Blog Tour: Interview with Emily A. Duncan (Wicked Saints)

Sonntag, 7. April 2019


   Hi everyone!
   Welcome to my stop of the Wicked Saints blog tour! This book was one of my most anticipated/I'm most curious about for 2019, which doesn't really come as surprise to anyone at this point, does it, since you know I like dark and twisted stories. And, as Slav myself, I'm always interested in Slavic stories or ones inspired by Slavic cultures, folklore, mythology, and our beautiful countries. Thank you to Wednesday Books for giving me the opportunity of being part of this and sharing a small interview with Emily with you. But, before we get into that, let's check out the book first!

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
Published: April 2nd 2019 by Wednesday Books
Number of Pages: 385 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: Yes, #1 in the Something Dark and Holy Trilogy

“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love
ends up being the nightmare.” - Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen
   A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.
   A prince in danger must decide who to trust.
   A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 
   Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.
   In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light.
   Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy. (Goodreads.com)

Interview with Emily

   When developing the plot and world of Wicked Saints, why did you decide to create two
countries inspired by Poland and Russia, besides the obvious historical conflicts between them
in real life?
   It was because of the historical conflict between them in real life! I had a book about the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-20 and that was what seeded the idea in my brain. Obviously this book isn’t remotely Soviet, it’s far further back and more anachronistically medieval, but that was where it all started.

   What was the easiest and what the hardest part about writing Wicked Saints, and has the story changed over time or did the plot and arcs stay more or less the same from first idea to final manuscript?
   The hardest part of this book was just making it work. The first draft had no Tranavia, no Serefin, no Malachiasz, and no, uh, anything but Nadya, Rashid, and a handful of gods. Then there were drafts with Tranavia and Serefin, but no Malachiasz (these were particularly bad). It wasn’t until I had been toying with the book for a few years that I got a full draft out of it and once I figured out what was missing (it was Malachiasz) it all came together. It was never an easy book to write, by any means, but it’s always been fun.

   How excited and/or nervous are you that soon everyone will be able to walk into a bookstore (or visit the online retailer of their choice) and buy your book?
   It’s definitely both excited and nervous! I love this book, but moreover this cast of characters, a lot and I’ve poured many years of work into it and I’m really excited for it to be out in the world. And for everyone to meet my monster kids. They're weird, I'm a big fan.

About the Author

   EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.


   Thank you so much for reading and don't forget to check out Emily and her book. If you decide to read it, let me know because I'm curious of your thoughts! 

What I read in January 2019

Sonntag, 31. März 2019

   Hi Everyone!
   Am I late to writing this by like 2 months? Yes. Am I writing this right now because I'm stalling on finishing my preparations for Camp NaNo? Maybe. But hey, better late than never, right? For the fact that I originally set 5 as my Goodreads goal for 2019 (I've changed in to 10 by now, but I think I'll raise it to 20), I'm doing an okay job so far. My reviews have also gotten much shorter so I thought I'll post monthly reviews up instead of separate ones. For some books I've also decided against assigning star ratings.
   ANWAY, enough talking lets jump into what I read in January!

Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus
Published: January 10th 2019 by Penguin
Number of Pages: 327 Pages (Paperback)
Series: No

   Ellery's never been to Echo Ridge, but she's heard all about it. It's where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen's murder five years ago made national news. And where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab. No one knows what happened to either girl, and Ellery's family is still haunted by their loss.
   Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen's death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace. His mother's remarriage vaulted her and Malcolm into Echo Ridge's upper crust, but their new status grows shaky when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again. No one has forgotten Malcolm's brother-and nobody trusts him when he suddenly returns to town.
   Ellery and Malcolm both know it's hard to let go when you don't have closure. Then another girl disappears, and Ellery and Malcolm were the last people to see her alive. As they race to unravel what happened, they realize every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe.
   And somebody would kill to keep it hidden. (goodreads.com)

   WOW. As much as I enjoyed One Of Us Is Lying, I absolutely LOVED this one. So many twists and turns, so many possible suspects, and the tension was through the roof the entire time. The characters were great and interesting, the sibling dynamic between Ellery and her twin Ezra was awesome, the writing really good, even better than in her debut, and just...WOW.
   TWO CAN KEEP A SECRET is an amazing (murder) mystery thriller that I just couldn't get enough of, so if you're in the mood for a twisty thriller, definitely check this one out.


The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Published: May 8th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux Byr
Number of Pages: 323 Pages (Paperback)
Series: No

   From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.
Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad's business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you'd never thought to look. (goodreads.com)

   The Way You Make Me Feel was exactly what I wanted it to be, cute, fun, and with a core I could relate to in ways I rarely can when it comes to families in YA. The characters were fun and interesting, the setting different (a Korean-Brazilian food truck) and something I haven't read about before, and the writing style fit Clara's voice really well. I finished it in less than 8h because I simply had to know what happens next and how it'll end. Maurene Goo is definitely an author I'll watch out for in the future, and also want to read the books she's already published in the past.


Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis
Published: November 20th 2018 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 288 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Soon to be a major motion picture in March 2019!

   In this moving story that’s perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, two teens fall in love with just one minor complication—they can’t get within five feet of each other without risking their lives.
   Can you love someone you can never touch?
   Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.
   The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.
   Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.
   What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too? (goodreads.com)

   Reviewing Five Feet Apart is hard for me simply because I know this book and movie mean a lot to actual patients with CF (Cystic Fibrosis) and for the cause of bringing awareness toward CF, which was an illness I didn't know of until I saw the trailer for the movie on Instagram, of all places.
   Going into the story I expected for it to be similar in feeling and emotionality to The Fault in Our Stars, but unfortunately that wasn't really what I got. For most of the book I felt like it stayed close to the surface, barely allowing for the characters to dig deeper into their feelings and what was happening around them. Because of that, I didn't feel particularly attached to any of them, or drawn in by the romance the way I hoped to be.
   There were a lot of good moments, pieces that even I could relate to as someone who doesn't have CF but also has an incurable illness, but there were also things I had an issue with. The last 80-60 pages felt wrong to me in many ways, because I felt like the events that happened across those pages were far too dramatic, even melodramatic, and could've easily been dealt with differently.
   All in all, this is certainly a book I would recommend, even if only to educate people on CF and what it means to have it and live with it. I learned a lot about the disease and, after finishing it, went on YouTube to learn more. If you're interested in doing the same, this is a channel I discovered that offers a great insight into CF (since he is a CF patient) and also just great content overall.

RATING WITHHELD 

   And that's it. Three (3) books read in January. As for the fact that I've been in a major reading slump for most of 2018, that's not a bad result. I know some people read like 20 books a month, but honestly, I have no idea how they do it. I wish I could do that as well, it would definitely help decrease my TBR, but alas.
   In the comments, tell me what books you've read in January, or what your favorite book has been so far in 2019!

   Thank you so much for reading! Have an awesome day!

Hello 2019!

Dienstag, 15. Januar 2019

Who's totally late to post something for the start of the new year? Me, of course. I'm sorry.

So, this is it, 2019, a new year with new possibilities, changes, opportunities, and lessons to be learned. I don't know about you, but I didn't do anything special for New Year's Eve, just watched a movie on Netflix (I finally got it after missing out on so much, took me long enough, huh?) and trying to calm down my dog. As for new years resolutions, I have a few, but I've decided against having big ones that count for the entire year--let's be real, most of them we'll abandon after two weeks anyway--and instead I split them into quarterly goals.

I don't think I'll tell you about them, well, maybe I will but only once I'll actually manage to meet them and have something fun to share. Otherwise, should I fail, it'll just make me feel worse and that's not a good self-care choice, is it?

But, 2019 is off to quite the exciting start for me. If you follow me on twitter and/or Instagram you might've already seen me talk about this, but if you haven't, Echoes became a #1 Best Seller on Amazon. I honestly didn't think I'd ever get to see that orange banner next to it and yet, there it was. I was excitedly texting all my friends feeling overwhelmed and just so happy. It actually remained #1 for over 24h which made it even more insane to me. My book above Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo? I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. I was sure I'd wake up the next day and the banner would be gone, but it wasn't.

Thank you, to all of you, for your support and for giving my book a chance. I know it's a bit different, and not necessarily as straight forward as some would wish it'd be, but I love that story, and I'm beyond happy that so many of you do too, and I honestly cannot wait for you to read the sequel. You thought Echoes was wild? Just you wait and see. 

On a somewhat related note, I haven't read a single book in 2019 yet, and we're already two weeks into the year. Who even am I? But, I totally have a plan (reading all the books in February). For now my top priority is finishing up my draft of Fissures and making my deadline, and after that, I'll set my plan into motion. I'm looking forward to it so much!

I don't know what 2019 will have in store for me, but I'm curious to find out, write new stories, work on WIPs, explore new possibilities, listen to all the K-Pop I can find, and just hope it'll be a better year than 2018. I'm not complaining though, don't get me wrong, Echoes was released last year and that was amazing and I'm so grateful for all the support and love it received, but besides that, it was a hard year, draining both mentally and physically, so hopefully 2019 will be a bit easier. 

What about you? What are your plans, goals, hopes for 2019? Tell me in the comments below or on social media. I always try my best to respond to all the tweets and DMs I get. :)

Thank you so much for reading and cheers to a new year!