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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rapunzel's Revenge Book Trailer

My entry into the Rapunzel's Revenge Book Trailer Contest is live! And I still chuckle at the funny parts even though I watched the footage at least 50 times. :D What do you guys think?

Contest info here and here. I will let you know when the voting begins!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas-book giveaway winners

And the winners are ...

#3 Tweedlediva

and

#19 Brittney Richards

Yay! So send your addresses to everead@gmail.com, and we'll send you the books! Thanks to everyone who entered! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chick-Flicky Month

Saving Juliet: A novel about a modern girl who, with the aid of some magical ashes, is transported back in time to Verona, Italy, where she meets Romeo and Juliet and decides to give them the happy ending they deserve. A little love story, outside of the obvious one, interwoven here too, as well as a story about a girl who has to learn to face her fears and stand up for herself and what she dreams of doing with her life. For me, this was a fun read. The whole Juliet-being-thirteen-ish-years-old thing was authentic but still a little disturbing. But overall, yes, I'd say it's worth a few hours of your reading time, especially if you're looking for one of those, "I want a book that doesn't force me to think too hard and gives its characters happy endings" kinds of reads.

Betraying Season: Sequel to Bewitching Season. This one took a marked turn, I thought, from the first in the series. For one thing, it had a surprising scene of sensuality (I wouldn't recommend it to young teens). For another, there was a lot less discussion of fashion and frippery. I loved all the interplay between the heroine and her obvious intended. Her blindness to the "bad guy" amongst her acquaintances was mostly believable. There were some "I want to strangle the main character for being so obtuse" moments. But mostly, the author pulled the story off well. It wasn't totally fantastic for me, but I liked it well enough.


Prada and Prejudice: This book was everything I wanted it to be: totally fun, Jane-Austen style. Don't worry, the Bennets don't make an appearance. It's not a Pride and Prejudice rehashing. It's about an American teen who trips on a class trip on the cobblestone streets of London in her brand-new Prada high heels and lands herself in Regency England. No Darcy, but there is a handsome though snobbish duke. The book reminded me a lot of Shannon Hale's Austenland, minus Shannon's lovely writing style. The heroine is really shy, and her best (and only) friend just moved to another school, so she begins the book feeling desperate to get in with the in-crowd but not knowing how to do it. She ends the book in a more positive, self-assured, strong-woman frame of mind. For me, this book was just fun, absorbing, and happy. Of the three chick flicks I read this month, I recommend this one the most. But Austen could've biased me. :)

As a side note, don't forget to enter the Christmas books giveaway, if you haven't already done so. Just leave a comment by midnight, the night of Thanksgiving, November 26th.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I love Bookie Woogie

This blog, recorded and transcribed by an illustrator and his kids, is awesome. And today's post was perfect! It's an interview with author Aaron Reynolds. I just read his fantastic graphic novel mystery Joey Fly Private Eye.

It was so noir. So fun. So punny. I love puns! Also, fake sound effects. This was one of those books that I started reading aloud to Jacob before I had got 5 pages in. Joey Fly has a bungling assistant that he has to work around. Can the two of them solve the case of the missing pencil box? Or will Sammy's antics shut them off of the case -- like a fly on the outside of a screen door?

Okay, that was lame. The funny lines in the book are way better. You should just read that.

Also in the interview they talk about some other great graphic novels. I'm a big fan of Babymouse and just discovered Amulet as well. Too fun! My favorite part of the interview is when Mr. Reynolds talks about how concerned he was that Joey Fly has no mouth and no pupils in his eyes. He tells how it all worked out.

Here's to great graphic novels and their authors! I'll have more to share with you coming up. Over in the sidebar you can follow my Cybils progress (and my NaNoWriMo wordcount as well). To date I've read 31 of the nominees! So I have more great books to share just as soon as I get the chance.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Merry Early Christmas---a giveaway! [CLOSED]

We're well into November. The Halloween decorations at the supermarket are ancient history. Canned Christmas music pipes over the loudspeakers at every shopping center in town. Holly and mistletoe and white lights drape the shelves of merchandise, winking at you as you pass by, hinting not-so-subtly at their own little secret: Just because Thanksgiving is weeks away doesn't mean you can't start celebrating the magic of the Christmas season now.

Therefore. It is with great delight that I present two wonderful new Christmas books for your consideration---and for two of our readers to take home themselves, free of charge. Like a present from Everead to you! Two lucky commenters will be randomly selected to receive both of these hardcover books, each, compliments of Scholastic. So. On to the books.

The Christmas MagicFrom best-selling author Lauren Thomas and Caldecott Honor artist Jon J. Muth comes this completely enchanting new night-before-Christmas story. Far, far north, Santa prepares for his big night of giving. He feeds his reindeer, polishes his sleigh, and chooses toys for all of the children of the world. And all the while, he listens and waits for that thrum of magic that will make the reindeer fly and help him spread the joy and warmth of Christmas all over the world. I especially loved how this book makes Santa look like an average Joe---just a quiet man with a great big heart. He lives in a tidy little house. He keeps his sleigh in the shed. He darns his own stockings. No elves picture in the book. No giant workshop with conveyor belts and thousands of busy workers appears. Just a simple old man getting ready for a night out. The understated yet beautiful watercolor illustrations seem to say that we can all be Santa in our own way. It doesn't take great wealth, prestige, or power to be a force for good in another person's life. Just a gaze that turns outward and a little thrum of Christmas magic. Check out one of the charming illustrations below.
... and the book trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI6XkJdI5lo

The Nutcracker and the Mouse KingWith beautiful new illustrations by Gail de Marcken, this second holiday book tells E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story that inspired the famous Tchaikovsky ballet. Unlike the ballet version of the story, Marie's adventures with her beloved Nutcracker happen over several nights. The Nutcracker is an enchanted young man who can only awaken when shown the selfless love that Marie demonstrates for him in several battles with the fierce, seven-headed Mouse King. The illustrations are truly magical, colorful and sweeping and totally enchanting, and I loved hearing the original story that inspired one of my favorite ballets. Two thumbs way up for both of these Christmas books.
So, if you'd like to win both of these books, you know what to do! Just leave a comment below before November 26th, 2009---Thanksgiving!---to be entered in our random drawing. And merry early Christmas from Everead!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Winter's Tail Winner Announced!

The winner of the Winter's Tail prize pack is:
#2 Cami
Congratulations!
Send us your address at everead@gmail.com so we can send you your prize.

And be sure to come back, everyone, over the next week or so for a gorgeous children's Christmas book duo giveaway from Scholastic!

The Ghosts of Lone Jack

This book proved rather difficult for me to read. It's not my usual literature choice, for starters, but I was given a copy by its publishing company to read and review on the blog. The premise sounded interesting enough.

Jared is a 10-year-old kid who visits his grandfather every summer in Lone Jack, Missouri, a town with a lot of Civil War history. This particular visit proves an eventful one, to say the least, as the town is becoming increasingly overrun by ghosts of the Battle of Lone Jack, Civil War characters who have continued their deadly battle beyond the grave. Only Jared, a few of his young friends, and some of the town's old-timers can see the ghosts initially. But the ghosts, who have up until now been nothing but harmless spirits, are turning into zombies---mindless, rotting corpses whose crazed violence is unleashed on anyone unlucky enough to stumble into their crossfire. Jared and his friends team up with the old-timers and a ghost-hunting duo to discover what's happening to the ghosts of Lone Jack, and to figure out what they can do to put the warring spirits to rest.

Add into the mix some evil town bullies, a group of six escaped convicts, some really stupid donut-stuffing town policemen, Little League woes, and the cute girl next door, and you have the basis for what felt like a primarily stereotype-driven plot. There were definitely fun moments in the book---even a few that made me chuckle out loud. But as an editor, I was driven almost crazy by the misuse of apostrophes (how is one to pronounce g'tting' exactly?). The editing could use some work. The zombies were a little too gruesome for the intended age group (lots of gore, guts hanging out of bodies, head slicing, bugs pouring from rotten openings, etc.). And the book tried a little too hard to teach readers through long passages of history about the Lone Jack area that would've lost me as a young reader. It took me about three-quarters of the book to get into the story. The ending was exciting and fun. But the rest of it for me ... eh. If you're really into Civil War history, you might find this to be a fun read.
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