Monthly Archives: April 2014

Recent Reads

I’ve had a lot going on with my day job, which isn’t going to let up until June (but there is an end!), and I have some freelance projects due. So, when something has to give, it’s the blog. I will have some posts throughout May, but I may not get to leave comments for you in return. I will be back eventually – I promise.

In the past few months I’ve read a mix of middle grade and young adult novels.

First I started with a YA I’d heard lots of good things about: Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. It did not disappoint. Although a quiet book in terms of plot, it kept me on the edge of my seat. Masterful characterization and relationship-building made me care so much about Cath and the outcome of her story.

Next was Sarah Rees Brennan’s Untold, Book 2 of The Lynburn Legacy. I loved the first book so much (and her Demon’s Lexicon trilogy – swoon), and couldn’t wait to pick this one up.  While I enjoyed it, I did wish I hadn’t waited so long. It’s hard to remember how the end of one book ended when you read it a year or more earlier. Here’s a good problem with a book: I’ve been made to like the characters so much, that I don’t always like what the author puts them through. Gold Rush Girl by Suzanne Lilly

Suzanne Lilly’s Gold Rush Girl is a historical fiction with a sweet romance written by a good friend who is also one of my critique partners. An easy read that will leave you feeling educated about California during the gold rush and will make you feel good.

Meg Rosoff’s Picture Me Gone confused me a bit as to its category. I found it with the YA books and it felt YA, but the main character was only 12 years old. Despite this, it was well written, mysterious, and another quiet yet gripping plot. I think about this book every time I write a new scene with way too much dialogue. Meg Rosoff told a great story without much dialogue at all. How?! Someone tell me how to do this!

Next was another book I kept hearing about and finally gave a try.Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The cover creeped me out. I didn’t think I’d enjoy this one, but I did. Such an imaginative and atmospheric story and I loved the historical connections. forbidden stone cvr

The only real MG on this list, Tony Abbott’s The Forbidden Stone, the first book in a new series, The Copernicus Legacy. A mysterious and fantastical adventure, this book mixes science and puzzles with a race against time. Four kids must save the world. I love when that happens! I realized A-Read (and possible Sprite, too) would enjoy this book. He’s reading it now.

Now I’m reading Rick Riordan’s The Son of Neptune, which A-Read read last year. He keeps asking me where I am in the book and almost giving away secrets. I understand. Rick Riordan’s books get me that excited, too.

What should A-Read and I read next?

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Trekking in Rwanda Take Two

I’ve had a lot going on with my day job, which isn’t going to let up until June (but there is an end!), and I have some freelance projects due. So, when something has to give, it’s the blog. I will have some posts throughout May, but I may not get to leave comments for you in return. I will be back eventually – I promise.

 My intensive project at work has made me reminisce about Rwanda, so here’s a post from August 2009 which is based on one of my happiest memories in Rwanda.

It all starts by climbing through cold, misty potato fields in the early morning toward a thick bamboo forest.
Scrambling across slippery nettles, I accidentally touch a leathery leaf and get stung.  I climb farther between massive, moss-covered East African rosewood trees (hagenia) with reddish bark and a wide canopy of foliage that blocks out the sun.

Virunga cloud forest

photo credit: VB Tremper, 1995

I am in the Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda, a central African country smaller than the state of Maryland. And I am about to meet the inhabitants of the park’s rainforest.

For an hour or so (it may even take as long as four hours) my Rwandan guide, fellow trekkers, and I follow nests made with nearby vegetation, such as hagenia branches and bamboo leaves. The damp earth smells spicy from nettles and leaves. Eventually our guide will point out the nests constructed just the night before. That means we’re getting closer.

The forest is so dense that I can’t see very far in any direction. I can’t see the town of Ruhengeri below. I can’t see the six volcanoes of the Virunga chain that make up the national park. And I can no longer see the potato fields that I walked through earlier.

photo credit: VB Tremper, 1995

photo credit: VB Tremper, 1995

Then I hear twigs snapping and leaf-munching. Right in front of me is black fur, long arms reaching to the ground, and an expressive, almost human face. I’m looking at a mountain gorilla, an endangered species of great ape.

I hear more noises to my right and realize that there is a whole family of gorillas within feet of me. This particular family includes about ten individuals, and is led by one dominant male gorilla, called a silverback because of the silver streak on his back.

The silverback gorilla watches me.

“Don’t get him angry!” the guide says. “He is the defender of the family and will roar and beat his chest, and possibly charge at you if he finds you threatening.”

“I thought gorillas are very tolerant of people,” I say.

Me at the end of a great trek, 1995

Me at the end of a great trek, 1995

“Sure, just don’t look him in the eye, and move slowly and carefully. Don’t give him any reason to get mad.”

Too quickly my hour with the great apes is up and I must leave the forest. Sliding back down the mountain through the cloud forest, fragrant bamboo trees, and potato fields, I smile. I may be sweaty and aching, but I will never forget the trek that brought me face to face with a mountain gorilla.

What animal would you travel halfway around the world (or farther!) to visit?

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Mortal Enchantment Cover Reveal

Yes, this is the 2nd Stacey O’Neale post in a row. I’ve had a lot going on with my day job, which isn’t going to let up until June (but there is an end!), and I have some freelance projects due. So, when something has to give, it’s the blog. I will have some posts throughout May, but I may not get to leave comments for you in return. I will be back eventually – I promise.

This week, Stacey O’Neale and Phoenix Reign Publishing are revealing the cover for

MORTAL ENCHANTMENT, releasing on May 20, 2014!

Check out the awesome cover and enter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card!

On to the reveal!

Mortal Enchantment

“Mortal Enchantment spins a unique twist on elemental mythology. This series is not to be missed.”
Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

In Kalin Matthew’s world, elementals control the forces of nature. They are divided into four courts: air, woodland, fire, and water. At sixteen she will leave the life she’s built with her mortal mother. Kalin will move to Avalon to rule with her father—the elemental king of the air court. Along the way, she’s attacked by a fire court assassin and saved by Rowan, a swoon-worthy elemental with a questionable past.

Worst of all, she learns her father is missing.

To rescue him, Kalin will have to work with a judgmental council and a system of courts too busy accusing each other of deceit to actually be able to help her. But, they aren’t her biggest challenge. With the Midwinter’s Ball only five days away, Kalin must take over her father’s duties, which includes shifting control of the elements—power Kalin has yet to realize.

As Rowan attempts to train her, a war looms between the four courts. If Kalin fails, her father will die and the courts will fall, but the betrayal she’s about to uncover may cost her even more…

Add to your Goodreads TBR

If you haven’t read THE SHADOW PRINCE, you can download it NOW for FREE from Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Stacey O’Neale lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she’s not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her Stacey ONealehusband and daughter.

Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult paranormal romance and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

Stacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Pinterest, and GoodReads. You can also visit her blog at http://staceyoneale.com/.

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