Monday, February 24, 2014

Hi my name is Erica Lee and I am a graduate student in the Literacy Education program at Nazareth College.  I am mostly interested in teaching younger children and my favorite subject to teach is Science.  I love to read books and recently found a book that caught my eye at the library called Hurricane.  The cover of the book is what first grabbed my attention because it had palm trees swaying violently on the cover and I just had to know what the story was about.  The author, Terry Trueman, also wrote Stuck In Neutral and is one of the many fantastic authors that will be at this year’s Teen Book Festival.  If you have not read any of his books yet, I suggest you start with Hurricane.

Hurricane is a great book and I would recommend it to any reader!  This book is based on a true story of Hurricane Mitch’s devastation in the Honduras in 1998.  The book is not too long, about 134 pages, and is full of suspense to keep you interested.  It is about a small town in the Honduras called La Rupa.  La Rupa is home to twelve families until a major Hurricane comes and their small town is hit with a mudslide ruining houses and killing many people. The main character Jose has to find the courage to search for his neighbors, food, and clean water in the midst of the wreckage.  Can you imagine being only 13 years old and dealing with all that responsibility?  As Jose tries to put his town back together, he also worries about his dad, brother, sister, and dog who have been missing since the hurricane and the reader is also left wondering what happens to them until the very last chapter.  I really liked this book because it continued to surprise me as I learned about more of the damage from the hurricane and I loved how the book gave me a firsthand glimpse at what it would be like to live through a natural disaster.  Even after reading this book I had to know more about Hurricane Mitch and continued to wonder about the true experiences of the Honduran people during this time.

“Suddenly there is a tremendous explosion, like the world is cracking in two.  All the lights below me go out, and I can’t tell if I am flying or falling in the darkness. The wild parrots disappear.  I hear a strange, distant sound of crying and moaning.  In the darkness, just waking up from my dream, I am confused.  The earth quivers under my bed.”

Life Happens Next by Terry Trueman

Life Happens Next
by Terry Trueman

“Things happen in my life, like in everybody else’s but I can’t do anything about it, including telling anyone how I feel.”

Hello Fellow Readers!

My name is Kate Coniglio and I am a graduate student at Nazareth College of Rochester. My graduate work is in Literacy and I typically work with students at the elementary level. Although my work is usually focused on younger readers, I am very interested in the Young Adult literature world.

The Young Adult book I chose to blog about is called Life Happens Next by Terry Trueman. Life Happens Next is the sequel to Stuck in Neutral. I chose to blog about this text because the author, Trueman, has an interesting viewpoint on disabilities, how outsiders view those with disabilities, and what possible capabilities those with disabilities might have.

The book Life Happens Next is about a 15-year-old boy named Shawn who has Cerebral Palsy. Shawn is confined to a wheelchair and cannot walk, talk, eat, go to the bathroom or do any “normal” task that most people can do on their own. From the outside, Shawn is an unintelligible young boy that will never be able to amount to anything. In reality, Shawn is an extremely bright and witty teenager that may actually be smarter than most people. Unfortunately, no one is able to see Shawn’s true abilities and feelings; however, things change when his cousin with Down Syndrome, Debi, moves in.

I highly recommend this book to all readers, especially those who enjoy texts that are easy to read and eye-opening to controversial topics. This text is not only relatable, but also teaches the reader about empathy and what it means to "put yourself into someone else's shoes." The plot of the story is easy to follow and makes sense. Each character in the book is realistic and will teach the reader things that they may be able to take away to impact their own life. The narrator, Shawn, tells the story in a way that will make the reader laugh, cry, love and relate, all in just 144 pages.

Friday, February 21, 2014

TBF Author News

Hello TBF fandom,

Unfortunately due to some scheduling issues, Leigh Bardugo will not be joining us this year. But TBF 2014 will still be rocking AWESOME with our 30 super cool TBF Class of 2014! I mean, come on guys, we get to see this goof ball


Book Review: Shine by Lauren Myracle

While working at a gas station late at night, Patrick was brutally attacked. He was beaten up, had a gas nozzle stuffed in his mouth, and was left for dead. He's now in a coma, and no one knows if he is going to live. Patrick was also gay. The small Southern town of Black Creek, NC was very shaken, but that doesn't mean anyone has done much about the attack. The police have stopped looking for the culprits, chalking it up to drunk students at the neighboring college, but Cat doesn't think that's the case. She knows there's something else behind the near-murder of her former best friend, who she hasn't talked to in years. But no one will believe her when she says that the crime was something more than a mistake. So Cat decides to find out what really happened on that terrible night, despite being told not to -- and even being threatened. She's determined to bring Patrick's assailants to justice. And she won't only uncover the truth about Patrick -- she'll also discover the truth about herself.

I read Shine a few months ago, expecting a good, yet normal, mystery novel, but I found so much more. Shine not only gave me a captivating plot and characters, but completely pulled me into its grasp. I found myself reading the dialogue with the accents of the characters, something I've been able to do with few novels. I could barely set Shine down, and I speedily finished it in less than a weekend. Kauren Myracle did a wonderful job with this book, and I'd strongly recommend it to everyone, especially those who enjoy mysteries and realistic fiction. I can't wait to read other books by Lauren Myracle and to meet her at TBF!

Happy reading!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Interview with TBF Author: Simone Elkeles

Hello TBF fandom!

Happy Valentine's Day! Or Happy Singles Awareness Day! Or my personal favorite, Happy Valentine's Day With Your Twenty Book Boyfriends and Girlfriends! (I totally made that one up
J) Normally on Valentine's Day, I sit around and read Pride & Prejudice again and then P&P movie and BBC mini-series marathons. This Valentine's Day I chatted with TBF Alumni Simone Elkeles, author of the Perfect Chemistry series.
Miranda Reads: You have a new series called Wild Cards. The first novel came out in October. Do you have a title and release date for the second novel in the series?

Simone Elkeles: Yes! Wild Cards is finally in stores and available online - I’m so excited about it! It’s about Ashtyn Parker, the only female on the football team in high school. She’s got trust issues, and when she meets a boy named Derek who challenges her every move, she’s finally met her match! Derek is a wild card himself, who doesn’t take life seriously after losing his mom. But when Ashtyn comes in the picture, Derek can’t seem to get his mind off of her. She’s the only girl who makes him want to play football again, a sport he left after his mom died. Like with all of my novels, you can expect a lot of action, drama and super hot romance!

The next book in the series will be about Victor. I don’t have a release date for it yet, but if you’re following me on Facebook and twitter , I’ll be sure to announce it there. I can’t reveal too many details right now, but if you saw the Wild Cards mini-series on YouTube, you might have an idea of who Vic is in love with.

MR: You're mostly a romance and contemporary author. Have you thought about writing a dystopian, fantasy or historical fiction novel?

SE: The first book I ever wrote was a historical fiction romance (although it will probably never see the light of day – it needs a lot of work). I don’t think I’ll write dystopian but I have thought about writing a fantasy novel. Right now I’m totally into writing contemporary books, though, so that’s where I’m staying. But I never say never! J

MR: Will you ever write a short story crossover featuring the Fuentes brothers (with Brittany, Kiara & Nikki) and Caleb & Maggie?

SE: Wow, I never thought about that. You WILL see crossover in the second book in the Wild Cards series! Victor’s cousin is none other than Isabel Avila from the Perfect Chemistry series.

MR: One of your five fun facts says you've always had more guy friends than girl friends. What advice would you give a teenage girl about being more comfortable around guys?

SE: Don’t be grossed out by anything they say and when you’re upset with a guy don’t give them the silent treatment or make them “pay” for their mistakes – guys hate that!

MR: Let's pretend you're on the talent competition show, America's Got Talent. What talent would you perform?

SE: Ha! I’d be a comedienne and make people laugh.

MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 9th Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?

SE: Seriously it’s so hard to pick! Jay Asher was at my daughter’s high school last week and he was so sweet to her when she went up to him and said, “My mom is an author, too!” I want to give him my thanks for chatting with her! I’m also super excited to see Lauren Myracle –I met her once and she was so much fun to talk to I am excited to hang out with her again! Oh, and Ellen Hopkins is such a great person, too. If you don’t know Terry Trueman that’s unfortunate because he’s hilarious. There are way too many more to name…I’m so excited to be part of TBF this year!

Thanks for chatting with me, Simone! See you in May!

That's all for now. Make sure you check out the blog again for more author interviews and book reviews!

P.S. Did you all see that awesome message from author, G.R. Wilson? Be sure to stop over and chat with him at TBF!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A message from self-published author, G.R. Wilson!

Hello fellow readers and writers of all ages!

My name is G.R. (“Geoff”) Wilson, and I self-published my first book in 2013. My book is entitled Right Behind You: Tales of the Spooky and Strange, and, as the name suggests, it's a collection of short scary stories intended mainly for young adults. I'll be appearing at this year's Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival (9th annual!!) to answer your questions and chat with you in person, and check out the work and ideas of other authors, both local and nationally-acclaimed. I thought I'd just take advantage of this here blog to introduce a little about myself. Here it goes.

I'm currently a college student at Rochester Institute of Technology, studying political science. I love RIT; I'm fortunate to have such great professors, and to learn and live in such a fun, creative, and stimulating environment. I'm a proud member of RIT's Western style Equestrian Team, and horseback riding is one of my main hobbies, along with creative writing and war board game collection. I'm an avid history buff, and about half the books I read (outside of class) are non-fiction history, political science, or economics. The other half are mostly Science Fiction, Horror, or Fantasy, and I also love historical novels.

I find Horror to be the most fun genre to write in for a few reasons. For one thing, I have fond memories of being scared of various Horror media as a child: monsters and ghosts have always stirred my imagination and creativity, and I appreciate them on a deeper level as I get older. (I loved the classic Goosebumps and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books when I was younger, and have lately been reading a lot of Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft.) I find something very basic, and primal, in the horror genre; it taps into our animal instincts, as well as our more complex concerns about the people and places around us, and about ourselves. I think there's a little bit of horror in any genre; when you have suspense, serious violence, uncertainty about the future, and characters experiencing great anxiety and fear about the obstacles, antagonists, and unknowns in their own stories. And, I enjoy writing scary stories because it's fun to imagine and write about disgusting and terrible creatures of all shapes and sizes.

I'm currently writing work which expands into other genres, (though I'll of course never abandon Horror.) and, as much as I've had success with self-publishing and would recommend it to other first-time authors, I still very much hope and plan to secure conventional publication within the next couple years. See you at the Festival!


G.R. Wilson

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Interview with TBF Author: Cecil Castellucci

Hello readers!

A quick shout out to our wonderful guest bloggers: thank you so much for those wonderful book reviews! I definitely know what to read while I am cooped up at home!

Now TBF fans, I present to you TBF alumni, Cecil Castellucci, author of Boy Proof and Tin Star.

Miranda Reads: You have a new book coming out called Tin Star. Can you tell us more about it?

Cecil Castellucci: Tin Star is the story of Tula Bane, a human colonist from Earth who is abandoned on an alien space station by her colony leader Brother Blue at the brink of a galactic war.  She's the only human on the space station and human's are not well liked in the galaxy, mostly because they are not really known.  The book is about how she survives being stuck there and how her circumstances change  when the galactic war, along with  humans, come to the station.  I like to think of it as a savvy survival tale with a dash of Casablanca.

MR: Will Tin Star be a stand-alone novel or will it be part of a series?

CC: It is book one of a two book series.  A duet!  Book two is due out next year and it is called A Stone in the Sky.

MR: Are you currently working on a new book?

CC: I just finished wrapping up the script for a new graphic novel called Pearl in the Rough which is coming out on Dark Horse comics some time in 2015.  It is being illustrated by the amazing Joe Infurnari.  It's about a girl who rides the rails with an old hobo in 1932.   Other than that, I've just started sketching out a new book which is in the very early stages.  I can tell you that it has a girl, a boy and an crone in it.  I am not quite sure if it is middle grade or YA.  That's the fun part of starting a new project!

MR: One of your five fun facts says that you went to high school with Jennifer Aniston. Was she popular in high school like she is now?

CC: Oh yes!  Jennifer was always popular and pretty, but more than that, she was funny!  A real belly laugh sense of humor.  We went to a performing arts high school together, and she was very much a comedienne, like Lucille Ball.  It's so great to see that she stayed true to that.

MR: Let's pretend you're on the talent competition show, America's Got Talent. What talent would you perform?

CC: I suppose I would either sing punk rock or do a performance art piece!  So, I'd likely lose!  But in my heart, I'd be the winner. (MR: I love the positive attitude)

MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 9th annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?

CC: I have met so many of the authors that are coming and I love them all!  But I haven't seen Lauren Myracle in a while, so it will be so great to reconnect with her.  She's so fun!

Thanks for chatting Cecil! See you in May!

That's all for now, TBF readers. Make sure to check back for some more author interviews and book reviews!