Monday, May 30, 2011

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."

A quick post filled with super duper exciting news about a book to film adaptation that will be ruling/ ruining/enriching my life for the next two years: THE HOBBIT.

The official titles (since the film has been split into two parts) and release dates have finally been announced and I am over the moon. The first film will open Dec. 14, 2012 as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the second will be released on Dec. 13, 2013, as The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

It seems so very far away but it doesn't dampen my spirits. Just letting you all know that yes, I will be annoying you with my virtual screams of enthusiasm as more news about the films becomes available throughout its production.

I can't help it. It's love.

(note: title quote from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spring in Tokyo, Summer in Seoul, Fall in London, Winter In New York

So I noticed a post on tumblr called YA CAFE the other night and it's basically, the blog baby of Gabriela from iggiandgabi and Ghenet from All About Them Words where they ask a young adult fiction related question every Friday.

What really caught my attention was that not only did they discuss each topic well between themselves on their respective blogs but they opened it up to anyone and everyone who wants to participate. So here I am...wanting to participate.

YA CAFE has been going on for a while so I'm quite but I wanted to start with the topic from Friday May 6, 2011: What makes a setting larger-than-life?

The best lesson I ever learned about writing was in a third year class at my school when my red headed, blue eyed and freckle faced teacher with a high pitched and childish voice told us to show and not tell with our writing.

I think a writer is successful in showing the reader the setting for their novel when their words create an image for the reader and make them feel like they're actually there (and not in their bedroom or on the subway/bus). That means details (lots of them) are important because they're going to be what makes the setting come to life.

Describe what the reader should be able to see and take them there. I think a lot of people might be afraid of doing this in their writing. There's no need to be. A memorable book will have a memorable setting that really ties the reader to it.

If you're story takes place in a small town in Arizona where rain and snow do not exist, then I want to see the sun bleached white dead grass or feel the sticky heat of a never ending day or see miles of a red dusty dirt road. I don't want to be reading a book and still be aware that I'm 1. in my country and 2. in my room.

I want to be in that book and experience the world of it.

Photo credit goes to SWEETPEA + FAWN.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Put My New Shoes On

Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz:

It's been a year since 9/11 and the recent sniper shootings in D.C. grips the city with fear. Craig wants to get over his ex-boyfriend Cody and Lio is in remission after having cancer.

They're both trying to move on and make sense of the violent events happening around them. They're both trying to make sense of each other since Lio kissed Craig.

I've sadly never read anything written by Hannah Moskowitz before but hopefully that will change when this book is released (or when the library decides to order copies of her books). It honestly sounds like nothing I've ever read before. My interest? This book has it.

And there are a quite a number of people out there who have already read the novel due to the vast ARC(advance reading copy) campaign that Moskowitz (her last name is so much fun to say aloud)had going. To those who have read it? I envy you like Loki envies Thor except not to such a level where I am insane. I've also seen some reviews floating about on various sites and they've all been good. I'm excited.

Release Date: MAYBE POSSIBLY April 17, 2012. That's what says at least but if it changes, I'll make an update. BEST BELIEVE IT.

(note: title quote is from the Paulo Nutini song New Shoes.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Long Stolen Night

The theme for this post is the captive narrative. I know, I know. Dark, right? The two following books are really good though, I swear.

The Long Night of Leo and Bree by Ellen Wittlinger: Bree just wants to be alone and forget about expectations. On the fourth anniversary of his sister's murder, Leo is losing his mind and spinning out of control. Leo kidnaps Bree and takes her hostage. It's going to be one long night for the both of them.

It introduces the things that Leo and Bree are running away from early on. Bree is sick of being told what to do by her parents and her boyfriend and following their orders. She just wants a night to herself. Leo is still distraught over the murder of his sister Michelle and can no longer take the effects it's had on his mom. The story is told in alternating points of view and Leo and Bree both have distinct voices.

And despite how horrible things begin between them, Leo and Bree find common ground and they try to help one another to work through their problems. In my opinion, Leo finds a bit of redemption. His pain does not excuse his actions but he does realize that the decision to take Bree was a bad one and feels guilt because of it. I also really like that Bree is honest (sometimes even rude) with Leo and works to try and help him. They help each other realize that they are strong and capable of being better.

It ends on a very hopeful note for both characters and though the book is short, it doesn't feel incomplete. In fact, you are struck with a sense of possibility for Leo and Bree.

Girl, Stolen by April Henry: Cheyenne Wilder is dozing in the backseat of the family car while her stepmom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. She wakes up from her nap to realize that the car isn't being driven by her stepmom but by a stranger who has stolen the car.

All Griffin wanted was the car. He didn't mean to take Cheyenne. Things only get worse when Griffin's father realizes that there's money to be made from Cheyenne since she's from a wealthy family.

How will Cheyenne get through it when she's both sick with pneumonia and blind?

I just finished this novel today. It took forever (7 months) for the library to finish processing it. I am not gifted with very much patience.

First, I'm going to talk about the characters. I loved Cheyenne because even though the odds were against her, she fought to survive and ultimately saved herself. She didn't allow her blindness to stop her, which it predictably could have and no one would have batted an eyelash.

I couldn't help but like Griffin too. He's a kid who dropped out of high school, is possibly dyslexic and the only family member he has is a terrifying and abusive dad. He takes care of Cheyenne, protects her even and helps her escape despite the risk he's taking with his father finding out about it.

Some might complain that the novel is slow at the beginning and some of the information presented about character back stories is unnecessary but I don't think any of that is true. The novel flows really well and it builds and builds the tension with each chapter until the end. I also enjoy getting to know the characters that I'll be spending about 2 to 3 days with while I read.

April Henry did a lot of research and it shines through in this novel. It's not just a relaying of a bunch of the facts she's learned but more a sharing of her understanding with the reader through Griffin's questions and Cheyenne's answers.

I really enjoyed these novels so I hope that other people will give them a chance too.