Hot Off the Proverbial Presses: October 14, 2014

14 Oct

In Real LifeIn Real Life by Cory Doctorow, illustrated by Jen Wang

Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer – a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake.

From acclaimed teen author and digerati bigwig Cory Doctorow and rising star cartoonist Jen Wang, In Real Life is a sensitive, thoughtful look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture-clash.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Gorgeous artwork meets an intriguing premise all tied up in what sounds like a thought provoking exploration of some of our favorite things.

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“The Mortal Instruments” May or May Not Be Ruined on the Small Screen Next

13 Oct

Shadowhunters

The Mortal Instruments movie may have been a totally incomprehensible flop (let us never speak of it again), but that hasn’t stopped the book series from getting another chance, this time on the small screen.

According to recent reports, rather than another film starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers rat tails, the novels will be turned into a television series.

Which means there’s still hope for that prequel adaptation of Will Herondale and That Time it Was Demon Pox!

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Hot Off the Proverbial Presses: September 23, 2014

23 Sep

HorrorstorHorrorStör by Grady Hendrix

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring wardrobes, shattered Brooka glassware, and vandalized Liripip sofa beds—clearly, someone or something is up to no good. To unravel the mystery, five young employees volunteer for a long dusk-till-dawn shift—and they encounter horrors that defy imagination. Along the way, author Grady Hendrix infuses sly social commentary on the nature of work in the new twenty-first century economy.

A traditional haunted house story in a contemporary setting (and full of current fears), Horrorstör comes conveniently packaged in the form of a retail catalog, complete with illustrations of ready-to-assemble furniture and other, more sinister accessories. We promise you’ve never seen anything quite like it!

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Have you ever been to an IKEA? If you’re not careful you can get trapped there. For forever. Bonus points for making the book look just like an IKEA catalog.

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The Great Tales Never End: Cassie-la Rates the Stories in “Stone Mattress” by Margaret Atwood

17 Sep

Stone MattressStone Mattress by Margaret Atwood (Galley)
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Genre: Fiction, short stories, horror, vampires, literary, fantasy, further proof that Margaret Atwood can do no wrong
Rating: 4.89 out of 5 stars

Summary: Margaret Atwood returns to the short story form (at least anthology-wise) for the first time since her 2006 collection Moral Disorder. With nine tales centered around long dead authors, soon to be dead authors, old age and death and ranging from tales about severed hands and vampires, to long-dead grooms, tiny imagined people and death by stromatolite, this is Atwood at her darkly comedic best.

Despite the seemingly impossible feat I may have set for myself, I decided to go a different route with this short story collection and rate these nine stories (or rather tales) written by the perpetually fabulous Margaret Atwood and order them from best tale to worst tale. Worst being a relative term since really, I loved them all. Honestly, if I were rating them according to US academia none would receive lower than an A.

While only three of the tales are interconnected, the same themes run through all the stories. Specifically themes of aging and in turn death (through either murder or old age), revenge, change (the old making way for the new and the juxtaposition that comes with it) and acceptance.

Most of these ideas Atwood explores through classical poetry, literature, and more specifically, long dead poets and authors, always keeping in mind (to borrow a quote) that storytellers never die. They just disappear into their own stories.

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Hot Off the Proverbial Presses: September 16, 2014

16 Sep

Stone MattressStone Mattress by Margaret Atwood

A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy. Vintage Atwood creativity, intelligence, and humor: think Alias Grace.

Margaret Atwood turns to short fiction for the first time since her 2006 collection, Moral Disorder, with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace. A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband in “Alphinland,” the first of three loosely linked stories about the romantic geometries of a group of writers and artists. In “The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom,” a man who bids on an auctioned storage space has a surprise. In “Lusus Naturae,” a woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In “Torching the Dusties,” an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. And in “Stone Mattress,” a long-ago crime is avenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: We’ve already read this short story collection (review to be posted tomorrow!) and we can confirm that it is Margaret Atwood at her darkly comedic best!

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Alastair Hunt is bad at following instructions! Cassie-wa is ALL ABOUT “The Iron Trial” by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

16 Sep

The Iron TrialThe Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Genre: Fiction, middle grade, fantasy, magic school, forget what you know about middle grade fantasy magic school fiction
Rating: Heck, 5 out of 5 stars. I loved it!

Summary: Fire wants to burn
Water wants to flow
Air wants to rise
Earth wants to bind
Chaos wants to devour
Call wants to live…

His whole life, 12-year-old Callum Hunt has been taught one thing by his father: magic is bad. The Magisterium isn’t a fun and whimsical magic school, it’s a dark, terrible place deep underground where young mages are experimented upon by cruel Masters who only care about advancing their own goals. Even knowing nothing about the magical battle that left his mother dead and himself permanently disabled, Call knows his only chance to survive is to fail the test that will earn him a (mandatory) spot at the Magisterium.

You can guess how well that goes for him.

As an Iron Year mage at the Magisterium, Call finds that the place isn’t all that bad, he’s not actually terrible at magic, and he has friends for the first time in his life. So maybe it would be okay to stick around, except for the growing evidence that who, or what, Call is might be more dangerous than he ever imagined.

The first thing you should know about The Iron Trial is that it is not, in fact, Harry Potter.

It is about a young boy with a somewhat tragic back story who goes to magic school, and while there he makes two friends who become his best friends, and over everything hangs the threat of a bad guy who has started wars in the past but has been quiet for a while.

To get this out of the way – Yes, okay? All of these things, and a few other nods not listed above, are very much like Harry Potter. This serves a purpose. The story line to The Iron Trial is just enough like Harry Potter to subvert it in the most intriguing way possible.

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All Hail “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″ Trailer

15 Sep

It’s here! It’s finally here! The first official trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is here!

Which also means we’re almost more than halfway to the end of the series. We know, we know, all the tears.

The trailer itself is definitely a darker look at Katniss and the other rebels, some of whom seem less than enthused to be part of the revolution.

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