interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Katerina King

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Katerina King, current trilogy writer of witches!

Read below to hear more about her writing journey and where Katerina hopes to take her writing career!

katerina author photo

What is the first thing you remember writing?

I love characters, I love getting to know, developing them, treating them as if they are real people. For some readers, they keep reading depending on the plot or pacing or if the grammar is good or not. But for me as long as the characters were life like and I can relate or connect with them I can keep reading the book and that’s what I hope to convey in my works.

What is your favorite thing to write about?

Witches! Which I guess isn’t shocking considering my entire series and the next eight books after it all have to do with them. Its been an obsession since I was young.

Tell me one of your writing goals.

Finish book two of my trilogy by February of 2020.

Have any particular writers inspired you?

Rick Riordan, which if you don’t know who that is, he is the author of the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus books.

Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

My favorite character that has walked into my headspace is Elijah Hutton and he is the best friend of my main character Scarlette Petrova. He is my favorite because there is such a complex nature to him, he grew up in an overly religious family that he thought was really tight but when he came out of the closet at seventeen he quickly learned that blood wasn’t always as thick as water.

Do you have any writing advice to share with us?

Just keep writing and don’t give up!

What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read… geez. A Twisted Fate by K. A Grayson

Katerina King is a fiction author who spends most of her time in the world of witches. Her debut novel, Malediction, is the first installment of the Ritual of the Court trilogy, which also has a multitude of planned spin-off novels and has just been published via Amazon. The easiest way to connect with her is through her Twitter @_KingKaterina.

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Katerina! I’m excited to check out that trilogy.

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

 

 

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT!An interview with Kay Adams

HELLO FRIENDS! I have a special interview to share with you today. Kay is an aspiring writer, a self-identified space fairy, and Nancy Drew’s biggest fan..

Read below to hear more about her writing inspiration and why dystopian might just be the thing to write about today.

kay

1. What is the first thing you remember writing?

I was obsessed with Nancy Drew books when I was younger (those books inspired me to write), so most of my early works were amateur detective stories that never really had plot. When I got into roleplaying (via the Neopets forums; we were the Original “Be Your Character” players), my friend Josh (@creativelycliche) & I had a years-long sci-fi roleplay that inspired me to delve into the sci-fi genre, but I’ve planted my feet firmly in fantasy now.

2. What is your favorite thing to write about?

Anything with magic. My default genre of choice is Young Adult Fantasy, & I love writing about magic & other worlds & fairies, usually with a dash of religious angst, family drama, & queer characters. Bonus points if stars are involved in any way.

3. Tell me one of your writing goals.

Publish! My dream is to be traditionally published with either my current WIP or The Fallen Star, but I know I have a long way to go to get there. Lots of revising, reworking, rewriting, I’ve been in a writing drought for a few months (due to work & moving & unpacking & life in general), so it’s still a long road ahead.

4. Have any particular writers inspired you?

The foundation for my current writing is a solid mix of V.E. Schwab, Sarah J. Maas, & Leigh Bardugo. Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series started my love of Celtic mythology, & I’ll always be grateful to the Nancy Drew books for starting my love of writing.

5. Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

The MC of The Fallen Star will always hold a special place in my heart, since hers was the first novel I have ever finished. Nova is the (bi & black) magic-less heir to the Throne of Stars, the crown princess of the celestial fairies who rule all of Faery. Her mother, Queen Maeve, abandoned Nova in the mortal realm when she died, leaving Nova without magic & without family. When the monster who killed her mother returns to steal Nova’s throne, Nova is thrown back into a wild world of magic & fairies & traitors & allies, but through it all she tries to remain kind & hopeful. She isn’t going down without a fight, even when tragedy strikes again & it seems more people are fighting against her than with her. I love her & her story & I can’t wait to share it with the world one day.

6. Do you have any writing advice to share with us?

Read, read, read. Read widely, read diversely. Read in your genre, read outside your genre. Read books on the craft. See what your intended audience is saying about current books aimed at them. Don’t ignore sensitivity readers. Read as much as you can, & you’ll always be developing your skill.

7. What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read was Shadow Frost by Coco Ma, though I’m in the midst of reading Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House as of writing this.

ABOUT KAY:

I went to the University of Toronto to study Irish mythology for the sole purpose of incorporating it into my writing. (Should I have gone for something practical, like law or math? No, this was more fun.) Most of my writing so far has involved fairies, so I must have done the right thing. I’m still working on my first series (series title: Throne of Stars) about celestial fairies, religious angst, & dysfunctional families. A couple months ago, I commissioned artist Johannus Steger (@jm_steger) to create a cover for the series’ first novel, The Fallen Star, & now I’m sharing it with you, here, for the first time ever! Look at my star child!

kay book cover

What I’m Currently Working On: I like to pitch my current WIP as WICKED SAINTS meets RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. It’s about 17-year old Kenna, disabled & widowed after the tragic death of her fiance, who is enlisted by the Archivists to protect the world’s most deadliest object – a book cursed by the gods to kill anyone who comes into contact with it. The problem is: Kenna doesn’t believe in the gods. Or the book’s power. Or herself. Things go terribly awry when the book falls into the wrong hands, & Kenna must decide whose life is worth more – hers, or everyone else she has come to care for? It’s about finding a place to belong, something to believe in, something to love again.
Where You Can Find Me: Also this is my face, & you can find me @kaywritesya on Twitter & Instagram or kaxzbrekker on Tumblr, email me at kaywritesya@gmail.com, or browse through my novel aesthetics on my website throneofstars.wordpress.com.

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Kay! I can’t wait to check out those aesthetics!

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Allie Macedo

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Allie–aspiring writer, fellow pantser, a romantic I hope won’t toy with my heart when we eventually get to see her writing!

Read below to hear more about where her writing journey began and how Jane Austen played a role in it.

Allie | Headshots

1. What is the first thing you remember writing?

When I was ten, I discovered my love for procedural television shows. As an outlet for my feelings and wanting to explore the characters that I became close to, I begun writing fanfiction and interacted with storylines through role playing blogs. Those platforms allowed me to build and listen to characters, learn how stories worked, and how to find my voice.

2. What is your favorite thing to write about?

My favorite thing to write is always the romance. I’m such a softy at heart. Give me breathless moments. Give me things that make your heart jump with anticipation and butterflies in your stomach. I love all things love.

3. Tell me one of your writing goals.

I think with all writers who pour their hearts into their craft, the goal of becoming published and having our books on readers’ shelves is always an outstanding goal. A closer achieving goal for me, as a writer, is to honor my characters and the story they are telling me to write.

4. Have any particular writers inspired you?

As a child, Jane Austen’s romances really inspired me. P&P was really the first lengthy chapter book I ever read, and I remember being very young and thinking that if I ever wrote a love story, I would want it to be timeless and classic.

Emily Dickinson inspired me to write without fear, to speak and live on the edge and to display the contents of my heart.

Most recently, Hafsah Faizal, author of We Hunt The Flame. She inspires me to be authentic to myself, show up fully, and write about what is in my heart, not what I think others want to read. She has taught me that the true measure of any story is about heart. That as a writer, you should always strive to create captivating characters who truly care for one another. It can be tough, but being resilient and sticking to how you tell your story will really allow it to shine through.

5. Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

Oh-what a tough question!
I’ll have to go with my character from last years’ NaNoWriMo project: As Above, So Below. She is not my MC, but I do love her dearly. Her name is Giala and she ended up becoming a badass who was willing to go through all the terrible things I threw her way and came out on the other side with grace and resilience.

6. Do you have any writing advice to share with us?

Always “do it afraid.” Do things with your writing that you never thought you would. Stretch your limits. Never feel like you’re reaching the end. Your words are powerful. They contain a magic that only you can conjure. So, keep writing, keep going, even when you’re ready to stop.

7. What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read was “The Beautiful” by Renee Aideh. I’ve always loved her writing and found it was the perfect book for Halloween! Vampires, New Orleans, and a secret society? All the things I love. I gave it 5 big stars!

Allie Macedo (Lanning) is an aspiring author from the great state of Iowa. To the outside world, she is a Customer Service Representative who also volunteers her time as Communications Director for her local LGBTQ+ Pride Organization.

Writing, reading, and talking about her obsessions has been a major role in her life from the very beginning. She has a passion for creating and meeting others through the things she loves. This has allowed her to experience much more of the world than she can being stuck in the fields of Iowa.

She’s currently working on her NaNoWriMo project that she planned at the last moment. Because she’s also a pantser, and once you meet her, you’ll get it.

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Allie! I can’t wait to see where your writing journey takes you.

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

 

 

interview · writer's corner

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Katarina Betterton

HELLO FRIENDS! I have a special interview to share with you today. Katti is an aspiring writer, a wonderful friend, and was a mouse, once upon a time.

Read below to hear more about her writing inspiration and why dystopian might just be the thing to write about today.

KATTI PIC

1. What is the first thing you remember writing?

I started a ton of short stories in elementary and middle school, but the first novel I remember writing was a fantasy-inspired MG novel reminiscent of THE CLIQUE series where a group of rich friends gets whisked away into a magical world during the biggest birthday party of the year.
2. What is your favorite thing to write about?
I love writing dystopian fiction. I think it’s so interesting  create worlds that are an exaggerated version of our own, based on how the world is making decisions right now. The human psyche is also so fascinating to me. There are so many parts of the human experience that you can delve into in a book and play with, especially writing first person.
3. Tell one of your writing goals.
I think my biggest (and most cliche) goal right now is getting published. I’m about to query my first novel and hope I can share my world and characters with more than just my very kind critique partners and very patient family members.
I have a few crazy goals that I’ll share, too. One is to get unsolicited fan art from a reader, and another is for someone to get a significant number from my book tattooed on themselves (I’ll also be getting it tattooed on myself some time soon).
4. Have any particular writers inspired you?
Jay Kristoff is my biggest inspiration. His novel LIFEL1K3 got me back into reading and motivates me to write intricate plots and relationships. The way he describes his worlds, creates characters, and structures the story to surprise you beyond anything you could guess at the very end is the goal to which I will always aspire. I AM OBSESSED JUST A TAD BUT I’M FINE. IT’S FINE.
5. Tell us your favorite character you’ve created.
As much as I love my current WIP’s leading lady (that I will unashamedly admit I’ve based a bit on myself), I love one of the antagonists I’ve written named Cyln (pronounced “Kill-n”). He’s someone you love to hate; you feel bad for him sometimes, but you also root for him to die. He’s been a great vehicle for me to show the dichotomy of good and evil, and how all of us have a choice between right and wrong, but circumstances sometimes force our hands to make decisions we don’t like.
6. Do you have any writing advice to give us?
I have two! One has been said by probably every writer ever, but I love to say it nonetheless. Write. Just write. Keep writing. Even if you’re not working on the same story every day; even if it’s just journaling or a stream of consciousness – keep writing. The world needs your words. My biggest regret in life is giving up on writing for five, nearly six years.
My second piece of advice is to make writing friends. Even if you read your work 100 times over, other eyes will catch mistakes yours don’t. The beauty of books is that everyone experiences a story differently when they read. Every writing friend I’ve made has not only helped me become a better writer, but made my story richer, fuller, and more diverse.
7. What’s the last book you read?
The last book I completed was ILLUMINAE by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. I’m currently reading GEMINA, AURORA RISING, and CARAVAL. I love them all so much that I can’t decide on which one to focus on, which is probably why I’m only 20 pages into each. Don’t tell my TBR that I’m reading three at a time, or they’ll all want a turn.

 

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Katti! Everyone wish her well with her writing journey. We’re here to cheer her on!

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

book event · fiction · young adult

BOOK CON 2019 RECAP

Book Con 2019 took place on June 1 and 2! It was an amazing time, definitely the best one yet, and my fifth time attending the convention. I know that I’m incredibly lucky to be able to go to Book Con, and I was so excited by all that this year would bring!

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Headed to NYC!

This was my first year attending both days of the event, as usually I only go for that Saturday (which I’ve generally heard is the more crowded day and found that to be true)! I’ve never gone to BookExpo, which takes place right before Book Con. One day!

For those of you who weren’t able to attend (or who did and want to see what I was doing throughout the day while you were running to your own events!) here’s a little recap!

DAY 1: JUNE 1

Both days I arrived at the convention center around 8:15, as I didn’t see any real need to get there any earlier and have to wait outside of the building.

The actual day doesn’t start until 10, but waiting in line is a great way to meet fellow book friends (new ones, or ones you may have found through the book community–I had the pleasure of meeting up with many friends from bookstagram over the weekend!).

It’s sort of mass chaos once the floor opens and they let the waiting line of booknerds in. We immediately tried to head to Erin Morgenstern’s signing and just missed getting tickets for it. Penguin was handing them out haphazardly to whoever crowded closest so a little more organization would have been nice. As a consolation, though, they brought over Erin to say hello so we still had the pleasure of meeting her!

Once her line was closed we skipped over to what I initially thought was an arc drop and was technically only half right–it was a signing for Natasha Ngan’s Girls of Storm and Shadow (we got the full arc and I’m still screaming) and a sampler for Kerri Maniscalco’s next book Capturing the Devil. It was so great to meet them and I cannot wait to read!!

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Natasha Ngan was so sweet! She even helped set up this picture so it would be a good shot.

While waiting in that line and directly afterward I had the chance to explore the show floor a little (this is why it’s helpful to have someone in line with you AFTER you’re given tickets, so your place in line is already accounted for) (don’t be that person who meets their friend in line after it was formed an hour ago and makes someone at the end miss out because you line cut!). There are always fun wheels to spin, independent publishers to check out, and cute photo ops.

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No arcs for The Queen of Nothing, but an amazing photo opportunity at the Novl booth!

Because you have to have something to post later on Instagram, right?

Also at the Novl booth I waited to play a game where you pull out a lollipop from a stand and whatever color is on the bottom of the stick, that’s the arc that you win! I was lucky enough to win an arc of A Match Made in Mehendi, and the author, Nandini Bajpai, happened to be there signing books for people who won hers! It was great to meet her.

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a little unfortunate advertisement behind us, but an amazing unexpected signing!

After a break for lunch, I went back at it again. Susan Dennard had a little meetup in the food court area of the convention for fans to hang out and chat.

Then it was time for my autographing tickets–signings I’d been guaranteed before the convention started. If you didn’t know, a few weeks before Book Con you can sign up for two signings per day and have a chance to meet some of the more popular authors. Some of these tickets can be incredibly hard to snag and sell out within seconds!

I was lucky enough to grab a ticket to meet Rachel Hawkins and Melissa de la Cruz. I’ve read their books before and love them, but didn’t actually own any so it didn’t bother me that a book purchase was necessary for the signing. I haven’t read either of the books I ended up getting (Prince Charming and Alex and Eliza) so I’m excited to read!

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Rachel Hawkins calls this her “Golden Girls” dress

After that the line was already forming for my next signing for Eoin Colfer so I decided to join it so I could be toward the front for it. I’m glad that I did, because he definitely took his time chatting to everyone who had tickets for his signing and ended up going over his posted time!

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Anyone else excited for the Artemis Fowl movie?

After that there was time to wander the floor a little more and check out the marketplace (basically a few rows of Etsy-esque shops selling book merch) and random booths like one themed for the Netflix show She-Ra, which holds my heart.

 

DAY 2: JUNE 2

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Day 2 OOTD

Day 2 was definitely less attended BUT the problem with that is there are also less events scheduled. That means the lines were just as long as Saturday’s, because there were less people trying to cram into a lesser number of lines. Some booths were packing up as early as 2PM!

First stop for today was the I Read YA event that took place in the Scholastic Meeting Room. Basically, it’s a magical place where you’re on an assembly line of authors signing their books for you (or in the case with Maggie Stiefvater, a chapter sampler) before you get book swag, and CANDY. I definitely want to do this again next year. You need to get in line imMEDIATELY AS THE SHOW OPENS and the event doesn’t start until 11, but we got 3 arcs, chapter samplers, and the experience of a lifetime ;).

After some lunch and exploring the show floor, I got in line for another lollipop game. This one was hosted by Riveted by Simon Teen and you weren’t guaranteed to win anything. What surer way is there to make a bunch of booknerds angry besides making them wait in a half hour line and possibly come up empty-handed? Luck was on my side however and I picked the lollipop that won me an arc of She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller.

Afterward were my ticketed author signings–Meg Cabot, and Holly Black! I met Holly last year as well and she’s so sweet. Both have written some of my favorite books and it was amazing to get to meet them!

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I take this picture at Book Con every year!

Overall I absolutely loved my Book Con experience. I think I would have loved it even if my focus this year hadn’t been on meeting up with bookstagram friends I wouldn’t otherwise get to see–everything else was kind of an extra bonus on top of that. There are definitely still problems with messy ticketing systems and confusing lines that the convention can work on refining, but I love to see how it has grown every year and can’t wait to see what next year brings! See you May 30 and 31, 2020!

Were you at Book Con this year? Will you go next year? Let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 stars · series · young adult

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo; amazing, astounding, astonishing

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Crooked Kingdom

Six of Crows #2

author : leigh bardugo

pages : [hardcover] 536

memorable quote :

I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together.

favorite character : matthias

summary :

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

review :

I’ve avoided reviewing this book, probably because reflecting on it reminds me that it’s one of the most painful stories I’ve read. Beautifully written, wonderfully executed, and the kind of book that makes me cry so much I kind of resent it.

If you haven’t read Six of Crows, you absolutely need to. Not only because it’s book one in this duology, it’ll be one of the best books you’ve ever read. If you’re a fan of fantasy, or inventive new worlds, or great character novels, or heist schemes, you’ll love this book. Then you’ll crave more of it. These books are incredibly hefty–basically, the length of four books compiled into two. I think the duology option was incredibly smart because there’s no room for “middle book syndrome” here. Just nonstop action. And heartbreak.

I still can’t think of Crooked Kingdom without being filled with a curious mixture of happiness and devastation. It worked for me perfectly, and ensured this duology will remain as one of my favorite reads.

But, you know. No spoilers.

Crooked Kingdom picks up just where Six of Crows left off, introducing even more characters (and a few familiar faces for fans of the original Grisha trilogy. I might have squealed). The plot is so intricate. Kaz Brecker, one of the main characters, is truly a master of twisting things toward his will. Often in painful and unexpected ways–painful for his enemies, of course, not always the reader.

Matthias has always been my favorite. But, honestly, all of the main characters are just very adorable–though I think all of them would kill anyone who called them such to their face, apart from maybe Wylan. I loved how this book delves more into everyone’s backstories. It explains so much, not only their actions from the books but their motivations throughout their entire lives.

The book ends, I believe, with a perfect balance. There is room left to expand and create more stories within the Grisha universe, but this particular story arc is complete. Not all ends of it are happy, but . . you’ll just have to read to find out what happens. Honestly, it’s such a wild ride that even a very detailed spoiler review would take pages and pages and pages to write. Leigh Bardugo is exceptionally talented at weaving these intricate plots together and I love it!

Read it. Please. And then you must discuss with me.

5/5 stars

 

4 stars · young adult

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Afterworlds

author : scott westerfeld

pages : [hardcover] 599

favorite character : darcy

memorable quote Hiding from the truth was worse than being lied to.

summary :

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

review :

I’ve been looking forward to reading Afterworlds ever since it was released. Because it’s a huge book (nearly 600 pages!) I thought that I would need a lot of time to set aside and fully enjoy this novel. Instead, it’s pretty easy to get through because even though it’s told in dual narration both portions of the story are interesting. I’ve never read anything like this before but knew that it had to be great. This is Scott Westerfeld; nothing he ever writes is disappointing.

I do have to admit that toward the end of the book I liked Darcy’s chapters–involving the real world and a glimpse at the inside of the publishing industry from an author’s perspective–more than I did Lizzie’s–where she’s discovering more about herself, her gifts, and the afterlife. I loved reading about Darcy attend things like Book Expo America because that’s something I can clearly picture in my mind and I loved reading her reactions to having to publicize herself. There’s so much that goes into creating excitement for a book and making it perfect before it’s released. Lizzie’s story, on the other hand . . It was gripping at the beginning. There were those first chapters that were awesome–as Darcy and her agent and editor continued to agree on. The rest, I wasn’t so sure that I would have been reading if this novel had been split in two. One for Darcy’s story, one for Lizzie’s. I began to like Lizzie’s half for the little details I could see in it, the changes that Darcy was making to her story because of the people she met in NYC as well as the suggestions others made for editing the story. The romance in it was so insta that it was nonexistent for me. I did like a few unconventional choices that Lizzie made, however, that kept it from being a typical paranormal romance.

I think this is a book that many will love. You just need to get past the intimidating look of it’s bulk. Honestly the pages fly by so quickly, it isn’t difficult to read this in a few days.

Anyone who is interested in writing or publishing will definitely get a kick out of the ways Darcy immerses herself in this world. From YA Drinks Night to having women publishing in her same year referring to themselves as ‘debut sisters’, there are hilarious moments mixed with the anxiety-inducing ones. Such as the expensive nature of living in NYC, the bated breath that comes with waiting for edits to come out, and the clinging fear that remains after finishing one book–because what if that was a fluke and it won’t happen again?

Even though I rented this one from the library, I’m going to buy myself a copy because I’ll definitely reread it in the future.

4/5 stars

3 stars · fiction · young adult

Blackbird by Anna Carey

 

Blackbird

Blackbird Duology #1

author : anna carey

release date : september 16th 2014

pages : [ebook] 256

favorite character : ben

summary :

This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.

On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.

The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.

review :

I haven’t read many books written in the second person so I was fascinated when I heard that Anna Carey’s latest novel was going to be written that way! Of course I needed to find a way to read it. The premise was interesting as well. Typically I believe that the waking amnesiac story has been overdone but I think the fact that it was written in second person and it seemed to be more of a thriller captured my imagination enough for me to give this a shot!

Unfortunately, Blackbird fell short of my expectations. I wasn’t a huge fan of Carey’s writing when I read the Eve trilogy but the plotline there was interesting enough to keep me reading. Blackbird contained the same sparse writing, even though I’d expected so much more substance in a second-person book. I was never fully captivated by the story nor was I wrapped up in Sunny’s tale because I didn’t feel fully connected with the characters.

I also didn’t know that this book was going to be part of a duology . . until I was fifteen pages from the end and realized that things could not possibly be wrapped up by the end of the story. I don’t know whether I’ll read the next book; I’m very disappointed because I feel like the two could have been compressed into an awesome, action-packed story, if the plot hadn’t been dragged out to fit into two novels. It’s so frustrating because I can see the potential, and think perhaps others would enjoy this book more than I would, but the extended plot combined with lacking writing has me so disappointed.

If you’re looking for a thriller, this book does have a few plot twists but isn’t as action-packed as you might hope it is. Honestly, most of the action happens when Sunny is running away from something. While her reactions make sense, they don’t exactly make for an interesting read. The plot twists kept me going for a while; some of them I could predict but I was excited to see how the characters would react once they found out what I’d already assumed to be true.

I might try another one of Carey’s books in the future but I’m beginning to believe that her writing style simply doesn’t mesh with me.

3/5 stars

5 stars · fiction · young adult

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

 

The Vanishing Season

author : jodi lynn anderson

pages : [hardcover] 256

memorable quote The living always think that monsters roar and gnash their teeth. But I’ve seen that real monsters can be friendly; they can smile, and they can say please and thank you like everyone else.

favorite character : maggie

summary :

Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter’s come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I’ve watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I’m the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I’m tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I’m tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don’t know why. I think it’s because death is coming for one of them, or both.

All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.

From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.

review :

I love Jodi Lynn Anderson. Love her writing. I’ve read her children’s books and also Tiger Lily and all of her work is written so well. The Vanishing Season is no different because it’s very gripping and enthralling. I couldn’t put this book down and liked that it was so short because I could read it all in one day, yet I also hated that because it meant I needed to leave that world sooner.

What I really looked for in this book was great characters. Maggie was amazing, flawed, and just really entertaining to follow. She felt like a real person who could have lived down the street from me, had I lived in such an isolated little town. I liked seeing her interactions with the others her age and how they dealt with the deaths that were happening so close to their home. It felt like real reactions: first indifference, then laughing speculation, then paranoia.

What I hadn’t expected to love so much about the novel were the little interludes in between some chapters where the ‘ghost’ of the book would speak. You spend much of the book trying to figure out who this presence was while they were alive, how long they’ve been dead and hanging around this house on Water Street. Eventually I thought that I had the answer, only to have another twist happen that proved me completely wrong. I’m not sure if others would be able to predict it but there are several other twists in the story, so you’ll always be guessing even if you think you’ve figured out what will happen next.

I’d recommend this book to anyone. I got it from the library and I’m going to buy myself a copy so that I can read it again. This book is well-written and has memorable characters. It’s purely a beautiful, touching story that needs to be shared with more people!

5/5 stars

4 stars · romance · young adult

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

 

The Geography of You and Me

author : jennifer e. smith

pages : [hardcover] 337

memorable quote : But there’s no such thing as a completely fresh start. Everything new arrives on the heels of something old, and every beginning comes at the cost of an ending.

favorite characters : lucy & owen

summary :

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

review :

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and it certainly makes me want to pick up more written by her. I don’t usually reach for contemporary books so I typically wait to see which novels other people seem to be raving about before I decide to give them a read as well. I’ve heard such great things about Jennifer E. Smith that I picked up The Geography of You and Me as soon as it appeared in my local library. This story definitely gives a unique twist to a long distance love story.

What I found very interesting about this novel was that neither of the characters suffered from the absent or invisible parent syndrome that usually infects YA novels so the teenage characters are essentially able to do whatever they want, which doesn’t often happen in real life. One of my favorite parts of this book was Owen’s relationship with his father. They’re both trying so hard to be there for each other and to make up for the whole in their family that was left behind when Owen’s mother passed away. I also found Lucy’s family dynamic interesting-though it seemed too many of their family problems were solved immediately.

Communicating through postcards was a really cute idea, though I love that the author discussed the complications and pitfalls that come from speaking to another person only through that medium. Through the postcard messages we get to see in the book, it’s easy to see how similar and yet complexly different the two leading characters are.

One thing I really appreciated about this novel was how nothing was instant except that initial attraction. The two needed to fight to see one another again and when they were apart, needed to decide whether it was worth keeping up the lines of communication. After all, they’d barely known each other before they moved apart. I kept second-guessing what might happen with the two of them, which doesn’t happen often with me and contemporary books.

I’d definitely recommend this cute, quick read!

4/5 stars