Friday, August 28, 2015

Rebecca Hahn Author Interview + GIveaway

Rebecca Hahn Author Interview + Giveaway

Rebecca Hahn is the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob for the month of August.  I had a chance to ask her some questions about her newest book, The Shadow Behind the Stars, which will be released on September 2nd.  I also asked about fiber art, her favorite YA authors and Greek Myths.  Read on.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in Iowa and went to college in Minnesota. I worked in New York City for a few years as an editorial assistant at a children’s book publisher before coming back to the Midwest. I live in Minneapolis, and I read lots of books. I’ve always loved fantasy; I’ve always loved children’s books. One of my pet peeves is anyone belittling either fantasy or children’s books—as if imagination is worthless, as if children aren’t fully human.

2. What inspired you to write The Shadow Behind the Stars?

The Shadow Behind the Stars began with an image of a girl standing by the edge of the sea, the wind blowing through her hair. When I started writing in her voice, I realized that she was the youngest of the three Greek Fates, who spin, measure, and slice the threads of all human lives. I liked the idea of writing in the voice of one of the Fates. Lots of stories are told from a hero’s perspective. The Fates are the on periphery of stories, forming lives and watching them, but not directly involved. I thought that was a unique sort of perspective.

3. Usually an author puts some of his own life experiences in the book.  Did you do that?  Do you have anything in common with your characters?

Yes. I am a Greek goddess and I have lived forever.

The setting comes from my love for the ocean. I would like to visit the Fates’ island and stand with Chloe (the youngest Fate) beside the waves. I share her joy in nature, as well as her tendency to keep most of her thoughts to herself.

4.   How many books have you written? Can you tell us why you decided to become a writer?

This is my second published book. I’ve always been drawn to writing. I wrote lots of poetry when I was younger, and after I graduated from college I started more seriously trying to write novels. I write because it makes me happy. I like thinking and I like beautiful things. Writing is an art, so it is concerned with beauty, and novels take thoughts and structure them into meaning.

5.    Do you like to read?  What authors or books influence you?

Yes, I like to read. I have been influenced by several young adult and adult fantasy writers, including Robin McKinley, Patricia A. McKillip, Juliet Marillier, Mary Renault, and Charles de Lint. I love finding books that surprise me in some way. Urusla K. Le Guin’s books are genius.

6. Name one Young Adult book that you believe is a must read for everyone and tell us why?

I don’t know of one book that everybody should read. Everyone has different tastes and everyone is looking for something slightly different in their stories. So my recommendation would definitely depend on the person. To a random person who was interested in fantasy, I’d suggest checking out Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen Thief series.

7. Are you a fiber artist?  Do you spin, crochet, knit or do other needle arts?

I actually don’t! I know how to crochet and knit, but I haven’t spent much time developing those
skills, and I don’t remember the last project I made. I have friends who are very good at needle arts, though, and I think it is magical how a sweater or a hat can come out of one long piece of thread.

8. Are you working on a new book?  Can you tell us a little bit about it?

I’m afraid I don’t have any details to share right now!

9. What are some of your favorite myths?

I like the Greek story of Atalanta. She’s faster and better at hunting than any of the male warriors. Even though she’s eventually tricked into marrying one of them, I like that she challenges the men at their own games and beats (and infuriates) them.

10. In one sentence tell readers why they should read The Shadow Behind the Stars?

It’s concerned with questions of fate, Greek mythology, and unusual perspectives—if you are interested in those things, this might be a good book for you.

Thanks Rebecca.

Thank you!

If you would like to win a copy of The Shadow Behind the Stars please enter here:  The Shadow Behind the Stars Giveaway


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Books, Women and The Atomic Bomb

Books, Women and The Atomic Bomb

Jeannine Hall Gailey, author of the poetry collection, The Robot Scientist's Daughter grew up in Oak Ridge Tennessee, near the nuclear facility that created the Atomic bomb.  The poetry in her book reflects her experience growing up in 1970's with a hazardous nuclear plant in her backyard.  In fact, her father was a scientist at the plant. Jeannine's poetry is environmental with a science fiction/fantasy twist.  The Robot Scientist's Daughter is creative and gives the reader a lot to think about and discuss.  So many issues are covered within the pages of this book.  Some of these poems pack a powerful dose of reality and some will scare the pants off of you.

Here is a few lines from one of my favorite poems.

Phosphorous Girl (page 57)

is the shadow in white dust you left behind.

I imagine she either went off with a jazz musician 

or followed her dream of veterinary school
somewhere in the Midwest. She dresses in discarded 
prom dresses and dances around to the Psychedelic Furs.

White phosphate hidden in her bones, she ignites
the paper caps in cap guns and snaps her fingers 
like she's striking a match.

I love this poem.  Gailey is such a master at crafting a striking, visual poem.

Shortly after I finished reading The Robot Scientist's Daughter, I heard about The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan.  I think pairing these books for a book club or discussion would be great.  I haven't read The Girls of Atomic City yet but I'm going too.

Here is the synopsis of The Girls from Atomic City from Goodreads:

The incredible story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history.

The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project’s secret cities, it didn’t appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships—and a surplus of handsome
scientists and Army men!

But against this vibrant wartime backdrop, a darker story was unfolding. The penalty for talking about their work—even the most innocuous details—was job loss and eviction. One woman was recruited to spy on her coworkers. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out. The shocking revelation: the residents of Oak Ridge were enriching uranium for the atomic bomb.

Though the young women originally believed they would leave Oak Ridge after the war, many met husbands there, made lifelong friends, and still call the seventy-year-old town home. The reverberations from their work there—work they didn’t fully understand at the time—are still being felt today. In The Girls of Atomic City, Denise Kiernan traces the astonishing story of these unsung WWII workers through interviews with dozens of surviving women and other Oak Ridge residents. Like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, this is history and science made fresh and vibrant—a beautifully told, deeply researched story that unfolds in a suspenseful and exciting way. (less)


There you have it.  These two books go together like Mac and Cheese.
Have an awesome reading day.



Monday, August 24, 2015

Lucky Us Giveaway Winner!

Lucky Us Giveaway Winner!

I just finished reading Lucky Us by Amy Bloom and it is a very unique story and an entertaining read.  I think it would make a great book club choice because it demands to be talked about. Since I have an extra copy, I thought I would give it to one of my blog readers.  And the lucky winner of Lucky Us is......

Melinda O from the blog West Metro Mommy Reads
You should check out her book blog.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

"My father's wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us."

Brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny, Lucky Us introduces us to Eva and Iris. Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star, and Eva, the sidekick, journey across 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris's ambitions take them from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.

With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine through a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life. From Brooklyn's beauty parlors to London's West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat, and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Rebecca Hahn Guest Post + Giveaway

Rebecca Hahn Guest Post

Rebecca Hahn is the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob for the lovely month of August and she has written a guest post on the "other" books, the books she didn't actually write.  She thought she was writing a trilogy and it didn't happen.  Read on to find out why and to gain some insight into the some of the characters in her book, The Shadow Behind the Stars.


One Book out of Three: Structuring The Shadow Behind the Stars

It’s a common trope in fantasy for the main characters to be fighting to keep the world from ending (see Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all the seasons, for example). As I was writing my latest book, The Shadow Behind the Stars, I started to wonder what would happen if the main character, the one you were supposed to sympathize with, was the person who had the power and the motive to end the world.

The Shadow Behind the Stars is narrated by Chloe, the youngest of the three Greek Fates. For quite a while, I was sure that I was writing a trilogy: each of the three books would be narrated by a different sister Fate. The story would build toward the end of the world, and rather than fighting against the destruction of everything, the sisters would themselves become the apocalyptic threat—and nobody else would be powerful enough to stop them.

I did go so far as to write bits and pieces of the last two books, in the middle-aged sister Serena’s and eldest sister Xinot’s voices. Some of those bits I ended up using in The Shadow Behind the Stars after transferring them into Chloe’s voice. But some never did become part of the story, and I thought I’d give you just a taste of what I ended up throwing out here. This is a bit from Serena’s story, in her voice:

I watched the children playing. They were mine, though they didn’t know it. I could see it shining whenever I looked at them, the bright potential. They were as unformed as dunes of sand, blowing, shifting from one shape to another. Oh, how I loved them.

And here’s a bit from the unwritten third book, in eldest sister Xinot’s voice:

I am something different. I am closer to the heart of what we do. I am farther from mortal everyday life, and I am less concerned with time or causation. The world will turn. What must be, will be. We spin at the center of it all, and the little things we choose can make no more difference than the smallest of eddies in a great rolling sea.

After deciding that Serena’s and Xinto’s stories weren’t compelling enough to merit their own books, I next tried writing a sequel from the perspective of a young mortal boy and girl who become involved with the Fates, a star-crossed lovers sort of story:

My name is Philomena. When I was seven, I stopped the Fates along the road and asked them for a prophecy.
Yes, those Fates. I know their names now, but I’m not sure I should tell you. They’re quite secretive about things like that. They didn’t tell me their names when I stopped them that first time. That was the second time, when they came to my bedroom window and asked me to help them steal a goat.

In the end, though, there was no second or third book, as the epic storyline about the end of the world got moved up into The Shadow Behind the Stars. I think it works better that way—the thematic and the character arcs are fuller and stronger—and if I ever do write another book about Chloe and her sisters, I’ll need to move into a brand new storyline with new ideas . . . which would probably be much more interesting to write (and read) anyway!

Thanks Rebecca

If you would like to win a copy of Rebecca's book The Shadow behind the Stars, please click here:




Friday, August 14, 2015

Bluefish and Lizard Radio Giveaway Winners!

Bluefish and Lizard Radio Giveaway Winners!

Pat Schmatz was the July Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob.  Pat and her publisher, Candlewick Press are giving away a copy of Bluefish and Lizard Radio to three lucky winners!
These two books are hidden gems and you will totally love them.
And the winners are........

Ann from Texas
Alisha from Pennsylvania
Susan from New Mexico

Congratulations Ladies.  You will love these books.

Here are excerpts from my reviews

Lizard Radio:  Lizard Radio is creative and intriguing.  I promise you haven't read anything like it.  The author sucks you in and holds tight as you devour the story.  You will fall in love with the characters, Lizard, Rasta, Sully, and Nona.  Lizard Radio is riveting and I think you're really going to like it.

Do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in a creative futuristic culture that is thought provoking.

Bluefish:  Bluefish really touched my heart and made me happy to be a teacher and a reader and proud to share my love of both with others.  The best books always teach you about yourself and
have a way of breaking open your protective barriers.  Bluefish did that for me.

Bluefish is a poignant book that will move your spirit and give you hope.

You can find Pat Schmatz at Patschmatz.com





Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Shadow Behind the Stars Giveaway

The Shadow Behind the Stars Giveaway

Rebecca Hahn is the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on BookSnob for the month of August and her newest book, The Shadow Behind the Stars is set to be released on September 1st. Rebecca Hahn, along with her publisher, Simon and Schuster are giving away two copies to followers who live in the United States. Yay!

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

A girl’s dark destiny could cause the unraveling of the world in this spellbinding novel from the author of A Creature of Moonlight, which Kirkus Reviews called “cumulatively stunning” in a starred review.

Heed this warning, mortal: stay far away from the three sister Fates. For if they come to love you, they might bring about the end of the world…

Chloe is the youngest. Hers are the fingers that choose the wool, that shape the thread, that begin it. The sun smiles upon her. Men love her without knowing who she is. She has lived forever and will live forever more. She and her sisters have been on their isolated Greek island for centuries, longer than any mortal can remember. They spin, measure, and slice the countless golden threads of human life. They are the three Fates, and they have stayed separate for good reason: it is dangerous for them to become involved with the humans whose lives they shape.

So when a beautiful girl named Aglaia shows up on their doorstep, Chloe tries to make sure her sisters don’t become attached. But in seeking to protect them, Chloe discovers the dark power of Aglaia’s destiny. As her path unwinds, the three Fates find themselves pulled inextricably along—toward mortal pain, and mortal love, and a fate that could unravel the world.

Rules:
Fill out the form.
Must be a U.S. resident.
No PO boxes
Ends September 1st at midnight.
Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, August 3, 2015

July Author in the Spotlight Wrap-Up + Giveaway

July Author in the Spotlight Wrap-Up + Giveaway

Alas July has ended.  It was a great month for me.  I returned from a trip from Peru, celebrated the 4th of July by having a fish fry with my family.  My daughter and I went to Catholic Heart Work Camp in Wichita, Kansas and did service projects for people in need.  It has been a busy summer for me and I only have two weeks left until I am back to work.

July was a good reading month for me. I finished 13 books this month including Bluefish and Lizard Radio by Minnesota author, Pat Schmatz.
Pat was the July Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob.  Here are some highlights of the month on Booksnob.

First enter the contest to win a copy of Bluefish and Lizard Radio.  It ends at midnight tonight.  These two books are perfect for the teens in your life but always equally good reads if you are an adult.  Enter here:  Bluefish and Lizard Radio Giveaway

Next read a book review of BlueFish.  I laughed and I cried and I cheered for these kids to find their way in a world not made for misfits. These characters are so believable and well written that I wanted them to be friends with my own kids.


Then check out Lizard Radio.  Lizard Radio is dystopian fiction of the most intelligent kind. Schmatz is an excellent writer who paints a creative world with her words.  The writing is poetic, lyrical and picturesque.


Read the Author Interview with Pat Schmatz.  I had a chance to interview Pat about her writing career and her books.  Pat's newest book, Lizard Radio will be released in September.  Pat teaches creative writing to young adults and offers advice to new writers.


Last you need to read Pat's Guest Post.  She has written a guest post on how a book percolates and is eventually formed on the written page call Dream Horses/Dream Stories.  Do you ever write down your dreams or envision a story? 


I am so happy and thrilled to have met Pat and to have had this chance to work with her.  She is a great author and most of all, a wonderful person.  I've had a great month featuring Pat and her books and hope to continue working with her in the future.  You can learn more about Pat Schmatz and her books, Lizard Radio and Bluefish and many others at her website: http://patschmatz.com/






Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lizard Radio By Pat Schmatz

Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz

Lizard Radio is a frequency that only Kivali can hear and that makes her special.  Kivali nicknamed Lizard is fifteen and being sent to CropCamp to learn and conform to society before she reaches adulthood.  She's a bender, someone who doesn't fit neatly into a category of gender.  The camp is strict and you must follow the rules or be expelled from society.

Lizard makes some good friends, experiences first love and has to decide if she is a leader or a follower.  She doesn't know who to trust and must decipher carefully chosen truths.  She must also come to terms with who she is and where she came from.  She was abandoned as a baby and she was wearing T-shirt with a lizard on it.

Lizard Radio is dystopian fiction of the most intelligent kind. When you begin the book the reader and narrator have all sorts of questions which are intelligently answered slowly as the book progresses. There is a unique form to the language in the book and the uses of certain words make you think of what the author is trying to say.  Schmatz is an excellent writer who paints a creative world with her words.  The writing is poetic, lyrical and picturesque.

Lizard Radio is creative and intriguing.  I promise you haven't read anything like it.  The author sucks you in and holds tight as you devour the story.  You will fall in love with the characters, Lizard, Rasta, Sully, and Nona.  Lizard Radio is riveting and I think you're really going to like it.
Do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in a creative futuristic culture that is thought provoking.





Saturday, August 1, 2015

Announcing the August Author in the Spotlight

Announcing the August Author in the Spotlight

Hi Everyone.  Happy August.  August is always so bittersweet to me as it means I have to return to work and teaching full time and while I love my job I enjoy my free time during the summer with my children more.

This month is my 30th class reunion, which I am missing because I am going on a short vacation to Door County, Wisconsin with my daughter and friends.  I have never missed a class reunion until now.

I plan to enter a poetry contest this month and maybe a fiction or non-fiction one too if I can make the time.  If you haven't noticed, this year I have been blogging a little less so I have more time to create other types of writing, like poetry.

The August Minnesota Author in the Spotlight is Rebecca A Hahn and she has written two young adult novels.  Her newest book The Shadow Between the Stars will be released on September 1st.  I am so excited to read her books this month.

This month you can expect a book review, an author interview, a guest post and a giveaway.

Here are Rebecca's books and the synopsis from Goodreads:

The Shadow Behind the Stars:
A girl’s dark destiny could cause the unraveling of the world in this spellbinding novel from the author of A Creature of Moonlight, which Kirkus Reviews called “cumulatively stunning” in a starred review.

Heed this warning, mortal: stay far away from the three sister Fates. For if they come to love you, they might bring about the end of the world…

Chloe is the youngest. Hers are the fingers that choose the wool, that shape the thread, that begin it. The sun smiles upon her. Men love her without knowing who she is. She has lived forever and will live forever more. She and her sisters have been on their isolated Greek island for centuries, longer than any mortal can remember. They spin, measure, and slice the countless golden threads of human life. They are the three Fates, and they have stayed separate for good reason: it is dangerous for them to become involved with the humans whose lives they shape.

So when a beautiful girl named Aglaia shows up on their doorstep, Chloe tries to make sure her sisters don’t become attached. But in seeking to protect them, Chloe discovers the dark power of Aglaia’s destiny. As her path unwinds, the three Fates find themselves pulled inextricably along—toward mortal pain, and mortal love, and a fate that could unravel the world.

A Creature of Moonlight:

A stunning debut novel about a girl who is half dragon, half human, and wholly herself.

As the only heir to the throne, Marni should have been surrounded by wealth and privilege, not living in exile-but now the time has come when she must choose between claiming her birthright as princess of a realm whose king wants her dead, and life with the father she has never known: a wild dragon who is sending his magical woods to capture her.

Fans of Bitterblue and Seraphina will be captured by A Creature of Moonlight, with its richly layered storytelling and the powerful choices its strong heroine must make.

You can find Rebecca at her website:  http://rebeccahahnbooks.com/




Friday, July 31, 2015

Lucky Us Giveaway

Lucky Us Giveaway

I just finished reading Lucky Us by Amy Bloom and it is a very unique story and an entertaining read.  I think it would make a great book club choice because it demands to be talked about. Since I have an extra copy, I thought I would give it to one of my blog readers and that means YOU. All you have to do is enter and I will ship international. Lucky YOU could win Lucky Us.  Cute.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

"My father's wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us."

Brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny, Lucky Us introduces us to Eva and Iris. Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star, and Eva, the sidekick, journey across 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris's ambitions take them from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.

With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine through a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life. From Brooklyn's beauty parlors to London's West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat, and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species.

Fill out the form to enter:
Contest ends on August 21st at midnight
Open internationally.
Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway