Apr 29, 2011

The Friday Free-For-All - Present Tense

Say Yes to Present Tense

Authors have many, many choices when it comes to writing a book. They can choose characters, point(s) of view, location, time period, etc etc. Authors have control of lots of aspects of their books, and that includes which tense of verbs they use. While past tense seems like the natural, most obvious choice, there are other options. Present tense is also used, just not as frequently. It seems like it's been getting a bad rap lately, too. Recently, I have read a few books that employ the present tense, and I have found that I prefer it whenever possible. So let's get into when it's useful and where I've seen it used.

Like I've said, past tense seems to be the most reliable choice. Most books are written this way. It is easy to tell a story once it's already happened. Sumaya Bouadi says,
"Past tense makes the reader accept events as already having occurred, and therefore inevitable. There is nothing that can be done to change it. For darker novels and satire, this works very well. For tragedies and satires, this sense of hopelessness is priceless. You can bring your reader to tears as they see a character or a world destroy itself, knowing there is nothing that can be done about it. And hey, that "stories around a fireside" feel? That can create amazing openings to books.."
That pretty much says it all. Past tense is easy to use. It can provide the reader with a sense of security and credibility. Past tense implies history as well. So why adopt the present tense?

Using present tense allows the author to create a sense of instability and insecurity for the reader. When reading present tense, the reader is more of a witness to the story sorting itself out instead of an audience to something that has already happened. Generally the narrator does not die in a past tense novel, since he or she is the one telling the story. Yet, this could happen in a present tense novel told in third person (narrator points of view will be a later Friday feature) because there is no guarantee for the action of the novel when said action has not happened yet. Present tense creates unpredictability, and I have been enjoying that lately.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is a good example of present tense used in a novel. Reading this novel in present tense gives the reader a better sense of believability, even though this book is science fiction, since this story is being told over a long period of time from alternating points of view. Take this passage, for example:
"My head is throbbing. I need coffee. Leaving the marbled papers in a state of controlled chaos, I walk through the office and past the page's desk in the Reading Room. I am halted by Isabelle's voice saying, "Perhaps Mr. DeTamble can help you," by which she means "Henry, you weasel, where are you slinking off to?" and this astoundingly beautiful amber-haired tall slim girl turns around and looks at me as through I am her personal Jesus. My stomach lurches. Obviously she knows me, and I don't know her. Lord only knows what I've said, done, or promised to this luminous creature, so I am forced to say in my best librarianese, "Is there something I can help you with?" The girl sort of breathes "Henry!" in this very evocative way that convinces me that at some point in time we have a really amazing thing together. This makes it worse that I don't know anything about her, not even her name. I say "Have we met?" and Isabelle gives me a look that says. "You asshole." But the girl says, "I'm Claire Abshire. I knew you when I was a little girl," and invites me out to dinner. I accept, stunned."

Try reading that in past tense and tell me if it has the same effect. The reader can feel the future unraveling before his or her eyes. Since this novel spans a wide set of years, the reader can also witness growth in the characters better with present tense. When Clare is a child, her dialogue is clearly childish. As she gets older, her voice becomes more clear and precise.

With present tense, past tense can always be used as a tool to mark time. If an author sticks with past tense from the beginning, they are kind of stuck there. However, JA Konrath uses both present and past tenses for different points of view in his Jack Daniels novels, such as the opening novel, Whiskey Sour. His protagonist, Jacqueline Daniels, tells her story in past tense, as if it already happened. His villains, however, are living in the moment and their sections are told in present tense, like it's happening right as the reader is interpreting those parts.

Jodi Picoult's Sing You Home is another fantastic example. Not only is this the best book I've read so far this year, but it's also written in present tense. Picoult uses past tense when referring to the past, but when the actual events in the characters' lives are unfolding, present tense is used effectively. I love feeling like part of the novel, and this one wraps you right up. For me, it's so much easier to get involved with the characters, to really hold an interest in what happens when the story is being told as it happens. Sing You Home does all of that and more. With the events unraveling as we read, we can realistically experience the characters' emotions. I found myself gasping the same exclamations with the characters, really understanding how they felt. Thank you, present tense!

In the end, choice of tense is in the hands of the author. it's also a choice of the reader to take on a book in present tense. It's useful to choose one over the other in specific situations. Past tense is trusty, rusty, and predominately used. Present tense is a fairly newer trend, used to create an unpredictable nature which connects the reader and characters/events. In my personal opinion, I have really been enjoying present tense. I feel much more plugged into the story when I can't tell what is going to happen, when I'm experiencing events as the characters do. It's a great tool to use, and hopefully more books show up with present tense used in the majority. It works for me. Does it work for you? Tell me what you think!!

Full disclosure: future tense is not something I have a whole lot of experience with. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever read anything written that way, which is why I have not written about it here. If you have I would most definitely like to hear about it!

Apr 28, 2011

Theatrical Thursday - Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë - Jane Eyre

Goodreads created a Jane Eyre challenge to read the book before the movie came out, take a quiz on the book, pick a favorite quote, etc. I completed it in hopes of seeing the movie when it was released. I hadn't read the book before so I figured now was as good as ever. Here is my review for the book, but BE WARNED - there are spoilers, as it's basically a summary of the entire book.

Here are some highlights for those who have not read it and wish not to be spoiled:

First of all, I believed this to be a general love story, the likes of which Jane Austen might have written. Her novels are fluffy romance compared to this. I will say I prefer the fluffy romance, but with not knowing anything at all about what this novel contained, I appreciated the unknown and the grit in this one. This novel contained fire, accidents, deaths, monsters, child abuse, infidelity, mystery, deceit, crime, love, and relationships. Family, money, and proper characters were a given, but the others somewhat surprised me. I thought this book had just a ton of words, and too many things happened for one novel. Maybe that's because I'm used to the novels of today. We are much more of an instant gratification society that this book seemed very long and drawn out. I did enjoy it, especially since I had zero idea of what it was about to begin with. But I felt like a lot of this story could have been told in a shorter amount of time.

I also wrote about how I thought Jane was kind of a fool. But times were different, so maybe I would have done the same thing. Either way, I read it with the mind of a 21st century woman, and those were my thoughts. And I still want to see the movie. So if it ever comes out in not-so-limited release, I will go see it. I have not seen anything Mia Wasikowska has done, but she looks like a pretty good Jane to me. Hopefully it's a good remake!

Has anyone already seen it? Let me know your thoughts!

Apr 27, 2011

"Waiting on" Wednesday! Stephanie Plum/KSContest

Hosted by Breaking The Spine, this section will feature future upcoming releases that I personally am excited about. These will generally be coming up later in the year. Let me know what you're looking forward to, or even what you're writing, and maybe I'll feature it here as well.

Janet Evanovich - Smokin' Seventeen

• Pub. Date: June 21, 2011
• Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
• Format: Hardcover 320pp

BN.com description:
Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.

Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list.

Short on time to find evidence proving the killer’s identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it’s time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.

With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.

Five reasons why I cannot wait for this to come out:
01. I have read (and loved) all of the previous books in this series.
02. I laugh out loud in every single one of these. They’re hysterical.
03. I am so involved with these characters by now! Stephanie, Ranger, Morelli, Lula, Connie, Grandma Mazur.. fun stuff!
04. I don’t want her to pick between Ranger or Morelli yet.
05. The end of the last one left things a little up in the air, so a year is a long enough wait!

These come out once a year, and a year is a long time to find out the next chapter of Stephanie's life! She gets herself into such trouble with her friends and family. And while I'm sure she has to pick at some point, Stephanie is doing a good job at working Ranger and Morelli, which is very entertaining. I've listened to all of these on audio, and I have enjoyed both CJ Critt's and Lorelei King's performances. I look forward to seeing what Lorelei can do for this next addition. I hope everyone enjoys this novel because I'm sure I will!!

There is a contest at Kieran Scott's blog! She's the wonderful author of the new She's So Dead To Us series. Take a look at her blog, read her books, and enter the contest! Super easy!!

Apr 26, 2011

Teen Tuesday - Meg Cabot Edition

Spotlight on... The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot

This series has six books, and I've read (and thoroughly enjoyed) them all! It's been a while since I read this series, but with Meg Cabot's new YA trilogy coming out today (Abandon), I have decided to feature this great YA series! Suze Simon moves from New York to live with her remarried mother in San Francisco and soon finds that her mediator skills between the living and the dead will need use there. A ghost named Jesse is hanging around in her bedroom. There is some history with Jesse, and Suze becomes.. attached. She also starts at a new school where a ghost has revenge on the brain. She meets new people but has to try to keep her secret.

I was sucked in from the beginning of this series. My review for the first one (Shadowland) went like this: This is pretty funny and cute. Suze is a likable, real girl, even if she sees ghosts. It's pretty interesting, the stuff she gets into because of her 'gift' and her feelings towards it. I'll definitely finish up this series.

And I did finish it up! To steal from my review of the second book (Ninth Key), these books are short and sweet. They have curve balls to throw you off, but it all comes together in the end. And from my review of the third novel (Reunion), Suze has spunk and attitude. She's a liar, but she needs to be one sometimes. She deals with some heavy stuff, but it's still unrolled in a light manner.

The fourth and fifth books followed the same suit, and the sixth and final one was easily my favorite of the whole series! It wraps everything up, which is no spoiler. Obviously things need to conclude. However, the end is not anything I was expecting, and I actually gave the last book 4 stars! I wrote that I wanted to give it 5, but for whatever reason I am very stingy about my 5-star ratings.

I hope this inspires you to pick up this series if YA is your thing. Meg Cabot has a lot of great stuff out there, too. Her Princess Diaries series is pretty popular, and her adult novels are fan-freaking-tastic as well. If you haven't read anything by Miss Cabot, I highly recommend reading anything by her. This is a great start, though!

Anything you recommend, want to see featured, have written in the YA genre? I'll be happy to write about it here! Let me know :o)

Apr 25, 2011

New Release Monday Madness

Here are some good new releases coming up tomorrow! Some are part of a series already, so I’ll try to include previous titles in order (only the first three) so no one accidentally reads something out of order. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it when that happens! :o) However, you can click on 'previous titles in series' and it will take you to Goodreads where you can see them all!

Meg Cabot - Abandon

• Pub. Date: April 26, 2011
• Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
• Format: Hardcover 320pp
• Age Range: Young Adult

New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

(This is set to be a trilogy, and I'm very excited!)

Jenny Han - We'll Always Have Summer (Summer #3)

• Pub. Date: April 26, 2011
• Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
• Format: Hardcover 304pp
• Age Range: Young Adult

Belly has only ever been in love with two boys, both with the last name Fisher. And after being with Jeremiah for the last two years, she's almost positive heis her soul mate. Almost. Conrad has not gotten over the mistake he made when he let Belly go even as Jeremiah has always known that Belly is the girl for him. So when Belly and Jeremiah decide to make things forever, Conrad realizes that it's now or never--tell Belly he loves her, or lose her for good.

Belly will have to confront her feelings for Jeremiah and Conrad and face a truth she has possibly always known: she will have to break one of their hearts.

(Previous titles in series: The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You)

Stuart Woods - Bel-Air Dead (Stone Barrington #20)

• Pub. Date: April 26, 2011
• Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
• Format: Hardcover 304pp

Stone Barrington receives a rather unexpected phone call from Arrington Calder, the ex-girlfriend with whom he has a son. Arrington's much older husband, the actor Vance Calder, has just died, leaving her a fortune in Centurion Studios stock. Arrington has plans for the money and asks Stone to represent her in the sale of the company. But when he arrives at her home in Bel-Air to finalize the deal, things take a nasty turn. It seems many of Hollywood's rich and beautiful have Arrington and Centurion in their sights, and Stone finds himself dragged into a surprisingly deadly web of intrigue.

(Previous titles in series: New York Dead, Dirt, Dead in the Water)

Debbie Macomber - A Turn in the Road (Blossom Street #8)

• Pub. Date: April 26, 2011
• Publisher: Mira
• Format: Hardcover 336pp

In the middle of the year, in the middle of her life, Bethanne Hamlin takes a road trip with her daughter, Annie, and her former mother-in-law, Ruth.

So there they are, three women driving across America. They have their maps and their directions—but even the best-planned journey can take you to a turn in the road. Or lead you to an unexpected encounter—like the day Bethanne meets a man named Max who really is a hero on a Harley. That's when Bethanne's decision becomes a lot harder. Because Grant wants her back, but now there's Max….

From Seattle's Blossom Street to the other end of the country, this is a trip that could change three women's lives.

(Previous titles in series: The Shop on Blossom Street, A Good Yarn, Susannah's Garden)

Maureen Johnson - The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope #2)

• Pub. Date: April 26, 2011
• Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
• Format: Hardcover 288pp
• Age Range: Young Adult

Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.

Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he's found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

(Previous titles in series: 13 Little Blue Envelopes)

Christine Feehan - Savage Nature (Leopard People #5)

• Pub. Date: April 26, 2011
• Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
• Format: Mass Market Paperback 400pp

Danger lurks in the shadows and desire shimmers in the sultry heat as leopard shifter Drake Donovan is sent to a Louisiana bayou to investigate a murder. He's ready for anything except the insatiable hunger that rocks him when he meets Saria Boudreaux, a woman with a compelling motive-and ability-to distract him from the task at hand...

(Previous titles in series: The Awakening, Wild Rain, Burning Wild)

Sherryl Woods - Moonlight Cove (Chesapeake Shores #6)

• Pub. Date: April 26, 2011
• Publisher: Mira
• Format: Mass Market Paperback 384pp

Jess O'Brien has overcome a lot—the challenges of attention deficit disorder, the near bankruptcy of her beloved Inn at Eagle Point and her self-perception as a screwup in a family of overachievers. Now she's ready to share the future with a man. Her friends persuade her to join a dating service—but she gets no takers! Which is fine with her childhood friend, psychologist Will Lincoln, who's already chosen the perfect man for Jess: himself.

(Previous titles in series: The Inn at Eagle Point, Flowers on Main, Harbor Lights)

Rachel Gibson - Any Man of Mine

• Pub. Date: April 26, 2011
• Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
• Format: Mass Market Paperback 384pp

What happens in Vegas . . . doesn't always stay there.

Autumn Haven's Las Vegas "to-do" list said to catch a show and play the slots—not wake up married to a sexy jerk like Sam LeClaire. The first moment she saw him eyeing her like a luscious piece of the dessert buffet, her usually responsible self told her to run. And she did—right into the wildest fantasy weekend of her life. But Monday morning jolted her back to reality, and before she could say "pass the coffee," Sam was gone.

Now a successful wedding planner, Autumn hasn't clapped eyes on the heartbreaking hockey superstar for over two years . . . until she organizes his teammate's "Special Day," where Sam makes a big play to pick up where he left off! But she has vowed any man of hers plays for keeps. Is Sam the man for her or does she banish him to the sin bin forever?

(The cover alone makes me want to read this.. lol)

Sherrilyn Kenyon - Born of Shadows (The League #5)

• Pub. Date: April 26, 2011
• Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
• Format: Hardcover 432pp

For Caillen Dagan, a defiant soldier of fortune, survival isn't a right, it's a brutal daily battle. Moving through the Ichidaian universe like a wraith, his brushes with the law and death are legendary. But when an act of rare heroism reveals his hidden birthright, he's forced into a world much more dangerous and cold-hearted than the bloody streets where he was raised-one of obscene wealth and lethal politics.

Ferocious and determined, Desideria serves as an official bodyguard for her queen. Born of questionable genetics, she will do anything to prove herself worthy of the weapons she carries and the position she's won by combat. But when she uncovers a ruthless plot to assassinate the queen and overthrow her country's government, Desideria is caught in the crosshairs.

With assassination contracts out on both of them, Caillen and Desideria must learn to fight together or die alone. And if they fail, their governments will fall into the hands of an unimaginable evil.

(Previous titles in series: Born of Night, Born of Fire, Born of Ice)

Candace Bushnell - Summer and the City (Carrie Diaries #2)

• Pub. Date: April 26, 2011
• Publisher: Balzer + Bray
• Format: Hardcover 416pp
• Age Range: Young Adult (really??)

This sequel to The Carrie Diaries brings surprising revelations as Carrie learns to navigate her way around the Big Apple, going from being a country "sparrow"—as Samantha Jones dubs her— to the person she always wanted to be. But as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile her past with her future, Carrie realizes that making it in New York is much more complicated than she ever imagined.

(Previous titles in series: The Carrie Diaries)

Jennifer Estep - Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin #4)

• Pub. Date: April 26, 2011
• Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
• Format: Mass Market Paperback 384pp

I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.

But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead. Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too. The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead...

(Previous titles in series: Spider's Bite, Web of Lies, Venom)

Apr 23, 2011

At The Movies - Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants
By Sara Gruen

Wow. This movie really lived up to the book, and I completely loved the book when I read it over a year ago! They merged Uncle Al and August into one character, but that was a pretty smart move in my opinion. Besides that, there weren't very many changes to the basic story. Rosie is an absolute doll, and it's easy to fall in love with the animals like Jacob does. It's also easy to hate August and root for Jacob and Marlena. The story is fairly simple to follow, and although Camel talks pretty quickly, the vocabulary is established so viewers can keep up with the who's who in the circus biz. All the major players are present, but there are no nursing home scenes so Rosemary never shows up. Hal Holbrook, the gentleman playing the old Jacob, is a sweet man. He brought the slightest hint of tear to my eye. Reese Witherspoon, while I love her to death, wasn't the best pick for this role. She doesn't really have the face for the '30s, in my opinion. Perhaps Olivia Wilde or Kate Beckinsale might have been other choices. Knowing the age difference between Reese and Robert in real life made it feel slightly awkward, but I did love them anyway.

And dare I say that I've gained a bit of respect for Robert Pattinson. I never thought I'd really enjoy a role of his due to some Twilight cheesiness, but he did well here in Water for Elephants. I am positive that he would not have been in the running at all if it were my choice, but at the same time I feel like he did a great job in this one. I'll leave you with this picture of him in a suit with Rosie. Hopefully everyone gets a chance to see this one, especially if you've read the book! And if you go see this, let me know what you think! Happy movie watching :o)

Apr 22, 2011

The Friday Free-For-All

Features in this section will include mentionable reads, past and present. I may also compare books to their corresponding movies. I may write about books from local/lesser known/up and coming authors. This section will include anything I think is interesting in the world of books. I'd love suggestions for this!

Twilight Books vs. Twilight Movies

I’m just going to get this out of the way. Just about everyone and their mothers and daughters have read these books. I almost got away with not reading them, but a few coworkers at two different jobs convinced me to finally read this series. Not wanting to see the characters from the movie so it didn’t spoil the images in my head, I finished all four books before seeing the first movie in theaters. It’s only natural to see the movies after that. And let me just say that the first Twilight movie was NO good. The book had some classic parts in it, and the movie either changed them so much they were barely recognizable or left them out completely. Then the movie had parts that weren’t in the book and parts that didn’t make sense if you hadn’t read the book first. The acting is shoddy, and that “spider monkey” part – don’t even get me started! The movie was not up to any well-set standards, and basically it left much to be desired. That’s a shame because the first book was my favorite of the series. Charlie is one of my favorite characters in this one, and it stays that way throughout the series of movies.

The second book, New Moon, was whiny and almost unbearable. At least I thought so until my own boyfriend went away for a few days and found myself to feel the same way Bella did for a while. Either way, I did think the blank pages with the months were a clever idea. And the movie used the same design spinning around the chair while Bella was in it. That was pretty neat. And the rest of the movie was put together so much better than the first one. Granted, they had more money to work with since the first one was such a hit. This time there weren’t so many differences or mistakes. New Moon followed the book much closer than the original did. Jessica was amusing in this installation, too! This one also introduced the Volturi and the werewolves, and the werewolves looked pretty remarkable. I generally enjoyed this movie much more than the first one.

Eclipse brought back the Volturi in both the book and the movie, and the evil Victoria returned as well to kill off Bella with her army of crazed newborn minions. Of course the plan doesn’t work, but this movie has a different actress playing Victoria. It’s silly when contracts and time get in the way of making a movie consistent. No matter what, this book was much better than New Moon, and I enjoyed the movie even more. I loved the parts, especially the tent scene, when Jacob and Edward bicker over Bella. The tent scene was hilarious. Did I mention the tent scene? Haha. Anyway, these also find the army, which in turn brings Bree Tanner about. Anyone think there will be a Bree movie? I haven’t heard anything like that, but it would be interesting. I found that this movie followed the book pretty well, but a lot was left out. I’m assuming that this was in the interest of time, which is why the fourth book will be split into two movies. Great idea!

So I don’t know about you all, but I am thrilled with their decision – two movies for Breaking Dawn! It is a long, drawn-out novel, and a LOT of action goes down. There are some parts that I know we're all super curious about, and I hope they don't make it cheesy! It’s still a while before the first installment comes out, so.. any predictions? Anyone know where it’s going to split off? Either way, I know I will be seeing both in theaters. And if you want to check out more differences between the movies and the books, check this out.

So there was my rant for Friday. If anyone has anything in particular they would like me to rave about, write about, comment on, compare, etc., please comment here! Catch everyone on Monday!

Apr 21, 2011

Theatrical Thursday!

Just like it sounds, Thursdays will deal with movies! I will talk about books turned into movies that will be coming out the next day, Friday. It may be just one, it may be multiple, it may just be one I'm excited about. Either way, maybe this section will encourage you to check out the movie and/or read the book.

Sara Gruen – Water for Elephants

As a general rule, I like to read the book before I see the movie whenever possible. Luckily, I listened to this book back in February 2010, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s quite the different love story. I cried, laughed, and took pleasure in reading/listening to this novel. It happens to be my book club’s July pick. I absolutely can’t wait to read it again. So if you have not read this one yet, please do so soon.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am SUPER stoked about this movie coming out. What I was NOT super stoked about was Robert Pattinson getting the part of Jacob. Now, I shouldn’t judge before I see the movie, but we’ve all seen Twilight (wait for my Friday Free-For-All when it I talk about that..), and this movie has to be SO much more. I’m not expecting Oscar-worthy from him, but I was hoping for Oscar-worthy from this movie, just because I love this book so much. Reese Witherspoon, on the other hand, is amazing, and I do have high expectations from her. The pictures from this movie look astounding. Check out the official movie page here.

Let me know if you go see this movie! I’m really looking forward to it, so let me know what you think. I will be seeing it hopefully Saturday morning, so no spoilers!! Any books into movies you want to see featured here? Comment! :o)

Apr 20, 2011

"Waiting on" Wednesday!

Hosted by Breaking The Spine, this section will feature future upcoming releases that I personally am excited about. These will generally be coming up later in the year. I can put a link up on the Breaking the Spine website, so perhaps more people will follow my blog! Let me know what you're looking forward to, or even what you're writing, and maybe I'll feature it here as well.

Charlaine Harris – Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse #11)
Check it out here!
• Pub. Date: May 3, 2011
• Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
• Format: Hardcover 336pp

BN.com description
With her knack for being in trouble's way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover Eric Northman and his "child" Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows...

Five reasons why I cannot wait for this to come out:
01. I have read all of the previous books in this series.
02. I watch the TV show, True Blood.
03. I absolutely love Sookie’s attitude!
04. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the last one, so hopefully this is better.
05. I am looking forward to some steamy Sookie/Eric scenes, not gonna lie.

Hopefully this one does not disappoint! Sookie fans, look forward to my review! I am certainly very energized about this one! I do, however, listen to these books instead of read them. I read the first one and found the rest on audio. I've enjoyed the narrator, and I tend to stick with what works. I've stopped reading a series to listen and found myself very disappointed. So I will be reviewing the audio book, and I do think that readers have different experiences between the two. Either way, I absolutely cannot wait! I love Sookie, and I love Charlaine Harris! If you haven't read anything else by her, I highly suggest that you do! I have read all of her series, and I've enjoyed them all!

Apr 19, 2011

Teen Tuesday!

This feature will shine a spotlight on either upcoming or previously read favorite YA novels. For whatever reason, I tend to read quite a bit of this sometimes. They’re pretty comfortable when you subtract adult drama. Sometimes they tend to be a bit predictable to a mid-twenties mind, but I enjoy them nonetheless. A lot. If you’re not a YA reader, maybe these articles will entice you. Let me know if you read YA, write YA, or want to enjoy YA, and I’ll feature it here!

Spotlight on... The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

This series has two novels so far with the promise of two more in the future. The Body Finder series features Violet Ambrose, a high school girl with a very special ability: she sees echoes of the murdered. It doesn’t end there. The echoes, which can be tastes, smells, colors, sounds, etc., are also imprinted on the murderer. She investigates on her own when she finds a local girl’s echo, but her best friend Jay is very protective. It doesn’t help that Violet is falling very deep in love with him. The book takes her to places she hasn’t been yet, scary places, romantic places.. but she’s a survivor! Read this one to find out what happens with Violet, the echoes, and her relationship with Jay. Very, very interesting! Here’s my review:

“I reaaallllyy got wrapped up into Violet and Jay's friendship/relationship/whateveryoucallit!!!! I also thought her 'gift' was an interesting one. Something different from the paranormal I've been reading lately. The whole thing enveloped me and sucked me in from the very beginning. Why it took me this long to read it, I don't know. I felt involved in their lives, and the suspense of getting the killer's perspective really made the difference. This could be a stand-alone book and it would be satisfying, but I know that there is a second book, and I absolutely CANNOT wait for it!!!”

So read it. Just read it, and then read Derting’s follow-up, Desires of the Dead. It’s excellent, entertaining, and engaging, a page-turner for sure. This series is perfectly set up for a lot more adventure in the future. Violet and Jay have a peculiar relationship, and it is fun to read about them. The echoes Violet encounters are creative, and Derting runs contests on her Twitter account to include readers’ suggestions.

As a side note, I met this author at a book signing, and she’s sweet as pie. She deserves any and all positive recognition she receives. So please give these books a shot, review them on Goodreads, Amazon, your own blog, etc. Always be honest, but I hope you enjoy!

Apr 18, 2011

New Release Monday Madness

This section of the week will be dedicated to new releases coming out on Tuesday. I will be checking Barnes and Noble and Book Reporter to check out what’s coming soon. Featuring some of these upcoming books every Monday will remind readers to look into them and keep reading. Probably I will try to do something a little special for the ones I am particularly excited about. So check back every Monday to find out what’s new for Tuesday!

Cheezburger Network
There, I Fixed It! (No, You Didn’t)

• Pub. Date: April 19 2011
• Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
• Format: Hardcover 224pp

BN.com description

Whoever coined the phrase "A picture is worth a thousand words" clearly has not stumbled upon the Cheezburger Network's ThereIFixedIt.com. Here, a picture is worth countless inaudible gasps, and we're guessing more than a few quiet stares of disbelief.

There, I Fixed It (No, You Didn't) celebrates the kludge (a quick-and-dirty, clumsy, or inelegant-yet-effective solution to a problem, typically using parts that are cobbled together) in its many incarnations as presented on the popular Web site ThereIFixedIt.com. The book features over 200 full-color images of TIFI.com's daily kludge winners, along with the signature witty commentary that characterizes typical reactions to the hilarious DIY disasters and work-arounds.

Cynthia Hand
• Pub. Date: April 19 2011
• Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
• Format: Ebook 435pp
• Age Range: 12 and up

BN.com description
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Priscilla GilmanThe Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy

• Pub. Date: April 19 2011
• Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
• Format: Hardcover 304pp

BN.com description

Priscilla Gilman experienced childhood as a whirlwind of imagination and creative play. Later, as a student and a scholar of Wordsworth, she embraced the poet's romantic view of children—and eagerly anticipated her own son's birth, certain that he, too, would come “trailing clouds of glory.” Though extraordinary, Benjamin showed signs of a developmental dis-order that would require intensive therapies and special school-ing, altering the course Priscilla had imagined for her family.

Maria MenounosThe EveryGirl's Guide to Life

• Pub. Date: April 19 2011
• Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
• Format: Paperback 320pp

BN.com description

In The EveryGirl's Guide to Life, Maria shares personal experiences and photos from her life and professional journey as well as the various mantras, mottos, and philosophies she's adopted from the world's most impressive women. She gives advice on health, career, relationships, renovations, recreation, and more. From your carpet to the red carpet, Maria teaches the EveryGirl on a budget how to do it all, while living a healthier and happier life.

Alexandra Styron
Reading My Father

• Pub. Date: April 19 2011
• Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
• Format: Hardcover 304pp

BN.com description

In Reading My Father, William Styron’s youngest child explores the life of a fascinating and difficult man whose own memoir, Darkness Visible, so searingly chronicled his battle with major depression. Alexandra Styron’s parents—the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Sophie’s Choice and his political activist wife, Rose—were, for half a century, leading players on the world’s cultural stage. Alexandra was raised under both the halo of her father’s brilliance and the long shadow of his troubled mind.

Keri Arthur Mercy Burns (Myth and Magic #2)

• Pub. Date: April 19 2011
• Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
• Format: Mass Market Paperback 352pp

BN.com description

Mercy Reynolds is a reporter in the San Francisco Bay area, but she’s also more—and less—than human. Half woman, half air dragon, she’s a “draman”—unable to shift shape but still able to unleash fiery energy. Now something will put her powers to the test.

Marcia ClarkGuilt By Association

• Pub. Date: April 19 2011
• Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
• Format: Hardcover 368pp

BN.com description
Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city's most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family.

But she can't stop herself from digging deeper into Jake's death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation—and her life—to find the truth.

With her tremendous expertise in the nuances of L.A. courts and crime, and with a vibrant ensemble cast of characters, Marcia Clark combines intimate detail, riotous humor, and visceral action in a debut thriller that marks the launch of a major new figure on the crime-writing scene.

Hopefully these books are good! I have not started the one series, so maybe I will now. If anyone reads any of these, let us know how they are! If I do, I will post a review :o) Enjoy!

Apr 17, 2011

Weekly Features

This is how a week on my blog typically goes:

-New Release Monday Madness
This section of the week will be dedicated to new releases coming out the next day, Tuesday. I will be checking Barnes and Noble and Book Reporter to check out what’s coming soon. Featuring some of these upcoming books every Monday will remind readers to look into them and keep reading. Probably I will try to do something a little special for the ones I am particularly excited about. So check back every Monday to find out what’s new for Tuesday!

-Teen Tuesday
This feature will shine a spotlight on either upcoming or previously read favorite YA novels. For whatever reason, I tend to read quite a bit of this sometimes. They’re pretty comfortable when you subtract adult drama. Sometimes they tend to be a bit predictable to a mid-twenties mind, but I enjoy them nonetheless. A lot. If you’re not a YA reader, maybe these articles will entice you. Let me know if you read YA, write YA, or want to enjoy YA, and I’ll feature it here!

-Top Ten Tuesday
Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this feature includes random weekly top tens. Each week the list is new, and it gets linked back to the The Broke and the Bookish website. The topics are posted up on their site and are predetermined by them. I absolutely love making lists, and I get a little carried away sometimes. Naturally I love this day :o)

-"Waiting on" Wednesday
Hosted by Breaking The Spine, this section will feature future upcoming releases that I personally am excited about. These will generally be coming up later in the year. I can put a link up on the Breaking the Spine website, so perhaps more people will follow my blog! Let me know what you're looking forward to, or even what you're writing, and maybe I'll feature it here as well.

-WWW Wednesday
This Wednesday feature is hosted by Should Be Reading. To play along, just answer the following three questions… What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? Then comment back on their website for comments and other suggestions! I like this one because I read a LOT and have a lot of things I want to get to. It helps me keep track on a weekly basis.

-Theatrical Thursday
Just like it sounds, Thursdays will deal with movies! I will talk about books turned into movies that will be coming out the next day, Friday. It may be just one, it may be multiple, it may just be one I'm excited about. Either way, maybe this section will encourage you to check out the movie and/or read the book.

-Follow Friday
Hosted by Parajunkee, Follow Friday allows bloggers to connect and discover new blogs. A question is posted on Thursday evening, and on Fridays the question gets answered by bloggers who then link their posts on Parajunkee's website and follow the featured blog. That sounds like a mouthful, but it's easy and very useful!

-Friday Five
Hosted by Kate's Library, the Friday Five is a list of up to five (5) blog posts and/or articles read during the week. Stuff I feel is share-worthy will get posted in this feature with a link to the corresponding interesting article. It's great because we can use other bloggers' articles and reviews to spread the word! At least, that would be nice *wink*

-Book Blogger Hop
Hosted by Crazy For Books in the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! Hopefully people click on the link and check out the rest of my blog. I hope to find some new ones to check out as well!

-In My Mailbox
Here's how this works. It's a weekly feature hosted by The Story Siren where we all post what new books we received in the mail, from the library, or contests we won, etc. I usually post the new stuff I've discovered from my library, and I usually check out audio books over print because I like the experience better.

-Sunday Salon
Hosted on Facebook, features in this section will include mentionable reads, past and present. I may also compare books to their corresponding movies. I may write about books from local/lesser known/up and coming authors. I may just write about issues related to the reading realm. This section will include anything I think is interesting in the world of books. I'd love suggestions for this! (Sometimes I use older posts for this one to get exposure on reviews or the top ten lists.)

Not all daily features are used every week. Sometimes I just don't have time to come up with something for each. Not for lack of trying, that's for sure. I may post a review here and there, but I like to keep those on Goodreads as well. Suggestions / questions / comments? Contact me at imabookshark (at) yahoo (dot) com or leave a comment here anytime. Thanks!