New Release: People Kill People, by @EllenHopkinsLit

People Kill People

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Someone will shoot. And someone will die.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins tackles gun violence and white supremacy in this compelling and complex novel.

People kill people. Guns just make it easier

A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression?

One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who?

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If you’d like to buy a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo  | iBooks

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About the Author:

Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of CrankBurnedImpulseGlassIdenticalTricksFalloutPerfectTrianglesTilt, and Collateral. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son. Hopkin’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the “only one who understands me”, and she can be visited at ellenhopkins.com. 

Like most of you here, books are my life. Reading is a passion, but writing is the biggest part of me. Balance is my greatest challenge, as I love my family, friends, animals and home, but also love traveling to meet my readers. Hope I meet many of you soon!

Find out more:

#PoetryMonth: Themed Recommendations…My weekend poetry TBR

For most of 2018 I’ve been reading poetry, and haven’t really read much fiction or other books. It’s not how my reading life normally looks. I’ve already read more books of poetry than I did during the entire year of 2017, and that number keeps growing.

For this Themed Recommendations post I’d like to give you a glimpse into my current poetry TBR. I have a LARGE pile of library books on my desk right now and I’m trying to get through at least one or two more by the end of this weekend. If I don’t, this pile will get even bigger. I have at least six more holds on their way and they’re probably be in tomorrow. I’ve found so many new poets to read lately that I’m happy there’s not a limit to the number of holds i can have any longer.

I hope you find something great to read from this list of books. I just finished reading the first one on the list from Natalie Ann Holborow and I’ll be featuring it later this week on its own. It’s one of my recent favorites. If you have any poets or books of poetry to recommend to me, please comment here on the post. I’m really pleased with what I’ve been seeing from the poetry community this year, but I know there’s even more out there to explore.

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Find something you might want to read? I hope so. Want to see another set of recommendations focused on a theme? Let me know what that theme is, and if you can help with some recs for it, include them in the message.

Happy reading!

#NewRelease: Saving Red, by @SonyaSones

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Molly Rosenberg may only be fourteen, but she’s experienced more hurt and guilt than most adults. With her home life a mess, Molly takes part in a volunteer event tallying the city’s homeless population. There, on a windy Santa Monica bluff, is where Molly meets Red, an enigmatic homeless girl with more zest for life than she’s ever encountered. The two spark an unlikely friendship that pulls Molly out of her sadness. Finally, Molly can open up to someone about her brother’s disappearance that she feels she’s to blame for.

But whenever Molly tries to get Red to open about her family—where they are, why they left her, or if Red left them—Red quickly changes the subject, or starts rambling on about things that just don’t make any sense. Molly knows she can’t change her own past, but she vows to help Red salvage her future. In Sonya Sones’ latest novel, two girls with a unique bond give each other a new perspective on the meaning of family, friendship, and forgiveness.

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Want to grab a copy? You can find it at:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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About the Author:

Sonya Sones is an American poet and author. She has written four young adult novels in verse, as well as a novel in verse for adults and a picture book.

You can find more about Sonya here:

Story Time Friday: Another verse novella…in progress

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I had another idea for a novel/novella/short story in verse. Last time I had one, I also posted it here. That was back in…oh, well it was almost a year ago. Last February. And if you were wondering what ever happened with that idea. Well, I didn’t work on it any more since then. But the WIP I’m sharing today has more promise. There’s more of a story behind it. Aside from me needing to research some things, because I don’t really know as much about the classics as I think everyone assumes they do, I feel like this could be a fun piece to read.

I had the idea for this, as a prose story, recently. I only put a few notes on paper and let it stew. I decided to try starting it yesterday. To make it even more challenging and fun, I decided to try it in verse. I know, I write poetry. But my narrative poetry can only go so far in the realm of telling a fictional story for any length of time. I’m combining my “strength” in poetry with my limited experience with prose. We’ll see how it ends up. I just have to keep at it and not start something else before I get there.

Note – Please keep in mind that this was written less than 24hrs ago. Also, formatting poetry on a blog is not a pleasant experience. This is mostly mentioned because of my use of indention. There shouldn’t be a new stanza created for each (only after, in most cases), but it was either that or don’t indent. I wanted to keep the indents this time, even if this is a rough piece.

Another note – From Where I Stand and Winter’s Homecoming and Other Poems on sale, still. $0.99 each, over on Amazon. I might end the sale once February gets here. I might not. It’s not really hurting me either way, I guess. Even with the lower price, sales are rare. *commentary over*
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The Characters
(work in progress…so is the title)

by Robert Zimmermann

Nothing like a zombie apocalypse
to start off the day right.

Ok, the zombie apocalypse
isn’t exactly what’s happening,
but there’s definitely some drama
going down at the bookshop today.

Is the shop infested with the
living dead?

Not exactly.

Is it an invasion of the
undead?

Kind of.

I think it’s more accurate to say
that they were never technically alive.
They can’t be any form of dead if
they never lived in the first place.

When I walked through
the bookshop doors this morning,
I was greeted by an
impressively dressed…

butler.

There are only a few of us working
in the shop, and this guy
wasn’t one of us.

“Welcome to <insert name later>,
sir,” he said to me.
“My name is Jeeves.”

At first I laughed.

One of the other workers must
have hired this guy to perform
as a prank.

”Nice to meet you, Jeeves.
What an original name you have.”

All the amusement of the moment disappeared
as an arrow whizzed by, millimeters away from
piercing my nose.

I dropped to the floor,
but not before seeing a green blur
ducking behind the register.

”What the hell is going on?”
I screeched at the man calling himself Jeeves.

”What’s wrong, sir?
Did Mr. Hood’s arrow graze you?
I’ve never known his aim to be
anything but true. I assure you
he never meant to harm you.”

“Mr. Hood? As in Robin…
Robin Hood?”
I was still on the floor,
trembling now.

A second later, the green blur jump
from its place of hiding and stood before me.
“Robin Hood, at your service!”

I slowly lifted my head, peering up at him.
His hand was extended toward me, possibly
in a friendly manner, but I wasn’t waiting
to see what he intended.
I shot up off the floor, like the arrow that almost
killed me, and ran out of the store.
I didn’t look back.

Only after reaching the sidewalk did I realize
that a crowd had gathered.
It seemed as if half the town had shown,
to gawk at me.
I really must be the victim of a practical joke
gone wrong. Very wrong.

Still shaking and confused, I pushed through
the crowd, walking away to collect myself.
After reaching the next block, I tentatively looked back.
To my surprise the gathered crowd wasn’t staring
in my direction any longer.
Their eyes had been glued to the shop windows
all along. This wasn’t a practical joke, after all.

I had a bone chilling realization, then.
Those two characters,

Jeeves
Robin Hood,

They were…real.
So were the rest. There must have been over
a dozen more eccentric characters in the store.
I saw each one moving around in there, as I made
my way back through the people.

Jeeves. Robin Hood. Characters.

Characters….

Characters.

It was then that I fainted.
Right on my own store’s steps.
And it wouldn’t be the first time I fainted that day.

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How to Submit:

For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip one in 😛 ): miztrebor88@gmail.com. Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

 

Novels in Verse

I can’t remember if I’ve brought this to the blog in the past or not, so I’m going to assume it was just on Facebook and/or Twitter. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about VERSE NOVELS!

What’s a verse novel? Maybe you know them as “novels in verse”. There are a few terms to use, but they all boil down to one obvious thing: They are novels written in verse (poetry) instead of prose (what everything else is written in).

Why do I enjoy them so much? That should be somewhat obvious. I’m a poet. I enjoy poetry. And you also know I enjoy novels in general. Once I discovered the magic of joining the two forms, I was hooked.

I first read a verse novel back in grade school. It was Karen Hesse’s OUT OF THE DUST. I remember talking about the fact that it’s written in blank verse, but that fact dissolved in my memory shortly after. I remember enjoying the story, but that was all. That is, until I rediscovered the form a few years back in Sonya Sones’ writing. I found out about her book WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN’T KNOW. I read it. Enjoyed it. Got hooked. I’ve since read all of her books (except one, because I don’t want to be without more of Sones to read) and from there, branches out into other authors work.

I have to admit that I’ve stuck mostly to Young Adult verse novels. It’s not completely by choice, though, partly it is. There seems to be a larger amount of verse novels for YA readers out there, compared to those for “adult” readers. I also think it’s a marketing thing because I’ve discovered a few adult titles are marketed as being poetry, but lacking take about the story aspect. Probably a few reasons for this, but I won’t speculate here. But back to my mention of YA novels. I think most of my recent YA reading has actually been done with verse novels. YA is already a pretty accessible type of book for anyone to get into, but adding in the verse form makes it even more so. And not in a bad way. I think it makes them “easier” to read while opening the story up to having a deeper message, emotional response, etc. Verse forces the author to be limited in word choice (in most cases), and I feel this makes every word used count that much more. The books may be fast reads, but I feel that I’ve gotten more out of them at times than prose novels because of the lack of words and focus on what really needs to be said.

On a less critical, and more fun note, I also like when authors play with the visual form in their verse novels. One author who does this in many different ways in all her novels is Ellen Hopkins. Her text isn’t restricted to the left side of the page. It’ll jump to the right, middle, and everywhere in between. The text placement lends to the reading of the lines and what’s being conveyed. Some of the connection between text and text placement can go over my head, even, but I don’t think her books would be as powerful if they were all left-aligned. That works for other authors, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. But at times, poetry needs to push itself across a page, be different, and stand out.

I hope I’m not alone in my love of verse novels. I do know a few of my readers have experience with them. Maybe some of you haven’t explored that part of the book world yet. I’m here to help. I’d like to close this post out with a list of verse novels I’ve enjoyed. Some of them are as recent as this week…and I’m planning on grabbing a few more from the library soon. They’re addicting!

#Review: Audacity, by @MelanieACrowder

AudacityTitle: Audacity
Author: Melanie Crowder

Rating: 4/5 stars

The inspiring story of Clara Lemlich, whose fight for equal rights led to the largest strike by women in American history

A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000. Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world. (description from Goodreads)

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This was a book I randomly grabbed because I was looking for verse novels to read. I’ve enjoyed the form from many different authors, but knew nothing about Audacity or Crowder’s work. Having now read the book, I’m glad I picked this one up.

I hadn’t heard of Clara Lemlich, the narrator (and historical figure), before but now I feel like I have a good idea of who she was. While this was a fictional representation of a few years in Clara’s life, it felt genuine to me. Crowder did a great job of showing the struggle of being an immigrant in the early part of the twentieth century. She also showed the struggles workers, particularly women, went through just to barely make a living wage, at the time.

Along with Clara’s life story being told, this is the story of sweat shop workers, the rise of unions, and women’s rights. These women put up with a lot to earn some money. Crowder doesn’t hold anything back, either. Knowing the details of how the strikes went and the violence they union members had to deal with, it gives me even more respect for those who stood up for their rights.

I don’t read many historical novels, but this will be one I highly recommend from now on. With it being a novel in verse, it only adds to my enjoyment and I think the form allowed the story to have more of an impact on my, as well.

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You can grab your own copy of Audacity from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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Melanie CrowderMelanie Crowder has received many honors for her debut novel, Parched, including Bank Street’s Best Books of the Year, a Junior Library Guild selection, a Silver Medal in the Parents’ Choice Awards, and a starred review from the Bulletin. Her second book, Audacity, received four starred reviews, has been nominated for the Amelia Bloomer, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, and ALSC Notable Children’s Books lists, and is an Editor’s Choice at BookBrowse and a Top Pick from BookPage. Her third novel, A Nearer Moon, has received three starred reviews and releases September 8 from Atheneum Books / S&S. The author holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she isn’t writing, Melanie can be found teaching, reading, daydreaming or exploring the beautiful state of Colorado where she lives with her family.

Find out more:

Story Time Friday – Work in Progverse.

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Last week, you got a story from me. Before that some poetry. I like to keep things fresh on Story Time Friday, and that’s what I’m doing for this week’s post.

This wasn’t the best week for me to sit down and write. I’ve been shoveling snow since Monday and by the time I’ve finished each day, I barely even wanted to read. That means, I’m typing this up on Thursday night and don’t have anything new to share…or do I?

You’re getting a treat this time around. Months ago I had the idea to try out a verse novel, or more accurately “write something in verse and see how long it gets.” I have some ideas for a piece, and it could easily get to verse novel length. Getting it to be a good one that people’ll want to read is a different story. I can write poetry. I can somewhat write prose. Combining the two isn’t very easy. But I’ll practice at it.

Below are the first four “poems” I wrote for a project I’m slowly working on. It’s not really polished up, and I had to fudge with some of my formatting due to HTML and poetry not mixing all the time (the indents shouldn’t be their own stanzas, so imagine they’re not…especially in the second poem. I hate how that looks right now. For anyone who knows me well, I hate when poetry isn’t how it was intended to look, haha.)

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Great Devastation (working title)

by Robert Zimmermann

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I

It was all over the television
that morning.

bodies,
smoke,
flames
fighting.

Chaos…
Revolution!

That’s what it really
boiled down to;
a Revolution.

They’d, we’d,
finally had enough.

No more talking about
reform and restructuring.
No more waiting for
an economic boom.
No more false smiles
…no more.

II

New York

lost

Los Angeles

lost

Washington,
Boston,
Chicago,
Seattle,

all lost.

Their attacks came fast,
coordinated, full-frontal.
What surprised people most
was how effective each assault was.

Military bases breached first.
…most from the inside.
That’s how deep the revolution
had infiltrated. Into the
country’s defenses.
Into its own people.

Armed to the teeth, this new
militia took up a march.
To the cities, capitals,
against any opposition.
Numbers were gained
just as fast as they were
mowed down.

The fighting went on for months.
Soon the devastation
was everywhere.

There was nowhere to be safe
and not one life would ever be
the same again.

III

There were only two options
to choose from, at this point,
in order to survive.
You either went into hiding
or you chose to fight.
Neither guaranteed survival.

Those who tried to hide
were eventually found,
forced to choose a side.
Some perished
in their concealment.

Those who joined the fight,
well, their fates were
just as unpredictable as
everyone else’s.

IV

I’m with a small group
somewhere in northern Pennsylvania
or it might be somewhere in New York.
None of us has a map
of the area. All we know is
that we’ve been traveling north,
for about two weeks.

There’s been talk about a small colony
being formed near an old military base
near Canada…or what was once Canada.
Shit went to hell up there, too,
a few months after it did here.

There are about twenty of us,
altogether.
Some have left, while others
tag along on the way
as we pass through skeletons of towns.
I might be the one to break
away next.
I’m not sure why I’ve followed
this far. Is there any
real chance they’ve
organized that far north…
after the brutal winter we just had?

Can there be a place organized
anywhere, after what’s happened?

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For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip on in 😛 ): miztrebor88@gmail.com. Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!