Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Ash Princess

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for! Here's mine for the week.


Title: Ash Princess
AuthorLaura Sebastian
Release Date: April 24, 2018

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32505753-ash-princess

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed “Ash Princess.” Pretending to be empty-headed and naive when she's not enduring brutal whippings, she pushes down all other thoughts but one: Keep the Kaiser happy and he will keep you safe.

When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can't keep her feelings and memories pushed down any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser's warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn't expect to develop feelings for the Prinz. Or for her rebel allies to challenge her friendship with the one person who's been kind to her throughout the last hopeless decade: her heart's sister, Cress.

Cornered into impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she's willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she's willing to sacrifice to become queen. (taken from goodreads.com)

Why I Need It: 

Yes yes yes. I'm so here for this princess, her challenges, and some great political intrigue. Thankfully, we don't have long to wait! I'll snag this one ASAP.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Chat With Kim Savage, Author of IN HER SKIN

We have with us today Kim Savage, whose new novel In Her Skin hits shelves on April 17 (in just 3 days!). Keep reading to learn what inspired her to write her story, her favorite underrated novel, and more.



Kim Savage is the author of three critically acclaimed young adult novels, After the Woods, Beautiful Broken Girls (named by Kirkus as one of the 10 Best YA of 2017), and In Her Skin (releasing April 17, 2018), all with Farrar, Straus, Giroux/Macmillan. Her novels have been published in Spain, Brazil, and Turkey, and have been optioned for TV. K

Kim presents at conferences and book festivals nationwide; has been featured on NPR, Herald Radio, and on local cable stations; and she reads from her novels at bookstores across the country. A former reporter with a Master degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, Kim's stories are based in and around Boston. She lives with her family near Boston, not far from the real Middlesex Fells Reservation of After the Woods.

Kim and her husband have three children, each of whom beg to appear in her books. They shouldn't.
(photo and text taken from Kim's
Goodreads profile)
 

How did you come up with the premise for In Her Skin?

In Her Skin is based loosely on the life of a real-life con artist, Frédéric Bourdin, who impersonated a missing boy. Bourdin didn’t look like the boy, had an Algerian accent, and offered an unbelievable story of having been held by a kidnapping ring. It’s hard to understand how the parents of the missing boy could accept Bourdin as their son for as long as they did. I wondered, what if I created a character who attempted the same con, and the parents’ reasons for buying in became clear as the novel unfolded? Jolene Chastain, meet the Lovecrafts.

If you could pick one song that goes with this novel, what would it be? 


“Secrets” by One Republic. In Her Skin is about the power of confessing secrets, and the ways those confessions bind us to people, for better or for worse (okay, mostly worse!). At the same time, those secrets can free us when we release them:

Got no family I can't blame
Just don't let me disappear
I'mma tell you everything

Of course, there is danger in telling, as Jo finds out!

What do you think makes a fictional character compelling? Do you have any tips for other writers?


Credible contradictions. My protagonists have the most devastating flaws, but they always have believable moral centers, too. In my work in progress, I’m writing a character based on the greatest villain of all time—Richard III—who also happens to be the most morally courageous person I’ve “met.”

What's more challenging for you as a writer: wrapping up the end of a novel or starting the first chapter?


Beginnings are easy for me, because I’m used to writing leads (I was once a reporter). I always know the ending, too: you have to, with suspense. It's the early-middle that does me in, when I'm trying to avoid to much exposition, but I need to give the reader enough information to make the next plot points logical. I really, really, really hate that early middle.

Thriller movies: love them or hate them?


I’m meh on thriller movies, which rely on splashy action. On the other hand, I love psychological suspense!

What is one underrated book you would like to recommend to everyone?

The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos is smart, well-written, has a literary feel, and hits my sweet spots: a daughter’s love for her father, and forensics.





Release Date: April 17, 2018

Sixteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain is about to take on the biggest heist of her life: impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn’t been easy, and Jo is hoping to cash in on a little safety, a little security. She finds her opportunity in the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family with ties to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine.

When Jo takes on Vivi's identity and stages the girl’s miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her back with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household—and some secrets refuse to stay buried. As hidden crimes come to the surface, and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold onto an illusion of safety, or escape the danger around her before it’s too late.
(taken from goodreads.com
)
 
  

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: The Looking Glass by Janet McNally

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for! Here's mine for the week.


Title: The Looking Glass
AuthorJanet McNally 
Release Date: August 14, 2018

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36039606-the-looking-glass

GIRLS IN TROUBLE.

That’s what Sylvie Blake’s older sister Julia renamed their favorite fairy tale book, way back when they were just girls themselves. Now, Julia has disappeared—and no one knows if she’s in trouble.

Sylvie is trying to carry on Julia’s impressive legacy at the prestigious National Ballet Theatre Academy, but Julia, ever the star of the show, can’t stay hidden forever. And when she sends Sylvie a copy of their old storybook with a mysterious list inside, Sylvie begins to see signs of her sister everywhere she goes. She may be losing her grip on reality, but Sylvie has to find out if the strange, almost magical things she’s been seeing have anything to do with Julia’s whereabouts.

With the help of her best friend’s enigmatic brother and his beat-up car, Sylvie sets out to the beat of a Fleetwood Mac playlist, determined to return to New York with her sister in tow. But what Sylvie doesn’t expect to learn is that trouble comes in lots of forms—and that the damsel in distress is often the only one who can save herself. (taken from goodreads.com)


Why I Need It: 

Ballet, fairy tales, romance, and a missing sister? It's like Janet McNally thought, "hmm, what book would Amber pick up?" and then came up with The Looking Glass. Plus, just look at that breathtaking cover! I love the simplicity and gorgeous use of pastel colors.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett


Title: Starry Eyes
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Format: E-Book 

Page Count: 432

Rating: 

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars? (taken from goodreads.com)


"And if you plan so much that you can't function without one, life's no fun. 
All the calendars, journals, and lists in the world won't save you when the sky falls."  

Okay, so I should preface this review with two statements. (1) I'm a huge fan of nature and camping and (2) I've always wanted to go on a backpacking trip in California. Therefore, the entire premise of this novel immediately appealed to me. Throw in some steamy makeout sessions in tents, life-or-death situations, and plenty of emotional drama and you've got yourself a young adult novel worth reading.

The plot is fairly simple on the surface: Zorie isn't the outdoorsy type, but she gets roped into a glamping trip with a crew of popular kids, who then turn out to be not-so-great (shocker). Then, she's forced to toughen up and trek through the High Sierras with a guy named Lennon with whom she shares a complicated history. The story is 100 percent entertaining and will definitely have you squealing at the sheer adorableness a least a handful of times.

Bennett doesn't just stick to the adventure genre; she delves into topics like parenting, adultery, suicide, self-confidence, and plenty of other B-I-G topics. Oh, and then there's the whole relationship between Lennon and Zorie, which is a really wonderful romance. I gobbled it all up like a roasted marshmallow on a stick.

I'm not going to lie: I mostly loved this one because of the romance and the camping. Zorie + Lennon are goals, and the story is just so enjoyable. I was a huge fan of Alex, Approximately so I think it's safe to say that Jenn Bennett's got talent.

Definitely pick this one up if you're in the mood for a bit of a hot, emotional trip complete with treacherous hikes and wild animals. Starry Eyes won't disappoint fans of adventure and the outdoors.