Guest Post: Shannon Greenland, author of Shadow of a Girl

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Hello friends! Today I have an awesome post by Shannon Greenland, author of Shadow of a Girl, which released this week! Check out her own journey to publication below!

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I was never a reader. In fact, if a teacher told me I had to read, it was almost painful. It wasn’t that I couldn’t read. I just didn’t like it. Then one day when I was twenty-five years old, a friend of mine brought me a stack of historical romance novels and said, “Here. Read. You’ll like these.”

With a roll of my eyes, I reluctantly picked one up, flipped a few pages, flipped a few more, and before I knew it, I had read my very first novel and I had enjoyed it! It was Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss.

After that, I was hooked. I read every historical romance my friend had brought me and then I headed over to the library. At twenty-five I had my very first library card. And boy did I use it! I made my way through every historical romance I could find and then moved onto contemporary romance and then landed in romantic suspense. Which is where I fell completely in love. To this day The Troubleshooter series by Suzanne Brockmann is still my favorite.

Six months after that reading binge I picked up a pencil and starting scribbling a novel. It was crap, but I was writing. I was writing! I joined Romance Writers of America, started going to meetings, met tons of other authors, and really began to understand the genre from a writing perspective.

My first published novel was with a small press and it was a romantic suspense. I didn’t have an agent, and really had no clue what I was doing. I knew I wanted an agent, I just didn’t have one. Then one night I was at a writer’s conference sitting in the bar, having a margarita and talking with this lady about a young adult spy series I had percolating around in my brain. Little did I know that lady was an agent who I eventually signed with!

Now years later, I have written romance, adventure, thrillers, adult, young adult, and middle grade novels. When I decided to write a new novel, it did not surprise me in the least that I chose a romance. I had just gotten done writing a couple of adrenaline packed thrillers and needed a switch.

I’ve heard people talk about the “book of their heart” and always thought that was such hokey thing to say until I wrote Shadow of a Girl. This book gutted me (and I mean that in a good way). It took a lot out of me to write it, and I have such a personal connection to the story and to my main character, Eve. If I could reach inside the book and give her a hug I would.

But more importantly, my hero, West. Talk about book boyfriend. He is beyond swoon worthy.

I hope you fall in love with Eve and West and their emotional journey. What I love most about them is that they are each other’s compliment. Eve is very quiet and contained and West is very light-hearted and out there. But there is a reason why they are the way they are… If you get a chance, let me know what you think after you read the story. I’d love to hear from you!

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Thanks so much Shannon!

If you want to find out more about Shannon and her novel, click here!

Read Code Name Verity immediately if you need a good book that’ll make you cry in public

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Code Name Verity

author : elizabeth wein

pages : [paperback] 339

memorable quote It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.

favorite character : verity

summary :

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

review :

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. I loved it so much, I know that I should have taken the time to read it years ago, and yet it just tore my heart open reading it.

Code Name Verity is YA historical fiction at its finest. Honestly, I absolutely love reading about the WWII time period because no two books about it are alike and it seems like I’m constantly unconvering new, interesting facts about the time period and the different people living in it. Like these ladies in Code Name Verity, who aren’t real historical figures but do real, amazing things that real women did. Things that would have most people quaking in their boots and then running in the other direction.

This book was very, very hard to read knowing that it was so realistic. Verity goes through so many terrible, traumatic things and she just needs to keep pushing forward because she knows that one stumble, one misstep, and she’s dead. Even if she does everything perfectly, she may still die because she’s in the hands of Nazi interrogators. They aren’t afraid of finding creatively horrific ways to make her talk.

There are so many twists to this book . . . Even when you think that you have everything figured out, know what will happen, and are reading expecting a certain thing to happen, you’ll be shocked. I know that I was. Some of the twists were happy. Some were so terrible that I cried. Once, I was riding the bus and shed a few tears before I made myself put away the book for the rest of the ride. It’s that captivating and harsh and well-written, it’s impossible not to feel ultimately connected to these women.

I not only have newfound respect for the women pilots and spies that risked, gave, and pledged their lives for the war–for the sake of the world, really–I’m desperate to read more about the true stories behind Code Name Verity. If this fictional account was this amazing, I can’t wait to see how inspiring, shocking, and perfectly unconventional the reality was.

5/5 stars

 

The Graces by Laure Eve was such a weird and awesome book

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The Graces

author : laure eve

pages : [paperback] 432

release date : september 1 2016

favorite character : river

summary :

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.

review :

This book was so different from what I thought it was going to be and I loved it.

River is an odd teenager. She doesn’t really have any friends, had to leave her old town under mysterious circumstances, and has a weird home life. Her mom isn’t around much but she desperately wants River to fit in. So when River begins to hang out with undeniably the weirdest–and for some reason most popular–family in town, she doesn’t specify to her mom that she’s hanging with the Graces. Rumored to be witches, they hardly ever let anyone into their inner circle. But River’s in, and she wants to know all of their secrets.

I think what a lot of people will find difficult to digest about this book is that River is such an unlikable character. But she’s interesting. Her way of thinking is kind of crazy, so you literally have no idea what she’ll do next–or what lengths she’ll go to in order to impress the Graces or gain their trust. She’s determined to be the one person who’s worthy of the Graces’ times, so it’s obvious that she looks down on everyone. I know a lot of people can’t push through characters like her, but it’s so worth it and I loved reading everything from her perspective because everything was slightly twisted.

While I didn’t exactly not see the plot twists at the end coming (well, I’d guessed a few, not all), I was excited that the book took the turn that it did. Because for so much of the book, it was so cool to see how everything that could have been magical could also have just been pure coincidence. It was like reading two books at once-a contemporary and a paranormal–that come together at the end into something awesome.

I’d definitely recommend this book. It’s so different from anything else that I’ve read, the characters and narrative are awesome, and the building plot is so great.

5/5 stars

 

Marvel-ous Mondays: Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur

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Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

author : amy reeder

illustrator : brandon montclare

favorite character : lunella

summary :

Lunella Lafayette is a preteen genius who wants to change the world, but lives in fear of the Inhuman genes inside her! Now, Lunella’s life is turned upside down when a red-scaled beast is teleported from the prehistoric past to a far-flung future we call…today! Together they’re the most Marvelous Team-Up of all — Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur! But will they be BFFs forever, or just until DD’s dinner time? And Lunella soon learns that there are other problems with having a titanic T-Rex as a pet in the modern-day Marvel Universe. School, for one. Monster hunters are another — especially when they’re the Totally Awesome Hulk! Then there’s the fact that everyone’s favorite dino didn’t journey through time alone. Beware the prehistoric savages known as the Killer-Folk — New York City’s deadliest tourists!

Collecting MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #1-6.

review :

This volume was so, so cute! I think I’m in love with Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur’s relationship!

Lunella is exactly the kind of child I know I couldn’t deal with because she’s just too precocious, a little intense, and kind of tends to run full-throttle into a lot of danger. I can really understand why her parents want to keep her safe, ‘normal’, and close to home . . but I can also see why she’s frustrated by this. No one seems to fully understand her. They can’t treat her as a child because of her intellect but they also can’t treat her as an intellect because of her childhood. No one tries to see her as a whole instead of these separate pieces that make her Lunella.

She feels like one of those zany kids from those children’s movies who’re coming up with whacky inventions that will hilariously attack some bad guy. Except what sets her apart is that she’s so smart. She could easily take over the world, if she wanted to. Especially with a dinosaur pal by her side.

I don’t really know where Devil Dinosaur comes from. I don’t know if he was always a thing in the Marvel universe. But he’s so adorable around Lunella and even though he happens to get into a lot of fights, he’s only doing it for good. But dinosaurs are as easily misunderstood, too. Get it? That’s why they have to be BFFs.

I feel like this is the kind of volume that could be enjoyed by anyone. Kids would love it. I definitely loved it. I feel like people older than me would love it, too. It’s a really good story with a lot of heart and I know Lunella is going places. Especially with that ending. That was a really cruel ending because when will I get more?????

5/5 stars

 

Marvel-ous Mondays: X-Men: Civil War

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X-Men: Civil War

author : david hine

illustrator : aaron lopresti

pages : [paperback] 112

summary :

Enough is enough. The tension between the X-Men, the 198 and the O*N*E* has finally reached breaking point. As Civil War rips apart the Marvel Universe, the X-Men also find themselves crumbling from the inside out. Will they admit defeat, or will they finally start to fight back.

review :

This book wasn’t that great for me. I’m new to the Marvel comics, really new to all X-Men who weren’t featured in the movies. I wanted to read this comic because it’s in the Civil War timespan and I’ve slowly been working through all of those comics. Unfortunately this just didn’t work for me.

It was boring, mostly because it made no attempt to explain what was going on. I understand that there weren’t clear sides in this conflict. Everyone is always changing their mind about whether they support the hero registration act, which is good, because it’s kind of a big decision that they shouldn’t be taking lightly. But there were also personal vendettas in here, and divisions among the mutants, and none of them were ever explained. You just kind of have to go with it.

There were also two issues included at the back of this volume on Mutant Town that were included, I think, because they briefly mentioned the registration act. But, taken out of context, they don’t really make much sense. I had no idea who these mutants were, what their abilities were, why they were all angry with each other . . . And after struggling so much through the more closely tied to Civil War I wasn’t really prepared to muddle through these two issues.

I’d recommend this volume only if you’re really familiar with the X-Men universe and everything that’s been going on in it. Otherwise, by itself, it doesn’t stand as a good volume.

3/5 stars

 

Baby Doll by Hollie Overton: should I have DNF’d?

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Baby Doll

author : hollie overton

pages : [hardcover] 281

summary :

For fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, Baby Doll is the most tense thriller you will read this year.

Held captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.

This is what happens next…

…to her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter…and to her captor.

review :

I reeeeeally wanted to love this book. I started it and the concept was really interesting, the characters were gripping, and I was invested in the story. Baby Doll begins with Lily trying to escape from where she’s been held captive for the past eight years, tormented and raising a child with her captor. But this is just the beginning for her.

Baby Doll  . . . tried. I’m not sure at what point I realized that the writing was just terribly not for me. Maybe when it was the pages and pages of whenever Abby, Lily’s twin, would appear and all we would hear about her was that she was “so fat” (though at one point they said she’d put on twenty pounds which, okay, would make a difference, but they harped on it over and over). Abby had real psychological problems that were all hidden behind these vain ramblings. It wasn’t as if the author was trying to keep a little mystery for us to piece together what exactly has been happening to Abby. There is so much telling and not showing, it’s ridiculous.

Things started going downhill pretty quickly. The dialogue was very stilted, the scenarios that came up didn’t seem very realistic. Random things would come out of nowhere–the kind of stuff that could tear families apart or cause real devastation–and be mentioned for only a few pages and then never discussed ever again.

Rick, the captor . . . He was suitably crazy. Because the book rotates between several different POVs, at some points we were able to actually get inside of his head. But during the most important moments of the book, that I won’t spoil in case you want to read it, we get nothing from him. And then it’s over, wrapped up way too neatly in way too few pages.

I was really frustrated with Baby Doll because I started out thinking that I was going to love it. I ended it pretty much rushing through the pages so I could move on to another book instead.

2/5 stars

 

Marvel-ous Mondays: Black Widow Vol 3

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Black Widow Vol. 3: Last Days

author : nathan edmondson

illustrator : phil noto

pages : [paperback] 176

favorite character : nat

summary :

The world has turned against Black Widow. Her web is broken. How will she deal with this? The final path to Chaos is at her feet, but will her own demons keep her from finally taking it? What happened to Isaiah? Can Black Widow still turn to the Avengers, or even to S.H.I.E.L.D.? Natasha wants answers about Chaos and now she has a list of people who have them.

COLLECTING: BLACK WIDOW 13-20

review :

I liked this volume but it wasn’t an entirely satisfying conclusion to this story arc.

The volumes leading up to this have been filled with questions of identity, of loyalty, of how someone can be human if they never allow themselves to get close to others. While Last Days tried to give us a few of Natasha’s answers, she’s too much of an enigma. But there was no happy balance between the mystery and hints at what’s going on inside of her mind. It’s obvious that she’s grown much closer to Isaiah (and her cat) than she’d ever planned to. But her relationships with them, after she’s admitted this to herself, are disappointing. Nothing seems to change.

Nat is innovative as usual. She comes up with great stunts to get herself out of sticky situations and to protect those she (accidentally) cares for. But some of the situations were similar to others in previous issues, which was a little aggravating. Nat of all people wouldn’t fall for the same situation twice, especially when the incidents happen so close together.

I love Nat, and I’m going to keep reading about her, but I wish there was going to be another volume by this team coming out after this. The art is beautiful; I want more of it. But more than that I want a more satisfying conclusion.

4/5 stars