Holiday reading for all

Before we take off for the rest of the week, I've put together a short list of holiday-themed book recommendations for a variety of tastes. (Never say I'm not here for you, dear readers—this list covers the holiday mood from schmaltzy to murderous.) And another tip: if you need to visit a bookstore, don't go until about an hour before closing on Christmas Eve. Apart from a handful of relatively mellow dad-types wandering around—guys who do 100% of their Christmas shopping between 3:00 and 5:00 PM on December 24th—the stores will be empty ....more

Weekly Book Giveaway: <i>Waterfall</i>, by Lauren Kate

This week we're giving away a copy of Lauren Kate's Waterfall, the sequel to last year's Teardrop, which we complained about at length here. A full review will follow later today, but (SPOILER) we didn't like Waterfall, either, so we strongly encourage our readers to enter this drawing and pick up this book for the only worthwhile price: free. As always, this contest runs Monday through Friday ....more

<i>Waterfall</i>, by Lauren Kate

After reading Stacey Jay's latest novel, I decided it was time to give Lauren Kate another shot. I've complained about Kate's writing before, but Jay's book left me feeling hopeful. Contrary to some previously-held fears, YA writers can improve over time.. ....more

Shenanigans

Also on NPR: a thrilling account of a literary-award beatdown! (Not really.) Anyway, Australia's top book prize, the Prime Minister's Literary Award, was given out last week, and there were a pair of winners in the fiction category: Steven Carroll's A World of Other People and Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North. However, news came out later that the judges had unanimously decided to award the prize to solely to Carroll, but, according to the rules, the Australian Prime Minister has the right of "final decision" over the award's selection, and he unexpectedly chose to exercise it—without telling anyone until the night of the awards ceremony, when he suddenly insisted that the prize be split between the two authors ....more

Rowling on TV

According to NPR, the BBC is planning to adapt two more of J.K. Rowling's novels for television: The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm. Rowling wrote both books under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and they feature a private detective named Cormoran Strike. (Which, while no "Dolores Umbridge", is still pretty great ....more

<i>Princess of Thorns</i>, by Stacey Jay

Stacey Jay's first two novels had plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon, and my hopes for her future efforts were not high. Her third book—a sci-fi retelling of Beauty and the Beast—was much more successful, and her latest effort, Princess of the Thorns, is better still. This woman is trending up, you guys, and I am hugely impressed by how much (and how fast) her writing has improved ....more

Weekly Book Giveaway: <i>Princess of Thorns</i>, by Stacey Jay

This week's Book Giveaway is Princess of Thorns, the latest book from popular YA author Stacey Jay. I've complained about every single one of Jay's novels, but her last book was a massive improvement over her first two, so I'm hoping this new story keeps that upward trend rolling. Our review will be posted later today ....more

Cheeseball to the 1,000,000th power

The trailer is out for Insurgent, the second film adaptation of Veronica Roth's Divergent series. Once again, I am stunned at how hokey literally millions of dollars' worth of CGI can look. Seriously, why are flames so hard to get right? ...more

The better to admire you on the subway with, my dear.

Hmm. It seems the U.K.'s Kobo e-reader service keeps track of both what books people buy, and what books they actually finish. I'm obviously not surprised to learn that people are much better about finishing romance novels than they are high-profile tearjerkers about cancer patients or missing kids, but I am a little taken aback to realize that so many people make vanity book purchases for their e-readers ....more

<i>Bad Machinery: The Case of the Simple Soul</i>, by John Allison

First up: I know this cover was decided on long before I complained about the overly cutesy packaging featured on the previous two volumes in this series, but I'm taking credit for this eye-popping image anyway. Thanks, Oni Press! And don't worry: that little arsonist is adorable! ...more