Friday, October 13, 2017

Book Spotlight: Never Say Never, Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz



Today’s Spotlight is on the latest in the Alex Rider series…Never Say Die!

Alex Rider is back in action! His new mission? Rescue an entire bus filled with children belonging to wealthy families. At stake are not only the lives of each child, but the very future of the terrorist organization known as SCORPIA. Thrilling action and pulse-pounding heroics make the pages fly.

The world's greatest teen spy is back in action in a thrilling new mission: destroy once and for all the terrorist organization SCORPIA. Following the events of Scorpia Rising, Alex relocates to San Francisco as he slowly recovers from the tragic death of his best friend and caregiver, Jack Starbright, at the hands of terrorists working for SCORPIA. With Jack gone, Alex feels lost and alone, but then, out of the blue, he receives a cryptic email--just three words long, but enough to make Alex believe that Jack may be alive. Armed with this shred of hope, Alex boards a flight bound for Egypt and embarks on a dubious quest to track Jack down. Yet SCORPIA knows Alex's weakness. And the question of whether Jack is alive soon takes a backseat to a chilling new terrorist plot--one that will determine the lives of many. From Egypt to France to Wales, from luxury yachts to abandoned coal mines, Alex traverses a minefield of dangers and cryptic clues as he fights to discover the truth. The #1 New York Times bestselling series, perfect for fans of James Bond and Jason Bourne, is back with a vengeance! 
Anthony Horowitz (anthonyhorowitz.com) is a world-renowned screenwriter for film and teĆ»uulevision, having received multiple awards. And he is, of course, the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Alex Rider novels, which have spawned a major motion picture and a line of graphic novels. Anthony was also commissioned by the Conan Doyle Estate to write two Sherlock Holmes novels, the critically-acclaimed The House of Silk and Moriarty. Most recently he was commissioned by the Ian Fleming Estate to write the James Bond novel Trigger Mortis, incorporating never-before-published material from 007's creator. Anthony lives with his wife in London, England; they are parents to two grown boys. He will be touring the US for the publication of NEVER SAY DIE.

Be sure to Check Out the other books in the series!



Monday, October 9, 2017

Blog Tour: The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace…Review, Favorite Quotes, & Giveaway!


Excited to tell you all about The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace today!
Keep reading to learn more about this hauntingly beautiful read…


The Memory Trees
by Kali Wallace
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: October 10th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Paranormal

Synopsis:

The Memory Trees is a dark magical realism novel about a mysterious family legacy, a centuries-old feud, and a tragic loss that resurfaces when sixteen-year-old Sorrow returns to her mother’s family orchard for the summer.

Sorrow Lovegood’s life has been shaped by the stories of the women who came before her: brave, resilient women who settled long ago on a mercurial apple orchard in Vermont. The land has been passed down through generations, and Sorrow and her family take pride in its strange history. Their offbeat habits may be ridiculed by other townspeople—especially their neighbors, the Abrams family—but for the first eight years of her life, the orchard is Sorrow’s whole world. 

Then one winter night everything changes. Sorrow’s sister Patience is tragically killed. Their mother suffers a mental breakdown. Sorrow is sent to live with her dad in Miami, away from the only home she’s ever known.

Now sixteen, Sorrow’s memories of her life in Vermont are maddeningly hazy; even the details of her sister’s death are unclear. She returns to the orchard for the summer, determined to learn ore about her troubled childhood and the family she left eight years ago. Why has her mother kept her distance over the years? What actually happened the night Patience died? Is the orchard trying to tell her something, or is she just imagining things?

Buy Links:

Kali Wallace studied geology and geophysics before she decided she enjoyed inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked researching the real one. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, F&SF, Asimov's, Lightspeed Magazine, and Tor.com. Her first novel, Shallow Graves, was published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in 2016. Her second novel, The Memory Trees, will follow in 2017. She lives in southern California.



Filled with emotion and heart, Kali Wallace’s The Memory Trees is a beautiful story of one girl’s return to her childhood home and search for answers about the night her sister died and the mystery that surrounds her family.

Sorrow Lovegood comes from a long line of independent, determined, and gifted women each with secrets of her own. Each generation has found solace and at times experienced heartache in the family’s apple orchard in a small New England town. Eight years after the death of her sister Patience at the orchard, Sorrow is experiencing gaps in her memory. In order to move on and heal, she hopes that returning to the orchard will provide her with answers and fill in the missing pieces. She cautiously makes the journey back to her childhood home town where her mother and grandmother still live and where the centuries-old feud with the neighboring Abrams family is still going strong.  Once there Sorrow learns and experiences much more than she ever expected.

Mysterious deaths, feuding neighbors, complicated mother-daughter relationships, family secrets, surprising revelations…there is a little bit of everything in The Memory Trees and so much I could talk about.  Kali Wallace has created some truly fascinating characters and a setting that we slowly learn about as this mysterious and heartbreaking story unfolds. It all leads to a surprising conclusion.

Kali Wallace has a way with words and I was entranced by her beautiful, lyrical writing.  With each vivid description, I became lost in Sorrow’s world and experiences and couldn't wait to see what we’d learn next. I became as curious as Sorrow and with every new discovery she made or unexpected memory that would surface, I wanted to know more about this complicated story and characters.

The matriarchal family structure of the Lovegood family fascinated me and I enjoyed the little glimpses we got of a few of Sorrow’s ancestors as the present was interspersed with moments from their point of view throughout the book as well as with flashbacks from Sorrow’s past as memories resurfaced.  Through the ancestors’ stories we learn more about the family’s history on the orchard and their kinship with nature or more specifically trees as well as the feud. And Sorrow’s flashbacks also give a glimpse of life as a Lovegood and the unique and often troubled relationships the women share with each other and with the world they live in.  

The Lovegood women share a past filled with heartache and isolation as they have all suffered losses and neighbors have shunned them for being different while making accusations of witchcraft for centuries.  My heart ached for all of them as we learned about the history of the Lovegood and Abrams feud and its devastating results for both families. And as a side note the Lovegood women also have unique names such as Charity, Devotion, Pride, Joyful, and Perseverance…I’d actually love to see the Lovegood family tree.

The Memory Trees was a heartbreaking as well as fascinating, slow journey through the past and present of a unique family that led to some unexpected and surprising revelations and I enjoyed every word of it.
*I received a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.*

In The Memory Trees, Kali Wallace's writing is so beautiful and there are so many quotes and passages that I could have shared. It was a struggle to narrow it down and to pick ones that did not spoil the story.  In fact, I'd recommend just reading the entire book.
But if you want to know a few of my favorites, here you go...






1 signed hardcover copy of THE MEMORY TREES by Kali Wallace (US Only)



Also, There is a preorder giveaway: anybody who preorders by 10/10 can get a signed bookplate and some bookmarks if they send an email to thememorytrees@gmail.com

Be sure to checkout the other stops on the Tour.





Saturday, October 7, 2017

Blog Tour: The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed...Review, Favorite Quotes, & Giveaway!


Today I am happy to tell you about The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed.
Keep reading to learn more about this powerful book and be sure to enter the giveaway!
The Nowhere Girls
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 10th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis:

Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

Who are the Nowhere Girls?

They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.

Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.

Buy Links:

Amy Reed was born and raised in and around Seattle, where she attended a total of eight schools by the time she was eighteen. Constant moving taught her to be restless and being an only child made her imagination do funny things. After a brief stint at Reed College (no relation), she moved to San Francisco and spent the next several years serving coffee and getting into trouble. She eventually graduated from film school, promptly decided she wanted nothing to do with filmmaking, returned to her original and impractical love of writing, and earned her MFA from New College of California. Her short work has been published in journals such as Kitchen Sink, Contrary, and Fiction. Amy currently lives in Oakland with her husband and two cats, and has accepted that Northern California has replaced the Pacific Northwest as her home. She is no longer restless. Find out more at amyreedfiction.com.

First, I feel I must mention that the book deals with rape and sexual assault so if you are triggered by this topic, I just felt that I should let you know.

Now onto my thoughts…

The Nowhere Girls is a powerful and emotional book that broke my heart and slowly put the pieces back together...a few times.  What starts out as a story about three very different high school teenagers, soon became so much more than I expected as girls at a high school band together to stand up for themselves against a sexist culture within their town.

As for the girls who got the ball rolling...Rosina is Mexican-American with a large extended family that count her for everything from child-sitting to waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant. She dreams of escaping their small and forming a band…oh, and she's a lesbian.  Then there’s Erin who has Aspergers making it difficult to read the faces and emotions of others, but she's trying.  She also has a fondness for Star Trek and identifies with an android character from the show.  Last we have Grace, the new girl in town who happened to move into the former town pariah’s room where she finds messages of despair and desperation carved in small places throughout the room. She has moved to town following her preacher mother’s firing from her old church and becomes friends with the interesting Rosina and Erin.  Their friendship grows even closer when they begin to discuss Lucy Moynihan, the former town pariah.

So who is Lucy Moynihan? Well, despite the fact that most of her presence in the story comes from the thoughts and discussions of others, she is a very important character in The Nowhere Girls.  Lucy and her family left town shortly after Lucy was gang-raped at a party. Nobody believed her, not even the adults who questioned her actions that night.  Grace has moved into her old house and longs to know what happened exactly to her and becomes determined to get justice for her and other girls like Lucy.

After learning and observing how much the guys at school get away with when it comes to their sexist behavior and after seeing a disgusting website where guys discuss their “lays” and tips are given on how to basically date rape a girl and a whole lot of sexist stuff that just sickened me, Rosina, Grace, and Erin decide to create for an anonymous group for girls which becomes known as The Nowhere Girls.

This group empowers fellow female classmates and encourages them to stand up for themselves and each other.  All of them are surprised to learn that they are not alone and we learn more about our main characters as well as their female classmates. Soon their group becomes more than any of them had expected as they gain strength and become a support system.

While the story might focus on a set of girls at a small high school and what happens there, it could easily be about girls anywhere. This happens everyday, somewhere.  And there's always a girl too scared to say anything or a guy who wrongly thinks, “Well, I'm a guy. It’s what guys do.”  And sadly there are also adults who will turn a blind eye…they don't want to acknowledge it, they victim-blame, or they simply don't believe it happened.  But for each of these girls, guys, and adults, there are also one’s who feel the opposite…so there is hope.  And I enjoyed how the author demonstrated this type of environment and left readers with a sense of strength and hope, or at least this reader.

Amy Reed did a wonderful job of giving her three main characters three distinct voices, personalities, and backgrounds.  I could identify with a little bit in each of them.  Alternating POVs only added to my enjoyment of the story and characters as we got a look at the thought processes and home lives of the girls.

Interspersed throughout the story we also get a glimpse at the thoughts of other girls as well as snippets from the disgusting, sexist website the boys post on.  While the girls’ thoughts intrigued me and showed how girls can feel isolated even though many have similar thoughts they don't share, I could hardly stomach reading the website post that's how awful and sadly realistic they were.  It's just sad to know that this is how many guys and girls think.

Amy Reed did a wonderful job with this book and topic. The Nowhere Girls is an emotional and powerful story with a hopeful ending.  It was also a roller coaster ride of emotions reading this one as I felt everything from anger to sadness to joy to pride to frustration and more. And I really felt for and connected with all of the characters, but especially Erin. I don't know enough to feel comfortable commenting on the author’s portrayal of Aspergers, but Erin is the character who touched me the most especially as things from her past come back to the surface as she helps the group. 

I could really keep writing because there is so much more that I want to say, but I better wrap things up, but just know that I loved this book and feel like it is an important read for today’s society.

*I received a complementary digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
There were so many passages and quotes that I wanted to share from things Grace's mother says in her sermons to observations Erin makes about life, I couldn't include them all so I narrowed my long list down to the following.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book…








1 copy of THE NOWHERE GIRLS (US ONLY)


Be sure to check out the other stops on the Tour!







Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Very Special Character Interview with Jeremy and Luke from The Uncrossing by Melissa Eastlake


This week Entangled Teen released a fun and magical new book from Melissa Eastlake called The Uncrossing.
Melissa was kind enough to loan me a couple of her characters for a bit, but first let me tell you a little about the book…
Luke can uncross almost any curse—they unravel themselves for him like no one else. So working for the Kovrovs, one of the families controlling all the magic in New York, is exciting and dangerous, especially when he encounters the first curse he can't break. And it involves Jeremy, the beloved, sheltered prince of the Kovrov family—the one boy he absolutely shouldn't be falling for.

Jeremy's been in love with cocky, talented Luke since they were kids. But from their first kiss, something's missing. Jeremy's family keeps generations of deadly secrets, forcing him to choose between love and loyalty. As Luke fights to break the curse, a magical, citywide war starts crackling, and it's tied to Jeremy.

This might be the one curse Luke can't uncross. If true love's kiss fails, what's left for him and Jeremy?

Now as I mentioned, Melissa was nice enough to put me in touch with Luke and Jeremy for an interview of sorts so that readers and I could get to know them better.  I was a bit nervous about interviewing them and wasn't sure what exactly to ask.  Luckily they were up for some fun and were willing to “Complete the Sentences” for me.  I gave them some prompts and told them to complete them however they’d like.  Below are the interesting, but fun (and somewhat touching?) results…

The one thing you should probably know about me is…
Jeremy: Ugh, I hate this question! There’s more than one thing people need to know. Humans are complex and— 
Luke: What he means is, the one thing you need to know is, he has a curse, and I break curses. 
Jeremy: Ugggh.
I love it when…
Luke: People tell me I’m right.
I don't like…
Jeremy: Luke thinking he’s always right.
Luke: Hey!
My favorite thing to do when it rains is…
Jeremy: Sleep! That’s a trick answer, though, because that’s always my favorite thing to do.
My biggest fear is…
Luke: Failure.
Jeremy: Rejection.
The place I feel most comfortable is…
Luke: The last half or so of a ritual, when whatever spell has been broken and you’re just watching the fire burn down and making sure everything’s all right. That part. 
Jeremy: That is such a weird answer. 
Jeremy: I don’t know. “Comfortable” isn’t really something I’m familiar with.    
Luke: All right, what’s your answer?       
I get sad when…
Luke: The Knicks lose. So, you know, a lot.  
Jeremy: I don’t think it’s about what’s happening for me. It’s more like, something inside me. The more everything and everyone is fine, sometimes, the worse it is. 
Luke: Oh, man. His answer was way more serious.
Nothing makes me smile more than…
Luke: Him.
Jeremy: Aww 
Luke: Now you say me, it’ll be a whole thing.
Jeremy: Hmm. The answer is, my green hat. 
My favorite memory involves…
Jeremy: My family.
Luke: I was going to say that, too. I mean, my family—definitely not your family.
*** 
Thank you so much Luke and Jeremy (and Melissa for making this happen)!
Check out Luke and Jeremy’s story for yourself and look for my review of The Uncrossing in an upcoming post!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Blog Tour: Gertie Milk and the Keeper of Lost Things by Simon Van Booy...Review & a Random Thought from Me!


Fun new middle-grade book to tell you about today!
Keep reading to learn more and to see some times in history I wouldn't mind being a part of!
This enchanting middle-grade adventure follows twelve-year-old Gertie Milk, who washes up on the island of Skuldark, and finds that all of her memories are gone. Home to helpful Slug Lamps, delicious moonberries, and a ferocious Guard Worm, the island is full of oddities, including a cozy cottage containing artifacts from every corner of history.

It is there that Gertie discovers she has been chosen as the next Keeper of Lost Things, tasked with the mission of returning objects to history’s most important figures right when they need them most. With the help of a time machine disguised as a vintage sports car and the guidance of her fellow Keeper, Kolt, Gertie dodges an elephant army in ancient Alexandria, crashes a 1920s flapper party, and battles a ruthless Zhou Dynasty king.

But soon, Gertie encounters an enemy that threatens everything the Keepers stand for: The Losers, villains who don’t want to keep order but destroy it. Now, Gertie must uncover the truth of her own past if she wants to stop the Losers and set history back in place.
Simon Van Booy is the best-selling author of seven books of fiction, and three anthologies of philosophy. He has written for the New York Times, the Financial Times, NPR, and the BBC. He enjoys building robots, model airplanes, and off-road vehicles—which he likes to crash. He has an impressive umbrella collection, a Bowler hat, and carries a green thermos of tea everywhere. His books have been translated into many languages. In 2013, he founded Writers for Children, a project which helps young people build confidence in their literary abilities through annual awards. Raised in rural Wales and England, Simon currently lives between Brooklyn and Miami with his wife, daughter, Robot Rabbit Boy, and a fully-grown sheep

With Gertie Milk and the Keeper of Lost Things, author Simon Van Booy introduces readers to a whimsical and mysterious world with fun and fascinating characters.

Young Gertie awakens on an island where she discovers that she literally has forgotten everything. From her name to what she looks like and even the meaning of simple words and the names of random objects, her memories are all gone.  Not long after her arrival on this strange island she encounters Kolt, who informs her that she is now a Keeper of Lost Things.

As Keepers, it is Kolt and Gertie’s responsibility to return random objects (or things…such as voices) that have been lost to important figures in history just as they need them most. The job isn't always easy as the pair run into trouble quite a bit, but it takes Gertie on some fun and fascinating adventures throughout time as she and her companion work keep order and save history.  

But there are those who wish to prevent the Keepers from doing their job, the Losers, and they’ll try anything keep the important objects lost.  Things take an interesting and unexpected turn when Gertie must face the Losers to stop them from destroying the Keeper’s hard work.

The entire concept of this book is fascinating to me and one I fell in love with. Think about it…a simple lost object has the power to change the course of history, but there is some mysterious group preventing that from happening with the help of a time machine.  There are so many ways this story could go and I love the choices the author made in this one.

And the descriptions of the island of Skuldark and its inhabitants are so well done.  I appreciated the authors attention to detail as he described the creatures that call the island home and as he had Kolt show Gertie the ropes to being a Keeper and her new home.  The Shoe Closet, where clothes from every time period are stored, definitely caught my attention and I wouldn't mind exploring one of those in real life.

At first I wasn't sure where the author was taking Gertie and her personal story but I enjoyed reading as she struggles to adjust to her new life and discovers some unsettling news along the way.

This is an entertaining middle grade read that people of all ages should enjoy.  I look forward to more of Gertie’s adventures so hopefully more are on the way.
*I received a complimentary ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Moments in Time I Wouldn't Mind Visiting

In the book, Gertie is a Keeper of Lost Things who returns lost objects to famous historical figures just when they're needed most so historical events take place as they should…what’s meant to happen has to happen.  So I thought, what famous people or places would I like to visit and help make sure they happen as they are meant to? And what object(s) would I like to return?  Here are just a few.

  • The Beatles, their instruments
Perhaps I could visit The Beatles and return their instruments just in time for their famous appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

  • the set of The Wizard of Oz, the Ruby Slippers
Maybe it’s the day of the big “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” scene and no one can find the famous footwear until I show up and save the day.

  • the day of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech”, maybe his voice
So I just really wanted to hear this one in person and couldn't think of something he could lose.  But in Gertie’s world Keepers also take care of lost voices, so why not? 

  • the day man first walked on the moon, some technological doodad
Perhaps NASA had an issue allowing this moment to happen or broadcasting this famous moment to the millions that watched and I brought the lost item in just in time for history to be made.

  • Jane Austen, paper and ink
Maybe the day she decided to write she could not find her paper and ink and was going to give up until I brought it to her.

So are there any people, times, or places in history you’d want to visit?