Saturday, August 19, 2017

Author Chat With Kendare Blake (ONE DARK THRONE)

"Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories... Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.

She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their cat son Tyrion Cattister, red Doberman dog son Obi-Dog Kenobi, rottie mix dog daughter Agent Scully, and naked sphynx cat son Armpit McGee."

(text and photo taken from Blake's

Have you always wanted to write a young adult novel?

Well, I've wanted to be a writer since I was very young, and YA didn't exist as a category. YA, in the way we think of it now, is a pretty young thing. New. Still figuring itself out. So no, I didn't always want to write a YA novel, because I wasn't aware that was a possibility!

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?

I can't write to music. At least not music I like. That makes me just jam and daydream. No work gets done. If I'm going to write to noise, the Food Network is nice. Very soothing.

Are you more of a coffee or a tea person when writing?

I alternate. Coffee one day and tea the next. Always sweetened to the point of ridiculousness.

What authors do you think have influenced you the most as a writer?

Every single author I've ever read. There's always something to learn. Some stain the books leave on me. Even if I'm not aware of it. Consciously, I would say Caitlin R Kiernan, Milan Kundera, Bret Easton Ellis, Angela Carter, Stephen King. Not that I write like ANY of them. But I definitely learned things.

Did you have a writing schedule while you worked on One Dark Throne? What did your average day of writing look like?  

An average day consists of wearing my dog and cat children out so they'll leave me alone to write, then dinking around on emails and the internet for a while, then feeding my dog and cat children so they're not hungry and will leave me alone to write, then writing for the entire afternoon/evening. I can't remember how much time I had to write One Dark Throne, but I don't think it was as much as I would have liked. 2016 was a busy year.

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

Metaltown by Kristen Simmons. I love Ty, the heroine in that. Very industrialist setting, very scrappy protags, very gritty stuff. Also, I just feel like not enough people have read Wink, Poppy, Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke. There can never be enough readers for these two books.

About Blake's upcoming sequel to Three Dark Drowns, which will hit shelves on September 19:

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other. (taken from

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Iron Gold

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!

Title: Iron Gold 

Author: Pierce Brown 
Release Date: August 22, 2017

When you break the chains, what do you unleash?

The new trilogy takes place after the end of Morning Star and will center on the consequences of the hero’s actions as well as on those folks now living and growing up in a landscape that’s had its ruling order shattered.

(taken from

Why I Need It: 

I'm a huge fan of Pierce Brown's original trilogy, and I'm so excited to see that he is expanding upon that universe. Brown is an incredibly talented writer, and I'll definitely be picking this one up when it is released next week. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski (ARC)

Title: The Wood
Author: Chelsea Bobulski
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Format: ARC

Page Count: 320


After her father goes missing in the woods that they protect, Winter tries to seek the truth in what happened, why the wood is changing, and what it all has to do with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in this thrilling YA debut.

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can't help but think there's more to her dad's disappearance than she's being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

Bobulski’s eerie debut is filled with friendship, family, and the responsibilities we choose and those we do not. (taken from

"There is a quiet strength in a person who can go on and do what needs to be done
even when all hope seems lost."

Okay okay, I know I'm the worst. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an advance review and I totally fell behind. To be fair, my life has been pretty insane lately, but still, I feel terrible that I am reviewing this one after it's already hit the shelves. However, I can kind of make up for my lateness through the positive review you're about to read! And no, I'm not being nice just to alleviate my guilt. The Wood truly is a creative and entertaining ride.

So, essentially, Winter has been trained her entire life to guide lost travelers out of the mystical forest that haunts her backyard. The wood has strange abilities to bridge gaps between different time periods, and without Winter's guidance and protection, people would be able to wander between decades and wreak havoc on space and time. Pretty unique concept, right? She's bound to this fate, as were her ancestors, including her father who disappeared months ago. As Winter attempts to solve the mystery of her father's disappearance, she becomes ensnared in a plot to overthrow the system she has always known. Oh, and she meets a cute guy from the 18th century who helps out (because why not?).

I won't say that The Wood blew me away completely, but it was definitely an intriguing trip. I read the entire thing in practically one sitting. Once the plot got going, it was easy to fly through the story. I snickered, grimaced, and really enjoyed my time with it. Bobulski's wood is both creepy and enchanting, and I immensely appreciated the originality. I'd recommend this one to anyone simply because of that aspect.

How's the romance, you ask? Meh. If you're in search of hot, passionate love affair, then this probably isn't the read for you. However, I kind of enjoyed seeing the romance placed on the backburner. I get sick of other characters in YA novels dealing huge burdens but then also swooning at every little flirtatious conversation. Winter's dad is missing, and she has bigger problems to deal with than falling head over heels for some guy from another century... except she kind of does anyway. It was a cute love story, but nothing to write home about.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with this debut! Check it out if you're in the mood for a creepy forest, a dash of magic, and some 18th-century comedy.

The Wood is just the right blend of unique and creepy, and it stands out as a worthwhile debut.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Author Chat: Jessica Taylor (A MAP FOR WRECKED GIRLS)

"Jessica Taylor adores atmospheric settings, dangerous girls, and characters who sneak out late at night. She lives in Northern California, not far from San Francisco, with a law degree she isn’t using, one dog, and many teetering towers of books.

A MAP FOR WRECKED GIRLS, her first young adult contemporary thriller and a Junior Library Guild Selection, will be published August 15, 2017 by Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House."

(text and photo taken from Taylor's 

Have you always wanted to write a young adult novel?

Definitely. YA is what I gravitate toward most as a reader. I don't know if I should admit this part, but oh well . . . I usually like teens more than adults. Most of the teens I meet have educated themselves about social issues, they're committed to making a difference in the world, they're sensitive to other people's feelings, and they understand that words matter and can make a difference. Most adults I know could learn a lot from the teens in their lives.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?

Yes, I love creating playlists for my books. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Lord Heron and Alvvays while writing.

Are you more of a coffee or a tea person when writing?

I'm totally a Peet's Coffee girl. Their Honey Macchiato with almond milk is my go-to writing drink.

How did you select the names of your characters?

Henri (Henrietta) was the first character I named. I knew I wanted the sisters to be named after too great aunts, but I also wanted the names to feel fresh and not stand out too much in the contemporary story. To name Emma, I spent hours combing through census records from the 1920s to find a name that would complement Henri well.

Did you have a writing schedule while you worked on A Map for Wrecked Girls? What did your average day of writing look like?  

While working on Map, I had another job, so I would sit down every evening and write one chapter. I finished that first rough draft relatively quickly because by the time I got off work, I had thought about the coming scenes and knew exactly what to write.

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

This isn't necessarily underrated because every review I've checked out is deservingly incredible, but I'd love to see more people aware that The Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker will be out August 22nd. I loved this book! The main character, Rilla Brae, works on a lobster fishing boat. She's a tough-as-nails protagonist who makes my little feminist heart beat faster. It's also a deliciously creepy and frightening ghost story that explores a historically accurate attempt at cultural erasure. It's such an important book. Everyone should read it!

About Taylor's upcoming release, which will hit shelves on August 15:  

We sat at the edge of the ocean—my sister Henri and I—inches apart but not touching at all. We'd been so sure someone would find us by now.

Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends. Until something happened that wrecked them.

I'd trusted Henri more than I'd trusted myself. Wherever she told me to go, I'd follow.
Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart.

For the first time, I was afraid we'd die on this shore.

To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present? (taken from