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Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Flicks: Warm Bodies

A weekly review of a book to film adaptation. 

Summary: If true love is meant to be, what does it matter if one is human and the other a zombie? Warm Bodies is a pretty delightful, tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy loosely based on Romeo and Juliet. But the Capulets and Montagues have much more in common than do R, the hipster zombie boy character (played by Nicholas Hoult), and Julie (Teresa Palmer), a girl human. Warm Bodies takes place after the zombie apocalypse (of course), and on the surface it appears to be Twilight for zombie fans. Happily, writer-director Jonathan Levine has taken the concept a step further than the novel by Isaac Marion. As a result, Warm Bodies is just self-aware enough to keep the whole idea from being too precious. The viewer knows that the two young leads were born to be together--if they can work with their hearts and their brains. Complicating matters is the fact that Julie's dad (John Malkovich, having a wickedly good time) is the boss of all the humans fighting the zombies. Let's just say Julie definitely has her work cut out for her. Warm Bodies will thrill younger viewers who adore Twilight, but fans of great romantic comedies with a light touch will like it just as much. --A.T. Hurley

Review: Although I've never read the book, I'm very happy I watched the movie. It was crazy, defiantly something I didn't expect. The zombie was the main character! Loved it. The movie had great meaning, amazing characters. I would suggest you to see it. I even got my boyfriend to watch it and he's one of those guys who need to have lots of guns in the movie. Even he liked it a bit.  Of course there were a few slow bits but hey zombies are slow!
So 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: Crush. Candy. Corpse.


Title: Crush. Candy. Corpse.
Author: Sylvia McNicol
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: 
 May 18, 2013
Reviewer: Kati
Rating: 5 Stars

Summary: Paradise Manor is depressing - the smells are bad and the residents are old. Sunny would much rather be doing her volunteer hours at Salon Teo, but her teacher won't let her. Who says volunteering at a hair salon doesn't benefit the community?

But working with the Alzheimer's patients has a surprising effect on Sunny. Along with Cole, the grandson of one of the residents, she begins to see that the residents don't have much more choice about their lives than she does: what they eat, how they are treated by staff, even what they watch on television. So Sunny does what she can to make the residents happy - even if she has to sometimes break the rules to do it.

But when tragedy strikes at Paradise, Sunny's left to make the decision about whether or not to honor a promise that Cole made to his grandmother about her life and her death.

Review: I felt drawn to this book because I worked in a nursing home that had the best Alzheimer’s and dementia unit in Wisconsin. Some of this is wrong mostly when it comes to nursing homes. Some of it is right on. Either way I loved this book would like to know what happens next in Sunny's life. I would defiantly read more by this author. The book was difficult to put down. 

Rate (1-10)[low to high]:
Quality of writing: 9
Pace: 8
Plot development: 9
Characters: 9
Enjoy ability: 9
Insightful ness: 10
Ease of reading: 8
-Kati

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: Ten Tiny Breaths


Title:  Ten Tiny Breaths
Author: K. A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: Feb. 12, 2013
 
Reviewer:  Carissa

Summary: Four years ago Kacey Cleary’s life imploded when her car was hit by a drunk driver, killing her parents, boyfriend, and best friend. Still haunted by memories of being trapped inside, holding her boyfriend’s lifeless hand and listening to her mother take her last breath, Kacey wants to leave her past behind. Armed with two bus tickets, twenty-year-old Kacey and her fifteen-year-old sister, Livie, escape Grand Rapids, Michigan, to start over in Miami. Struggling to make ends meet, Kacey needs to figure out how to get by. But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle anything—anything but her mysterious neighbor in apartment 1D.

Trent Emerson has smoldering blue eyes, deep dimples, and he perfectly skates that irresistible line between nice guy and bad boy. Hardened by her tragic past, Kacey is determined to keep everyone at a distance, but their mutual attraction is undeniable and Trent is determined to find a way into Kacey’s guarded heart—even if it means that an explosive secret could shatter both their worlds.

Review: Kasey Cleary and her sister, Livie, are starting a new life in Miami, where no one knows of the drunken driving accident that killed Kasey’s parents, best friend, and boyfriend. Miami seems like a big improvement from their overly-religious aunt and pervert uncle’s house. Livie is going to school and Kasey is (slowly) becoming friends with their neighbor, Storm, and her daughter Mia. Kasey and Livie are barely scraping by with Kacey’s Starbucks paycheck. Storm notices and manages to get Kacey a job bartending at a strip club ***Just serving drinks!*** The pay is goodand Kasey’s rock-hard exterior starts melting. And there’s also the cute neighbor Tristan, who makes Kacey so confused. They begin to develop a heated relationship, and things look good. Everyday a piece of Before Kacey comes back. Then Kacey discovers Tristan’s BIG secret and it ruins everything…

            Woah! First, Love. The. Cover. Now onto the actual content: Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker is so very sad/inspiring/awe-invoking that I just have to give it ten stars! However, while I highly recommend it, Ten Tiny Breaths has a few heated sex scenes as well as a bunch of bad language.

10/10 stars, Ages 14+

Monday, August 5, 2013

Author Q&A: Jason Sandberg

Jason Sandberg is the author of the children's book, Candy and the Cankersaur. He was kind enough to answer a few questions on his book, ebooks, and the state of children's literature. 

In the literary world, successful children’s book authors can often fly under the radar. What made you decide that this genre was the one for you?

I’m principally a painter, so I’m usually depicting these frozen moments in time.  I had the desire to create narratives that flow through time, to depict a beginning, middle and end.  I was lured to Picture Books because they presented the opportunity to combine storytelling with illustration.  I already paint in a variety of styles, so the restless part of my personality enjoys the cartooning involved in Picture Books. 

With e-readers increasing in popularity and prominence, was it a conscious decision on your part to publish this book electronically? Additionally, have you found that parents are searching for quality material to share with their children, on these devices?

Excellent observation!  I foresee that tablets and e-readers will bring about a Renaissance in Picture Books.  Bedtime reading is a very different experience when you can turn off all the lights in the room and read to a child on a gently glowing screen.  Smart parents will also see the value in carrying a multitude of Picture Books on an e-reader, which will make car trips and doctor’s office waiting rooms more pleasant.  I expect this to yield a demand for quality content.  The e-reader/tablet should also help comics and manga flourish.

 On a related note, how do you feel that e-readers have both positively and negatively affected the literary world, and how will they determine the relationship that young readers have with books?

The technology will continue to divert revenue from brick and mortar retailers, reducing the number of bookstores.  But bookstores won’t disappear because they serve a socializing function and provide an opportunity to browse.  Having worked in a bookstore I know that under the old model a new book had a mere 90 days to prove itself before it was shipped back to the publisher.  Under the new model an eBook is “on the shelf” forever, it has plenty of time to find an audience and I believe that quality eventually wins out over hype.

Before reading Candy and the Cankersaur, I was unaware of the name, Syd Hoff. Upon a quick search of his name, I realized that he was responsible for some of my favorite childhood characters, especially Danny and the Dinosaur. Can you speak about the influence his work has had on your own, and give us a bit more insight into your process of creating a book?

I’m glad I helped bring back some fond memories!  I think that picture books can be the seed for a lifelong love of reading.  Syd Hoff always put a smile on my face, so I wanted to honor his classic Danny and the Dinosaur.  When I create a picture book I aim to make something that everyone can get a kick out of.  I try to slip in things to make adults/parents laugh.  Beginning readers often get attached to certain books and want them read over and over and over... I view quality as the ability of a book to hold up under multiple reads!

Underneath the surface of Candy and the Cankersaur, you manage to present topics that go a bit deeper than the story of a girl and her experience with a dinosaur. Particularly, there are lessons about the importance of strong relationships versus material possessions. How important is it to you, as an author, to engrain your work with this deeper meaning, and how do you manage to make these topics accessible to a child?

Storytelling is a fundamental aspect of human nature.  Humans pass along knowledge and culture through story and myth.  Lessons and greater truths are memorable when they’re wrapped in a good story.  When crafting a children’s book the strategy is to show rather than tell. 

Finally, I always like to ask authors which books they’ve recently been enjoying. What are some of the books that you are currently reading or have recently read?

I’m currently reading “Antifragile” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.  The book is a multidisciplinary exploration of systems that gain from healthy stressors.  Antifragile systems thrive on trial and error because the harmful results from mistakes are discreet and contained.  I also enjoyed Grant Morrison’s recent run on Action Comics.  That was a fun roller coaster ride! 

 Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions! Please let the readers know how we can follow you and your work, and feel free to say anything else that you’d like to.

I’ll end with a quote from Aristotle, “Nature requires not only that we should be properly employed, but that we should be able to enjoy our leisure in an honorable way.”

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jason-Sandberg-eBooks/482452801772024

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Review: Candy and the Cankersaur


Title: Candy and the Cankersaur
Author: Jason Sandberg
Format: Ebook, Visit http://www.jasonsandberg.com/index.html for more info
Reviewer: Ethan

Review: I'll preface this review by saying that I don't really read children's books. I'm a single guy, in my twenties, and have no real reason to pick up a children's book. As part of my blog, I receive various requests to review books, many of which I simply don't have time to read and review. When I was contacted about reading Candy and the Cankersaur by author Jason Sandberg, I figured I would at least be able to read the book quickly. And so I agreed, read the book in a few minutes, and my review is as follows.

The story is of a young girl, Candy, who lives in a large mansion. She has lots of toys, which she generously shares with other, and lives a seemingly normal life. But beyond the toys and material objects, Candy mostly desires more attention from her rich, busy father. As fathers often do in these types of stories, Candy's dad tries to occupy the void in his daughter's life with more stuff. In this instance, he buys her a rare dinosaur, Cankersaurus Rex.

Despite her initial fear of the creature, Candy trains the dinosaur, nicknamed Cank, to be a pretty good pet. When Candy's neighbor Chucky see's the animal, he is immediately filled with jealousy. He has a longstanding rivalry with Candy, and realizes that his parents will never be able to top the gift of Candy's father. He decides that if he can't have a pet dinosaur, then neither can Candy. Chucky proceeds to steel Cank and sell him to the circus.

As all good children's books must, this story does end with a happy ending. Chucky sees how Cank's disappearance makes Candy sad, and realizes his mistake. The two then enlist the help of Candy's dad, who realizes his own paternal mistakes, to help bring Cank home.

Despite not having any real authority on the genre, I do feel that children, especially younger ones will enjoy this book. Even better, the adults who read it to them won't feel tortured while reading it! As far as a kid's book is concerned, this one has every element that is needed to keep a child's attention. The bright pictures, reminiscent of those by cartoonist Syd Hoff (do a quick search of his name and see if nostalgia doesn't kick in), are both visually vibrant and a great visual aid to the words. The text is large and easily to read. Better still, the story teaches a lesson about the intangible things in life that are more important than material possessions. And finally, there is a dinosaur! What six-year-old boy doesn't like dinosaurs? Overall, this is a quick read that both kids and parents should enjoy.

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