5 Books that Should Be Movies

Hello gentle readers,

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, The Host by Stephenie Meyer, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl… What do these books have in common? They have all been turned into movies that will come out in 2013.

I have read them, and they are good books, which means I’ll probably go and see their movie version. However, if I had a choice in deciding which books should be turned into movies, I would have made another list. Here are 5 books I really wish were movies:

1 – The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (YA Paranormal)

The unbecoming of Mara Dyer

I have given up hope that Mara Dyer and Noah Shaw are real. Can I at least see them in a movie?

2 – The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (YA Fantasy)

the-raven-boys-book-coverThose boys. This girl. This school. This story. This magic. How on earth is this book not a movie yet?

3 – Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel (YA Paranormal)

InfiniteDays

The only Vampire Book out there that should be a movie, and the only one that isn’t, for some reason.

4 – American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Fantasy)

american-gods

Neil Gaiman’s books become movies, slowly and surely. I just hope this one doesn’t get forgotten, because it’s my favourite by him.

5 – The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (YA High Fantasy)

TheThief

The awesomeness that is this book would make for an amazing movie.

Which book do you wish were a movie?

100 Followers Giveaway! (closed)

*Giveaway is now closed*

Welcome gentle reader,

today my blog is 6 months old AND it has reached 100 followers, so I’m hosting a very special giveaway to thank YOU, my amazing followers. The giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY and it runs from today, Saturday, September 1st to Sunday, September 16th 2012.

ONE lucky winner will receive the TWO following books: Infinite Days and Stolen Night by Rebecca Maizel. Both books are new paperbacks (UK edition).

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I LOVE Rebecca’s YA series The Vampire Queen. I was lucky enough to do an interview with her a few months ago (you can read it here) and when Stolen Night finally came out in the UK in July, she OFFERED to send me a copy for myself AND a copy for a giveaway. That’s how amazing she is.

So in case you’re not convinced yet, I’m offering you a chance to read her awesome books. Stolen Night won’t come out in the US until January 2013, so this giveaway is open internationally.

You can watch the trailer for Infinite Days below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXYJQgS2UHE

And you can visit Rebecca’s website here and her blog here.

Giveaway information:

  • The giveaway is open until Sunday, September 16th 2012 at midnight (BST time)
  • To enter please fill in the contact form below with your name and email. You HAVE TO be a blog follower to enter. Please state if you follow by email, WordPress or RSS feed.
  • If you’re a Twitter follower , if you like my page on Facebook or if you tweet about the giveawau, this will grant you an extra entry. Mention it below.
  • Entrants must be at least 13 years of age.
  • This giveaway is open Internationally.
  • The winner will be chosen randomly, notified by email and will have 72 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen.
  • I am not responsible for items lost in the mail.
  • I hold the right to end the giveaway before its original deadline without any prior notice.
  • I hold the right to disqualify any entry as I see fit.
  • Privacy information: no information given for this giveaway will be used for other purpose than this giveaway. All information provided (names, emails and mail addresses) will be deleted after the giveaway.

Good luck and feel free to leave me a comment below…

A Writer in the Spotlight – Rebecca Maizel

This week again I was lucky enough to have a YA author give me an exclusive interview! The idea behind the “Writer in the Spotlight” feature is that published (and bestselling) authors are the best source of advice for us, would-be-published writers. Today’s interview is with the wonderful Rebecca Maizel, one of my favorite YA authors.

A writer in the spotlight – 6

Author : Rebecca Maizel

Genre : Young Adult, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Location:  Rhode Island, USA

Website : http://rebeccamaizel.com/

Blog: http://rebeccamaizel.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/rebeccajoym and http://twitter.com/VampQueenNovels

Books : The Vampire Queen series: Infinite Days (2010) and Stolen Nights (released July 2012)

Bio: Rebecca Maizel graduated from Boston University and the Rhode Island College master’s program. She teaches community college in Rhode Island and is studying to receive her MFA from Vermont College.

My interview (29/04/2012):

On Writing:

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. When I was a kid most people were playing with Barbies, I was using my sister’s video camera to make movies starring my Barbies. I guess I was thinking in a narrative format even when I was really little! Also, I loved dance. I was in recitals and danced competitively until I was an older teenager. There was a connection for me between a choreographed dance and a choreographed scene. I haven’t gotten to the bottom of this yet  – but I will!

When and where do you write?

It really depends on the day. I write in my office at home, mostly. But these days if I’ve seen too much of my office, I’ll work at a coffee shop. In Rhode Island, I love a place called Java Madness which is fun because it’s right on top of the water. Mornings are best for me creatively but revisions I can do at night.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I try to listen to music, which is similar in tone to what I am writing. I go for long walks, I put the project down for a few days. Sometimes what helps is writing a letter from one character to another character within the story, writing from their point of view. For instance, in Infinite Days, I might write a letter to Lenah from Justin or vice versa. I usually do this with a character or situation I am having trouble pushing through.

What do you say to people who want to be writers? How difficult is it to get published?

You have to love the craft. Don’t write just to be published. Write because your characters deserve your time and effort. Write because this story is coming to you from the depths of your gut. Publishing will come in its due time. Hone your craft, perfect your sentences. Make it sing.

Is it better to outline and plot your novel or “go with the flow”?

Well, I think it really depends on your story. I always find it best to outline. There’s that dreaded ACT II of your book that somehow always needs the most work. I find it helpful to outline as best as I can. I usually veer off from it but if the major act points are there, I know the direction of my scenes. You can still “go with the flow” even if you have a direction.

Do you set goals for yourself as you write?

Outside of my editors’ deadlines? No. I write as scenes come to me. I get my best work done when I’m driving listening to music. Then I rush home, and get them down on paper. Sometimes this takes hours and I have a rush of scenes. I make sure that I write a 4-5 hours every day and make some progress. Sometimes progress means reading because I need inspiration.

On “The Vampire Queen” novels:

To write this specific series, where did you get your inspiration from? Were you aware of the coming vampire trend in YA literature when you wrote it?

I started to free write one day. I literally sat down, started writing and Lenah’s voice came through, I let her tell the story and 8 months later, I had a draft of Infinite Days. I wish this story were more exciting. I should say something like, I fell down, cracked my head and when I was in the hospital, I had A VISION! A near death experience! But no, I was in a dark library free writing.

After I had written the novel, I started to read everything in the genre so I could see what else was being published. Someone recommended the Twilight series to me and I thought (after reading it) “wow, this is huge. I wonder if there is room in this genre for me?”

Lenah Beaudonte: How did you come up with this (awesome) character?

I connected to her voice. It was so strong; and sinister and tragic. I wanted to tap into that sorrow and darkness. I wanted to bring this person, whoever she was back out to light. It turned out that she was a vampire and thematically, it worked. Every person out there has done something they aren’t proud of. And whatever that thing is, they have to live with it – forever. That’s Lenah but times about a million! I just started writing one day and there she was with a motive, a purpose, and some really scary enemies.

What type of music do you listen to when you write this series?

I listen to music when I write but it has to be music without lyrics. Most of the time its operatic or choral music like a soundtrack from a movie or ambient. I know a lot of writers use music to illuminate the mood or atmosphere of a scene, I know I do. Listening to music as I write helps me imagine a scene more clearly in my head. It’s strange to think of fiction in “scenes,” like you would a movie but I think it’s easier that way.

Some tracks:

1. None Can Die – Tristan and Isolde Soundtrack

2. Little Women Soundtrack

3. Tall Ships – Bill Leslie

What are you working on now? Is it a “Vampire Queen” novel?

I have started Book 3. I am working on other books as well but they are very top secret.

When is “Stolen Night” finally coming out?

July 5th in the UK! Soon thereafter in the US.

Reading advice:

Which authors inspire you now?

AM Jenkins, Franny Billingsley, Coe Booth, An Na, and many many others. I’m inspired by beautiful language and hot fictional boyfriends. 🙂

Which YA books would recommend?

Last great books I read:
Gina Damico – Croak
AM Jenkins – Beating Heart
Laini Taylor – Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Coe Booth – Bronxwood

Liked this interview? Check out my interview with Rachel Caine (author of the Morganville Vampires series) here and my interview with Beth Fantaskey (author of Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side) here.

Vampire books

What’s on my bookshelf ? 1

Toward the end of the 1990’s, long before the craze about vampires that has taken hold of the Western world for the past 5 years, I started reading Vampire books. I have never stopped, and I now find myself with an entire bookcase dedicated to the genre, filled with the best and the worst of Vampire novels.

 If you’re interested in the topic of Vampires in literature, but don’t really know where to start, here is a guide of what to read first, and what to avoid at all cost. Then it is up to you to make up your own mind about these titles.

 

1-    Dracula, Bram Stoker

When diving in the huge pool of Vampire books, why not start with a classic? Dracula was written in 1897 and is still a landmark in the Vampire literature. It is an epistolary novel depicting the vampire Count Dracula in his attempt at relocating from Transylvania to England while Professor Van Helsing tries to destroy him. It is fast-paced, gothic, creepy and still attention-grabbing.

 

2-    Interview with the Vampire/The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice

Moving on from Dracula, the next landmark in Vampire literature is the work of Anne Rice. Written in 1973 (published three years later), Interview with the Vampire is the most famous of The Vampire Chronicles series. It tells the story of 200-year-old vampire Louis, as he himself recounts his life during an interview with a reporter in New Orleans. My favorite novel in the series, however, is The Vampire Lestat, written in 1985. The book tells the story of Louis’ maker, a French vampire called Lestat de Lioncourt. 560 pages long, the novel is incredibly well-written and fluid for its length, and wonderfully gripping.

 

3-    The historian, Elizabeth Kostova

A debut novel and a masterpiece. Published in 2005, the book mixed three different narratives to tell the stories of Vlad the Impaler, his fictional equivalent Dracula and a history professor looking for Vlad’s tomb. Filled with amazing descriptions of setting and rich themes, the novel also has a riveting plot and an eerie atmosphere. It refers to a long tradition of gothic/Victorian/detective/horror/historical novels as well.

In the 1990’s, Vampire novels moved on from the traditional stories centered on the vampires themselves to introduce human heroes (usually heroines) having to deal with vampires. However, since Anne Rice had proven earlier that vampires didn’t have to be the bad guys of the story, this new kind of vampire books often showed the vampires in a good light, turning them into the heroine’s love interests. Among those books, you can have a look at:

 

4-    Blood Books, Tanya Huff

A strong-willed PI investigates strange cases and comes across a 500-year-old vampire in Toronto, Canada. Together they face supernatural threats, while slowly falling for each other. What I enjoyed about this series was the vampire character, Henry Fitzroy, who is witty and just creepy enough. The books have been turned into a Lifetime TV series called Blood Ties in 2007.

 

5-    The Southern Vampire series, Charlaine Harris

As of today, the series has 12 titles and has been turned into a very successful TV show called True Blood by HBO. I have only read the first two books, as I wasn’t very fond of the main (human) character Sookie Stackhouse and of the fact that vampires are only a background to the main story. If I’m advertized vampires, I want vampires!

 

6-    Undead and Unwed, MaryJanice Davidson

A hilarious book, first in a series of 11 books (so far) published since 2004, Undead and Unwed is a sort of Sex and the City with vampires. It tells the story of a thirty-something unemployed former model who dies in a stupid accident and wakes up a vampire. From then on, it’s mostly a romance novel, with some very funny pages and an original plot. I have only ever read book 1, so I wouldn’t be able to say if the rest of the series keeps up with the witty and original quality of the first book.

After the 1990’s shift in Vampire literature, came the 2000’s landslide of teen vampire books.

 

7-    The Twilight Saga, Stephenie Meyer

Everything has probably been said and/or written on the Twilight Saga, but there is no denying that the series has put vampire literature back in the spotlight. Published between 2005 and 2008, the four books depict the love story between the human narrator, a teenage girl named Bella Swan, and a vampire called Edward Cullen. I personally waited until 2007 to read Twilight and its sequels, and I have to admit it is an easy read with a few original ideas (“sparkling” vampires and the warfare among supernatural beings). However, I was annoyed by the focus on the human girl rather than the vampires, whose characters were, to my mind, rather under-developed. I wish it had been the story of the Volturi rather than Bella’s. But that’s just me.

 

8-    The last vampire, Christopher Pike

An example of vampire books rediscovered after the success of Twilight, The last vampire (published in 1994) tells the story of a 5000-year-old vampire girl named Sita. To my mind, it is a very strange book, primarily focused on the history of India and the Hinduist religion. It reminds me of Anne Rice’s books, as Sita is a very old vampire who is depressed and trying to find a way to die.

 

 9-    The Vampire Diaries, L. J. Smith

First published in 1991, the series has found a new success after the release of Twilight. It is about a human teenage girl, Elena Gilbert, who falls in love with two vampire brothers. The books have been turned into a TV show by the CW in 2009. An easy read, The Vampire Dairies are mostly romance novels, which, you’ve by now guessed, are not my cup of tea.

 

10- The Blue Bloods series, Melissa de la Cruz

I was really hopeful when I started reading this series in 2007, but I have to say I have been disappointed. Set in Manhattan, NY, the books are about a group of teenagers belonging to the city’s oldest and most influential families, who find out on their 15th birthday they are in fact vampires. To me, the problem with this series is that it is more about the Upper East Side, its private schools, its select parties and its shallow inhabitants than about vampires. And frankly, there’s only some much clothes descriptions that I can take before feeling I’m reading an ad for Barney’s.

 

11- Jessica’s guide to dating on the dark side, Beth Fantaskey

At last, a good teenage read about vampires. Published in 2009, the book follows the adventures of an adopted high school girl who finds out on her 17th birthday that she is a vampire royalty engaged to a complete stranger. As her betrothed invades her life in a hilarious attempt at winning her heart, she tries –and fails- to continue her life as a normal teenager. It’s funny, it’s witty, the vampires are (finally!) the main characters again and Jessica is a great narrator.

 

12- The Morganville Vampires series, Rachel Caine

With 11 books published since 2006, and 4 more to come, The Morganville Vampires series is about… vampires living in the town of Morganville, Texas. As the main character, a 16-year-old university student, finds out that her housemates are not all human, she embarks on a one-way journey into the secrets of the vampire-run city. The books are short but packed with action and suspense. Claire is a great example of strong-willed heroin and the vampires are delightfully complex characters.

 

13- Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead

I’ll probably lose a few readers by writing this, but Vampire Academy was to me an absolute disappointment. Praised everywhere, I dutifully read the first book, eager to see what the fuss was all about. To this day, I have no idea. Published in 2007, the novel has an original setting (vampire teenagers trained to protect the country’s royalties in a special school) but I felt it was more about teenage hormonal changes than vampires. Predictable and annoying, I wouldn’t recommend it.

 

14- Infinite Days, Rebecca Maizel

Published in 2010, this is the first book in what will be The Vampire Queen series. I am currently impatiently waiting for the second book, as I loved the first one. It is about a 500-year-old vampire named Lenah, who is given the opportunity to be a 16-year-old human again. She has to adjust to her new life while her coven seeks to have her back as their queen. It is an incredibly original plot, the kind of story you read and wonder: why didn’t I think of that? I highly recommend it.

Moving on from teen reads, these past two year have brought vampire literature back into the adult corner of libraries. I will mention two books:

 

15- The Passage, Justin Cronin

A 900-page novel, The Passage is the first book in a trilogy. Published in 2010, it is the story of an apocalypse: after a failed experiment in 2018, the human population is decimated by a virus which creates vampire-like creatures. The remaining humans struggle to survive over the next 90 years, desperately trying to find a cure for the virus, which they will find in the shape of a 100-year-old little girl. So, as of now, I am still undecided about The Passage. There are some beautifully written pages, as well as a wonderful main character (Amy, the “little” girl). But there are also huge chunks of the book that I personally think should have been edited/deleted. 900 pages is too long to tell a story that can, in the end, be summarized on a single A4 page. The author spends dozens of pages introducing characters who then just die. He describes settings forever without ever having any action actually happening in these settings. I really loved the first 100 pages, as well as the last 100 ones, but I believe the 700 pages in the middle could have been shortened into another 100 pages, making it a nice, readable and enjoyable 300-page book. But that’s just me.

 

 16- The Radleys, Matt Haig

Unlike The Passage, The Radleys is not long, and it’s a delight to read. It is also quite innovative, as it introduces us to a family of vampires living a quiet life in an English suburb. Published in 2010, the book is a nice change from the usual vampire literature, and I loved the idea of Dracula meets Desperate Housewives.

Still on my reading pile:

–          Lost souls, Poppy Z. Brite

–          Vampire Empire, Clay & Susan Griffith

Any suggestions on vampire books I should read ?