Monthly Archives: June 2010

The best of our Sea Book of the Month posts


Today marks the end of our June Book of the Month, Sea by Heidi R. Kling … so we want to take a moment to look back at all the highlights from the past month of features:

Sea Travel Writing Contest

We want your travel stories — and one winner will get a copy of Sea by Heidi R. Kling!

The contest ends TONIGHT at midnight (PT)!

Interview with Heidi R. Kling

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Heidi’s Guest Blog

Besides releasing her book, heading out to countless signings & other events, Heidi also took the time to write a great guest blog for us. Be sure to check out what she had to say!

Sea Desktop Wallpapers

We’re showing our Sea love with some original desktop wallpapers

Beyond the Book

There is so much material to delve into with Sea, and we took full advantage of that. Here are some of our more educational posts related to the book:

Project & Essay Ideas

We also wanted to inspire you to show your creativity, with Sea as your inspiration. Come check out all our ideas, and share your own!

Cover revealed: Kimberly Derting’s Desires of the Dead


I am a HUGE fan of Kimberly Derting’s debut novel, The Body Finder — so of course, I’m super-excited about the sequel coming next year, Desires of the Dead. And just today on her blog, Kimberly revealed the cover art:

It definitely sticks with the theme from the first book. You can learn more about Desires of the Dead (and more) in our exclusive interview with Kimberly!

Which books do YOU think should be made into movies?


With The Twilight Saga: Eclipse hitting theaters tonight, and the new trailer for Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows fresh on our minds, we can’t help but think of other books that would make AWESOME movies. We have some of our own favorites, which have already been optioned:

Our friends at The Scorecard Review have also been thinking about some books they’d like to see make it onto the big screen. They’ve compiled the “Top 7 Books That Should be Adapted into Movies” … here’s what made their list:

  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  • Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold
  • The Bachelorette Party by Karen McCullah Lutz
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  • The Scar by China Mieville
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

While I haven’t read all of these books, I have to enthusiastically throw my support behind the first book on their list — Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair, which is sort of a sci-fi twist on the literary world. (Seriously, lit fans NEED to read this book!)

For the comments: What other books do you think should be made into movies?

Sea author Heidi R. Kling Guest Blog: Pursuing Your Dreams


We’re delighted today to bring you an exclusive guest blog from our June Book of the Month author, Heidi R. Kling. We’d like to thank Heidi from taking the time during her very busy book release month to write a blog just for us. We’ve loved having Heidi’s book Sea as our June Book of the Month — really, we can’t say enough nice things about this book because it really just blew us away. We’re expecting great things. So thanks, Heidi — for everything!

In her guest blog, Heidi talks about pursuing your dreams:

This is vastly important to me, because I think without reaching for a goal life can get sort of stagnant. Not that it won’t be enjoyable or have tiny daily delights but because I think dreaming is part of living.

Now I don’t mean, “Oh my dream is to have a fancy race car or to be the most beautiful woman on the planet.”

While noteworthy goals–ha–aren’t really obtainable for the average human being.

Pursuing dreams is great, as long as you reach for something that may be *just* out of your reach but is also obtainable with a lot of hard work and a sprinkle of fairy dust style luck.

Obama dreamed to be the President of the United States. He is now the President of the United States. But it didn’t happen overnight. He worked and worked and worked on that dream.

I strongly believe that dreams can come true—but the whole thing isn’t a Disney movie–it’s not a magic wish-on-a-star moment that makes them come true–it’s that spark of idea, and that inner drive, sure, but it’s also being realistic about your dream.

As a recently published author, it can be said that my dream came true. And this is totally 100% true facts.

I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was a little kid.

But I’ve also worked extremely hard–writing for years and years, pursing a BA and an MFA in creative writing, staying awake long long hours, sacrificing a ton of “me” time and family time and friend time to hone my craft.

It’s work.

Obtaining goals takes work.

Sure you’ll hear the story of the person who was discovered via the blog they’ve written two posts for their voice and voila! NYT bestseller–but who knows, maybe that person would’ve rather been a horse jockey and they are now stuck in a boring bestselling author profession.

Come on now. ;-)

Do I think you should pursue your goals? Absolutely.

Should be realistic about them? Yes.

Do I still wish on a star every single night? You bet.

And when in doubt, be your own Fairy Godmother.

For the comments: Tell us about pursuing your dreams!

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – Our review for fans, by a fan


This will be a mostly spoiler-free review, though I can’t guarantee it 100%. Fair warning.

First things first … if you’ve heard any of the buzz about Eclipse so-far, you’ve heard this: that it’s the best movie yet. As a fan, I’m here to tell you that it’s true. Eclipse is, hands down, the best movie yet. My friend summed it up perfectly tonight, as the credits rolled and she turned to me, saying, “If I wasn’t already a Twilight fan, I would be now!”

There have been lots of theories about why Eclipse is the best movie yet, but I think it all boils down to one simple fact: Eclipse is also the best BOOK in the series. Plain and simple, the filmmakers had the best material to work with, hence, they got the best movie of the franchise. Now, for the sake of full disclosure, let me add that Eclipse is also my personal favorite in the series. But here’s why it is my favorite, and why I think it’s the best book of the series: it’s got the most tension, the most compelling aspects of the love triangle, the most dynamic action and the stakes are higher than ever. I think these same qualities are also what make Eclipse the best of the movies.

Now, I don’t want to discredit all the hard work that went into making the movie — because without all that hard work, even the best source material couldn’t make a good movie. So without further ado, let’s discuss the nitty gritty …

Directing

David Slade … thank you. You have truly done this series justice.

With Eclipse, Slade builds upon the work laid down by Catherine Hardwicke in Twilight and Chris Weitz in New Moon — then adds his own mark. Every camera angle feels right for the moment. Every shot works. The pacing is perfect — it’s a fast movie, without feeling rushed. And the pacing has probably been my biggest grudge with the previous movies — Twilight drags, and New Moon definitely has its slower moments. But Eclipse is perfectly timed. Every moment flows into the next naturally, without feeling forced.

Acting

The stars of the Twilight Saga are at their finest here in Eclipse.

Kristen Stewart shines as Bella — the young woman torn by “who she should be, and who she is.”  She holds her own amongst the vampires, the werewolves and the humans. And she’s not afraid to talk back to a pouty werewolf or an overbearing vampire. This is truly Stewart’s finest moment in the film franchise to date. Even fans who have not liked her performance as Bella previously will be wowed by her performance here.

Likewise, Robert Pattinson really comes into his own as Edward Cullen — and as much as we’ve seen him blossom on camera in his interviews, so has he blossomed on screen as this character. Edward is still his tormented, moody self — but we also see his desires and wants. And we get to see his lighter side — his romantic, fluffy side and his funny, charming side. We see his weaknesses, too — his jealousy and insecurity. His fears. This is the most three-dimensional we’ve seen his character come to life on screen.

Similarly, props to Taylor Lautner for holding his own against Pattinson. Lautner is really coming into his own as an actor — and where we saw glimmers of his abilities in New Moon, he really shines in Eclipse. He proves, with this movie, that he’s not just a pretty face and a set of abs. Lautner actually made me feel for Jacob — something the books themselves never accomplished. Don’t get me wrong, I am still 100% Team Edward — but this was the first time I ever truly felt sympathy for Jacob as a character, and Lautner gets credit for evoking that emotion.

As always, Billy Burke is my personal favorite and a true stand-out as Charlie Swan … his scenes always steal the moment, whether it’s an awkward sex talk with Bella or a few tears shining in his eyes at graduation. Burke continues to own this role, and I’m really excited to see how he handles Charlie’s scenes in Breaking Dawn. (And how about a Charlie Swan spin-off series? Anyone?)

It would be difficult to pick out all the star performances from the rest of the cast — but they should all get credit here. This is truly an ensemble — and every member of the Cullen family, the Wolf Pack and the humans of Forks High School shine, no matter how small their moment. I only wish we could spend more time with each of them.

And let’s not forget Bryce Dallas Howard as Victoria. Part of me will always wonder what Rachelle LeFevre would have done in this film — I’ll always be a fan of her performance in the first two movies — but Howard has definitely eased into the role seamlessly. It wasn’t until later, after the movie was over, that I considered LeFevre. Howard is creepy and scary, and yet there are moments where you get a sense of her emotions and a part of you will feel for her, as well. She is perfectly matched on screen with Xavier Samuel as Riley, who definitely takes charge as the villain with the most presence. Even Jodelle Ferland has a few shining moments, which I think fans who read the Bree Tanner novella will especially appreciate. (In fact, her performance made me really glad I’d read the book!)

Music

I’ve already said that I think the Eclipse soundtrack is the best one yet — and that feeling continues with how the music itself was used throughout the film, each time evoking the perfect mood or feeling. The real stand-out for me was the use of “My Love” by Sia — used in a very pivotal moment in the film. Fans, I’m talking about Chapter 20: Compromise. (Leg hitch, anyone?) The music starts out as the perfect background, with it swelling at just the right moment to really draw out the emotion.

Likewise, Howard Shore’s film score is equally moody and moving throughout the film. It feels creepy and eerie in the more tense moments, and yet he also creates sweeping drama and romance in the more tender moments.

Special Effects

This movie ROCKS when it comes to special effects & action scenes. You’ve heard it said that more guys will like this movie? Yeah, well, they will. Shattering body parts, dismemberment … and oh, yeah? Remember that scene in the book where Edward bites off Victoria’s head? Oh. Good. Lord. Yes, it makes it into the movie in a totally epic way. From the opening sequence, to the fight training and the battle scene itself, the action is really top notch in Eclipse. It doesn’t drag on unnecessarily, but it’s definitely meaty and the visuals give us plenty to take in. It’s visually stunning, and it really felt like what a fight between vampires and werewolves should be.

Overall

This movie rocks. Best one yet. Go see it. Then go see it again. And maybe a few more times after that.

Perks?

The new trailer for Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows! On the big screen! (I was almost more excited about this trailer than seeing Eclipse itself … blasphemy, I know. But it seriously rocks.)

This review is also posted at our sister site, TwilightNovelNovice.com.

Amazing new trailer for the final Harry Potter movies!

Set to play with Eclipse in theaters this week, the brand-spanking-new trailer for Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows has now been released.It features not only footage from part 1 (due out in November), but part 2 (due out in July 2011), as well. I got chills just watching this. These movies are going to be phenomenal!

Check it out:

Or click the image to view the trailer:


For the comments: Tell us what you think!!!!!

New article sheds light on Harper Lee’s reclusiveness

For the last few months we’ve been following the 50th anniversary events for Harper Lee’s classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The elderly author has been quite a recluse for the past few decades, but Sharon Churcher with MailOnline somehow scored an introduction.

The article contains some interesting biographical bits that don’t normally appear in run-of-the-mill write-ups:

In the novel, Scout lives in fear of a ‘malevolent phantom’, a psychologically disturbed neighbour called Boo Radley, who ultimately saves her life.

While it is clear that the character is in part based on a reclusive neighbour, in reality, it was Harper’s mother Frances who was the source of much terror and unhappiness.

Suffering from depression and violent mood swings, friends in the close-knit Alabama town say that Frances allegedly twice tried to drown her daughter in the bath. As a result, perhaps, the young Harper was regarded as a difficult and aggressive child who would think nothing of punching other children who annoyed her.

Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, will celebrate the book’s anniversary July 8-11. (Read all the details here.) You can read the rest of the article at MailOnline.

You can read our coverage here and here.

For the comments: Why is she so reclusive, and do you think we should be prying into her business? Would it be better to wait until after her death?

Sea author Heidi R. Kling takes on The Vampire Diaries


Besides celebrating the release of her novel Sea, our June Book of the Month author Heidi R. Kling has also been hard at work on an essay about the TV show adaptation of The Vampire Diaries for a new book.

A Visitor’s Guide to Mystic Falls: Your Favorite Authors on The Vampire Diaries comes out this Fall, just in time for the new season of the hit TV show:

Vampires are hot right now, especially among teens, and The Vampire Diaries in a few short episodes became the CW’s most-watched show.

The Vampire Diaries brings together today’s best YA writers of the supernatural to talk about the show’s first season: the characters, the storyline, the magic, the town. From a history of the Salem’s witches from whom Bonnie is descended to family therapy for brothers Stefan and Damon, the anthology is guaranteed to keep Vampire Diaries viewers entertained—and make them see Mystic Falls, and the rest of the show, in a whole new way.

Besides Heidi, here’s a list of the other contributing authors: Leah Wilson, Karen Mahoney, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Bree Despain, Kiersten White, & Jon Skovron. The book is due out October 5th.

Demon’s Lexicon & Leviathan Contest Winners


Today, I’ve got the winners of our two most recent While You’re Waiting: 30 Days of Eclipse giveaways!

The winners of The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan are:

Kelsey

Shelley

Grace

The winners of Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld are:

Snorkle

Tarra

Redcrest

The winners have been notified by e-mail.

And remember, you’ve still got time to win two more books in our giveaways:

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready – Contest ends 6/29

Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson – Contest ends 7/2

This week’s best-selling books, plus a bonus

Looks like Rick Riordan and John Grisham are still holding onto the first and second spot on this week’s best sellers list from the New York Times. This week, I’ve also included the top books according to the USA Today database.

CHAPTER BOOKS
This Week   Weeks on List
1 THE RED PYRAMID, by Rick Riordan. (Disney-Hyperion, $17.99.) Ancient gods (this time from Egypt) and a mortal family meet. (Ages 10 and up) 7
2 THEODORE BOONE: KID LAWYER, by John Grisham. (Dutton, $16.99.) He’s 13, but he knows what to do when he encounters a murder case. (Ages 8 to 12) 4
3 THE HUNGER GAMES, by Suzanne Collins. (Scholastic, $17.99.) In a dystopian future, a girl fights for survival on live TV. (Ages 12 and up) 93
4 TALES FROM A NOT-SO-POPULAR PARTY GIRL, by Rachel Renée Russell. (Aladdin, $12.99.) The further reflections of a junior Samuel Pepys of the female variety; a “Dork Diaries” book. (Ages 9 to 13) 2
5 CATCHING FIRE, by Suzanne Collins. (Scholastic, $17.99.) The protagonist of “The Hunger Games” returns. (Ages 12 and up) 42
6 INFINITY (CHRONICLES OF NICK), by Sherrilyn Kenyon. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $17.99.) Brain-eating demons complicate academic life. (Ages 12 and up) 4
7 THE CARRIE DIARIES, by Candace Bushnell. (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, $18.99.) Carrie Bradshaw, years before “Sex and the City.” (Ages 14 and up) 8
8 PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS (THE ULTIMATE GUIDE), by Mary-Jane Knight. Designed by Philip Chidlow. (Disney-Hyperion, $12.99.) Gods, beasts and tips for children with an immortal parent, based on Rick Riordan’s series. (Ages 10 and up) 13
9 FALLEN, by Lauren Kate. (Delacorte, $17.99.) Thwarted love at boarding school. (Ages 12 and up) 28
10 BIG NATE: IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF, written and illustrated by Lincoln Peirce. (Harper/HarperCollins, $12.99.) Where Nate goes, trouble follows. (Ages 8 to 12) 12
 
PAPERBACK BOOKS
This Week   Weeks on List
1 THE BOOK THIEF, by Markus Zusak. (Knopf, $11.99.) A girl saves books from Nazi burning. Excerpt (Ages 14 and up) 145
2 THREE CUPS OF TEA: YOUNG READERS EDITION, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. (Puffin/Penguin, $8.99.) A former climber builds schools in Pakistani and Afghan villages. (Ages 9 to 12) 73
3 THE FORBIDDEN GAME (THE HUNTER, THE CHASE, THE KILL), by L. J. Smith. (Simon Pulse, $10.99.) In this dark game, the humans prove to be the playthings. (Ages 12 and up) 2
4 BEEZUS AND RAMONA, by Beverly Cleary. Illustrated by Tracy Dockray. (HarperCollins, $5.99.) The movie tie-in edition of the midcentury classic about a girl and her often pesky little sister. (Ages 9 to 12) 2
5 SHIVER, by Maggie Stiefvater. (Scholastic, $8.99.) Love among the lupine. (Ages 13 and up) 3
6 THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN, by Sherman Alexie. Illustrated by Ellen Forney. (Little, Brown, $8.99.) A young boy leaves his reservation for an all-white school. (Ages 12 and up) 62
7 PINKALICIOUS AND THE PINK DRINK, written and illustrated by Victoria Kann. (Harper Festival/HarperCollins, $3.99.) Pink meets lemonade in a series of experiments. (Ages 3 to 7) 4
8 IF I STAY, by Gayle Forman. (Speak/Penguin, $8.99.) A young cellist falls into a coma. (Ages 12 and up) 11
9 SAVVY, by Ingrid Law. (Puffin/Penguin, $7.99.) Mibs is about to turn 13, the age at which supernatural abilities are conferred on members of her family. (Ages 9 to 12) 12
10 SCAT, by Carl Hiaasen. (Knopf, $8.99.) An eco-mystery, with a dismal swamp and wild characters. Excerpt (Ages 9 to 12) 8
 

 Here are the numbers from the USA Today database (the first number is this week’s position, the second is last week’s). I’ve bolded the YA titles.    

1 1 The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown), $13.99

2 0 The Overton Window, Glenn Beck (Threshold Editions), $26.00

3 2 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson (Vintage), $14.95

4 4 The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson (Vintage), $15.95

5 3 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson (Knopf), $27.95

6 0 George Washington’s Sacred Fire, Peter A. Lillback (Providence Forum Press), $19.95

7 49 The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents, F.A. Hayek (University of Chicago Press), $17.00

8 6 The Lion, Nelson DeMille (Grand Central Publishing), $27.99

9 14 Sh*t My Dad Says, Justin Halpern (It Books), $15.99

10 5 The Passage: A Novel, Justin Cronin (Ballantine), $27.00

11 7 Black Hills, Nora Roberts (Jove), $7.99

12 9 Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), $7.99

13 10 Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (Penguin), $15.00

14 0 Whiplash, Catherine Coulter (Putnam Adult), $26.95

15 11 The Kane Chronicles, Book 1: The Red Pyramid, Rick Riordan (Hyperion), $17.99

16 13 The Help, Kathryn Stockett (Putnam Adult), $24.95

17 0 Frankenstein: Lost Souls: A Novel, Dean Koontz (Bantam), $27.00

18 18 The Last Song, Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central Publishing), $7.99

19 15 Matters of the Heart, Danielle Steel (Dell), $7.99

20 24 Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown for Young Readers), $22.99