Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teenreads.com Christmas Contest....

Celebrate the season with Teenreads.com's Fifth Annual Holiday Basket of Cheer feature and contest! From November 12th through December 13th, you can enter to win a "Basket of Holiday Reading and Fun."

Five winners each will receive a festive basket that includes 8 of the holiday's hottest books --- BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, DEAD BEAUTIFUL by Yvonne Woon, THE IRON KING by Julie Kagawa, THE LYING GAME by Sara Shepard, PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White, RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke, STORK by Wendy Delsol, and SUGAR AND SPICE: An L.A. Candy Novel by Lauren Conrad.

Along with the books, winners will find their basket stocked with tons of seasonal goodies: a kit to make a mini gingerbread village, Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate mix, peppermint bark candy, an oversized red and white chenille throw, two pairs of mittens, a snowman ceramic coffee mug, snowman peeps, M&Ms in holiday colors, and cinnamon sticks.

» Click here to read the contest details.
» Click here to enter the Fifth Annual Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Deathly Hallows Part 1 Due in Film.....

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
The moment you’ve been waiting for is almost here. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 hits the big screen on November 19th, so grab your wizarding gear and take a trip to your local movie theater, where you’ll enter a magical world of harrowing journeys, never-before-seen spells and hair-raising excitement.

Based on the seventh installment of J.K. Rowling’s beloved series, this is the first of two riveting, full-length features (Part 2 releases on July 15, 2011) that will follow Harry and his friends as they try to outsmart the Death Eaters and put a stop to the Dark Lord’s evil doings once and for all. Now that Dumbledore is gone, Voldemort’s henchmen have taken over Hogwarts and seized control of the Ministry of Magic, making Harry’s hunt for Horcruxes more dangerous than ever before. And to make matters worse, he’s slowly starting to realize that his future might already have been decided.

Does Harry have the strength to survive long enough so that he can prepare to face Voldemort in what is sure to be their final battle? Unless you’ve mastered the art of Divination since the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, you’ll have to see the movie to find out.

New Review of "The Ugly Truth"

The newest review on the brand new Diary of a Wimpy Kid series:

"See, when you're a little kid, nobody ever warns you that you've got an expiration date. One day you're hot stuff and the next day you're a dirt sandwich," Greg Heffley tells readers partway into this fifth installment of Kinney's bestselling Wimpy Kid series. There's a noticeable feeling of transition in this outing as Greg negotiates a sour patch with longtime best friend Rowley, his mother's decision to go back to school, the imminence of puberty (and dreaded accompanying discussions at home and at school), and the fact that one can't stay a child forever--despite evidence to the contrary provided by Greg's Uncle Gary, who's embarking on his fourth marriage. Although there is perhaps less of a central focus in this book than in some of its predecessors, the sense that "all good things must come to an end" emerges, something that inevitably will be true of the series itself at some point. But Kinney hasn't lost his touch for spinning universal details of middle-school life into comic gold--he doesn't have to worry about becoming a dirt sandwich anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bloggers pick up "Life as We Knew It"

I know many of you (and me) enjoy this series, so I thought I'd pass along this article from Publishers Weekly:

An asteroid strikes the moon, triggering a sequence of natural disasters on earth in Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It, released by Harcourt in 2006. Life (as teenager Miranda and her family know it) comes to an abrupt halt, and they must make do with the food and resources they have on hand. That inaugural installment of The Last Survivors trilogy, which also includes The Dead and the Gone and This World We Live In, has sold a combined 250,000 copies in hardcover and paper, and has motivated two Utah bloggers to mimic the survivalist lifestyle forced upon the books’ characters, and to chronicle their experiments online.

Mette Ivie Harrison, who has published five novels—most recently The Princess and the Snowbird, a YA fantasy released by HarperCollins last April—has staged what she labeled “LAWKI month” for three consecutive years. She launched the first experiment in summer 2008, after reading Life As We Knew It to her four oldest children (she has five in all, now ages eight to 16). “One night my son, who was 10 at the time, jumped up and ran downstairs to look through the storage room where we keep our food. He came back up and said, ‘We’ll be fine. We have more food than they had in the book.’ He was so gripped by the novel—it felt so real to him.”

The Harrison family; mother/author/blogger Mette Ivie Harrison and her family conducted a survivalist experiment inspired by Susan Beth Pfeffer's 'Life As We Knew It.'Realizing that Life As We Knew It was somewhat frightening to her kids, Harrison decided “as an inoculation against their fear” to experiment with surviving for a month with only the food stocked in the family larder. Given that the Harrisons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which advocates having a year’s supply of food on hand at all times, their provisions were likely more bountiful than the average American family’s, but still limited.

During each LAWKI month, Harrison did no food shopping, though (when school was in session) her children did purchase school lunch, which she observes they came to view as “a luxury—they got meat and fresh fruits and vegetables, which we quickly ran out of at home.” She accepted produce that friends shared from their gardens, and made an exception to the ban on restaurant food on one child’s birthday, when she allowed takeout pizza.

Harrison, who tracked her family’s LAWKI month experiences on her blog, says that her children came away from these ventures “believing we could survive if such a scenario were to happen in real life, which was the original impulse—to reassure them.” Though the author says she “would love to do this again,” the verdict among her children is mixed. “My 13-year-old hated it and never wants to do it again, but he’s a boy and is always hungry,” she reports. But her 16-year-old daughter, who is less ravenous, found it “a fun, different experience.”

Inspired by Harrison’s online accounts of her experiments and by reading Life As We Knew It, Shannon Wright also decided to give her family—which includes four teenagers—a taste of a faux disaster scenario and launched a LAWKI month in late August.

“We’ve always try to be thoughtful on the preparedness issue, since we live 15 minutes from two major earthquake faults,” she says. “And my husband is a pharmacist who does regular immunization training, so the idea of a global pandemic is in the forefront of his mind.” Wright says that her family, also members of the Mormon Church, “regularly tries to have enough supplies and food at home so that we can keep safe as long as needed.”

The Wright family: (l. to r.) mother Shannon, daughter Katie, son James, father Michael, and sons Ben and John. Photo: Mike Roberts, Roberts Imaging.Wright did stock up on some additional food ahead of time, as she usually does as fall approaches. “We bought eight gallons of milk for the month, though we regularly drink that in less than 10 days,” she says. The day the Wrights began LAWKI month, the parents brought their teens to the store for one last shopping spree and gave each $10. “We told them to buy whatever they thought they’d miss,” says Wright. “They made some interesting choices: one purchased packages of ramen and one bought cologne.”

Wright mined her small vegetable garden for produce, which she also traded with several neighbors. She experimented with canning, tackling salsa and applesauce, and baked in a sun oven. The family relied more on bicycles and less on cars for transportation, did not go out to eat at all, and played a lot of board games together. All of which Wright reported on her blog, which she says had some 900 page views during the month. “I got many positive responses,” she says. “Some people thought it was intriguing, though a few were pretty cynical. Several said it was nice to watch someone else doing this.”

Asked what her family learned from their LAWKI month, Wright responds, “I’d say we learned gratitude for all we have and learned that we have enough to meet our needs, which is a relief to me. That knowledge is something we could never have gained in another way, and I don’t think we’ll ever forget it.” Next, Wright hopes to turn off the electricity—and have everyone turn to books—for a weekend.

“I think it’s astonishing—and I know these people are much braver than I am,” remarks Susan Beth Pfeffer about these LAWKI month stints. The author, whose next novel, Blood Wounds, is due from Harcourt in fall 2011, says, “I eat a lot of fresh food and have a small freezer, so I live at the supermarket.” She notes that she hears from readers who tell her that they went to the grocery store to stock up—just in case. “It’s gratifying to hear that response, though I didn’t write the novel with that in mind,” she says. “I always think everything will work out, so I’m generally unprepared—though I did just finally buy a flashlight.”

Pfeffer’s mail from young readers often includes comments that The Last Survivors novels made them appreciate all that they have. “In fact, I got a letter today from a kid who said, ‘I know I can get along without electricity, food, and water, but we have to have family,’ ” she says. “That’s nice to hear, though personally, I like electricity, food, and water!”

Congrats to Peyton!

Peyton Midthun was our grand prize winner this year for Teen Read Week! She's winning a "Book-opoly" game to share with her friends and family--I'm sure she'll "wow" them with all her amazing literary knowledge. Congratulations to Peyton!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fallen by Lauren Kate....

Lauren Kate
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Supernatural Romance
ISBN: 9780385739139
496 pages

•Video Interview on the Teenreads.com blog
Lucinda "Luce" Price has been sent to reform school in the South, the result of somewhat murky circumstances involving a dead boyfriend. Though Luce cannot recall how the fire started, or how she escaped and Trevor did not, she feels at fault, and the courts agree. She is shipped off to Sword & Cross, where we learn about the Shadows that seem to haunt her daily; they were present the night Trevor died, and their appearance unnerves her.

And then we meet Daniel Grigori: brooding, dark and sexy --- and mysterious enough to drive Luce crazy if she wasn’t already. She seems to feel connected to him, as if she knows him from someplace, but Daniel only resists her attempts to get to know him better. From time to time, he’s even downright rude to her.

While Daniel might appear to be disinterested in Luce, Cam, another reform school student at Sword & Cross, is laying it on thick with Luce, wooing her with his charm and good looks. Luce wants to like Cam, but she can’t get Daniel out of her mind.

Luce needs to learn more about Daniel. She and her friend, good-girl Penny, start by digging around the school library to find any information on the Grigori family. Then the Shadows show up, and another classmate dies in a fire. Again, Luce escapes, and this time she thinks she knows how. She remembers Daniel and wings. Those two things have nothing to do with one another, right? But Luce has a pretty good guess as to why Daniel has wings, and her instinct proves right. In one of the few moments when he lets his guard down, revealing a softer side that had remained hidden from Luce, he shows his wings. Luce learns that Daniel is a fallen angel.

It’s when Daniel kisses Luce, however, that we start to understand a bit more of what is going on, all because Luce doesn’t die. Why would she die, you might be asking? Well, without giving too much away, Luce and Daniel have been in love for centuries, but because their love is eternally damned, each time they kiss, Luce is fated to die. She is then reincarnated only to repeat the cycle. Every 17 years, Luce meets Daniel, they kiss, and she doesn’t make it to 18.

Not this time, though. A loophole in how she was raised in this incarnation saves her life. That’s not to say there aren’t others who would like to see her dead.

While the reader tends to feel a few steps ahead of Luce throughout the book, it’s easy to understand why she has trouble catching on. It’s not every day that you discover you’ve been eternally in love with a fallen angel, and oh yeah, you usually die at 17. It’s the mystery that keeps the book moving. I, along with Luce, wanted to know why Daniel went from hot to cold, and why his history is so shrouded in obscurity. I also wanted to see a bit more of the romance between the two, so I could better understand the pain of losing each other over and over again. Still, there is something very interesting about being fated to love someone and not knowing why. It’s great food for thought. Overall, FALLEN provides an intriguing start to an exciting new series.

--- Reviewed by Jordana Frankel