Monday, June 28, 2010

Lisa McMann's WAKE To Be Film? [News] [You're The Expert] (@lisamcmann)

According to Cinematical and Hollywood Reporter's Risky Business, Miley Cyrus has attached herself to a film adaptation of Lisa McMann's WAKE trilogy, where she will play Janie.  We're hardcore McMann fans here at I Heart Monster, and are pretty excited to hear news to this effect.  Lisa McMann confirmed that the rights have been picked up by Paramount on her blog.  The writer is Christopher Landon, who has also written Blood & Chocolate and one of my fav R.I.P TV shows, Dirty Sexy Money.

Neither article specified if the producers (reportedly The Gotham Group) had commented on/chosen an actor for Cabel, but we're sure hoping they pick someone great.  Who would you like to see cast as Cabel?  We wanna know.  Tell us, and link us to a pic if you've got the time.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wrap Up: HUGE by Sasha Paley Read Along [Read Along]

As a wrap up exercise, answer some or all of the following questions:

  • Who was your favorite character?  Did it change at any point in the book?
  • Did you have a favorite line?  If so, please share it with us.
  • Did you feel that the story was well-developed?  What about character development?
  • Would you read another book by Sasha Paley?  Did you enjoy her writing style?
  • What did you think about the chapter headings?
  • Is Wellness Canyon a place you'd recommend to your friends?
  • What did you think about the pacing of the story?
  • Which character do you relate to the most?
  • Are there any elements of the story that you felt were unresolved?
  • Will you be watching HUGE on ABC Family?
HUGE debuts tomorrow night on ABC Family. Check your cable listings for your local time.  Thanks for joining us for this Read Along... I had so much fun discussing the book with you!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

TRUE LOVE, THE SPHINX... & DIRTY LAUNDRY [Saturday Steals]

I bought TRUE LOVE, THE SPHINX, AND OTHER UNSOLVABLE RIDDLES: A COMEDY IN FOUR VOICES by Tyne O'Connell and DIRTY LAUNDRY by Daniel Ehrenhaft, both in hardcover!

TRUE LOVE, THE SPHINX, AND OTHER UNSOLVABLE RIDDLES: A COMEDY IN FOUR VOICES  by Tyne O'Connell
$1.53 (91% off)

American teenagers Sam and Salah lead fairly uncomplicated lives. They breeze through classes at their prestigious Manhattan high school, their friends and classmates all look up to them, and they’ve never had to put much effort into attracting girls. But when their class embarks on a field trip to Egypt, complications arise in the forms of Rosie and Octavia, two British beauties who won’t be easily charmed. Amid luscious scenes of Egyptian culture and history, these four star-crossed lovers will have to endure mistakes, missteps, and plenty of misunderstandings before they can achieve their hearts’ desires.

Told in four alternating points of view, Tyne O’Connell’s latest novel is both a fast-paced comedy-of-errors, and a heartfelt romance that proves that sometimes, the greatest complication of all is love.

DIRTY LAUNDRY by Daniel Ehrenhaft
$1.67 (90% off)
the school:

The Winchester School of the Arts, nicknamed "The Laundromat" because it's where better schools send their "dirty laundry." Get kicked out of Exeter, Hotchkiss, or Choate? End up at Winchester.

the girl:

Carli, a gorgeous pigtailed Hollywood actress going undercover at Winchester to research her role.

the boy:

Fun (short for Fellini Udall Newport), an embittered senior and graffiti artist who was almost expelled—until his dad (and a lot of money) convinced the headmaster to let him work off his crime as Carli's assistant.

the problem:

Beautiful, talented senior Darcy Novak, one of the least screwed-up people at Winchester, has disappeared.

As Carli and Fun discover each other's hidden talents, there's a villain setting them up. Can they save Darcy—and themselves—or will they wash out?

Like my Steals? Check out the others this week at Archives of Our Lives - especially since Camille won her steal here, but doesn't remember entering for it!

Day 7: HUGE by Sasha Paley Read Along Chapters 37-42 [Read Along]

Plot Summary:  Wil talks to her parents.  They're excited to pick her up from camp.  Wil goes to Huge Rock and waits for April  April doesn't show.  She dances at the party.  Wil goes to the party and confronts April.  April is snotty. Wil outs April and the laxative scheme to Jessica and Marci.  They tell Melanie.  Melanie strips team of gold medals, all of them.  Wil and April go back to room.  They get early morning wake-up and are dragged off to the woods and have to make their own way back to camp.  Wil tells April that Dave likes her.  April feels bad.  Goes to Dave.  Apologizes.  Kisses him.  Goes after Wil to apologize.  Wil blows her off.  Comes back.  Takes April home.  BFFs.

Discussion Questions:

  • Did it surprise you that Wil outted April about the laxative incident?
  • Did it surprise you that April kissed Dave?  What are your thoughts on that?  
  • Do you think April and Wil will stay friends?


Tomorrow's Reading:  NONE.  But, come back for some wrap-up questions.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 6: HUGE by Sasha Paley Read Along Chapters 31-36 [Read Along]

Plot Summary:  The girls sneak into Colin's dorm and mix the laxatives into his  protein powder.  The next morning at breakfast, they watch him make his shake and chug it.  The Wellness Canyon Olympics start right after breakfast and Wil & April's team come in second to Colin's team in the relay race.  The girls wonder if they mixed the laxatives correctly.  Jessica wins swimming contest for Colin's team.  April wins trivia contest for her team.  Colin does over 100 situps on his own to make his team win that event.  Dave wins the tape measure toss for his team.  It all comes down to the rock wall climb.  Colin vs. Dave.  Laxative kicks in.  Dave wins.  Colin runs to bathroom holding his hand on his bum.  Colin gets caught with the laxatives April & Wil planted in his gym bag.  Colin gets confined to his room for the night of the dance.  Dave comes by the room and asks April if he can walk her to the dance (awww! so cute!)  They get to the dance.  Dave and April dance.  April goes for punch.  Gets apologies from Jessica and Marci.  Dances with J & M.  Feels like part of the in crowd for the first time in her life.

Discussion Questions:

  • Do you think that the girls will have regrets about the way they got revenge on Colin?  Do you think they'll get caught?
  • What do you think about Dave crushing on April?  Do you think that she treated him decently?
  • Do you think April was too forgiving of April and Marci?
Tomorrow's Reading:   Pages 228-259/Chapters 38-42 (Last Day!!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

YA Books You'd Like To See Made Into TV Series [You're The Expert]



We've seen GOSSIP GIRL made for the small screen.  We've just seen PRETTY LITTLE LIARS debut.  And now, we're awaiting HUGE on Monday.

If you were a TV exec and you got to make the decision, which ya books would you make into weekly dramas?    And why?

Leave your comment and we'll compile a list of books you think should be made into series next Friday.

Day 5: HUGE by Sasha Paley Read Along Chapters 24-30 [Read Along]

Plot Summary: The girls rack their brains for a new plan to humiliate Colin.  There's the rowing race where they come in second.  The watermelon race where they come in first.  Wil shows up for a spinning class.  The girls go to 7-11 to get ExLax.  April's mom calls. Tells April she has diabetes.  Tells April to stay at camp.  Wil shows up for weigh-in.  Has lost 15 lbs in 2 weeks.  April tries to hug her.  Wil pushes her away.  Melanie takes Wil into her office.  Tells her that she doesn't have to be so negative.  Let's it slip that April saved for over a year to be at Wellness Canyon.  Wil has an epiphany and decides to take April shopping at the mall.  At the mall, the girls try on dresses.  Wil is shocked that the black Theory wrap-around fits her, and that she's looking skinny-ish. April is looking great, and Wil offers to buy her a dress.  Wil decides that shopping for clothes could be fun if she had a friend to go with.

Discussion Questions:

  • What was with the Colin 180°?  Why did he go from kissing to dissing?
  • What do you think about April's mom having diabetes?  
  • Do you think that April is relieved that Wil knows that she paid for WC all by herself?  Do you think it was hard for her to keep that a secret?
Tomorrow's Reading:  Pages 192-228/Chapters 31-36

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

MACERATE, M-A-C-E-R-A-T-E, MACERATE [Our Terms]

macerate • \MASS-uh-rayt\  • verb
1 : to cause to waste away by or as if by excessive fasting
*2 : to cause to become soft or separated into constituent elements by or as if by steeping in fluid; broadly : steep, soak
3 : to soften and wear away especially as a result of being wetted or steeped

Example Sentence:
"Absinthe is made by macerating herbs and spices, including anise and fennel, with the grand wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) that gives the drink its name." (Julia Reed, Newsweek, April 12, 2010)

Did you know?
"Macerate" is derived from the Latin verb "macerare," meaning "to soften" or "to steep." That meaning was borrowed into English in 1563. However, the first English use of "macerate" refers to the wasting away of flesh especially by fasting. That use manifested itself in 1547. A few other manifestations sprouted thereafter from the word's figurative branch (e.g., Laurence Sterne (1713-1768) once wrote of "a city so macerated with expectation"); however, those extensions wilted in time. Today, the "steeping" and "soaking" senses of "macerate" saturate culinary articles (as in "macerating fruit in liquor") as well as other writings (scientific ones, for instance: "the food is macerated in the gizzard" or "the wood is macerated in the solution").  [Source]

Hey Jean, did you see that Macey finally broke her fast?  She looks totally macerated.  Dontcha think?

Now your turn.  Try out your new vocab in a sentence in the comments section!


What is this?  Our Terms is a weekly vocab lesson that we post every Wednesday.  Come back next Wednesday for a new word to try out for the week!  

Day 4: HUGE by Sasha Paley Read Along Chapters 16-23 [Read Along]


Plot Summary:  Wil finds Colin at Huge Rock.  They have a mini-makeout session even though Wil knows that Colin is totally drunk off of his bottle of Tanqueray.  Wil goes back to the dorm to tell April that she's won.  But April tells Wil that she's won first.  They argue over who has really won, and decide to figure it out in the morning.  April is confident that she'll win because Colin has invited her to hang out with him and his group.  At breakfast, Colin disses Wil and tells he he gets why her parents are embarrassed of her.  Then when April tries to sit with him, he tells her that the chair she's sitting in belongs to someone else.  April makes it out and starts to cry.  The girls realize that Colin doesn't like either one of them.  April runs into Dave at the gym.  They decide to work out together.  Colin comes in and practically ignores them both.  April almost loses her shorts.  Colin makes fun of her undies and tells her he doesn't wanna see her any sort of naked.  The girls discuss plans to get back at Colin.  They have a weigh-in where April is down 22 pounds and Wil is up 3.  Girls hatch plan.  Plan gets derailed by news they overhear from Colin.  Girls go back to room to work on new plan.  Package arrives for Wil.  It's skinny clothes.  She tells April to take whatever she wants.

Discussion Points:

  • What do you think Colin's motivation was in leading-on both of the girls?
  • What did you think of the girls' revenge plan?  What would you do if you were in their situation?
  • We talked about April's package once.  Let's talk about Wil's package now and why she feels the way she does about what her parents sent her.

Tomorrow's Reading: Chapters 24-30/Pages 151-191

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Enter To Win The Barrie Summy Hat Trick! Ends 6/30. [News] [Giveaways]

One Grand Prize winner will receive autographed copies of the three books in the series, I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP, I SO DON'T DO SPOOKY, and I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES, plus a tote bag and t-shirt! Three lucky runners up will win an autographed copy of I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP and a t-shirt!

To enter: Send an email to ISoDontDoMakeup@gmail.com (note: no apostrophe!) with the subject line "Pick Me!" In the body of the email, include your name and email address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and email address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on June 30. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on July 1 and notified via email. Check Barrie Summy's site after July 6 for the list of winners!

Here are the product descriptions of the books so that you know what you're entering for...

I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES: Laughs, ghosts, and a lip-gloss-loving teen sleuth!

Sherry (short for Sherlock) Holmes Baldwin is spending spring break in California with her best friend, Junie. She can’t wait to hang out in the sun, hit the mall, and spend time with cutie-pie Josh.

Then . . . a freaky change of plans. Sherry’s mom, a cop killed in the line of duty, contacts her. Not only is she a ghost, she’s a ghost in danger of flunking out of the Academy of Spirits, and she needs Sherry’s help. Unless she solves an important mystery in San Diego, she’ll be banished to an afterlife for ghost failures!

If Sherry wants to be a normal seventh grader (as in, one who doesn’t communicate with ghosts), she can’t tell anybody about her mom—or what she has to do. Not her brother, not Junie, and especially not Josh. It’s up to Sherry alone to save the day. Except . . . she so doesn’t do mysteries.

I SO DON'T DO SPOOKY:  Someone’s out to get Sherry’s stepmom. . . .Can she save her before it’s too late?

Did you know that the main campus of the Academy of Spirits is at a Dairy Queen in Phoenix? Me either. Until now. Some weird stuff has been happening to my stepmother, Paula, and the Academy has asked me, Sherry Holmes Baldwin, to get to the bottom of it. They think someone’s trying to hurt her.

I really don’t want to get involved—my life is way too busy. Josh and I are celebrating two blissful months of togetherness. And my best friend, Junie, is finally showing a teeny bit of interest in clothes and makeup after years of brainiac behavior. But being that my mom is a ghost and all, me, my brother, and my dad rely on Paula a lot. So it’s not like I can just ignore what’s going on. Especially since my mom is competing at the Ghostlympics. If she comes in first place, she earns five minutes of Real Time.

And that means I’ve got to get involved in a creepy, freaky mystery.

But . . . I so don’t do spooky.

I SO DON'T DO MAKEUP: What's better than a sleepover? A sleepover with makeovers! Sherry and her friends have an awesome time with eye shadow, glitter, and more hair products than a salon. But when the girls wake up the next morning with serious skin issues, Sherry is freaked. Someone must have tampered with her makeup!

It turns out that the mall's cosmetics kiosk has had lots of products returned by upset customers. Sherry is determined to get to the bottom of things. After all, she's a bit of a crime-solving celebrity (well, at least in the spirit world). Ghost academies around the world are impressed by Sherry's and her ghost mom's skills.

And if anyone can solve a mystery involving mascara, it's Sherry Holmes Baldwin.

This third mystery about fast-thinking sleuth Sherry Holmes Baldwin is perfect for tweens and teens who love investigating with heroines they can relate to.
What's better than a sleepover? A sleepover with makeovers! Sherry and her friends have an awesome time with eye shadow, glitter, and more hair products than a salon. But when the girls wake up the next morning with serious skin issues, Sherry is freaked. Someone must have tampered with her makeup!

It turns out that the mall's cosmetics kiosk has had lots of products returned by upset customers. Sherry is determined to get to the bottom of things. After all, she's a bit of a crime-solving celebrity (well, at least in the spirit world). Ghost academies around the world are impressed by Sherry's and her ghost mom's skills.

And if anyone can solve a mystery involving mascara, it's Sherry Holmes Baldwin.

This third mystery about fast-thinking sleuth Sherry Holmes Baldwin is perfect for tweens and teens who love investigating with heroines they can relate to.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: "Is The Magic Worth The Money?" [News]


We asked you last week if Harry would make it into your vacation plans anytime soon.  Those who commented were pretty upbeat and positive about it.  I was too.  After watching the video by newsy.com, my perception has changed a little, and I wonder if yours will to? "Is the magic worth the money?"

Newsy.com contacted me and asked if I'd want to add this video to our site as part of the discussion regarding the opening and perceptions of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Day 3: HUGE by Sasha Paley Read Along Chapters 11-15 [Read Along]

Plot Summary: The girls decide to have a competition to see who can get Colin to like her first.  There's the scene at breakfast, where April flirts with Colin.  Then there's the scavenger hunt where Wil flirts with Colin and loses the blue egg with the Death Cab tickets because of it.  And then Wil tells Colin that her parents own Excalibur gyms.  Then April goes to the movie.  She goes for popcorn and Colin kisses her.  She wins?

Discussion Points:
  • "First one to make Colin like her wins."  Discuss. Did April win the bet?
  • April saved $7,000 for this camp.  But she's never had a gym membership.  7k is like 14 years of gym memberships.  Why do you think April chose Wellness Canyon instead of Excalibur?
  • Do you think Wil's attitude about the camp would change if April divulged that she wasn't a spoiled rich kid and had saved all of the money and paid for the camp herself?
Tomorrow's Reading:  Pages 115-150/Chapters 16-23

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 2: HUGE by Sasha Paley READ ALONG Chapters 6-10 [Read Along] #ABCFHuge

If you're just joining us, check out the instructions and schedule, and the discussion of Chapters 1-5!


Plot Summary (Chapters 6-10):  Fitness testing is over and it's time for teams to be formed.  Much to her dismay, April gets stuck with Wil on a team with Paul and Dave.  Wil finally gets in trouble for her attitude and earns two demerits.  April gets a package from home from her mother with a bunch of cookies, which makes her cry.  Flash forward like ten days.  April is trying to keep up with the rest of the campers on a woods walk, but she is required to stay with Wil, and Wil is doing as little as possible.  They fall behind and get on the wrong trail.  They get lost.  They go farther up the trail hoping to find the way back but instead they spot a 7-11.  Wil talks April into going.  Wil starts to shoplift candy.  Colin comes in.  April and Wil both have a thing for Colin.  Colin buys their contraband for them.  Kids drive up in a BMW.  Moo at April, Wil, and Colin.  Colin punches one of them.  The three go back to the woods where Wil and Colin have an iPod moment where they quasi-bond over Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.  Colin realizes he's forgotten room key, leaves girls to join up with walkers.  Girls join up.  Finish hike.  Melanie comes to their room.  Confiscates contraband and tells them she's disappointed in them.

Discussion Points:
Feel free to pose your own ?s in the comments so that we can get a great discussion going on.
  • Which boy are Wil and April going to fight over and why?
  • Why did April cry about the cookies her mom sent her?
  • April blames Wil for the 7-11 contraband confiscation and her own weakness.  Do you feel that at this point in the story April owns her actions?

Tomorrow's Reading: Pages 78-114/Chapters 11-15
Note: We used page numbers from the hardcover.  Not sure if they are the same in the paperback as I have been unable to find a copy to compare.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 1: HUGE by Sasha Paley READ ALONG Chapters 1-5 [Read Along] #ABCFhuge (


Welcome to our HUGE by Sasha Paley Read Along getting us ready for the debut of HUGE on ABC Family!  If you're unfamiliar with what we're doing here, you can check it out at this post, where you'll find instructions and details about what we're reading and when!


Plot Summary (Chapters 1-5):  We met Wilhelmina who only wants to be called Wil.  Her parents are making her go to Wellness Canyon, a "fat camp" of sorts.  She's secretly made it a goal to be the only there that gains weight because she does not want to go.  Contrastly, (yeah, I made that word up, so start using it won't you?)
April has saved all of her money for the entire year so that she can go to Wellness Canyon.  You see, it's just her and her mom, and all they eat is fattening foods.  The girls get to Wellness Canyon, and find out that they are roommates.  Wil promptly informs April that she has no intention of losing any weight or participating in the programs.  They are all told that their success depends on their teamwork and support from their roommates.  April is horrified.  April tries to fit in with the perceived popular crowd and she is a little disappointed to find out that there is already an established clique because she was hoping that everyone would be starting out as equals. She's kinda attracted to Colin, so when they're doing fitness testing, she tries to impress him.  Wil picks up on it. Calls her on it.  April challenges Wil to do better than she does.

Discussion Points:
I'm going to try to stick to 3 points per day.  I want this to be easier for people to participate in... feel free to pose your own ?s in the comments so that we can get a great discussion going on.
  • How do you think Wil's and April's backgrounds and attitudes will affect their experience at Wellness Canyon?
  • Do you think Wil will accept April's challenge?
  • What's your favorite character so far?
Tomorrow's Reading:  Pages 38-77/Chapters 6-10
Note: We used page numbers from the hardcover.  Not sure if they are the same in the paperback as I have been unable to find a copy to compare.  
Click the picture to visit ABC Family's site for HUGE.  

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hey Spencer: Betcha Wish You Had This Book Now! [Saturday Steals] [Giveaway] [Phoenix ComiCon]

Okay.  So remember the last Saturday Steals post I wrote about how I bought used copies of the books for Comicon so that I could have them signed and do a giveaway for you guys because I couldn't afford to buy new copies of all of the books that I wanted to get signed and give away for you?  Yeah.  That totally backfired on me.  Consider my lesson learned.  What lesson?  Read on.  You'll find out.

So The Eclectic I and I were having a grand ol' time at the Saturday session of Phoenix Comicon, when I all of the sudden sent her out to the car (and by sent I mean dispatched, pony express style - apologies, TEI) to get the copies of the books that we wanted signed.  I failed to communicate clearly causing her to have to make two trips out of the convention and across the street to the parking garage in downtown Phoenix. *FAIL*

I was getting Zombies vs. Cheerleaders signed by Ben Glendenning (more on that at a later date, promise), along with 2 copies of Pirate ♥ Ninja (more on that at a later date too, I swear) while TEI was doing all of this running about in 95° weather and I was watching Mr. Glendenning draw some awesome cheerleader/zombie action on the back of the comic book.  When I finally figured out how to communicate what I needed from the car, which was 2 copies of HERE THERE BE DRAGONS by James A. Owen, and zero copies of THE LOOKING GLASS WARS by Frank Beddor 'cause Beddor didn't show, and TEI was able to get them, Glendenning was totally done with his sketch.  Bonus for you.

We sorta beelined it over to where we were hoping James A. Owen would be signing books.  I bought another new copy of the book for Monster (please, don't hate me that you're getting the used one because when you hear the rest of the story, you're gonna want it waaaaay more, promise) because he's on a dragon kick lately, and was like all kinds of thrilled when he saw that James A. Owen was on our ComiCon ConQuest schedule because he'd been secretly (and why secretly? I have no idea!) lusting after The Chronicles of Imaginarium Geographica for a long while.  Or so he says.  Anyway.  So we were kinda excited that we found James without too much trouble.  He was there next to Sam Sykes and Leanna Renee Hieber.

Not knowing which book is which, (and honestly not caring who got the used copy and who got the new copy) I handed the top copy over to James and asked him to make it out to Monster. (well, to Monster's real name)  He masterfully wrote a super cool signing and drew an awesome dragon.  I was so excited for you guys.  SO EXCITED.  So I hand over the next book, and start to tell him not to make it out to anyone specific because I'm gonna give it away on iheartmonster.com.  He opens up the first page, and bam! There in silver sharpie is an inscription to Spencer.  From his parents.  Merry Christmas.  *instant blush* *humiliated* *wanted to crawl under the table skirt and hide from the world while I died of embarassment*

Now I wasn't hiding the fact that the book was used, I just wasn't planning on coming out and telling the author, "Hey, I'm really excited about your work.  So excited I decided to give away a used copy on my blog."  When James opened up the book and saw that it had been previously owned, he generously listened to my frantic explanation and apology and who knows whatever else ran out of my mouth (I'm sure TEI remembers better than I) and didn't let me take the book back and run away and hide under a table skirt and shrivel under there.  Nope. He smiled.  He chuckled.  He thought for a sec.  Then he did the coolest thing ever.  I mean look for yourself! Not to brag or anything, but James is an Arizona author.  Arizona authors rule.
<---Okay, I don't know who Spencer is - but he obviously does not love his mother.  or his dad.  But you do, don't you? So you'll keep this book, right? Right? (Think of your mom.) James A. Owen. 2010.

At this point, he continued by telling us that he didn't care what we brought him to sign, he'd sign it no matter what.  He said that last year at ComiCon, he saw a kid take a comic book author/artist a stack of work from the artist's early career and he said that that author/artist wouldn't sign them.  The kid was crushed.  The author/artist lamewad ended up pushing them off onto the ground and saying, "Next."  He said he doesn't want to be anything like that.  AND HE'S OBVIOUSLY NOT.  Flip the page in the book and you have the inscription, "Remember - Magic is Real... and worth looking for!" and awesome dragon drawing, not to mention James' signature.  

So, how is this a Saturday Steal?  Um... for however much I paid for this book, which wasn't much because it was used, I gained not only the single most embarassing moment for me as a blogger thusfar, but also a rad copy of HERE THERE BE DRAGONS all pimped out and one-of-a-kind-ish signed by the author for you guys.  Not so great for me, but hella great for you and totally a steal if you ask me. Lesson Learned? Check out the books you order before you take them to the author to sign to avoid morification when inscription appears outta nowhere in a Like New condition book.

If you'd like to enter to win the book formerly belonging to Spencer (can we just make a symbol to represent that?), but now totally tricked out by James A. Owen, all you have to do is fill out the form below... and it'd be awesome of you to leave a note with some applause for Mr. Owen in the comments section too if you have the time.  Let him see that we all appreciate his awesome and how very cool he was to shrug it off and make this book into a one-of-a-kind that you get the chance to win.  Ready?  Set.  Enter:
Open worldwide.  Ends 8/1.

CTRL + click this link to open form in a new tab

Friday, June 18, 2010

Read-In Protest at Brooklyn Public Library (@brooklynpublic) [You're The Expert]

Some forty branches of the New York Public Library system are due to close because of budget cuts passed by their city council.  From the BPL site:
Brooklyn Public Library could face a devastating $20.6 million cut in city funding on June 30.
As a result of this cut:

  • BPL would close 16 libraries.
  • Weekend hours would be severely limited.
  • Hundreds of staff members would be laid off.
  • Essential materials and important services would be drastically cut.
As a protest, a Brooklyn branch staged a read-in on the library's steps.  They even got some Gossip Girl action going on while patrons took fifteen minute shifts to sit in and listen to the librarians read everything from children's books to poetry to nonfiction.  Also in protest, we recently saw the NYPL stage a protest in the form of the ghostbusters hunting ghosts in the library. Noted in the NY Times article, the libraries did not close in the Great Depression.  That leads me to ponder the value our society has placed on freedom and accessibility of information in our society today.

Do you think that these events are effective means of protest?  Do you think the libraries should be doing something different?  Do you think it's okay for the libraries to close?  Are you facing anything similar in your neck of the woods/desert/plains/swamp/island?  Would you participate in a read-in as an effort to save your library?

[via New York Times]

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Researching PICTURE THE DEAD by Lisa Brown & Adele Griffin [Guest Post]

Can you guys please join me in welcoming Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown, authors of civil war era YA amazingsauce, PICTURE THE DEAD to I Heart Monster today?  They wrote a great guest post for us about how they researched their book, since it's all kinds of historical, seriously.  So, please enjoy! (and feel free to applaud as you're sitting there reading this in your pjs, 'cause you know I did)

It might be a little dangerous to ask us about our research for our new illustrated novel, Picture the Dead. Over the course of writing the book, we had become obsessive fanatics about historical detail, completely immersed in the archival day-to-day of the 1860s. Any whiff of inaccuracy plunged us back to our resources, where we’d dig deeper, counter-sourcing and resurfacing with better evidence.

Truth be told, what kept us so hard on the hunt was the sheer quantity, the crazy amount of primary source documents from the US Civil War era floating around that sometimes-dubious galaxy known as the World Wide Web. There, we were able to examine 19th century daguerreotypes, tintypes and cabinet cards. We poured over antique maps, menus and dance cards. We read love letters, telegrams and diaries. And newspapers. The newspapers were Amazing.

We found a good deal of material at the “Valley of the Shadow,” a website jointly maintained by the Virginia Center for Digital History and the University of Virginia Library. It contains information about daily life in two communities, one Northern (Pennsylvania) and one Southern (Virginia), through the years 1859-1870. Much of that information can be found within the transcripts of four newspapers. The names of these papers are as fantastic as their contents: The Staunton Vindicator, The Staunton Spectator, The Franklin Repository and The Valley Spirit.

Even a cursory perusal of topics in these papers could unearth a wealth of tidbits about the daily lives of 19th century folk. Consider these article titles and descriptions from the pages of The Valley Spirit and The Franklin Repository.

Accidents
(author comments on articles in blue)
"Terrible Effects of Rum."  Notes death in a fire as a result of overindulgence in liquor. Here, it’s the understated title that makes the piece so terrific.
"Accident." 
Man run over by fire engine. Help Is on the Way. Oh, Maybe Not.
"Accident on the Chambersburg Turnpike." 
Bridge collapses; wagon and four horses fall into stream. No injuries; some flour lost. Some flour!

Malicious Mischief
"Messrs. Editors." 
Letter to the editors suggests the new town council break up a gang of rowdy boys.
"Outrageous." 
Some "villainous scamps" who congregate on the street corners "have been amusing themselves by spitting Tobacco juice on the Ladies' dresses as they pass along. These scoundrels are being watched—and by-the-way had better leave town—and if caught will be severely dealt with." and by-the-way!

Nature/Wildlife/Weather
"Ye Skeeters Hev Cum." 
A humorous ode to the mosquito. It’s a poem. Not dirty.

But our very favorite article, bar none, was a short piece that concerned the wicked activities of the local children of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania during December of 1864. Entitled “A Barbarous Custom,” it described how children would gather in the homes of people who had died in order to look at the dead body. “The nuisance has become almost intolerable.”

The Valley Spirit, December 7, 1864
A Barbarous Custom

The children of our town have fallen into a confirmed habit of flocking in a body to any house in which a death has occurred, for the purpose of gazing upon the remains. At such a time the grief of survivors in a family from which a loved one has been taken is too sacred for such rude intrusion, and parents should see that their children are not permitted to make these untimely visits.

The above applies with equal force to our own community. No death can occur without crowds of rude ill-mannered children rushing into the house containing the corpse, to the annoyance of relatives and friends. The nuisance has become almost intolerable and some of our citizens on the occasion of a death in the family, have been compelled to lock their doors in order to keep out these rude intruders.

You can’t learn stuff like this from a history textbook. Bravo, Valley Spirit.

Lisa.  Adele.  Thanks so much.  We really enjoyed reading about how you guys found out so many nifty factoids! And how awesome is it that you found such a great resource on the web? Now that you guys are thoroughly engrossed and mesmerized by Lisa & Adele's awesome, you're going to wanna go pick up a copy of PICTURE THE DEAD from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository or Changing Hands.  I just know it.  You can also check out picturethedead.com and make sure to follow Lisa and Adele on Twitter!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

POLYONYMOUS, P-O-L-Y-O-N-Y-M-O-U-S, POLYONYMOUS

polyonymous • \pah-lee-AH-nuh-mus\  • adjective
: having or known by various names

Example Sentence:
Common epithets of Shiva, the polyonymous Hindu god of destruction and regeneration, are Shambhu, Shankara, Mahadeva, and Mahesha.

Did you know?
"Polyonymous" comes to us from Greek. The "poly-" part means "many," and the "-onymous" part derives from the Greek word "onoma" or "onyma," meaning "name" -- so a reasonable translation of "polyonymous" is, in fact, "having many names." There are a number of other descendants of "onoma" or "onyma" in English, including "anonymous" ("having no name"), "pseudonym" ("false name"), "eponym" (someone who lends their name to something, or a word that comes from someone’s name), and "patronymic" (a name taken from one's father). Even "name" itself is derived from the same ancient word that gave rise to Greek "onyma," making it a distant cousin of all these name-related words. [Source]

His seventeen aliases make him as master-polyonymous-spy material, dontcha think?

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando [You're The Expert]

Did you know that Universal Orlando (at Islands of Adventure) is opening a new area called The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?  Not only does it have rides, it has shops, and a post office. Check out the list of places right below, and watch the video about the area just below that. The area opens officially this Friday, June 18th.





You can totally check out the area on Universal's website, where they've put together a wonderfully interactive set for you to explore before you go. So, now that you've seen what Universal has done, tell us what you think! Would you go? (I'm itching for some butter beer myself) Which place inside the Wizarding World do you most want to visit?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

HELP!! Pretty Please? With A Pretty Little Liar On Top? [TV] [You're The Expert]

So, I need your help.  I'm heading out on a week long vaca today with my fam and won't be able to watch TV tonight to see Pretty Little Liars.  THAT'S A PROBLEM since A just texted me that I need to finish a sentence from the episode tonight or else I'm dead meat and she'll spill my secret.  The text of the text message in case the picture to the left doesn't load.:
Aria, guess what? The end is near! Not the end of the world - the end of our time together.  But before you complete the game, I need you to complete this sentence.  Here's the first part: "Maybe a family's demands..." The only way to figure out the second part is to watch tonight's show.  -A
Now why is that a PROBLEM?  I'm not going to be home tonight or tomorrow or the next day, or for the next week to be able to watch Pretty Little Liars.  Rest assured it'll be recorded for me to watch when I get home from vacay, or that I'll watch it online as soon as it's available, but A will totally spill my secret if you guys don't help me.

So whaddya say?  Are you watching tonight?  Will you help?  Pretty please?  With a pretty little liar on top?

Comment here or on Facebook with the rest of the sentence and I'll give you ten extra entries to win the paperback of the first book... even if you're not the first one to comment.  I mean, the first one could have gotten it wrong, right?

Oh, and P.S.  we got this message from A this week on Facebook:

"Details Fell Eerily Into Place" by Diane K. Salerni of WE HEAR THE DEAD [Guest Post]

We are pleased to welcome Dianne K. Salerni, author of WE HEAR THE DEAD, to I Heart Monster today! We asked her to write a post about something interesting she uncovered while doing research for her book, so read on to discover some facts that led Dianne to write the story the way she did.

When I first began writing We Hear the Dead, I thought I had it easy. My plot was laid out for me in the shape of events that had already occurred. I had all the right elements – a ghost story, the biggest fraud of the nineteenth century, and a star-crossed romance. However, I soon discovered that novels are very different from non-fiction in that biographers can simply state “the subject did this or that.” A novelist must explain “why the subject did this or that” – and make it believable to the readers. It was my job to get inside the heads of people who lied for a living and left a historical record muddled with falsehoods.

Various problems came up in my research for the early parts of the book. Why did E.E. Lewis’s account of the original Hydesville Haunting scarcely mention the girls Maggie and Kate Fox at all – and never by name? If, as they later admitted, the girls created the ghostly noises by cracking their toe and knee joints, how could their neighbor Mary Redfield claim that the ghost had rapped out her age (33 years)? That’s an awful lot of toe cracking! And why, after having convinced the town that their house was haunted, did the girls decide to shift the focus of everyone’s attention from the house to themselves by “rapping” for other spirits in new locations?

Sometimes it was spooky the way the problems unraveled themselves. Perhaps E.E. Lewis was just too much of a gentleman to name underage girls in his pamphlet about haunting, and when I considered how the girls might feel to be dismissed so easily, I suddenly had my answer to the third question. As for Mary Redfield, there was only one reason I could imagine for any woman to deliberately announce her age to a journalist: It wasn’t her real age! Mrs. Redfield wanted to publicly shave some years off – and once I realized that witnesses could lie as readily as the girls themselves, I had the answer to many small piddling questions.

One of the biggest holes in the historical record concerned an incident in Troy when Maggie was attacked and practically besieged in the home of Robert Bouton. This event, described by Maggie’s sister Leah in her memoirs, was bizarre from beginning to end. The police refused to help them, and Mr. Bouton arranged to have his home guarded by armed friends. Bouton was unable to move Maggie safely from his house, but Leah reported that when she arrived, the two of them were transported to Albany. What in the world really happened?

I puzzled over this for a long time, and once again, details fell eerily into place. I won’t describe the resolution to this episode but I will mention several facts which pointed me in a plausible direction.

  1. The year was 1850, the year that The Fugitive Slave Act was passed.
  2. The Fox sisters frequently consorted with abolitionists.
  3. Although Leah’s memoirs describe the attack on Maggie in great detail, Leah never revealed how she and her sister escaped Troy.

My fictional solution to this hole in my research was, I think, satisfying and logical. Who knows? It might even be true!

Thank you for hosting me on your site!

Dianne, thanks so much for that awesome story. If you want to know more about the Fox sisters and what Dianne's resolution to the hole in her research was, pick up a copy of WE HEAR THE DEAD from Amazon, Book Depository, or Changing Hands. Or, ask for it at your local library! You can also connect with Dianne on Twitter!

Monday, June 14, 2010

HUGE by Sasha Paley READ ALONG Schedule and Sign-Up [Read Along] #ABCFhuge (

Don't forget that our Read Along for HUGE by Sasha Paley starts this Sunday! Sunday at 12AM, Arizona time, there will be a discussion post live on I Heart Monster for those of you who are participating. We'll talk about the plot and the writing and what we're excited for on ABC Family's tv show HUGE throughout the week.

There's still time to grab a copy from the library or your local bookstore and participate with us. You can also sign-up at the bottom of this post by clicking the Click To Enter text in blue. If you do not have a web address and would still like to read along (you can use your twitter/FB/flavors.me addy too), you can just put in http://www.iheartmonster.com as your address. We'd love to have you read with us!!

Day Date Pages Chapters
Sunday 6/20 1-37 1-5
Monday 6/21 38-77 6-10
Tuesday 6/22 78-114 11-15
Wednesday 6/23 115-150 16-23
Thursday 6/24 151-191 24-30
Friday 6/25 192-228 31-36
Saturday 6/26 228-259 38-42

PERFECT CHEMISTRY by Simone Elkeles [Book Inspection] [YA]

Plot Sketch: So Brittany Ellis is the captain of the pom-pom squad.  She's worked hard to keep her home life a secret from everyone at school and to keep up her reputation as perfect.  She dates the quarterback, she gets good grades, and she never gets into trouble.  Then there's Alejandro Fuentes, who wants very much to be called Alex.  He's a prominent member of the Latino Bloods on campus, but pretty low-level in the gang on a grand scale.  He sports his attitude and his red bandana around and no one wants to mess with him.  It's the first day of school and Brittany almost hits Alex on his motorcycle as she's pulling into a parking spot.  After she parks and gets up to the school steps, Alex tries to intimidate her and by doing so lands him in the principal's office.  Then comes Chemistry class with Mrs. P.  Assigned alphabetical seats.  Fuentes comes right after Ellis, so Brittany and Alex become lab partners.  Alex takes a bet that he can have sex with Brittany before Thanksgiving, and the relationship and world-collisions commence.

Verdict: I adored this book.  Not only is it not your typical boy-makes-bet-about-girl ending, it's a delightful read.  There are STRONG LANGUAGE, GANGS and all that they entail, and plenty of SEXUAL REFERENCES/SCENES, so it's really only appropriate for older teens and adults.  Parents - be careful with this one with your kids, please.  Now back to the story.  I think I loved it so much because it admitted what it was in the text - it compared itself to GREASE, so I don't have to.  The characters grew without becoming someone they weren't to begin with.  They always knew who they were, but discovered that they could show who they were on the outside and not have to keep up facades.  I liked that gang life wasn't depicted as something that was easy to leave behind and that the reasons that people join gangs in the first place were accurately depicted.  I also liked that the characters, though teens and flawed, were not stupid.  The one thing I didn't like about the plot was the way that Brittany used sex to manipulate.

The Gauntlet:

Location: suburb of Chicago, IL
Main Character: There are two.  The chapters alternate whose point of view the story is told from.  Brittany Ellis and Alex Fuentes.  I liked them both.
Favorite Character: I liked Mrs. P.  I can't really elaborate much, or I'll spoil, but if every teacher in America was like Mrs. P, we'd have the most awesome, promising children in the world.
Time to Finish: About four hours. It's a super fast read.
Got Stuck On: Nada.  ¡Fue magnifico! (how'd I do, Ella?, alannah?)
Would Change: I can't think of anything to change.
Favorite Line: "I'm having a nightmare that a thousand little Oompa Loompas are in my head, hammering my skull.  Opening my eyes to bright light, I wince.  The Oompa Loompas are still in there, and I'm awake." p 125, paperback.
Good for Monster? No way.  Way too much of a romance for most men.
People Who Will Like This:  people who love a classic love story, Coloradans,
People Who Won't Like This: rich people who have sticks up their bums,
Chapters:  58 + epilogue.  I liked the way the chapters switched points of view.  I think it's probably super tricky to write a book like that, so I say, "Bravo!"
Author's Websitehttp://www.simoneelkeles.net/index-web.html

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Reader
Publish Date: December 23, 2008
ISBN-10: 0802798225


Acquire It:
Amazon
Book Depository
Changing Hands

Notes:

  • Watch the trailer (which I kinda don't like):
  • I read this as part of a book group, and so I'm sure my thoughts were influenced by members of the book group during our discussion of the book.  

Friday, June 11, 2010

Read The Poison Diaries Online [Freebies]

For a limited time, you can read THE POISON DIARIES by Maryrose Wood in its entirety for free on HarperTeen's Browse Inside site.  I'm not sure how long the entire text will be available online, but the book debuts 7/20/10, and you can definitely read it all before its even in bookstores.  Also worth checking out is poisondiaries.com, the book's website.

Description:  
In the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love . . .

Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure -- or kill.

When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined . . .


What do you think?  Will you read it?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Short Stories On An Old Audio Medium [You're The Expert] [News]

I feel like I'm always going, "Man! Why can't I buy that?!?  Why didn't someone in America think that up?"  I know, my friends, I know.  With so many books so close to me, I shouldn't complain about what I get and what I don't get in America.  But this, THIS, is super fly.  Ready?  Short Stories on vinyl!

Yeah, you heard me right.  Vinyl!  Underwood is now publishing(?) short stories on 33s.  But it's £23 for us here in the States to get a single story.  That's $33.08 by today's exchange and a little steep for a 20 minute recorded story... I think.  I still haven't ruled it out as a Christmas gift for someone I know, because the novelty factor definitely adds to how much I'm willing to pay, but I'm still on the fence.  Underwood Stories are the ones publishing these, and they currently have two options on their site.

But you tell us.  Would you pay £23 for a short story on vinyl?  How much is that in your local currency?
[via Telegraph]

Hot Guys Reading Books [Websites]

No, it's not a compilation book (though it would make a glorious coffee table book *hint**hint*), it's a Tumblr!  Alli compiles pictures of hotties reading.  But only males.  Why?  Read this snippet I snagged from her post:
Anonymous asked: Will you ask someone in your fans to maintain a tumblr called "cutegirlsreadingbooks.tumblr.com"?

Dear Anonymous,

Nope. As stated in the FAQ: “I don’t think a girls’ version is really necessary. I see girls reading books all over the place, and my college English classes were full of them!”

Until next Saturday,
Alli
Sorry guys/boys/men, I just had to share. But I also wanted to know what all of you think about such a fun reading related blog? (ahem, I'll have to limit my time on HGRB so that Monster doesn't get jealous)

Will you check it out? Visit the site.  Follow its keeper of literary lusciousness on Twitter.

[via a Changing Hands Facebook post, picture used with permission]

Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures by J. Torres and J. Bone[Book Inspection] [Graphic Novel] [Blog Tour]


Title: Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures
Author: J. Torres
Illustrator: J. Bone
Publisher: Tundra Books

Description: Alison's mom is an archaeologist. I can't tell you what her dad does, or I would spoil one of the sets for you. Alison has great friends, and lots of adventures in far-off places as well as places near home. She has a knack for getting herself into things that most other young ladies couldn't even dream of getting themselves into. You know those stories people tell where it's too wacky not to be true? Those are the types of stories Alison will tell for the rest of her life... and she'll have a plethora of them!

Verdict: Dude, I loved Alison's misadventures! With three stories per book, I was treated to a quick adventure story with great illustrations. I loved that Alison has parents that are in the picture and that love and care about her, but that she still finds herself in places where either a) her parents have to help her out, or b) she has to help her parents out. It's a refreshing symbiosis in a genre that usually takes parents completely out of the picture or makes them totally useless. I think that Torres & Bone have struck a harmony here that will be most enjoyable for adults, parents, teens, preteens, and children, making ALISON DARE appealing to a mass market. Ready to get your adventure on? Pick up ALISON DARE today!

People Who Might Like This: fans of The Mummy(1999, Brendan Fraser) and The Incredibles (2004), covert operations officers, people who like genies.
People Who Probably Won't Like It: I'm having trouble thinking of a demographic that wouldn't like it.  I guess sappy romantics who don't like action?  That's the only one I can think of!


As part of the blog tour, Alison was able to go on some accompany Monster and I on some of our own adventures. We went through tornadoes in Wichita (sorry, no picture available, Alison tossed the camera at the tornado to try and get it to go in a different direction... a bit unsuccessfully might I add, but we're just fine, and have a new camera too). Then we headed up to Iowa where we got to spend a little time on a farm. Boy did Alison get herself into trouble with the locals! She made up her mind that she was going to work the fields and get an idea of what it was like to be a farm girl, but she wrecked the tractor, and we had to hide in the house across from the field to get this picture (minus the tractor) so that the angry farmer couldn't find us.

Then we headed through Nebraska and we followed the train all the way to Wyoming.  Oh my goodness.  You should have heard the plans that Miss Dare came up with for that train.  We were so sick of hearing about Union Pacific this and Golden Spike that, and we were just glad that the RR veered away from the highway once we hit this RR car.  Alison demanded that we take her picture with it though because she was not going to have her plans and theories forgotten.  Nope.  We had to preserve them with a picture.

Then we took her to Rock Springs, Wyoming.  She got a nice break there and visited the White Mountain branch of the library.  She swears that she can like speed-read or something because she found a ton of great YA books in that 'bary.  She said that it was most impressive, and even though it doesn't look intimidating from the outside, we had to commemmorate it because the inside (especially the YA section) was "incredibly amazing."  Her words.  Not mine.  (though I don't disagree)

Then we went to this great little Chinese place for dinner... she had issues with her fortune out of her cookie, and we took a candid of her getting a little overzealous in arguing with her fortune: "To get respect from others, one must first give respect to others."  She thought that people should respect her and all of her expertise just from the many rumors that pass around talking of her great triumphs in life.  We told her that she wouldn't have triumphs in life if it weren't for her respecting someone enough to learn from them, but she just didn't see it that way... until the waiter put her in her place with a, "I'm sorry, I don't know who Alison Dare is."

Then we had a very very fun adventure.  You won't even believe it if I tell you about it.  No, you won't.  I swear.  It was MAY and it snowed on us.  You should have seen the fountain of data that came out of Alison's mouth about how I, an Arizona girl, was ill-prepared for a trip to the Midwest without long sleeves.  "May isn't the same in Wyoming as it is in Arizona," she informed me.  This I have learned, as well as all of the possible uses for a shovel in a snowstorm.  Thanks Alison.

Then, oh.  THEN.  I almost forgot about this one.  Alison totally got into a fight!  There was this adorable little five-year old girl that we were visiting who just so happens to be our niece.  She was all kinds of curious about Alison and what Alison did.  So we sat down together and read a little bit of one of Alison's adventures.  Alison busted out with a "See how cool I am?" and our niece (she's adorable, right?) was like, "Um, no.  See, I just got back from Ireland where I was solving mysteries about princesses and castles and uncovering where the last unicorn lives."  And Alison was like, "Oh yeah? Well, I just got back from the Middle East where I met a genie!" and our neice was like, "Whatever.  Unicorns totally trump genies."  And thus, chaos ensued.  As you can see, is was a knock down drag out, and I was sure glad I had help in breaking it up!


When we finally got home, Alison got into one last fight.  You see, she was mad at the saguaro for poking her on one of her adventures, so she decided she'd teach it a lesson.  Unfortunately, she didn't realize that saguaros were so big, so thankfully, she decided to back off and just pretend to be mad at it!

All in all, we really enjoyed having Alison along for the trip with us.  She was great company and made the trip unique and memorable.  Thanks for accompanying us, Alison, and thanks, Tundra, for letting us participate in the Double Blog Dare Tour!!

If you'd like to read about Alison's adventures, pick up a copy at Amazon, Book Depo, or Changing Hands today!  AND, if you're so enclined, take some pictures of Alison yourself and enter into the contest to win an Alison Dare prize pack!

Also, check out the Tundra website, and Tundra's Blog where you can find other installments of the Double Blog Dare Tour!

And follow these folks associated with ALISON on Twitter: @TundraBooks, @jtorrespants