Thursday, October 29, 2015

C.S Friedman Returns for Dreamseeker

C.S. Friedman has garnered praise for the powerful writing and vivid world-building in her dark fantasy novels for adults. Her novel,This Alien Shore was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and her Coldfire and Magistrate trilogies are considered classics of the genre. Last year, with Dreamwalker (DAW; February 2014), Friedman ventured into young adult for the first time, launching an all-new thrilling series. Imaginative and action-packed, it was the beginning of a stunning adventure into a visionary new universe that left readers of all ages breathless.

In Dreamwalker, Jessica discovered that she can not only affect the dreams of others, but also travel across worlds and dimensions. Through her travels, she met kindred spirits who possess her same mysterious gift—the gift of the Dreamwalker.

Now she returns to the scene with DREAMSEEKER (DAW Hardcover; $19.95; November 3, 2015), continuing Jessica’s adventures as she learns deeper, darker, and more dangerous secrets. The series features fan-favorites like young hacker geniuses, elegant magic systems, and portal fantasies and is sure to be a hit with fans of Brandon Sanderson, Cassandra Clare, and Libba Bray.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Don't Get Caught: Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Don’t Get Caught
Author:  Kurt Dinan
Release Date: April 1, 2015
Publishers Sourcebooks Fire

Debut author Kurt Dinan reveals the cover of Don’t Get Caught, and gives readers a first-time sneak peek:

Describe your book in 140 characters or less?

A high school nobody recruits a crew of misfits for heists and pranks to get revenge on the mysterious Chaos Club.#DontGetCaught

How did you come up with the idea for Don’t Get Caught?
Look, who hasn’t wanted to rob a bank?  Or at least hasn’t thought about it?  I can’t be the only one, right?  Right? So, I suppose Don’t Get Caught is my way of robbing a bank without risking actual jail time because, let me make this clear, I would not do well in prison.  I love capers, heists, and schemes, and while the crew in this novel aren’t robbing banks, they are satisfying my criminal thoughts by doing the teenage equivalent of bank robbery--wrecking havoc in their high school.

Tell us about the main character.
Max is a high school nobody, a kid who’s smart enough and nice enough to get by, but who doesn’t really fit in anywhere.  So basically, he’s me at sixteen.  But what Max has that I certainly didn’t have is a genius-level ability to scheme and a newly discovered gift for leading misfits.  He’s underestimated by everyone, a fact that works to his advantage when he decides it’s time to write his name in the wet cement of the universe by destroying a forty-year-old secret society.

Did your class in high school pull any memorable pranks? Or is there one you wish you had pulled?
My prank life didn’t begin until college when I helped mastermind a promotion for a fake campus concert that almost led to my arrest.  But in my final year of high school, the six-hundred members of my senior class were crowded onto bleachers for an all-class picture.  I look at that picture now and see an opportunity for chaos.  I mean, how much would it have cost to hire an airplane to drop a hundred gallons of water at the precise moment the picture was taken?  Or to organize a group of kids to all wear neon shirts and arrange themselves into something profane within the crowd?  It’s missed opportunities like this that keep me up at night.

What books formed your thinking or reflected who you were as a child and teen reader?
I read a lot of early Stephen King probably before I was old enough, and then through high school it was mostly comic books and classics.  I do specifically remember reading Helter Skelter during my junior year, dragging that non-fiction monster around with me for a month or so.  Looking back on it now, that’s probably all of the evidence needed to explain why I didn’t have a girlfriend in high school.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Out of this World Wednesday: Goosebumps Movie

What’s Out of this World?

  • The Stories: While I worried about the movie throwing too many characters into one film, I was quite surprised at the effectiveness of having the beloved characters come to life all at once. The books television show had already accomplished giving each monster his/her/its spotlight, so showcasing the monsters as a collection worked quite well. Each monster still a moment to shine, and not taking too long on introducing each monster allowed the movie to progress nicely.
  • Main Characters: ​Appropriately aged, the cast of characters are funny, lovable, and eccentric. Zach (Dylan Minnette) is the awkward new kid whose mom is the new vice principal at his school. Befriending Champ (Ryan Lee) on the first day, Zach does his best to fit in and heal from the loss of his father in the previous year. Champ is the stereotypical nerd whom everyone ignores, especially the prettiest girl in school, Taylor (Halston Sage). Champ is probably the most lovable character whose humor carries the film. Moving into a new house, Zach sees a mysterious girl next door, Hannah (Odeya Rush) whose father (Jack Black) is extremely paranoid and protective of his daughter. A quick side note: Odeya Rush looks just like a younger Mila Kunis.
  • Family Fun: ​​When I left the theater, the first word that popped into my mind was "fun." Having grown up loving R.L. Stine's Goosebumps and Fear Street series, I was a bit of a fan girl as I watched the stories come to life. Realizing that that movie wasn't really intended for my age group, I wasn't setting my expectations too high as far as my own personal enjoyment. But I was very wrong. I laughed throughout the entire movie and rooted for the main characters, just like I would if I were the more appropriate age group. For children, the images are not frightening, and the overall mood is not scary. Yes, a Goosebumps movie wants to gross you out and make you feel a little jumpy, but it's nothing a kid can't handle. Parents will enjoy this movie as much as their children.
  • Teachable: ​​Asa teacher, I am always looking for ways to incorporate film into the classroom, and this one fits the bill for a certain unit. Teaching a unit on short story structure? Working a film into a suspenseful Halloween unit? This movie is perfect for elementary through high school grades. You don't have to worry about inappropriate material, and the story of Zach and Hannah's potential relationship is innocent. I will be adding this to my video request form next October!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Mentions: A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

Release Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher & ARC: Random House Children's
ISBN: 9789553533590
Ages: 14+

"I'm the one who's left behind. I'm the one to tell the tale. I knew them both...knew how they lived and how they died."

Claire is Ella Grey's best friend. She's there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story - as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final.