Monday, March 30, 2015

Announcing the Among the Shadows Anthology!

I'm super thrilled to be contributing a short story to the YA anthology AMONG THE SHADOWS!



Check out this awesome author line-up:




AMONG THE SHADOWS is a 100% author organized project, so we're gathering funds on Kickstarter. If you'd like to contribute, pre-order a copy, or check out a few of our other great incentives, including signed copies of books and MS crits (I'm offering one up to 10k words!), have a look at our Kickstarter page here. AMONG THE SHADOWS will be released September 14th.

More details on my story soon!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Books Read in 2015


Total so far:

8

YA Fiction

Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot
My Book of Life by Martine Leavitt
Hanging on to Max by Margaret Bechard
Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin

Fiction

The Understory by Elizabeth Leiknes

MG Fiction

Whales on Stilts! by MT Anderson

Non-Fiction

Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

Graphic Novels

Sheltered Vol. 1 by Ed Brisson

Monday, January 5, 2015

Giveaway: Half Bad by Sally Green

HALF BAD by Sally Green comes out in paperback on January 13th, just in time to get it read before the sequel, HALF WILD comes out in hardcover on March 24th.




Brew a winter concoction to settle in and read! Enter the giveaway by filling out this form (deadline January 20, 2015).

One (1) winner receives:

· a branded tumbler and hot chocolate,

· plus a copy of Half Bad.



Prizing courtesy of Penguin - Giveaway open to US addresses only


About HALF BAD

He has a powerful Gift. It’s how he uses it that will show if he’s good or bad.

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and sixteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his seventeenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?




About HALF WILD 

In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, seventeen-year-old Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most powerful and violent witch. Nathan is hunted from all sides: nowhere is safe and no one can be trusted. Now, Nathan has come into his own unique magical Gift, and he’s on the run–but the Hunters are close behind, and they will stop at nothing until they have captured Nathan and destroyed his father.



Links!
Book trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIcpalOypmo

Visit the Half Bad website

Find Sally Green on Twitter and Wattpad

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 in Review: Movies and TV

Even though I don't usually blog about movies or tv, I do like my year end list summaries.

2014 Movies I saw this year (top 3 marked with an *)

300: Rise of an Empire (3D Imax)
Divergent
The Lego Movie
*X-Men: Days of Future Past (3D)
Maleficent
The Fault in Our Stars
*Gone Girl
Lucy
*Boyhood
The Maze Runner

Total of 10 ( 4 less than last year)


Notable movies I saw in 2014 that were released before 2014 

Nebraska
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
We're The Millers
About Time
Man of Steel
Thor 2
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Blue Jasmine
Her
Anna Karenina
Rebecca
The Book Thief
Pillow Talk

2014 movies I still want to see

Mockingjay Part 1
If I Stay
Birdman
Wild

TV series I watched in 2014 

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Seasons 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Top of the Lake
The Bates Motel Season 2
Homeland Season 3
True Detective
Game of Thrones Season 4
Walking Dead Season 5
Orange is the New Black Seasons 1, 2
Orphan Black Season 2
The Mindy Project Season 3 (so far)


How was your year in movies and TV?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 in Review: Music

I bought 136 new songs this year (a bit less than last year) including two albums, Unrepentant Geraldines/Tori Amos and The Brink/The Jezebels. 

2014 songs on heavy rotation (indicates top 5)

Every Other Freckle - Alt-J
Palace - The Antlers
Beggin for Thread - Banks
*Rollercoaster - Bleachers
Ashes & Embers - The Casket Girls
My Favourite Faded Fantasy - Damien Rice
Meowy Kitty - David Fey
*Beneath the Brine - The Family Crest
Tonight - Glass Towers
Yours to Shake - Greylag
Hymnals - Grizfolk
Afterlife - Ingrid Michaelson
*The Brink - The Jezebels
Past Life - Lost in the Trees
Night Like This - LP
No Rest for the Wicked - Lykke Li
The Writing's on the Wall - OK Go
Nothing But Trouble - Phantogram
Let it Go - Saint Savior
Blank Space - Taylor Swift
Forest of Glass - Tori Amos
*Weatherman - Tori Amos
Love Stained - TV on the Radio
Amelia Earhart - Tommy Wallach
Love is to Die - Warpaint
*Heavenly Creatures - Wolf Alice


Favorite finds from previous years (indicates top 5)
Loud Like Love - Placebo (2013)
Blush - Wolf Alice (2013)
*Something Good - Alt-J (2012)
Landfill - Daughter (2012)
How to Be a Heartbreaker - Marina and the Diamonds (2012)
Angels - The xx (2012)
Wonderland - Natalia Kills (2011)
Close Watch - Agnes Obel (2010)
Dancing Under Influence - Bedroom Eyes (2010)
*Pick Up The Phone - Dragonette (2009)
Hotblack - Oceanship (2009)
Sweet and Low - Augustana (2008)
Lost Coastlines - Okkervil River (2008)
*Oboes Bleat and Triangles Tink - Say Hi (2008)
Back and Forth - Maps (2007)
*Slow Show - The National (2007)
*Set Fire to the Third Bar - Snow Patrol (2006)
Life Less Ordinary - Carbon Leaf (2004)
Consequence - The Notwist (2002)
Don't Go Away - Toad the Wet Sprocket (1989)

Thanks to my main sources for new music this year: iTunes, NPR, Spotify, Justin Chanda, David Fey, & Christina Franke.

Live Music in 2014

+ Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Frankfurt, Germany - January (My BIL bought us tickets to see the former lead singer of Pavement with his new band. Fun!)
+ The Jezebels - Frankfurt, Germany - March (Highlight: A Little Piece!! They are awesome live and I loved the whole concert)
+ Tori Amos - Frankfurt, Germany - May (Highlight: This was my first time hearing Weatherman. Mellow show, but had a blast with my SIL)
+ Tori Amos - Berlin, Germany - May (Highlight: Sugar and Northern Lad and Purple People all in the same set? Yes, Please!)
+ Tori Amos - Vienna, Austria - June (Highlight: Nice to get Josephine again. Also! Got to chat with Tori before the show and had a seat in the second row)
+ Tori Amos - Linz, Austria - June (Highlight: Tori's cover of Rise Like A Phoenix by Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst who won for Austria. What a great surprise! Also, chatted with Tori again and got a front row upgrade.)
+ Tori Amos - Stuttgart, Germany - June (Highlight: I've been requesting Beulah Land since 2007 and she finally played it for me! This show's setlist was pretty dark and my favorite of the 5. Also gave Tori a copy of Chasing Before/Chick and got a front row upgrade!)
+ We had tickets to see Ingrid Michaelson and Warpaint, and both acts had to cancel for family reasons. Shame!

Tori Amos with my books!!


Looking forward to 2015 -- we already have tickets to Alt-J with Wolf Alice (Feb 7th) and Rachael Yamagata (Feb 20th). Super excited!

Any recommendations for me?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Year End Mini Reviews - Diverse Books

I've been a supporter of the We Need Diverse Books campaign since its inception and as such, I seek out diverse MG/YA novels during the year to read and review. Here are a few of them (that I haven't already reviewed) from this year. See also my We Need Diverse Books review archive.



Pointe by Brandy Colbert

Theo, an aspiring professional ballerina with a latent eating disorder, has her fragile psyche rocked when her kidnapped best friend, Donavon, returns after four years and she recognizes the accused kidnapper as her first boyfriend, Chris. Though this relationship is obvious to the reader as statutory rape, Theo denies this to herself and decides to keep quiet, even if her testimony could be the key to getting justice for Donavon. Colbert handles Theo’s emotional landscape with sensitivity and makes the stakes clear – if Theo talks she’ll become “tainted” and no ballet company will want to work with her. Colbert adds an effective subplot involving a secret affair with a classmate that serves to finally wake Theo up to certain truths and make her realize she needs to step up and speak the truth despite the consequences.

FTC disclosure: Borrowed


 
Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

In this ambitious modern day reimagining of Antigone, Jamie Henry is an upstanding student trying to come to terms with both his adoption as a child by wealthy parents and his sister Cate’s recent release from jail after admitting to burning down a horse barn. To say much more would be spoiler-territory, but definitely keep reading for the explosive twist ending.

FTC disclosure: Bought



Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Ann Peters

When Alix's girlfriend Swan dies, Alix finds out that Swan was cheating on her with a girl from another town named Lianna. Alix and Lianna bond over their shared grief and feelings of betrayal. A fairly predictable yet sweet romance.

FTC disclosure: Netgalley



Latitude Zero by Diana Renn

A mystery set in the international cycling world that features intrepid teen reporter Tessa who inadvertently gets involved in dangerous intrigue when a famous Ecuadorian cyclist hands her his gold chain directly before the race that kills him. There are many cycling terms and an exhausting list of suspects to keep the reader busy. Lots of nice description of Ecuador.    

FTC disclosure: Review copy from author


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Year End Mini-Reviews - E-Galleys

Well, hello again! Since there are only 11 days left in the year, I'd better say a few words about some of the 2014 review books I've read this year in e-Galley that I haven't gotten to yet. Shall we?




The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

In 1900, Olivia befriends a hypnotist hired by her father to cure her of her of having her own opinion so she can accept a woman's "true calling". Winters once again provides great historical detail and a touch of the paranormal to support her inspiring story of suffragettes. Loved it!

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

197 is the fourth most valuable surrogate in the latest royal auction. She is bought by the conniving Duchess to bear a daughter worthy of marrying the king’s son – but in one-third the time of a normal gestation. Ewing seamlessly integrates world building and magical rules into the action. For example, in an early scene, 197 is permitted an evening visit to her family after years apart. To show both 197’s love for her family and her magical power, Ewing has 197 touch a barren lemon tree in the backyard and make it produce a perfect lemon in a matter of seconds. An interesting read!

That Night by Chevy Stevens

As a teen, Toni Murphy was bullied mercilessly and then sentenced to prison for killing her sister in collusion with her boyfriend, Ryan. 15 years later, Toni is out on parole and wants to find out the truth of her sister's murder. But this means facing her former bullies. Stevens puts Toni in impossible situations -- this novel made me so angry on behalf of Toni that I wanted to go into the book and help Toni get revenge. Highly emotional. 

The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams

Shiloh and Gideon live inside the Haven where everyone is monitored and drugged, basically a dystopian nightmare. This very much reminded me of a less complex version of a well-known adult dystopian book, and so I figured out what was going on as soon as they talked about "terminals" vs "wholes".  A diverting enough novel that suffers the comparison to this other book (which I won't name because spoilers).

Killer Instinct by SE Green

In this teen homage to the TV show Dexter, Lane is fascinated by serial killers. She's also highly unsympathetic (especially bc she slut-shames her sister at every opportunity). Still, I was on board with Lane's adventures in serial killing until the very bizarre twist near the end left me scratching my head in disbelief. 

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Darcy is living the dream! Right out of high school and she's already sold a YA novel, moved to NYC, and started up a romance with a popular YA author. In alternating chapters, we get Darcy's journey as well as her "novel": Afterworlds. Since I enjoy both afterlife books and books about the writing scene, I was very entertained by this one, even though it was super, super lengthy.

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

When Lainey's boyfriend Jason breaks up with her, she uses techniques from the Art of War to win him back, including having co-worker Micah pose as her new boyfriend. Even though Micah is leagues different from Lainey, she finds herself really falling in love with him. A fun YA romance!

Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke

Del is a walker in parallel worlds who keeps running across the echo of her longtime crush in different worlds. O'Rourke combines science and music theory in her intricate world-building. I am excited to read the sequel to find out what happens next!






Monday, November 24, 2014

VCFA Reads - Mini Reviews (1)

I've been pretty inactive on the blog this year, and that needs to change, because I miss the outlet and connecting with you all.

As I mentioned this summer, I started the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts in July. In addition I've been traveling like mad, so even though I've been reading, I haven't been posting much. So, I am going to take the next couple of weeks to highlight some books I've been reading as part of the program.

One of my goals for awhile has been to read more backlist, and by backlist, I mean books not published in the year I'm reading. I've been so spoiled with review copies and arcs that I can't even keep up with those, let alone think about dipping into my shelves for books that have been patiently waiting for me to crack open their spines. VCFA has given me an excuse to read backlist and not feel guilty about it.

Here are a few favorites from my first semester of reading.




FAR FAR AWAY by Tom McNeal (2013)

The ghost of Jacob Grimm narrates from the Zwischenraum, a place between life and death for unsettled spirits. Jeremy Johnson Johnson, an outcast in his small town, is one of the few humans alive who can hear Jacob, and so Jacob becomes his mentor and protector from a malevolent presence. McNeal creates a creepy fairy tale atmosphere and a touching character arc for both Jacob and Jeremy. I cried at the end, and I rarely cry while reading fiction. My favorite read of the year!






THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater (2011)

Stiefvater’s novel creates tension by giving the two POV characters, Puck and Sean, urgent and yet conflicting goals. The reader desperately wants both to win the race, Puck so she can avoid being evicted and prove herself and Sean so he can keep his beloved horse Corr. Stiefvater raises the stakes by having Puck ride her own beloved horse Dove in the race, despite the very real risk of death. I might have teared up at the end here too.






YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS by Meg Medina (2013)

In Piddy Sanchez, readers get a sympathetic, non-stereotypical Latina character to root for. Piddy’s world is torn apart when she changes schools and becomes the target of bully Yaqui, and Medina presents Piddy’s sense of helplessness in a visceral way. She also integrates Latin culture and the Spanish language seamlessly, not calling too much attention to it, but letting it speak for itself.




THE GOATS by Brock Cole (1987)

The kids at camp play a horrible joke on Howie and Laura: they leave them on an island alone and naked. According to camp tradition, Howie and Laura have been chosen as goats. But the two teens refuse to accept their fate meekly and run away together. Through their many adventures, Howie and Laura grow closer, accepting each other more as they come to accept themselves. Cole’s language and scenes are deceptively simple, and yet they are incredibly emotionally resonant.




HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne-Jones (1986)


This is the rare fantasy novel that completely enchanted me, and I suspect it has to do with Jones’ consistency of a matter-of-fact tone and relatable main character. Sophie doesn’t believe she has a lot of offer the world, so when a witch transforms her into an old woman, she accepts her fate without question. Wizard Howl is fearful of his own power and spends most of the novel running from his responsibilities. 


Any backlist reads you'd suggest for my next semester of reading?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Entangled by Amy Rose Capetta

ENTANGLED is out in paperback now, and Presenting Lenore is today's stop on the blog tour to celebrate it. I read ENTANGLED over the weekend and I loved the mix of science and music. Amy has such an inventive use of language and the story speaks to our need as humans for connecting with others.



Here's the summary:

ENTANGLED is the story of seventeen-year-old Cade, a fierce survivor who lives solo in the universe with her cherry-red guitar until she finds out she was created in a lab in the year 3112, then entangled at a subatomic level with a boy named Xan. Cade’s quest to locate Xan joins her with an array of outlaws on a galaxy-spanning adventure. And once Cade discovers the wild joy of real connection, there’s no turning back.



The rest of Cade’s story is coming in UNMADE, which hits shelves January 13!

And here's Amy!



I’ve always loved science fiction.

But the truth is nerdier than that: I’ve always loved science.

Whenever I play the “what would you have done with your life if you weren’t doing this?” game, I only have one answer. Scientist. BOOM. Easy. A lot of people see writing and science on opposite ends of a spectrum of What People Do, but I don’t think of it that way. Science and writing are focused ways of looking at the world where you don’t get to take anything for granted.

And no matter how weird creative writing can get, science is ALWAYS weirder.

Seriously, there is no way to top the strangeness of our own world. Writing has to follow WAY more rules than nature. Nature might have inherent patterns, but it also delights in breaking them, and coming up with more variety and just plain oddity than a single person could ever do if you stuck them in a bare room with a notebook and said, “Now make up the whole world.”

Take quantum entanglement.

Quantum entanglement is one of the weirdest things in all of the vast weirdness of science. It’s what happens when two particles start talking to each other. Across impossible distances. They interact in ways that break ALL of the rules.

So of course, as a writer, I heard that, and my metaphor-making brain kicked in. What if it was people instead of particles having these weird and intense interactions across impossible distances?! I was lucky, because I already had a character wandering around in my brain, in need of just such a bit of science. Cade already had a crappy home planet and a loudloud guitar. All she needed was a plot!

As soon as I used quantum entanglement to connect Cade to a strange boy far across the universe, things really started to heat up. I used some of the details of entanglement to add specifics to the way they interact. Of course, I also fictionalized and stretched the idea. A lot. But if it’s within the realm of human imagination, it’s probably within the realm of scientific possibility.

Do you know how many inventions have been predicted by science fiction? SO MANY. This is the moment where I remind you that we currently have hovercraft technology! HOVERCRAFTS, people. And scientists are talking about bending space-time around a spaceship! (WARP DRIVE, people.) And…

(Thirty minutes of nerding out redacted.)

Here’s a funny thing that I’ve noticed. Some of the people who’ve picked up ENTANGLED have assumed that quantum entanglement isn’t real—that I just made it up. And I can’t really blame them. It just SOUNDS so fictional. It sounds more than fictional, actually. It sounds bananas.

But it’s real. And to me, that was too incredible NOT to write about.

Want to know more about science and fiction colliding in ENTANGLED? Watch the EXCLUSIVE excerpt!


And enter the giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 31, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Loop by Karen Akins

I got to read LOOP last year and I was blown away by how imaginative and fun it was. So much so that I gave it an official blurb which appears on the back cover of the hardback:

"Witty and inventive, LOOP is a time travel treat!" -Lenore Appelhans, author of THE MEMORY OF AFTER




Here's the official summary:

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up. 
After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.
But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

Find out more at the author's website.

Intrigued? Enter to win a copy here. US only. Prize provided and shipped by publisher.