Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jane Giveaway Winner and October's book club selection

A big congratulations to Erin (of Aelia Reads.  There were so many Erin's that entered!  It's a fairly awesome name so I'm not complaining) you've won a ARC copy of April Lindner's Jane.  I'll email you shortly to get your address.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

I hope you all check it out when it comes out October 11th.  It's a fun, clever take on Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and a pleasure to read.

Well, you guys have spoken and it looks like On Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta will be our October book club selection.  I've heard so many wonderful things about this book I'm really excited to finally get around to reading it!

Review - Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Summary (found on the back of the book): Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is the now-classic novel of two women in the 1980s: of gray-headed Mrs Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women--of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth--who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present--for Evelyn and us--will never be quite the same again.

Review: Okay, I have two confessions to make.

Confession # 1: I've always avoided any book by Fannie Flagg because I thought they were mainly for older people. (Hi, my name is Janelle and I'm a recovering book snob.)

Confession # 2:  I've never seen the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, and did not realize that this was the book the movie was based on. (Apparently, I also live under a rock.)

I would love to say that I picked up this Fannie Flagg book because I was determined to broaden my horizons but, unfortunately, that's not the case. It took the Crazy Book Swap, courtesy of Wallace at the blog Unputdownables, and my swap partner Cass to make me finally step up to the plate.

I'm glad I did!

The first word that comes to mind after reading this book is COMMUNITY. The story of Mrs. Cleo Threadgoode (aka Ninny) is one of a small town who continually looked out for each other. An open-minded and accepting group of people, they provided a entertaining background for this story.

My favorite thing about this book was the attention given to each character, main or background, and to Whistle Stop, Alabama. It's been a long time since I've liked loved every single character in one book. Each character's story, seamlessly linked by the town's newsletter (The Weems Weekly) was captivating; I was just as interested in Idgie and Ruth's love for each other as I was Smokey the hobo's journey or Arvis Peavy's transformation from boy to ladies' man. Their tales were poignant, infused with humor and warmth.

This isn't just a story of community. Flagg also touches upon race relations, women's lib and same-sex relationships. She doesn't preach, instead she uses this community, this town to demonstrate acceptance of all people.

Evelyn's story, though less explored, is the one I related to most at this particular time--
"This morning, as they drove out to the nursing home, she realized that her life was becoming unbearable. Every morning she would play games with herself, just to get through the day. Like telling herself that today something wonderful was going to happen...that the next time the phone would ring, it would be good news that would change her life..."
That's what I get for being a book snob. There are points where I feel like this now and I'm in my twenties. Evelyn is 48. (Hmmm...I may also be a recovering ageist...) She feels as if she's going insane (largely due to low hormone levels and going through "the change"). She feels like "she has gotten lost somewhere along the way". It isn't until she meets Ninny that something in her begins to change. Through the stories of Idgie, Ruth and the Whistle Stop Cafe, she begins to find her place and take charge of her life.

(Seriously, Idgie is a rock star. This character, though immature at times, is passionate about everything and gets things DONE. I wanna be like Idgie...just sayin'.)

This is an uplifting story and it's one I needed at this particular moment. Light-hearted, witty and moving, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is definitely a keeper. Sorry, Ms. Flagg, for being stubborn and not giving in sooner!

LitSnit Grade: A

(Thanks to Wallace at Unputdownables for the Crazy Book Swap & to Cass of Bonjour Cass for this book!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday--Daniela

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Release Date: May 10, 2011

"What Happened to Goodbye" is about a high school senior who, after her parents’ divorce, has taken up the practice of assuming a new identity in each of the four towns she’s lived in (blurb provided by Goodreads).

Choosing What Happened to Goodbye* as my WoW selection this week might seem a bit stranger after the review I wrote about Just Listen (the only Sarah Dessen book I’ve read to date). But I did promise to give her another go…eventually…and it seems her newest novel might just be tempting enough.

I’ll admit that I’m a bit apprehensive, however the brief and rather vague synopsis of What Happened to Goodbye does have some appeal and I’m biting. There’s intrigue in reading about a teen morphing into new personas as she moves from town to town. Can't you feel the promise of adventure and inner conflict already?

Sadly, this book doesn’t have an official cover yet. Looking at Dessen’s last few releases, I think we can safely assume that her publisher will put together some lovely composition of limbs against a placid background to entice readers into purchasing What Happened to Goodbye...not that Dessen's name isn't an incentive enough.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

*What Happened to Goodbye a title change. When Dessen first announced her intentions of releasing a book in 2011, the project was called Cut and Run.

Update: What Happened to Goodbye cover is revealed.

Note: Waiting on Wednesday is an ingenious idea hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review - The Season by Sarah MacLean

Summary: Seventeen year old Lady Alexandra is strong-willed and sharp-tongued -- in a house full of older brothers and their friends, she had to learn to hold her own. Not the best makings for an aristocratic lady in Regency London. Yet her mother still dreams of marrying Alex off to someone safe, respectable, and wealthy. When the Earl of Blackmoor is mysteriously killed, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. But will Alex's heart be stolen in the process?(via Goodreads)

Review: It’s so challenging to write a review about regency romances (or even regular romances) because of the similarities in the underlying plotlines of books within this genre. Most commonly in a regency, you get to read about fantastically idealized 19th century characters, who are involved in the most dramatic romantic situations, and are somehow able to resolve everything with a happily ever after ending. The Season isn’t a novel that aims to break these rules, but is a pleasingly constructed variation of this well-loved mold.

The gist:

As our lovable and amazing heroine we have Alexandra. She is an incontestably beauty of seventeen, who is too intellectually opinionated for her own good and has no intention of losing her “perceived” freedoms by marrying any simpleton with a title. Only her romanticized version of The One could ever make her want to be a wife.

Alexandra’s leading male interest is Gavin. He is a dashing young Lord with blond hair, long legs and a lopsided grin. He has known Alexandra all her life, and had been more or less like a brother to her, until he matured into a gorgeous young man capable of making all the ladies (including those in the reading audience) swoon.

Serving as the supporting cast are Vivi and Ella, who have been Alex’s best pals since infancy. Vivi and Ella’s apparent purposes include being loyal, loving, unconventionally understanding, and capable of involving her in all kind of unladylike behavior.

Some bonuses:

• A multitude of luxurious balls. This book is entitled The Season because it recounts Alex, Vivi and Ella’s coming out season into the British ton, and so these girls must go to many many balls! This directly translates into a greater number of scintillating and sexually tense dance floor encounters between Gavin and Alexandra.

• Espionage—of the Britain-hates-France (and vice-versa) persuasion.

• Alexandra’s three brothers. They are tall, handsome, intelligent, athletic, and just as romantic hero-worthy as Gavin.

• The cover of the book. It features models representing Ella, Vivi and Alex, clad exactly the way MacLean described in the book. I think that such a precise match of book cover and story gives The Season a little extra umph!

Some unfortunate omissions:

• A steamy love scene. But folks, it is a YA book.

The Season is just what it promises to be, a romance for teens. There are no hidden agendas or crazy twists. It’s enjoyable the way any good romance promises to be enjoyable. It envelops you in a world of unreachable lavishness and beauty, that's really fun to occupy for a few days. So, if you’re in the mood for a romance that’s more restrained and less sensual, I’d recommend this as a satisfactory option.

Lit Snit Verdict: B

Monday, September 27, 2010

Review — Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Summary (via Goodreads): Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

Review:  There's been a lot of buzz about Paranormalcy around the YA blogosphere so I was pretty excited to get my hands on this one.  I didn't know quite what to expect; this premise could be either super cheesy or fantastic.  Will this book change paranormal YA forever?  No.  But it is an incredibly enjoyable read with a clever premise and Evie is a likable character who I'm looking forward to seeing more of.

My initial thought when I started reading was "this is like Hellboy if Hellboy was a teenage girl," and really, who doesn't want to see what Hellboy would be if he was a teenage girl (minus the sawed off horns and cigars).  I loved the entire concept of the IPCA and learning about their inner workings.  From gremlins to hags, White uses a lot of old myths and legends to populate her world.  The folklore geek in me was in heaven.  I can't help compare it with Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels series a little.  I think White's world sometimes lacked a little grittiness and realism that I loved in Strange Angels, but with things like fairies and unicorns (I hope we get a peek at those in future books) it's much more rooted in magic and it has a much lighter tone overall so it works.

I also appreciated how you really saw how sheltered Evie was, growing up in the IPCA, especially next to lend.  Her exuberance sometimes bordered on over-the-top, but it was all well in character.  She was bubbly and snarky without being annoying or bratty.  Her relationship with Lend develops naturally and they quickly become too adorable for words.

I've never been a huge fan of fairies so when I saw that one of the main characters was fey I kind of wrinkled my nose.  I read Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely and wasn't overly impressed, but I think I'm just not into that avenue of paranormal YA.  However, there was something about Reth and White's description of fairies that finally made me realize how compelling they are.  Though I found myself kind of developing a crush on Reth, his abilities to control humans and the threat of being lost in his world forever totally freaked me out (and I tend to love amoral characters).  So thanks, to Kiersten for finally hitting home how frightening fairies are.  I can't wait to see more of Reth.

I do wish we got more time with the IPCA.  I found that world so interesting and compelling, I was a little disappointed they seem to be going in a different direction in future books.  I love the idea of this supernatural agency working behind the scenes of our world and wanted to see more.  Even still, I'll definitely be picking up book two in this fun, addictive series.

Lit Snit Verdict: B+

Friday, September 24, 2010

Casting Call: The DUFF

Happy Friday!

After spending days thinking "what to cast, what to cast" I've finally settled on Kody Keplinger's The Duff, which our own lovely Erin reviewed a couple of months ago. Just to recap:

Summary (courtesy of Goodreads): Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. 

Cool, right? A rock star debut for Kody Keplinger! With that being said, here is the cast for...

Character descriptions courtesy of Kody Keplinger

Bianca Piper: Bianca is the star and the narrator of THE DUFF. She's sarcastic and super cynical, but also very loyal to her best friends, Casey and Jessica.Bianca is kind of anti-social. She hates parties and clubs and prefers just being alone with her friends watching James McAvoy movies. Appearance wise, we don't know that much about B. Here's what we know - she has wavy auburn hair, she's only 5'2", and she *says* she is overweight and flat chested, but the jury is still out on that one. She's definitely not as thin as her best friends, which is how the whole "DUFF" thing gets started.

Cast: Alia Shawkat--Alia Shawkat isn't your typical 'pretty actress' (and thank God!). She is pretty but it's a down to earth pretty. Based on her portrayal of  the snarky, sarcastic Maeby on Arrested Development & her being cast in the gritty film The Runaways, I think Alia would be amazing. (I know that she's not 'fat' but according to Bianca's friends, she wasn't fat, either.)

Wesley Rush: On the surface, Wesley seems like your typical slimy playboy - he really, really likes the ladies, and they really, really like him back. But here's what you may not know about Wesley: while he doesn't always advertise it, he's one of the smartest kids at Hamilton High School. He's ranked third in their graduating class. Appearance wise, Wesley is pretty freakin' hot. He's 6'2" and totally muscular. He has curly brown hair, gray eyes, and a sneaky little grin that drives Bianca nuts . . . in both good ways and bad.

Cast: Chace Crawford--I know, I know, Chace Crawford does not have dark curly hair, or grey eyes for that matter. Still he would totally be the d-bag with the heart of gold. He already carries that role pretty well on Gossip Girl and it would be easy for him to bring that experience to the table. He's charismatic, easy on the eyes but looks like he could turn evil in a second.  

Toby Tucker: Toby is a Young Democrat. He's super involved in politics, and he has been since he was twelve. His favorite class is AP Government, and he spent a lot of time promoting Voter Registration at his high school. One day, Toby hopes to be a senator.Toby is about five-foot-nine and skinny. He has blond hair cut in a dorky old fashion bowl cut. His eyes are green, and he wears oval shaped glasses. He always wears a navy blue blazer (his favorite color) with everything he owns. Over all, he's pretty adorable in the smart, nerdy kind of way.

Cast: Kevin McHale--Okay, again, I'm stepping outside the box here but I think Glee's Kevin McHale could nail it. He has the cute, nerdy quality that has earned him a decent teenage girl fan base. In his interviews, he's eloquent, funny and charming--three qualities a future politician should have.

Jessica Gaither: Jessica Gaither is the daughter of a psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Gaither, and a dentist, Dr. Janice Leck-Gaither.She had trouble making good friends for a while after moving, but she is now best friends with Casey Blythe and Bianca Piper. Jessica is a constant ball of sunshine. She may be percieved as "ditsy" by some, but usually just over enthusiasm.  Looks wise, Jessica is adorable. She's about 5'5" and super curvy. She has golden blond, long hair that she usually wears in a ponytail. She wears lots of pastels, and she loves skirts.

Cast: Kaley Cuoco--Kaley is adorable! On the Big Bang Theory, Kaley's character dazzles everyone around her, even is she comes off less than 'smart'. She's bubbly, cute and I think she'd be a perfect fit. 

Casey Blythe:  Casey met Bianca when they were five years old on the playground. She instantly took the role as Bianca's "protector" - a role Casey plays with lots of her friends. Her natural instinct is to take care of her friends and defend them. She's incredibly loyal, and she doesn't like letting her friends go.  As for how she looks, Casey is very tall. She's almost six-feet-one and she is very self conscious about her height. She has blond hair and hazel eyes. Recently, she chopped her blond hair into a pixie cut. She's got an athletic build from years of cheerleading, and she loves to wear bright colors.

Cast: I DON'T KNOW.  Seriously, I thought this would be super easy...I mean just find a young blond actress, right? Wrong. It's tough to find a protective cheerleader. Mal (my roommate) and I have been sitting here drawing a blank for quite a while so...

Who would you suggest for Casey? What do you think of the other choices? Am I pointed in the right direction or completely off base? Let me know!

By the way...check out Kody's cast for The Duff here!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday — Erin

Morning Glory by Diana Peterfreund
Ballantine Books
Pub Date: October 19, 2010

Summary (via Goodreads):  BREAKING NEWS: Plucky young TV producer is fired from her gig at a local morning show in New Jersey-but vows to land on her feet. With an unfinished college education and suddenly out of a job, Becky Fuller finds herself at Daybreak, a floundering network morning news program in New York City that's sinking faster than the Titanic. Abysmal ratings are only the tip of the iceberg: The outdated cameras belong in the Smithsonian, and executive producers never stay beyond the next commercial break. To reverse the downward spiral, Becky hires legendary newscaster Mike Pomeroy as co-anchor—or rather, she makes him an offer he can't contractually refuse. Mike abhors Daybreak's fluff pieces (pet psychics?) and takes an instant dislike to Colleen, his equally vain co-anchor. The only bright side of Becky's career is Adam Bennett, the gorgeous producer of an actual hard news show, but Daybreak's dysfunction spells trouble for their blossoming relationship. As Mike and Colleen's on-air chemistry proves explosive, Becky must scramble to save her love life, her reputation, and Daybreak itself before the network pulls the plug
So here’s the thing.  I don’t do novelizations of movies for the most part.  Even I, who will read pretty much anything, kind of turn up my nose at them, thinking “what’s the point? Just watch the movie for Pete’s sake.”  But this is Diana Peterfreund, people, so it automatically gets a pass.

Her YA killer unicorn series got a similar pass (killer unicorns took a bit getting used to at first) because I loved her Secret Society Girl series so much and I ended up really enjoying Rampant.  So I’m pretty excited to see what Peterfreund will do with this movie novelization.  I was already excited for the movie version of Morning Glory because of Rachel McAdams and JJ Abrams (who’s directing), but now that Diana Peterfreund is in the mix it’s like a trifecta of awesome.  

Can I say though that I hate that she's referred to as a "plucky" young TV producer.  Plucky?  Really??  I hate that word.  It makes me think she's a duck.
Edit: And it looks like Diana Peterfreund just posted some info about Morning Glory at her blog!  Check it out!

*Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Don't Forget!

Don't forget our giveaway for a copy of April Lindner's Jane (which I loved) ends Friday! 

Also, the last day to cast your vote for October's book club selection ends Thursday.  The poll is on the left sidebar on the main page.

How's everyone coming with September's book club selection The Imperfectionists?  I don't know about you but I'm really enjoying it.  I can't wait to discuss it!

Review — The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

Summary (via Goodreads): What if love refused to die?

Haven Moore can’t control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother’s house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.

In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves¸ before all is lost and the cycle begins again.

Review: I originally came across this book from a review by Jody who counted The Eternal Ones as a book she just couldn’t put down. I've liked a lot of the books she's recommended (and she's a fellow Kelley Armstrong lover) so her positive review made me really excited to get my hands on what seemed like a fantastic new YA series. While I didn’t share her opinion that this was an “unputdownable,” it was an interesting concept.

The idea of past lives is incredibly interesting and I haven’t seen many (if any) books on this phenomenon/idea. However, it takes Miller at least half the book to get to the actual story of Haven and Iain’s past lives. Much of the beginning of the story deals with Haven’s family and her town, which have little impact later when she goes to New York. We learn all about her grandmother and mother, but they disappear once Haven ventures out on her own in search of Ethan (or Iain or whatever...the dual name thing gets old quickly).

Luckily, her best friend Beau is kept in the mix through phone calls. I have to say that Beau is probably the best gay best friend ever created in YA. He’s funny, smart, and original. He’s got his own life and tells Haven exactly what she needs to hear like “you’re acting like a crazy fool,” or “hello, I have my own life and it doesn’t revolve around you and your drama.” I love that Miller didn’t just make him service Haven’s story but created him as a well-rounded character that isn’t clichéd at all.

Between Haven’s creepy reverend, her Bible-beating grandmother, and her Pentecostal friend (who sees the future?) religion plays a big part of Haven’s story. However, Miller never really connects the dots between Haven’s reincarnation and religion. I almost feel like I would have liked The Eternal Ones better if it was either about religion and the forces that are pushing Haven’s journey along OR about past lives. The use of both was just confusing and led to a feeling like I was reading a book that couldn't figure out exactly what story it wanted to tell.

I don’t think it helped that I was supposed to buy into this epic love between Iain and Haven, but found her much more interesting on her own or with Beau. Iain just seemed incredibly controlling and condescending. He was always manipulating Haven into doing something she didn’t want to and lying to her.  He is supposed to be “like a drug” for Haven, but I didn’t really understand his charisma or power over her. I found myself hoping he was as shady as he seemed just so she wouldn’t end up with him. That said, Miller does do a good job of keeping you guessing. I felt just as lost as Haven as she tried to navigate this new world where she didn’t know who was telling the truth. It’s rare that I feel like I totally have no clue what’s coming next like I did with The Eternal Ones.

I think the concept of half lives would make a great YA series, but I doubt I’ll pick up the second book in this one. An interesting story and a couple of good characters gets bogged down by too many ideas (seriously I didn't even talk about the horribly named Ouroboros Society which is a whole other concept that would take forever to discuss) and and plot threads that go nowhere.

Lit Snit Verdict: C

I'd be interested to see what other people think of this one though, seeing as I had such a different reaction than the other review I saw of The Eternal Ones.  Have any of you read it?  What did you think?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Review - Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford

Summary: (via Goodreads) I'm not crazy. I don't see what the big deal is about what happened. But apparently someone does think it's a big deal because here I am. I bet it was my mother. She always overreacts.

Fifteen-year-old Jeff wakes up on New Year's Day to find himself in the hospital. Make that the psychiatric ward. With the nutjobs. Clearly, this is all a huge mistake. Forget about the bandages on his wrists and the notes on his chart. Forget about his problems with his best friend, Allie, and her boyfriend, Burke. Jeff's perfectly fine, perfectly normal, not like the other kids in the hospital with him. Now they've got problems. But a funny thing happens as his forty-five-day sentence drags on—the crazies start to seem less crazy.

Review: Suicide Notes is a book with a bold title that doesn’t shy away from dealing with a bold subject: suicide. Written as a 45 day log, it is the story of Jeff, a suicide-attemptee, who is enrolled in a teen suicide program after his parents discover him bleeding to death on his bedroom floor one New Year’s Eve.

Even though none of this is the least bit funny, Jeff’s narration, as he begins to describe life in the psychiatric unit, is surprisingly jolly. Instead of embarking on some morbid trip of self introspection, Jeff humors us with his observations of the strange and weird and wondrous people that surround him. Yeah, he might have tried to off himself just days ago, but in a psych ward that’s more or less the norm. As he sees it, an entirely different set of criteria must be applied before correctly labeling one as a “loony” (e.g., laughing at the idea of burning someone else to death in their sleep, and the like).

Eventually though, the dark sarcasm fades and is replaced by the deeper emotions that have been plaguing Jeff all this time. He is a kid with a secret, a secret that seems both frightening and shameful to him. And at fifteen, dealing with things you can’t change or know how to accept can feel impossible. Suicide seemed like a way out at some point, but now that Jeff has survived the attempt, he must once again face the issues as well as the consequences of what he has done.

As a character, Jeff can be described as scared and withheld. Some narrators are created to tell the reader everything about themselves in the first few pages of a book, while others hold back and need you to be there during the whole adventure before you can know them completely. Jeff is appropriately molded using the second technique and most of his confessions don’t happen until the second half of the story. Not unlike a new friendship, you have to experience enough with him to finally earn his trust.

My favorite part of the story is the insight into the parent-child dynamic shifts that happen after a suicide attempt. No one would argue the difficulty in facing your loved ones after making such a decision about your future. Jeff is forced to deal with this during several program-designated family sessions, where parents and child share feelings about what has happened. These sessions were difficult and emotional and as realistic as I can imagine them being. Jeff’s mother and father were authentic in the sorrow they felt over their underrepresented love for Jeff and their general cluelessness in understanding this quickly maturing version of him.

The issue of suicide isn't easy to handle because of all the blame and the hurt and the emotions that must be described. Michael Thomas Ford writes compellingly about all these, while also injecting the right amount of hopefulness and humor.

Lit Snit Verdict: B

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Review--Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards

Summary: (courtesy of Goodreads): He has a hungry mind.
Bad-boy chef Wes Murphy is dreading his final-semester cooking class-Food Chemistry 101-until he meets the new substitute teacher. Dr. Rosemary Wilkins is a feast for the eyes, though her approach to food is strictly academic. So Wes decides to rattle her Bunsen burner by asking for her hands-on advice-on aphrodisiacs...

She's got love down to a science.
Rosemary is a little wary about working with Wes, whose casual flirtations make her hot under the collar. But once they begin testing the love-enhancing power of chocolate, oysters, and strawberries, it becomes scientifically evident that the brainy science nerd and the boyish chef have some major chemistry together-and it’s delicious... 

Review: I mentioned this book about three weeks ago as one of my Waiting on Wednesday reads.  I was looking forward to the easy, flirty, sexy and fun read I've come to expect from Louisa Edwards after Can't Stand the Heat and On the Steamy Side. 

I think I'm still waiting...

The attraction between two characters in a mass market romance has to be immediate. You can't spend 150 pages developing it...that's half the some cases, almost the whole book. Louisa Edwards did a FANTASTIC job of establishing this connection in Can't Stand the Heat. The chemistry was there from the first initial pages.

In this particular book, I feel like the chemistry between Wes and Rosemary is forced from the get-go, which sucks because Rosemary is such a likeable character. She's a genius...she's book smart about everything bus has no insight into the messiness that stems from human relationships. It's refreshing because she's not overthinking this relationship...this book doesn't focus on her wondering what's happening because she really has no idea she's supposed to, making her an odd but loveable heroine. 

On  the other hand, Wes (the chef in this book) is kind of...blah. He lacks the strong personality of your typical romantic hero. I think the whole draw of romance novels, for myself at least, is the strong masculine man--self-assured & confident, strong with some sort of...animal magnetism. (Eek...I really did just use that term. I apologize profusely.) Wes, somehow, seems to lack that and comes off as a large child. It's not attractive in life and it sure ain't attractive in fantasy. 

The combination of these two personalities, along with the lack of an actual story, fell flat. 

I really, really wanted to love this book. It just seemed to lack the personality (the charisma?) of the first two. 

LitSnit Grade: C

**However, I encourage you to read all three...if not for the main characters then for the minor romance that is followed throughout all three books between Jess (Miranda's brother from Can't Stand the Heat) and Frankie (Adam's best friend and sous chef in the same book). The romance between these two men is genuine and I honestly will continue to read Edwards's books for this story alone!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Casting Call Friday - Looking for Alaska by John Green

This week's CCF session is about John Green's Printz Award winning novel, Looking for Alaska. 

Story Summary (via GoodreadsBefore. Miles "Pudge" Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave "the Great Perhaps" even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

After finishing Looking for Alaska, I finally understand why John Green is so popular among the YA lit crowd. He writes brilliant stories, and he writes them very well. I was most impressed with how economically composed this book was; all the details, big or small, worked toward the cohesive whole and nothing was insignificant or excessive. It was a great great book!

OK, let's check out the cast I picked for this one:

Miles “Pudge” Halter is the story’s narrator and main character. He is a skinny and tall. He isn’t into sports and is more awkward than popular. His is also obsessed with famous people’s last words.

Casting Callback: Logan Lerman - Logan Lerman embodies that look of innocence and naivete, and i really don't think there is anyone out there with a face more suited for the character of Miles.

Alaska Young is described as an adolescent boy’s dream girl. She is flirtatious, confident and beautiful (curvy with long dark hair). She is also very bright, but a dark past haunts her throughout the story. In short, Alaska is fun but very internally conflicted.

Casting Callback: Kaya Scodelario - I don't think you can get much more beautiful than Kaya Scodelario. She is a really good actress too, which is vital to playing someone as prone to mood swings as Alaska Young. 

Chip “The Colonel” Martin is Pudge’s roommate. He is described as short and very muscular. He is very smart and confident and often assumes a leadership role when dealing with Miles and all their other friends.

Casting Callback: Josh Hutchenson - Josh is one of those actors that does brilliantly in the supporting character role category. He is also the right height (which is important) and the comedic sense he displays on screen is just right for The Colonel.

Takumi Hikohito is Miles’s friends. He has Japanese origins. He is musically inclined and loves to rap.

Casting Callback: Justin Chon - OK, I'll admit that I'm not very familiar many young actors who have Asian backgrounds. Justin Chon made a really good impression on me as Eric in the Twilight movies. And although Justin is older (almost 30), I think he can pull off one more high school role.

Lara Buterskaya is Mile’s classmate and short-lived romantic interest. She is a Romanian immigrant and has a thick Eastern European accent. She is described as very good looking but quiet.

Casting Callback: Anna Popplewell - Anna is actually from English, but i still think she has some Eastern European features in her face. She is really pretty and scores very high in her acting abilities too.

Note: Paramount has already bought the movie rights to Looking for Alaska. This project is set to be completed in 2013.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Forgotten Treasure!

Ooh! Late night post! :)

For Book Blogger Appreciation Week, today we were invited to share a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers. This was a hard one because all of the book bloggers I've come across? You guys are rock stars. I learn more about my favorite authors through you and it's always much appreciated. So, in light of this, I decided to go with:

"Rozelle Quinn is so fair-skinned that she can pass for white. Her ten children are mostly light, too. Everyone in the small Georgia town in which she lives knows that they have different fathers. She favors her light children, but it is Tangy Mae, the darkest of them all, who is the brightest and the only one desperate to get an education. Even in rural Pakersfield they have heard of the Supreme Court's recent ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, though they are in no hurry to comply with it." "Rozelle wants thirteen-year-old Tangy Mae to take over her jobs: days, doing house cleaning for whites; nights, servicing men, white and black, at the "Farmhouse." And Rozelle is not a woman whose commands can lightly be ignored. She is a creature of moods, possessive of all her children, desperate for their love, demanding of utter loyalty and obedience, harshly repressive of any signs of independence. They are the only thing in her life that she can control." The Darkest Child shows us a world misshapen by years of oppression in which family is powerful yet offers little kindness or comfort. It shows us a world in which attitudes of prejudice have been adopted by its victim, and the resulting struggle of those who are darker complected is a struggle not only against outsiders, but against the closest of kin.--Goodreads

I read this book two times, back to back. It's a moving story; one that deals with not only race but a dysfunctional family led by an emotionally unstable mother. I cried while reading this book, sympathizing for children who would never know what family life is like. Add in the time period and race issues and I was DONE. It's not an easy read but it's definitely a thought-provoking one. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday--Janelle

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: December 21, 2010

 Summary (via Goodreads): When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. He seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on… but some questions should be left unanswered.

About 4 or 5 months ago, I was in Borders with Erin trying to decide which Sarah Dessen book I should buy (It was an intense internal discussion!) when Erin plucked Courtney Summers’ Some Girls Are off the shelf and said “You should buy this one instead.” I’m not going to lie…I hadn’t read a whole lot of YA and, to be honest, I wasn’t exactly excited to read what I thought would be another version of Mean Girls. Still, I bought it because she told me “If you don’t like it, I’ll reimburse you.” (Later on, she clarified she would reimburse me in friendship…ha! :D )

Erin, as usual, was spot on.

I loved Some Girls Are. It was an honest, raw depiction of what girls in high school can really be like—she didn’t sugarcoat anything. This is why I’m excited about Fall for Anything. I know I can expect a genuine, edgy, and slightly uncomfortable but entertaining read.

*Waiting on Wednesday is an ingenious idea hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week — Unexpected Treasure

Today for Book Blogger Appreciation Week we were invited to share a book or genre we tried due to the influence of another blogger. 

Erin's Unexpected Treasure:

There are a lot of books that I try based on others reviews.  I originally loathed the title to If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend, but Emily's love of the book got me to give it a try and I adored it.  Similarly, Daniela recently reviewed Rachel Caine's Glass Houses, the first in the Morganville Vampire series, a book I had tried and didn't like from the first few pages, but ended up devouring it and the second in the series in one weekend.

One review that sticks out in my mind is Jody's (of With a Good Book) review of The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, a book that you may know from my interview at Laura's site, I'm Booking It, is one of my favorites this year.  It was just a beautiful book of loss and finding first love and discovering who you are.  I had the ARC on my shelf for weeks not thinking much about it because I wasn't too inspired by the cover, but after reading Jody's review I decided to give it a try and the rest, as they say, is history.  I simply can't say enough good things about this book and practically forced it on Janelle and Daniela. 

Daniela's Unexpected Treasure: 

My category is Nonfiction. I actually enjoy reading nonfiction books quite a bit, but I have been shying away from reading any because I think they are so hard to review. Nonfiction is just very tricky, and I often find that I have more questions than reactions or conclusions when reading within that genre. Because of this, I’m full of admiration for book bloggers who are undaunted by the prospect of reading and reviewing nonfiction works. One of my favorites would have to be Jenny, who blogs over at Jenny’s Books. Her reads are quite eclectic and she dabbles with nonfiction from time to time. All her reviews (in any genre) are very interesting and well written, but I’m especially appreciative of the great job she does with nonfiction.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Blogger Appreciation Week — Interview Swap

As part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week I had the privilege of interviewing a fellow book blogger about books, blogging, and everything in between.  Laura has an amazing blog, I'm Booking It, that you should all check out immediately.  While she and I differ on fundamental things like Ranger vs. Morelli and Eric vs. Bill (I mean, the answer is obviously Morelli and Eric every time), she's a fabulous reviewer and has turned me on to some great books.

Check out what Laura has to say here and go to her blog to see my interview!

1.  Tell me about yourself—Where you live, what you do, what hobbies you have (besides reading), basically what keeps you from reading and blogging. 

I'm a 41 year old stay at home mom living in Silicon Valley, trying to decide what I want to do when I grow up.  My main time commitments are related to my daughter-- volunteering at her school (Even in middle school, they want parents in the classroom.  I help with science and language arts each week.  I may do a book blogging unit with some of the kids!), driving her to and from rhythmic gymnastics practice (3-4 times a week) and dance class.

I also run two book clubs.  Outside of that, I have a lot of time to spend reading and blogging, and it shows in my monthly wrap-up posts.  (Well, I also spend too much time playing Farmville, and have been known to watch quite a bit of TV-- we'll see what happens when the new season starts up.  I spend much less time than I should on housework and such.).

2.  And of course tell me about your blog—what made you decide to start a blog?  Where'd you come up with the name?  What are your favorite aspects of having a book blog?

I started the blog as part of that "trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up".   I used to be in high tech, but since I've been out of my field for over 12 years, my experience isn't particularly relevant anymore.

I'd taken some classes, and wanted to get some hands on web experience, so I thought I'd start a blog-- the problem was coming up with something that people might actually be interested in reading.  I figured my experience with the two book clubs might count for something, and I decided on books.  I didn't go looking for other book blogs until after I started.

My blog name came out of my Twitter name (another experiment with the world of current technology).  I started out using my real name, but decided I wanted something shorter and more fun.  I decided on BookingIt because I'm always running off somewhere (book in hand).  That was taken when it came time to start my blog, but I'm Booking It seemed a natural extension.

My favorite aspects of having a book blog are mostly social-- I like the people I've met on-line (and it's particularly fun when we then meet off-line), and it gives me something to talk about when I meet people face to face.  The books themselves (the ones I get for review and the ones I find out about and buy myself) are a nice part of it as well.

3.  You have a daughter—does she know about your blog?  Do you do any reading together?  Does she influence what you read and blog about?

My daughter (who is 12) does know about my blog, and reads it at times.  We were going to do some reading and blogging together this past summer, but only got one post written.  We're starting to enjoy more of the same books and I'll sometimes talk in my reviews about whether or not I'll suggest a book to her, or what she thought if she's already read it.

4.  A hard question (for me at least): what's your favorite book?  Favorite genre?

I think my favorite book is probably The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King.  It's at least high enough on the list that I don't feel bad about singling it out.  I'm an eclectic reader, and prefer not to spend TOO much time in any one genre, but I probably lean most towards mysteries.

5. Do you have an e-reader?  Do you have any opinions on the digital direction publishing is moving in?

I have a Nook.  I enjoy it, and would probably use it more if it wasn't for the books I get for review.  With the huge piles of backlog I have, I tend to look at physical books when picking what to read next, even though I have great choices from NetGalley on my Nook!

I really don't know where digital publishing is going to go.   When talking to friends that read but don't have e-readers, the lack of being able to lend books is a big issue.  Even on my Nook, which has the capability to lend to other Nooks, less than c 1/2 the books I've bought have that option enabled.

6.  Who's your dream author interview?  Blogger interview (I mean, besides me :) )?

I'm scared of interviews!  This swap is my second interview ever, with the first being BBAW last year.

So far, I've passed up all opportunities to do author interviews on my blog.  If the chance to interview Laurie R. King, Charles de Lint, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman or Janet Evanovich came up, I'd take a deep breath and jump in, hoping I could find something interesting to ask about.  All five of them seem to be interesting and possibly approachable people.

If I wanted to interview another blogger, I think I'd be willing to just ask.  So far, the urge hasn't struck!

7.  What literary universe would you love to live in?

Maybe Thursday Next's, where she can jump in and out of books?

8.  Do you have any goals or plans for the future of your blog?  What one post or feature are you most proud of so far?

I want to move to a self hosted wordpress blog, so I can start playing more with the technical side of blogging.  I want to get more regular readers of my blog, and improve my Search Engine Optimization so that more people find me.

I can't come up with one post I'm most proud of, so I'll call out my Book Shots min-feature.  I occasionally post bookish photos, often featuring my cat or my daughter.

9.  What are the top five books you've read this year?

Only 5?

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King
If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Just missing the cutoff were
Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Language of Trees by Ilie Ruby
The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint

10.  I see you've read the Sookie Stackhouse books:  Eric or Bill?

Ummm, neither?  I'd take Eric over Bill, but (as in many romance novels) I don't see the appeal of either of them.  Sookie does, and that's enough (and I did like amnesiac Eric).  I did like the were-tiger, but I understand why that relationship went down the path it did.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Blogger Appreciation Week — First Treasure

It's a busy day here at Lit Snit.  Between our Jane Giveaway, our weekend at the Brooklyn Book Festival, and Book Blogger Appreciation Week, it seems like there's so much going on (though it all revolves around books so we can't complain)!

This is our first year participating in Book Blogger Appreciation Week and we're really excited about it.  Our first BBAW post asks us to share a great new book blog you’ve discovered since BBAW last year or share the very first book blog you discovered.

I can't pin point the very first book blog I discovered.  It seemed like I had one, two, and then the list quickly grew exponentially!  I can say that the first one I remember reading with any kind of regularity was Adele's Persnickity Snark.  Adele always has something smart and thought-provoking to say and creates interesting dialogue with her non-review posts about the industry or YA genre itself.

Two other blogs I can't overlook are Emily and Her Little Pink Notes and Forever Young Adult.

On my other blog I called Emily my chick lit soul mate after seeing she loved the vastly underrated Family Fortune.  Plus, she recommended If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend which was probably one of the best chick lit books I've read this year (PS. she's having a giveaway on both book that you should totally check out).  Her reviews are always fun and thoughtful, but more than that her blog really lets you get to know her and feel like she's not just a fellow blogger, but a friend.

The ladies at Forever Young Adult constantly make me giggle.  Between their Hunger Games drinking games, hilarious reviews, and recaps of shows like Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries, they've created an inventive, fun blog that gives us (ahem) older young adults a place to gush and squee without shame. 

So those are my first treasures.  I can't wait to see what other new blogs I find for next year!!


What’s better than spending a weekend reading books? Getting the chance to meet and greet the minds behind the stories, of course. I’m happy to report that I got my fair share of such delightfulness this weekend at the annual Brooklyn Book Festival, where 200+ authors gathered to promote their books, answer questions and meet their fans. There were a lot—and I really mean A LOT—of really popular and wonderful writers present, but I’ll skip over mentioning the ones that I didn’t get the chance to see, because what I really want to talk about are the other ones: the chosen few I did get the opportunity to meet and talk to.
Me, enjoying the awesome day
First on my 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival itinerary was the Young Adult program called "Happily Ever After", which included authors Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall), Jenny Han (It’s Not Summer Without You), and Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars). The discussion was lead by Kirsten Miller (author of The Eternal Ones) and focused on the writing inspiration and techniques. Here are some of the things the three authors shared:
• Jenny Han creates her “evil” characters by endowing them with the negative aspects of her own personality
• Lauren Oliver draws writing inspiration from her own experiences because it’s the most effective way to make her stories authentic and lifelike
• Sara Shepard planned Pretty Little Liars as a single, stand-alone book, and yet somehow it's a series of eight already!
(from left to right) Kirsten Miller, Jenny Han, Sara Shepard, & Lauren Oliver

My second stop for the day was at the "Romancing the Novel." This was a discussion between the two romance writers Sarah MacLean (Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake) and Donna Hill (Private Lessons). I'm not a big fan of the romance genre (for a few reasons I won’t go into here), but I was recently convinced to try Sarah MacLean’s The Season and Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. My reviews of them are pending, but as you can guess, I liked them enough to go see Ms.MacLean in person this weekend. She is very funny and personable and I enjoyed our chit-chat as she autographed my copy of her work. She is just great
Donna Hill impressed me quite a bit as well, and I'm considering breaking my no-romance policy…at least for a while.

The third program I attended was the one I was most excited about. It was called "Being is Scary" and included readings by the two amazing writers Per Petterson and Scott Spencer. I excited about this program because Spencer’s novel Endless Love has intermittently been my favorite book for the past five years (rivaled only by Heart of Darkness and Written on the Body) and I really wanted to meet this man who could write so poignantly about love and obsession at least once in my life. Mission accomplished! What’s more, I introduced to the equally enthralling Per Petterson. Everything Per Petterson said, including the excerpt he read from I Curse the River of Time, left me flabbergast, and the fact that I’ve never read any of his books before is truly criminal.

Tiger Beat (from left to right) Daniel Ehrenhaft, Libba Bray, Barnabas Miller, & Natalie Standiford
The last event I attended at the festival was a performance by the band Tiger Beat. If you’ve never heard of Tiger Beat and you love YA literature, you’d be delighted to find out that this band’s members are some pretty prominent YA authors: Libba Bray (vocals), Daniel Ehrenhaft (guitar), Natalie Standiford (bass) and Barnabas Miller (drums and vocals). Yes indeed, not only are these guys good at writing books, but they know how to sing, play instruments and rock it out in style too! Tiger Beat's performance was fun and lively and their adaptation of Prince’s "Purple Rain” was the perfect ending to a really great day!

Review and Giveaway — Jane by April Lindner

Summary (via Goodreads): Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, an iconic rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer, and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is tested by a torturous secret from his past.

Part irresistible romance and part darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic
Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.
 Review (spoilers if you haven’t read Jane Eyre):  It’s been a while since I read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, but it’s been one of my favorites of the classics so I was excited and more than a little nervous when I heard there was a modern retelling of the iconic story to be published.  I’ve had this book on my shelf a while and have been reluctant to start it.  I wasn’t sure if it could be adapted well in this modern era.
I have to say, it was done pretty darn well.  Lindner keeps mostly to the original story, but changes it up enough to make it her own and keep you from feeling like you know exactly what’s going to come next (even if you kind of do).   
Jane is a heartbreaking character.  You see snippets in flashbacks and memories of her childhood and how misunderstood she was (and still is).  Her mother, in particular, calls her “a cold fish” at one point and it killed me because not is she a horrible mother, but I felt Jane’s frustration at not being able to fully articulate her passion and emotions. 
Rochester, however, was a character that I reacted to totally differently in this version than I did in the original.  I remember thinking Rodchester was brooding, dark, and compelling.  Maybe it was because I was younger when I read the original or maybe it’s easier to forgive certain male character flaws in Victorian and pre-Victorian era novels like those by the Bronte’s or Austen than it is in a modern setting, but in Lindner’s version I didn’t find him nearly as attractive, and it has nothing to do with the way she wrote him.  I saw his actions in a completely new light.  Instead of finding him brooding I just thought Nico was pretty childish and emotionally manipulative.  I mean, really, you’re going to try to make Jane jealous by teasing her that you’re going to marry some rich photographer?  Um, no thank you.  I’d like not to re-live the games I played when I was in 6th grade trying to get Matt Baker to notice me.  I remember thinking at one point, “Jane, you should just run now, because you could do so much better than this head case.”
Yet, just when I started to worry that she was going to overlook his immaturity and the fact that he was still kind of in love with this crazy ex, she stood her ground. There’s a passage right before she leaves Thornfield where Jane realizes that her relationship with Nico won’t work.  It was pretty much word for word all the reasons I had been mentally compiling as to why their relationship was toxic (though she’s way more forgiving of his emotional immaturity).  I so admired that she was so completely in love and utterly heartbroken, but she still knows that she can't stay.  She’s strong when she needs to be strong and is rational throughout the entire relationship without losing any kind of romance or sympathy.
In the original I was so caught up with the epic love story, that Jane’s journey didn’t completely sink in.  In this version, it was watching Jane discover her self-worth that really made this a compelling story.  She moved me to tears several times and impressed me with her independence and courage.  By the end, you don’t fault her for going back to Nico because although he hasn’t really changed, she is better equipped to deal with him and put him in his place.
Whether you’ve read the original or not Jane is a great read.  The second I finished I grabbed my copy of Jane Eyre off the shelf to re-read.  I love that Lindner’s version doesn’t try to replace the original, but it’s a fantastic story on its own and makes you slightly nostalgic for Bronte’s version.  Jane just proves that Charlotte Bronte created a fascinating and timeless character.  Luckily, Lindner is more than capable of capturing her spirit.  Though…I still think Jane could do better than Rochester/Rathburn.
Lit Snit Verdict: A-
I was lucky enough to receive two copies of this book from the publisher and want to share one with you!  Enter below for your chance to win the fabulous Jane by April Lindner.  This is a US/Canada giveaway only (sorry!) and will end 9/24.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Casting Call Friday — Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

I'll admit it.  Daniela's Series Showdown inspired me.  I finished both Glass Houses and Dead Girls' Dance this week and I'm completely addicted to the Morganville Vampires series.  It doesn't take itself too seriously, but still has a lot emotion and drama.  I'm already craving the third book in this fun, quirky series so I thought I'd cast them for this week's Casting Call Friday!
First, here's a summary via Goodreads:
From the author of the popular Weather Warden series comes the debut of an exciting new series set in Morganville, Texas, where you would be well advised to avoid being out after dark.

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.
Now, on to the cast!
Claire:  At 16, Claire’s a young college freshman.  She’s small and thin, frequently compared to a mouse.  She’s quiet and studious, but fierce in standing up for what’s right and defending her friends.  She sometimes acts rashly, but her heart is always in the right place.
She’s a bit glammed up lately in Pretty Little Liars, but I think Lucy Hale could pull off the sweet, smart Claire.  She’s a tiny thing, innocent-looking, and would deliver a good balance of brashness and cleverness.  There’s an earnestness to Lucy that is very Claire.  Claire is tougher than she looks and I think Lucy could bring that strength to the role without the audience forgetting she's just 16.

Eve: Skinny, tall and very, very Goth, Eve is the more maternal figure in the house.  She quickly becomes Claire’s BFF and partner in crime.  Eve’s quick with the quips and is first to defy authority, especially if they’re vampires.  She refuses protection from the vampires, unwilling to play the games that it takes to survive Morganville.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead embodied indie/punk in Scott Pilgrim and I think she could definitely do goth.  Eve might look scary and act tough but she has a lot of heart and her journal entries at the end of each book in the series show us that she's a romantic and vulnerable which Winstead could play perfectly.  She'd  have perfect delivery on Eve’s sarcastic dialogue, too.

Michael: 'Angelic' is a word used to describe Michael many times in the books.  He’s the golden boy, a musician with tall with blond hair and calm demeanor.  Michael’s the voice of reason in the house and sometimes is a little too overprotective of the girls.  He’s also hiding a big secret from his friends.
Hunter Parrish totally has the blond, golden boy thing working for him.  He might be a little prettier than I envisioned Michael, but I think it could work.  He’s a little more composed than most teens and can totally work the angelic protective bit.   Plus, I think he can pull off the more serious character archs that come for Michael’s character in the series.

Shane:  The house hot-head, Shane is describe as a little shaggy, a little athletic, and more than a little lazy.  However, he’s incredibly loyal and quick to protect his housemates.  He seems to attract trouble (much like Claire) and has a history with Monica he’d rather forget.
Oh, Cappie.  I love Scott Michael Foster in Greek, so when I came across his picture in my search for Shane, my brain just screamed “YES!”  He looks the part, he’s got the slacker with potential thing going, and can be both silly and dramatic.  He just IS Shane to me.

Oliver:  Oliver’s an aging hippie. Tall, thin (everyone seems to be thin in this book) with longish gray hair, he runs the town coffee shop where Eve works.  His place is mysteriously a neutral zone to the vampires, where humans can come without fear that they’ll be attacked.  He’s kind and reassuring, however, there may be more to him than meets the eye...
It was between Michael Caine and Mr. Rosso from Freaks and Geeks, but I think Michael Caine can pull off the many layers that there are to Oliver.  Plus, does anything say aging hippie like this picture?

Monica:  Your typical mean girl, Monica is described as perfect looking.  She’s pretty and popular with black hair and blue eyes.  She’s also a more than a little mentally unbalanced and is hell-bent on ruining Claire’s life.
I loved Dana Davis as the slightly unhinged, Queen Bee Chastity in ABC Family’s 10 Things I Hate About You.  Monica does some horrible, crazy things to Claire in Glass Houses, but there’s still a comical, almost endearing aspect to the character.  I couldn’t believe some of the stuff she did, but, at the same time, I couldn’t totally hate Monica.  There’s a certain level of nuttiness that’s just a delight to see and I think Dana could bring that to life.

Well, that's my cast for the film version of Glass Houses.  What do you think?  Agree/Disagree?  Let's hear it!