HOPE & RED makes its first list!

From a Barnes & Noble post titled “2016 Books SF/F Editors Want You to Read”

Hope and Red is hands down one of the most exciting fantasy debuts I have read in years. Author Jon Skovron takes the usual fantasy tropes and makes them feel new and wonderfully fresh again. Reading Hope & Red for the first time reminded me of when I first fell in love with authors like Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson and Scott Lynch. The main characters – Hope and Red – are a trained warrior and a thief, who will do anything it takes to survive the corrupt underworld they were born into, even taking a risk and working together. You’re going to love spending time with them in this world, and when you’re done, you’ll be dying for the second book, Bane and Shadow. —Devi Pillai, Editor

THIS BROKEN WONDROUS WORLD on the Barnes and Noble “40 YA Books You Need On Your Summer Reading List”

I’m in amazing company for August, with David Levithan, Libba Bray, and a bunch of others!

Check it out:

This Broken Wondrous World, by Jon Skovron
Why we’re excited: In a world in which monsters exist, the once human-avoiding son of Frankenstein’s Monster and his Bride is now living with Dr. Frankenstein’s descendants. Then a flareup of monstrous activity prefaces a strange invitation to join forces with the disturbed and disturbing Dr. Moreau, whose nefarious plans for world domination force Boy to become a man.
Pair with: Monster movie marathon

See the complete list here.

40 YA Books You Need On Your Summer Reading List

I’m in amazing company for August, with David Levithan, Libba Bray, and a bunch of others on this B&N list!

Check it out:

This Broken Wondrous World, by Jon Skovron
Why we’re excited: In a world in which monsters exist, the once human-avoiding son of Frankenstein’s Monster and his Bride is now living with Dr. Frankenstein’s descendants. Then a flareup of monstrous activity prefaces a strange invitation to join forces with the disturbed and disturbing Dr. Moreau, whose nefarious plans for world domination force Boy to become a man.
Pair with: Monster movie marathon

David Levithan’s Other People’s Music Poll, 2013

It’s here! The annual David Levithan highly unscientific music poll! Here are the winners:

  1. Lorde, Pure Heroine (38 votes)
  2. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City (32)
  3. Haim, Days are Gone (24)
  4. Beyonce, Beyonce (21)
    The National, Trouble Will Find Me
  5. Tegan and Sara, Heartthrob (20)
  6. Chvrches, The Bones of What You Believe (16)
  7. Janelle Monae, The Electric Lady (15)
  8. Arcade Fire, Reflektor (14)
    Kanye West, Yeezus (14)

Click the link above for the long list of recommendations.

As usual, only one of my favorites was in the top 10 list. It’s posted on the site among 114 others, so I’ve pulled it out for your convenience 🙂

Jon S’s list is anything but Common

The Knife, Shaking the Habitual

I had been looking forward to another album from The Knife ever since 2007’s Silent Shout, which set the bar for goth pop. While Shaking the Habitual wasn’t everything I hoped it would be, particularly some of the rather self-indulgent extra long jam session tracks in the middle, The Knife took bold chances and tried new things rather than resting on their laurels. Plus, “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” is an incredible track.

Chelsea Wolfe, Pain is Beauty

Another album I’ve been waiting on. I’ve picked up every Chelsea Wolfe album since 2010’s The Grime and the Glow. She has such a haunting, distinctive voice. Similar to Zola Jesus, but more gritty and folk. Unfortunately, her music composition wasn’t nearly as developed as Zola Jesus. At least, not until Pain is Beauty. With this album, we’re finally hearing the promise that was hinted at but never owned until now.

Mutual Benefit, Love’s Crushing Diamond

The latest album from Mutual Benefit is a masterpiece of gentle, earthy reflection. Not a single song detracts from the feeling of sweet reverie.

my bloody valentine, m b v

Honestly, I had not been waiting for this album. At all. I mean, I loved 1991’s Loveless just like every other emo grunge teenager, and probably for a few years after I would have wanted a follow up. But that was a long time ago. If anything, I was nervous that this new album might detract from the legacy, like some other come back early 90’s bands. Boy was I wrong. Unlike The Knife, who blazed new ground, or Chelsea Wolfe, who grew into herself, my bloody valentine just did their thing. And it was just as good. In fact, it was possibly better. Deeper, more intricate, and just a hint at what might lie ahead.

Rhye, Woman

While I’m mostly an indie rock/folk with a decent helping of electronic kind of guy, I grew up in a house that had Sade more or less on endless repeat. I don’t have a wide knowledge of R&B, other than my longstanding obsession with Erykah Badu. But I know when something is pretty much perfect. And if you are looking for an album that is one non-stop, slow smoldering, “take your pants off” song, this is it. Also, rather fascinatingly, despite the fact that there are moments I would swear I was listening to Sade, the lead singer is a man.

Daft Punk, Random Access Memories

My eight year old son loves the previous Daft Punk albums. He discovered the band when they did the soundtrack to TRON: Legacy. He was highly disappointed with the new album, saying it was “kinda boring” and “slow”. Maybe this means that both Daft Punk and I are getting old, but I love it. In fact, I think it’s my favorite Daft Punk album to date. A perfect blend of classic electronica, dance, and pop.

Vampire Weekend,_ Modern Vampires of the City_

These guys. I don’t really know what to say. They keep trying stuff, it keeps being really good. Some things are pure carry over from the previous albums and some things are startlingly new. I wish there’s been a bit more focus on percussion, which is my absolute favorite thing about the band, other than Ezra Koenig’s voice. But still, it’s a damn good album.

Waxahatchee, Cerulean Salt

I loved the opening track of this album so much I put it in the video I made about my Man Made Boy tattoo. Katie Crutchfield adds some new layers and more instruments to the sound from her previous album, American Weekend, but loses none of the intimacy and heartache that made me swoon over that album, too. It’s so nice to see some straight up folk rock with depth, nuance, and humor.

DARKSIDE, Psychic

Moody, dark, soulful, and with a solid beat, this album harkens back to the glory days (or glory box??) of classic trip-hop without ever feeling nostalgic or tired. With the de-emphasis on vocals, and a driving, dynamic album-length arc, this is the perfect music to write something creepy to.

Swearin’, Surfing Strange

I don’t know what they fed those Crutchfield girls growing up, but I want it for my kids. Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield has a sister named Allison, who is in the band Swearin’ and while somewhat less of a frontwoman, she is no less talented. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t discover Swearin’ on my own. My little brother turned me on to them, suggesting that it sounded like my kind of thing. And boy is it. It’s a little like early 90’s alt-grunge when it wasn’t being pretentious, and a little like late 00’s indie when it wasn’t been whiny, and a little like the inside of my brain all the time.

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, We the Common

Look, I’m not saying it’s actually the best album of 2013. But it was unquestionably THE album for me. I had some trouble getting into Thao Nguyen’s previous work, but this album is so generous, so accessible, that it’s been like a bridge to all her previous offerings. It’s an album for the outlaw in all of us. It’s the rambler, free spirit, laugh out loud even when you know damn well you look like an asshole album. In my humble opinion, we could all use some of that.

MISFIT nominated for a Carl Brandon Award

Great news! Misfit, my 2011 novel published by Amulet, has been nominated for the 2011 CBS Kindred Award (for an outstanding speculative fiction work dealing with race, ethnicity, and culture).

People! An award named in honor of Octavia Butler’s landmark novel, Kindred! So cool!

About the Carl Brandon Society: As speculative fiction increases in diversity, the Carl Brandon Society hopes to raise awareness of issues of race, ethnicity and culture within this genre we all love, fostering a needed dialogue. We want to promote inclusivity in across the range of genre – embracing fans and pros – and celebrate the accomplishments of people of color within the community. Our membership is open to all ethnicities. Visit us at http://carlbrandon.org

Misfit playlist

Here is the official Misfit playlist for you music geeks out there. Trying out 8tracks.com. Let me know if you experience problems. Full track list is:

  • Motherless Child (feat. Portishead) – Tom Jones
  • Troubled Waters – Cat Power
  • Places – Wildbirds & Peacedrums
  • True Affection – The Blow
  • Sick Muse – Metric
  • Another World – Antony and the Johnsons
  • The Good That Won’t Come Out – Rilo Kiley
  • My Backwards Walk – Frightened Rabbit
  • Your Next Bold Move – Ani DiFranco
  • Dark Come Soon – Tegan and Sara
  • Samson – Regina Spektor
  • The Garden – Mirah
  • I Don’t Feel Young – Wye Oak
  • Runaway – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Love Love Love – The Mountain Goats
  • Dog Days Are Over – Florence and The Machine
  • We’re All Going to Hell – The Bastard Fairies