Sunday, May 29, 2016

Post One: Back to Blogging: Help me Clean my Shelf! Books, swag, and mayhem! Giveaway INT

Dear All:
It's been a while since I've been back to blogging. It's been great, getting back to know publishers, authors, and fellow bloggers! I've looked on my shelf, and have realized that I need to make space for new reads, and plus I need to actually read all of the books that are on my TBR shelf so that I can pass them along to other people!

To start this party off, I will be giving away a mystery box of books filled with random goodies and older ARCs. I will be reading and posting about each book I read (I'm aiming for 1 a week) and if I can bear to part with them, offering them up to you in a later book giveaway!

I have some great stuff planned (and great giveaways planned too!) in the near future so stay tuned! Now enter to win! The book box is US only (Sorry!) but INT readers are open to win some cool swag packages! I will host a book giveaway for you guys in the future.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
post signature

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Fierce Reads Author Interview PART TWO with Marie Rutkoski, Cecelia Ahern, Harriet Reuter Hapgood, and Emma Mills and MEGA Giveaway for ALL Fierce Reads titles from St Louis (US only)

Welcome back, everyone! Here is part two of the Fierce reads author interviews! First, I'd like to introduce the other two books!

THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
25028285Goodreads Description:
This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It's a little bit like a black hole. It's a little bit like infinity.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she's hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone's heart is about to be broken.

Goodreads Description:
Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

Without further ado, here is the remainder of the amazing Fierce Reads Interview! 

From left to right, Cecelia Ahern, Emma Mills, Marie Rutkoski, and Harriet Reuter Hapgood.

Me: So what are your next books on the horizon?

Emma: I feel kind of awkward because I don’t know which one I’m supposed to be talking about in this event. Because I have one coming out in October. So they’ll give out ARCs for that at this event. So it’s called “This Adventure Ends.” It’s another contemporary YA in the vein of First and Then. It’s a standalone book as well. And it is about a quest to recover a lost painting. I have another one coming out the following year that is about a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Me: I have to say that I’m a little devastated that First and Then is a standalone because I have a huge crush on Jordan, and he apparently likes someone that I don’t know?!

Emma: I don’t know about them either!


Emma: People have asked me that. I am not opposed to a sequel.

Group: Oooohs and ahhs.

Emma: [laughs] I feel that it would be fun to revisit one day.

Marie: You could call it “Then and Again.”

Emma: Oooh yeah! It was a really fun to write, so it would be fun to go back.

Harriet: Yeah so my next book is a standalone contemporary YA, and it’s very much in the first draft, noodling around ideas stage. So I don’t really know, I don’t have a title, or even know really what it’s about.


Harriet: I have a first line.

Me: And it will probably change.

Harriet: Yeah. I’m not being enigmatic, I’m really at the discovery process. I’ll know what it’s about eventually!

Me: Do you like this stage?

Harriet: I like research, and I like the third or fourth draft when all the madness comes together and you know what it’s about and you just do an intense editing process and go, “Aha! That’s what I’ve been writing about all this time,” then tie it up and hand it over without looking at it again. First drafts and second drafts and kind of trying to figure out things is just a mess. A mess that will eventually resolve itself, I hope!

Me: Do you guys have favorite parts of the process? Or least favorite parts of the process?

Emma: I really like drafting.

Marie: In the trenches!

Emma: Yeah, where you are really writing. I really like that part. I probably like the copyediting less. Not as creative, more technical, but I appreciate it as part of the process.

Cecelia: I just love writing. Escaping out of the world and losing all sense of time and place, and that’s why I do it.

Marie: My favorite part is the days when it’s easy. Some days it's hard. But some days all you have to do is put your fingers on the keyboard and it just writes itself. But you can’t have those days without having the bad ones. I think those hard ones are like running a marathon. It sets you up or builds the foundation, builds muscle for you to run fast.

Cecelia: But isn’t finishing just wonderful! Fullstop! The end!

Harriet: I like when you write “The End” and then it comes back to you and they’ve deleted it. I WANT “The end” in there! It’s so frustrating!

Marie: I have a writing group. And I also love the process of turning in something, giving them a third of a book, or even a fourth of a book and have it grow as they read it and give me feedback. And I trust my reading partners as we’ve been together for a few years, to the point where most of our conversations are jokes. Really serious things happen, but we also tease each other about a lot of things. But no hobbits.

Cecelia: Or imps.

Me: I really love the phrase “Writing takes a village,” and so you were mentioning you have a writing group. Do any of you have beta readers or other people who read your work?

Harriet: No, the first person to read my book was my agent.

Emma: My mom. She was the first person to read my book. And I’m in graduate school and I have a friend in grad school who reads my stuff. She’s a big reader.

Marie: What are you in graduate school for?

Emma: Anatomy and Cell biology. But yeah, I’m kind of superstitious about it, I don’t want anyone to read it before it’s finished.

Harriet: Yeah, yeah, what if someone talks about it and jinxes it. When someone says, you know what would be a great idea? And then you think, ugh you are ruining it!

Cecelia: When I come up with an idea, I won’t share it with anyone else but my agent. Like if my husband says, what you could do… I plug up my ears and say “Lalalalalala.” I just want everything to be mine, because I don’t think I can put my name on a book if I knew the ideas came from other people so my agent is the first to read it, and then my editor. And I used to give it to relatives, but I’ve written so much that they no longer care.


Cecelia: They couldn’t even tell you the titles, I don’t think.

Marie: How many books have you written?

Cecelia: I’ve written 15.

Harriet: Can you name them all?

Cecelia: OK. PS I Love you, Where Rainbows End (also known as Love Rosy), If you could see me now, A place called here, Thanks for the memories, the gift, The book of tomorrow, 100 names, The time of my life, The year I met you, The Marble Collector, Flawed, Perfect, my new book in October.

[Applause and laughter]
Me: Wow, that’s impressive!
Cecelia: That should be my party trick!
Me: So what made you totally switch from those books to YA dystopian, which I don’t think you’ve ever written?
Cecelia: No, I don’t think I really switched. The Book of Tomorrow was a story written in the perspective of a 16 year old. For that book, I remember people saying over here that it was a crossover. It was the first time someone said to me that this book could be seen as young adult. And I just write stories, whatever comes into my head, I write that down and whoever finds them, that’s great. I write for myself, most selfishly, but anyone who finds them, they are welcome to them. I think stories are for everybody. I think because I wanted to write from the perspective of a 17 year old, it was then decided that it was Young Adult. But it wasn’t a great big leap for me to change anything about my writing. I just saw the world from her eyes, and the only different thing about the book, I think, is that it has more of a thriller feel. Faster paced than my other novels. I wrote it with a lot of adrenaline, and I think it reads that way. It’s quite fast. But really, there wasn’t a big marketing plan or a big meeting where I sat down and said, “I want to invent a story in a different area.”

Me: Great answer. So we have a few more minutes, so I love this question and I hope you are all as nerdy as me, and I’ve loved the Hobbit comments earlier.


Me: So your main character, what House would they be sorted into at Hogwarts?

Emma: I am so prepared for this question! This is my favorite question! In First and Then, Devon and Foster, I would say, are Gryffindors. Ezra Is a Hufflepuff. In This Adventure Ends, I think that Sloan is a Slytherin and Gabe is a Gryffindor. I’ve thought about this a lot.

Cecelia: I have to pass because I have no knowledge.


Harriet: I can’t even.

Cecelia: I’ve seen the first movie but I don’t have enough knowledge. I’m not an expert like you are [gesturing to Emma]. I would just frankly embarrass myself if I tried.

Marie: I think [Celestine] is a Gryffindor.

Me: Yes, I was between Gryffindor and Raveclaw, but I think definitely Gryffindor because her bravery trumps everything else.

Cecelia: OK, sounds good.

Harriet: I think Gottie is a Ravenclaw. And Thomas is totally Hufflepuff. *giggles*

Me: Oh man, totally.

Cecelia: Huffenpuff???

Everyone else: HUFFLEPUFF!

Harriet: I’m so glad you agree!

Me: I actually wrote it down because I wanted there to be a document of what I predicted.

Cecelia: I’ll huffs and I’ll puffs and I’ll…


Marie: I think Arin is a Gryffindor. And I think that Kestrel is a Slytherin.

Me: [Stunned face]
Harriet and Emma: OOOOHHHH!
Marie: [seeing my stunned face] Did you think she was Ravenclaw?

Me: I did.
Marie: I kind of think she’s Ravenclaw too, but there’s a sort of… I think she might be a little too conniving. You know, in a good way!

Me: She’s the type of Slytherin I always wanted to read about but never could.

Marie: Yeah, exactly! Yeah, she’s not a bad Slytherin.

Cecelia: I think Carrick is a Slytherin.

Emma: How did you decide that from your knowledge of the houses?


Cecelia: He’s a lot more Slytherin than… the other one.

All of us: Hufflepuff!

Marie: Who did you say?

Cecelia: Carrick.

Marie: He’s a Slytherin? He’s a Slytherin, you say?


Cecelia: Yeah.

Marie: Hmmm!

Cecelia: I was just trying to join in.


Me: No, I was just thinking about it. I don’t know if I’ve seen enough of him to decide. That was part of what I loved about it. You expect to see so much of Carrick and then you DON’T. Instead, he’s this enigma. And that’s HOT!
Harriet: Yeah, you looooove him!

Cecelia: That was actually my whole point. My editor said you know, they NEVER speak. And I said, yeah I know, isn’t it great?


Harriet: It’s all lingering looks.

Cecelia: They spend a lot more time looking at each other and not speaking to each other. And I thought, that’s HOT!

Harriet: As he watches while she’s branded.

Cecelia: Or not.

Me: I want to give you some time to take a break before your event, so thank you so much for joining me today for this interview!

Thanks so much for joining in and reading the awesome interview these ladies gave! And once again here's a chance to enter to win ALL THE TITLES at the St. Louis stop, courtesy of Macmillian Fierce Reads! Also, as a bonus prize, the co-host of the event, the amazing Left Bank Books, our indie St. Louis bookstore, is chipping in one signed copy of The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood! Unfortunately, this giveaway is US only. But there will be other INT giveaways in the future!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

post signature

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fierce Reads Author Interview PART ONE with Marie Rutkoski, Cecelia Ahern, Harriet Reuter Hapgood, and Emma Mills and MEGA Giveaway for ALL Fierce Reads titles from St Louis (US only)

Dear Readers:
I was incredibly lucky to get to meet all the lovely ladies for the St. Louis stop of the Fierce Reads tour and get to spend an hour with them asking all my questions :-) I will be splitting this interview and introducing the books from these authors between two posts. YOU all are fortunate because Fierce Reads Macmillian has agreed to award one lucky winner with all the books promoted on the St. Louis stop! IN ADDITION, the wonderful Left Bank Books store in St. Louis who ran the event, agreed to donate 1 signed copy of THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER by Harriet Reuter Hapgood. To get the most entries, you need to see both posts on the interview today and tomorrow! And the interview is THAT GOOD that you want to stick around. Without further ado, I'd like to introduce 2 of the 4 books. 

THE WINNER'S TRILOGY by Marie Rutkoski

Goodreads Book Description of The Winner's Curse: 
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love...

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
FLAWED by Cecelia Ahern

Goodreads Description:  
23438288You will be punished…

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.

In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.
Without further ado, the first half of the transcript of my interview with these fantastic authors! 

From left to right, Marie Rutkoski, Emma Mills, ME, Harriet Reuter Hapgood, and Cecelia Ahern.

Me: I just have a collection of questions to get the conversation started. And like I said, I loved all of your books, so this is going to be easy for me! The first question that I love to ask is: Tell us three words to describe your entire book or trilogy.


Cecelia: This is going to be easy to transcribe, just silence!


Me: Helps, gives me time to transcribe.

Cecelia: I’ll go first since everyone’s quiet!


Cecelia: Emotional. Pacy. What’s a word for something that has a moral? Moralistic? [laughs] That’s not a word.

Emma: Moralistical?


[Everyone thinks very deeply]

Marie: Ethical? No, that’s not what you want.

Me: It’s like the opposite of ethical, what’s happening in your book.


Cecelia: Sorry, guys. You jump in. Hey, I got two out of three!


Emma: I’ll speak very broadly. For First and Then, I would say, super broadly, “Football. Family. And Romance.”

Marie: That’s great. Nouns are better than adjectives, I think.

Harriet: For Square Root Summer, I would say “Mathematics. Memory. Loss.”

Cecelia: That’s perfect.

Harriet: Thank you! I had longer to think.


Me: And it has multiple meanings! Memory loss and loss in general.

Harriet: Oooh! I didn’t mean it that way, but feel free to say that I did to make me sound cleverer than I am!

Me (speaking to Marie): I know you have the hardest job, with a trilogy.

Marie: Empire. Romance. I wish there was one word for “morally grey.”

Me: The other word I would think for your trilogy is “strategy.”

Marie: Okay. Yeah, that works.

Emma: I like that.

Cecelia: I’m going to add “Love” to mine. That’s my third one.

Me: That’s perfect.

Cecelia: It’s broad.


Me: Something I thought about today, and you guys may have noticed this on the road already, that each one of your books, your main characters have particular names and it’s very important for the story as to how your character is named. I’d like you each to talk about your character’s name, how you came up with it, and did you figure this out right away, or is this something you came up with later, just what was the development and thought process behind that.

Harriet: Oh yes, I’ll kick off first. That’s interesting because her name wasn’t originally Gottie H. Oppenheimer in the first draft. She was called Mallorie Reynolds because I thought it would be a fun Firefly reference. Then as she developed, I went through several first names and then I went through several German surnames and she was “Margot Kreutz” for a while. And then Thomas was called Oppenheimer. Then when I signed with my agent, she was like why are there so many German names in this tiny pocket in North Norfolk, was there some kind of invasion?


Harriet: But I wanted to keep the Oppenheimer name from a friend of mine, so I just shifted it over to her and gave him [Thomas] a generic English name. And then when that finally settled she kind of clicked into place. Yes, I sort of go through names constantly while I’m drafting until the character slips into place.

Emma: It’s a great name.

Me: Doesn’t it have a mathematical background too or am I just imaging it?

Harriet: I think it does but at the time, it was purely reference to a friend of mine. She was called Mia Ray Oppenheimer.

Marie: Oppenheimer is the one who constructed the bomb, right? The Manhattan Project? So he was a physicist.

Harriet: Wow! That’s purely accidental!

Cecelia: That’s amazing, how incredible!

Me: It was just meant to be.

Cecelia: So Celestine came from one of my favorite books called The Celestine Prophecy, which I read when I was 21. It was a big thing to me. And then North about her heading in the right direction, or about her finding a direction. And I wanted it to be North!

Me: I wondered if it was a reference to morality.

Cecelia: More about direction and knowing where you are heading. Focusing on a direction.

Emma: For mine, since it’s a YA contemporary, there’s less symbolism with the name. But I really like the sound of Devon. But my agent read it and was like, oh like Devon for Devonshire, because the main character really likes Jane Austen, but it wasn’t planned, it just worked out that way.

Me: But what about the last name Tennyson?

Emma: Yeah, another writer.


Emma: But I just liked the way it sounded. It worked out well! It’s catchy!

Marie: I named my main character Kestrel. Maybe let’s start with Arin first, it’s easier and less complicated. I named Arin “Arin,” because I had a friend named Arin, and his name was spelled that way because it was raining on the day he was born.

Everyone: Oh wow!!

Marie: And it was an anagram of “Rain.”

Cecelia: That’s amazing.

Me: And it fits with him too.

Marie: It definitely fits with his character too. All of his different moods. So when I talked to the people who were doing the production of the audio version of the book, she said, “I think it should be pronounced “AH-Rin.” And I said, you know, let’s stick with that because it sounds better. It sounds more part of the language as to how I envisioned it. It’s a very lyrical language full of softer vowels than AIR-Rin is. So that was his name. And Kestrel, I named more because not so much about the character but because of her father and about his personality and what he would name his baby girl, his one child, who he expected to follow him to the military life and be like him and be in his world. So that would mean he would name her after something fierce and predatory and a kestrel is a small, hunting hawk.

Me: And she’s small and fierce.

Marie: Yes, I don’t think he necessarily anticipated that she would REMAIN small, but if you imagine a little baby, if you are a general, war-mongering general who could be tried for war crimes in our world, and you have this baby girl in front of you, small and screaming, and fierce, Kestrel’s a good name for that baby.

Me: Did that come first or did you come up with the name later?

Marie: Well no, it was more what would be the perfect name that he would give her or want to give her. And plus, Kestrel’s a really pretty name. I like the name.

Me: It’s perfect for her.

Marie: Thank you!

Me: So what came first for you guys, the characters or the story?

Cecelia: For all of my novels, the ideas come first and the concept. And then I would try to find what kind of character would find themselves in that situation. So I always first find the idea and then put the opposite kind of person in that story, and it’s always been like that. So it was create a society that doesn’t tolerate imperfection, create a character that’s imperfect. That’s what I do for every story. And then it grows in spurts, grows legs. And all kinds of things.


Emma: Yeah, I would say the opposite, probably! So the character first and the nature of their interactions with the people around them is what happens first, and then I find my plot through that.

Me: Do you have all the characters ahead of time? Or just the main ones and then the others kind of populate later as the story grows?

Emma: I would say probably the main ones. Center it on the protagonist and then what’s the nature of their romantic situation, what’s the nature of their familial relationships, what’s their friendships, and then other people branch off from that. It’s worked so far, we’ll see!

Harriet: I would say that plot and character come at the same time. Then stop and then add a little bit of both, and see where it goes. There was no big flash of inspiration where I said, “I’m going to write wormholes!” You know, it was just going to be a summer, math book, and then you sort of inch forward with the character and then the plot, and then mess around to balance it all out.

Marie: In the case of this particular trilogy, I started with the idea first in The Winner’s Curse, with the scenario first. The winner’s curse is when in an auction you win because you’ve decided to pay more than anyone else thinks it’s worth. And in that sense, every auction is a winner’s curse. Every time you pay and you win, like buying a house…


Harriet: I was wondering if that’s what you were thinking!

Cecelia: You were SO transparent!


Marie: I know, but it’s true! But literally, every single one is technically a winner’s curse because at least in that very moment, before anyone knows the future and before anyone knows what it’s worth, you only won because you paid more. Anyway, so once I started from that phrase, as the title, and that concept, I thought of the idea of an auction, where someone would pay a price. It then led to thinking about what it would mean to buy a person. And then what sort of person would buy another person. While Kestrel makes some bad decisions and also some very ethical problematic ones, her heart is usually in the right place. And I think she’s basically a good hearted individual. Anyway, that was more or less the chronology of my thought. And in terms of character, once I had the idea and the scenario at the very beginning of the book, mostly what I realized about my character was that she did have a good heart, she was capable of making bad decisions, and that she was incredibly intelligent. And very strategic. And sometimes undone by her own strategies.

Me: Did you plan to write a trilogy at the beginning? Or did it just sort of get bigger and bigger.

Marie: I did not plan on writing a trilogy.

Cecelia: Oh really!

Marie: Nope!

Cecelia and others: Whoa.

Marie: Have we not talked about this yet?

Cecelia: No, we haven’t!

Marie: I had not planned on a trilogy. I thought that “I’m going to write a standalone!” Trilogies are so hard! And why would I want to write a trilogy! But as I was deep into the writing of the first draft for the first book, I just realized that I couldn’t end the book in any other way than would be true to me, but very dissatisfying for readers. So I would have felt okay with walking away from the end of book one, and feel like that was a true end to that story. That’s how things would fall out.

Cecelia: I don’t think I remember the ending to the first book, how did it go?

Marie: I don’t want to spoil it for any readers!

Me: I promise to take this part out to remove any spoilers [Thus, spoilers removed from transcript]

Cecelia: I would have never spoken to you again.


Marie: I know, and I realized that! Even though I didn’t know you at the time…

Cecelia: If you knew me, you’d keep it that way because you don’t want to speak to me again after this tour!


Harriet: Little did you know, there was an imp in your future.

Cecelia: What do you mean, imp?!

Harriet: Or a hobbit!

Cecelia: Look at these feet! There are no hair on them whatsoever! I have beautiful little feet! Hairless!


Harriet: What size are you?

Cecelia: Size 4, but 7 in the US.

Harriet: I think you are more like a US 6.

Cecelia: No, no. I’m definitely at 7.

Harriet: Ok. You would know.


Marie: Are you SURE you’re not a hobbit?

Me: How many breakfasts do you have?


Cecelia: Breakfasts??

Me: Yes, hobbits have 3 or 4 breakfasts!

Cecelia: What about imps?

Harriet: Definitely transcribe all of this portion!

Marie: But I did register that it would be an unsatisfying ending for my readers. So I thought, well, what would happen after that. And I became excited about what would transpire, and I could see the shape of the next two books, and I really wanted to write them. So I sold them as a trilogy.

Cecelia: Wow that’s great.

Harriet: I was going to ask that if you wrote any of the trilogy before selling it?

Marie: Well, the first book was entirely finished before I sold it. But as a partial? I’ve never done that before. Sold on a partial. It feels uncomfortable to me. So I always write the book first, so once I wrote the first book, I realized it was a trilogy and I sold it as such.

Cecelia: I’ve just signed 4 books without writing them for the next four year. I am busy for the next… what year are we in?

Marie: 2016.

Cecelia: 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Me: Is this Flawed?

Cecelia: No, this is not Flawed. These are other books. Usually there are three book deals, this is the first time I’ve done a 4 book deal. So when you said you’ve never sold a book without writing it, I now have a contract without even having ideas.

Marie: Well, this is the first time I have a contract without having any solid ideas. I have sold books that have not been written, but when they are sequels, you know, when I have the first totally written, and then I say this is the first of three books and then this is a summary of what the other two books will look like. And this time no. There’s just a deal. It’s a nice contract.

Cecelia: See? It’s nice all the trust they have in you.

Marie: All misplaced.


Marie: I’m kidding, I’m kidding! You can strike that from the record. (Nope! ;-))


Marie: They can trust me!

Cecelia: When I think it’s stressful, I think about all those authors who struggle to just get those book deals, and then I think, it’s a nice problem to have. But yeah, it’s a bit, eek!

Emma: So are they all connected? Or just 4 separate books to be written?

Cecelia: Not connected. Any books.

Harriet: And one a year?

Cecelia: Yeah.

Harriet: Holy cannoli.

Me: But it’s not a series then right?

Cecelia: Well, I don’t know! [laughs] Maybe it will be! I don’t think it will be. I generally write stand alones. This is the first time that I’ve deviated.

Me: And is Flawed going to be a trilogy?

Cecelia: No, it’s a duology. The next one will be called Perfect. And then my next novel is going to be about an imp.


Me: You?

Cecelia: And he’s in the back of the car.

Me: You.


Cecelia: Crammed in with his fellow warriors.

Marie: Warriors? We’re warriors.

Cecelia. So that’s it. That’s an exclusive.


Cecelia: My publishers are going to be so excited when they see this!

Me: They’ll be like what? You’re writing what?

[Laughter, pause]

That's it for the first half of the transcript! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I loved interviewing them! Now you can enter part of the giveaway today and the rest of it tomorrow with the second half of the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
post signature

Saturday, May 14, 2016

#ArmchairBEA Day 4: Surviving Fictional Worlds and Giveaways

Last real day of #ArmchairBEA! I know the peeps at actual BEA in Chicago are having a blast! So lucky!!! I'm thankful for Armchair BEA letting me live vicariously though!

Today's question: We all know that sometimes, the worlds we love in fiction can be dangerous. Which fictional worlds would you want to live in? Which worlds do you never want to dive into? Which worlds are you content to stay behind the glass, so to speak, rather than wishing to dive through the page? And once you get there, what would you do?

This question is pretty easy for me. And I'm sure the answers for which world to live in will be pretty universal. I mean, who doesn't want to live in Harry Potter world and go to Hogwarts for school?  This is why I took an adult vacation to HP land in Orlando, FL. I've been meaning to do a bigger post on going there, so maybe it's time :-) Anyway, getting to use the interactive wands at the park was super fun and pretty darn amazing since you have to do the spell properly for it to work, and they are hidden all over the park. I recommend any HP fan to go there when they can!

As to which worlds I wouldn't want to go to, that's pretty much most of my reading as I love dystopian YA, my standard fare. So worlds like in Hunger Games, Divergent, Matched, etc, are worlds I'm okay with never setting foot on, but perusing from a distance is totally fine by me! My latest favorite dystopian is The Winner's Curse trilogy, which I highly recommend to everyone, but again, I don't really want to live in. 

Today is also GIVEAWAY DAY, yay!!! So, couple of things: I have a giveaway going on right now that has 2 more days-- signed copy of Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes courtesy of Left Bank Books, my local amazing bookstore, US only. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I will have a giveaway going up soon that will be featuring the Fierce reads tour and a giveaway of all of the books on tour, US only, so stay tuned for that. 

For this event, I'd like to add my own giveaway. I'm giving away a paperback of The Winner's Curse (or e-copy in any format that's easy for me to gift, whichever you prefer), my favorite recent read that goes along with today's prompt. This giveaway is INT-- INT winners will get a copy from Book Depository (so make sure they ship to your location before you enter!!!, or an e-copy.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I had a blast at Armchair BEA 2016, I hope you did too!  Can't wait to see people's loot!

post signature

Friday, May 13, 2016

Armchair BEA Day 3: Beyond the Books & Beyond the Blog

Here we are for Day 3 of Armchair BEA! I loved both of these questions so I'm going to tackle both.

Question 1: Beyond the traditional form of the novel, what are your favorite alternative forms (graphic novels, audiobooks, webcomics, etc)? Do you have any favorite works within these alternate forms? How do you think the changing format affects the reading experience? 
BoneThe Stereotypical Freaks (Forever Friends, #1)So I love graphical novels, and this realization came in an unusual way. I was asked by Howard Shapiro, who works with Animal, Inc, an indie book company, that works to put out great indie material, to review his book The Stereotypical Freaks several years ago. I was at a stage of my blogging where I was grabbing any book I could, because I loved finding indie gems in the rough, and it was worth going through the rest of the not so great literature to find them. This book was one of them, and had such heart and warmth that I would usually only find in a really good contemporary YA novel. This book really opened my eyes, and I did the editing for the next few projects with Howard, and we've put out a couple more graphical novels since then. In order to do his work justice, I went to the classics, in particular BONE by Jeff Smith, which is a fantastic graphical novel (set of novels) in one huge tome (1300 pages!!!)-- I would describe it as a LOtR kind of world but oh so cute with the Bone clan. Having had to edit as well as read this medium, you can SHOW with pictures, and focus on good dialogue versus having to show with words. But the pictures can be so poignant and reveal a point so well. I've loved discovering how picture books for children can do this as well, for example Olivia by Ian Falconer is a great example of how the picture says it all.

Question 2: Our secondary topic, beyond the blog could focus on the ways you engage in talking about books outside of your blog. Do you participate in book clubs, take classes, meticulously maintain your goodreads profile? Let the world know!
I do several things, but I've had to put most of these on hold as my current job has basically taken over my life for the past year (and also my overactive toddler). I'm an editor as I described above, and I do some freelance work with that, which I love. I also write, and have a novel that is sitting on a shelf that I need to get back to eventually. I participate in Writer's Cramps on where people can enter prompt contests where they have to submit a story or poem within 24 hours and they get judged by other members, so it's a fun way to win and think creatively in a short period with quick feedback. I also work with Left Bank Books, our amazing local bookstore, to report on their bookish events. For example, I just interviewed the Fierce Reads authors on tour, which I'll post about probably next week with the interview transcript! And lastly, I'm fortunate to have met a lot of writers in St. Louis, so I go to dinner with them, and beta read, and basically get to hang out with some of the coolest people I've ever met. And a friend of mine and I are thinking of maybe co-writing a book one day, so keep an eye out for that!

post signature

Thursday, May 12, 2016

BEA: Day 2, Judge a book by its cover?

Hey gang:
As stress relief from my crazy job, I needed to live vicariously through Armchair BEA since I once again have not gone to BEA although it's so much closer in Chicago. Hopefully, it's there again soon! 

There are themed questions each day to answer and here is today's:
The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)The Books: How often do you judge a book by its cover? How often are you surprised by what you find? Do you strategize and make sure every book in your series has the same cover design (as far as you are able to) and type? How important is it for the visual art on the outside of the book to match or coordinate with the literature art on the inside? 

I would say I occasionally have cover lust like any other person, but it makes it even more disappointing if there is a fantastic cover and the book is not so much. Therefore, I care much much more about the inside words than the outside. I love my Kindle also, so many times I REALLY don't care about what the cover looks like, and sometimes buy hard copies only if I fall in love with the book electronically. That said, having both the cover and the book match in gorgeousness (say, the Winner's Curse trilogy or The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy) is a win-win for me, and I then want to match all the covers. Because man, a trilogy that is well matched like that is so incredibly aesthetically pleasing!  Until tomorrow!

post signature

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Review of Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes and US giveaway of a signed Hardcover Copy!

Expected Publication: May 17th by HarperTeen
Girl Against the UniverseGoodreads description: Maguire is bad luck.

No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.

From author Paula Stokes comes a funny and poignant novel about accepting the past, embracing the future, and learning to make your own luck.

My rating: 5 couches

My review: Girl against the Universe by Paula Stokes was a gem. This book stars Maguire, who has a streak of bad luck, which makes her think that she is dangerous to others, and thus, she withdraws from family and friends to protect them. Her therapist encourages her to make a list of 7 challenges in which she does something to overcome her fears. She meets a boy in the waiting room named Jordy, who utilizes her in his own therapy homework. Little do they know they'll fall for one another as they become stronger individually, closer to the people they want to become.

I absolutely love this book. Maguire is the perfect balance of a protagonist. She is realistic, sympathetic, and complex. But she also has this spark in her, a bit of spunk, that allows her to be strong and stand up for herself. Even though Maguire has a lot of reason to whine or seem pathetic, she somehow never is, which is an amazing accomplishment by Stokes. Jordy, her love interest, is a total cutie, and the guy I wish I could have dated back in high school. Their chemistry is palpable and totally drives the story. The secondary characters are just as interesting; Jade was a personal favorite (I love a joke she plays on Maguire early on in the novel), but Penn and Kimber are close runner-ups. That said, the most surprising and endearing character is Tom, her stepfather. I teared up in several of his scenes. Who says that YA can't have great parental characters? Stokes has proven this "necessary" trope wrong.

While the book may seem formulaic, the challenges that Maguire creates for herself are exactly what they should be, and are very character driven, not plot driven. And as I am in the medical profession, I was thrilled to see that the medical facts were very accurate and well researched. It's rare to see this bit of verisimilitude.

Overall, another wonderful book from Stokes with realistic and wonderful characters that shine on every page.

And last but not least, you can win this lovely hardcover copy of #GATU courtesy of the best bookstore in the world, Left Bank Books! Sorry, US only!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
post signature