Book Trailer Thursday (176)–A Monster Calls Teaser Trailer

Book Trailer Thursday

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything! I’m in the middle of an overwhelming school year which involves an extra section of students and only one planning period every other day. My class sizes are huge (my largest has 36 students); I have about 200 students total this year. So I’ve been scrambling to find time to plan, grade, and find time to read. Plus I was getting ready for the panel of fantasy authors I moderated at ALAN a couple weeks ago and the NCTE Ignite session I was added to last minute. Plus, there’s always my sweet little Jack occupying most of my non-school time. 🙂

Anyway, while I was at NCTE I found out that Patrick Ness’s tear-jerker A Monster Calls is being made into a movie! I’m eager to see how his beautiful book is transformed for all of us to see and experience as a movie. It doesn’t release until October 2016, but a teaser trailer has been made available for our enjoyment. I wish there was a teaser movie poster that I could include with the trailer.

A Monster CallsSummary (From Goodreads):

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

My Favorite Audiobooks of 2013

I’m very much a visual learner, but when audiobooks are narrated well and are written well, I’m completely hooked. I love listening to them while I’m getting ready for work, cooking, cleaning, working out, and driving to/from work. Listening to an audiobook makes me feel like I’m being productive (taking time to read) while I’m busy doing things I *have* to do.

I’ve listened to 33 audiobooks this year and narrowed that list down to my top five favorites. Which audiobooks did you listen to and love this year? I’d love to get more recommendations!

1. The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg, narrated by Suzy Jackson (Goodreads):

  • What I enjoyed about the audio–First, Suzy Jackson sounds like a teenage girl. I don’t like it at all when an adult narrator won’t change his/her voice to sound like a teenage character. Second, she does a nice job switching back and forth between voices. She does a nice job bringing life to Patrick’s voice. I can’t imagine it’s easy to make herself sound like a guy, but she did a believable job.
  • What I enjoyed about the book–It’s a fantastic blend of Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and the movie Ghost. I also love that this book surprised me multiple times. It went in directions I never expected and it worked. I’m also a fan of how the story is broken up by the stages of grief. Jess Rothenberg has written a strong debut; I can’t wait to read what she writes next!

2. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, narrated by David Levithan (Goodreads):

  • What I enjoyed about the audio–David Levithan is so incredibly talented. His voice was perfect for this audiobook and I’m sure he read it just like it sounded in his head while he wrote this. I think my favorite part of his narration was the varying inflections of his voice. At the right time it was soothing and at the right time it was alarming. So. Good.
  • What I enjoyed about the book–I love how smart David Levithan is. The fact that he included a Greek-style Chorus in this book blew my mind. I’ll be honest, this story required a lot of attention as an audiobook, but it’s worth it. The Chorus added depth to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the different characters’ stories and discovering how they paralleled each other. I wanted more from a few of the characters, but I still appreciated their stories. Overall this is a stellar and important book.

3. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness, narrated by Nick Podehl & Angela Dawe (Goodreads):

  • What I enjoyed about the audio–If Nick Podehl narrates an audiobook, I’m going to listen to it. Plain and simple. He’s my favorite male audiobook narrator and he only solidified that through his narration of this book. Angela Dawe was an enjoyable narrator for this book as well, but at times I wish her voice was a little louder. I love this series and will most likely finish the series by listening to the audio of Monsters of Men even though I miss seeing the “Noise” while I’m listening.
  • What I enjoyed about the book–Like I said, I love this series. It’s deep, intriguing, full of action, and completely absorbing. Patrick Ness is a master storyteller.

4. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, narrated by Ray Porter (Goodreads) (My review):

I’m not going to go into too much detail since I’ve already reviewed this. I will say that I was hesitant at first about Ray Porter’s narration, but I ended up loving it. He really brought this story to life and kept me hooked the entire time.

5. Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, narrated by Natalie Moore (Goodreads) (My review):

Since I’ve already reviewed this I’m not going to provide too much detail. When I started listening to audiobooks, I started with the first book in this series, Dairy Queen. Natalie Moore IS D.J. Schwenk. It’s been months since I’ve listened to this final installment in this series and I can still here D.J.’s voice perfectly. I can’t recommend these audiobooks enough.

What Should I Read Next?

I need your help. I’m currently suffering from Too Many Books to Choose From syndrome. I’m currently reading and about to finish Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder. I started Reality Boy by A.S. King and stopped mid-way so I could read a few NetGalley books before they archived. I’m probably going to finish that next, but I’m wondering what I should read after that. I’m including a few of the books I’m considering, so I’d love to know which book you think I should pick up next!

Smoke

Smoke by Ellen Hopkins

**Beware of spoilers in the summary!**

Summary (From Goodreads): Pattyn Von Stratten’s father is dead, and Pattyn is on the run. After far too many years of abuse at the hands of her father, and after the tragic loss of her beloved Ethan and their unborn child, Pattyn is desperate for peace. Only her sister Jackie knows what happened that night, but she is stuck at home with their mother, who clings to normalcy by allowing the truth to be covered up by their domineering community leaders. Her father might be finally gone, but without Pattyn, Jackie is desperately isolated. Alone and in disguise, Pattyn starts a new life, but is it even possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth?

I went to Ellen’s signing for this in Ann Arbor this week. I’ve been hoping/waiting for a sequel to Burned for years now. One of my seniors just read Burned and made sure I knew that he gets to read Smoke after I finish it.

How to Love

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Summary (From Goodreads): Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he’s never seemed to notice that Reena even exists…until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

After: Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena’s gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she’s finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn’t want anything to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said Sawyer’s being back wasn’t stirring something in her. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.

This is an Edelweiss title I have on my Kindle so I feel obligated to read it soon, although I really do want to read it (not just because I requested it and need to write a review).

The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez

Summary (From Goodreads):

From the author of Virtuosity, a novel about two sisters and the secrets they tell, the secrets they keep—and the secret that could tear them apart.

Amelia is used to being upstaged by her charismatic younger sister, Charly. She doesn’t mind, mostly, that it always falls to her to cover for Charly’s crazy, impulsive antics. But one night, Charly’s thoughtlessness goes way too far, and she lands both sisters in serious trouble.
     Amelia’s not sure she can forgive Charly this time, and not sure she wants to . . . but forgiveness is beside the point. Because Charly is also hiding a terrible secret, and the truth just might tear them apart forever.

I loved Jessica’s debut Virtuosity so I automatically want to read this one. I finally bought a copy today when I found it at a library sale.

More Than This

More Than This by Patrick Ness

Summary (From Goodreads):

From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .

I love Patrick Ness and this book sounds great.

Waiting on Wednesday–More Than This by Patrick Ness

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  It’s designed for bloggers to spotlight the upcoming releases that they simply can’t wait to read.

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Patrick Ness is an auto-buy author.  I love his writing, his stories, and his creativity.  This upcoming release sounds fantastic and like it will be utterly engaging.  I can’t wait to read it!

More Than ThisTitle & Author: More Than This by Patrick Ness

Release Date: September 10th, 2013

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Summary (From Goodreads):

From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .

Books I Thought I’d Like Less and More Than I Did

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

It’s always disappointing when I discover that a book I thought I was going to love ends up being a dud.  But it’s really exciting when I’m reading a book that I had minimal expectations for turns into a favorite.  Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about those books.

Books I thought I’d like more than I did:

Splintered by A.G. Howard (Goodreads): I was really enjoying this when I first started listening to the audio.  The entire premise was intriguing and I was drawn in.  But then it turned into a weird, way-too-emo for me story that I couldn’t enjoy.  There’s a really long list of things I really disliked about this debut.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (Goodreads): I’m still disappointed that I didn’t like this book.  I didn’t even finish it!  It didn’t speak to me and I hated the footnotes.

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (Goodreads): This debut had instant action and lots of promise, but ultimately it fizzled about half way through the book.  I never finished it.

Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins (Goodreads): I really expected to like this book.  I like the star-crossed lovers storyline, and I was looking forward to see how the story would play out with one of the characters being Amish.  Unfortunately, the story grew repetitive and stalled out.  I stopped reading it after I discovered that there would be more books.  If I was already bored half way through the first book, I couldn’t let myself invest in yet another series.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Goodreads): I love Lauren Oliver’s writing so I fully expected to love this one.  I was listening to the audio over the summer and made it as far as the second half of the audiobook before I gave up.  I grew bored with the story.  I wanted it to move along faster, and after a while Lauren Oliver’s flowery writing started to sound verbose.  Maybe one day I’ll come back to this one, but it won’t be any time soon.

SplinteredAn Abundance of KatherinesGlowTemptationDelirium

Books I thought I’d like less than I did:

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Goodreads): Two students told me about this during my first year teaching my YA elective.  I was really hesitant to read it because I thought I didn’t like science fiction.  After they told me how amazing it was I decided to give it a shot.  It’s one of my favorites and it even made me cry.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Goodreads): I remember when my high school best friend picked this up when we were in college.  She raved and raved about it, but I wasn’t interested.  One of my students gave me her copy to read during spring break a couple years ago, so I finally caved and read it.  I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner because it’s SO GOOD!  I didn’t want it to end.

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick (Goodreads): I remember seeing an ARC of this in my ALAN box in Chicago and thinking, “What is this?”  I had never heard of Jordan Sonnenblick, and I had never heard of this book.  I don’t know why I was so hesitant.  I can’t even remember how I ended up reading it last year, but I enjoyed every minute of it.  It’s funny and heart-warming.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (Goodreads): I tried reading The Warrior Heir during my first year of teaching and really disliked it.  Last year I requested some titles to help me discover more fantasy and this was recommended.  I figured I’d like it, but I had no idea I would love it.  I was completely absorbed in the story and the world.  It’s a long book, and I’m pretty sure I read it in just over a day.  This is a fabulous series.

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Goodreads): I tried reading this in the traditional sense and then a year later I tried the audio.  Both times I had to set it aside.  I finally tried the audio for a second time and I was finally hooked.  I think this is one of those “I need to be in the right mood books” because I can’t believe I didn’t finish it the first time I tried reading it.  It’s such a fantastic book that’s beautifully written.  If you haven’t read it yet, I HIGHLY recommend listening to the audio.

The Knife of Never Letting GoWater for ElephantsCurveball The Year I Lost My GripThe Demon KingDaughter of Smoke and Bone

My Literary Achilles’ Heel

During our lunch break at the ALAN conference this past November, my friends and I were discussing which breakout session to attend.  There was quite a bit of debate, because much of our decision was based on which authors we wanted to listen to.  I was originally planning on attending the session about Chicago as a setting in YA, but I didn’t for two reasons.  One reason was that our lunch took FOREVER (that poor restaurant was packed and understaffed), but the other reason was because of something Donalyn Miller said.  She of course wanted to listen to Chris Crutcher and Matt de la Peña (and who wouldn’t?!), but her primary reason for attending was because sports fiction is her Achilles’ heel.  This  really made me think because I know which genres are my least favorite, but I never thought about putting a name to it (Thank you, Donalyn!).

I’m bringing this post up because it’s been on my mind, but now even more so after winning my Teacher of the Year award.  I received a $500 check to use in my classroom, and I’m thinking about spending it on books–real predictable, right? 😉  On Thursday I told my students about it and asked them for their input on how I should spend the money.  We all agreed that a spinning book rack would be great because we could display books according to genre.  That’s easy enough, and something I’ve wanted to purchase for a while, but then I started thinking about my literary Achilles’ heel again.  I love contemporary fiction and plenty of the paranormal fiction that’s been released, although I’ll admit I’m getting worn out trying to keep up with so many series, but that’s another post altogether.  I know I could be better about reading more sports fiction, but I think I’m doing alright, especially now that one of my YA Lit students keeps reading them before me and recommending them.  Plus I love Chris Crutcher’s novels and couldn’t get enough of Geoff Herbach’s Stupid Fast, just as a couple examples.  I’ve been beefing up my knowledge of graphic novels, and in the process I’ve found that I really enjoy them.  I love novels in verse, so that part of my library is ever expanding, even though I know that’s not a genre of YA.  My greatest Achilles’ heel is high fantasy and science fiction.

I grew up loving fantasy.  I remember reading every unicorn book I could find when I was in elementary and middle school.  The Bunnicula books, even though those aren’t exactly fantasy, were some of my favorites.  I tried reading The Hobbit in 6th grade, and even though I didn’t finish it, I remember really enjoying it.  I could picture the setting and the characters easily.  In high school my dad handed me a copy of The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart.  I couldn’t get enough of that book!  I was over the moon in 10th grade when we started our King Arthur unit.  I wrote my essay on the Lady of the Lake and actually enjoyed doing the research (I didn’t enjoy the research involved for my Oliver Wendell Holmes essay in 11th grade–I had no choice in my author assignment).  So why do I struggle now to enjoy high fantasy novels?  I read Graceling by Kristin Cashore and adored it.  I tried reading the companion, Fire, but even though I’ve tried reading it twice now, I can’t stick with it.  I am looking forward to the release of Bitterblue.  I tried the first in The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima, but that was really a struggle.  I have no desire to finish the series, but I do have all the books in my class library.  I’ve heard great things about the Seven Realms series, so I’m thinking about trying that.  My students requested that I buy the rest of the Eragon series, which I did yesterday, but even those I don’t really care for.  I might not like Eragon because I saw the movie first, but I still don’t know if I want to read them.

 Science fiction has never been a genre that I enjoy reading.  I read Insignia by S.J. Kincaid (releases in July 2012–review coming closer to the release date) and loved it.  It’s about gaming and virtual reality, so I’d qualify it as science fiction.  I read Tempest by Julie Cross, and even though there are some plot points that I didn’t like, I enjoyed reading the novel overall.  The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness could be seen as dystopian, but I also look at it as science fiction because it takes place on a different planet, much like Beth Revis’s Across the Universe and A Million Suns.  I’m not sure what I’m missing in this genre.  I’ve obviously enjoyed a few novels that fit within in, so why don’t I find myself reading more novels in this genre?

I’m writing about all of this because I feel like I’m letting my students down, in particular the students who do enjoy reading these genres.  I have a few titles that I can discuss with them and recommend, but I don’t have enough to feel like I’m doing a good enough job.  Does anyone else feel like this?  What’s your literary Achilles’ heel?  And if you love these genres, please leave me some recommendations!  I have that money to spend, so I want to buy some worthy YA titles in each genre to provide for my students.  And since I don’t have that much going on this weekend (FINALLY!), I think I’m going to break out of my comfort zone and try reading one or two.  So please, if you have any recommendations, or if you feel the same way I do about these genres or others, leave me a comment 🙂

Flash Reviews (8)

Don’t Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough

Summary (From  Goodreads): Delaney Collins doesn’t believe in fairy tales. And why should she? Her mom is dead, her best friend is across the country, and she’s stuck in California with “Dr. Hank,” her famous life-coach father—a man she barely knows. Happily ever after? Yeah, right.

Then Dr. Hank tells her an outrageous secret: he’s a fairy godmother—an f.g.—and he can prove it. And by the way? The f.g. gene is hereditary. Meaning there’s a good chance that New Jersey tough girl Delaney is someone’s fairy godmother.

But what happens when a fairy godmother needs a wish of her own?

Flash Review:  Kathy McCullough has written an absolutely adorable MG/YA debut novel.  Delaney is tough on the outside, but she’s actually really sweet deep down.  Her witty sarcasm and sense of humor had me giggling and smiling the entire time I read this novel.  She and her father have a strained relationship, most of which results from Delaney not knowing that her dad is an f.g. I love that Dr. Hank is a fairy godmother, because I’m sure most of us wouldn’t expect a man to hold that title.  It increased the amount of humor in the novel while also keeping the story sweet and heartwarming.  Delaney doesn’t know about the ins and outs of being a fairy godmother, so she needs to learn to trust and rely on her dad to learn the ropes.  I definitely recommend reading Don’t Expect Magic.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Summary (From Goodreads): This is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss. The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. . . .

This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final story idea of Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.

Flash Review:  A Monster Calls took my breath away.  The writing, the story, and the illustrations are stunning.  Conor is dealing with his mother’s illness and has been suffering from nightmares.  One night after the recurring nightmare, the monster shows up and wants Conor to give him the truth.  The monster helps Conor understand what truth he’s looking for through stories.  These stories are intended for Conor to come to a realization and give the monster what it’s looking for, even if Conor doesn’t understand this at the beginning.  I was completely engrossed in this novel.  My dad is a cancer survivor, so I was able to empathize with Conor.  My personal connection may be why I adore this novel so much, but I can’t imagine someone not being moved by A Monster Calls.   When I finished this novel I was speechless and bawled like a baby.

 

Thank you for the Flash Reviews idea, GreenBeanTeenQueen

Book Trailer Thursday (37)

Patrick Ness is truly a gifted writer. I fell in love with The Knife of Never Letting Go even though I never thought I’d enjoy a book like that.  His stories are compelling, poignant, and thought-provoking.  I’m featuring the trailer for his new book, A Monster Calls.  I just bought my copy the other day and plan on starting it today.  Teachers/bloggers/librarians I trust have been raving about this book, so I can’t wait to read it.  The book trailer is awesome and the music is beautiful.  Enjoy!

P.S. A Monster Calls has been nominated for a Cybils award 🙂

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Summary from Goodreads):

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

 

 

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