pigeonbooks or Knuffle Bunny, you know to expect great things. And you won't be disappointed. 
  • Lon Po Po by Ed Young - This Chinese version of Little Red Riding Hood won the Caldecott medal and definitely has a bit of a scary edge to it. 
  • The Frog Prince, Continued by Jon Scieszka and Steve Johnson - What happens when you kiss a frog and he turns into a prince? And then he realizes he doesn't actually want to be a prince and preferred life as a frog? 
  • The Jolly Postman by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg - This classic has held up surprisingly well in our house, despite all the parts. And show me a child who doesn't love all the tiny letters and envelopes, and I'll show you a pretend child. 

Chapter Books:
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine - I know the movie is terrible. The book is anything but. Forget Anne Hathaway and read it. 
  • Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff - Who knew there was so much backstory behind Rumpelstiltskin? 
  • The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale - This was one of the first books I ever wrote about here back in 2007, and it's still one of my all-time favorite books. 
  • Beauty by Robin McKinley - This was probably the first fairy tale retelling I ever read. I love this Beauty and the Beast story so so much. 
  • Rapunzel's Revenge by Dean Hale, Shannon Hale and Nathan Hale  - I'm not a mega graphic novel fan, but this one is just 100% delightful. How can you not love the idea of Rapunzel using her long hair as a lasso? 

YA and Adult Books:

What would you add?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book-to-Film: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Word is that filming has officially wrapped for both Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2.  Producer Nina Jacobson shared a picture from the last day of shooting showing Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss), Liam Hemsworth (Gale), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta), and Woody Harrelson (Haymitch) in an emotional embrace:

Oh November, you just can't get here soon enough.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top Ten Cover Trends I Like/Dislike

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's prompt is:

Top Ten Cover Trends I Like/Dislike

I love it when we talk about covers.  And I especially like that YA cover trends these days are moving away from the generic photo-of-a-pretty-girl's-face to more interesting illustrated or graphically designed covers.  Here are some of my favorite and least favorite trends:


5. Backlit Photos
When done well, these covers can be so mystical and enchanting.

4. Illustrated/Graphic Design Awesomeness
I love that YA cover trends are headed in this direction.

3. Basic Black Backgrounds
Let's be honest, I'm just a sucker for black covers.

2. Simple Image
Less is almost always more when it comes to book covers, in my opinion.

1. Cool Fonts
You go, Sarah J. Coleman.  You go.


5. The Generic Photo-of-a-Pretty-Girl's-Face

4. Gender-based Cover Marketing

3. White Washing

2. The Ballgown Cover... When The Story Has Nothing To Do With Ballgowns

1. The Chopped Off Head

What about you?  What cover trends do you like and dislike?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 4.75 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: " 'A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.  It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.'

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie...and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for."

Review: Fair warning: this review is going to be all gushy and fangirly, complete with arm flapping and a lot of jumping up and down with how much I loved this book.  

When I read Throne of Glass, the first book in this series, I thought it was perfectly mediocre.  The premise had promise, but the delivery was not as strong as I hoped.  It was okay, and there were parts that I really liked, but on the whole it was just kind of meh.  I had enough reservations that I wasn't totally sure whether I wanted to continue the series. Then I heard that this series is not your standard issue trilogy; there are six books planned for this series.  SIX.  Life is too short to read massive series if your heart isn't in it.  (Wheel of Time series I'M LOOKING AT YOU.)

So I put off reading this book.  For, like, five months.  It sat on my nightstand, glaring at me like only Celaena can, waiting for me to have a change of heart.  Every review I read boasted of how this book upped the ante, so finally I picked it up and started reading.

You.  Guys.  

This book rocked.  

Celaena came to life in this book like she never did in the last one.  The plot was complicated and totally thrilling.  (So complicated that I wonder if this series should be adult rather than YA?  Eh, it's probably an irrelevant label.  This book could be enjoyed by anyone able to keep up with it.)  Every turn had me on the edge of my seat, demanding every ounce of self discipline I possess not to read ahead and see what happens.  There were schemes within schemes, every character with a different agenda, and every interaction crucial to Celaena's fate.  Revelations were made, lines were drawn, feels were had, and sides were taken.  I honestly did not see certain things coming.  (The Nehemia, Dorian, and Archer character arcs... WOW.)  I was not expecting this caliber of awesome after the first book, and I can't believe I almost didn't read it.

It's a good thing I did, because this book rocked my world.  I'm still hyperventilating from overexposure to pure awesomeness. 

Bottom Line: This book was the best kind of surprise!  This series went from meh to MAGNIFICENT with this second book, and I CANNOT wait to get the next book in my hands.  Throne of Glass bandwagon, I'm officially jumping on.

Weekly Words: Colum McCann

Friday, June 20, 2014

Feature Friday: The Greatest Literary Insults

I know... from Power Rangers to Pride & Prejudice to Literary Insults... this week's posts have been all over the map.  These insults are too awesome not to share though.  Click over to The Guardian for the full list, but be warned that there is some strong language in a few of them.  Hope this makes you smile.  :)

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Photograph: Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Photograph: PA
george orwell
The Lion and the Unicorn by George Orwell. Photograph: Mondadori via Getty Images
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis
Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Photograph: Corbis
kurt vonnegut
Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut. Photograph: Everett Collection/Rex Features
Coriolanus by William Shakespeare. Photograph: Johan Persson

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cool Covers: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Book Riot recently had a post highlighting some of fancy Pride and Prejudice covers.  I loved their list, and did some research to add a few of my own favorites to their already great list.  Here they are!

(This is the one I have!)


pride and prejudice book cover

Source Unknown

Source Unknown

This Modern Remake of Hugh Thomson's Illustrated Edition

Source Unknown

Source Unknown

If you know any of the sources for the covers that I couldn't find sources for, please share!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Book-to-Film: Power Rangers

So it may not be based on a book (as far as I know) but what it lacks in literary roots it makes up for in awesomeness.

It's rebootin' time. 
Lionsgate has announced that it's teaming up with original showrunner Saban Brands to revive the Power Rangers franchise for the big screen, Deadline reports. 
Haim Saban launched the series more than 20 years ago, famously pairing newly shot footage of American actors with action scenes pulled from a Japanese television show. The original series ran from 1993 to 1995 and spawned a full-length feature film before being renamed each year and splintered into different franchises. 

Given Hollywood's twin obsessions with reboots and superheroes, it's prime time for the Power Rangers' return. However, it remains to be seen how audiences will react to the revival of another beloved '90s franchise, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, whose Michael Bay-produced reboot arrives in theaters Aug. 8. 
At this point, we're probably not that far from a gritty Street Sharks reboot. 

 All I have to say is:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's prompt is:

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

I am really excited about some of the books in my summer TBR pile.  Here's my most anticipated reads.  If you've read any of them, let me know!  I need to know who to gush to when I finish these.  :)

10. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saienz
Because that is one awesome book title.

9. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Because of all the raving reviews.

8. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Because it's the only currently released Rowell novel I haven't yet read.

7. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Because I love fairytale adaptations!

6. Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick
Because that cover is just so pretty.

5. Timebound by Rysa Walker
Because my hold at the library FINALLY came through!

4. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

3. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Because Rainbow is my homegirl, and I can't wait to read her newest novel!

2. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Because her last book practically made my hyperventilate, it was that good.

1. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, AKA J.K. Rowling
Because DUH.

What are you reading this summer?