Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Book Description:

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Reviewer's Copy: Hardcover

Source: Purchased 

My Thoughts:

A Court of Thorns and Roses surpassed my expectations. It was as amazing as I thought it would be and more. I was immediately lost within its charm and riveting tale. The fey winked at me and like a willing victim, I went with them.

The story world was all the sounds and sights that I have imagined and more. Prythian was a sprawling land of surprises, magic and danger. The writing was beautiful, captivating and flawless. There was no fault that I could find. It was the first thing that drew me in. The words wrapped around me like a comfortable blanket that I could not let go of, before drifting into a magical dream.

Feyre was an artist, sensitive and observant when it came down to color and texture. However, for the most part of the book, I saw her as a hunter who had the skills to survive. She was fierce and brave, going against all odds to bring food to the table, when no one else would. Living in Prythian was life-changing for Feyre. Her heart held such loneliness and I wanted to see something good happen to her. However, instead of walking into happiness, Feyre walked into a cage of pain and trials. I was constantly at the edge of my seat with the life-threatening situations and suspense that Feyre faced.

Rhysand was the one who caught my attention and held it in his night-kissed hands. He was the High Lord of the Night Court. He was perfection in my eyes. His moon-white skin, inky black hair and violet eyes were bullets against my armor. Throughout the story, I saw the good and bad sides of him. He was magnetic, devastatingly attractive and brilliant. His mind was a beautiful thing to observe and behold - always one step ahead of the game. His charm was like the stars in the sky - constant and forever. He seemed like the bad guy at times, however, behind his actions, I could see kernels of goodness. He was constantly masking his good deeds and intentions underneath smirks and threats. He has taken my heart for himself and I cannot get it back. I have fallen in love with his character right from the beginning, in Calanmai. I am looking forward to knowing him more thoroughly in the next installments.

Tamlin, the 'Beast' of the story, was good and noble. He was the High Lord of the Spring Court. Upon bursting violently through Feyre's front door, he had my eyebrow raised. He was a gentleman in his own right, however he had a layer of temper lingering underneath his skin. He tended to be overprotective and perhaps unwilling to value other's capacity to take control of themselves and be in control of a situation over his loss of control. It made me sad and a bit put off how he dealt with some things in his life.

The minor characters were brilliant and alive as well. Lucien, the Emissary of the Spring Court, was an intriguing character. He had a dark past, a quick mind and charm. It was endearing how he and Feyre slowly began to turn into friends despite their bad beginning. Alis, one of the household helps, was also a joy to read. She had a heart for a human. Her concern and compassion spoke volumes.

The action and suspense made my blood flow a little faster and my heart beat a little louder. It brought me back to the days when I read The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. The twists and turns kept things interesting. I was constantly picking up breadcrumbs left by Maas throughout the pages, following any trail and any pattern that I could find. I was forming and testing theories in my head all throughout the novel. It was fun and stimulating to read something so well-planned and well-written. The ending was a promise of better and exciting things to come. I was satisfied with it, considering that it dealt with my favorite characters.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is heart-pounding and unforgettable with its burst of colors, wonders and twists. Cloaked with magic and layers of secrets, it is relentless in delivering entertainment. I highly recommend this to readers of faeries/fey, readers of fantasy and readers who delight in stories inspired by fairytales. You need this series in your life!


5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore (Interview + Giveaway)

Hi guys! #CelebratingDebutantes2017 continues with an interview with Laurie Devore about her writing and How to Break a Boy, her debut. It has been a while since I read a good contemporary. I've been on a fantasy roll for months now! Laurie's debut deals with pranks, teen social hierarchy and power. Are you interested? If yes, stick around for the giveaway - a signed Hardcover. Let's start the interview!

What was it like writing a story with a generally unlikeable character? How did it affect your writing?
I think the interesting thing for me is that I never really find the character unlikeable when I’m writing. I’ve always found myself drawn to characters others find difficult, trying to take them apart, see what makes them tick. Once I’m in a character’s head, the process becomes much more of trying to figure out how a specific type of person would react in a situation versus me as an author making any kind of moral judgement on their actions. I find that’s what it takes to build empathy with characters others find unlikeable.

Which part was the hardest to write? Why did you struggle with it?
I found with both How to Break a Boy and my upcoming novel, Winner Take All, that nailing down characters’ parents and family history is so difficult. Especially as teenagers, each character’s family and upbringing affects so much of their lives and sometimes it can be difficult working backwards. Essentially, I have to look at the character I’ve created and understand what kind of familial circumstances would’ve built them into this person. It’s definitely a challenge but I also find it deeply interesting.

What is your favourite scene and why?
In How to Break a Boy, there’s a scene with Olivia and Whit – who has been posing as Olivia’s boyfriend and whose relationship with Olivia has gotten quite complicated – right after Olivia is brought to arguably her lowest point in the book by her ex-best friend Adrienne. For both Olivia and the reader, the scene is destructive and cathartic but ultimately, draining. I love Olivia’s anger in the scene because it’s as much at herself as Adrienne, and also ties into her conflicting feelings about Whit and not wanting to let him go. I love the depth of Olivia’s pain in that scene and then her desperation to hold onto one last good thing. I still remember writing that scene which might be why I love it so much!

Which element of toxic friendships did you enjoy tackling the most? Building up the symbiotic relationship between Olivia and Adrienne was probably the most interesting part of writing this book for me. I definitely wanted the book to have this pervasive idea that while their friendship was deeply problematic, they really felt like they had needed each other up to this point in their lives, which is how their relationship became so tangled and all those layers are what make untangling it so difficult for the two of them.

If you could pull a prank on someone, who would you do it to and how would you do it?
I like really elaborate (but harmless!) pranks. I think it’d be really fun to replace all the family pictures in my mom’s house with pictures of dogs or something like that, though she would probably find it less amusing.

It seems that your next book, Winner Take All, is about love and toxic competition. I can see that you like tackling relationship issues. Is there a reason behind this?
I like thinking about morally complicated people a lot. People go out into the world every day and do terrible things! Things that seem objectively terrible, but there has to be some reason why. So I think most of my interest in these relationships stems from that. How relationships can change a person, really set them on a path. Mostly I like deconstructing stereotypes we have of different people and, excuse the cover-related reference, seeing the fireworks that go off when they collide.

Thank you, Laurie!

Guys, you have to check out Laurie's upcoming book. Here's a little teaser about Winner Take All:

About the Author:

Laurie Devore was born and raised in small town South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University. She now lives and works in Chicago, where she misses the charms and contradictions of the south every day. In her spare time, she reluctantly runs marathons, watches too much TV, and works a “y’all” into every conversation. How to Break a Boy is her first novel.

Find Laurie: Website | Blog | Twitter | Instagram

Book Description:

Hardcover, 342 pages
Published January 31st 2017 by Imprint

Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself.


Thanks to Laurie for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Signed Hardcover of How to Break a Boy
Scope: US

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Get your daily dose of YA and MG debut goodness in #CelebratingDebutantes2017
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: #Famous by Jilly Gagnon (Character Interview + Giveaway)

Hi guys! Today you're in for a special treat. Jilly did her magic and made this fun character interview possible - with Rachel and Kyle from #Famous! I love Instagram and I can totally see myself loving this book to bits. Hope you like it! Stick around for a special giveaway at the end.

For additional points, you could answer this question: If you could post a photo on Instagram that you wouldn't have otherwise posted on a normal day, what would it be and why?

Tomorrow, head over to Blackplume for the next feature!

Precious: mic test, mic test. Is this thing working?
*Staff scrambles to fix the sound system*
Precious: Perfeeect. Hello, Rachel and Kyle! *winks* Let's start with the interview.

Describe your happiest moment to us.
Rachel: I'm not sure what I'd even pick.
Kyle: It's when you first laid eyes on me, obviously.
Rachel: You're cute and all, but that's ridiculous.
Kyle: That's mine but for you.
Rachel: And you're a total liar.
Kyle: But it sounds good, right?
Rachel: It sounds sappy. If I put that in a play Mo would cross it out and write "cliche" in red pen all over the page. And my face. And your face.
Kyle: Alright, fair. Don't tell her I said it. Mo kinda terrifies me.

What is love, for you?
Rachel: Do you even know that at our age? I feel like I'm still finding that out, honestly.
Kyle: I think love is when you'd rather make someone else happy than yourself.
Rachel: Now I feel like a jerk. What he said. Or...I dunno, puppies.
Kyle: Love is puppies?
Rachel: It's a metaphor. Or...whatever, Kyle wins this question.
Kyle: [fist pumps]

What is your ideal "happy ending?"
Kyle: I'm pretty sure whatever I say you're gonna tell me it's a cliche again, right?
Rachel: Not if you said "and then I finally accepted that my girlfriend is, and always will be, a better bowler than I am."
Kyle: She said ending. That's not over.
Rachel: Keep telling yourself that, Kyle.

What is your biggest mistake?
Kyle: Oh man, these are seriously intense questions.
Rachel: I mean, on one level the picture was a mistake...
Kyle: Oh c'mon, you don't mean that.
Rachel: Let me finish! I was going to say that on another level, it turned out pretty alright in the end.
Kyle: [indignant, gestures to self] Pretty alright? This is way better than pretty alright. I'm at least...
Rachel: A good consolation prize?
Kyle: Exactly.

What is your favorite quote? Have you used it on each other?
Rachel: Wow...can I just say "all of Mrs. Dalloway?"
Kyle: There's no way you can say that.
Rachel: Fine. I guess...I like this one Thoreau quote, "the world is but a canvas to our imagination." Sometimes it helps me when I have serious writer's block.
Kyle: Umm...put up or shut up?
Rachel: That's not even a quote.
Kyle: Sure it is. Ollie says it all the time.
Rachel: Your favorite quote is by Ollie.
Kyle: My favorite quote is...something you've written. That I'll remember later.
Rachel: Nice save. And for the record, he has totally used that on me.

If you could post a photo on Instagram right now, what would it be and what would be the caption?
Rachel: Seriously, anything but a picture of this one. I get it, every other girl on earth is into him.
Kyle: Are you jealous? I'd post a picture of you. With the caption "The most beautiful girl in the world and somehow she fell for a doofus like me."
Rachel: You are a total suck-up.
Kyle: But, like, it works, right?
Rachel rolls her eyes but can't repress a grin

Is there something you can't do now that you could do before the incident? What is it? Why?
Kyle: I can't really work at Burger Barn any more.
Rachel: That's totally a perk.
Kyle: For sure. I'm not complaining.
Rachel: Sometimes I get recognized which is utterly bizarre. But it's not like I can't go out in public or anything. Unless I straighten my hair. But I could never really do that effectively in the first place.

Is there anything you would like to change in your life?
Kyle: Honestly? Not even a little. I feel like I won the lottery or something.
Rachel: I'd like to be a Tony-winning playwright.
Kyle: Oh, fine. If we're playing that way, I want, like...a yacht?
Rachel: I'd go with castle.
Kyle: Why choose?
Rachel: Good point. So the Tony, and the yacht and the castle. Otherwise I'm content.

Thank you, Jilly!

About the Author:

Jilly Gagnon is currently based in Chicago, but is originally from Minnesota, a fact she'll likely inform you of within minutes of meeting you. Her humor writing, personal essays, and op-eds have appeared in Newsweek, Elle, Vanity Fair, Boston Magazine, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Toast, and The Hairpin, among others.

She writes both humor and young adult fiction. She's represented by Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary (for humor) and Taylor Haggerty of Waxman Leavell (for young adult writing).

She's an especially good conversation partner if you love amazing cocktails, terrible television, or talking to your cats.

Find Jily: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Book Description:

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books

In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.


Thanks to Jilly for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Signed ARC of #Famous
Scope: US
*If you have a mailing address in US or someone to send it to, you may join

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Good Byline by Jill Orr (Interview + Giveaway)

Hi guys! I hope you're having a good weekend so far! For today, we are featuring an intriguing debut about a library assistant who enjoys reading obituaries. It is quirky and so fresh. I'm interviewing Jill about The Good Byline! Stick around for the special giveaway at the end. :)

For an extra point, you could answer any of these questions: Have you ever tried reading the obituary section before? Have you read anything interesting in it?

What do you feel about scoring a three-book deal?
I was thrilled of course! I had the deal for THE GOOD BYLINE first, but my agent had told my editor that the book was planned as a series. Then a couple of months before BYLINE came out, Prospect Park Books made an offer on the next two in the series! It was such a great vote of confidence!

Since you have three books, are all the stories aligned and planned at this point? How do you outline for a three-book story?
I have a general plan for each book before I start writing and an overarching series plan. So in each book there will be a "stand alone murder" but the main character, Riley, will also be working toward solving the mysterious death of her grandfather. This mystery will unfold bit by bit in each book. For better or worse, I'm not a big planner, but I do at least know a few things going into the writing process.

From your first draft, was Riley always a library assistant? Did her character change throughout various revisions and drafts?
She was always a library assistant, but she definitely changed in other ways as I got to know her better. Because my original spark for her character was someone who was obsessed with obituaries, I thought she was going to be this dark, snarky, melancholy young woman. But as I learned more about real life "obituary enthusiasts" (yes, the exist!) I realized the reading the obits is one of the most life-affirming pursuits out there. People who read obits of people they've never met do so in order to see what made a person's life worth living and what they can learn from someone else's life story. It's pretty sweet, really. So Riley ended up becoming far more optimistic, hopeful, and romantic as I wrote her - which surprised me!

While reading and researching about people enthusiastic and interested about obituaries, did you encounter something interesting?
Oh yes! The most interesting thing about this subculture of people are into obituaries, is that they have their own chat rooms and even their own conferences! There's a book I've read and re-read as research for my own writing called LIFE ON THE DEATH BEAT: LOST SOULS AND LUCKY STIFFS by Marilyn Johnson and it's filled with stories about obituaries and the people who love them. It's fantastic, quirky little book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this subject.

Did you encounter problems while writing the first book, The Good Byline? What are these and why?
Oh I think there are always "problems." Like every other writer on the planet, I have those days where I am certain everything I've written is complete crap and I should just give up and go live in a cave. I also wrote THE GOOD BYLINE before I had an agent or a publisher, so I had no idea if anyone would ever read it, like it, buy it, etc. But those things are all par for the course. I think it's part of the process, albeit not such a fun part, it's also what helps make it so fun when you fight through all of that and make it to the other side.

What is your favorite line from the book? Why did you choose this?
"It was the kind of night that made everything sparkle with possibility... even me." I chose this line because I think this is when we see a glimmer of Riley's emotional growth begin peek through. She's pretty hard on herself and has been in something of a slump when the book opens, so here when we get to see her open herself up to the idea that maybe, just maybe, it's all going to be okay - well, I like that!

Thank you, Jill!

Photo credit: Stephanie Atkinson Photography
About the Author:

Jill Orr lives in Columbia, Missouri, with her husband and two children. She writes humor essays about parenting on her blog, An Exercise in Narcissism. The Good Byline is her first novel in the Riley Ellison mysteries series and was released in April 2017 from Prospect Park Books. Book two (title TBD) will be out Spring 2018!

Find Jill: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Book Description:

Paperback, 280 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by Prospect Park Books

"Who knew obituaries could be this much fun?"
— Gretchen Archer, USA TODAY–bestselling author of the Davis Way Crime Capers

Meet Riley Ellison, a quirky young library assistant who has become known in her hometown of Tuttle Corner, Virginia, as Riley Bless-Her-Heart. Riley’s odd habit of living vicariously through people she reads about in the obituary pages hits a little too close to home when she is asked to write one for her childhood best friend, Jordan James. Jordan's unexpected suicide has left Riley desperate to understand why a young woman with so much to live for would suddenly opt out, so she steps out of her comfort zone and into the role of obituary writer.

Things get messy, however, when Jordan’s co-worker, a paranoid reporter with a penchant for conspiracy theories, convinces Riley that Jordan’s death was no suicide. He leads her down a dangerous path toward organized crime, secret lovers, and suspicious taco trucks. Eventually, Riley’s serpentine hunt for the truth leads to a discovery that puts everything she holds dear—her job, the people she loves, and even her life—in danger. Will writing this obituary be the death of her?


Thanks to Jill for sponsoring this giveaway!
Copy of The Good Byline
Scope: US and CA
*If you have a mailing address in US and CA, you may join.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Beast is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Hello everyone! Today we're featuring one of the early releases of 2017 - The Beast is an Animal. The book was released and published early on this year. Some of you might have already read it. Initially, upon seeing the word 'beast' in the title, I thought that it might be related to Beauty and the Beast. However, it is not like that. The story itself is not based on a single classic fairytale. I interviewed Peternelle to find out more info about the Beast is an Animal. Stick around for a special giveaway at the end!

In reviews that I have read, it was mentioned that your story has a fairytale vibe. By any chance, is there a fairytale that inspired you to write The Beast is an Animal?
No single fairytale inspired the novel, but I was inspired generally by all the classic fairy tales I read when I was growing up, particularly those by the Brothers Grimm. In those fairy tales the characters often behave very badly, and rarely is anyone allowed to be completely innocent. If you think of “Hansel and Gretel,” for example, Gretel is forced to kill in order to save herself and her brother. At the end, they return home to their father, which is supposed to be a happy conclusion to the story, but he’s also the one who led them out into the forest to starve in the first place. So the idea of no one being purely good was very interesting to me.

What kind of research did you delve into for this novel?
Since my novel is entirely a fantasy, including the setting, I didn’t have to do a lot of research. The landscape was roughly inspired by Wales, so I did a little research into sheep herding there and a few other practical things such as clothing, but not a lot—which is a good thing, because for me a little research goes a long way.

How different was the original version of the story from the last version? What changed?
Very different. In fact I originally wrote the prologue for a different novel—a contemporary fantasy. Then my agent asked me if I could write an entire novel in the style of the prologue, which I was delighted to do, because I realized while writing it that dark fairy tales were my first love for a reason. Still, the novel evolved and evolved over time. At one point I began the action later in my protagonist’s life, but then I went back and started the story much earlier. And there were many other changes along the way.

What is your favorite line from the book? Why?
Hm, I hadn’t thought about that. I love the nursery rhymes that I wrote for the novel. So perhaps my favorite line is from the first nursery rhyme that I wrote: The Beast is an animal, It has a pointy chin, It eats you while you sleep at night, leaves nothing but your skin...

Can you give us a background about the cover art? What is the concept behind it? Does it refer to a specific scene?
I entirely credit my publisher, Margaret K. McElderry Books, and the cover designer, Sonia Chaghatzbanian, and the photographer Sarah Ann Loreth, for that gorgeous cover. They didn’t ask me in advance what I wanted, and I’m glad they didn’t, because I never could have suggested something so perfect for the novel. I don’t want to give anything away about the novel, but the sense of “is that a tree, or a woman, or both?” is very appropriate. I love the way the two blend together and you’re not quite sure what you’re seeing.

Can you tell us something about your next book, which is a dark fairytale?
I really don’t want to give much away about it at this stage, but I will say that I love the prologue, and I think it will appeal to those who love THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL. It also has a strong yet conflicted female protagonist, because that’s always important to me, as well as a very powerful sibling relationship, which was fun for me to write.

Thank you, Peternelle!

About the Author:

Peternelle van Arsdale is a book editor who never thought she’d write a book, until one day she had a glimmer of an idea that became The Beast Is an Animal. She lives in New York City, where she is at work on her second novel.

Find Peternelle: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Book Description:

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Alys was seven the first time she saw the soul eaters. Twin sisters, they radiated an energy that excited Alys. Through them she felt the wildness of the forest, and The Beast within it. Too late, she learned of their power to destroy.

By the time she is fifteen, Alys knows too much about both the lure and the danger of the soul eaters. She lives in a world of adults who are terrified of their power, and who cower behind high walls and grim rules. Fear of the soul eaters—and of The Beast—rules their lives. Even more, they fear the ways in which The Beast may lurk among them—and within a girl like Alys.

For Alys has a connection to the soul eaters, and The Beast. And she hides a truth about herself that she can reveal to no one, for fear she will be called a witch. As the threat posed by the soul eaters grows, Alys must undertake a journey through the wild danger of the fforest. But the greatest danger is not outside her. Alys’s secret about who—and what—she is terrifies her most of all. And in order to save her world, she must also risk losing herself.


Thanks to Peternelle and Simon & Schuster for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Finished Copy of The Beast is an Animal
Scope: US

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Get your daily dose of YA and MG debut goodness in #CelebratingDebutantes2017
Click the button above to be redirected to the main page where you can browse the list of novels and authors that we are featuring.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Flight Risk by Jennifer Fenn (Playlist + Giveaway)

Hi guys! Are you interested in reading a story about antiheroes, stealing planes and flying? Then this debut is for you. It is reviewed and described as unique, original and surprisingly unexpected.

Today, we are featuring your next best read: Flight Risk by Jennifer Fenn! Jennifer will be talking about her playlist and how each note is related to her writing and the story. Stick around for a special giveaway at the end! ;) Jennifer will take it from here.

I always listen to music while I write. I usually create soundtracks to match my ideas very early in the writing process, to capture a particular mood or voice. For “Flight Risk,” I listened to these songs and many more to create Robert Jackson Kelly’s world as he surfs, steals and runs from the law.

“Immortal” Kid Cudi
The lyrics of this song could have been pulled straight from my protagonist Robert Jackson Kelly’s thoughts. I listened to it constantly while writing “Flight Risk.” The humming at the beginning even reminds me of the sound of a plane taking off.
“I’m living my life as if I’ve got powers/And tonight I feel immortal.”

“King of the Beach” Waaves
In the story’s first half, Robert receives a used surfboard for his birthday and starts spending his days at the beach, practicing his surf technique. He’s determined to learn how to catch a wave and the beach provides an escape from his less-than-ideal home life. This song perfectly captures the mood of those scenes!
“Never gonna stop me/You’re never gonna stop me/King of the beach!”

“Mama Told Me Not to Come” Three Dog Night
Yannatok’s Sheriff Holt is a classic-rock fan. I imagine this song playing in his cruiser as he drives around the island hunting for Robert. The lyrics also allude to Robert’s complicated relationship with his mother.
“Mama told me not to come/She said, that ain’t the way to have fun, son!”

“Frontier Psychiatrist” Avalanches
I played this song often when I wrote the scenes I consider Robert’s ‘origin story,’ or the events that led up to him actually stealing a plane and becoming a notorious outlaw or hero, depending on your point of view.
“That boy needs therapy!”

“The Trees” Richard Cheese
Here’s a fun cover of a song originally performed by Rush. My brother discovered this song and included it on one of several “Flight Risk” mixes he made for me. Many scenes in “Flight Risk” depict “unrest in the forest”: plane crashes, bears, police chases . . . .

“There is unrest in the forest!”

“Everybody Get Dangerous!” Weezer
I love this song’s fun mood. Robert’s plane thefts are definitely dangerous, but he’s also having the adventure of his life when he takes to the sky.

“Everybody get dangerous!”

“Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?” Green Day
These lyrics seemed to describe Robert’s school situation and struggle with ADHD perfectly.
“There’s a body who fogs his world and now he’s getting lazy/There’s no motivation and frustration makes him crazy/He makes a plan to stand but always ends up sitting/Someone help him up or he’s gonna end up quitting.”

“Bad Moon Rising” Lagwagon
This song is actually featured in the book; Robert’s father is singing it when the reader first encounters him. Robert Senior is in and out of his son’s life, and a secret from his past is revealed in the second half of “Flight Risk.” I like the sense of foreboding in this song’s lyrics, and this sped-up cover version is a fun update on a classic song.
“Don’t go out tonight/It’s bound to take your life/There’s a bad moon on the rise”

“I Believe I Can Fly” Me First and the Gimmee Gimmees

Of course, R Kelly wasn’t singing about actual flight in the original version of this song, but I can’t help but think that the lyrics mirror Robert’s obsession with planes.

“I believe I can fly/I believe I can touch the sky/I think about it every night and day’Spread my wings and fly away”

“Police on My Back” The Clash
Once Robert steals his first plane, he’s on the run, trying to escape Sheriff Holt, the media, and everyone else’s expectations of him.
“Well, I'm running/Police on my back/I've been hiding/Police on my back”

“Lollipop” Ben Kweller
The candy found at the scene of Robert’s first plane crash lead the media to portray him as a criminal mastermind intentionally taunting the police. He’s even nicknamed “The Lollipop Kid.”
“Lollipop, lollipop/Oh, lolly lollipop!”

“My Old Man Had a Pistol” The New Amsterdams
This song’s lyrics seem to be about trying to escape a troubled family history, which is one of the issues at the heart of “Flight Risk.”
“I pray take me far away/From everything that I am”

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your playlist!

About the Author:

Young adult author Jennifer Fenn has been filling notebooks since she was in elementary school. She’s never without a book! Fenn is terrified of corn fields but has jumped out of a plane, eats her cereal without milk, and has run a marathon.

She is a graduate of Lycoming College and Rosemont College’s MFA program. Jennifer lives with her husband, daughter and Scottish terrier in Downingtown, PA.

Find Jennifer: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Book Description:

Hardcover, 256 pages
Expected publication: July 18th 2017 by Roaring Brook Press

A debut novel inspired by true events, about a teenage boy who has stolen―and crashed―not one, but three airplanes. And each time he’s walked away unscathed.

Who is Robert Jackson Kelly? Is he a juvenile delinquent? A criminal mastermind? A folk hero? One thing is clear: Robert always defies what people think of him. And now, the kid who failed at school, relationships, and almost everything in life, is determined to successfully steal and land a plane.

Told as an investigation into Robert’s psyche, the narrative includes multiple points of view as well as documentary elements like emails, official records, and interviews with people who knew Robert. Ultimately, Flight Risk is a thrilling story about one teenager who is determined to find a moment of transcendence after everyone else has written him off as lost.

"Teens will love the documentary-style narrative and will root for underdog antihero Robert." --Donald Peebles, School Library Journal

"Fenn's ambitious debut novel is part oral history, part tall tale, and part suspense story . . . Inspired by real events (the life of Colton Harris-Moore, aka the Barefoot Bandit), Fenn has penned an original, thrilling tale with wide appeal, including for older reluctant readers."

-- Caitlin Kling, Booklist


Thanks to Jennifer for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: ARC of Flight Risk
Scope: US/CA
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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Gravedigger's Son by Patrick Moody

Hi guys! I hope you're enjoying Father's Day so far - to the ones with countries celebrating it this Sunday, at least. So when I first started blogging, my genre was paranormal. I read everything paranormal - vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc. Currently, I am swimming in a fantasy ocean. It is refreshing to encounter an MG paranormal book that is rooted in the traditional act of burying the dead and creating this story.

Before we start with that, I'd like to remind you that we have several giveaways on going both in Fragments of Life and in Blackplume. Please click the event button on the right sidebar and you'll be directed to the list of features and giveaways!

Today, Patrick is going to show you his playlist for The Gravedigger's Son and briefly explain each song and how it is related to the book. Hope you enjoy the music! I like Deep in the Woods!

The Bats-"Boogeyman": This song is basically the theme to the entire story. Playful, poppy, and insightful, with just a hint of spookiness. The boogeyman is coming for you...or is it all in your head?

Calamine-"Horse and Carriage": Perfectly sums up the relationship between Ian, the MC, and Fiona, his best friend. They understand one another's personal struggles, and both try to push the other to achieve their dreams.

Mac Demarco-"Blue Boy": While Calamine's "Horse and Carriage" is an uplifting, hopeful song, Demarco's "Blue Boy" is a more accurate portrayal of Ian's personality. Unsure of himself and more than a little blue. But what eleven year old Gravedigger in training isn't?

Men at Work-"Overkill": "Ghosts appear and fade away." I feel like Men at Work captured a very specific emotion, here: the anxiety we all feel fretting about the future, while constantly replaying events from our past. It's a strange middle ground that stops us from enjoying the present. For Ian, this is all too common...constantly worrying about his path in life, trying to break ancient tradition and carve out his own future. Every choice is difficult. The weight of our own history can be a crippling thing.

My Morning Jacket-"Only Memories Remain": This haunting, melancholy tune about love and loss is a perfect fit for Ian's father, Isaac. The current Gravedigger of House Fossor is trapped in the past, forever brooding and mourning the loss of his wife, taken too soon by an evil magic.

Tennis-"Deep in the Woods": Something is lurking in the woods bordering the cemetery. Ian reluctantly enters. What will he and Fiona find? Rumor has it, a coven of dark-magic witches live somewhere in the depths of the forest, waiting for someone to enter...

Thank you, Patrick!

About the Author:

Patrick Moody is a middle school custodian who draws inspiration from the spooky night-time halls. He lives in Connecticut. The Gravedigger's Son is his first novel.

Find Patrick: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Book Description:

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by Sky Pony Press

“A Digger must not refuse a request from the Dead." —Rule Five of the Gravedigger’s Code

Ian Fossor is last in a long line of Gravediggers. It’s his family’s job to bury the dead and then, when Called by the dearly departed, to help settle the worries that linger beyond the grave so spirits can find peace in the Beyond.

But Ian doesn’t want to help the dead—he wants to be a Healer and help the living. Such a wish is, of course, selfish and impossible. Fossors are Gravediggers. So he reluctantly continues his training under the careful watch of his undead mentor, hoping every day that he’s never Called and carefully avoiding the path that leads into the forbidden woods bordering the cemetery.

Just as Ian’s friend, Fiona, convinces him to talk to his father, they’re lured into the woods by a risen corpse that doesn’t want to play by the rules. There, the two are captured by a coven of Weavers, dark magic witches who want only two thing—to escape the murky woods where they’ve been banished, and to raise the dead and shift the balance of power back to themselves.

Only Ian can stop them. With a little help from his friends. And his long-dead ancestors.

Equal parts spooky and melancholy, funny and heartfelt, The Gravedigger’s Son is a gorgeous debut that will long sit beside Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Jonathan Auxier's The Night Gardener.


Thanks to Patrick for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Signed ARC of The Gravedigger's Son
Scope: International

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Playlist: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista

Hi guys! Today I'm featuring a playlist for Karmic Hearts! Bautista chose the songs well and handpicked some of my favorite songs, such as Down from the Vampire Diaries OST.

Maricar from Blackplume described Karmic Hearts as " a light read that is perfect for those who love cute romance. It is delightful, romantic and heartwarming. Something every romance lovers will surely enjoy reading."

Here is a quote from the book that I like: “If everything is unfair in this world, then doesn’t that make it fair?”

I think that it makes perfect sense. :) Are you ready to experience Karmic Hearts?

Matchmaker by AJ Rafael

Heaven Can Wait by We The Kings

Down by Jason Walker

Her Love Is My Religion by The Cab

Ever Enough by A Rocket To The Moon

Stupid Love Letter by The Friday Night Boys

I Should Go by Levi Kreis

Beautiful Excuses by Rixton

Scars by James Bay

Book Description:

Paperback, 241 pages
Published 2017 by Summit Books, Pop Fiction

Love. Magic. Fate. Best-selling romance novel author Karmina Joan writes about these things. She believes that every person has a purpose, that every soul has a destiny to fulfill. She thought hers was simply sharing her stories.

Her story unfolds with Cupid, the Angel of Love himself. He brings with him a mysterious vessel and a message from on high. It turns out Karmina has a bigger purpose after all—a mission that will make or break humanity as we know it.

As Cupid teaches her the tricks of his trade, Karmina unknowingly gives him something unexpected in return— something the angel of love will find oddly familiar. This may become the one flaw in an otherwise perfect plan that destiny had in store for them.

Does love truly conquer all or are there limits to what humanity can do in the name of love? Witness as Karmina struggles to find the answers before time runs out on true love.