Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Release day! The Best Things in Death by Lenore Appelhans (that's me!)

So excited that THE BEST THINGS IN DEATH is now available!

It's a short story collection in the the Memory Chronicles universe, but also can be read separately from the series. It features:

A memory of Julian spying on Felicia approximately 9 months before the events of LEVEL 2/THE MEMORY OF AFTER

A memory of Neil and Felicia enjoying a gorgeous summer day a week before their death

A memory drenched in blood and murder

A memory of a first love that features LGBT characters and a POC

Here's what Susanne Winnacker has to say about it over at The League of Extraordinary Writers.

And here's where you can buy it -- for only $1.99:

Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble
Simon and Schuster and other formats

Add it to your shelf and/or let me know how you like it over at GoodReads

Friday, May 16, 2014

Cover Reveal: Endsinger by Jay Kristoff + Giveaway

Time to reveal the cover for ENDSINGER, the last book in the Lotus War trilogy that began with STORMDANCER. 

Breathtaking, isn't it?!

Jay just informed me which chapter contains animal death in KINSLAYER (commence ripping out of chapter 52 ...), so now I can finally get caught up on this series in time for the ENDSLINGER release date of Sept. 23rd!


The flames of civil war sweep across the Shima Imperium. With their plans to renew the Kazumitsu dynasty foiled, the Lotus Guild unleash their deadliest creation—a mechanical goliath known as the Earthcrusher, intended to unite the shattered Empire under a yoke of fear. With the Tiger Clan and their puppet Daimyo Hiro in tow, the Guild marches toward a battle for absolute dominion over the Isles.

Yukiko and Buruu are forced to take leadership of the Kagé rebellion, gathering new allies and old friends in an effort to unite the country against the chi-mongers. But the ghosts of Buruu’s past stand between them and the army they need, and Kin’s betrayal has destroyed all trust among their allies. When a new foe joins the war tearing the Imperium apart, it will be all the pair can do to muster the strength to fight, let alone win.

The traitor Kin walks the halls of Guild power, his destiny only a bloody knife-stroke away. Hana and Yoshi struggle to find their place in a world now looking to them as heroes. Secret cabals within the Lotus Guild claw and struggle; one toward darkness, the other toward light. And as the earth splits asunder, as armies destroy each other for rule over an empire of lifeless ash and the final secret about blood lotus is revealed, the people of Shima will learn one last, horrifying truth.

There is nothing a mother won't do to keep her children by her side.



For a chance to win some kick-ass prizes including the signed trilogy (all three books in hardcover + extras!!) and a hug from Jay, head over to Jay's website and answer the following question:

4. Name the guildsman who betrayed the rebellion at the end of Kinslayer.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Author Interview + Giveaway: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

My readers know I'm not exactly a fan of faerie books, so it's a good thing I didn't realize THE FALCONER was a faerie book going in (I really thought she was a warrior who had a falcon. Nope.) or I might never have picked it up. And that would have been a shame. Because THE FALCONER was kick-ass.

Aileana kills faeries (yay!) for practice in order to toughen up to defeat her real target - the fae who murdered her mother. But she also teams up with a MLDF (mysterious loner dude faerie) and a pixie sidekick (Derrick, who I actually liked. I know. Stop the presses.) to thwart a whole army of fairies from destroying Edinburgh. In between all that, Aileana banters with her best friend and attends high society balls. It's all quite FUN, and an intriguing start to a new must-read series.

The official summary:

Edinburgh, 1844. Beautiful Aileana Kameron only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. In fact, she’s spent the year since her mother died developing her ability to sense the presence of Sithichean, a faery race bent on slaughtering humans. She has a secret mission: to destroy the faery who murdered her mother. But when she learns she’s a Falconer, the last in a line of female warriors and the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity, her quest for revenge gets a whole lot more complicated. The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller blends romance and action with steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.
Find out more about The Falconer and read an excerpt! See the trailer. Download the discussion guide.

The interview:

Which one of the inventions in THE FALCONER would you most like to be real?

Definitely Aileana’s ornithopter. The 1800s is full of different inventions and attempts at sustained flight. For a small blip in time, we had large passenger dirigibles circling New York and the pictures seem like something from a completely different world. Then the modern airplane became a staple in our skies, and new aircraft ideas are primarily based on that design. So it makes me sad that the single or double passenger ornithopter, which is such a lovely design, will probably not exist on the open market as it does in my book.

I might choose the stitcher spiders! Did you have any "darlings" that you had to kill in the editing process?

Surprisingly, a lot of scenes from the manuscript I went on submission with remained intact. I mean, they are completely different and I rewrote a great deal of them, but the scenes themselves are still there. I added a great deal of other snippets as well, but didn’t remove whole scenes (except the original ending, which is now the beginning of the second book). There were certain lines and turns of phrase that I loved and was asked to remove for pacing, so I did. But there wasn’t much I feel terribly heartbroken over removing.

If I were to come to Edinburgh as a tourist for one day, where would you take me?

Holyrood Park and St Margaret’s Loch – which has a lot of swans, and the picturesque ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel in the background – are absolutely beautiful. I think a lot of people come visit and miss seeing them, which is a shame because they’re so close to the Old Town. If you were feeling particularly sprightly, Arthur’s Seat is worth climbing for the views of the city and the Firth in the distance. I also highly recommend Calton Hill for views of the New Town, and Princes Street Gardens for a lovely cliff angle of Edinburgh Castle. And, of course, pubs! Edinburgh has excellent pubs.

6 Charlotte Square, where Aileana lives

Why did you decide to end THE FALCONER the way you did (on a very evil cliffhanger!)?

I know, it is evil – sorry! I’ll confess: The draft of The Falconer that I went on submission with was about 30 pages longer. It also ended on a cliffhanger, because I arced the books in such a way that it’s three parts of a single story.

But my editor looked at the original ending of the book and suggested I make it the beginning of the second book instead. Her reasoning (which I agreed with) was that it felt too much like the start of a new leg of Aileana’s story. The scenes I took out involved more faery world building – and a new character – that both my editor and I felt weren’t as fleshed out they could be because I was wrapping up the book.

So I had two choices: keep my original ending and risk throwing in too much new information at the end (which also runs the risk of those scenes, and that new character, losing their impact), or end it on the cliffhanger I did and spend the extra time fleshing that stuff out for the second book. It was an incredibly hard decision because I know how frustrating cliffie endings can be, but I chose the latter. I wanted to spend the extra time on those scenes for book 2.

What other YA faerie books do you recommend, if any, for readers who can't get enough?

I really adore the Modern Faerie Tales series by Holly Black, starting with the book Tithe (though Ironside is my favourite and I reread it often!). They’re an incredible example of just how vicious and manipulative faeries can be.

Lisa Mantchev’s Théâtre Illuminata books is a unique look at faeries with a mix of theatre, and it’s a criminally underrated series that I highly recommend.

I also love Charles de Lint’s books, which have a lot of faery lore in them. They were a great influence to me as a young writer and he is one of the pioneers of urban fantasy. His work is tremendously influential and beautiful.

In addition to being a writer, you're also a photographer. What would be your dream location to photograph?

Honestly, my dream location has always been Scotland. I love travelling the countryside and taking pictures of the Highlands and Isles. They look so different at various points in the year that it’s never tiring and it never feels the same. I have a goal to travel to all of the Scottish isles and photograph each one, and I haven’t even been to the northernmost tip of the mainland, so . . . still so much to see! :)

But if I were to choose anywhere outside the country, I’d say Iceland. I have an obsession with landscape formed from glacial erosion and volcanic activity; together, they create some incredible features that are unique to this part of the world. I really, really want to see Jökulsárlón, which is a glacial lake in Iceland. It’s notable for the icebergs settled on its beaches. The pictures of it are just breathtaking!

I love Iceland! Thank you Elizabeth.

About Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May hails from California and is a PhD student in social anthropology at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. An accomplished commercial photographer who counts many book publishers among her clients, she has also spent time in front of the camera as a model for book jackets, including those for young adults. The Falconer is her first novel.


I have one hardcover of THE FALCONER to give away to a reader in the US and Canada. Simply fill out this form by Friday May 16 at 11:59 pm CST for your chance to win! Prize provided and shipped by the publisher. 

Check out the rest of the tour:

Tuesday            5/6/2014            Chronicle Books.com    
Wednesday       5/7/2014            Girls in the Stacks         
Thursday           5/8/2014            The Book Cellar             
Saturday           5/10/2014          Mundie Moms               
Sunday             5/11/2014          Literary Rambles           
Monday            5/12/2014          Page Tuners                  
Tuesday            5/13/2014          Forever Young Adult     

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bookanista Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Cady Sinclair Eastman spends every summer on her family's private island, but this summer feels different, and it's because of something that happened last summer that Cady can't quite remember. Her grandfather and mother try their best to shield her from the truth, but long-simmering secrets have a way of surfacing...

So if you've heard of this novel (and you probably have, as it is a well-deserved hyped buzz book), then you know it has a huge twist ending. That's certainly what I picked it up for, because I love my twists.

Twists being much more fun when you have no clue, I'm not going to tell you much about the plot of WE WERE LIARS, but I do want to talk about craft.

Let's say you want to study subtext. Read this book. Gawk at the twist you probably didn't see coming, and recover from the sucker punch right to your heart. Then read this book again. Marvel at the way Lockhart expertly employs subtext, really giving you all the clues you need to solve the mystery (and for Cady to solve it) but disguising them so cleverly that you don't give them a second thought upon your first read.  That's impressive and I'm in awe. *claps*

(Incidentally, if you're studying subtext, you must absolutely watch Breaking Bad, especially the conversations between Walter and Hank. Master class right there.)

Check out the WE WERE LIARS tumblr for more quotes and teasers.

WE WERE LIARS comes out next week! I have pre-ordered a signed copy here.

FTC disclosure: Netgalley

What the other Bookanistas are loving this week:

Tracy Banghart lights up for STREETLIGHTS LIKE FIREWORKS, by David Pandolfe
Jessica Love is on fire for CAMELOT BURNING by Kathryn Rose
Tracey Neithercott sings the praises of STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle L. Jensen
Katy Upperman adores OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord

Monday, May 5, 2014

Chick-O-Saurus Rex Award News: Irma Black Honor & Crystal Kite

Our picture book CHICK-O-SAURUS REX has some new hardware.

We just found out that our fabulous writer and illustrator peers in SCBWI's International Other region have selected it as a Crystal Kite Award winner.  The book sticker looks like this:

Bankstreet College also bestowed an Irma Black Honor upon CHICK which not only gleans us another sticker (this one designed by Maurice Sendak), but also gets us invited to an awards breakfast in New York on May 22nd (open to the public). Super exciting! The book sticker looks like this:

And here's the book (and the other two honor books) with the sticker:

Thank you to everyone who voted and spread the word about CHICK. We appreciate it so much.

ETA: An interview with us on the Germany/Austria SCBWI blog!

Friday, May 2, 2014

We Need Diverse Books (Review Archive)

The We Need Diverse Books Campaign is taking place May 1-3, 2014

In case you're looking for a some diverse novels to read, here's a list of some of the Young Adult and Middle Grade books I've reviewed on the blog over the years. I definitely feel like this list should be longer, and I will continue to make an effort to support diversity in literature. (note: some books fit in more than one category) LAST UPDATED: Dec 22, 2014

POC Authors and/or Characters:

Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova
Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Hooked by Liz Fichera
Fake ID by Lamar Giles
Half Lives by Sara Grant
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland (on GoodReads)

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
Choker by Elizabeth Woods
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (France)
The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner (France)
The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Cuba)
The Specialists: Native Tongue by Shannon Greenland (South America)
Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick (Iraq)
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (Sudan)
The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson (Kosovo)
Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins (Myanmar)
Latitude Zero by Diana Renn (Ecuador)
Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag (France)
Wanderlust by Lucy Silag (France)
The Waking: Dreams of the Dead by Thomas Randall (Japan)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (France)
Like a Thorn by Clara Vidal (France)
Soldier X by Don Wulffson (Russia/Germany)

Books dealing with religion:

The Right & The Real by Joelle Anthony
Drought by Pam Bachorz
Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
Pure by Terra Elan McVoy
This Side of Salvation by Jeri-Smith Ready
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

How many of these have you read?