Blog Tour: Interview with Lucia DiStefano

Montag, 10. September 2018

Borrowed by Lucia DiStefano
Expected Publication: November 1st 2018 by Elephant Rock Productions, Inc.
Number of Pages: 264 Pages (Paperback)
Series: No

  Love, mystery, and danger collide in this new literary thriller with the dark heart of a Gillian Flynn novel and the lyrical prose of Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun.
   An triumph of authenticity, grace, and nail-biting suspense, Lucia DiStefano's ingenious debut is an unflinching, genre-bending page-turner.
   As seventeen-year-old Linnea celebrates the first anniversary of her heart transplant, she can't escape the feeling that the wires have been crossed. After a series of unsettling dreams, inked messages mysteriously appear on her body, and she starts to wonder if this new heart belongs to her at all.
   In another Austin neighborhood, Maxine braces for a heartbreaking anniversary: her sister Harper's death. Between raising her brothers and parenting her grief-stricken mother, Max is unable to ignore her guilty crush on Harper's old flame or shake her lingering suspicion that her sister's drowning wasn't really an accident. With Harper as the sole connection, Linnea and Maxine are soon brought together in fantastic and terrifying ways as the shocking truth behind Harper's death comes to light. (goodreads.com)

   Today I'm really excited to bring you an interview I did with Lucia about Borrowed. Honestly, I loved this book (find my review here) and was really excited when I got to exchange a few emails with her and also do this interview. I'm always curious to find out more about the authors behind the books I enjoy, so I hope you'll enjoy this one as much as I did. Thank you also to Elephant Book for this opportunity and to Lucia for taking the time to answer my questions!

Interview with Lucia DiStefano

   1 – Describe Borrowed with a haiku (or twitter pitch).
   The heart she carries
   --not the heart she was born with--
   will carry her home

   2 – What sparked the idea for Borrowed?
   I've always been fascinated by the topic of personal identity and how malleable it may or may not be. When I heard about the phenomenon of cellular memory in heart transplant patients (how aspects of the donor's personality might make it into the recipient's psyche), I knew I wanted to work it into a story somehow.

   3 – What was the most challenging about writing this story and which scene was the most fun to write?
   The most fun was definitely the scene between Linnea and Daniel in the bakery. I loved how Linnea was both nervous and bold, and I loved how sweet Daniel was toward her (pun intended...there were cupcakes involved, after all). The most challenging was the cabin scene in the third act. I realize there are technically several scenes that take place in a cabin, but the one that was the hardest to write will always be "the" cabin scene to me.

   4 – What do you like most and least about your main characters, Linnea and Maxine?
   Linnea: I like her perseverance most, and how she doesn't let her medical history define her future. I think at times she can be self-absorbed, though (I can say the same about myself!), so I think that's what I like least.
   Maxine: What jumps out at me most about Max, and what I like best, is how fiercely she loves her family, and how responsibly she cares for her little brothers. What I like least is that she has a tendency to be less than forthcoming, and one of the secrets she kept before her sister's death comes back to haunt her afterwards.

   5 – In retrospective, is there anything that you’d change about the story or are you happy with the way it turned out in the end?
   As happy as I was to type "the end," I tend to be one of those perpetual revisers. I would love nothing more than an opportunity to revise annually (ha...I know publishing doesn't work that way). With that said, though, I am happy with the final product. I worked hard, and Jotham, my amazing editor, worked hard, and he prepared me for the time when we'd have to stop massaging the manuscript. So if I did have the chance to keep reworking, I think it would be small stuff. Sometimes a phrase or a detail will pop into my head and I'll think, "Dang, I wish I had included that in the novel!"

   6 – How much research did you have to do to write the story both in terms of all the wonderful sweet pastries mentioned throughout the story, but also about heart transplantation and cellular memory? Was it important to you to stay true to reality, or did you focus more on using it in a creative manner to tell this certain type of story?
   Because I wanted the look at cellular memory to be more "what if?" than hard science, I tried not to get bogged down in too much research. There is much anecdotal evidence of cellular memory, especially with heart transplant patients, but because it's difficult or impossible to confirm it or explain it within the current bounds of science, it's still hanging out in that nebulous gray area. So I started with the germ of cellular memory, but I used creative license (and suspension of disbelief) to think of a scenario even more dramatic than any I'd read about.
   Oh, and the sweets: I love to bake. And eat. So that part was pure, self-indulgent fun!

   7 - What are some of your favorite books?
   Ah, my favorite question, and yet one of the hardest to answer (unless I can stay here all week!). Because it feels impossible to narrow the list of my fave novels enough to respond succinctly, I'll instead limit my choices to books on the creative life. My favorites in that category: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

   8 – Do you have a writing routine or do you write whenever creativity strikes?
   My day job is ghostwriter, so I'm always writing in some fashion (and I certainly can't wait for the muse to arrive before working on projects for my clients). I try to work on my own personal projects first thing in the morning, before I turn my attention to the work-for-hire assignments.

   9 – What advice could you give aspiring authors?
   Approach writing with the mindset of 'play,' and you just may surprise yourself (and you'll likely have much more fun, too).

   10 – If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
   Ah... bionic hearing. Think of all the quirky snippets of dialogue I'd pick up that way!

Pre-order

Check out the rest of the blog tour for Borrowed:
August 1: Cover reveal at YA Interrobang
September 4: Review at Alice Reeds
September 10: Author interview at Alice Reeds
September 24: Cover reveal at BubblersRead
October 15: Review at BubblersRead
October 21: Author interview at YA Outside the Lines
November 5: Author interview at BubblersRead
November 12: Author guest post at BubblersRead
And more to come!

Review: Borrowed by Lucia DiStefano

Dienstag, 4. September 2018

Borrowed by Lucia DiStefano
Expected Publication: November 1st 2018 by Elephant Rock Productions, Inc.
Number of Pages: 264 Pages (Paperback)
Series: No

  Love, mystery, and danger collide in this new literary thriller with the dark heart of a Gillian Flynn novel and the lyrical prose of Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun.
   An triumph of authenticity, grace, and nail-biting suspense, Lucia DiStefano's ingenious debut is an unflinching, genre-bending page-turner.
   As seventeen-year-old Linnea celebrates the first anniversary of her heart transplant, she can't escape the feeling that the wires have been crossed. After a series of unsettling dreams, inked messages mysteriously appear on her body, and she starts to wonder if this new heart belongs to her at all.
   In another Austin neighborhood, Maxine braces for a heartbreaking anniversary: her sister Harper's death. Between raising her brothers and parenting her grief-stricken mother, Max is unable to ignore her guilty crush on Harper's old flame or shake her lingering suspicion that her sister's drowning wasn't really an accident. With Harper as the sole connection, Linnea and Maxine are soon brought together in fantastic and terrifying ways as the shocking truth behind Harper's death comes to light. (goodreads.com)

* Thank you to Elephant Rock Books for providing me with an 
eARC in exchange for my honest review *

   Borrowed was nothing like what I expected it to be, and I mean that in the best way possible. This is a tale of grief, life, bodily autonomy, toxic masculinity, and survival told through the eyes of fascinating protagonists in a story filled with thrill and plot twists.

   The story starts out innocent enough with a feeling of coming-of-age and a look into the lives of two girls one year after one lost her sister and the other got a second chance thanks to a heart transplant. But, soon the story begins to twist and turn, accompanied by a writing style that will capture you and won't let you go until you're done. I had a couple of guesses along the way for what would happen next or who did it, but I never got it quite right and there were many things I didn't see coming, which I always appreciate.

   Linnea and Max were great protagonists and I loved getting to know them better, see Max trying her best to keep her family alive, take care of her younger brothers and her mother, and Linnea wishing to become a proper pastry chef and go to school for it. Both had distinct voices, making it easy to differentiate between their chapters even if you forgot which name was at beginning, and sounded their age.
   Ezra, Daniel, and Chris were also very different and played varyingly big roles in the story leaving me wishing we could've gotten to know some more than others. Some were the types of guys you'd want to date, or see your sister date, and others the very type you'd never want to come across even in your worst nightmares. But, that's the reality of things, men like the monster in this story exist and they are even more horrifying in reality than a story can make them seem.

   I've read Borrowed in less than two days and I've absolutely loved it. Lucia's writing style and way with words was captivating and enchanting, simple at times yet more than enough overall without giving you multi-paragraph descriptions or on the nose explanations, instead making you see what's between the lines and putting the pieces together right along with the characters. The story also taught me something I didn't know before about heart transplantation and cellular memory, which was both incredibly interesting and creepy. 
   I'm really happy I got to read this book early and spread the word about it because it's amazing and I recommend it to everyone, though there are a few trigger warnings that probably should get mentioned for violence, and especially violence against women (psychological as well as physical), so if you're sensitive to that, please be careful or come back to it at a different time.
I give Borrowed by Lucia DiStefano 5 out of 5 stars.

Pre-order

Check out the rest of the blog tour for Borrowed:
August 1: Cover reveal at YA Interrobang
September 4: Review at Alice Reeds
September 10: Author interview at Alice Reeds
September 24: Cover reveal at BubblersRead
October 15: Review at BubblersRead
October 21: Author interview at YA Outside the Lines
November 5: Author interview at BubblersRead
November 12: Author guest post at BubblersRead
And more to come!

ECHOES IS OUT NOW

Dienstag, 7. August 2018

   On March 21st 2017 I announced that I signed with Entangled Teen and after more than a year of rewriting, outlining, brainstorming, and waiting, the day has finally come! My YA mystery Thriller, Echoes, is finally out today and you can get it online or in stores (if you're in the US or Berlin, Germany). All the links will me at the bottom of this post.

   For a very long time I've dreamed of seeing this very story on shelves and being read by people, receiving positive reviews and just pulling readers into its spell. I'm so happy I didn't shelf this manuscript and instead gave it another chance and that it's finally here. It took over 3 years, but it was more than worth all the hours of 'lost' sleep, anxiety, nerves, and creative elation. 

   Yesterday I actually went to Dussmann / The English Bookshop in Berlin, Germany, to sign the copies of Echoes they had in stock. It was a surreal experience that I can barely put into words properly. Seeing something you worked so hard on in a bookstore just waiting for someone to pick it up and buy it, it's amazing and mind blowing. I couldn't stop smiling while I signed book after book, though I was also worrying that I might spell my name wrong or my signature might turn out ugly haha. 

   This entire experience was simultaneously everything I wanted it to be, so exciting and fun, but also extremely scary and downright terrifying. Launching a book, waiting for the release day to come, it's something I still can't properly put into words. My feelings were torn, all over the place, a wild cocktail of simultaneously wanting for the day to just finally be there while also hoping to have just a little more time, to prepare some more. But then, the day is finally here, and it feels like I signed the contract just yesterday.

   But, at the end of the day, this book wouldn't be a book without a number of people helping me along the way and making this dream a reality, and this experience so much fun despite also being endlessly terrifying, so I think it would only be appropriate if I'd say thank you:

   Thank you to my brilliant team at Entangled Teen. Everyone did an amazing job at answering all my questions (no matter how silly or long my emails), setting up interviews and guest posts, blog tours and getting ARCs into people's hands. THANK YOU for everything you've done for me and I can't tell you just how happy I am that I got to work with all of you.

   I couldn't have done this without my mom and her endless support in form of words of encouragements, an infinite supply of coffee, brainstorming with me, or just letting me talk at her until I found whatever solution I was looking for. I love you so much!

   A big thank you also goes to my CP, Mia, for her marvelous feedback and help while I was trying to get Echoes up to speed, for all her encouragements and DMs. Thank you for being a wonderful friend and making me feel like I can do it even when I wasn't so sure. The same also goes to you, Judi. You're amazing and a kickass friend and mentor. Thank you for being there for me.

   And finally, my friends (y'all know who you are you amazing beings) who didn't give up on me despite how much time I spent writing and working instead of answering texts or getting with them. Y'all are amazing and I am grateful for everything you've done for me. Cheers to more years of friendship!

   They wake on a deserted island. Fiona and Miles, high school enemies now stranded together. No memory of how they got there. No plan to follow, no hope to hold on to.

   Each step forward reveals the mystery behind the forces that brought them here. And soon, the most chilling discovery: something else is on the island with them.

   Something that won't let them leave alive.

Add on GoodReads

Amazon (US / UK / CAN / AUS / DE) // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository



Mini Reviews #1

Mittwoch, 13. Juni 2018

All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Published: May 15th 2018 by HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 432 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.
   Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.
   Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . . . (goodreads.com)

   This story was wild, there is no other way to put it. It was also highly addictive. I was certainly intrigued by the premise of four teens befriending their favorite author (I mean that's kind of the dream, isn't it?) and things turning out not quite how they expected or hoped it would in the end. I really enjoyed the way the story was told through both interviews and excerpts from Fatima's new book, and the way you could see all the pieces coming together. It was fascinating to see how Fatima manipulated herself into the heads of those teens and made herself appear like their best friend and so interested in what they had to say and what was going on in her lives while knowing the reason why, and also how it made all of them feel and how they looked on it later on.
   This was the first time I read anything by Lygia Day Peñaflor and I really loved it. Despite my reading slump this year, I just couldn't put it down and finished it in about a day or two. I highly recommend it.
I give All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor 5 out of 5 stars.

* * *

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Published: September 7th 2017 by Walker Books
Number of Pages: 290 Pages (Paperback)
Series: No

   Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?
   Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.
   Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.
   But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?
   Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . . (goodreads.com)

   This book was certainly not what I expected it to be based on the description, but I was blown away by the story and how it unfolded. It alternates between emails and Romy's narration and it builds slowly, things come together piece by piece, the tension rises at the perfect pace, and it's also mixed with a bit of space science and a study on the mind when you're literally the only person in a radius of years instead of miles.
   I liked the fact that Romy sounded her age, but that her mind and knowledge also showed that she really could be someone born in space and training to be fit for the mission she was born into. Seeing her get to know J and also her love for her favorite show and even the (slightly cringy) fan fics she wrote for them, it was so much fun. But it was also genuinely thrilling, creepy, and downright terrifying, especially in the second half, even more than just thinking about being alone day and night for years on a spaceship. 
   Absolutely amazing read full of twists and turns and mind games.
I give The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James 5 out of 5 stars.

* * *

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Published: May 30th 2017 by Greenwillow Books
Number of Pages: 385 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.
   In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.
   Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.
   But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. (goodreads.com)

   Francesca Zappia is one of my auto buy authors, though I'll admit that it took me way too long to actually pick this one up and read it. I absolutely loved her debut, Made You Up, and I loved this one just as much, though for different reasons.

“I made Monstrous Sea because it's the story I wanted. 
I wanted a story like it, and I couldn't find one, so I created it myself.”

   The idea of being someone whose art and story can spark such a vast interest, create a fandom and be something you can live off of, that's the dream of every author and artist, isn't it? So it was fascinating to actually read about a character like that, see how she sees her fame, how reluctant she is to claim it, show who she truly is, her doubts and worries, and how her friendship forms with someone who is an actual real life fan of her web comic. I loved Eliza and Wallace, how reluctant Eliza was at first to interact with him and what a beautiful thing became of it, how she didn't judge him for the fact that writing came easier to him than speaking, and all these other small things.
   The fact that the art in the book came from Francesca was even cooler so kudos to her for doing it. Both the main story, and the snippets we saw of Eliza's web comic, were absolutely fantastic and I can only recommend this book to everyone. Read it, you won't regret it.
I give Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia 5 out of 5 stars.

Review - Neanderthal Opens The Door To The Universe by Preston Norton

Freitag, 11. Mai 2018

Neanderthal Opens The Door To The Universe by Preston Norton
Published: May 22nd 2018 by Disney-Hyperion
Number of Pages: 400 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Cliff Hubbard is a huge loser. Literally. His nickname at Happy Valley High School is Neanderthal because he's so enormous-6'6" and 250 pounds to be exact. He has no one at school and life in his trailer park home has gone from bad to worse ever since his older brother's suicide.
   There's no one Cliff hates more than the nauseatingly cool quarterback, Aaron Zimmerman. Then Aaron returns to school after a near-death experience with a bizarre claim: while he was unconscious he saw God, who gave him a list of things to do to make Happy Valley High suck less. And God said there's only one person who can help: Neanderthal.
   To his own surprise, Cliff says he's in. As he and Aaron make their way through the List, which involves a vindictive English teacher, a mysterious computer hacker, a decidedly unchristian cult of Jesus Teens, the local drug dealers, and the meanest bully at HVHS--Cliff feels like he's part of something for the first time since losing his brother. But fixing a broken school isn't as simple as it seems, and just when Cliff thinks they've completed the List, he realizes their mission hits closer to home than he ever imagined. (goodreads.com)

* Thank you to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing me with 
an eARC in exchange for my honest review *

   Neanderthal Opens The Door To The Universe is a marvelous read about grief, friendships, the struggles of high school and the ups and downs of life narrated with an authentic sounding teenage voice filled with pop culture references, funny but also heartfelt, thoughtful moments.

   Cliff and Aaron are fascinating and multi-faceted characters and their friendship was crazy and unique from beginning to end. Their conversations and the situations they get into together are hilarious but also scary at times, but luckily everything works itself out in the end, even if the way there is filled with twists and doubts. Their relationships with the other characters were interesting and watching them evolve over time was amazing. Cliff and Tegan were great together, the nerd squad with their love of all things geeky and debates about Apple were brilliant but also so true to life, Aaron and Lacy definitely had a lot of issues they certainly needed to work through but watching it all slowly happen over the course of the book was great. Nothing felt rushed or forced or unrealistic.

   As previously mentioned the voice of the narrator, being Cliff, was incredibly on point and perfectly represented a sixteen year old boy's thoughts and reasonings. They were a bit weird and wtf inducing at times, but that's how teenagers are, not every decision they make is perfect, or even reasonable at times. Honestly I loved Cliff as narrator and seeing him slowly grow, evolve, learn and change across the story was amazing, his character arc perfectly and realistically paced.

   I can easily say that Neanderthal Opens The Door To The Universe was one of my favorite 2018 releases and I'm really happy I got a chance to read it way earlier. It's one of those contemporary stories that, upon first glance, seem silly or just plain dumb, like some sort of comedy no one will take serious, but this story is so much more than that. I highly recommend it.
I give Neanderthal Opens The Door To The Universe by Preston Norton 5 out of 5 stars.

On writer pressure and self care

Mittwoch, 9. Mai 2018

   Hey everyone!

   Today I want to write about something a little different. Usually I'm all about blog tours, reviews or interviews, but I recently had a few amazing conversations with writer friends about the daily pressures we put on ourselves to write more, faster, better, so I thought why not write a post/discussion about it.

   When asked, I'm the sort of person who will immediately tell you to not stress yourself out about writing on a daily basis too much, to take it easy and have fun with it. But, unfortunately, when it comes to applying that same idea to myself, it's a struggle. On certain days I feel like if I don't write 2-3k words, it's a wasted day and that I'm a failure, that I should just quit because I will never be good enough.

   That, of course, is very counterproductive. I know that, you know that, everyone does, but it's easy to get caught up in such a mindset. If I don't write XYZ amount of words, what even am I doing.

Setting realistic word count goals

   This is something I feel like is very important. A goal is something you can work toward and that will give you this feeling of satisfaction and having achieved something once you reach it. But, it's very easy to set that goal much too high and start to panic when you're having one of those days when the words aren't coming to you easily or you just feel too exhausted to write due to other things going on in your life.

   As a good friend of mine said, it's better to set a small goal that you can use as motivation and know that step by step the story will get done eventually, instead of just not writing at all because you're too afraid of not hitting your target word count goal. If you set it as 200 or 500 words, that's usually an amount that's more than doable on a daily basis. It's easy to tell yourself just sit down and write 200 words, it won't take long but you'll know you wrote something, and once you hit those 200 words, chances are you'll feel good about yourself and motivated to continue.

   Meanwhile if you sat your goal as 3k or the world will end, it will become this daunting thing looming over your head like some kind of monster. Instead of being something you enjoy, writing will become more of a chore, something you dread and that makes you anxious, and that's not good, right? Plus, compared to 200 words, 3k takes far more time. 200 words is something you can quickly write during your break at work, in public transport or even while on the toilet, quick and easy. With 3k, yeah, not so much.

Be kind to yourself

   This one can be hard sometimes, especially in the era of social media and twitter when you follow all these other writers who seemingly always write more than you do and, instead of seeing it as motivation or something to work yourself up to, it turns into only more reasons of why you start to feel like a loser compared to them. But in all of it you have to remember that everyone has different lives. While some authors write full time and are able to dedicate the better part of their day to writing, others don't have that luxury, have to work or take care of their family. Does that mean they are less of a writer because their circumstances don't allow them to write as much as full time authors? No, of course not.

   It's easy to lose yourself in this idea that you have to be like your favorite authors, that you have to be able to write X amount of books every year, but really, do you?

   It's okay to find a routine that works for you, to allow yourself to have worse days where you only write a little bit or nothing at all and not see those days as wasted. Sometimes our brain and creativity just need a break and that's totally fine. You will have better days, and not so good days, and that's completely okay. Instead of seeing a seemingly low word count as waste of time or something that makes you a lesser writer, see them as successes. You've written something, and isn't that much better than not having written anything at all?

   Maybe it will take you longer to write that first draft if you 'only' write 200 words every day but eventually that draft will be completed. Who cares if it takes longer, it's still something many people will never achieve, and if you are kind to yourself, you will feel much better along the way. Sure, writing 3k or more on a daily basis looks great as twitter updates, I would know, but putting that kind of pressure on yourself, it will only do more harm than good in the long run.

The moral of the story

   Find whatever works for you and don't compare yourself to others, especially full time authors. If you're slower than them, that's completely fine. If you 'only' have time to write for an hour or less every day, that's still amazing. If you wrote 'just' 200 words, that's still 200 words more than you had yesterday. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to see even small things as successes instead of shortcomings and set yourself goals that are achievable so they will motivate you instead of stressing you out.

   I struggle with this a lot myself and I'm trying to get better at it, so maybe, writing this and sharing my thoughts will remind me, too, that I should be kind to myself, and that every new word is one word more than I had yesterday.

   Writing books isn't a race.

Cover reveal: Star-Crossed by Pintip Dunn

Montag, 2. April 2018


   As you guys know I love Pintip Dunn's writing ever since I first read Forget Tomorrow. I've loved that trilogy and everything else she wrote, so when I heard she had a new book coming out later this year and that I could help reveal the cover, of course I couldn't say no. So, thanks to Entangled Teen, I am bringing you the amazing cover for Star-Crossed:


Star-Crossed by Pintip Dunn
Expected Publication: October 2nd 2018 by Entangled Teen
Number of Pages: 400 Pages (Hardcover)

   Only one can survive...

add-to-goodreads

Amazon | B&N | iBooks

About the Author

   Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. Pintip's debut novel, FORGET TOMORROW, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. In addition, it is a finalist for the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, the Japanese Sakura Medal, and the MASL Truman Award. THE DARKEST LIE was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her other books include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, the novella BEFORE TOMORROW, and GIRL ON THE VERGE. She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. 

Excerpt and giveaway: True Storm by L. E. Sterling

Mittwoch, 28. März 2018


   Today I'm bringing you a short but very exciting excerpt from L.E. Sterling's upcoming release, True Storm, which is the third and final book in the True Born trilogy and comes out May 1st 2018. Additionally, if you live in the US, check out the giveaway below for a paperback copy of True Born, the first book in this trilogy!

True Storm by L.E. Sterling
Expected Publication: May 1st 2018 by Entangled Teen
Number of pages: 400 Pages (Hardcover)

   Lucy’s twin sister, Margot, may be safely back with her—but all is not well in Plague-ravaged Dominion City. The Watchers have come out of hiding, spreading chaos and death throughout the city, and suddenly Lucy finds herself under pressure to choose her future: does it lie with her handsome new friend, Alastair; her guardian, the enigmatic True Born leader Nolan Storm; or the man who makes her heart trip, her savage True Born bodyguard Jared Price?
   But while Lucy ponders her path, fate has other plans. Betrayal is a cruel lesson, and the Fox sisters can hardly believe who is behind the plot against them. To survive this deadly game of politics, Lucy is forced to agree to a marriage of convenience. But is the DNA of her will stronger than the forces opposing her? Can she turn the tide against the oncoming storm??
   As they say in Dominion, can rogue genes ever have a happy ending? (goodreads.com)

   And now, are you ready for the excerpt...? Well, here it is:

   His hands still on my face. “I’m sorry,” I manage to say, trying to control a nervous need to giggle like a hyena. “Are we fighting? Maybe I didn’t notice because it’s all we ever seem to do.”
   A wicked grin lights his features. “That’s not all we seem to do,” he whispers, seconds before he replaces his thumb with his lips.
   It’s a soft kiss at first, tentative. Like someone asking your name. But it lights me up, sending fire shooting through my body, heat curling through my belly. I must sigh because Jared pulls back for just a moment, a question in his eyes and hunger written all over him. Then he claims my lips again, holding my face in his hands as the earth spins away from me.

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Want to read more? Pre-order your copy of True Storm by L.E. Sterling today!
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About the Author

   L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance to which she remained faithful even through an M.A. in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature – where she completed a thesis on magical representation. She is the author of two previous novels, the cult hit YA novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick), dubbed “the Catcher in the Rye of a new generation” by one reviewer, and the urban fantasy Pluto’s Gate. Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van with her father, a hippie musician, her brothers and an occasional stray mutt – inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sonntag, 18. März 2018

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Expected Publication: April 24th 2018 by Wednesday Books
Number of Pages: 352 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.
   Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
   Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
   She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating. (goodreads.com)

* Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for providing me with 
an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion *

   That cover, along with the description and the fact that it's a viking inspired YA Fantasy story? I was immediately hooked, and very happy when I saw that I got approved for an ARC. I've never read a book like this before, one that stepped away from your typical fantasy setting of kings and castles and witches, and instead followed two different clans and their beliefs and mentalities.
   Unfortunately I didn't love this nearly as much as I hoped I would, which isn't to say that I disliked it, which I didn't, but certain parts just fell really flat for me. I enjoyed finding out more about the Aska and the Riki, about what made them different, why they fought each other, about Eelyn and the pain she felt over losing her brother, Iri, the bond between her and her clan and her god, Sigr. It was fascinating, and felt different from the stories I've read before this one.
   The world building was intriguing and lush, filled with little details that made the world feel full and lived in. The different rituals and traditions were interesting to read about, as well as the Scandinavian inspired setting.

   A problem I did have was that basically the first half of the story felt like the plot was just kind of happening around Eelyn and she was just kind of dragged along, angry and crying, wanting to do something but not really doing anything to achieve that. It simply felt very reactive. In the last 40% of the book that did change, at least to a certain extend, but something just didn't click for me about Eelyn and her character for a while. She was interesting, don't get me wrong, but there was just so much crying and anger that didn't really do anything much. Of course you can be a fierce warrior and cry, that's totally fine and normal, everyone has a wide range of emotions, but just the sheer amount of it kind of contradicted what she was trying to be portrayed as.
   Fiske was an interesting character, very stoic and hard, harsh and quiet. I liked the scenes between him and Eelyn, as well as Iri. Finding out about how Iri even ended up with the Riki to begin with, how he survived and what happened across the years, it was nice.
   I also liked some of the secondary characters, but most I really didn't care about or didn't trust because of certain signs, that ultimately didn't lead anywhere which was a bit unfortunate. The romance was subtle enough and felt fine, not really the type of romance I'd scream about and swoon but that's okay. The story wasn't about the romance, it was about the clans and fighting and action.

   Speaking of which, Sky in the Deep was very action packed with a lot of fight scenes and blood and chaos. I will admit that at some point I felt tempted to skim some of them because some of those fight scenes just stretched a little too much for my liking and to hold my attention, but I didn't do it. I still read them.
   The writing style was very nice and I enjoyed it a lot. I liked some of the language that was used in the story, the Scandinavian sounding names and places. It made everything come together nicely.

   All in all I enjoyed Sky in the Deep and I would recommend it, even though it wasn't quite what I hoped it would be. I read most of it in one sitting since it's not that long and a relatively quick read. So if you're interested in some YA fantasy with a viking setting, this might be for you.
I give Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Cover reveal: Echoes

Montag, 12. März 2018


   I'm beyond excited for this day, I can't even begin to describe how much I've been waiting to finally be able to reveal the cover for ECHOES. Eleven months ago I signed with Entangled and now the cover is finally here. 
   The cover is honestly everything I ever hoped for and so much more. It fits the story perfectly, the color scheme and general aesthetic is perfect and it just mirrors the mood of the story wonderfully. The cover designers at Entangled Teen did a brilliant job and I honestly couldn't be happier.
   So, without further ado, here is the cover for ECHOES, my YA Thriller!


Echoes by Alice Reeds
Expected Publication: August 7th 2018 by Entangled: Teen
Number of Pages: 400 Pages (Paperback)
Genre: YA Thriller
Pre-order: 
Amazon US / DE / CA 
Book Depository
Barnes and Nobel

   "Fast-paced and thrilling. ECHOES is a heart-pounding and addictive love story." —Mia Siegert, author of Jerkbait
   They wake on a deserted island. Fiona and Miles, high school enemies now stranded together. No memory of how they got there. No plan to follow, no hope to hold on to.
   Each step forward reveals the mystery behind the forces that brought them here. And soon, the most chilling discovery: something else is on the island with them.
   Something that won't let them leave alive.
   Echoes is a thrilling adventure about confronting the impossible, discovering love in the most unexpected places, and, above all, finding hope in the face of the unknown.

   What do you think? Let me know all your thoughts about the cover in the comments below, or via twitter (@Alice_Reeds), because I'm super curious to know if you love the cover just as much as I do. I honestly can't wait for you to read the book in August!