Friday, October 20, 2017

Book Review: All The Crooked Saints

 All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Released: October 10th, 2017
Read: October 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: ARC, 311 pages
Series: n/a

Description from GoodReads: Here is a thing everyone wants: a miracle.
Here is a thing everyone fears: what it takes to get one.
   Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.
   At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.
   They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.


Review: This book is kind of like a bedtime story. The narrator meanders and builds the world and characters so you can fall in love with each of them in turn. I don't mean it as an insult when I say that there's no pulse-pounding, gut-wrenching action. It's something I haven't seen before, and I really like it. There's a lot of character. If you can picture a bunch of characters standing out in the desert, you are about halfway to the amount of characters in the story, and you didn't even count the desert as one. Sometimes, like a true bedtime storyteller, the names or backstories get a little confusing. (#itsDarlenesRooster) But all the characters are lovely, with complex but simple wants and fears that are developed through clear story arcs. Like I said, the narrator meanders. The book describes side character's side characters background stories. It compares radio waves to miracles, and informs us in detail of a plant that takes over its environment. The intricate details set the storybook tone throughout the book. Altogether, the novel has a languid, bedtime storyteller feel that may bore some people, but I found it interesting and relaxing.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Blog Tour: Sparked





Hey all! Today I'm bringing you a spotlight post for Sparked! Be sure to let me know what you think of the book!



Title: SPARKED
Author: Helena Echlin & Malena Watrous
Pub. Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Geek & Sundry
Pages: 310
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, B&N, TBD, Goodreads

Fifteen-year-old Laurel Goodwin wakes up to find her older sister Ivy missing from their Airstream trailer in the Oregon redwoods. A recurring nightmare convinces her that Ivy was abducted, but no one takes her dream seriously, including her mom. Laurel, a loner, has to learn to ask for help, and Jasper Blake, a mysterious new kid who shares her love of old books, quickly becomes her ally. Together they find their quiet town holds a deep secret and is the epicenter of a dark prophecy. 
Laurel soon learns that her worst enemies, mean girls Peyton Andersen and Mei Rosen, are developing powers that she needs to find and save Ivy. With time running out, Laurel realizes that power doesn't always take the form that you expect. And once she learns to look beyond her snap judgments, she develops an unexpected gift of her own.

Read a sneak peak of SPARKED!

About Helena and Malena: 

Hello! We are both novelists, but if you've ever tried to write anything, you know that writing can be a lonely, angst-filled business. So one night over a cocktail or two, we came up with a solution: write our next book together. Malena already had an idea: a girl's sister is kidnapped and she has to rely on mean girls with superpowers to get her sister back. We couldn't resist seeing where that story would take us – a wild ride that includes a loner girl who wants to be a writer and a gorgeous boy who can shoot fire from his eyes but also loves to talk about books. And an ancient Zoroastrian prophecy. And pie shakes. (OK, so maybe we got a little carried away.)
We've both published solo novels (check them out here and here) and had no idea how co-writing would work out, but we pounded out the first draft in a white-hot frenzy of inspiration we called "the Vortex." One of us would write a scene and send it to the other with a note: "My apartment is a pigsty and I haven't eaten all day. #inthevortex." We wrote the book we wanted to read as teenagers: a supernatural thriller with healthy doses of horror and humor. Oh, and of course there's romance. You have to wait a long time for the only kiss in the book, but isn't that the case with all the best kisses in books?
Website | Twitter 



Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of SPARKED, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tour Schedule:

Week One:
10/2/2017- Literary Meanderings- Interview
10/2/2017- Zach's YA Reviews- Review

10/3/2017- BookHounds- Guest Post
10/3/2017- The Desert Bibliophile- Review

10/4/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
10/4/2017- Rachel's Book Reviews- Review

10/5/2017- Wandering Bark Books- Guest Post
10/5/2017- A Gingerly Review- Review

10/6/2017- Rainy Day Reviews- Excerpt
10/6/2017- Bibliobakes- Review

Week Two:
10/9/2017- Margie's Must Reads- Guest Post
10/9/2017- YA Book Madness- Review

10/10/2017- Bibliobibuli YA- Interview
10/10/2017- The Best Books Ever- Review

10/11/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Launch Coverage
10/11/2017- the bookdragon- Review

10/12/2017- YA and Wine- Interview

10/13/2017- Owl Always Be Reading- Excerpt
10/13/2017- Nerdophiles- Review

That's all for today!
Happy Reading,

Mari

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Blog Tour: The Way to Bea



Hey all, I'm bringing you a fantastic blog tour stop for The Way To Bea! Let me know what you think!



Title: THE WAY TO BEA
Author: Kat Yeh
Pub. Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD, Goodreads

 With a charming voice, winning characters, and a perfectly-woven plot, Kat Yeh delivers a powerful story of friendship and finding a path towards embracing yourself.

Everything in Bea's world has changed. She's starting seventh grade newly friendless and facing big changes at home, where she is about to go from only child to big sister. Feeling alone and adrift, and like her words don't deserve to be seen, Bea takes solace in writing haiku in invisible ink and hiding them in a secret spot.

But then something incredible happens--someone writes back. And Bea begins to connect with new friends, including a classmate obsessed with a nearby labyrinth and determined to get inside. As she decides where her next path will lead, she just might discover that her words--and herself--have found a new way to belong.


 About Kat:
Kat grew up reading, doodling, and scribbling in Westtown. She worked for many years in advertising and sports marketing, while writing children’s books in the wee hours of the night. She currently lives on Long Island where she can see water every day and explore all the bay and harbor beaches with her family.

Website | Twitter |Instagram| Pinterest | Goodreads 

And now we have an amazing interview with Kat!




Why did you have your main character write haikus and not other forms of poetry?

 Oh, Bea... One of my favorite things about her is that even when she isn't able speak out, she still expresses herself and shows the world how she feels on the inside. And poetry is definitely one of those ways. Bea's poetry gives the reader a window to her heart. And the perfect way for them to experience her shifting emotions. 

 Before 7th grade started, Bea was a joyful and exuberant writer & artist, who would often break into sudden silly dances on the sidewalk. Her whimsical free verse poetry was painted in bright colors and curling letters all over her bedroom walls. 

 Until the heartbreak of losing her best friend.
Her best friend who tells Bea that she is just "too much."

 With this, Bea doesn't know how to be anymore. She is being judged for the way she expresses herself. So, what is a poet supposed to do? 

 Bea turns to haiku. A form of poetry with strict rules and structure: Exactly three lines with five syllables, then seven, then five. Because maybe if she is following rules, she can belong again.

 Five
Seven
Five

 But her worry is  (5)
with seventeen syllables (7)
will she still be too...much        (6)

 So then I guess the question is, who makes the rules anyway...and who gets to decide what and who is too much?



Do you like to write poetry?

 I grew up, believing I would be a poet. I imagined that this job would include sitting by a window each day and dreaming of what to write about. I imagined I would have a wonderful pen – maybe an old-fashioned fountain pen that would make exactly the right thick and thin lines to write my poems with.  I made a vow when I was in third grade that I would write a poem every day for the rest of my life. I made it pretty far. 
The answer is Yes. I love writing poetry. I even snuck some into my first novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE.


What would you want your middle grade readers to take away from this book? What would you hope adult readers to glean from it?

 Hmm. This is an interesting question.
Because if it were middle grade ME reading it, I would hope that this book helped me realize that friendships are complicated. But that does not mean that it's okay for someone to hurt you. And if life is a maze, no matter what unexpected twists and turns you face, YOU are the only one who gets to decide what path to take. And if you hit what seems like a dead end – then YOU get to decide whether you want to turn around, climb over, or forge ahead and create a new path for yourself.

 For my readers, whether they are young or grown, all I can say is that I hope they take from my book whatever it is they need to take from it. 

 There's this saying about how once a book is published, it no longer belongs to the author. And I do really believe this is true. Books belong to the reader. Whoever they are and whatever their backstory. How could it not? They will be reading this story and looking at it through their specific worldview. They will read it and feel as only they can.

 I've had people write to me after they read THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE and thank me for helping them with things that I never dreamed I'd be helping anyone with. They took the book and got what they needed from it. They made it their own. It's a pretty cool thing, isn't it? You put your heart into something and you work and work so hard on it, hoping someone will connect to it. But if and how they do is not up to you. It's up to the reader. After all, it's their book.


Did you have similar experiences within your own friendships as Bea did?

 My main friend group started changing when I was in 9th grade, but it was nowhere near as dramatic as what Bea went through. In my school, the size of my class doubled after 8th grade and even though I still loved my closest friends, we sort of drifted into different groups over time as we grew and changed. I'll add that I'm still super close to these friends and love them dearly even though we had many years (and now decades!) where we didn't hang out. 

 But this experience was definitely what inspired me to write THE WAY TO BEA. I kept thinking: what if this had happened to me in 7th grade instead of 9th...and what if it wasn't a gradual shifting of friendship, but a sudden, hurtful dropping of one. I know losing a friend group is something that is all too common at all ages and it was something I wanted to write about.


If you had to choose your favorite quote from the book, what would it be?

 if I act 
the way 
I wish I were
am I still acting
—or becoming?

 It's a line that Bea writes as she's thinking about how to navigate the confusing world that is middle school. And it's something I think about a lot. Does "acting" ever become "being"? I think the answer is different for everyone. For some people, the idea of "acting" feels like putting on a false front. Like acting a part or pretending. But, I like to think of "acting" as deciding to do something. To act upon it. To accomplish something. Sometimes you just need to keep trying and trying something until you look up one day and see that you've actually done it.

 Giveaway Details:

 3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE WAY TO BEA, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
9/18/2017- Jennifer Mary G.- Interview
9/19/2017- YAYOMG!- Review
9/20/2017- BookHounds YA- Guest Post
9/21/2017- Word Spelunking- Review
9/22/2017- Little Red Reads- Interview

 Week Two:
9/25/2017- Mrs. Knott's Book Nook- Review
9/26/2017- YA Book Madness- Review
9/27/2017- La La the Library- Review
9/29/2017- Cindy's Love of Books- Review
   
Let me know what y'all think of the book!
Happy Reading,
Mari