Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Welcome Wednesday: Brenda Maxfield's The Lance Temptation

We're thrilled to welcome Brenda Maxfield to HonestlyYA. She's got a great giveaway for us -- a digital copy of her brand new release, THE LANCE TEMPTATION. How cool is that? But before we get to that, she's got a delightful daydream to share about stunt casting the imaginary movie version of her book...
Hello Friends! I’m indulging in a lovely daydream today about who would be cast in The Lance Temptation if it were made into a movie. I came across the photo of Madison Pettis on the Nickelodean website, and I thought Aha! There’s Emili! 
Emili Jones, the main gal in The Lance Temptation has long brown hair and dark brown eyes. She goes to a private school, so she wears a uniform amazingly like the one Madison is wearing. Emili is a bit innocent, a good student, and a true friend. (In the beginning that is. . .)

Madison smiled at me from the web and I swear she said, “Hey there, my name is Emili Jones.”
Granted, Emili usually wears her hair straight, but that’s easy to switch out.
Emili’s original boyfriend is Marc Rounder, an all-around good guy basketball player. Of course, I had to choose Austin Abrams. He reminds me completely of Marc. Look at those innocent eyes and friendly smile. They scream Marc Rounder.
Trouble is Emili grows dissatisfied with her nice guy. She hankers after the hot guy — which throws her head-first into dangerous territory. She flounders her way around with the acid nosiness and help from her new best friend. Emili does end up with the hot guy but unfortunately, she also ends up with a hot mess. 
I searched around for Lance (alias: The Bad Boy) and found the guy below. I have no clue what his real name is, but wow! He’s Lance! Can’t you just imagine the swagger of this guy—he is SO Lance!
I haven’t yet found the star to play Farah. (The friend we love to hate.) Farah pops up in subsequent novels in The Edgemont Series, so I still have a bit of time to look. 
The search was fun. I hope you’ll grab a copy of The Lance Temptation a new YA release this month from Astraea Press. You can read for yourself the disaster Emili makes of everything. 
I’d love to hear your thoughts about who should play whom in a movie version. Thanks so much for reading! I hope to hear from you soon.
Brenda Maxfield loves writing novels for young adults. She explores teens’ heartaches and triumphs—and always with a bit of romance thrown in to complicate matters. Brenda is a high school teacher and spends most of her waking hours with teens. She loves hearing their views on love and life, and is honored to be part of their lives.

Brenda has lived in Honduras, Grand Cayman, and Costa Rica. Presently, she lives in Indiana with her husband. They have two adult children and are grandparents to one precious little guy, special delivery from Africa.

When not writing or teaching, Brenda can be found at her lake cabin with a book in her hand and her dog Lucy on her lap. If you’re looking for good, clean teen reads, check out Brenda’s books! She loves getting to know her readers better, so stop by and say hello at: Learn more on Facebook, Twitter, or on her blog.  

And now for the giveaway... Brenda is giving a copy of THE LANCE TEMPTATION to one lucky Honestly YA reader! Here's a little bit about this awesome book:
Sophomore Emili Jones has had it with being a boring, straight-A student. Itching for excitement, she sees plenty of it in classmate Farah Menin’s life of frequent dates and edgy adventure. Hoping the popularity will rub off, Emili latches onto Farah and manipulates herself into best friend status. The connection helps her land the hot new guy, Lance Jankins, but there’s a catch. Now a pawn in Farah’s dating games, Emili is on a crash course to betrayal. Will she realize it in time to save herself? 

How great does that sound? It could be yours. All you need to do is complete the Rafflecopter form below. Easy peasy!
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bunheads Recap (Season 2, Episode 8: Winter Finale) (S1, E16)

From Bell, Book, and Candle (1958, Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak) - the movie
the Mel and Sasha were watching during the sleepover. In the film (about
using magic to keep a guy) the ca'ts name is Pyewacket -- love it!

When last we left Paradise… Roman became Sasha’s hero after she feared a break in at her apartment and he camesto her rescue, using her Pretty Pony umbrella to defend against unknown (and, thankfully, nonexistent) burglars.  Michelle’s bestie Talia arrived in town to prepare for her beachside wedding to Rick and asked Truly to be her maid of honor. In the midst of all of that, a nearby fire caused the evacuation of Paradise and left much of our treasured cast sheltering in the dance studio. While there, Talia’s wedding was delayed by all manner of set-backs, Dez admitted he always envisioned he and Mel becoming a couple, and Cozette caught Ginny inhaling the fragrance of Frankie’s jacket.While Michelle was trying to figure out who belonged to the condom she found in the locker room, Millie saved Talia’s wedding from disaster by having her helicopter pick up Rick. None of the bunheads claimed the condom, the fire was contained, Ginny made plans to take drawing lessons from Frankie, and Godot-the-firefighter arrived at the dance studio looking hot (big pun), setting up the perfect tease for this week’s finale… what will Michelle do with that condom and that fireman???

This week…

Michelle wakes beside Godot, snaps a pic on her phone as evidence? a memento? but she looks happy. This is not just one night of fun, this is the beginnings of a relationship.

Fanny saunters down the stairs to find Michelle’s brother Scotty asleep on her couch. She wants to know where he came from. Scotty immediately dimes out Michelle, saying she told him where to find Fanny’s key. Demanding answers to who was broken into her house like Robert Downey, Jr. (who broke into a neighbor's home in 1996 and crashed on one of the beds), Fanny storms in on Michelle, catching her in bed with Godot.  

Fanny's return to the studio is cause for celebration among the dancers. Truly happily announces her shop has gone out of business - as only Truly can - and she will be fixing costumes. Michelle joins Fanny’s dance class, while Scotty pitches in around the property in exchange for crashing at Fanny’s.

Roman arrives at the dance studio with an envelope for Sasha. Within the envelope is a list of Roman’s previous sexual experiences. Sasha got this idea from Anna Karenina, where in Russian society a man would show a woman his diary so she would know of his past intimate relationships. Roman claims the only Russian literature he's read is Pussy Riots' liner notes.

At last, the epic sleepover at Sasha’s, where there is no Jiffy Pop (amusing stovetop popcorn. really? they don't make that anymore? shame). Sasha shares the letter from Roman accounting of all his intimate experiences, declaring it likely 60-65% true. Carl had the same assignment and turned in a comic book. This worries Sasha and she believes it should worry Boo. Seems she feels the things a guy has done in his past affects the girl in his present. Hmm. Must give that some thought...

(Side note: Seriously, can Sasha please come cook for me? I’d love some pot roast, popovers and pie.)

Sasha believes Boo and she should begin having sex with their boyfriends now. This seems to be some plan to make sure their boyfriends stay interested/devoted as the year progresses. 

“We’ve got potential spinster buddy comedy written all over our faces” (Mel about she and Ginny)

All girls begin researching sex. Boo reads Judy Blume's Forever (but sets it aside in favor of The Hobbit). Cozette gives them a copy of Our Bodies Ourselves. Sasha goes a little crazy with the baking, keeping the girls supplied with muffins as they research. The learning-about-sex-from-books montage ends with an amusing/telling image of the girls studying condom choices.

Elsewhere in town, there’s been a delay in the construction of the amphitheater; Millie fired the contractor. Fanny is willing to let that one slide but wants Millie to help Truly recover from the loss of Sparkles. Millie appears impervious to the idea of setting Millie up in a new shop.

Background to all of this, Michelle has been dancing again. Sasha tracks her down in the studio to ask Michelle if she would talk to her about sex. Not the mechanics of it, that she got from books, but the rest of it. They make an appointment for Sunday at 5... or Monday at 4.

Michelle needs Saturday off - makes up a story for fanny (“I’m a mule for the cartel. Saturday is my shift.”), but pretty sure she’s going on an audition. Jordan takes her class - so the bunheads ditch (wise girls) and witness Michelle driving off with a bunch of bags in her car. Or trying to. She’s either stymied by the manual transmission or showing her doubt with her brake lights. The bunheads pursue. (Great line from Sasha: “Thelma, Louise, Louise it’s time for a road trip.”)

Michelle goes to a big building somewhere (is that her Vegas bag she's carrying?) - and signs in for her audition. She is one of eight million dancers lined up for the audition. She has cleverly brought a book with her (Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple) to read while she waits. The bunheads spy her sitting and reading there at the end of the line. Staying in research mode, Mel uses her smartphone to learn the audition is an open call for a show based on the film Dark Victory (1939, Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart). Reading aloud from the phone, Ginny gives the whole story summary. This scene really highlights how adept the cast has become at wrangling the rapid-fire dialogue. Well done.

The bunheads sneak into the church to watch the audition (in the school gymnasium, presumably). Ginny is shocked as the guy in charge dismisses people by look alone. We all hold our breaths as he pauses to decide if Michelle can stay and dance. Hurray, she can!

The girls spontaneously join in the audition. They’re smiling way more than Michelle. Boo gets a bit extra carried away, accuses Sasha of being bossy (shocker) and announces she’s going to wait a year and a half to have sex just like she and Carl planned.

After Michelle’s group audition, she’s told to stay and sing. At the piano player’s suggestion, Michelle sings “If My Friends Could See Me Now” - which seems a welcome change from Les Mis. In a chat with the piano player, Michelle learns all the parts have already been cast; the open call is a union requirement, which equals a huge waste of time and disappointment for Michelle. The bunheads, dispirited, watch her leave.

Milly summons Truly to The Oyster by luring her with news of Mom. Milly offers Truly a free space in one of her buildings to reopen Sparkles. Millly apologizes for ruining Sparkles for her.  Truly orders two shots of something blue. Scotty shows up to deliver a package from Fanny to Milly and before they can even down their celebratory blue-drink shots, they realize they both find Scotty a hottie - just the way it was with Hubble - and the warm fuzzy feeling between them vanishes.

Fanny has decided to dedicate the evening dance class to sex education and  OMG she passes out bananas! Ginny escapes the torture and meets Michelle outside, asks her how the audition went. As Michelle sort of answers, Ginny gets weepy. She confesses to naming her banana name Frankie. Then she confesses to sleeping with Frankie! omgomg! But according to Ginny, Frankie doesn’t date; e just exists with the rest of the community. After their encounter, Ginny never heard from him again. She’s not sure he has her number; not sure she knows his name, but sent him a thank you note. It's so clear she’s out of her depth - don't you just want to hug her? The scene ends with Ginny crying on Michelle’s shoulder.

Fabulous end number to “Making Whoopie”. Our little bunheads are growing up *sniffle*

I must say, this was hands down my favorite episode of the season - maybe the series. Just spot on in every way. Marvelous!

And now for something completely different..

It's the season finale (or series - no one knows! the show has neither been cancelled nor renewed. Yikes! So  for those of you who want to keep up with the cast, here's the folks you can find on twitter:

"Ginny"  @baileybuntain
"Mel" @EmmaDumont0
"Boo" @KaitlynJenkins8
"Sasha" @JuliaGTelles
"Michelle" @sfosternyc
"Frankie" @NikoPepajLA
"Cozette" @itsjeaninemason

A lot of these guys have facbooks and tumblrs, too, so check em out! And don't forget to tell @abcfBunheads how much you love the show and want to see more!

Thanks for sharing the #Bunheads experience with us at Honestly YA!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Stunt Casting CONJURE, Or Brando Eaton's Got it Going On

Yay! It's my turn in the casting director's chair. In CONJURE, the hero, Cooper Beaumont is sweet, kind, super adorable, and oh yeah, hot has hell. Here's how the heroine, Emma Guthrie describes him: 
Cooper Beaumont, my best friend and sole heir to this beach and the rest of High Point Bluff Plantation. Cooper, whose golden-brown hair turns blond in the sun, and whose eyes switch from blue to green depending on his clothes. The same Cooper who smells like a perfect combination of summer and the sea. That Cooper.
The unrequited, secret love of my fourteen-year-old life.
He's also got wide shoulders and killer abs, plus big, wide hands that are slightly callused from heaving miles of sailing rope on his boat.

A guy like that has to not only be jaw-droppingly gorgeous but since Cooper's not a bad boy, he's also got to look like someone you'd want to bring home to your momma. So how about Brando Eaton?  
He's definitely got the cuteness happening but what's going on under that shirt? Is there enough hotness to meet the Cooper Beaumont of my mind? Well, let's see:
Um, yeah. I'd say that about does it. I first saw him on Showtime's DEXTER--he played the son of John Lithgow's serial killer--and I was like, holy cow, he could totally be Cooper! 

But here's a little secret that I'll only share with Honestly YA's readers. The real model for Cooper in my brain is this guy:
My guy. The one I met when I was eighteen, started dating when I was nineteen, and married when I was twenty-one. And believe me, since he was a collegiate swimmer who specialized in the 200 butterfly, there was a whole lot of unbelievable hotness going under underneath that shirt. At 6-foot-one he had a perfect swimmer's "V" with super wide shoulders, a tight six pack, and a thirty-two inch waist. This picture was probably taken when he was 16 or 17, so he's just about the same age as Cooper. *wistful sigh*

But enough objectifying my husband. Sadly, he's too old to play movie Cooper so we'll have to make due with Brando Eaton. It's a hardship I'll happily endure.  

Let's turn to our heroine, Emma Guthrie. She's smart and artistic, but also shy and often a loner. She's strong, spunky and determined, too. So she can't be portrayed by a popular girl, a waif, or a cheerleader type. She's pretty but not overly sexy and, like many young teens, is insecure about how she stacks up in the looks department when compared with other girls. Though I knew she had strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes, it took me a while to figure out who could play her in a movie. Finally, I settled on Emily Osment. 
And now for Emma's pain-in-the-rear twin brother Jack. They're polar opposites, in both demeanor and looks. Though she takes after their mother, he looks just like his father with jet black hair, olive skin, and crystal blue eyes. He's also tall and lanky, and not nearly as buff as Cooper. 

Jack's the toughest for me to cast. I originally based him on a kid I knew from my children's swim league. He swam and coached for a competing team so I rarely saw him, but when I did it was like looking at the character who lived in my head. I've scoured the internet looking for male models and actors who could play smart-ass Jack, but sadly, I've never found the perfect specimen. But either of these two guys could do in a pinch. 
Either Drew Roy and Beau Mirchoff could be cast as Jack and I wouldn't shed a tear. But if you gentle readers have any other suggestions, I'd be much obliged. I'll even give you the casting credit.

So what do you all think of these picks? Have you seen Brando Eaton in action in either Dexter, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, or even Zoey 101?  Do you think he's as yummy as I do? And who would you cast as Jack? Drew, Beau or someone else entirely?

Please share because this movie's not going to cast itself!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Welcome Wednesday: Annie Rachel Cole's Books vs. Their Movie Counterparts

Hello Honestly YA readers! We're pleased to welcome a great guest, Annie Rachel Cole who's not only got a few words of wisdom to share, but she's also got a great giveaway of her book HOW NOT TO TRAIN A ZOMBIE. But before we get to the sweet free book, Annie's got a thing or two to say about skipping the book to watch the movie version...

“Hey, did you hear?” asked Susie.
“Hear what?” Cynthia asked as she looked up from her science homework.
“That book I just finished reading is being made into a movie.”
“Cool! Now I won’t have to read the book,” said Cynthia. A huge grin spread across her face.

How many times have you thought about just watching the movie instead of reading the book you were supposed to read for class or for fun? Go ahead. Raise your hand. Come on. I know there are more of you than that.

Unfortunately, there is a difference between the book and its movie counterpart. Books are not written for the movie screen, so that makes for a very real challenge when it comes to turning the book into a movie.                                                              
Time constraints are a huge challenge. The director makes changes to the story or he/she leaves out material from the book in order to fit into a specific time frame. After reading a book, you go to the movie only to find the movie is nothing like the book. The director changed the ending, he/she changed the characters, the setting…it goes on and on. Other times you realize the movie is missing stuff from the book. Because of time constraints, the director tries to capture the essence of the book or he/she’s trying to get you to feel a certain way about a character, which means scenes and even characters get cut.

Also, when you read, you create a movie in your head. You use your imagination. You have expectations as to how the characters look and sound, what they wear, etc. When you watch a movie, you’re looking at someone else’s interpretation of the characters, and more often than not, the movie version doesn’t fit your expectations. Directors pick who they think will fit the part, and if the actor has played in another role, we tend to typecast that person, making it hard to accept them in the new role. And the result is? A huge disappointment.

Movies are a great way to get people interested in books, but don’t forget to read the book. If you just watch the movie, you miss a lot of the story and in some cases, the entire story.

~Annie Rachel Cole

Annie Rachel Cole lives in Texas with her husband, son, and two cats who think they run the place. She reads, writes, plays Texas Hold’em poker (she's actually part of a local league), and occasionally competes in BBQ competitions with her husband. She also teaches in a public school.

You can learn more about Annie Rachel Cole on her blog, or visit her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. HOW NOT TO TRAIN A ZOMBIE is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

And now for the giveaway! We've got a signed copy of HOW NOT TO TRAIN A ZOMBIE for one lucky reader!
How does a thirteen-year old become the most popular kid in 8th grade?He trains a zombie to be a pet...
And that's exactly what Max Taylor plans to do, even if he has to lie, steal, and lose his best friend in the process.
Fill in the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway. Good luck!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bunheads Recap! (Seaoson 2, Episode 7) (S1, E15)

When last we were in Paradise... Talia arrived in town newly engaged to Rick, Michelle and Milly successfully got the performing arts center approved by the town council, and Boo gave a dynamite audition for Bells Are Ringing (but may have dangerously alienated Cozette). Sasha and Roman revealed their status as a couple to the world at large, and Fanny is nowhere to be found (rumor has it she fled the country).

This week...

When Sasha returns home from a grocery store run she finds the door to her apartment open. In need of instant friend support and advice, she calls Ginny then Boo - neither of whom answers their phone - before finally calling the police. Rather than to into the apartment to see if anyone is inside as she is told to do (and gotta tell ya', this makes me worry about those Paradise police. The first thing my local police advise is to get out of the house, not go in.) Anyway, rather than go in, Sasha waits for Roman to arrive. When he does, he faces down the unknown with Sasha’s Pretty Pony umbrella - but loses custody of the umbrella to a reportedly Paleolithic-sides spider in the bathroom. With the homestead secure, things are just heating up between Sasha and Roman when Boo and her parents arrive like the cavalry to take on the unknown (and take a sledge hammer to the spider).

Meanwhile, Michelle, Talia and Truly indulge in chocolate fondue and plane for Talia’s wedding and post vow bliss: honeymooning at the Madonna Inn! Being allowed to gain 3 pounds and keep a pack of Pekingese! Talia asks Truly to be her maid of honor, and true to Truly fashion, she will be making her own bridesmaid dress, with Michelle’s input.

Dance class is interrupted by Bash announcing the evac of those portions of town in danger from approaching mountain fires. The dancers rush off to gather their things, but many of them will be back; the dance studio is the East Side Evacuation Center. Bash advises Michelle that in Fanny's absence she must be the co-captain of the center- a job which comes with a cap that doesn't fit, a clipboard, and a walkie (but no pants suit).

Bash helps Michelle set up the space for the evacuees and check in those arriving. Mel is snapping pictures, but  earns an #epicfail for not catching a shot of Frankie baring his chest to change into a VOLUNTEER t-shirt. Luckily, we get to witness the deliciousness along with Ginny.

With the fire cutting off access to the beach, Talia’s wedding location will need to be relocated. But even as Truly is mocking up her bridesmaid dress, Talia announces that Ricky-the-Groom can’t get past the checkpoint into Paradise, so the whole wedding will need to be delayed. Milly, in search of a place to set up her crepe station, overhears. Long about the same time, Michelle finds a condom under the lockers in the girls changing room, prompting her to go down to the dance floor where all the cots are set up and separate the girls from the boys.

After seeing some reports from the West Side Evacuation Center, Bash decides they’ve got to up the entertainment ante at the shelter. His initial solution: Jeff and Carl performing dueling Tommy Lee Jones impersonations, an exercise which devolves into a fight over Boo (blissfully ending the TLJ insanity).

Better entertainment is provided by the dance crew - clad in miners helmets and heavy boots - performing an old number from a strange Billy Elliot-related show the studio performed years prior. The very cool number must have put the west side shelter’s juggler to shame. 

While all this is going on, Ricky is whisked past the checkpoint by helicopter (courtesy of a Good Samaritan) and the wedding is back on!  

Milly is looking for a space for her massage so is forced to share space with Truly as Truly steams her bridesmaid dress. When Truly confronts Milly about sending her helicopter for Ricky, we get a sweet glimpse into Milly’s softer side as she speaks about how weddings are important and reminisces about meeting her adopted daughter for the first time.

Cozette catches Ginnie inhaling Frankie’s coat. Okay, inhaling the scent from his coat. Picky picky. She shares a story from her family safari, during which Cozette shot a baby antelope to put it out of its misery. Says it’s too sad to look at Ginnie mooning over Frankie. And suddenly we're all worried that Ginny with her wide-eyed fawning, can be equated with a baby antelope.

Just when it looks like everything is set for the wedding, Rick trips getting out of the helicopter (car?) and lands in hospital with a broken ankle. Michelle tells Talia the delay gives her time to think, to reconsider all she would be giving up. It's clear Michelle doesn’t want Talia to marry Rick, fearing she doesn’t really love him. Talia finally admits she’s pregnant.

Dez is following Mel around, giving her tips on photography and sharing stories of his family. It’s clear to everyone but Mel that Dez is sweet on her, but she resists him, no doubt still seeing him as Charlie's doofus friend.

At long last and despite all odds, Rick arrives (in a wheel chair), bearing a Pekingese for his bride. Michelle apologizes for the things she said, and Talia assures her she understands that Michelle spoke from worry, and tells her of course she’s still part of the wedding. Off they go onto the patio to get the wedding done, Truly carrying the Pekingese like a bouquet.

As Ginny confesses the jacket-sniiffing incident to her gal pals, Michelle drops the condom in front of the girls without saying a word. When none of them flinch, respond, or otherwise react, Michelle reclaims the condom and retreats. This starts an interesting conversation among the girls about the question of sex, a fabulous mini-scene that reveals some of the heart of the show. Boo tells the girls she’s on the pill, but she’s not having sex which, per the bunheads, is like having a superpower and not using it). 

After the all-clear, with the evac center emptying, Frankie tells Ginny he'd be happy to give her drawing lessons. Seems Cozette told him Ginny was interested in learning, a sure sign that Cozette has somehow taken pity on the poor baby antelope that is Ginny. Drawing lessons are a much better solution than a bullet to the head, wouldn't you say?

Next week: does Michelle make use of the condom she found in the dressing room? Or is Godot simply passed out in her house? not that there’s anything simple about passing out in someone else’s house…

And now, without further ado, your primer on the pop culture references from last night’s episode:

• soup lines and ice wagons - vestiges of the years of the Great Depression

• the Madonna Inn - famed resort located in San Luis Obispo, California.  A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

• Altamont - reference to the disappointing Altamont Free Concert, a lackluster event that had hoped to be “Woodstock West” but is best remembered for the acts that didn’t perform and the pervasive violence.

• Louise Brooks - “American dancer and actress, noted for popularizing the bobbed haircut” (  Boo Tells Sasha, re Roman, "If you did I'd say yowza". I'm not sure why Sasha replies with "Thank you, Louise Brooks"

Hope Springs - 2012 film starring Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, and Steve Carrell. Though nominated for Golden Globe for the role she portrayed, Meryl did not receive an Academy Award nom for this film. 

• "wished into the cornfield" - reference from The Twilight Zone, a mythical place people with offending behavior are sent to (disappear to) from which they never return

• Ansel Adams - American known for his stunning landscape photography;  Henri Cartier-Bresson - French master of photography, widely considered to be the father of photojournalism

And finally, Roman was wearing a Bauhaus shirt - squee!!!

See you next week for the season finale!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Faces from Page to Screen and Back Again

We all do it, don't we? We read a book, and through the author's guidance and our own imaginations, we see the characters. Our minds paint us a clear image of what each main player in the plot looks like. For me, though, rarely does the picture in my mind match any actor or actress. At least, not at the beginning.

Take, for example, the Twilight series:

Leaving aside any judgment of whether the book was 'better' than the movie or vice versa, and despite the fact that Robert Pattinson can indeed be handsome and charming, he's not Edward to me. That is to say, he's not the image my mind holds of Edward. In my mind, Edward is not so much taller than Bella, a bit more fair-haired than RPattz, with not such a square jaw. Despite five films and endless photos, RPattz will never be my Edward. Should I go back and reread the books, his face will not fill my mind.

For Hunger Games, I have a bit of a different reaction. 

Jennifer Lawrence came close enough to my image of Katniss - whether it was the costuming or the hair or the makeup, her face was in easy agreement with my mental picture. As Peeta (once he went blond), Josh Hutcherson is spooky accurate to my impression of Bread Boy. Spooky. It's like the casting director was reading my mind. So when I go back and re-read Suzanne Collins's novels, I will easily envision Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. Not Liam Hemsworth, though. The Gale of my imagination is slimmer, more cat-like, ever so slightly darker skinned. Liam Hemsworth, is not my Gale. He'll have to fill my mind for other reasons : )

And then, there is...

Alan Rickman's portrayal of Professor Snape from the Harry Potter books. Truly I cannot recall the face my imagination first painted for Snape. So thoroughly and magically has he embodied the character that in reading J.K. Rowlings work, I see Rickman as Snape so clearly he eclipses any other lingering impressions I might be harboring. And I think that's kind of awesome.

With these thoughts in mind, I'm looking ahead with

Lily Collins as Clary (City of Bones)

and Shailene Woodly as Tris (Divergent)

Will they match the image in my mind? Will they be so far removed I'll hold on to my initial vision? Or will they fill the role so completely I can picture no one else?

How about you? Has the casting of recent books-to-movies matched or conflicted with how you saw the character? Or have you been Snaped by any of them?

~ Jen

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bunheads Recap! (season 2, episode 6) (S1, E16)

When last we were in Paradise…Sasha’s housewarming party ended with shouting match between her and Roman, which resulted in a date, and her night ended with her curled up on Michelle’s couch rather than in her own apartment. Millie agreed to Fanny’s plan of putting out the word that Millie is a knowledgeable patron of the arts in return for allowing Fanny full creative control. On Scotty’s last day in Paradise, he took Michelle to an event in the desert, but stops at a diner where he meets with Mom - much to Michelle’s fury.

This week…appears to have nothing to do with last week?

Arriving early for her tap class, Sam advises Michelle the date has been set for the meeting about the town’s approval of new amphitheater. But after Michelle hears her friend Talia is coming for a visit with big news, she neglects to tell Millie about the date of the meeting. This leads to Millie lying in wait for Michelle at the studio; she’s worried about the town meeting, convinced the town will create problems just to derail the amphitheater. She tells Michelle a scary tale about U2’s The Edge’s plans being prevented at every step by the town.

At the Oyster, a fundraiser for Surfers United Retirement Fund features a special event menu and a screening of the film The Endless Summer. Ginnie tells the gang she plans to try out for school spring show Bells Are Ringing - though she’s threatened to try out for school play every year and chickens out. Sasha is texting with Roman, Boo is sucking face with Carl. Cozette presents Mel with pictures of her skating. Feeling on the outside again, Ginnie bails.

Roman drops in on Sasha, offering to drive her to school. He wants the world at large to know they’re a couple. (Roman really does get great dialogue, doesn't he?) This extends into the school day, where Roman wants to eat lunch with Sasha - which means eating with the bunhead gang. They arrive as the girls are working out the details of the phone chain that will allow them all to have a sleepover at Sasha's.With Roman's arrival, the girls aren't sure what they should talk about. Roman puts the nix on all Rachel MacAdams films, especially The Notebook. Carl joins Boo at the table and Dez joins Mel. Once again the odd man out, Ginnie threatens to ask Frankie to join them.Of course, the girls don't believe she'd have the nerve. To prove them wrong, Ginny marches straight over to his table...expecting him to initiate conversation, it seems, but he ignores her and she slinks away as the bell rings.

Millie has requested (demanded) a change in the date of the town meeting and is busy working the good-for-the-town angle through tax benefits and generated revenue while at the same time having Sam and Sal’s computers hacked. Talia arrives as Millie and Truly are trying to get Michelle into a suitable pants suit - a power suit so the town board will know she's serious. Talia’s big news is a proposal from Rick, which she hesitated in accepting but in the end said yes. 

Ginny declines invite to see Mel at roller derby, declines a ride home.  She holes up in the dance studio dressing room to do her homework. The audience gets a strong sense of Ginny's sense of separation, but do her friends?

Town meeting takes place in the dance studio with Michelle appropriately attired in scary pants suit. Sam announces everything seems to be in order with the permits but is making an issue of the environmental impact: an estimated eight more trees to be removed. This loss of trees will displace the squirrels - a big problem, evidently. At last, Millie steps up and blackmails the community board into approving construction of the amphitheater.  

Talia and Michelle are staying in Faanny's house (anyone know where Fanny went?), dining on champagne and pizza to celebrate victory over the town board. Talia gets a call from one of the producers of Rock of Ages touring company offering her a part. She doesn’t know if she should accept what with being recently engaged and all. This utterly deflates Michelle; Talia now looks to gain everything Michelle lost or never had.

Ginny waits for Michelle to help her prepare for her Bells Are Ringing audition. Michelle arrives v. hung over. In coaching Ginny through her audition number, Michelle steps into the role herself. Ginny's awe struck response leaves Michelle feeling like she’s still got It.

Ginny, trying to summon the courage to go in for auditions. Frankie appears and encourages her to do it. Emboldened by her success at auditioning, Ginny attempts to ask Frankie to hang out, but that does not go as smoothly. Cozette tries to make Ginny feel better after the blunder, but Ginny once again gives Cozette a piece of her mind. Bad idea. Cozette warns Ginny that her family is very close ("Zappa tight") and if Cozette is against Ginny, Frankie will be, too.

While Talia discusses her marriage or touring company dilemma with Truly, Michelle returns the pants suit to Truly. This symbolic move tells us Michelle won’t be abandoning her creative side for the world of big business any time soon.

Next week… there’s a fire, Frankie takes his shirt off, Godot carries an axe. Fire = bad. Hot guys = good. My DVR is already set!

And now, without further ado, your primer on the pop culture references from last night’s episode:

• Tony and Carmela - reference to HBO Series The Sopranos; Tony and Carmela Soprano (as portrayed by James Gandolfini and Edie Falco) were a married couple who had legendary fights

• Dixie Chicks free speech - in 2003, Dixie Chicks vocalist Natalie Maines notoriously spoke out against then President George Bush’s plan to invade Iraq. The *&%^storm her remarks and a later magazine cover featuring the Dixie Chicks caused is, imo, something worth reading up on.

• Is Wilt Chamberlain still alive? - no. this basketball icon passed away in 1999.

Disgraced newspaper journalists for $400 please?
This former chief executive of News International (UK) who was charged with conspiring to intercept communication without lawful authority (computer hacking and phone tapping) -- who is Rebekah Brooks

• Diego Rivera - Mexican artist known for his fresco and mural work; husband of Frida Kahlo

• Zappa tight - references the family of Frank and Gail Zappa and their children, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva Muffin. Why they're an example of a tight knit family eludes me. Go forth and research, friends.

• Don Rickles - legengdary comedian, most recently known for his voice acting as Mr. Potatohead in the Toy Story films

Plus, this assortment of referenced folks for which no introduction is necessary:
Vladimir Putin, The Edge, Hillary Clinton, John Hamm, Judy Blume

And that's all for this week's episode. See you next week here at Honestly YA!


Monday, February 11, 2013

DOON, a Fantasy Casting Session

 Since Melissa brought up the titillating topic of who would play her characters in a book to movie adaptation, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the possibilities for DOON. Or perhaps *dreaming* is more appropriate. What author wouldn’t love to see their story played out in all its digital motion picture glory? A more serious literary author than myself might shun the idea out of fear that their vision could be tainted by Hollywoood’s commercial grip, but for me DOON being made into a movie would be a fantasy come true!
That said, casting the characters who have come to life in my head over the past two years, is a next to impossible task. Especially, my beautiful, tortured prince, Jamie MacCrae. Yet, as difficult as it is for one person to exemplify my larger-than-life-kilt-wearing hero, I do occasionally come across actors who are reminiscent of Jamie, top of the list being the gorgeous, Alex Pettyfer.    
Not only does this actor physically resemble Jamie with his golden hair, chiseled features and dimpled chin, but he has an indefinable quality that is the essence of Jamie—a combination of sensitivity and wickedness that makes him unpredictable and a little bit dangerous. 

I think he'd look mighty good in a kilt, don't you?

Jamie is fiercely protective of his sheltered kingdom, and his heart, so it takes a strong heroine to get past all his defenses. 
Enter Veronica Welling, the complex protagonist of our story—an idealist cheerleader with the heart of a warrior. Petite with long, dark hair and aqua-blue eyes, her ready smile expresses a sincere warmth and intelligence, but hides a constant struggle to overcome her heartbreaking childhood.
While recently watching the Disney movie, PROM, I discovered Danielle Campbell.
This young actress not only fits the vision in my head of Veronica, but she shows the potential to pull off her depth as well. And *bonus* she can sing and dance! And since the original Brigadoon movie was a musical, these skills just might come in handy for the film adaptation of DOON.   

 One of the most unique things about the DOON series is that you get two authors for the price of one! ;-) The first novel in our four-book series, releasing later this year, focuses on Veronica and Jamie, and the second installment, releasing in 2014, will tell the story of Veronica’s snarky, theater-obsessed best friend, Mackenna Reid and Jamie’s charming, younger brother, Duncan MacCrae. So stay tuned in the coming weeks for my fabulous co-author, Carey Corp’s continuation of the Doon fantasy casting session!

Thanks for allowing me to indulge in my pipedream, dear Honest readers. :)  I can’t wait to hear who you would choose to play Veronica and Jamie once you’ve read DOON!  


Lorie Langdon and Carey Corp are the authors of DOON, the Scottish legend of Brigadoon reimagined, coming in September, 2013 from Zondervan/Harper Collins. If you enjoy romance, adventure and hot boys in kilts, we’d love it if you’d add DOON to your TBR list on Goodreads

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bunheads Recap! (season 2, episode 5)(S1, E15)

When last we were in Paradise, Boo was becoming a mother hen to her siblings and classmates, and together with Carl was well on her way to old married couple. Melanie joined the Derby Dolls, using the nickname CleoSmacktra -- given to her by Cozette and Frankie. But all that time in roller derby left Ginnie out on her own. Michelle was robbed of a passionate night with Godot when her brother Scotty turned up on her doorstep. His presence in Paradise started to give us a little insight into Michelle’s upbringing, and it doesn’t sound like a happy one. Maybe we’ll learn more…

This week… Ginnie’s nose is still out of joint over Melanie keeping secrets from her and lets the whole dance class know it -- much to Miss Fanny’s displeasure. We get a taste of her tough side as she presents a roundabout threat that those talking in class will be cut from the performance. Construction on The Millicent Stone Performing Arts Center is getting under way, with some discussion about how big the stage should be. Miss Fanny is strangely okay with Millie’s involvement, and has become expert at turning the tables on Millie so that Millie agrees to foot bigger bills without question...or so we thought. The news that Millie expects a backer’s rehearsal is a bit…shocking to Fanny and Michelle. But more on that later...

Scotty and Michelle prep for a trip to the desert, to attend an event akin to Burning Man. During the packing, Michelle bursts Scotty’s bubble about their childhood road trips... that never happened. Turns out their mom only made them think they happened. While Michelle worries there will be no bathroom in the desert, Fanny shares her memories of Woodstock - pictures of which may have scarred Michelle as much as her childhood.

Sasha is having a housewarming party at her new apartment and has invited all the girls in class to attend, but Ginnie refuses to go if Cozette goes, and Mel won’t go if Ginnie doesn’t go. Instead of inviting Cozette to the party, Sasha invites her to lunch -- problem solved (booooring). But while she’s managing to keep things with the girls in balance, Roman is feeling ignored (and looking strange with all that eyeliner in the sunshine - or is the balance off on my television? seems goofy in the sunshine instead of dramatic and intriguing. ah, well).

At the backer’s rehearsal, Millie drags a chair center "stage" as the cast performs Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty. Millie takes notes on each (hello, where is Jordan? shouldn’t he be front and center somewhere?) Following rehearsal, Millie presents her notes to the dancers, infuriating Fanny and prompting her to toss Millie out of the studio. Millie insists if she doesn’t get to give notes, she'll pull out of the project and take back her money. Fanny reminds her the money is already spent. Millie threatens to sue; Fanny counters by warning Millie her reputation will be ruined. Yeah, cos the threat of being the Wicked Queen of Paradise is something that would stop Millie.

Michelle and Scotty attend Sasha’s housewarming party and both are overwhelmed by the apartment.  (Sasha has a fainting couch! I want a fainting couch!) Sasha appears to have decided Michelle is her role model and has had a barre installed in her bedroom because this is something one of the Joffrey dancers did plus she feels this is something Michelle would do. Roman arrives after the party is over, confronts Sasha about their relationship or lack thereof. The two argue their way to a Friday night date - but not before we've gotten a glimpse of how tough it's been for Sasha to suddenly become independent.

After the party, Michelle and Scotty depart for the mysterious adventure in the desert. Millie invites Fanny to dinner and apologizes for overreacting during rehearsal, explaining she is unaccustomed to sharing her creative role. Fanny lays it on the line about how much people dislike Millie, but Millie is still convinced people  don’t like her just because she’s rich. Accurately sensing Millie wants to be perceived as someone who cares deeply about the arts rather than actually putting in the work to become that person, Fanny agrees to tell everyone that Millie is an artistic genius in exchange for Millie giving Fanny complete creative control. Millie agrees.

On the way to the desert, Scotty stops at a diner in Sacramento while Michelle is sleeping. She follows him inside, where she spies Mom. Scotty wants Michelle to go back to the car and he's not alone. Mom is seriously ticked off that Scotty brought Michelle. But we do learn Scotty is Mom’s guardian (because she declared herself incompetent in order to get out of a debt) and now he must sign all her financial agreements. A big, ugly family hissing cat match ensues and we see how deeply Mom and Michelle dislike one another.

And then. And THEN Michelle comes home to find Sasha asleep on her couch. I may win that bet yet!

And now, without further ado, your primer on the pop culture references from last night’s episode:

Oliver! - musical based on Charles Dickens’s novel Oliver Twist

• “take the vicuna” - episode title - reference to vicuna wool, some of the finest, softest and, no surprise, most expensive wool in the world. Vicuna are native to South America and look sorta like a llama, only not as hairy (it’s that 'not as hairy' that adds to the value of the wool).

• Bananarama - awesome 80s girl band from the UK. Now I can’t stop humming “He Was Really Sayin’ Something”

• Drag Queen Bingo - I've never been but I hear it's a blast!

• “she Gaslighted us, dude” - reference to the 1944 film Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman (remember her?), Charles Boyer and Joseph Cotton. The film depicts a husband convincing her wife she is going insane by doing things like moving in their home and when she comments on it, insists nothing has changed. Actually, Wikipedia has a great definition: The term "gaslighting" has been used colloquially since at least the late 1970s to describe efforts to manipulate someone's sense of reality.

• Don McLean - singer/songwriter best known for the classic “American Pie” (also? starting to get depressing how many of these I know off the top of my head.)

• “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” - short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, telling the tale of Benjamin who appears to age backwards. Most recently a film starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, directed by David Fincher.

• Kim & Khloe - needs no explanation

• Burning Man - a month-long celebration of art, community, and self expression taking place annually in the Nevada desert

• “Eternal Sunshine my mind” - reference to the Jim Carey, Kate Winslet film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in which painful memories were erased

• Scott Rudin - Hollywood producer of a long list of films including perennial favorite of the YA author crowd, Clueless

• Mary Richards - Michelle’s reference to Sasha turning into Mary Richards by not having enough food at her party comes from The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977) which in one episode main character Mary Richards throws a disaster of a party

• Downton Abbey - needs no explanation (and wouldn't it be nice if the Kardashians did?)

• boombox and Peter Gabriel - this is another one of those references. If you don’t already know what this means, set aside a day to marathon the films of Cameron Crowe. Thank me later.

• Shania Twain - country western singer from Canada, eh?

And that's all for this week's Bunheads!


Monday, February 4, 2013


By Melissa Landers

Somewhere in Manhattan, a Disney-Hyperion team is sorting through headshots to choose the models for the ALIENATED cover shoot! (ZOMG, pinch me!) That, combined with the recent Bunheads recaps and our discussion of books-to-movies, has me thinking of one thing: Who would I choose to bring my characters to life?

::rubs hands together:: This is going to be fun!

Let's start with Aelyx, (pronounced A-licks), my super-hot alien exchange student. His planet is much older than Earth, and individual races ceased to exist tens of thousands of years ago. Aelyx has bronze skin, long brown hair typically worn in a low ponytail, and chrome eyes. His likeness wasn't easy to find, but actor Steven Strait captured the look when he played Warren Peace in Sky High.

That's a pretty good Aelyx! (No leather jacket, though.)

Now for Cara Sweeny, the fiercely-competitive valedictorian who hosts Aelyx during the exchange. Cara's got flaming red hair, blue eyes, and a wicked sense of humor that reminds me of Emma Stone's character in Easy A. I'd cast her in my hypothetical movie...minus the A-emblazoned bustier.
"Hot aliens? Hell, yeah!"
Cara's parents are a bit outside the YA norm as they're not absentee or dead. In fact, a recent health scare served as a wake-up call for Bill and Eileen, and now they can't keep their hands off one another...which Cara finds horrifically embarrassing. I'd cast Alan Tudyk (from Firefly) as Bill and Lauren Graham (from Gilmore Girls) as Eileen, but only if she agreed to gain at least twenty pounds. Eileen's rockin' some serious junk in her trunk.

There are a bunch more characters I could cast, but I have a sequel to finish. However, I hope my characters seem a bit more real to you now, and I double hope you'll add ALIENATED to your Goodreads shelf ----> linky <---- because Goodreads adds are better than chocolate! (And they don't contribute to the ever-growing junk in my trunk.)

Thanks for sharing my daydream. Now it's back to work for me. J

Melissa Landers is the author of ALIENATED, a seriously foreign exchange coming in February, 2014 from Disney-Hyperion. You can learn more about Melissa on her website, and she'd love for you to add ALIENATED to your Goodreads bookshelf!