Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review: Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

I realize it's been forever (hehe) since I've posted a review here, but I just had to tell you all about PROOF OF FOREVER.

Four friends who have grown apart reunite at summer camp and end up traveling back in time to the summer before they went their separate ways. Each experience growth, change and truth. Luce's personal challenge is the illusion of perfection - going after accolades for the having of them rather than the meaning in them. Tali is obsessed with appearances and lives life on the surface. Zoe can't face the truth of her authentic self. And Joy is hiding a secret that keeps her from really engaging with those around her.

Hillyer's use of language is gorgeous and her insight into her character's inner lives is impressive. What started off as a fun, breezy read became deeper and I was unprepared for how hard the end hit me emotionally.

Loved it!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dr. Seuss Classic Tour: There's A Wocket in My Pocket!

Dr. Seuss has a new book out - WHAT PET SHOULD I GET?

To celebrate I've joined the blog tour along with:

Dr. Seuss 44 Classic Book Celebratory Tour
And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, 1937 – The Young
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, 1938 – Bookish Antics
The Seven Lady Godivas, 1939 – The Eater of Books
The King’s Stilts, 1939 – On Starships and Dragonwings
Horton Hatches the Egg, 1940 – The Book Cellar
McElligot’s Pool, 1947 – Media Mikes
Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, 1948 –Mommie of 2
Bartholomew and the Oobleck, 1949 – Nonperfect Parenting
If I Ran the Zoo, 1950 – Live to Read
Scrambled Eggs Super! 1953 – Word Spelunking
Horton Hears a Who! 1954 - Bookiemoji
On Beyond Zebra! 1955 - Jessabella Reads
If I Ran the Circus, 1956 – Book Hounds
The Cat in the Hat, 1957 – The Bookbag
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1957 – Nightly Reading
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, 1958 – Winter Haven Books
Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, 1958 – Alice Marvels
Happy Birthday to You! 1959 – Chapter by Chapter
Green Eggs and Ham, 1960 – Poland Bananas
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, 1960 – Once Upon a Twilight
The Sneetches and Other Stories, 1961 - The Mod Podge Bookshelf
Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book, 1962 – Good Books and Good Wine
Dr. Seuss’s ABC, 1963 – The Irish Banana
Hop on Pop, 1963 – Mundie Moms
Fox in Socks, 1965 – Page Turners
I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, 1965 – Book Rock Betty
The Cat in the Hat Songbook, 1967 – Giveaway Train
The Foot Book, 1968 – I Am A Reader
I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! And Other Stories, 1969 – Cuddlebuggery
I Can Draw It Myself, 1970 – The Children’s Book Review
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? 1970 – Curling Up with a Good Book
The Lorax, 1971 - Elizziebooks
Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! 1972 – Reading with ABC
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? 1973 – Me, Myshelf, and I
The Shape of Me and Other Stuff, 1973 – Paperback Princess
There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! 1974 – Presenting Lenore
Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! 1975 – YA Books Central
The Cat’s Quizzer, 1976 – Lille Punkin’
I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! 1978 – Confessions Of A Vi3tbabe
Oh Say Can You Say? 1979 – Ex Libris
Hunches in Bunches, 1982 – No BS Book Reviews
The Butter Battle Book, 1984 – Novel Novice
You’re Only Old Once! 1986 – Dad of Divas
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 1990 - Jesse the Reader

I'm talking about THERE'S A WOCKET IN MY POCKET today. Because I always had a fondness for nonsense rhyming words, I continue to enjoy the rowdy fun of this book. It doesn't have a plot, but it has a great rhythm for reading aloud.

Theodor “Seuss” Geisel is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. His long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys and a Peabody. Geisel wrote and illustrated 45 books during his lifetime, and his books have sold more than 650 million copies worldwide. Though Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading. For more information about Dr. Seuss and his works, visit

In the Fall of 2013, an original manuscript with accompanying sketches by Dr. Seuss, aka Ted Geisel, was discovered in the La Jolla, California home of the late beloved children’s author. That complete manuscript was for the picture book, WHAT PET SHOULD I GET?, and will be published by Random House Children’s Books on July 28, 2015. It is the first original new Dr. Seuss book since the publication of the last book of Dr. Seuss’s career, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! in 1990. WHAT PET SHOULD I GET? captures the excitement of a classic childhood moment—choosing a pet—and features the brother and sister characters that Dr. Seuss drew in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

What are YOUR favorite Seuss books?

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:


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
We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman
How They Met (And Other Stories) by David Levithan
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
In A World Just Right by Jen Brooks
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Fat Kid Rules the World by KL Going
Stitching Snow by RC Lewis
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
All The Rage by Courtney Summers
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Twisted Fate by Norah Olsen
How It Ends by Laura Wiess
Empty by Suzanne Weyn
Looking for Alaska by John Green

Tithe by Holly Black
The Memory Key by Liana Liu
I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena
The Art of Secrets by James Klise
Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer


The Understory by Elizabeth Leiknes
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Days of Awe by Lauren Fox

MG Fiction

Whales on Stilts! by MT Anderson
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead


Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

Graphic Novels

Sheltered Vol. 1 by Ed Brisson
Sheltered Vol. 2 by Ed Brisson
Sheltered Vol. 3 by Ed Brisson
Runaways Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

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


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?


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.

Book trailer

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)
The Lego Movie
*X-Men: Days of Future Past (3D)
The Fault in Our Stars
*Gone Girl
The Maze Runner

Total of 10 ( 4 less than last year)

Notable movies I saw in 2014 that were released before 2014 

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
Anna Karenina
The Book Thief
Pillow Talk

2014 movies I still want to see

Mockingjay Part 1
If I Stay

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.


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?