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Reel Good Reads: February

You guys, we’ve almost made it! The shortest day of the year is behind us, and we are creeping closer to spring every day. If you’re looking for a movie to brighten up your day (or serve as a centerpiece for a hot date), there are several new releases this month to keep you occupied. If you’d rather stay under the covers, though, check out one of this month’s recommended reads.

Escape from Planet Earth movie posterMovie: Computer animated movies keep getting better and better, and Escape from Planet Earth represents Rainmaker Entertainment’s first foray in to the field. This movie promises lots of laughs and silly sight-gags as it tracks Gary — head of mission control for planet Baab’s space exploration program — on his mission to save his brave and bold brother from a mission gone wrong.

Book Soulmate: If you want a silly space novel, look no farther than The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The modern sci-fi classic has crazy plot, hilarious writing, and more in-jokes than you can shake a stick at. It pretty much defies description (or at least it defies my modest writing talent’s ability to describe it), but suffice to say it starts out with one cranky Englander having a very, very bad day.

Stay by Deb Caletti coverMovie: If February makes you think more of pink hearts than little green men, you’ll probably want to check out Safe Haven. South Port, North Carolina isn’t the kind of place that a pretty girl with no history can show up in without being noticed. Despite her best efforts, Katie gets drawn in to the life of the town, and the life of Alex, a handsome neighbor. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she has to make a decision that could make everything she’s built come crashing down.

Book Soulmate: A small town, a girl with a murky past, and a handsome local all make appearances in Stay by Deb Caletti (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults). Although Clara is clearly running from an ex-boyfriend, Christan, who turned ugly, her story will fill your need for an emotionally rich novel about the perils — and rewards — of starting over. Caletti’s writing is, as always, beautiful and nuanced, and although this book is dealing with tough stuff, it’s amazingly rendered.

Snitch posterMovie: Dwayne Johnson (you may know him as The Rock) plays a dad who will do anything to save his son from prison in Snitch. When his teenage son is wrongfully arrested for trafficking drugs, Johnson agrees to become a confidential informant and infiltrate a drug cartel. Willing to risk everything, including his life, to save his kid from a decade in prison, Johnson puts it all on the line in this action-packed thriller.

Book Soulmate: Jasper Dent (you can call him Jazz) is a pretty charming kiddo. People general like him. Well, they would probably like him if his father wasn’t one of the most infamous serial killers of the modern age. And his dad was definitely a  believer in the family business. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers) is a thriller that throws in to stark relief the relationship between family, violence, and humanity.

POD by Stephen Wallenfels coverMovie: When creepy things start happening in their neighborhood, the characters in Dark Skies
don’t know who — or what — is responsible. In the quiet suburbs, what could be lurking that is so evil and terrifying that it preys on children?

Book Soulmate: I’ve read a lot of books about the end of the world, but let me tell you: POD by Stephen Wallenfels is one of the creepiest. Imagine that the sky fills with huge black orbs. Imagine further that those orbs are full of someone or something that vaporizes every single person who was outside. Imagine that you’re trapped inside the building you’re in right now. What would you do? What would you eat? What would you do to survive?

— Ariel Cummins, currently reading In Darkness by Nick Lake