Thursday, December 10, 2015

Debut Author Bash: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee {Interview}

This Monstrous ThingThis Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee 
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books 

Goodreads Summary: 
In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…


Steampunk Frankenstein.
Alternate history Switzerland.
Brothers. Cyborgs.
You’ll love it.

2. What’s your favorite quote from THIS MONTROUST THING?
“It would always be us, dead or alive or alive again, locked like gears so that neither of us could turn without moving the other.”

3. Any writing quirks?
I drink a lot of Diet Coke (always, but especially when I’m writing).
When I’m drafting, I leave myself notes of things to fix or mark holes I need to fill in later, and I mark them with an # so I can do an easy search and replace to find them again. Which means my first drafts are basically littered with snarky hashtags.

4. Was THIS MONSTROUS THING your first title choice?
The book was originally called The Shadow Boys are Breaking, but I think This Monstrous Thing fits so much better! It conveys the Frankenstein, Gothic-ness of the book much more effectively, and I love the ambiguity of what exactly the titular monstrousness is referring to. It wasn’t my first choice, but I’ve come to adore it.

5. If someone were to see you in a random public place where would it be and why?
I work at an independent bookstore, so you have a pretty good chance of spotting me there. Aside from that, I spend a good amount of time at my beloved Friendly Toast, which is a diner in Boston with bright green walls and the best biscuits and gravy of all time ever.  

6. Which YA character would you like to hang out with for a day?
Jacky Faber. She is the sassiest. And great at hijinks. And basically she’s everything I aspire to be.  

7. What is your favorite and least favorite book trope?
I’m a sucker for the scoundrels with a heart of gold archetype. You know, the Han Solo and Malcom Reynolds types. I fall for them every time.
I take issue with the ‘girl dresses up as a boy but the hot guy still falls in love with her’ trope in historicals because it undervalues the contribution of women throughout history who found ways to exercise influence within their gender constraints, and undervalues the power in femininity and womanhood. It can also be an erasure of queer and gender non-conforming people from historical narratives, or make queerness seem like the tragic ending that was avoided because everyone still goes home hetero. Cross dressing wasn’t just a way women could have fun adventures in history—it was the only way some people across the gender and sexuality spectrum could live true to themselves. Even if the author doesn’t intend any of these things, sometimes the trope further erases women and LGBTQ people from historical narratives.  

8. Any song inspirations that helped you write certain scenes?
Large parts of the book were written to the album The Life of the World to Come by The Mountain Goats. The lyrics have a lot of life, death, and resurrection imagery, and every song corresponds with a Bible verse, which is perfect accompaniment for writing a book based on a book based on a book based on the Bible (This Monstrous Thing, Frankenstein, Paradise Lost, in case you lost the thread there).

9. Any characters inspired by real people in your life?
I have a little sister and we have the same age different between us as Alasdair and Oliver, the brothers in the book. While MT and I are definitely not Alasdair and Oliver, a lifetime of being the volatile older half of a tight-knit sibling pair definitely inspired the novel. And my kid sister, MT, and Alasdair have a lot in common—rational, calm, reserved, and with a much more scientific mind. 

10. Sort your characters into Harry Potter houses.
Alasdair would probably think he was a Slytherin, but he’s a Gryffindor. So is Clemence. Oliver and Mary are both Ravenclaws.  Dr. Geisler—definitely a Slytherin. 


Mackenzi LeeMackenzi Lee is reader, writer, bookseller, unapologetic fangirl, fast talker, and perpetually-anxious badass. She holds an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults, and her short fiction has appeared in Inaccurate Realities, The Friend, and The Newport Review. Her young adult historical fantasy novel, THIS MONSTROUS THING, which won the PEN-New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award, as well as an Emerging Artist Grant from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, will be published fall of 2015 by Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins. 

She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and historical fiction. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently calls Boston home.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Debut Author Bash: Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay {Top 10 Quotes+GIveaway}

Everything That Makes You
Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay
Release Date: March 17th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Goodreads Summary:
One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.

December Releases

*Click on the cover to go to its Goodreads page*

Dec. 1st:
Their Fractured Light (Starbound, #3)Hawthorn (Blythewood, #3)Not If I See You FirstForbidden
Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner 
Hawthorn by Carol Goodman 
Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom 
Forbidden by Eve Bunting 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

SST: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennet {Character Sketches+Giveaway}

The lovely Nori @ReadWriteLove hosts Sunday Street Team which is basically a combination between a blog tour, book meme, and street team of one author/book every month. 

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennet
Release Date: Nov. 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Fiewel and Friends

Goodreads Summary:
Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci's footsteps, she's ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital's Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

~Character Sketches~

Jenn Bennett

About the Author:
Jenn Bennett is the author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series with Pocket and the Roaring 20's historical paranormal romance series with Berkley. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two pugs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where that spotlights the upcoming books I am currently anticipating. 

~Currently Anticipating~
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury 
Release Date: February 23rd, 2016 
Publisher: Razorbill 
The Forbidden Wish
Goodreads Summary:
She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world... 

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years -- a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.


What are you waiting on this week?
Link us up! 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Wolf By Wolf (Wolf By Wolf, #1)Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
400 Pages
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via Negalley
Genre: Alternative Historical Fiction/Sci-Fi
Rating: 4 STARS 

Goodreads Summary: 
Code Name Verity meets Inglourious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Release Week Book Blitz: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin {Promo+Giveaway}

I am so excited that WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway! If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Ryan, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed finished copy of the book with a special WOLF BY WOLF pin! US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Special intro from the author:

"Once upon a different time, there was a girl who lived in a kingdom of death. Wolves howled up her arm. A whole pack of them--made of tattoo ink and pain, memory and loss. It was the only thing about her that ever stayed the same.

Her story begins on a train."

And so begins the story of Yael, a girl who can change her appearance to mimic any other female. A girl who must win a 20,000 kilometer cross-continental motorcycle race from Germania to Tokyo so that she can have an audience with Adolf Hitler. A girl who has every intention of killing him.

Whenever I describe the premise of WOLF BY WOLF to people, the reactions I get are quite similar. It's the "are-you-insane-or-are-you-onto-something" face: dropped jaw, squiggly eyebrows. I must admit, I felt many of those same feelings when I first started penning Yael's story. Alternate history + sci-fi + epic motorcycle journey felt like a strange recipe for a novel. But I pushed through my fears and kept writing, and I couldn't be happier with the result. I, for one, don't think I'm insane, but I'll let you, dear reader, come up with your own conclusion.

Happy reading!

Ryan Graudin

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where that spotlights the upcoming books I am currently anticipating. 

~Currently Anticipating~
Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Release Date: February 9th, 2016 
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Goodreads Summary:
Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything. This is their story.

Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to CuraƧao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England? 

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Love the simple cover and the contrast of the pink against the black :D
The characters and the story sounds absolutely amazing!

What are you waiting on this week?
Link us up! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Release Day Blast: Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown {Promo+Giveaway}


Velvet Undercover pic
Velvet Undercover
Author: Teri Brown
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
Pages: 336

Perfect for fans of Jennifer Donnelly and Libba Bray comes this page-turning historical spy thriller from Teri Brown, author of the Born of Illusion series.
Samantha Donaldson's family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, mathematics, and complex puzzles, hoping to make him proud.
When Sam is asked to join the famed women's spy group La Dame Blanche, she's torn—while this could be an unbelievable adventure, how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes she can't refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.
Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known only as Velvet. Deep undercover in the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Sam must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she must fight a forbidden attraction to the enemy—a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Sam find Velvet before it's too late . . . for them both?
A thrilling story of one girl's journey into a deadly world of spy craft and betrayal—with unforgettable consequences.

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Truth About Books: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Hey guys! Hopefully you know the drill but if not here's a recap:
This is a post where Taherah and I talk about and fangirl over books unfiltered after we read them.
This means spoilers. If you haven't read the book yet do yourself a huge favor and leave.
Don't spoil this one for yourself. It's too good.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: September 29th, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Goodreads Summary:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. 

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where that spotlights the upcoming books I am currently anticipating. 

~Currently Anticipating~
Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan 
Release Date: January 19th, 2015 
Publisher: HarperTeen 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Blog Tour: Trust Me, I'm Trouble by Mary Elizabeth Summer {Review+Giveaway}

Trust Me, I'm Trouble (Trust Me #2)
by Mary Elizabeth Summer
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: October 13th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Rate: 3 STARS 


The sequel to TRUST ME, I’M LYING

Staying out of trouble isn’t possible for Julep Dupree. She has managed not to get kicked out of her private school, even though everyone knows she’s responsible for taking down a human-trafficking mob boss—and getting St. Agatha’s golden-boy Tyler killed in the process. Running cons holds her guilty conscience at bay, but unfortunately, someone wants Julep to pay for her mistakes . . . with her life.

Against her better judgment, Julep takes a shady case that requires her to infiltrate a secretive organization that her long-gone mother and the enigmatic blue fairy may be connected to. Her best friend, Sam, isn’t around to stop her, and Dani, her one true confidante, happens to be a nineteen-year-old mob enforcer whose moral compass is as questionable as Julep’s. But there’s not much time to worry about right and wrong—or to save your falling heart—when there’s a contract on your head.

Murders, heists, secrets and lies, hit men and hidden identities . . . If Julep doesn’t watch her back, it’s her funeral. No lie.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Review: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)Illuminae by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
608 Pages
Release Date: Octobber 12th, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 4.5-5 STARS 

Goodreads Summary:
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Event Recap: Six of Crows Magic and Mayhem Tour {Discussion/Q&A}

I had so a fun time at the Magic and Mayhem tour! Leigh Bardugo was in conversation with Heather Havrilesky. Those two were quite the pair and had the audience laughing for more than half of this discussion/Q&A (not verbatim) 

Q: What do you think it will take to last in this euphoria (of being #1 on NYT Bestsellers List)?
A: Cocaine probably...

Q: Do you feel like you have a hangover from basking in your own success?
A: No. She obviously has lots of self doubt and sometimes thinks that "Somebody should write this! It would be amazing!"

Q: Do you feel guilty that you feel happy?
A: Don't feel guilty about it but she believes that something bad is going to happen especially if things are going too well. (Believes in hubris)

Q: There's a theme of thirst for ego driven power in your books. What can you tell us about that?
A: Every character driven by what they want vs. what they need. Characters in her story know what they want but what they need is something different. It what makes a character a character.

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