Blog Tour: Tremontaine – Guest Post and Giveaway

What have you learned about writing diverse characters in today’s cultural climate?

This piece originally appeared on Quora. You can find a link here.

Tremontaine is the critically acclaimed prequel to Ellen Kushner’s beloved Riverside novels, which developed a cult following beginning with Swordspoint in 1987. The “Fantasy of Manners” focuses on decadent world building and interpersonal intrigue, and has been noted for its progressive expression of gender and sexuality. Team-written by some of today’s most exciting authors, Tremontaine season 3 is brought to you by Ellen Kushner, Joel Derfner, Karen Lord, Delia Sherman, Racheline Maltese, Paul Witcover, Tessa Gratton, and Liz Duffy Adams. The first episode is available for free at Serial Box and can be found here.

Listen.

Writing diverse characters is about craft.

You take the time and do the work to get it right. That means research, that means practice, that means reading widely, that means consulting experts. It means building diversity into the foundation of your story, from the world to theme to plot. It means finding empathy for people who aren’t you and prioritizing their needs. It means getting out of the way. It means putting down a project or character because it’s not yours, and you can’t do it without harm. It means examining yourself and your position in power structures, your privileges, your prejudices. It means making yourself sit the f*ck down to let somebody else talk. If you want to write a good book, you practice your craft. It’s that simple; it’s that complicated. Continue reading

Twofer Murder by Lauren Carr – Spotlight and Giveaway

Twofer Murder – Book Details:

Book Title: Twofer Murder by Lauren Carr
Category: Adult fiction, 400 pages
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Release date: November 17, 2017
Tour dates: Nov 1 to 30, 2017
Content Rating: PG + M (Please be aware that TWOFER MURDER is a murder mystery. There are depictions of murder and some violence–though easy on the gore contents. No f-words but there may be some mild profanity, and mild religious expletives such as “damn”, “hell” and “Oh God!”. Some depictions of brief sexual content (kissing). No drug use or underage drinking among the protagonists.) Continue reading

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock Book Review

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Published: August 13th, 2013

Publisher: Little, Brown

Pages: 288

Synopsis:

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

My Thoughts:

This was such an emotional read that I enjoyed every second of.

This was my first book by Mathew Quick, and I will definitely be reading more from him soon. He writes about mental illness in such a realistic way and because of that, I think that everybody needs to read this book. Continue reading

Carry On Book Review

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Published: October 6th, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffith

Pages: 522

Synopsis:

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

My Thoughts:

Carry On was such a big disappointment for me.

I read Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl when it first came out and absolutely loved it, so I was very excited to read more of her work, but this ultimately fell flat for me. I love Rainbow Rowell as a contemporary author, but her take on fantasy was just not for me. Although I loved the world in the book and how Rowell incorporated different popular fandoms in the book, I could not get into the story. Continue reading

Read Bottom Up Book Review

Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah and Skye Chatham

Publisher: Dey Street Books

Published: April 7th, 2015

Pages: 256

Synopsis:

A charming novel about falling in love (or like) in the digital age—the never-before-seen full story

Madeline and Elliot meet at a New York City restaurant opening. Flirtation—online—ensues. A romance, potentially eternal, possibly doomed, begins.

And, like most things in life today, their early exchanges are available to be scrutinized and interpreted by well-intentioned friends who are a mere click away.

Madeline and Elliot’s relationship unfolds through a series of thrilling, confounding, and funny exchanges with each other, and, of course, with their best friends and dubious confidants (Emily and David). The result is a brand-new kind of modern romantic comedy, in format, in content, and even in creation—the authors exchanged e-mails in real time, blind to each other’s side conversations. You will nod in appreciation and roll your eyes in recognition; you’ll learn a thing or two about how the other half approaches a new relationship . . . and you will cheer for an unexpected ending that just might restore your faith in falling in love, twenty-first-century style.

My Thoughts:

This book was so much fun to read! When I picked this book up it was on a whim, and I did not realize until I started reading it that the book is told completely through texts and emails. I haven’t ever read a book like that before, so it was a fun and new experience for me. Even though it is told just through the texts and emails, the writing is amazing. Continue reading

Animal Farm Book Review

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Publisher: NAL

Published: August 17th, 1945

Pages: 102

Synopsis:

Tired of their servitude to man, a group of farm animals revolt and establish their own society, only to be betrayed into worse servitude by their leaders, the pigs, whose slogan becomes: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This 1945 satire addresses the socialist/communist philosophy of Stalin in the Soviet Union.

My Thoughts:

I decided to pick up this book since I had heard really great things about it, but had never read it. I know that many people are assigned this in high school, but I never was. I am so happy I picked this up, though. Continue reading

The Distance from A to Z Book Review

The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: January 12th, 2016

Pages: 352

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight.

That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to exclusively wear baseball caps and jerseys.

But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between the distance between who she is and who he is, is worth the risk.

My Thoughts:

This book has such a great premise that just sounds fun and entertaining, which is why I decided to pick it up. The story does start off well, but I just found way too many flaws with it. Continue reading

Just One Day Book Review

Just One Day by Gayle Foreman

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Published: January 8th, 2013

Pages: 320

Synopsis:

Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.
The first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

My Thoughts:

Gayle Foreman’s writing and story telling is absolutely beautiful. I found the characters, settings, and plot to be very real, amazing, and I couldn’t get enough of them. Continue reading

The Different Girl Book Review

The Different Girl by Gordon Dahliquist

Pages: 240

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Published: February 21, 2013

Synopsis:

Veronika. Caroline. Isobel. Eleanor. One blond, one brunette, one redhead, one with hair black as tar. Four otherwise identical girls who spend their days in sync, tasked to learn. But when May, a very different kind of girl—the lone survivor of a recent shipwreck—suddenly and mysteriously arrives on the island, an unsettling mirror is about to be held up to the life the girls have never before questioned.

Sly and unsettling, Gordon Dahlquist’s timeless and evocative storytelling blurs the lines between contemporary and sci-fi with a story that is sure to linger in readers’ minds long after the final page has been turned.

My Thoughts:

The Different Girl was a very interesting read, but ultimately left me wanting more. Continue reading

The Fifth Wave Book Review

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

Published: May 2013

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Series: The 5th Wave, Book 1

Pages: 457

Synopsis:

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

My Thoughts:

The Fifth Wave is one the the best books that I have read so far this year. Everything from the characters, the plot, the writing style, and the world building was absolutely phenomenal. There was not one aspect of this book that I did not enjoy.

For starters, the world that Rick Yancey built is very unique and so different from all of the other post apocalyptic books I have read. The way that the aliens are presented is like nothing I have ever read or seen before. I loved the way the author decided to the invasion in different waves instead of one big attack. It created suspense in guessing the next way the aliens would decide to weed out the humans.

The book switches between various points of views, which I thought was also very unique. It showed how different kinds of people were affected by the invasion from kids to teens to the actual aliens themselves. I loved being able to see both sides of the invasion and also different perspectives of the humans.

There was nothing that happened in this book that did not take me by surprise. Every time I though something would happen one way it went in a completely different direction. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time reading and was taken aback by how many mind blowing twists and turns there were. I have never read a book like this one, and I really loved it. The surprises in it mad me not able to put the book down because I wanted to now what would happen next, and what twist would take place after the other.

Hearing all the praise about this book made me skeptical, but I was completely blown away. There is not one thing about this book that I can complain about or would change. This is writing at its finest, and I can not wait to read more of Rick Yancey’s work. I highly recommend this book to everyone and any kind of reader.

Rating: 5 / 5 stars