Review + Q&A: “Foul is Fair” by Hannah Capin

42595554Title: Foul is Fair
Author: Hannah Capin
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Content warning: Sexual assault, rape, physical violence, murder, suicide, transphobic bullying
(For a more comprehensive list of CWs please visit the author’s site.)
Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books

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ARC provided by the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Dark and gritty, Hannah Capin tells a tale of burning rage and bloody vengeance in her sophomore offering Foul is Fair.

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenney, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

Revenge and murder, these two words seem to always draw my attention, and it’s those same words that brought me to this book.

Foul is Fair is vicious, bloody and unapologetically angry. Capin channels the Bard’s Macbeth putting her own twists to it supplanting power-grabbing, murderous Scottish nobles and prophesying witches with entitled rich kids from an elite prep school and a group of knife-sharp girls bonded by their pact of vengeance.

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This book doesn’t hold anything back but consider yourselves forewarned: a good chunk of what happens in this book is implausible so suspend your disbelief, leave it at the doorstep before delving in.

This book was just impossible to put down. The story is fast-paced; the writing is crisp and sharp. Capin tackles rape culture and privilege head on, no frills, no social commentary buried in complex prose. Manipulative, diabolic, and so full of dark, deadly secrets, her characters in this story are not ones you usually see or even want to root for. These characters are shallowly drawn, almost like a caricature – something that usually turns me off but for this story, it works.

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It may not be for everyone, Foul is Fair is grim, even more grim than I thought it would be. At several points, the story could be too much that’s it’s hard to continue pushing back your disbelief, but there is certainly something freeing reading something that puts into words some of the deepest and darkest thoughts you’ve had. If you’ve enjoyed Sadie (Courtney Summers,) The Female of the Species (Mindy McGinnis,) and Sawkill Girls (Claire Legrand,) this book is for you.

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Though it was tough at times, I enjoyed reading Foul is Fair. It was filled to the brim with heedless, reckless rage, which was just so deliciously gratifying.  So, I’m happy to have a chance to ask Hannah Capin a few short questions about her new book.

What inspired you to write Foul is Fair?

For a very long time, I’ve wanted to write a story that subverts the expected narrative of a sexual assault survivor. FOUL IS FAIR centers a girl who seizes her power back by any means necessary. She isn’t a “good girl,” she doesn’t do what she “should” do, and she absolutely never apologizes.

What would you like readers to take away after finishing this book?

That’s up to the reader! Books should *make* you think, not tell you *what* to think.

In 2 GIFs or emojis, sum up Foul is Fair.

about the authorHannah Capin

HANNAH CAPIN is the author of Foul is Fair and The Dead Queens Club, a feminist retelling of the wives of Henry VIII. When she isn’t writing, she can be found singing, sailing, or pulling marathon gossip sessions with her girl squad. She lives in Tidewater, Virginia.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

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Special thanks go out to Meghan Harrington and Wednesday Books for inviting me to this tour and giving me the chance to read Foul is Fair in advance.

Author Q&A: Emma Lord (Author of “Tweet Cute”)

Tweet Cute was one of the last books I finished in 2019, and boy, am I excited for this debut. This story was just so toothachingly sweet and cheesy, think updated version of You’ve Got Mail with a whole lot of Twitter drama thrown in.

Twitter brand wars aside, Tweet Cute tackles familial pressure and the pains of growing up – two topics that most us are all too familiar with. I’d talk about it more in my review set to be published next week. In the meantime, I had the lovely chance to ask debut author Emma Lord a few questions about her book.

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“Tweet Cute” featured a Twitter brand war, something we have seen (and laughed at) before [e.g. Taco Bell vs Old Spice, Burger King vs Wendy’s]. Were you inspired by any IRL Twitter brand war?

I wasn’t inspired by any one Twitter war, but definitely Twitter Brand War Culture. I work in digital media, so I was covering a lot of them in pieces I was writing and assigning out. Plus one of my very close friends is a social media manager, and it was always funny to get insight on her side of the Twitter curtain and find out what’s really going on behind the scenes. A lot of that factored into the decision to write the book.

Even though “Tweet Cute” is mostly sweet and fluffy, both Jack and Pepper was put through the wringer having to deal with school, their families and friends, and deciding what they want to do. What do you want your readers, especially the younger ones, to take away from your story? And if you could give them an advice, what would that be?   

I guess one of the takeaways that felt important to me was that nothing really truly gets “set in stone” in high school; even if you’ve set yourself on a certain path or feel obligated to follow one someone set out for you, you’re allowed to change your mind. Also, the thing you’re meant to do and truly love might be the last thing you expect! Definitely let your heart lead you, whenever you’re lucky enough to find things you’re passionate about.

Finally, using three memes, describe “Tweet Cute”.

OKAY MY BODY IS READY. My number one is based on that text post meme that’s like “on the outside I am human on the inside I am pasta and sin,” except for Tweet Cute it’s “on the outside i am human on the inside i am cheese and tweets”.

Number two is the “is this a pigeon?” meme:

pigeon meme

Number three is the Captain America detention meme, and it is not aimed at Pepper and Jack, but at me.

captain america meme

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Title: Tweet Cute
Author: Emma Lord
Publication Date: January 21, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pre-order: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books

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Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account. 

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time. 

All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built. 

 

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate — people on the internet are shipping them?? — their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected

 

about the authorEmma Lord

EMMA LORD is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel.

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Special thanks go out to Meghan Harrington and Wednesday Books for inviting me to this tour and giving me the chance to read Tweet Cute in advance.

Review: “Jane Anonymous” by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Book CoverTitle: Jane Anonymous
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Publishing Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Content Warnings: Abduction, Stockholm syndrome, manipulation, PTSD, obsession, stalking
Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863498-the-gilded-wolves

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Compelling and haunting, Laurie Faria Stolarz’s explores trauma, healing, and hope in her newest novel Jane Anonymous.

Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life..

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew – everything you thought you experienced –turned out to be a lie

Aware of the theme of this book, I went into this story with a prepared heart. But, alas, it was to no avail.

As gut-wrenching as it was gripping, Jane Anonymous is one story that’ll get under your skin and get through your heart. It explores trauma – its effects on both the victim and the people around them – healing and hope.

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LAURIE FARIA STOLARZ: I love that you’ve chosen this text. I struggled so much with it. I didn’t want it to reveal too much, and yet I wanted a degree of retrospection here. I rewrote this text again and again, trying to get the right balance – just enough insight but not too much. 

Gutsy main character “Jane” narrates the story, going back and forth between then, which covers the time before and during her seven-month captivity, and now, three months after her return home. She has a compelling voice, honest and raw and vulnerable. It was so easy to empathize with her.

The exploration of trauma, and the long and varied road to healing is at the heart of this book.

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LFS: I really wanted to show that therapy isn’t one-size-fits-all. Brave acts as therapy for Jane, giving her a sense of purpose. Brave also cries out when Jane can’t, and helps Jane see that life is worth fighting for; despite all of the abuse Brave has lived through, she still hasn’t lost her will to live. It is her instinct – something Jane admires.

Jane, at the beginning of the story, was in pieces: isolated, made to question her own experience. All throughout the book I felt like Jane stood alone. Her parents, even her best friend Shelley, seemed to expect her to just go back to her normal self once she returned home. It could be because they don’t know how to deal with it, but I don’t think they ever understood what Jane has gone through. The only one who was open and willing enough to try was Jack.

Bleak her start may be, Jane ends the book at a hopeful place. I think she started coming to terms with what has happened to her, ready to start healing and take back control of her life.

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LFS: In this scene, Jane is overhearing her father talk to a nurse at the hospital. Jane doesn’t feel she has a voice in her own life. People are talking about her in the third-person, as though she’s not even there, not even part of her own healing. Jane uses their words here to convey how alone she feels (the notion of luck feels so foreign to her at this point.) The point here is that people talk about her, as though everything is about her (her health, her growth, her safety, etc.). But things aren’t about her at all – not really. They’re more about them – how Jane’s time in captivity affects them/their lives.

Though heavy, I enjoyed reading Jane Anonymous. It was fast-paced and suspenseful. The story flowed really well even with all the switches between Jane’s then and now. Stolarz was able to handle trauma with care and sensitivity.

That said, there were a few things that didn’t work for me. Most characters, with the exception of Jane, were two dimensional. You really don’t get to know them much – Jane’s parents, Shelley; “Mason” and Jack were a little bit better but not by much.

Still, overall, this was a good read. Readers of crime and suspense YA thrillers will find something to love in this one. I highly recommend this especially for those who love Courtney Summers’ Sadie and Kathleen Glasgow’s Girl in Pieces.

about the authorLaurie Faria Stolarz

LAURIE FARIA STOLARZ is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

Stolarz found sales success with her first novel, Blue is for Nightmares, and followed it up with three more titles in the series, White is for Magic, Silvers is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance, as well as a companion graphic novel, Black is for Beginnings. Stolarz is also the author of the Touch series (Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons,) as well as Bleed and Project 17. With more than two million books sold worldwide, Stolarz’s titles have been named on various awards list.

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Follow the Tour

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January 7th

January 8th

Musings of a (Book) Girl – Meet The Characters
BookishGeek – Review + Favourite Quotes
Artsy Draft – Review + Favourite Quotes + Playlist
Life With No Plot – Review
everywhere and nowhere – Review

January 9th

Pages and Pugs – Deleted Scenes
The Reading Corner for All – Review
Here’s to Happy Endings – Review + Favourite Quotes
In Between Book Pages – Review + Favourite Quotes + Reaction from the author
Books on the Bookshelf – Review

January 10th

The Reading Life – Guest Post
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Favourite Quotes
Flipping Through the Pages – Review
Jinxed Reviews – Review + Playlist + Favourite Quotes
Lisa Loves Literature – Review

January 11th

Kait Plus Books – Character Interview
the bookdragon  – Review + Favourite Quotes
Fictitiouswonderland – Review
Enthralled Bookworm – Review + Playlist
Story-eyed Reviews – Review

January 12th

To All The Books I’ve Read Before – Video Interview

Angela Walker’s Reviews – Tell Your Story in 3 or 5 GIFs
Yna the Mood Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes
Devourbookswithdana – Review + Dream Cast + Favourite Quotes
Read, Write and Life around it… – Review + Favourite Quotes

January 13th

A Book Addict’s Bookshelves – Top 5 or 10 List
Wishful Endings – Guest Post
Kelsey Covers Books – Review
emily the book nerd – Review + Playlist
Book Nerd Anonymous – Review

Author Q&A + Sneak Peek: Candace Ganger (Author of “Six Goodbyes We Never Said”)

I’ve always believed that stories are great vehicles to open discussions especially for topics and issues most people often shy away from. Mental health, a topic close to my heart, is one of those so any time a book that promises any representation of this issue comes out I make sure to pay attention.

Six Goodbyes We Never Said, which releases today, tackles death, grief, and mental illness in an introspective and sometimes heartbreaking way. Author Candace Ganger draws from her own experiences and creates a story that’s realistic yet still sensitive, never downplaying the everyday effects of mental illness. I was lucky enough to have had the chance to have her answer a few of my questions about her new book and to be able to give you a little preview of it in this post.

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What inspired you to write “Six Goodbye We Never Said”? 

I wanted to showcase the way my disorders present to help others understand. I’ve written about my struggle with identity and loss as long as I can remember so this novel was a way to finally say goodbye. I’m still struggling with loss, so this was a way to navigate my own grief. That aside, my brother was a U.S. Marine, I have close friends who have fostered and adopted their children, and Six Goodbyes felt like the best place to tell all of these stories at once.

As an author, how important is it to tackle mental health in YA? 

It’s not only important, it’s *the most* important. If we can’t develop empathy for those suffering in silence, are we even human? My teen years were rough because I kept so much of my pain hidden to, what I thought, protect myself. I didn’t want people getting inside my head–I didn’t want to be vulnerable, fear of my pain being used against me. Writing YA helps me tell teen me, “Hey, I see you, girl. You’re not as alone as you think you are so open up a little about what you’re going through to find out how much people care about you.” If I’d heard that then, I’d have endured far less pain, isolation, and loneliness, in the years to come.

What would you like readers to take away from your story after reading it? 

To treat others with kindness and compassion. Our first reaction is usually to anger when someone attacks us or hurts us (because they don’t understand), but nothing is ever solved in hurting others when we’re hurt. You never know what people are going through behind closed doors so take a mi finite to try and understand the reasons why someone is treating you a certain way on any particular day. Kindness matters. It really really does.

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Check out the link below to read the first chapter of Six Goodbyes We Never Said.

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Title: Six Goodbyes We Never Said
Author: Candace Ganger
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863498-the-gilded-wolves

Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.

Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects.

about the author

Candace Ganger AP_Credit Candace GangerCANDACE GANGER is the author of Six Goodbyes We Never Said and The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash as well as a contributing writer for HelloGiggles and obsessive marathoner. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike. She lives in Ohio with her family.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

 

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Special thanks go out to Sarah Bonamino and Wednesday Books for inviting me to this tour and giving me the chance to read Six Goodbyes We Never Said in advance.

Review: “You’d Be Mine” by Erin Hahn

You'd Be Mine (Erin Hahn)

Title: You’d Be Mine
Author: Erin Hahn
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Imprint: Wednesday Books
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
TW: Grief, trauma, alcoholism, drug use, parental death, mentions of suicide
Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863498-the-gilded-wolves

Teen country music stars find love in this sweet YA romance by debut author Erin Hahn.

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.
But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic deaths, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.
Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

I love music and I love stories. Combine those two elements together and you have me practically eating out of your hands. So you’d understand my excitement over Erin Hahn’s debut You’d Be Mine.

And it was a treat to read.

Summer, music, the sweetness of first love – You’d Be Mine has it all. I can’t remember the last time I fell in love so quickly with a YA contemporary. It completely reeled me in with its first few pages and had me swooning by chapter four. All of these was largely due to the story’s main characters, Annie and Clay.

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Annie and Clay were interesting characters. They were different from one another with their contrasting personalities and temperament, and yet they were still similar. Both had some serious emotional baggage – Annie with her parents and Clay with his brother. These unresolved issues and the different way they dealt and coped with them kept Annie and Clay from really acting on their obvious attraction. At the start, at least. The two young country stars, getting to know each other more and growing closer during their summer tour, eventually getting together close to the end.

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I really enjoyed reading this book. The sweet, satisfying ending of course factors in, but it was more than that. You’d Be Mine tackled grief and trauma, and the different ways people handle these two issues. Clay turned to alcohol to numb the pain of losing his grandfather and brother almost simultaneously. He was close to the edge, driving himself to his own destruction. Annie, meanwhile, became too careful, setting strict rules and boundaries for herself wanting to steer away from the path her parents took. These – their grief and trauma – was a big part of Annie and Clay’s story, and Erin Hahn did a great job tackling this element of their characters. It was realistic but was still handled with great care and sensitivity, something that I hugely appreciate as it opens up avenues for discussions in relation to these to very real issues.

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This was a character-driven story – Annie and Clay doing most of the labor with supporting characters adding more color and nuance – but it did not take anything away from the plot. It was still fun and sweet. The glimpses into the inner workings of the country music scene were definitely intriguing. Other readers got A Star is Born vibes from this book, and while I agree it did have that going for it, I was more reminded of two of my old time favorites – Nashville and ­Hart of Dixie – which was a nice surprise for me.

With characters you’d cheer for and a swoony romance, You’d Be Mine is the perfect summer read for YA contemporary lovers. Trust me, this book will definitely give you that funny butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling just by reading it. Erin Hahn may just be a new auto-buy author for me. I’m definitely going to look forward to any other future works of hers.

Author Q&A (2)

Erin Hahn

ERIN HAHN spent the first half of her life daydreaming in a small town in northern Illinois. She fell in love with words in college when she wrote for the campus paper, covering everything from drag shows to ice fishing and took way too much liberty with a history essay on the bubonic plague.

She started writing her own books when her little sister gave her shade about a country music-themed Twilight fanfic. By day, Erin gets to share her favorite stories with her elementary students. By night, she writes swoons. She married her own YA love interest whom she met on her first day of college and has two kids who are much, much cooler than she ever was at their age. She lives in Michigan, aka the greenest place on earth and has a cat, Gus, who plays fetch.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | YouTube

Review + Author Q&A: “In Another Life” by C.C. Hunter

In Another Life_COVER.jpgTitle: In Another Life
Author: C.C. Hunter
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
TW: Depression, mentions of suicide, child abuse, bullying, cheating, slut shaming
Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863498-the-gilded-wolves

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion. Thank you goes out to Wednesday Books for inviting me to be part of the In Another Life blog tour.

 

What would you do if you found out that your life was based on a lie? This is the question C.C. Hunter asks as she tackles identity and family in in her newest title In Another Life.

Chloe was three years when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life id gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood starts haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out. Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?

It’s been a while since the last time I read a YA suspense so I was pretty excited to start on this book. With an intriguing blurb, In Another Life was a promising read and I jumped in expecting a thriller of a ride.

And I got that, but I could have done with more.

Marketed as a suspense thriller, In Another Life offered an interesting though formulaic puzzle. You’ll easily be able to put two and two together and figure out the mystery early on if you’ve read your own share of the genre before. I think it only took me about 20% of the book to suss out the whole plot of this story.

Predictability aside, I still enjoyed this book. In Another Life compensated in other areas. I like how it showed the mess and hurt a divorce brings a family, and the questions about identity it posed. It also didn’t hurt that both Chloe and Cash were so easy to root for. They are kindred spirits, both with their own baggage and, as Chloe puts it, “holes in their hearts.” Their romance, though it moved fast at whiplash speed at first, eventually grew on me.

Overall, In Another Life was a satisfying fast-paced read. I found the story engaging and enjoyable despite its flaws. However, I think this one would appeal more to YA contemporary readers rather than its intended audience.

Author Q&A (1)

I was lucky to have a chance to ask C.C. Hunter about her new book In Another Life. Read on to find out what inspired the story and how exactly a green-eyed mystery guy fit into Chloe’s search for identity.

What’s the story behind In Another Life? Where did you take inspiration from to write Chloe’s story?

The story of being adopted is one that I was intrigued with when I was young. I am, and have always been, different from my family. Not so much in appearance, but in interests and outlook. My two brothers and parents are people who like to work with their hands, who seldom slow down. They play sports, do crafts, and build houses. Me, I’m a thinker. Being dyslexic, I wasn’t a reader growing up, but I was writing books in my head by the time I was eleven.  Because of those differences in myself and my family, several of my stories included discovering that I was adopted. Every book I write has a little of the theme, Who am I? or Who am I now?  I love identity crisis books.  Also, my parents went through a bitter divorce when I was sixteen.  That pain Chloe felt was part of my teenage years.

How do you think the relationship between Cash and Chloe affect her search for the truth about her origins?

I like this question.  I think the relationship affects the search in many ways.  1.  There are times that falling in love became so consuming that I think the search became less consuming.  I wanted to show how great falling in love feels and how the wonderment of it can help soothe the bad things that come our way.  2. While their relationship brought them close. I wanted to showcase their different past experiences and how it affected how they each thought the search should proceed.  Cash felt more loyalty to the Fullers, and naturally, Chloe felt more toward the mom and dad who raised her.  3. I also wanted show that while the bond Chloe and Cash formed was solid, it was tested because of their different backgrounds.  Cash was willing to steal the information from the adoption agency, Chloe wanted no part of it.

I ask each author I interview to do this (so I hope you don’t find it weird) but can you summarize In Another Life using 3-5 emojis?

I would say the emojis would be, chew on your lip suspenseful, love, and either happiness or family.

Image result for emoji chewing on lip     Image result for valentine's day emojis free    happy

Author Q&A (2)

CC Hunter_Author Photo

C.C. HUNTER is a pseudonym for award-winning romance author Christie Craig. She lives in Tomball, Texas where she’s at work on her next novel.

Christie’s books include The Mortician’s Daughter series, Shadow Fall novels and This Heart of Mine.

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Review: “The Gilded Wolves” by Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded WolvesTitle: The Gilded Wolves
Series: The Gilded Wolves #1
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books/Macmillan
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Rating: ⭐⭐
Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

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ARC provided by the publisher as part of the PH Blog Tour hosted by The Royal Polar Bear Reads & Wanderer in Neverland.

A group of outcasts, mysterious, powerful relics, and a treasure hunt – Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves takes readers on an adventure through the dark and dangerous side of Paris.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

Have you ever delayed finishing a book? Deliberately read slower, stop after each chapter?

I have with The Gilded Wolves.

It’s so rare for me to intentionally delay finishing a book. Usually, I keep on turning the pages because I can’t wait to find out what happens next. Even for my most loved books, I just keep on turning until I get to the end. But, with The Gilded Wolves, it was different.

Readers will find a lot of things to love about this fresh new series. I will have to warn you, this review may easily turn into me just raving about how wonderful The Gilded Wolves was. So, to rein in my excitement and be as objective as I can I’ll try to list down all things I loved about this book and why, if you haven’t read it yet, you totally should!

  • Strong writing that lures you in.

The writing was so lush, you could almost taste it, feel it – both soft and romantic, sharp and cutting when and where it needed to. Roshani Chokshi created this dark, glamorous albeit dangerous magical world, and I just wanted to jump into the pages and spend some more time within it.

While the first part is loaded with information, it did not weigh down the story. It was necessary world-building, and if it weren’t put there, I think I would have been lost. I admit that it took me some time to fully grasp the rules of Forging, described in the book as a power of creation rivaled only by the work of God. Once I got my head wrapped around it though everything went down smoothly for me and I, once again, got lost inside Roshani’s world.

  • Historical facts that blend well with fiction

You know, I’m a history geek. I mean, how else would I explain the number of historical fiction books on my TBR? But the downside to this is that, like whenever anything medical is included in the story, I get a little bit picky. Creative license could only create so much leeway for you, and it is the author’s job to blend these two contrasting elements – fact and fiction – seamlessly.

Roshani does just that.

Yes, she took liberties here and there with dates and places (La Solidaridad was published in Barcelona & the Ilustrados were also there by 1889) but you know what got me? It was all still believable. Why? The rendering was natural, it just flowed.

I know some of you will say, but history doesn’t play a big role in the story. I’ll give you that, but it is where it was set and that influences the way characters move and act through their world. Also, if you decide to include a bit of history into your story, you might as well do it right.

This was an important element for me, and I’m very happy with what I got from this book. Plus, all those historical tidbits – the Exposition Universelle de 1889, the human zoos (sad and angering, but nevertheless true,) & all the other stuff Enrique throws in the whole length of the book – were simply delectable to this history geek.

  • Explores and challenges some really heavy topics

It’s may not be overtly stated, but, sprinkled throughout the pages of this book are some really important topics – gender identity and sexual orientation, racism, privilege, subjugation and colonialism. All of these were treated with utmost sensitivity and were challenged every time.

  • A diverse, fully-realized cast of characters

Now, I saved this for last because it is, I daresay, the best part of The Gilded Wolves. I fell in love with this band of misfits right from the very first page that by the time the book ended with that cliffhanger (!!!) I’m so into deep I swear I’ll adopt them if they ever come out of the pages.

Roshani Chokshi put together a group of characters from different backgrounds – all well-intentioned and flawed and so utterly human – but still find in themselves a family. It was so easy to love all of them, and good luck with picking favorites because you’ll find a little bit of yourself in each of these wonderful characters.

🍂 Séverin – The obvious leader of the pack. He’s bi-racial – an Algerian mother and French father – and it was implied in that this played a part in him being losing his title as heir of House Vanth. A rich hotelier, he gathered together his crew to help him reclaim his birthright. Sure it may have started like that, but he so obviously care for this little pack he’d made and will keep them safe for as long as he can.

🍂 Laila – Baker, the person behind sought-after L’Énigme – she’s the “mom” friend of the group. She came from India to France in search of a mysterious book that could hold the answers to her existence. With her ability to read objects just by touching them, she’s an invaluable member of the group. There’s also this thing between her and Séverin, though they are both, for reasons you’ll find out once you read the book, holding back.

🍂 Tristan – Séverin’s brother in all but blood. Tristan and Séverin grew up together being bounced from one foster family to another. He’s a softie, loves his pet tarantula Goliath maybe a little too much (we don’t mind) and, with his Forging affinity, is a master botanis. Tristan is also behind some of the group’s weapons, concocting stuff from the plants he cultivates.

🍂 Zofia – The engineer, Zofia’s Forging affinity allows her to bend any kind of metal to her will. She came to France from Poland, leaving her sister there, to study, but she was kicked out of university because of an accident. She’s hoping that, with this big mission Séverin sets them on, she’ll get enough money to get her sister to France and fund her education so she could study Medicine.

🍂 Hypnos – Patriarch of House Nyx, he was a friend of Séverin’s when they were younger, but drifted of when the latter’s claim to his own House was forfeited. He’s unashamedly queer, flirtatious, and has this big personality that just fills whatever room he is in. I was suspicious of him at the start of the book, but as I read more I felt that he sincerely wanted to have Séverin assert his claim so he could also be in the Council with him because, even if Hypnos is already a patriarch, he is still an outsider because of his heritage.

🍂 Enrique – As the resident historian, Enrique guides and helps solve puzzles for the group. I may sound biased, but Enrique has a special place in my heart. He’s funny, making jokes especially when the group is in a tensed situation, but, while he does try to lighten things for everyone, he also hides behind humor and sarcasm. But deep inside he’s just trying to look for his place in the world.

Filipino and Spanish, Enrique straddles the line between two race and culture. He has joined the Ilustrados, a group of Euro-educated Filipinos lobbying for reform for their Spanish-controlled motherland. He also submits articles to La Solidaridad. Still, he can’t break into the group’s inner circle.

“It wasn’t his intellect that made him unwanted.
It was his face.”

I’m a full-blooded Filipino, but this still hits home. It’s hard to see printed within the pages of a book, but we have to admit that even within our group there are divisions. We may or may not be aware, but we judge each other and consider one person superior over another just by the way they look, and that only creates even more discord and harm.

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There, I’ve listed down the things I loved most about The Gilded Wolves. I’m sure I could find more things to love about this book once I finish reading again. Captivating writing, diverse and nuanced characters, thrilling adventures, this book has everything I want and more. Thinking that this is only the beginning of what promises to be an amazing series only excites me more to get my hands on TGW#2. I cannot recommend it enough (I’ll probably be pushing this book to people the whole of 2019.) Doesn’t matter if you like Fantasy or not, I think there’s something in this book for everyone.

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About the Author:

SIC_0760-719x1024ROSHANI CHOKSHI is the New York Times bestselling author of Aru Shah and the End of TimeThe Star-Touched QueenA Crown of Wishes, and The Gilded Wolves. Her work has been nominated for the Locus and Nebula awards, and her books have appeared on Barnes and Nobles Best New Books of the Year and Buzzfeed Best Books of the Year lists. Chokshi lives in Georgia, but doesn’t have much of a Southern accent. Alas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

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Also, check out the other stops of The Gilded Wolves PH Blog Tour hosted by Wanderer in Neverland and The Royal Polar Bear Reads.

The Gilded Wolves Blog Tour Banner

Tour Schedule

January 14, 2019

January 15, 2019

January 16, 2019

January 17, 2019

January 18, 2019

January 19, 2019

 

First Line Fridays: “The Gilded Wolves” by Roshani Chokshi

First Line Fridays is a weekly feature hosted by Hording Books.


Happy Friday! I hope you are all doing well. My week has been busy at work, but life at home has been good. We have three new puppies! All of them plus mama dog are doing fine, and we couldn’t be any happier. It’ll be another two to three weeks before their eyelids start to open, but I’m really excited to have them start seeing their new world, start to run and play around the house.

Book-wise it’s been slow. I was able to finish Emma Rous’ The Au Pair but haven’t yet started a new read. So, this week I’ll be sharing the first few lines of a recent read that’s coming out soon.

The Gilded Wolves

Fléctere si néqueo súperos Acheronta movebo.
If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell.
– Virgil

Once, there were four Houses of France.
Like all the other Houses within the Order of Babel, the French faction swore to safeguard the location of their Babel Fragment, the source of all Forging power.
Forging was a power of creation rivaled only by the work of God.
But one House fell.
And another House’s line died without an heir. PNow all that is left is a secret.

 

I know I’ve said it before, but I am sooooo in love with The Gilded WolvesThis beauty’s coming out next week and I couldn’t be more excited. I already got the notification from Book Depository that my pre-order has been dispatched from their UK warehouse. I waited almost a year for this book and I’ll finally have this lovely next week.

The Gilded Wolves comes out January 15 published by Wednesday Books. You can still pre-order it. Trust me on this, you need this book!

Pre-order links:

IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

Another thing…

The Gilded Wolves Blog Tour Banner

The Gilded Wolves PH Blog Tour, hosted by Wanderer in Neverland and The Royal Polar Bear Reads, starts on January 14. My blog tour stop is on the 18th, but you can check out the other blog stops and read the raves of other awesome book bloggers for this book. You can see the blog tour schedule here.

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Rachel

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Come and join in the fun. Visit Hoarding Books to see what other FLF bloggers has to share.

Blog Tour + Review & Author Q&A:”I Do Not Trust You” by Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz

37638243Title: I Do Not TrusYou

Authors: Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

Publisher: Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: September 11, 2018

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2

Get it:

IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Books-a-Million | Powells

(ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley)

A teenaged girl and a young man become an uneasy allies as they set on an epic quest in writing duo Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz’s newest offering I Do Not Trust You.

Memphis “M” Engel is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight. In short: she’s awesome.

Ashwin “Ash” Sood is a little too posh for M’s tastes, a little too good looking, and has way too many secrets. He desperately wants the ancient map M inherited from her archeologist father, believing it will lead him to a relic with the power to destroy the world. M obviously can’t trust him.

Equally desperate to find the relic for reasons of her own, M forms an uneasy partnership with Ash. From the catacombs of Paris, to a sacred forest in Norway, to the ruins of a submerged temple in Egypt, together they crisscross the globe in their search. But through it all, M can never be sure: Is she traveling with a friend or enemy?

I went into this book almost blind. It was my first time reading anything from Melinda Metz and Laura J. Burns (not unless you count watching Roswell), so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. But this one surprised me in a good way.

I Do Not Trust You is what you will get if you throw Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider into a blender and add in a dash of The Mummy (the original one, okay, the one with Brendan Fraser). With an intriguing plot filled with adventure, danger, mysterious groups and vengeful ancient gods, this book will reel in readers from the first page up to its last.

The two main characters – Memphis, or simply “M” and Ash – are both bring different things into the story. M, having grown up in various archeological digs with her archeologist dad and doctor mom, have acquired an extraordinary knowledge of ancient history and dead languages. She’s awesome in a fight, too. Ash, meanwhile, brings in a bit more mystery into the story. A part of a cult worshipping the ancient Egyptian god Horus, he bankrolls their adventure and uses what he knows about the mythical god and his nemesis, Set.

It was interesting to read how M and Ash work together. They want different things with M wanting to rescue the father she thought had died in a plane crash and Ash being tasked by his group to retrieve an ancient map which points out where pieces of a mystical statue of Set are hidden. They start out forging an uneasy alliance out of necessity, but, by the end of the book, the two have earned each other’s trust.

The globe-trotting M and Ash’s duo undertook to retrieve the Set pieces was another aspect of the story that I loved. Oh! All those places! It was, essentially, a fun scavenger hunt. Still, the authors were able to incorporate bits of history and culture into the story’s narrative in a way that flowed well. It was just awesome!

The book had a couple of flaws, though. The way Memphis quickly puzzles together the clues they find is sometimes unbelievable. I get it, she grew up with an archeologist father and she does know her stuff. Still, I just find it too easy of a way out for both characters, though it does move the story. Also, that abrupt ending! I’m sure I won’t be alone in this opinion. It was sort of open-ended and it left me hanging.

Overall, I Do Not Trust You is an entertaining read. Readers will find adventure within the pages of this book by the truckload. I’d recommend this to YA fantasy and mythology fans.

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blog tour i do not trust you (1)

I was lucky to have a chance to ask Melinda Metz and Laura J. Burns about their new book I Do Not Trust You. Read on to find out what inspired them to write the ancient battle between Horus and Set, and how they work as co-authors.

Rachel: You’ve been writing as a duo for a long time now. How do you make it work with Laura living in New York & Melinda in North Carolina? Who writes what and so on?

Laura & Melinda: Even when we both lived in New York City, we’d mostly do our work together on the phone or over email. Because we’re lazy, is what we’re saying. We both prefer to stay at home and spend our days in pajamas.

We work out plots and character arcs in hours-long phone sessions. Once we have those, we take turns outlining. We’ll email the draft outline back and forth with notes to each other until we’re happy with it. (These days we use a shared document, because technology is good.) When one of us gets stumped, usually the other can fix the problem. After the outline is finished, we split it in half and each of us writes one half. Then we revise it, over and over, taking turns. The trick is that we decide in advance what the voice should be, how each character should sound. We know each other’s writing so well that we can match the tone pretty well, and anything that doesn’t match gets edited when we put it all together. Neither of us is precious about our writing–we are as comfortable changing each other’s words as we are changing our own. It all comes down to trust.

R: Your upcoming book involves some mythology, Egyptian mythology to be exact. What made you decide on weaving it into M’s and Ash’s story?

L & M: No lie, we attempt to weave Egyptian mythology into whatever we can! One of our earliest discoveries about each other was that we both loved the book The Egypt Game when we were kids. Usually, though, the stories we write don’t leave much room for Egypt. But this book was about a treasure hunt of sorts, and our minds immediately went to Egyptian artifacts. (Fortuitously, our editor is also an Egyptian mythology fangirl. One of the many things we love about her.) The Horus and Set story seemed a natural, since it involves the goddess Isis searching for the scattered pieces of her husband’s body the same way our characters were searching for scattered pieces of a statue.

R: Lastly, could you summarize your book using 3 emojis?

L & M:

🗺     ðŸ“œ     ðŸŒ‹

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About the authors:

LAURA J. BURNS and MELINDA METZ have written many books for teens and middle-grade readers, including Sanctuary Bay, Crave, and Sacrifice, as well as Edgar-nominated mystery series Wright and Wong. They have also written for the TV shows Roswell, 1-800-Missing, and The Dead Zone. Laura lives in New York and Melinda lives in North Carolina, but really they mostly live on email, where they do most of their work together.

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Special thanks goes to Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz for giving me their time for this Q&A, and Brittani Hilles at St. Martin’s Press for helping me with this blog tour.

Review: Courtney Summers’ “Sadie”

38456024Title: Sadie

Author: Courtney Summers

Publisher: Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pre-order it:

IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Books-a-million

(Digital ARC provided by the publisher thru NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Being both a fan of true crime stories and Serial, I was naturally excited for this novel. Add to that the buzz it’s been receiving and you got me setting my expectations high, which is something I’m wary of because half the time I end up being disappointed in the book.

But Sadie more than held up.

Trigger warning: Pedophilia, child abuse, drug abuse

Sadie centers on 19-year old Sadie Hunter’s quest to find her sister’s killer and the subsequent search for her by radio personality West McCray.

Abandoned by their drug-addicted mother when she was sixteen, Sadie is left alone to fend for herself and raise her younger sister, Mattie. Sadie makes Mattie her purpose, taking every thing the young girl throws at her, so when Mattie is found dead, Sadie makes it her mission to hunt her sister’s murderer.

Sadie hadn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Goodreads

I love this book! But let me warn you, Sadie is unapologetically dark and raw. Courtney Summers pulls no punches with this one, trust me.

Sadie will reel you in from its first word down to its last. It unfolds bit by bit, chapter after chapter, going back and forth between McCray’s podcast transcripts from The Girls set five months after Sadie’s disappearance and the titular main character’s first-person perspective set immediately after she leaves her small town to begin her search.

It was the perfect way to tell the story.

It may be off-putting for some, but I cannot imagine having this particular story told another way. I loved reading both the podcast transcripts and Sadie’s POV in equal measures. The alternating chapters, a modified before and after trade-off, flawlessly moved the narrative at the right pace, revealing enough of the story to keep readers guessing but not too much that it spoils the whole thing.

Another thing I loved is the writing. Courtney Summers is no stranger to writing hard topic books, just take All the Rage as an example. Summers’ writing is sharp and on point, and she created a realistic, complicated, very human protagonist in Sadie Hunter. I can’t help feeling for her – sad at what she has been through and angry at what has been done to her. Then, there’s West McCray – a reluctant character who becomes more and more invested as he gets to know Sadie through the eyes of the people who knew and loved and her. West’s search for Sadie mirrors Sadie’s search for her sister’s murderer, and I think writing the these two characters’ narrative this way will give readers a broader view of the story.

Still, Sadie’s boundless love for Mattie is the heart of this story. Even though she starts out the determined to avenge her sister’s death, the depth of Sadie’s love, and the grief and the guilt she feels for her sister stands out.

Sadie will break you and make you care. It will keep you turning the page until you reach the end. Comparable to Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Louise O’Neill’s Asking for It, Sadie will open up discussions about the realities of life that are hard to talk about. I definitely recommend this to everyone.