Tag Archive | movies

Is Lulu next? Murder Among the Stars, by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan (book review)

book cover of Murder Among the Stars by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com “Be your true self!”
“Act like a star!”
“Stay alive!” Two out of three’s not bad…

Lulu hasn’t been in 1920s Hollywood long, but she knows there are schemers who’ll do anything to get a role with the big movie studios – absolutely anything!

After her run-in with gangsters, hidden identities, and murderous gossip in her first mystery as Girl About Town (my no-spoilers review here), the New York native has her eyes wide open and her exit route planned during this raucous extended audition turned deadly.

Glitz, glamour, and gore – ready for your close-up?
**kmm

Book info: Murder Among the Stars (Lulu Kelly mysteries, book 2) / Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan.  Atheneum Books, 2017.  [Adam’s bio]  [Laura’s Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:  Playing footsies with a corpse wasn’t what Lulu had expected at this elegant dinner, but the young actress finds even more bizarre things during the weekend-long audition for a movie contract, as she’s drawn into another mystery in 1920s Hollywood.

Imagine being wealthy enough to build a California castle, to own a menagerie with a real lion, to flaunt your mistress in Society, to give expensive gifts to every guest without blinking an eyelash!

For newspaper and movie magnate William Randolph Hearst, this extravagant house-party is just a simple favor for writer Anita Loos, until actresses start being murdered.

For new-to-Hollywood Lulu Kelly, it’s her chance for a starring role, if the 17 year old can outlast the other twenty starlets trying to win over WR and Marion.

For Lulu’s boyfriend Freddie the private eye, this huge party at the remote estate means too many suspects and too many motives for blackmail and murder.

Why is WR’s 10 year old niece Patricia so interested in crimes and murders?
How can anyone believe that the first suspect nabbed for the first murder did it?
Who invited mobster Sal to this party and does anyone know his connection to Lulu?

Dive into the intrigue and gossip of movie legends in this second Lulu Kelly mystery, as silver screen secrets become oh so deadly.

Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, by Sarvenaz Tash (book review) – Romance or reality at ComicCon?

book cover of The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.comPlanning the best day ever at New York ComicCon!
Telling her how he truly feels about her!
Getting cut off by a random guy…

Next-door neighbors and comic creators together, Roxy and Graham enjoy fan fiction based on the Althena universe, keep their grades up, and can’t wait to go to ComicCon! (p.s. That’s where he will tell her how much he cares for her – until Devin crashes their group!)

Don’t wait till BookCon at NYCC to pick up this June 2016 release! Visit at your favorite local library or independent bookstore today to see if Roxy and Graham get any tips from famous cartoonists and if she ever figures out how he feels about her!

Been to a Con?
**kmm

Book info:  The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love / Sarvenaz Tash. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Graham realizes that he’s fallen for girl next door/ best friend /comic co-creator Roxy, but his plans to tell her on the perfect New York ComicCon day are foiled by a handsome British student.

It’s a miracle that famously reclusive artist-author Zinc is scheduled to appear at NYCC, years after his legendary Althena comic went dark. It’s a tragedy that a cool Brit runs into their group and decides to tag along while flirting with Roxy!

Graham and Casey can grab those limited-seating tickets for Zinc, right?
How can Graham convince Roxy to sneak past her conservative parents and skip school for another day of ComicCon?
Is there any way to get her away from Devin without looking like a jerk?

Somehow, this real-life relationship stuff is so much more complicated than the ones that he and Roxy write and draw in their comic series or any of the romantic comedy movies that Graham’s late mother loved so much. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Girl About Town, by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan (book review) – Hollywood, guns, greed

book cover of Girl About Town by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan published by Atheneum Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comOh, to be a movie star!
Oh, to have enough to eat, at last!
Oh no! Murder witnesses have few choices…

This story set in the early days of “talkies” during the Great Depression is told by rising starlet Lulu (formerly Lucille in the Lower East Side tenements) and by Freddie the hobo (otherwise known as the richest man in America’s sole heir) after they both witness killings that change their lives.

Head on over to Hollywood to see how their paths intersect far from their New York City homes and former social circles, as murder and mystery go from script to reality in Lulu’s latest film.

Girls, guys, guns, gosh….
**kmm

Book info: Girl About Town / Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan. Atheneum Books, 2016.   [Adam’s bio] [Laura’s Facebook] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: On the same night in 1931, two teens witness murders in the Big Apple – she is whisked away from slum to Hollywood while he leaves luxury behind to hit the rails as a hobo.

Elevated from poverty to movie starlet, Mob murder witness Lulu must keep quiet so her family in New York City will stay alive.

Running away from his wealthy family, Freddie bums his way from New York to California, trying to escape the murder he saw committed in his own home.

On the set of “Girl About Town” in Hollywood, a prop gun suddenly fires a real bullet into a rival starlet, and Lulu pulled the trigger!

All the smoke and mirrors, gossip columnists and sugar daddies, rising stars and wannabees of Hollywood’s golden age get the full cinematic treatment as Lulu and Freddie try to find out who loaded that gun and who wants them both to pay for someone else’s crime.   (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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To Be Perfectly Honest, by Sonya Sones (book review) – truth=lies, if Colette is talking

book cover of To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones published by Simon SchusterExaggerations,
Embellishments,
Calling them “lies” is so…caustic.

Colette stretches the truth about her movie-star mom, long-absent dad, and winsome little brother – to protect them, of course. Or to keep the world from discovering how unspecial she is. Or none of the above. Definitely an “unreliable narrator” here.

Luckily, Sonya Sones is honest when she writes a “Dear Teen Me” letter to tell her younger self that her experiences would become part of much-loved novels-in-verse someday.

Find Collette’s story today at your local library or independent bookstore, and decide for yourself if Collette can ever be honest, even with herself.

**kmm

Book info: To Be Perfectly Honest: a Novel Based on an Untrue Story / Sonya Sones.  Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Colette’s movie-star mom is entirely gorgeous, the 15-year-old isn’t, but invents some crazy tales to make herself more interesting. When it counts, though, Colette may have told too many lies to get ever back to the truth.

Teen guys in L.A. seem interested in only one thing, but Colette refuses to be just another conquest. She might even miss their groping if Mom insists on dragging her and little brother Will along to the small town where her next film is being shot. She will die of boredom, truly.

Thankfully, a gorgeous guy on a motorcycle starts talking to her in the town park. She certainly can’t let him know who her mom really is, so the stories start flowing again.

Connor is so sweet and thoughtful, a great pal to Will, and so handsome. Colette senses that he has a secret sorrow, and it nearly breaks her heart when he finally tells her. Loving the most special girl in the world is on his ‘bucket list’ he says, and Colette is the one.

Should she let Connor be the one for her?
What if the doctors are wrong and his time is ticking away too fast?
Would he still adore her if he knew how many lies she’s told him?

“But there’s no law against
a girl making up stories.
And I sure am lucky
there isn’t.
Or I’d be serving
a life sentence by now.”

Sones gives readers a charmingly unreliable narrator in this compulsively readable novel-in-verse – sometimes it’s smoke and mirrors, sometimes it’s truer than true. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Super Pop! by Daniel Harmon (book review) – pop culture top 10 lists galore

book cover of Super Pop by Daniel Harmon published by Zest BooksFamily reunion time – can you keep up with the conversation about all-time favorite books?

It’s trivia night – are you ready?

Discussion of “best-ever” movies – got one to contribute?

With Daniel Harmon’s annotated, illustrated book filled with pop culture top ten lists, you can hold your own in the conversation, discover new (classic) films and music to enjoy, and yell at the book occasionally for leaving your favorite off a given list!

Read a sample chapter “Eat, Pray, Love, Spelunk: Tag Along on a Life-Changing Vacation” here, and look for this June 2013 release at your local library or favorite independent bookstore so you can top-ten your way to pop culture knowledge.

What top ten list would you create for the ultimate pop culture experience?
**kmm

Book info: Super Pop! Pop Culture Top Ten Lists to Help You Win at Trivia, Survive in the Wild, and Make It Through the Holidays / Daniel Harmon. Zest Books, 2013.  [author info]  [publisher site]  [author video]

My book talk: Want to outwit death, watch the world unfold, visit magical fictional worlds, or find speeches worth heeding? Super Pop has top ten media lists for all these pop culture topics and dozens more.

From the serious to the sublimely silly, these “ten best” lists draw from the best (or worst) movies, video games, podcasts, books, television shows, and songs of the past several decades. What sets this apart from everyday top ten listings are the author’s thoughtful, funny, and often irreverent annotations explaining why each item made it onto a list.

Zest Books editor Harmon divides his annotated lists into five groups – Be More Interesting, Get Smart(er), Stop Doing It Wrong, Find Happiness, and Survive the Holidays – and includes resource material for further investigation, lots of quirky sketches (like the TV-headed Charlie Brown regarding his spindly Christmas tree), and a great index.

Whether it’s “pithy explanations of really complex things” or “smartest inanimate objects in the history of pop culture” readers will find intriguing lists of books, films, games, television shows, and music to increase their knowledge and appreciation of our shared modern-day culture – counted down from 10 to 1 in classic Top Ten fashion, of course.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.