The Mortal Instruments on the silver screen!

Book one of the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, City of Bones, is set to be released as a film in 2013 with filming currently underway! A hugely popular series of now five books, this could be the start of a huge movie franchise. Book six is set for release in 2014, so there could be years of entertainment to come. Full of talent the cast includes Lena Headley (Game of Thrones), Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror, The Blind Side) and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors, Match Point). Directed by Harald Zwart, this is a movie to look out for in August of next year. Can’t wait. More info can be found at Cassandra Clare’s website.

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Once there was Spoiled. Then things got Messy.

                     

I actually can’t remember the last time a book brought me to tears…of laughter. It seems, to me, much easier or perhaps just more likely, for a book to bring you to any other kind of tears than those of laughter. I laughed pretty hard in Spoiled, the first book from Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan but in Messy the women behind the utterly hilarious gofugyourself.com have truly outdone themselves. Half the battle, or perhaps more than half, in young adult fiction is actually getting a kid to pick up a book. With the help of some genius cover art these books are the kind of books that kids will want to read because they’re fun and witty whilst still being meaningful and intelligent. Not every kid between 14 and 22 wants to read about children killing each other or magical lands of witchcraft and wizardry. When a phenomenon like The Hunger Games comes along its easy to just assume all children will love it, but lets not forget, science fiction isn’t for everyone. So for kids with less of an appetite for death and war, Spoiled and Messy provide a hugely entertaining and worthwhile alternative.

Brooke Berlin and Molly Dix were newly discovered half-sisters in Spoiled, a hilarious story of adolescent competitiveness, absentee parenting, friendship and looking beneath the surface. In Messy we’re still privileged to Brooke’s singular impression of life but this time the alternate view has swapped to Max McCormack. Max is the green-haired, snarky, sarcastic, fiercly intelligent principals daughter who also happens to be Molly’s best friend. Max is pretty much the anti-Brooke. She shops at H&M, if she has to, has an unemployed Dad who repurposes household appliances in an attempt to make new household appliances and she really, really, wants to go to a writing program at New York University over the summer. But she’s going to have to do it on her own dime and her current job has far too much toham* for her liking. So she ends up on Brooke’s payroll, ghost writing her blog OpenBrooke.

“See? I’m actually a scintillating and witty person,” Brook said. “I just don’t have time to write about it.”

The blog turns into an overnight success, exactly as Brooke planned of course, and things go great until…well maybe you should read it to find out. There’s boys and clothes, a movie set and a band named Mental Hygienist and it really needs to be read to be understood. But trust me, you will DIE of laughter. Repeatedly.

“…I got sucked into the vortex that is Brooke Berlin, basically. When we go anywhere together, I look like her Make-A-Wish kid. People seem disappointed when they find out I don’t have cancer.”

I mean really. These girls really know how to write a pop culture laden story about loyalty and growing up with their tongues firmly in their cheeks. Love it. Both books are in paperback for $17.

*Tofu + ham = toham. Seriously.

Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2012

This year’s shortlists for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2012 have recently been announced. The winners of each category will win $80,000, and all shortlisted authors win $5,000, making these awards Australia’s richest. The children’s shortlists cover a wide variety of styles and content, showcasing the brilliant breadth of writing in this country. Why not try some out?

Young Adult Fiction Shortlist

A Straight Line to My Heart by Bill Condon

Being Here by Barry Jonsberg

Pan’s Whisper by Sue Lawson

When We Were Two by Robert Newton

Alaska by Sue Saliba

Children’s Fiction Shortlist

Evangeline, The Wish Keeper’s Helper by Maggie Alderson

The Jewel Fish of Karnak by Graeme Base

Father’s Day by Anne Brooksbank

Come Down, Cat! by Sonya Hartnett, illustrated by Lucia Masciullo

Goodnight, Mice! by Frances Watts, illustrated by Judy Watson

Good luck to all!!

You say spoiled like it’s a bad thing…

Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan are the masterminds behind the hilariously bitchy and gloriously witty Go Fug Yourself; fashion commentary at its inventive best. They’ve branched out into the world of young adult fiction with a bang. Spoiled is the first book following the exploits of Brooke Berlin and Molly Dix, two sixteen-year-olds from very different parts of America. Molly’s mother has just lost a battle with cancer and revealed on her death-bed that Molly’s father is in fact Brick Berlin, movie-star extraordinaire. When Molly picks up and moves from Indiana to join the glamorous Beverly Hills high-life she has no idea what she’s in for. Armed with a brand new Lexus and black Amex Molly did not see the venemous scheming of her green-with-envy half sister Brooke coming. Molly is about to get a crash course in how the other half live, warts and all.

Brooke is privileged, talented, beautiful and, you guessed it, spoiled. She’s been experiencing the absent-minded Brick Berlin parenting style for years. Her mother, Kelly Berlin, is no where to be seen. At the beginning she’s superior, shallow and so overwhelmingly horrible to Molly that you really really want to hate her. But you don’t. This is what this book does so well. You manage to love the characters as well as wanting to shake them to make them see sense! Molly is the character that readers will insert themselves into, but Brooke is just human enough that you don’t hate her as much as you could. This book will have you gasping, laughing and groaning out loud all the way through. There’s fab bitchy come-backs, Brick has some of the most ridiculous one-liners, there’s a character called Arugula and Molly finds herself a brilliantly sarcastic sidekick… I mean friend. The authors poke fun at Hollywood’s elite who they know so well, without ignoring the obvious perks to being, frankly, insanely loaded. Molly could be too wholesome, but she’s not. Brooke could be too awful, but she’s not either. It’s really just excellent, moreish fun, I read it in two sittings and THAT was only because I had to work and sleep somehow.

This story line of girl-next-door goes to Hollywood could have been overdone and boring but it’s actually really entertaining and insightful. What you end up with is kind of book teens will want to read with a moral backbone that won’t make parents cringe. Which is kind of the holy grail of young adult fiction if you ask me. Now I’m just waiting for my copy of Messy, the sequel! Spoiled is paperback, $17. Messy is available here in paperback from June, the is a hardback is available via special order from America in the mean time.

PS; how fantastic are the covers? The answer is very.

Hang on to your tights…

A Midsummer Tights Dream is the laugh-a-minute, hotly anticipated sequel to to last years Withering Tights, where Tallulah Casey and her band of eccentric friends are up to more hijinks at their Performing Arts College, Dother Hall.

Tallulah is up to her tights in boy trouble- there’s the cute and funny Charlie who acts like he likes her but then ignores her, the creepy Heathcliff-like Cain who always turns up at the worst times, and the dreamy Alex, who is older and off at college.  Throw in to the mix some baby owls, a Hollywood agent, and a rough ex-girlfriend who blames Tallulah for Cain’s wandering eye and you won’t be able to put down this book till it’s over!

Set in the north of England, author Louise Rennison (of The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson fame) cheekily borrows prose and drama from the Bronte sisters in describing the grim moors and the windy, dreary landscape.  That’s where the similarity ends though as the characters in this charming series are anything but grim.  Tallulah and her friends make up their own slang (corker-holders, anyone?), and the locals speak their own brand of English (“doth est know if he dun want to be fund, he aint nowt gun”??),  making this an enjoyable read for girls strictly in the 12 to 14 age group.

Available now in a small hardback, A Midsummer Tights Dream, $20.

Also in stock Withering Tights, $15

10 Futures by Michael Pryor

Michael Pryor has departed a bit from his recent magic and fantasy series.  This book introduces Sam and Tara, close friends, who are living, surviving, enduring, coping  with and enjoying ten different futures of our world.

There’s 2020, not far away and there are robots in a high-tech world;  there’s 2040 where genetic selection has become a reality; there’s 2090, not in our life time [as far as we know now, that is] and global warming is real causing many challenges.   There’s 2100 where artificial intelligence rules.

Each of the ten futures has a root in the present day – for example, Global Warming, Financial Crises, population pressures etc.  Michael gives us a snapshot of that future, through the eyes of Sam and Tara, best friends.  The book reads like a collection of connected short stories.Each snapshot is intriguing and thought provoking.Sam and Tara are cleverly the same people throughout, although affected by each of their futures in subtle ways.  This is highly recommended reading but also gives interesting points for discussion.
10 Futures Book Trailer: